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Proposal for Directfb GDK library



Hi everybody

After months of working the debian installer is finally going to be
graphical: the debian-installer team will make announcement after Etch
Beta1 is out.
The graphical d-i uses a GTK frontend to interact with the user, you can
grab the latest built ISO here

http://people.debian.org/~fjp/d-i/images/daily/gtk-miniiso/mini.iso
(based on GTKDFB 2.0.9)

or here

https://debian.polito.it/downloads/mini_gtkdfb_2_8_3.iso (based on
GTKDFB 2.8.3).

The debian installer makes use of GTK over DirectFrameBuffer rather than
GTK over X since this allows us to save up some space in the
installation cdrom.
Actually we make use of GTKDFB version 2.0.9: altough outdated this
GTKDFB version has proved to be stable enough for what we need to do
(tested with vesafb on i386, AMD64 and PPC).
Mike Emmel, who developes and maintains the GDK and CAIRO ports to DFB,
has recently provided a working GTKDFB version 2.8.3 that we would like
to use in the future inside d-i to replace GTKDFB 2.0.9.
Some work still has to be done before GTKDFB 2.8.3 is stable
enough to be used in real world use and packaged for use in d-i.
As mike emmel said the GDK library for DFB needs to be completed and
fixed in some parts and the code needs a general revision but he cannot
do this all alone since he lacks time.
Some help is needed: Mike suggested someone among those who were once
involved in the (now dead) project of porting GTK to FrabeBuffer (GTKFB)

could be interested in developing GTKDFB.
Mike Emmel is also actually merging CairoDFB into Cairo mainline, so
that it will get more exposure and will be easier to package later.
At debian-boot we also belive that merging GDKDFB into GTK mainline
would be good: this would give to GDKDFB exposure and will be easier
packaging it.
Note that ATM GDKDFB (both 2.0.9 and 2.8.3) and CAIRO DFB can be built
only using a set of patches and non standard libraries and this make
building and packaging very difficult.
We (the debian-installer team) support Mike Emmel's suggestion to merge
GDKDFB into mainline GTK since this will contribute a lot not only to
ease building and packaging but also to attract developers willing to
work on it.
We belive GTKDFB will be useful not only in the d-i project, but also
will be a valid solution for embedded GUI based systems (PDAs, mobile
phones..) because of its lower memory overhead and hadrware resource
requirements.
What do you think? is anybody interested in getting involved in
developing GDKDFB? And is there any chance GDKDFB is ever going to be merged
into GTK mainline?

ciao

Attilio Fiandrotti

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