The design team is keen to make sure that we don’t end up in a situation where we only have odd core apps using GTK 4 in GNOME 42. With this in mind, I’ve asked around to see what maintainers’ plans are for GTK 4 porting.
So far I’ve only covered what I consider to be the most common and/or significant core apps: Files, Software, Settings, Videos, Image Viewer, Document Viewer, Terminal, Screenshot, Calculator, Text Editor.
Based on those conversations, of these 10 apps, the likelihood of a GTK 4 port for GNOME 42 is possibly something like this:
- Very likely: 2 (Text Editor, Software)
- Likely: 4 (Files, Calculator, Screenshot, Image Viewer)
- Uncertain: 1 (Settings)
- Not going to happen: 3 (Videos, Document Viewer, Terminal)
This assessment is based on the idea that Text Editor will replace gedit, and that Chris’s new image viewer will replace eog. It may also be possible to drop Screenshot from core, if we get the in-shell replacement in time.
To me, GTK 4 for GNOME 42 looks doable but risky. But then, at this point, it would probably be hard to back out at this point: Text Editor is already GTK 4, and the Software port is well on its way.
From a UX perspective, having Files and Settings ports for 42 would really help. The biggest concern is probably Evince, Totem and Terminal, all of which are looking a long way off, and could leave us in an position where the port is in an obvious transitional state for what could be years.
Assuming we do push the GTK 4 migration for GNOME 42, then there are some steps we should take, such as making sure that the necessary dependencies (libadwaita, webkitgtk, libgweather) are available early in the cycle, and communicating the porting plan to the community.