cairo confussion

There seems to be a lot of confusion amongst the populace about what cairo actually is. Let me start by explaining what cairo is not.

<b>CAIRO IS NOT:</b>

  • A new GTK+ theme engine

  • A vector image file format

  • Animation in themes

  • Magical eye candy

  • Unique individual widgets

    <b>CAIRO IS:</b>

    • A new, feature rich, set of resolution independent drawing functions, capable of working on top of a number of different technologies.

      That is all. The reason this is exciting for themes is that it supports anti-aliasing, and has programming functions similar to those you would find in any other vector graphics drawing package. This includes multi-stop gradients and paths. It is also exciting because it can make use of different technologies if they exist – such as Open GL and render acceleration. In fact, without any render acceleration it is currently considerably slower than the existing drawing functions.

      HOWEVER – Nothing will use cairo unless it is programmed specifically to do so. cairo is an alternative drawing API (Application Programming Interface), but it has not replaced (yet) the existing drawing api in GTK+, which is still GDK.

      Find out more about the cairo project here:

gtk-engines 2.7.1 [ unstable ]

gtk-engines 2.7.1 released last night – a true 11th hour effort by myself and Richard. This release includes several important fixes for Clearlooks for anyone using 2.7.0.

Tarballs in the usual place:

I am still looking for developers to adopt-an-engine. No cairo work has started on the following theme engines:

  • hc (high contrast)
  • Industrial
  • lighthouseblue
  • metal
  • smooth
  • thinice

This means these themes will have no cairo goodness for GNOME 2.14 unless someone else helps out – there just isn’t enough time for me to convert them all myself! If you’re a developer with an interest in themeing then please do contact me.

GNOME Science

Introducing ….. GNOME SCIENCE!!

Continuing my effort to make GNOME more fun for users, here is a preview of the first theme in the GNOME Plus! Pack (still looking for a better name if anyone has any ideas…)

GNOME Science

Many thanks to radel for his efforts on the science theme, and everyone else who is helping out. If you’d like to get involved, drop me an e-mail, attach something to the wiki page, or just chat on gnome-art

gtk-engines 2.6.6 [stable] – gnome-backgrounds 2.12.2

I released gtk-engines 2.6.6 last night. Lots of code cleanups in this release. No official release e-mail as yet as I am still waiting for a replacement router at home.

Many thanks to Vincent for doing the gnome-backgrounds 2.12.2 release. It was tricky enough to get the gtk-engines release done without a reliable internet connection, so I was glad he was able to step in to do this release. Not much news however, just one translation updated (Kirghiz).

Comments on the future of gnome-backgrounds would be appreciated. Is it time for a new set of backgrounds? What would people like to see included in the set?

gtk-engines 2.7.0 [unstable]

Just made the first development release in the 2.7.x development cycle of gtk-engines, which will eventually result in the 2.8 release. Lots of work has been going on to convert the engines to using cairo. See the links below for where you can grab your copy for testing purposes only! Please please report bugs and problems to bugzilla. Without your help, we will not be able to get this done and tested well enough in time for GNOME 2.14.

gtk-engines is in need of extra helpers as there is still lots of work to do in converting the engines to use cairo. If you would like to help in the development of gtk-engines, please contact me.


gtk-engines-2.7.0.tar.bz2 md5sum: 9f8d71891771e4583dd0985556784934
gtk-engines-2.7.0.tar.gz md5sum: 60f525210134f1c015b17ddec883a8a4

Overview of Changes in 2.7.0 (since 2.6.3)

  • Clearlooks and Mist engine now uses cairo to do drawing
  • Redmond and Crux engine convertions to cairo started
  • Various cleanups and fixes
  • Animation code for checkboxes and radiobuttons in clearlooks (off by default)

Project Aura (or, The future of gnome-themes)

One of the interesting comments I got from someone while I was manning the GNOME stand at LinuxWorld London a few weeks back, was that a lot of the themes that come with GNOME look very similar. I had a quick look and actually it’s true – if you look at Simple and Mist for example, the style of the appearance is very similar. With the move to cairo currently underway in gtk-engines, I have been wondering what to do about some of the older engines such as Crux and Lighthouseblue. Do we clean out gnome-themes and replace the old themes with fresh new ones, or do we revamp the old ones in a clean new style? Cleaning out themes would mean people upgrading would have all their old themes disappear, but it would give us more flexibility to do a really good job. On the other hand, revamping the current themes is probably a lot less work and more likely to get done quicker.

This sparked an interesting discussion in #marketing on about whether GNOME is fun for users, where Wanda inevitably got mentioned. I’ll write something about it some other time, but it is important that we make GNOME fun and exciting to use.

Andreas Nilsson has already mentioned to me the idea of doing a “kids” (see left) theme, using the icons from the gartoon icon theme, and some bright and bold colours he’s been working on. He has also come up with the suggestion for a ‘sports’ theme, which reminded me of the themes that used to come with Windows 98 or the Plus! pack for Windows 95. These are themes that to most of us (probably) as developers seem pointless, but they are just the sort of thing users love!

So, Luca has already sent an e-mail out to the gnome-themes-list, and I have replied with some more thoughts. However, we need as many people as possible to get involved in the discussion, so if you are interested about the future of themes in GNOME, sign up to the list and make your comments known!

GNOME T-Shirts


I have 2 XL, 3 Large and 1 small left, so if you want to have your official GNOME t-shirt, shipped anywhere in the UK, this is your chance! Drop me an e-mail to let me know what size you want, and I will get back to you. They are £10 each plus P&P, which is cheaper than getting them shipped from the USA!

And because blog posts with pretty pictures probably get more attention, here is what they look like:

LinuxWorld London 2005 & GNOME-Event-Box Photos

And here are some photos…

KDE and GNOME side by side – you can see which stand has the most activity! In all fairness this was taken at the end of the expo as there where too many people around to take a good photo during the day.

<b>Update:</b> We had a great time down the pub with the KDE guy (hi Ivor!), who was a great laugh, desipte being surrounded by four GNOME guys! They had an excellent expo as did we, so the above comment was just a jest 🙂

The GNOME Event box contents, now with a UK wireless keyboard and mouse, and also the LinuxFormat award for desktop of the year 2004!

The box seemed a little bashed when it arrived, but it’s contents was fine. It needs two people to lift it, and there are handles each end. (Yes, that is an OpenedHand sticker on the top – I stuck it on whilst waiting at the station!)