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ELJonline: Using GTK+/X as an Embedded GUI

Feb 01, 2002, 20:00 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Chuck Groom)

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"A Linux GUI consists of several individual parts, some of which may be interchangeable. The GUI provided by desktop Linux distributors like Red Hat, SuSE, or Debian includes a windowing system for basic drawing and overlapping window support, a widget set (or sets) for applications to use, a window manager to implement windowing policies and to decorate windows, and a desktop environment to tie everything together into a coherent whole. For an embedded GUI, the windowing system and widget set are the most important components.

"There are several embeddable widget sets for Linux, including Qt/E, FLTK, and GTK+. These can run on several possible windowing systems, including the X Window System and a direct framebuffer interface. An embedded systems developer must ask: Which combination of options is right for my system? Which widget toolkit should I adopt? How much engineering effort is needed to tweak to spec? What footprint will all this require?

"This article describes our experience designing and implementing a custom GUI for a consumer Linux device. We decided to use GTK+ running on the X Window System. It took five engineer-months to produce our stable, customized and reduced-footprint GUI totaling 2.9MB (including X)..."

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