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3. GUI Toolkits

The standard graphical subsystem for UNIX and Linux, called X, has its own libraries for GUI development. They provide a low-level programming interface to X, but tend to be hard to use. Old end-user applications and other toolkits of course make good use of them. Nowadays the Linux GUI scene is dominated by GTK+ and Qt, since two popular, complete user environments - GNOME and KDE - are based on them.

3.1 Concepts in the Table

Library

Common name or abbreviation of the toolkit.

Beginner

Whether the toolkit is suitable for a newbie programmer.

License

Different licenses for different GUI toolkits have practical significance. GTK+, TK and GNUstep licenses allow you to develop both open source and closed source applications without paying for a license. Motif license requires payment, while the QT license requires payment only if you write closed source programs.

Language

The language that is most often used with the toolkit.

Bindings

Other languages which can use the toolkit.

Examples

Applications that use the toolkit.

Comments

Additional information on the toolkit.

3.2 Major GUI Toolkits


Library
Beginner License Language Bindings Examples Comments
TK Yes Free TCL Perl, Python, others make xconfig, TKDesk
GTK+ No Free (LGPL) C Perl, C++, Python, many others GNOME, Gimp Very popular
QT No Free for open source C++ Python, Perl, C, others? KDE Very popular
Motif No Non-free C/C++ Python, others? Netscape, Wordperfect Lesstif isa free replacement
GNUstep No Free (LGPL) Objective C Guile, Java? None widely known, but see the application list GNUstep is still under development

3.3 Links


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