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18 January 2011, 09:40

Ubuntu opening up to Qt applications

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Ubuntu logo Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth has announced that plans for future versions of Ubuntu, beyond 11.04 Natty Narwhal, will now incorporate the inclusion of the Qt user interface libraries and may include applications based on Qt. "We'll need to find some space on the CD for Qt libraries" he said, noting that Qt will sit alongside GNOME's Gtk libraries. The addition of Qt support will allow developers a choice of toolkit when developing their applications for the Ubuntu desktop as "there's plenty of best-in-class software written with Qt".

Shuttleworth says this is "in no way a criticism of GNOME" but more a "celebration of free software's diversity and complexity". Because of the difference between the way Gtk and Qt/KDE handle system setttings, the Qt libraries will be complemented by a dconf binding so that applications can use the dconf framework for settings information. Dconf is the standard centralised mechanism in Ubuntu for the saving and retrieving of settings information. Canonical has begun development of the bindings, contracting dconf expert Ryan Lortie to work with Canonical developers to produce something that "will be natural for Qt developers and a complete expression of dconf's semantics and style".

Shuttleworth points out that there is a difference between Qt and KDE and that KDE applications would, by current design, know nothing about dconf and therefore would not integrate into the Ubuntu desktop. But, he says that once the Qt/dconf bindings are complete, he would like to see them considered by the KDE community, but notes, "There are better people to lead that conversation if they want, so I’ll not push the idea further here".


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