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Re: Ubuntu, Toolkits, Precision, and the Future


While I like this idea, it'll probably get a lot of flak from the "LINUX IS FREEDOM OF CHOICE!!11" crowd.

Are we supposed to tell The Document Foundation/Mozilla/etc "hey you want to make an Ubuntu version? Make it in {insert toolkit}?" I understand applications Canonical itself builds should be in the same toolkit, sure, but I don't know how successful it would be forcing/encouraging that for 3rd party applications. Given this is Linux most of the popular applications are third party contrary to Windows and OSX

Compared to the other two operating systems and their applications
Microsoft Windows:
Control Panel, made by Microsoft.
Windows Media Player, made by Microsoft
Internet Explorer, made by Microsoft.
Office, made by Microsoft

Apple OS X:
System Settings, made by Apple
iTunes, made by Apple
Safari, made by Apple
iWork, made by Apple

Canoncial Ubuntu
Control Panel, made by GNOME (Canonical?)
Rhythmbox, made by GNOME
Firefox, made by Mozilla
LibreOffice made by The Document Foundation

Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2012 05:40:27 -0500
From: shrouded.cloud@xxxxxxxxx
To: unity-design@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [Unity-design] 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 Clutter.*

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

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