The Future?

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The Future?

Gtk+ - General mailing list
Hello,
I understand that these questions could have been asked a number of times, but still, my questions are-
1. Will Gtk ever start its support for Mobile platform?
2. How does Gtk address the issue of its users moving to Qt?
3. What makes them move to Qt? Why can't Gtk have that respective feature?

Im a die-hard Gtk fan, such that I didn't even check whats unique with Qt over Gtk ;)
And at last, I have a $50 as BAT in Brave browser, is there anyway I can fund it to Gtk?


Thank You
J. Arun Mani




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Re: The Future?

Paul Davis


On Sat, Mar 9, 2019 at 5:19 AM J.Arun Mani via gtk-list <[hidden email]> wrote:

2. How does Gtk address the issue of its users moving to Qt?

What evidence is there of this? Who are the "users" of GTK that you're referring to? Moving an existing GUI app between toolkits is typically almost equivalent to a complete rewrite, so applications (which are the real "users" of a toolkit) generally do not move. Developers may start new projects using Qt having previously used GTK, but who counts this? How would we judge if it is significant?
 
3. What makes them move to Qt? Why can't Gtk have that respective feature?

Qt has as many issues as GTK once you start using it for complex, deep applications. Different issues, to be sure, but no GUI toolkit gives you a free ride.

Qt is also developed using a different licensing/income generation model than GTK, which changes quite a lot.

Qt mostly has distinct advantages over GTK, and to be honest if I was starting cross-platform development now (22 years after I actually did), I'd probably pick Qt for all the obvious reasons. But it's fairly pointless to ask "how can GTK be more like Qt?" when there's more or less no chance or pathway for that to happen. As it is, I don't do mobile so GTK's issues there don't affect me. I also have 75k lines of code that would have to be almost completely rewritten to use Qt, with no noticeable benefit for our users and only marginal benefits for our developers.

Speaking of "why can't?", why can't I write a C application using Qt  ? :))


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Re: The Future?

Miroslav Rajcic-3

I think the question is a valid one and there is a plenty of evidence of people moving to Qt due to some issues of GTK.

Some notable examples:

- VLC (https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=316155&s=54b259f2cb2d1a30ca8dc269d0561537)

- Wireshark  (https://blog.wireshark.org/2013/10/switching-to-qt/)

- Subsurface by Linus (https://liveblue.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/subsurface-switches-to-qt/)

- LXDE desktop (https://www.zdnet.com/article/lxde-waves-goodbye-to-gtk-in-merge-with-razor-qt/)

- GCompris educational software (https://mail.kde.org/pipermail/kde-edu/2014-February/007950.html)

All these people have valid complaints, so someone should think about it.

Same as Paul, if I would start cross platform now (I started in 2003), Qt would be a no-brainer choice.

My personal issues with GTK in comparison to Qt:

1. GTK is not so cross-platform anymore: on Windows and macOS, you are supposed to build your own library binaries (gvsbuild for Windows and jhbuild for macOS exist, but are not foolproof).

  "Golden age" in this regards was when Tor Lillqvist was still doing the Windows builds regularly on each GTK release. GTK was easy to be used on Windows at that time.

2. QT has more complete stack, for example integrating audio/video playing module (Phonon). gstreamer as an alternative for such module in GTK suffers from "build your own binaries" (i.e. issue #1) and a more complex interface.

3. for me, this one is huge: QT has much better rich text editor widget (QTextEdit), supporting tables, all types of bulleted lists etc.. GTK's default widget GtkTextView (nor GtkSourceView) is not nearly close to this (no tables, no bullets, no htmL export). For advanced editor you are supposed to embed WebKitGTK, but you must first suffer through issue #1 and use complex JScript solutions to implement your rich text editor features (formatting actions, text change notifications).

4. API stability: jumps from GTK2 to GTK3 were painful, many APIs were changed, what it looks like from here, without the strong need, but just to make everything better organized or similar, without thinking of library users. I have an app that must support GTK2 (even using hildon interfaces on old platforms like Maemo) and GTK3 in the same code base, so it is now littered with many #ifdef layers

5. Many other parts are unsolved or hard to implement in GTK (drag and drop integration using types other than the basic ones, for example)

6. Useful features deprecated, an example is native print preview, that worked in 2.16 if i remember correctly and was broken forever in next releases (at that time I did not want to port preview  to a new mechanism, so i had to remove that feature in my program)

IMO, it seems that GTK does not have a coherent strategy when it comes to toolkit features and a cross-platform usage (i.e. lowering the effort needed to develop for all major OSes). Nowadays it is mostly focused on adding shiny things as support for shaders, animated transitions, GL rendering.

Hard-to-implement things like an advanced text editor do not seem to be an a table.

This was meant as an constructive critics, it seems strange that this topic got just one answer so far.

Regards,

  Miroslav

On 9.3.2019. 17:43, Paul Davis wrote:


On Sat, Mar 9, 2019 at 5:19 AM J.Arun Mani via gtk-list <[hidden email]> wrote:

2. How does Gtk address the issue of its users moving to Qt?

What evidence is there of this? Who are the "users" of GTK that you're referring to? Moving an existing GUI app between toolkits is typically almost equivalent to a complete rewrite, so applications (which are the real "users" of a toolkit) generally do not move. Developers may start new projects using Qt having previously used GTK, but who counts this? How would we judge if it is significant?
 
3. What makes them move to Qt? Why can't Gtk have that respective feature?

Qt has as many issues as GTK once you start using it for complex, deep applications. Different issues, to be sure, but no GUI toolkit gives you a free ride.

Qt is also developed using a different licensing/income generation model than GTK, which changes quite a lot.

Qt mostly has distinct advantages over GTK, and to be honest if I was starting cross-platform development now (22 years after I actually did), I'd probably pick Qt for all the obvious reasons. But it's fairly pointless to ask "how can GTK be more like Qt?" when there's more or less no chance or pathway for that to happen. As it is, I don't do mobile so GTK's issues there don't affect me. I also have 75k lines of code that would have to be almost completely rewritten to use Qt, with no noticeable benefit for our users and only marginal benefits for our developers.

Speaking of "why can't?", why can't I write a C application using Qt  ? :))


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Re: The Future?

Gtk+ - General mailing list
Meta: having this discussion on gtk-list is probably the best example as to why we need to move to Discourse. Nobody involved with the development of GTK even reads this list, except me, so you're never going to get more than my opinion about it.

Meta × 2: while I am employed by the GNOME Foundation to work in GTK, this *my* opinion, and should not be construed as anything but my opinion.

On Sun, 10 Mar 2019 at 06:37, Miroslav Rajcic <[hidden email]> wrote:

I think the question is a valid one and there is a plenty of evidence of people moving to Qt due to some issues of GTK.

Some notable examples:

- VLC (https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=316155&s=54b259f2cb2d1a30ca8dc269d0561537)


VLC, Wireshark, Subsurface, and GCompris switched to Qt mostly because of its support for Android and mobile platforms, something that GTK doesn't support. Well, Subsurface moved to Qt because the original developers thought that asking on Google Plus was the proper way to ask for help with writing GTK applications, and had no objections when somebody else showed up and rewrote their application using Qt.

It's entirely justified to go through the ringer of a full rewrite if you're thinking of expanding somewhere the GUI toolkit you use is not going to be, and it's highly unlikely that an Android backend for GTK will ever materialise—let alone an iOS one—so if you're thinking of targeting Android and iOS, Qt is a perfectly valid choice. I personally would recommend using Xamarin.Forms, and stop writing code in C/C++.

The LXDE case is a bit different: writing desktop environments is kind of what GTK is known for. It seems that LXDE didn't have many contributors, and the few that were there decided to join forces with a Qt-based project in order to increase the contributors base. It's also telling that the Qt port of LXDE is still very much in progress, and the GTK2 code base is still being maintained. If porting to a new major version of a toolkit is a lot of work, porting to a whole new infrastructure is even more work.

All these people have valid complaints, so someone should think about it.

Everyone involved in GTK thought about them. We incorporated the feedback we gleaned from the various ranting into a better stability and versioning guarantees; better tooling, like the Inspector; a better build system, to ensure ease of build on Windows and macOS. If the complaint is "it's not written in C++" or "there is no paid support" then there isn't much we can do.

1. GTK is not so cross-platform anymore: on Windows and macOS, you are supposed to build your own library binaries (gvsbuild for Windows and jhbuild for macOS exist, but are not foolproof).

There is a fundamental misconception at work, here. GTK was never a cross-platform in the same sense as Qt is a cross-platform toolkit. GTK began supporting Windows in the 2.0 release (2002) because GIMP first, and then Evolution, needed to build and run on Windows. GTK is a *portable* toolkit, but its goal has always been writing Linux (and GNOME-adjacent) applications.

Of course it doesn't mean we shouldn't support people writing non-Linux apps with GTK, but they are a smaller target audience.

Plus, you seem to imply that "binary builds for Windows" somehow means "better cross-platform support", which is nonsensical at best. Windows support in GTK has *never* been this good. There are multiple volunteers working on building, testing, and developing GTK on Windows. It would be great to have as many people working on macOS, even though things are moving once again, there.

  "Golden age" in this regards was when Tor Lillqvist was still doing the Windows builds regularly on each GTK release. GTK was easy to be used on Windows at that time.

Yes, things are always "easy" when somebody else is paid to do them for you. Doesn't mean they are easy at all.

Given that Tor stopped working on these years ago, and that Windows hasn't stayed still in the meantime, the only reasonable course of action for GTK developers was to offload the build of GTK on Windows to the MSYS2 package management system—mostly like we do on macOS, with brew and macports. Of course, we would have loved it if somebody had showed up and did the work; somebody did, from time to time, and we even gave access to a Windows build machine hosted in the GNOME infrastructure, but keeping things building is hard—I do that for GNOME, and it's not fun—and people simply tire of it.

The move to Meson for GTK4 (and possibly to GTK3, as a secondary build system) should make building GTK and many of its dependencies easier to deal with. Ideally, we'd like for people to be able to clone just GTK and be ready to go; of course, that's probably the "blue sky" goal, but it should be easier than Autotools has been.

2. QT has more complete stack, for example integrating audio/video playing module (Phonon). gstreamer as an alternative for such module in GTK suffers from "build your own binaries" (i.e. issue #1) and a more complex interface.

GTK4 has a video and media player abstraction on top of GStreamer, and GStreamer has a GTK3 video widget, these days.

3. for me, this one is huge: QT has much better rich text editor widget (QTextEdit), supporting tables, all types of bulleted lists etc.. GTK's default widget GtkTextView (nor GtkSourceView) is not nearly close to this (no tables, no bullets, no htmL export). For advanced editor you are supposed to embed WebKitGTK, but you must first suffer through issue #1 and use complex JScript solutions to implement your rich text editor features (formatting actions, text change notifications).

I'd actually very much like to get rid of GtkTextView and have a simple, multi-line text entry. Complex text editing widgets are *complex*, and everyone has their own use case. Do you want code editing? Do you want word processing? Do you want a multi-line text input for forms? A single widget for all of these means that the single widget is a mess in terms of implementation and API. I know, because GtkTextView is that single widget, and it's a mess.

My personal opinion is that people are much better served by having a rich text editing widget in a separate library, targeted at their own use case.

4. API stability: jumps from GTK2 to GTK3 were painful, many APIs were changed, what it looks like from here, without the strong need, but just to make everything better organized or similar, without thinking of library users. I have an app that must support GTK2 (even using hildon interfaces on old platforms like Maemo) and GTK3 in the same code base, so it is now littered with many #ifdef layers

I'm so sorry, but I don't see how this is relevant. Your decisions are your own. Supporting Qt4 and Qt5 at the same time is going to be problematic *at best*, for instance. If you ever decided to move to Qt, you'd have to drop Hildon platforms anyway, for instance.

Dropping GTK2 is perfectly reasonable, now: GTK3 was released in 2011, 8 years ago. At this point GTK3 is almost as old as the whole GTK2 development cycle.

5. Many other parts are unsolved or hard to implement in GTK (drag and drop integration using types other than the basic ones, for example)

Drag and drop is one of the API sub-systems that was implemented as a thin layer around X11 concepts for GTK 2.0 (back when it was standardised across toolkits), and that has never been heavily touched. We're in the process of rewriting both clipboard and DnD support in GTK4—using a stream-based API and negotiation based on MIME types—so it's going to be easier to use, even with complex data types.

6. Useful features deprecated, an example is native print preview, that worked in 2.16 if i remember correctly and was broken forever in next releases (at that time I did not want to port preview  to a new mechanism, so i had to remove that feature in my program)

2.16 was released in March 2009, 10 years ago. I assume things have changed in the meantime. Did you at least file a bug? Which platform are you referring to?

Deprecations happen. They are *the only* way for us to move the toolkit forward without breaking API every 2 years. Deprecation means "this is not going to be a maintained API going forward, so if a bug happens, you'll have to be proactive and help us with the fix instead of just filing an issue". We've made progress on communicating what is deprecated, these days; compiler warnings, run-time warnings, porting documentation. We can do better, of course. Just don't expect us to never deprecate things, because that is, essentially, asking us to never change the toolkit.

IMO, it seems that GTK does not have a coherent strategy when it comes to toolkit features and a cross-platform usage (i.e. lowering the effort needed to develop for all major OSes). Nowadays it is mostly focused on adding shiny things as support for shaders, animated transitions, GL rendering.

First of all, those "shiny things" are what allows us to get more people using GTK, and possibly contributing to GTK. We would have long since been dead as a project if all we ever cared about was making current users of GTK happy forever.

Additionally, every platform has switched to using GL/Vulkan/Metal for rendering their UIs; using a common layer for rendering is basically necessary to remain relevant and portable.

As I said above, we have been working on making GTK easier to use on other platforms—even if, and it bears repeating, our goal is to ensure people can port their code to other platforms, not target them. Yes, it would be nice if we had 100+ engineers working on this project full time, but the current full time complement of people working on GTK is *2*, and everyone else is either paid part time, or completely volunteering. This means we have to prioritise things, and making GTK work on Linux/GNOME will always be the priority because of the sheer amount of contributors using GTK on GNOME. Want to flip the balance? You'll have to start working on GTK.

Hard-to-implement things like an advanced text editor do not seem to be an a table.

They are on the table only if somebody shows up and does the work. Did you file bugs about the shortcomings of GtkTextView? Have you prototyped what kind of API you'd need? What kind of features you'd want? Did you write a strawman proposal for a rich text editing widget? Or did you expect us to come up with a new widget and present it to everyone? Because that's *never* going to work.

For the GTK4 cycle we "just":

 - redesigned the way GTK draws itself from the ground up
 - added 3D transformations for widgets
 - re-designed the input system
 - rewritten the clipboard and DnD sub-systems
 - we're in the process of dropping a new, responsive layout machinery
 - we're going to add an animation framework usable programmatically and not just through CSS transitions

All things that were highly requested for years; people prototyped them out of tree, where possible, or wrote extensive descriptions of how they should work *first*.

Text editing is another high priority task, but currently people are asking for a better code editor in GTK; nobody is asking, or working on, a rich text editor to replace TextView.

This was meant as an constructive critics, it seems strange that this topic got just one answer so far.

See above, re: the meta paragraphs.

Ciao,
 Emmanuele.

On 9.3.2019. 17:43, Paul Davis wrote:


On Sat, Mar 9, 2019 at 5:19 AM J.Arun Mani via gtk-list <[hidden email]> wrote:

2. How does Gtk address the issue of its users moving to Qt?

What evidence is there of this? Who are the "users" of GTK that you're referring to? Moving an existing GUI app between toolkits is typically almost equivalent to a complete rewrite, so applications (which are the real "users" of a toolkit) generally do not move. Developers may start new projects using Qt having previously used GTK, but who counts this? How would we judge if it is significant?
 
3. What makes them move to Qt? Why can't Gtk have that respective feature?

Qt has as many issues as GTK once you start using it for complex, deep applications. Different issues, to be sure, but no GUI toolkit gives you a free ride.

Qt is also developed using a different licensing/income generation model than GTK, which changes quite a lot.

Qt mostly has distinct advantages over GTK, and to be honest if I was starting cross-platform development now (22 years after I actually did), I'd probably pick Qt for all the obvious reasons. But it's fairly pointless to ask "how can GTK be more like Qt?" when there's more or less no chance or pathway for that to happen. As it is, I don't do mobile so GTK's issues there don't affect me. I also have 75k lines of code that would have to be almost completely rewritten to use Qt, with no noticeable benefit for our users and only marginal benefits for our developers.

Speaking of "why can't?", why can't I write a C application using Qt  ? :))


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Re: The Future?

Kasper Peeters-2
In reply to this post by Miroslav Rajcic-3
> 1. GTK is not so cross-platform anymore: on Windows and macOS, you
> are supposed to build your own library binaries (gvsbuild for Windows
> and jhbuild for macOS exist, but are not foolproof).

That's definitely not true; on Windows there's vcpkg and on macOS
there is Homebrew; both let you install reasonably up-to-date versions
of GTK3 with a single command line. What's difficult, however, is to
find information on this, and on how to use these. I maintain a large,
fully cross-platform GTK3 app (cadabra) and once we had vcpkg and
Homebrew figured out, we haven't had any GTK-related issues anymore.

So I personally think that what drives people away from GTK (or put more
friendly: what makes people less likely to choose GTK than QT or
something else), is that the information on GTK's web site is not
sufficiently newcomer-friendly. Good documentation is almost as critical
as good code, and while the GTK code is excellent, it lacks on the
documentation front. Not for the API documentation, that one's fine.
But for the 'big picture documentation', which includes up-to-date
instructions on how to get it up and running on all platforms. Why
gtk.org does not even seem to mention vpckg and Homebrew is a mystery
to me, and seems easy to fix.

Cheers,
Kasper
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Re: The Future?

Gtk+ - General mailing list


On Sun, 10 Mar 2019 at 11:02, Kasper Peeters <[hidden email]> wrote:

But for the 'big picture documentation', which includes up-to-date
instructions on how to get it up and running on all platforms. Why
gtk.org does not even seem to mention vpckg and Homebrew is a mystery
to me, and seems easy to fix.

Care to file an issue:


to update the wording?

We're in the process of updating the website because it's basically the same as it was when we released GTK 3 (and it wasn't much different before that either).

Ciao,
 Emmanuele.

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Re: The Future?

Kasper Peeters-2
> Care to file an issue:
>
>   https://gitlab.gnome.org/Infrastructure/gtk-web
>
> to update the wording?

Sure, no problem.

Cheers,
Kasper


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Re: The Future?

Gtk+ - General mailing list
In reply to this post by Paul Davis

'Speaking of "why can't?", why can't I write a C application using Qt  ? :))' - actually, you can. You'll need to first run  "C" wrappers for C++ code (for top level functions), and then you can write in "C".

And using LLVM other forms of language integration is possible.

--Sergei.

On 3/9/19 6:43 PM, Paul Davis wrote:


On Sat, Mar 9, 2019 at 5:19 AM J.Arun Mani via gtk-list <[hidden email]> wrote:

2. How does Gtk address the issue of its users moving to Qt?

What evidence is there of this? Who are the "users" of GTK that you're referring to? Moving an existing GUI app between toolkits is typically almost equivalent to a complete rewrite, so applications (which are the real "users" of a toolkit) generally do not move. Developers may start new projects using Qt having previously used GTK, but who counts this? How would we judge if it is significant?
 
3. What makes them move to Qt? Why can't Gtk have that respective feature?

Qt has as many issues as GTK once you start using it for complex, deep applications. Different issues, to be sure, but no GUI toolkit gives you a free ride.

Qt is also developed using a different licensing/income generation model than GTK, which changes quite a lot.

Qt mostly has distinct advantages over GTK, and to be honest if I was starting cross-platform development now (22 years after I actually did), I'd probably pick Qt for all the obvious reasons. But it's fairly pointless to ask "how can GTK be more like Qt?" when there's more or less no chance or pathway for that to happen. As it is, I don't do mobile so GTK's issues there don't affect me. I also have 75k lines of code that would have to be almost completely rewritten to use Qt, with no noticeable benefit for our users and only marginal benefits for our developers.

Speaking of "why can't?", why can't I write a C application using Qt  ? :))


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Re: The Future?

Gtk+ - General mailing list

I meant 'You'll need to first write"C" wrappers for C++ code'.

--Sergei.

On 3/10/19 7:53 PM, Sergei Steshenko via gtk-list wrote:

'Speaking of "why can't?", why can't I write a C application using Qt  ? :))' - actually, you can. You'll need to first run  "C" wrappers for C++ code (for top level functions), and then you can write in "C".

And using LLVM other forms of language integration is possible.

--Sergei.

On 3/9/19 6:43 PM, Paul Davis wrote:


On Sat, Mar 9, 2019 at 5:19 AM J.Arun Mani via gtk-list <[hidden email]> wrote:

2. How does Gtk address the issue of its users moving to Qt?

What evidence is there of this? Who are the "users" of GTK that you're referring to? Moving an existing GUI app between toolkits is typically almost equivalent to a complete rewrite, so applications (which are the real "users" of a toolkit) generally do not move. Developers may start new projects using Qt having previously used GTK, but who counts this? How would we judge if it is significant?
 
3. What makes them move to Qt? Why can't Gtk have that respective feature?

Qt has as many issues as GTK once you start using it for complex, deep applications. Different issues, to be sure, but no GUI toolkit gives you a free ride.

Qt is also developed using a different licensing/income generation model than GTK, which changes quite a lot.

Qt mostly has distinct advantages over GTK, and to be honest if I was starting cross-platform development now (22 years after I actually did), I'd probably pick Qt for all the obvious reasons. But it's fairly pointless to ask "how can GTK be more like Qt?" when there's more or less no chance or pathway for that to happen. As it is, I don't do mobile so GTK's issues there don't affect me. I also have 75k lines of code that would have to be almost completely rewritten to use Qt, with no noticeable benefit for our users and only marginal benefits for our developers.

Speaking of "why can't?", why can't I write a C application using Qt  ? :))


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Re: The Future?

Jerome Flesch-2
In reply to this post by Kasper Peeters-2
Le 2019-03-10 12:01, Kasper Peeters a écrit :
>> 1. GTK is not so cross-platform anymore: on Windows and macOS, you
>> are supposed to build your own library binaries (gvsbuild for Windows
>> and jhbuild for macOS exist, but are not foolproof).
>
> That's definitely not true; on Windows there's vcpkg and on macOS
> there is Homebrew; both let you install reasonably up-to-date versions
> of GTK3 with a single command line.

For Windows, there is also Msys2 ( https://www.msys2.org/ ). It may be
more handy for porting applications from Linux to Windows. This is what
I intend to use to build the next versions of Paperwork (
https://openpaper.work ) for Windows.
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Re: The Future?

Gtk+ - General mailing list
On Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 7:54 AM Jerome Flesch <[hidden email]> wrote:
Le 2019-03-10 12:01, Kasper Peeters a écrit :
>> 1. GTK is not so cross-platform anymore: on Windows and macOS, you
>> are supposed to build your own library binaries (gvsbuild for Windows
>> and jhbuild for macOS exist, but are not foolproof).
>
> That's definitely not true; on Windows there's vcpkg and on macOS
> there is Homebrew; both let you install reasonably up-to-date versions
> of GTK3 with a single command line.

For Windows, there is also Msys2 ( https://www.msys2.org/ ). It may be
more handy for porting applications from Linux to Windows. This is what
I intend to use to build the next versions of Paperwork (
https://openpaper.work ) for Windows.


I've also had extreme difficulty in the past with deploying on Windows. Not being a ( proficient ) C developer, and not having experience with building on Windows didn't help. I've toyed with broadway ( including writing an authentication layer, app launcher and transparent proxy ) for giving Windows users a relatively painless way of accessing apps, though was discouraged from this by statements of broadway being experimental and probably not making it through the gtk-4 work. More recently this may have changed ( there were a bunch of commits to broadway stuff for gtk-4 ), though from a user perspective there are still some bits missing. I've recently ( last year or so ) switched to deploying with Flatpak, and this has worked astonishingly well. In particular, Alexander Larsson's work:
  ... has given us a very easy path for at least bringing up our apps on Windows. You still need an X Server ( I use MobaXterm, though I assume we could build and package an X server too? ). The only thing that hasn't worked out-of-the-box for us has been maximising windows. This is a bit nasty, but with some hacks to save + restore window geometry, it's not a deal-breaker. Keep in mind we haven't done a production deployment yet ( luckily all clients recently have been fine with running Linux ), but I've done a reasonable amount ( many hours ) of testing and only found this 1 issue.

I would suggest people who need windows binaries check out the Flatpak angle.

Dan

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Re: The Future?

Gtk+ - General mailing list
In reply to this post by Miroslav Rajcic-3
On 03/09/2019 11:29 PM, Miroslav Rajcic wrote:
> IMO, it seems that GTK does not have a coherent strategy when it comes
> to toolkit features and a cross-platform usage (i.e. lowering the effort
> needed to develop for all major OSes). Nowadays it is mostly focused on
> adding shiny things as support for shaders, animated transitions, GL
> rendering.

Have you seen Qt lately?

Remember that GTK is a massive undertaking, carried by a relatively few
number of mostly volunteer developers.  GTK does have coherent
strategies and goals, but maybe they aren't quite in line with what you
think they should be.  Among those goals are the development of the
Gnome desktop environment and the development of graphical Linux (and to
a lesser extent, Unix) applications.  I suspect that if GTK future
development wasn't including shaders, animated transitions, and GL
rendering, folks would complain that it's lagging behind Qt which is
highly focused on these things now, and has been since Qt 4 days.

Qt is a commercial system, increasingly focused on mobile space, as well
as maintaining the traditional cross-platform GUI widget framework.
From what I gather from your post, you likely aren't going to be happy
with the way Qt is going anymore than you appear to be with GTK.  Qt's
future and strategy is clearly declarative, responsive GUI layout (like
HTML and CSS), and heavy use of Javascript glue to animate it and bind
it all together, OpenGL (or Vulkan) for rendering, with your preferred
programming language only needed to do the back-end heavy lifting and
OS-specific interaction.  On the plus side, language bindings become
incredibly thin and easy, consisting mainly of a wrapper around the
QObject class (that's all that's required for QtQuick).

Anyway, it's not a zero sum game.  Qt being chosen by some does not
diminish GTK, or vice versa.  Nor should GTK simply follow Qt.  From
what Mr. Bassi has said, it sounds like GTK 4 will bring some impressive
features and capabilities.
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Re: The Future?

Stefan Salewski-2
In reply to this post by Gtk+ - General mailing list
On Sun, 2019-03-10 at 09:38 +0000, Emmanuele Bassi via gtk-list wrote:
> Nobody involved with the development of GTK even reads this list,
> except me,

I had that impression in the last 6 years, thanks for confirming.

My conclusion was, that nearly no one was working on or with GTK any
more. Because it is really hard to imagine that someone still
interested in GTK not even read this list. (OK, for giants like Donald
E. Knuth one would be not surprised, I once heard that he switched off
email totally) I have asked google about GTK a few times in the last
years, what I found was basically: Some blog post about you (I think it
was that you have no much hope for Vala, I do agree), something about a
woman from south America who was working for a few weeks on a game
sponsored by GSOC, and some notes from someone like Carlsen, but I can
not remember. So I have not yet investigated that Discourse mentioned
recently on this list, maybe I should do?

GTK has some justification still as it can be used from many
programming languages easily. I guess you know my GTK3 Nim bindings

https://github.com/StefanSalewski/gintro

It is not perfect yet, and was some work to do. And I think that
bindings for C++, Python and Rust are fine. Bindings for other
languages like Ruby, Haskell, D-Lang, Crystal exists basically.

And while most people would prefer Qt GUI creating bindings for other
languages seems to be really hard, due to C++ classes, templates, MOC
and all that. Qt may be fine when one is using C++, and someone told me
that at least Python wrapper is not that bad, and I think I saw some
basic Crystal bindings recently. But generally creating complete,
bugfree high level Qt bindings is very very hard or at least very very
much work. So I have not much hope for excellent Qt support for all the
interesting new languages which appeared in the recent years.
 

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Re: The Future?

Gtk+ - General mailing list
FWIW, the GJS experience is increasingly improving and keeping the pace of modern JS syntax and features, but also with react-gtk moving on top of node-gtk, hopefully more people will try to contribute to the GTK project.

It sadden me to read there's no intent whatsoever to land on mobile, 'cause I think the GNOME tablet-like experience is already good.

The cross platform portability doesn't bother me too much, except for WebKit2GTK which is nowhere in home-brew and less seamless user friendly through macports, but it works great on Windows through SWL and Xamarin (just need n auto-start on .bashrc that launches it if `Gtk.init(null)` fails).

Last, but not least, it's surprising, if not shocking, there are so many projects around GTK and only 2 full time employees there.

This info alone might scare adoption when you know the alternative has definitively more horsepower in terms of development.

However, my experience with Qt, specifically with Qml, is that it breaks somehow with every minor release so it's practically terrible to use. Even creating a full screen window is cumbersome from a version to another, but again the only reason I'd choose it is its chromium based web view, even if it works best only in Xorg, but no Wayland.

Thanks for the team behind Gtk, hope I could help more but I'm full time employee myself and we're not using Gtk so I couldn't justify more time on it.

Best Regards




On Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 9:22 AM Stefan Salewski <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Sun, 2019-03-10 at 09:38 +0000, Emmanuele Bassi via gtk-list wrote:
> Nobody involved with the development of GTK even reads this list,
> except me,

I had that impression in the last 6 years, thanks for confirming.

My conclusion was, that nearly no one was working on or with GTK any
more. Because it is really hard to imagine that someone still
interested in GTK not even read this list. (OK, for giants like Donald
E. Knuth one would be not surprised, I once heard that he switched off
email totally) I have asked google about GTK a few times in the last
years, what I found was basically: Some blog post about you (I think it
was that you have no much hope for Vala, I do agree), something about a
woman from south America who was working for a few weeks on a game
sponsored by GSOC, and some notes from someone like Carlsen, but I can
not remember. So I have not yet investigated that Discourse mentioned
recently on this list, maybe I should do?

GTK has some justification still as it can be used from many
programming languages easily. I guess you know my GTK3 Nim bindings

https://github.com/StefanSalewski/gintro

It is not perfect yet, and was some work to do. And I think that
bindings for C++, Python and Rust are fine. Bindings for other
languages like Ruby, Haskell, D-Lang, Crystal exists basically.

And while most people would prefer Qt GUI creating bindings for other
languages seems to be really hard, due to C++ classes, templates, MOC
and all that. Qt may be fine when one is using C++, and someone told me
that at least Python wrapper is not that bad, and I think I saw some
basic Crystal bindings recently. But generally creating complete,
bugfree high level Qt bindings is very very hard or at least very very
much work. So I have not much hope for excellent Qt support for all the
interesting new languages which appeared in the recent years.


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Re: The Future?

Kasper Peeters-2
In reply to this post by Gtk+ - General mailing list
> Care to file an issue:
>
>   https://gitlab.gnome.org/Infrastructure/gtk-web
>
> to update the wording?

Done, see

  https://gitlab.gnome.org/Infrastructure/gtk-web/merge_requests/5

Thanks,
Kasper
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Re: The Future?

Gtk+ - General mailing list
Thanks, very much appreciated!

Ciao,
 Emmanuele.

On Wed, 13 Mar 2019 at 13:56, Kasper Peeters <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Care to file an issue:
>
>   https://gitlab.gnome.org/Infrastructure/gtk-web
>
> to update the wording?

Done, see

  https://gitlab.gnome.org/Infrastructure/gtk-web/merge_requests/5

Thanks,
Kasper


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Re: The Future?

Gtk+ - General mailing list
In reply to this post by Gtk+ - General mailing list
Hi, Emmanuel et al,

On Sun, Mar 10, 2019 at 4:38 AM Emmanuele Bassi via gtk-list
<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Meta: having this discussion on gtk-list is probably the best example as to why we need to move to Discourse. Nobody involved with the development of GTK even reads this list, except me, so you're never going to get more than my opinion about it.

What is "Discourse"?
In the past there was a forum about GTK+ where people could come and
ask questions - it is now dead.
And this list is the only place that known to people.

>
> Meta × 2: while I am employed by the GNOME Foundation to work in GTK, this *my* opinion, and should not be construed as anything but my opinion.
>
> On Sun, 10 Mar 2019 at 06:37, Miroslav Rajcic <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> I think the question is a valid one and there is a plenty of evidence of people moving to Qt due to some issues of GTK.
>>
>> Some notable examples:
>>
>> - VLC (https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=316155&s=54b259f2cb2d1a30ca8dc269d0561537)
>>
>> - Wireshark  (https://blog.wireshark.org/2013/10/switching-to-qt/)
>>
>> - Subsurface by Linus (https://liveblue.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/subsurface-switches-to-qt/)
>>
>> - GCompris educational software (https://mail.kde.org/pipermail/kde-edu/2014-February/007950.html)
>
>
> VLC, Wireshark, Subsurface, and GCompris switched to Qt mostly because of its support for Android and mobile platforms, something that GTK doesn't support. Well, Subsurface moved to Qt because the original developers thought that asking on Google Plus was the proper way to ask for help with writing GTK applications, and had no objections when somebody else showed up and rewrote their application using Qt.
>
> It's entirely justified to go through the ringer of a full rewrite if you're thinking of expanding somewhere the GUI toolkit you use is not going to be, and it's highly unlikely that an Android backend for GTK will ever materialise—let alone an iOS one—so if you're thinking of targeting Android and iOS, Qt is a perfectly valid choice. I personally would recommend using Xamarin.Forms, and stop writing code in C/C++.
>
> The LXDE case is a bit different: writing desktop environments is kind of what GTK is known for. It seems that LXDE didn't have many contributors, and the few that were there decided to join forces with a Qt-based project in order to increase the contributors base. It's also telling that the Qt port of LXDE is still very much in progress, and the GTK2 code base is still being maintained. If porting to a new major version of a toolkit is a lot of work, porting to a whole new infrastructure is even more work.
>>
>> All these people have valid complaints, so someone should think about it.
>
> Everyone involved in GTK thought about them. We incorporated the feedback we gleaned from the various ranting into a better stability and versioning guarantees; better tooling, like the Inspector; a better build system, to ensure ease of build on Windows and macOS. If the complaint is "it's not written in C++" or "there is no paid support" then there isn't much we can do.
>
>> 1. GTK is not so cross-platform anymore: on Windows and macOS, you are supposed to build your own library binaries (gvsbuild for Windows and jhbuild for macOS exist, but are not foolproof).
>
>
> There is a fundamental misconception at work, here. GTK was never a cross-platform in the same sense as Qt is a cross-platform toolkit. GTK began supporting Windows in the 2.0 release (2002) because GIMP first, and then Evolution, needed to build and run on Windows. GTK is a *portable* toolkit, but its goal has always been writing Linux (and GNOME-adjacent) applications.
>
> Of course it doesn't mean we shouldn't support people writing non-Linux apps with GTK, but they are a smaller target audience.
>
> Plus, you seem to imply that "binary builds for Windows" somehow means "better cross-platform support", which is nonsensical at best. Windows support in GTK has *never* been this good. There are multiple volunteers working on building, testing, and developing GTK on Windows. It would be great to have as many people working on macOS, even though things are moving once again, there.

How about porting recent GTK version to OpenVMS?

Thank you.

>>
>>   "Golden age" in this regards was when Tor Lillqvist was still doing the Windows builds regularly on each GTK release. GTK was easy to be used on Windows at that time.
>
> Yes, things are always "easy" when somebody else is paid to do them for you. Doesn't mean they are easy at all.
>
> Given that Tor stopped working on these years ago, and that Windows hasn't stayed still in the meantime, the only reasonable course of action for GTK developers was to offload the build of GTK on Windows to the MSYS2 package management system—mostly like we do on macOS, with brew and macports. Of course, we would have loved it if somebody had showed up and did the work; somebody did, from time to time, and we even gave access to a Windows build machine hosted in the GNOME infrastructure, but keeping things building is hard—I do that for GNOME, and it's not fun—and people simply tire of it.
>
> The move to Meson for GTK4 (and possibly to GTK3, as a secondary build system) should make building GTK and many of its dependencies easier to deal with. Ideally, we'd like for people to be able to clone just GTK and be ready to go; of course, that's probably the "blue sky" goal, but it should be easier than Autotools has been.
>>
>> 2. QT has more complete stack, for example integrating audio/video playing module (Phonon). gstreamer as an alternative for such module in GTK suffers from "build your own binaries" (i.e. issue #1) and a more complex interface.
>
> GTK4 has a video and media player abstraction on top of GStreamer, and GStreamer has a GTK3 video widget, these days.
>>
>> 3. for me, this one is huge: QT has much better rich text editor widget (QTextEdit), supporting tables, all types of bulleted lists etc.. GTK's default widget GtkTextView (nor GtkSourceView) is not nearly close to this (no tables, no bullets, no htmL export). For advanced editor you are supposed to embed WebKitGTK, but you must first suffer through issue #1 and use complex JScript solutions to implement your rich text editor features (formatting actions, text change notifications).
>
> I'd actually very much like to get rid of GtkTextView and have a simple, multi-line text entry. Complex text editing widgets are *complex*, and everyone has their own use case. Do you want code editing? Do you want word processing? Do you want a multi-line text input for forms? A single widget for all of these means that the single widget is a mess in terms of implementation and API. I know, because GtkTextView is that single widget, and it's a mess.
>
> My personal opinion is that people are much better served by having a rich text editing widget in a separate library, targeted at their own use case.
>>
>> 4. API stability: jumps from GTK2 to GTK3 were painful, many APIs were changed, what it looks like from here, without the strong need, but just to make everything better organized or similar, without thinking of library users. I have an app that must support GTK2 (even using hildon interfaces on old platforms like Maemo) and GTK3 in the same code base, so it is now littered with many #ifdef layers
>
> I'm so sorry, but I don't see how this is relevant. Your decisions are your own. Supporting Qt4 and Qt5 at the same time is going to be problematic *at best*, for instance. If you ever decided to move to Qt, you'd have to drop Hildon platforms anyway, for instance.
>
> Dropping GTK2 is perfectly reasonable, now: GTK3 was released in 2011, 8 years ago. At this point GTK3 is almost as old as the whole GTK2 development cycle.
>>
>> 5. Many other parts are unsolved or hard to implement in GTK (drag and drop integration using types other than the basic ones, for example)
>
> Drag and drop is one of the API sub-systems that was implemented as a thin layer around X11 concepts for GTK 2.0 (back when it was standardised across toolkits), and that has never been heavily touched. We're in the process of rewriting both clipboard and DnD support in GTK4—using a stream-based API and negotiation based on MIME types—so it's going to be easier to use, even with complex data types.
>>
>> 6. Useful features deprecated, an example is native print preview, that worked in 2.16 if i remember correctly and was broken forever in next releases (at that time I did not want to port preview  to a new mechanism, so i had to remove that feature in my program)
>
> 2.16 was released in March 2009, 10 years ago. I assume things have changed in the meantime. Did you at least file a bug? Which platform are you referring to?
>
> Deprecations happen. They are *the only* way for us to move the toolkit forward without breaking API every 2 years. Deprecation means "this is not going to be a maintained API going forward, so if a bug happens, you'll have to be proactive and help us with the fix instead of just filing an issue". We've made progress on communicating what is deprecated, these days; compiler warnings, run-time warnings, porting documentation. We can do better, of course. Just don't expect us to never deprecate things, because that is, essentially, asking us to never change the toolkit.
>>
>> IMO, it seems that GTK does not have a coherent strategy when it comes to toolkit features and a cross-platform usage (i.e. lowering the effort needed to develop for all major OSes). Nowadays it is mostly focused on adding shiny things as support for shaders, animated transitions, GL rendering.
>
> First of all, those "shiny things" are what allows us to get more people using GTK, and possibly contributing to GTK. We would have long since been dead as a project if all we ever cared about was making current users of GTK happy forever.
>
> Additionally, every platform has switched to using GL/Vulkan/Metal for rendering their UIs; using a common layer for rendering is basically necessary to remain relevant and portable.
>
> As I said above, we have been working on making GTK easier to use on other platforms—even if, and it bears repeating, our goal is to ensure people can port their code to other platforms, not target them. Yes, it would be nice if we had 100+ engineers working on this project full time, but the current full time complement of people working on GTK is *2*, and everyone else is either paid part time, or completely volunteering. This means we have to prioritise things, and making GTK work on Linux/GNOME will always be the priority because of the sheer amount of contributors using GTK on GNOME. Want to flip the balance? You'll have to start working on GTK.
>>
>> Hard-to-implement things like an advanced text editor do not seem to be an a table.
>
> They are on the table only if somebody shows up and does the work. Did you file bugs about the shortcomings of GtkTextView? Have you prototyped what kind of API you'd need? What kind of features you'd want? Did you write a strawman proposal for a rich text editing widget? Or did you expect us to come up with a new widget and present it to everyone? Because that's *never* going to work.
>
> For the GTK4 cycle we "just":
>
>  - redesigned the way GTK draws itself from the ground up
>  - added 3D transformations for widgets
>  - re-designed the input system
>  - rewritten the clipboard and DnD sub-systems
>  - we're in the process of dropping a new, responsive layout machinery
>  - we're going to add an animation framework usable programmatically and not just through CSS transitions
>
> All things that were highly requested for years; people prototyped them out of tree, where possible, or wrote extensive descriptions of how they should work *first*.
>
> Text editing is another high priority task, but currently people are asking for a better code editor in GTK; nobody is asking, or working on, a rich text editor to replace TextView.
>>
>> This was meant as an constructive critics, it seems strange that this topic got just one answer so far.
>
> See above, re: the meta paragraphs.
>
> Ciao,
>  Emmanuele.
>
>> On 9.3.2019. 17:43, Paul Davis wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>> On Sat, Mar 9, 2019 at 5:19 AM J.Arun Mani via gtk-list <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>> 2. How does Gtk address the issue of its users moving to Qt?
>>
>>
>> What evidence is there of this? Who are the "users" of GTK that you're referring to? Moving an existing GUI app between toolkits is typically almost equivalent to a complete rewrite, so applications (which are the real "users" of a toolkit) generally do not move. Developers may start new projects using Qt having previously used GTK, but who counts this? How would we judge if it is significant?
>>
>>>
>>> 3. What makes them move to Qt? Why can't Gtk have that respective feature?
>>
>>
>> Qt has as many issues as GTK once you start using it for complex, deep applications. Different issues, to be sure, but no GUI toolkit gives you a free ride.
>>
>> Qt is also developed using a different licensing/income generation model than GTK, which changes quite a lot.
>>
>> Qt mostly has distinct advantages over GTK, and to be honest if I was starting cross-platform development now (22 years after I actually did), I'd probably pick Qt for all the obvious reasons. But it's fairly pointless to ask "how can GTK be more like Qt?" when there's more or less no chance or pathway for that to happen. As it is, I don't do mobile so GTK's issues there don't affect me. I also have 75k lines of code that would have to be almost completely rewritten to use Qt, with no noticeable benefit for our users and only marginal benefits for our developers.
>>
>> Speaking of "why can't?", why can't I write a C application using Qt  ? :))
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
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>
>
>
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Re: The Future?

Gtk+ - General mailing list
On Wed, 13 Mar 2019 at 15:53, Igor Korot <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi, Emmanuel et al,

On Sun, Mar 10, 2019 at 4:38 AM Emmanuele Bassi via gtk-list
<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Meta: having this discussion on gtk-list is probably the best example as to why we need to move to Discourse. Nobody involved with the development of GTK even reads this list, except me, so you're never going to get more than my opinion about it.

What is "Discourse"?

Announcement of the Discourse instance, sent to this list: https://mail.gnome.org/archives/gtk-list/2019-March/msg00000.html

 
How about porting recent GTK version to OpenVMS?

If you want to add a new platform to GTK, you will need to:

 - ensure that GTK master and gtk-3-24 build on it
 - open merge requests for every needed fix, if any
 - add a GitLab CI runner, so that we can test every commit and merge request on that platform, and ensure we don't regress

If you want to support OpenVMS, you'll have to work on it, or pay somebody to work on it.

Ciao,
 Emmanuele.

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Re: The Future?

Gtk+ - General mailing list
Hi,

On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 11:08 AM Emmanuele Bassi <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On Wed, 13 Mar 2019 at 15:53, Igor Korot <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Hi, Emmanuel et al,
>>
>> On Sun, Mar 10, 2019 at 4:38 AM Emmanuele Bassi via gtk-list
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> >
>> > Meta: having this discussion on gtk-list is probably the best example as to why we need to move to Discourse. Nobody involved with the development of GTK even reads this list, except me, so you're never going to get more than my opinion about it.
>>
>> What is "Discourse"?
>
>
> Announcement of the Discourse instance, sent to this list: https://mail.gnome.org/archives/gtk-list/2019-March/msg00000.html
>
> Discourse: https://discourse.gnome.org

Thank you for the link. I will look at them.

>
>>
>> How about porting recent GTK version to OpenVMS?
>
>
> If you want to add a new platform to GTK, you will need to:

Here is the problem - it is not a new port.
The last version of GTK+ on OpenVMS is GTK+1.x.

There was an effort to upgrade GTK+ for OpenVMS, but unfortunately it failed.

Now out of curiosity - do you have access to OpenVMS?

Thank you.

>
>  - ensure that GTK master and gtk-3-24 build on it
>  - open merge requests for every needed fix, if any
>  - add a GitLab CI runner, so that we can test every commit and merge request on that platform, and ensure we don't regress
>
> If you want to support OpenVMS, you'll have to work on it, or pay somebody to work on it.
>
> Ciao,
>  Emmanuele.
>
> --
> https://www.bassi.io
> [@] ebassi [@gmail.com]
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Re: The Future?

Gtk+ - General mailing list
On Wed, 13 Mar 2019 at 16:16, Igor Korot <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
>> How about porting recent GTK version to OpenVMS?
>
>
> If you want to add a new platform to GTK, you will need to:

Here is the problem - it is not a new port.
The last version of GTK+ on OpenVMS is GTK+1.x.
 
The last GTK 1.x release (1.2.10) was last released 18 years ago. Compared to the existing GTK code base—both in the stable (3.24) and master (4.0-pre) branches—is a completely different project.
 
There was an effort to upgrade GTK+ for OpenVMS, but unfortunately it failed.

Not much we can do about that.
 
Now out of curiosity - do you have access to OpenVMS?

No. Which is why I wrote:

>  - ensure that GTK master and gtk-3-24 build on it
>  - open merge requests for every needed fix, if any
>  - add a GitLab CI runner, so that we can test every commit and merge request on that platform, and ensure we don't regress

These are the *minimum* requirements for any support to exist. We'd also need somebody knowledgeable with the OpenVMS platform to keep things working when the build changes.

I assume OpenVMS still uses X11, so there's no need for a separate windowing system, but of course every platform has its own quirks, so everything that GTK depends upon will need to work on OpenVMS.

Ciao,
 Emmanuele.

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