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[xougen] Regarding server side widgets

From: William Lahti
Subject: [xougen] Regarding server side widgets
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2003 16:50:58 -0400
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The idea of moving widgets into the server is... ridiculous. And I feel like 
I'm a troll right now because I have opposed two things very actively (this 
and the network transparency shit), this is because I have already thought 
about these ideas months ago. I thought X always ran on TCP/IP previously, 
which is very incorrect. If both server and client are on the localhost it 
uses UNIX sockets which are just like shared memory, albeit its moved 
slightly more. Linux does UNIX system sockets just as fast as shared memory, 
meaning the point of removing network transparency is completely redundant, 
seen as Linux and probably other modern UNICES *already* do shared memory in 
a way that is just as fast. That tells us that the basic transport concept of 
X11 and other client/server systems is NOT misplaced.

And now we have server side toolkits, Fresco (Mac?) style. In the way it was 
described earlier on this list, it fails to gain anything at all. If you 
suggest this because Windows(R) widgets are server-side... they are not. They 
are rendered by the GDI (dll library for graphics used by winapi to do most 
rendering stuff). The only difference between the X model and the Windows 
model is that Windows has one toolkit (still client-side note you) that is 
included (thus standardized), and the extensions can be therefore _very_ 
simply be supported in all applications, because Microsoft can just update 
the GDI and related components to add the functionality, and, provided it's 
still bin compatible, link with the programs at runtime. 

I think the notion of widgets needs to be abstracted from X as it is now.
It doesn't offer enough benefit over the obvious HUGE changes to nearly
all X servers, as well as adding a huge amount of code, thus making X
less portable to embedded platforms. Do we want to do that?

I propose that we standardize widget theming on the Freedesktop level.
Some people may say "sure but what about conventions like where the 
options menu goes? huh?" Please. First of all, if you are trying to
get Linux/X11 up to speed with XP/OSX, applications follow at least
two models for stuff like that on XP. The first model is M$'s guide
that involves stuff like the Tools menu which contains Options etc.
The other one is the Netscape model which has 'Options' under 'Edit',
oh and also there's the 'Options' menu at the toplevel. It is *not*
standardized and really no one cares, you only need to figure it out
once and you'll remember, ask any Windows user. 

That's not to say I wouldn't encourage standardizing a style guide 
at Freedesktop, if we can get QT+KDE/GTK+GNOME people to agree. Which
can be pretty tough needless to say **cough**flame wars**cough**.

I believe there is a Shared-pixmap extension or something along those
lines... why not simply have the toolkits construct and draw the widgets
based on the shared pixmaps provided by either a 'widget manager' or
a window manager? Albeit animation for widgets is tougher, but if that 
extension that Havoc thought up (not the damage one, the shared drawing 
targets one he thinks will make the damage one obselete) becomes reality (I 
really like the idea and am looking into the possibilities) than that could 
be done easily also.

$ /usr/games/fortune
Practice is the best of all instructors.
                -- Publilius
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 16:00:07  up 23:07,  3 users,  load average: 0.13, 0.07, 0.01

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