LXDE-Qt Preview

Many users have read about our recent Qt-related work in prior blog posts.
The GTK+ version of LXDE is still under development, but we did some experiments with Qt, too. Now I have some things to show you. 🙂
Here is a preview screenshot for LXDE-Qt.

At the bottom of the screen is lxpanel-qt, the Qt port of lxpanel. Now it basically works, but it’s still rough and needs much polishing. Besides, there are no GUI configuration tools for it yet. Editing the xml config file manually is needed. Later there will be preferences dialogs as the old gtk+ version of lxpanel. Most of the major applets already work. However, don’t expect too much!
It’s still a work in progress and it can be better in the future.

In the middle of the screen is PCManFM-Qt, the Qt port of the PCManFM file manager. It looks very similar to the original gtk+ version. The desktop wallpaper and icons are also managed by PCManFM-Qt, just like what the gtk+ version does.
The memory usage of PCManFM-Qt is slightly higher than that of the gtk+ 2 version, but the difference is not very significant. The overall performance is similar to the original gtk+ 2 version. Now it has most of the features of the original one and is almost ready for daily use. \o/

On the right side of the screen is the new Qt-based image view, LxImage-Qt.
It’s not really a port of the original gtk+ GPicView. I regard it the successor of GPicView in the Qt world. It works better than GPicView and is as fast.

Most of the work demonstrated in the screenshot is still in our git repository and is not ready for a new stable release, but there is really much progress and LXDE-Qt is no more a plan or a concept. It’s a real project that gradually shapes.

OK, back to what most user will concern, the resource usage.
To be honest, migrating to Qt will cause mild elevation of memory usage compared to the old Gtk+ 2 version. Don’t jump to the conclusion too soon. Migrating to gtk+ 3 also causes similar increase of resource usage.
Since gtk+ 2 is no longer supported by its developer and is now being deprecated, porting to Qt is not a bad idea at the moment.
Besides, the slightly higher memory usage is still acceptable for most of the existing old machines. The real resource usage may differ a lot among different Linux distros. For example, Ubuntu-based distros running LXDE tends to use more memory than ArchLinux-based ones. So more testing and real benchmarks are needed before making a conclusion on this.

Anyway, glad to share with you what we already done. Hope that you like it. 🙂
Long live LXDE!

Edited on 2013-07-04
Answer the questions in the comments of this blog entry:

  1. Cooperation with razor-qt is going on. We subscribed razor-qt google groups and discussed about possible cooperation earlier. Currently, the ported LXDE components are designed with Razor-Qt in mind. For example, PCManFM-Qt and LxImage-Qt will reads razor-qt config file when running in razor-qt session. We’ll try to keep the interchangeability between the two DEs. Further integration is also possible. Actually, I personally am running a mixed desktop with LXDE-Qt + Razor-Qt components on my laptop. Components from the both DE blends well.
  2. The version of Qt supported now is Qt 4. I’m going to skip Qt 5 and wait for Qt 5.1. Qt4 and Qt5 are compatible in many areas and porting to Qt5 should be easy in most of the cases. Unfortunately, this is not the case when you use X11-related stuff. Qt 5 removed many X11-related APIs and there are no direct equivalent methods. So the porting is not painless for desktop environments. In addition, some freedesktop.org specs are designed to work with X11 only, such as the EWMH/NETWM spec and Xsettings spec. To port to Wayland, these problems need to be solved first. Gnome and KDE guys will fix them so we can just wait. Then why Qt 5.1? Because Qt 5.1 added back the once-removed X11-related APIs. So porting from Qt 4 to Qt 5.1 should be the most smooth path. It takes time for distros to adopt Qt 5.1, though.

61 responses to “LXDE-Qt Preview”

  1. Very good work man, why you don’t merge with Razor-Qt project (now both projects are very similar)

  2. Whoa.
    Does this run on Qt4 or the more modular Qt5? I hope to see LXDE run together with Weston on Wayland, finally ditching the buggy resource hog X11.

  3. If I might ask, do you find developing with QT preferable to GTK? I used to be very picky and prefer GTK apps to avoid installing QT libs at all, but VLC is qt-only and there is nothing that works so well. It’s far faster and less resource intensive than many other programs in either QT or GTK, especially for videos. With that door open, I install some more qt apps as well, just none that require KDE libraries.

    Given the bad direction of Gnome foundation and complaints I’ve heard about GTK3, I am more open than ever to use other toolkits.

  4. Do you plan to cooperate with Razor-Qt project? Or it will be two independent DE?

  5. This is awesome.
    Btw, are you using Qt 4 or Qt 5?
    Qt 4 applications were using more memory but Qt 5 changes that a bit.
    Do you also get free Wayland support from that?

  6. I personally think that you are wasting focus and development time!

    Choose one framework and work to make the DE perfect. playing with gtk2+, gtk3, qt, is only making a lot of mess, confusion and is wasting time!

  7. Why didn’t you try to port to gtk3 instead of qt? sounds like it would be easier.

  8. anonim, did you ever work in these frameworks?
    I did and Qt is a pleasure to work with.
    GTK+ always was pretty ugly(in code) because it is a C Framework/Toolkit.

  9. This sounds like a great idea to me. I’ve always been a fan of Qt and I think it’s easy to program in Qt.
    With Qt you also have lots of libraries you can use to make your life easier.
    Not that sure about Qt 5.1 though. It requires OpenGL ES 2.0 for rendering and some older PCs might not support that.

  10. This is great 🙂 QT is a beautiful choice. Hopefully the transition to 5.1 happens soon so you can compute the UI with QT-CL lol and use the GPU for UI computation instead of all CPU usage so the resource usage stays even lower and uses even less power.
    Don’t worry for all the people who don’t understand how lean a C++ framework based project can be and be WAY smaller, faster, and succinct vs the weird verbose C’ish dialect GTK is.

    I’ll support and encourage the move, I have high hopes for a Qt LXDE so show how lean and mean a Qt based DE SHOULD be and leave KDE in the dust 🙂

  11. SuperKK : The most common bloat in today’s Linux distributions is X11.
    I beg to differ

    HeavensRevenge :
    Don’t worry for all the people who don’t understand how lean a C++ framework based project can be and be WAY smaller, faster, and succinct vs the weird verbose C’ish dialect GTK is.

    A DE could also be written in java , or C++ with Boost , or Javascript , or HTML wait what was the point again..?

    C is fine..

  12. Hi,

    It would have been interesting to know why you decided to use Qt5 instead of GTK3.

  13. Sounds like a good change. There are many benefits to using Qt if you can get past the mild increase in memory usage. Of course, if Qt 5 makes better use of the resources made available to it than GTK 2, this can certainly be an overall win.

    I wish you devs luck in bringing LXDE into the future with its original mission intact.

  14. SO excited! LXDE is already becoming my sole hope for sanity, also for clients, but a Qt option is even more exciting! No more dependence on GTK+ (and GTK+2 already works anyways!) so that’s good.

  15. I love Qt, razor really needed a better file manager than qtfm and PCManfm in a Qt version will rock the socks of almost anyone.

    Thanks for all the hard work.

  16. Wow! that`s big!
    I see a great future here. LXDE and Razor together, this will make the best DE ever. Keep it simple, keep it light and use Qt! Sonn it has potential to be better than KDE.

  17. That screeenshot reminds me of the good old days back when I used KDE 2, a bit more than a decade ago.

    Both the big DEs have lost something compared to their old versions (to me), so something that reminds me of something that was just plain old usable is nice to see.

  18. Looks like it’s time to install LXDE. Waiting for a full Qt based LXDE. Thank you.

  19. Qt is a wise choice. Also Ubuntu’s Unity will go to Qt soon. Like other parts of Gnome3, GTK3 suffers from impracticality and instability. Months ago, I shifted to Qt programming from GTK3 and found it easier-to-use, more flexible and more logical.

  20. what is lxde-qt‘s window manager ? still openbox? will lxde-qt support compiz natively?