A history about Gtk+, Vulkan and Wayland

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A few weeks ago, I was curious to test Gtk+ 4. I know it has some awsome features like OpenGL rendering, major cleanups and other hot stuff, but didn’t have the chance to check it out until then.

I was mostly excited about Vulkan.

I know both of my laptop’s graphic cards support Vulkan. It’s a hybrid Intel Broadwell G2 + NVidia GeForce 920M, although I don’t use the latter because Linux sucks hard with Dual GPU.

Downloaded the latest Gtk+ source, compiled and… nothing. Immediate segmentation fault. Yay! What a great chance to get involved with the next major Gtk+ version development!

So, this happened:

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The Fishbowl running under Wayland and rendered with Vulkan

May not be as exciting, since there are no new visible features but… damn, it’s Gtk+ being rendered with Vulkan on Wayland. It’s basically the state-of-the-art of toolkit support right now. Even better, the absolute majority of applications will gain this for free once they port to Gtk+ 4 series.

Getting this into an usable state wasn’t easy, but fortunately, Vulkan has an ~amazing~ thing called “Validation Layers” that simplified the tedious debugging process a whole lot (of course, only after making the validation layers work with Gtk+). This work even uncovered a driver bug in the Intel driver, which was quickly fixed by Lionel Landwerlin and Jason Ekstrand (thanks folks!)

Of course, there are many improvements that still must be done. A bright future is lying ahead!

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8 thoughts on “A history about Gtk+, Vulkan and Wayland

  1. Considering that LibreOffice, Gimp and Inkscape (theres other applications) still using Gtk+ 2 series, don’t you think that it is weird that we now have Gtk+ 4 ?

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    1. LibreOffice already uses Gtk+3. GIMP plans to finish the port for the next release. Inkscape in fact already started removing all Gtk+2 code, and next release will be Gtk3-based.

      The whole point of having Gtk+4 is so that Gtk3 is declared stable, and big apps can move to it without the fear of breakage. And by following a faster stable-unstable model, we can avoid acumulating 11 years of deprecation again, just to drop the bomb and left third-party apps drifting alone.

      Why would it be weird?

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      1. Didn’t know about declare Gtk3 stable. Any links about this?

        About LIbreOffice, here all Gtk3 apps looks nice on high-res screen but not LibreOffice (using Archlinux).

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  2. Btw, it is ok to have GNOME using Gtk4 and all other applications using Gtk3 if the same look and feel.

    Maybe it is not a big issue for most hackers but I really like to have a nice desktop and Gtk2 is ugly for people like me using HiDPI screens.

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