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Ubuntu, Toolkits, Precision, and the Future


I was greeted by a small surprise today in updating my Precise machines: a
new version of Ubuntu One controls that is made using Qt. All well enough,
as it can make it much easier to share code with the Windows version of the
app... But there are still some consequences.

First of all, this brings the number of default toolkits up to *five*. We
have Nux (for Unity), VCL (for LibreOffice), XUL (For Firefox and
Thunderbird), Qt (for the new control panel), and GTK+ for all else. And no
two of them look quite the same. What's worse is that, if we sync back up
with GNOME in 12.10, we'll have six toolkits technically because of

Now, this goes against what I thought Precise is to be about, but that's

The real issue is our outward appearance. Does it look good to users when
they open a Qt app and it's JUST off enough visually for them to notice?

Not only do we face the issue of visual inconsistency, but also in a bit of
a bind with future aims. We want developers to create and they still don't
know what they should use to make things based on what's available. Is all
of it good? None? I know we don't exactly have a plethora of quality
applications in a single toolkit, but for an LTS, was it really wise to
expand the toolkit count further?

We're doing what I accused Linux Mint of doing in my OMGU article: we keep
pulling in a bunch of apps because they are good without looking at the
whole picture. We need a consistent *platform* not a station from which we
have tracks going off into several very different areas.

I would have us look into, by the time 14.04 rolls out, having defined an
HIG for Ubuntu, a default toolkit and a STRONG push to have default
applications only in that toolkit. (In some cases, it's excusable... I
don't expect a native browser to pop up out of nowhere and be able to
challenge Firefox-- which at least sort of tries to look native) Precise is
pixel-perfect? Then let's make sure "T" celebrates the True Toolkit.

*I'm not counting Ubuntu for Android which, I believe brings in another 1-2

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