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[eclipse-pmc] Fwd: SWT-GTK theme support

Forwarding to the PMC list for discussion -- see below.

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: SWT-GTK theme support
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2019 10:58:57 -0500
From: Eric Williams <ericwill@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: platform-dev@xxxxxxxxxxx


I'd like to propose an addition to the SWT planning documents, specifically the target environments section wrt. to GTK3.

Some background information:

On the Linux side of things we often encounter users running custom GTK themes (i.e. themes not shipped with GTK itself) reporting issues against SWT. These issues are not actual bugs in SWT but simply issues with the user's theme.

SWT exposes bugs in GTK themes quite often because we support widgets of all sizes, meaning themes that use padding/margin in odd places will usually see visual glitches (as an example). Native GTK applications usually don't expose such issues because they do not allow users to resize widgets below the GTK minimum size, which is a nice luxury we cannot offer due to API contracts.

For years the position has been that SWT-GTK will support the default themes shipped with GTK itself. We *do* patch theme issues that SWT exposes against the default themes, but they are pretty rare as the default GTK themes are well supported.

Now, some users are very attached to their custom themes and would prefer to maintain their own theme at their own cost. We have given users the option to do so via an environment variable that allows for injection of custom GTK CSS into SWT. Our only caveat here is that users who choose to go down this road are on their own -- SWT developers will not be fixing bugs in a user's custom GTK theme.

This is a problem unique to Linux due to the nature of theming in GTK. Mac and Windows don't really have to deal with this, as by-and-large they do not support themes other than the default.

My proposal:

We should add some comment in the platform plan target environments section about GTK themes, namely: that we only support the default GTK themes shipped with GTK (not a desktop environment), and that users are more than welcome to use their own custom GTK theme at their own risk. I will also be happy to link to a wiki article (which I'll write very soon) which explains all of this in detail and what avenues are available to users who want to use custom GTK themes.

The reason I bring this up is that there is often quite a bit of back and forth in Bugzilla about such topics, and having the position explained in a planning document will save SWT developers quite some time when this topic arises.


Eric Williams
Software Engineer - Eclipse/SWT Team
Red Hat

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