[maemo-developers] [maemo-developers] Follow-up: N800 and Newton

From: Sean Luke sean at cs.gmu.edu
Date: Fri Jan 26 05:47:49 EET 2007
Kalle wrote:

> 2007/1/25, Sean Luke <sean at cs.gmu.edu>:
>>         - It's true that different (Newton vs. GTK+) doesn't mean  
>> better.
>> But IMHO it doesn't require rabid fanboyism to make a cogent argument
>> that GTK+ is distinctly inferior to OS X
> Yes, obviously a widget toolkit has no chance against an operating
> system from an interface point of view... ;)

:-)  I meant Cocoa, of course.  I can't defend Carbon.

>> and maemo is inferior to
>> NewtonOS from an interface point of view.  That being said, it *was*
>> fair mentioning where the Newton's _not_ all that hot, so I added
>> some items there.  But I think it's fairly objective: GTK+ may or may
>> not be better than KDE's offerings perhaps, but as a GUI development
>> environment it's a long way shy of environments like Cocoa and
>> NewtonOS [and yes, I think Cocoa > NewtonOS].
> I think GTK+ developers and community would like to fix this, so could
> you perhaps elaborate on this "long way" Cocoa is more advanced than
> GTK+? What I've seen on my wife's Mac has really left me wondering
> what the heck is all the fuzz about the Mac UI. Sure, it has some
> millions of dollars spent on polish (as you point out below), but
> apart from few real solutions (which, btw, do not have anything to do
> with Cocoa) it really seems to be just a extra layer of varnish. The
> regular widgets seen in every window have basically the same
> functionality in both GTK+ and Mac UI, and I haven't yet seen anything
> that could not be implemented with GTK+ widgets if one wishes to do
> so.

I promised not to go into further detail extensively: but what *I*  
think makes Cocoa impressive is not its prettiness.  That's almost  
immaterial.  It's the development environment's richness,  
consistency, and pervasiveness throughout the entire operating  
system.  NeXT figured this out: if you give developers a collection  
of very rich and powerful tools, they have little need to build their  
own and thus make user experiences different from one another.  Apple  
inherited that from NeXT.  Among the highlights are one of the finest  
2D graphics libraries anywhere (CoreGraphics), with easy support for  
very sophisticated PDF printing; elegant internationalization; easy  
multi-architecture binary support; and the finest typographic engine  
ever created (ATSUI).  And a very _very_ nice widget set.  One of my  
favorite Mac application houses is OmniGroup, whose wunderkind just  
left and founded Delicious Monster.   Apps like Delicious Library,  
OmniWeb, and OmniGraffle are pretty strong examples of how you can  
take Cocoa and run with it.  Low points include, I think: no GC, and  
QuickTime's API, which is pretty awful.

As a developer, you'd do well to look into developing for OS X rather  
than examining its interface as a user.  Even if you can't stand ObjC  
-- and some can't -- I think you'll still be impressed.  Apple lucked  
out when they bought NeXT.

> (on a tongue-in-cheeck side note, GTK+ has traditionally been regarded
> as the fat cow of linux desktop toolkits while QT is seen as the
> flashy sleek one, so maybe you should take a look at Qutopia too and
> see if that's more to your liking?-))

No, I'm comfy with fat cows.  My primary application development  
environment is Swing.  :-(

>> Anyway, there's something to
>> be said for massive amounts of resources and UI expertise.
> Like Microsoft Windows has.

Touche!  But Microsoft is the counterexample to an amazing number of  

May I say that I expected rather more antagonism than I've gotten  
even with my obnoxious follow-up.  The professionalism of this list  
is impressive.


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