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SEUL: GUI Thoughts

I haven't contributed in a while but I thought I'd jump back into the
fray.  I hope to post some ideas about high level vs low level
configuration tomorrow but in the meantime a couple of opinions on recent

1) Toolkits: GTK, GTK, GTK.  Gimp Tool Kit for the uninitiated.  This
appears to be THE up and coming toolkit in the linux world, and it seems
that a project to create basically every common type of app has sprung up
in the past couple of months.  I'm not sure all of them will come to
fruition, but if we are dedicated to creating a bunch of apps with a
common look and feel, this is a movement with some inertia that we should
take advantage of.

2) Having said that, I'm not sure we need to devote a lot of energy to
developing apps to whatever standard toolkit we decide on.  While it would
be difficult to assemble a complete set of GUI apps with a common look and
feel, it is (almost) possible to collect such a set in which all of the
apps are very good and evry usable, even if they do use different
toolkits.  Besides, a number of apps can be given a different look and
feel simply by linking against a souped up widget library.  It may be
helpful to look at the task of creating a good, robust neXtish
distribution (say) from existing software as a working testbed for some of
our other ideas.

3) Whatever widowmanager/tool kit/apps we choose, we need to give some
thought to the what kind of app launcher we are going to us: Win95's start
menu, Afterstep's Wharf, FVWM's Goodstuff, plain old 'click in the root
window' menus.  This may seem silly considering all the possible ways to
launch apps most systems have, but I think the app launching and
management mechanism defines a lot of the way people think about the GUI.
Besides, I'd like to hear some ideas here for creative new metaphors for
the launcher.  I'd love it is somebody thought of something more than a
glorified button bar, but if you come up with a button bar variant that is
sufficiently glorified, I'll be impressed with that too.

That's it for now.


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