Ubuntu: When will the API/X11 be completed?


Okay, before I get into the guts of it, I'm vastly aware that Gtk and Qt are marvelous frameworks from which to work with. In fact, I have no qualms with either.

That being said, does anyone know of any ongoing projects by which X11/Xlib are to be completed libraries? Sadly, I ask this is a former Windows-Only Developer. In Win32 API, everything from the basic window to dialog boxes are covered in same API level. Whereas, under Linux basic windows, anti-alias fonts, hardware interaction are all independent libraries. Dialog boxes are still, by and large, self constructed.

And if there are no projects looking to complete X11, does anyone know of any resources by which a person could understand the fundamentals to embark on such a project?


I'd have to say the answer to your question is "No". By their underlying philosophy and design, Xlib will never attempt to provide everything under one API. So in that sense Xlib is "complete", in that it does what it's supposed to do, and it leaves other higher-level concerns up to other layers.

The Windows approach where "everything from the basic window to dialog boxes are covered in same API level" is not necessarily the best one, and the one taken on Linux is just different, stemming from the architectural and design choices made for the X Window system. I've read a lot about the Windows API being very complex and inconsistent, so it looks like unifying things under one API may not be the best solution. And indeed, it detracts from the flexibility you have if libraries and APIs each have well-delimited concerns and functionalities. What if I want hardware interaction in a non-GUI program? What if I need to render antialiased images and fonts to a file without having a graphical environment running? Having independent libraries enables this sort of thing.

You could read Linux is Not Windows for a much better rationale on why you shouldn't expect Linux to mimic Windows, and the X Window System Overview HOWTO for a slightly outdated but still quite valid explanation on the philosophy behind X and the toolkits. libraries and desktop environments that work atop it.

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