Gtk versus libui - how about a "minimal gtk" sub-project?

Hey there gtk/gnome folks,

I have been using gtk since quite a long time, mostly via
ruby, a bit via python too.

I am writing quite a lot of ruby-gtk3 code and I am in general
content with gtk3. There can be many small improvements, but by
and large I am pleased. In particular I love the CSS support -
I think this has been a really good idea.

Anyway. Now to something else …


libui is a minimal wrapper available on windows, OSX and
linux. On linux it is using gtk, so it’s no different
really. On windows it uses whatever windows makes available.

The really “big win” is that I can do “gem install libui”,
and then I get to use a GUI on windows “out of the box”
that just works.

I don’t want to link in screenshots but you can google
for libui images, and see how it looks.

libui is more minimal, and tons of things are not available.
For instance I can not easily use CSS on it for linux at
the least; or I don’t know how to enable it (perhaps some
guru know how, since gtk is available and perhaps we can
compile in support for that via pointers, but I just use
ruby, so what I do is super-limited to what is made available
out of the box).

So what does libui have to do with gtk in this regard? Well,
the thing I want to point out is how easily it works.

I tried to compile gtk3 or gtk4 on windows, and I gave up.
On linux it is trivial, I even compiled the gtk4 example
in C. On windows this is so much more work and I just fail.
I know this is due to my own lack of knowledge, because
others got this to work, but can’t it be much simpler and

So I was wondering… why does gtk not do something like
libui? Like, a minimum gtk variant? Just the basic stuff,
buttons, text … and perhaps a gtk-entry for user
input… and perhaps a few more, just to get the base
support ready. And make it super-easy to compile it out
of the box on windows. Perhaps even without msys2 if
that would be possible.

With the current setup, gtk needs a TON of things …
pango, atk, glib … I assume fontconfig and freetype …
cairo … hmmm probably more things, some of which
are disparate packages. This is why I’d love a minimal
gtk environment, one that is super-easy to get to
install on a target computer system.

I assume this is too much work to change for gtk4,
but if anyone wants to give it a try for gtk5, perhaps
that can get going. Or perhaps gtk6 if it is too much
work for gtk5. The idea would be to make it SUPER
simple to get gtk-like widgets on any operating system
to work. A bit like libui.

(PS: If someone is wondering, I no longer have access to my old
gmail after the mandatory 2FA switch and since I have not logged in
for months literally, I just switched to another email provider. Just in case
anyone gets confused “dude has another account suddenly”.)

I don’t see why you couldn’t add gtk as a subproject and have it work

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