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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)

"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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