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Spy der Mann's Journal: 10 years ago... wxWidgets and the QT vs. GTK division.

Journal by Spy der Mann

I stumbled upon this gem that was written almost 10 years ago. It's a plea from the wxWidgets developers to start a QT port of wxWidgets (then wxWindows).

The following is a proposal by the wxWindows developers. We hope to
attract some interest and help for this project, to ease the situation
for application developers who are currently in the difficult decision
to chose whether to support KDE or GNOME.

Please understand that we do not favour either of them, nor do we want
to get involved in a discussion about the pros and cons of KDE vs
Gnome. We are simply interested in helping application developers
(such as ourselves) to live with the existing situation. If you are
not interested in that, just ignore this post.

        Proposal for a port of wxWindows to Qt - wxQt

            Following the recent discussions
            and flamewars about KDE vs Gnome, we got worried that we'll see a
            repetition of the same damaging infighting from which Unix has
            suffered before. Competition is a good thing, but the current
            situation leaves application developers with a difficult decision to
            make: Write for KDE, using qt/harmony or write for Gnome, using GTK?
            Whatever happens to these projects, we will end up with a lot of
            duplicated efforts and a mix of applications written for either of the
            two environments. The result will not be the consistent look and feel
            that both projects aim for.

            The people on the wxWindows developers team thought that we might have
            a solution for this problem, if we can get some outside help to get it
            done. Let us explain: wxWindows is a cross-platform development
            toolkit, a library of C++ classes which provide GUI concepts as well
            as other cross-platform issues such as container classes, debug
            features or configuration management. It has been around since 1992
            and started by supporting Motif, XView and MS-Windows, with a direct
            X11/Xt port added later. Last year, a major rewrite was started and we
            now have a much advanced library, available for MS Windows, with a
            Motif port under construction. Later last year, Robert Roebling set
            out on a one-man project to build wxGTK, a gtk-based implementation of
            wxWindows which in less than a year has become sufficiently stable to
            use it as the main development platform of rather large
            applications. The wxWindows license is a variant of the LGPL,
            which should meet no objections from the free software community. In
            fact, this has been an open source project long before the term became
            commonly used.

            Our idea is, that if this is good enough to work across different
            operating systems (a MacOS port is under construction, too), it could
            easily bridge the gap between KDE and Gnome. The quick evolution of
            wxGTK has shown that a new port based on an existing widget set or
            toolkit can easily be created by a small team within a few
            months. Therefore, we would like to start a project for a Qt/Harmony
            based wxWindow library, wxQt. It would then be possible for
            application developers to write the same source and compile it either
            for KDE, Gnome or even any of the other supported systems.

            But for this we need help. The core developers are all pretty busy on
            the existing ports, but we could provide significant help and support
            for any such effort. A wxQt port could also recycle lots of existing
            code from the other ports.

            Please, join us in this effort and, if you feel that you could
            contribute, join the wxWindows developers mailing list for further
            discussions. Just send a mail containing "subscribe" to

                              wxwin-developers-request _at_ x.dent.med.uni-muenchen.de

And 10 years later, due to licensing issues (the wxWindows license is a derivative of LGPL, while QT is GPL licensed, so the "L" is clearly a limitation here) and software complications (nobody has dared), there still isn't a common widget platform/wrapper for Linux. Wow... ten years. Imagine that. Personally, I would enjoy having such a wrapper, this way we could write cross-platform apps that would run on Windows, GTK or QT and adapt to our favorite Window manager.

So, what do you think? Would it be possible to do this with Qt 4.4? Would it be healthy to have such a wrapper? Or actually... is it even relevant?

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10 years ago... wxWidgets and the QT vs. GTK division.

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