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Waiting for Google Chrome

Waiting for Google Chrome

Posted Jun 4, 2009 21:27 UTC (Thu) by ajross (guest, #4563)
Parent article: Waiting for Google Chrome

Other challenges in GNU/Linux include [...] the limitations of the GTK+ toolkit.

[...]

despite the team's reservations about the ability of GTK+ to produce an interface comparable to those on Windows or OSX

This surprised me a lot. Not so much because Gtk+ is perfect, or better than Qt, or Cocoa, or whatever. But because relative to win32, the UI toolkit for which Chrome is actually targetted, it's quite literally a paradise.

So I clicked on the links, looking for what the complaints were, and couldn't find anything at all. The closest technical issue I could find was a mismatch between the X11/ICCCM window management mechanism and Chrome's desire to put tab controls in the window's title bar. While real, it's also an issue that effects every other toolkit on the platform.

So I'm honestly curious: what needs to be fixed in Gtk+ for Chrome's needs?


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Waiting for Google Chrome

Posted Jun 6, 2009 7:07 UTC (Sat) by dododge (subscriber, #2870) [Link]

The closest technical issue I could find was a mismatch between the X11/ICCCM window management mechanism and Chrome's desire to put tab controls in the window's title bar.

Yeah, this seems to be the biggest issue. On Windows and MacOS there very few "usual" window decoration styles, and chromium is able to mimic them well enough that users don't really notice that it's not using the native controls. On Linux this is a hopeless situation because of all of the window managers and theming systems in play; and as they note some of the window managers don't even have title bars.

It should be noted that even on Windows it breaks if you adjust the desktop appearance sufficiently. For example Issue 758 was opened the day after the beta came out and shows that chromium retains the rounded-blue look when you change the rest of the desktop to classic style. It was quickly marked "WontFix" and gets bumped occasionally by people complaining about it (or most recently someone noting that Safari beta on Windows 7 does it better).

Issue 92 is perhaps an even better example, because it affects accessibility. Apparently if you set the Windows desktop to high-contrast mode, parts of chromium start rendering as black-on-black and white-on-white. This one has been submitted several times and remains open.

Personally I really don't like it when applications do their own window management, so if Google insists on pulling these title bar shenanigans on Linux I guess that's one more reason (beyond the non-64-bitness) to avoid it. I saw way too much of that crap from commercial vendors back in the 90s (such as Photoshop on Solaris or PowerAnimator on IRIX) and they always screw it up somehow, such as stealing focus or autoraising at the wrong time or breaking window resizing or ignoring window manager keyboard shortcuts, etc, etc.

Waiting for Google Chrome

Posted Jun 6, 2009 20:37 UTC (Sat) by k8to (subscriber, #15413) [Link]

> I saw way too much of that crap from commercial vendors back in the
> 90s (such as Photoshop on Solaris or PowerAnimator on IRIX) and
> they always screw it up somehow, such as stealing focus or autoraising
> at the wrong time

Hmm.. autoraising at the wrong time... You mean Firefox 3?

Though certainly Chrome's goals sound even less palatable.

Waiting for Google Chrome

Posted Jun 7, 2009 20:18 UTC (Sun) by dododge (subscriber, #2870) [Link]

> Hmm.. autoraising at the wrong time... You mean Firefox 3?

Oh Firefox 3 definitely popped into mind as I was writing that. It's usually pretty well-behaved even when I stress it with 10+ windows and hundreds of tabs, but maybe once every few days it does get confused and go on a brief auto-raising focus-stealing rampage.

Some of the older versions were much worse; I can recall having to kill the X server to get things unstuck.

Window management

Posted Jun 7, 2009 0:10 UTC (Sun) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

Yeah, stupid window management (just to stick tabs on the title bar) looks like a deal breaker to me. Let us hope that people will port the V8 JavaScript engine to other browsers, and that Firefox devs will copy the best bits: e.g. one process per tab or detachable tabs.

Waiting for Google Chrome

Posted Jun 11, 2009 21:12 UTC (Thu) by docomo (guest, #32926) [Link]

The closest technical issue I could find was a mismatch between the X11/ICCCM window management mechanism and Chrome's desire to put tab controls in the window's title bar. While real, it's also an issue that effects every other toolkit on the platform.
That's not an issue. That's an advantage that Chrome can't break the consistency of the desktop. This should mean that Chrome will be better on Linux because it won't have the stupid tabs in the title bar (which would break my ability to have a choice in window managers, especially tiling ones that have no title bar at all) and hopefully it will prevent other non-standard stuff as well.


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