[lsb-discuss] Desktop APIs

Olaf Jan Schmidt ojschmidt at kde.org
Wed Aug 2 13:29:37 PDT 2006

[ Robert Schweikert ]
> Although GNOME and Qt are part of the LSB other toolkits are viable
> options for applications. LSB compliance can still be achieved when the
> toolkit itself is shipped with the application. For better integration
> in such cases it would be nice if there were an API which allows the
> retrieval of some basic look and feel parameters such as background
> color and default font. This would allow an application using a
> different tool kit to blend in better.
> This might be a Portland Group issue and then become part of the LSB
> once the Portland Group project API is stable and ready for inclusion.
> Targeting 4.0 with this request.
> Thanks, 
> Robert

Hi Robert!

This is a very good idea.

KDE can already generate a Gtk+ theme that fits to the current KDE colour 
configuration and makes Gtk applications blend in, but generated Gtk 
configuration is incomplete, and I had trouble finding a useful documentation 
of the Gtk colour settings on the web. Also, I am not aware of any support in 
GNOME to allow Qt applications to blend in.

Defining a general standard for colour and font settings would solve this, but 
it is also very difficult to do this right. How do we make sure that 
additional colours used by the application fit to the chosen background?

Some people with limited vision need light text on a dark background and very 
large font and icon sizes. Setting only the background colour and the font 
would not be enough (e.g. a black frame on a black background is invisible).
Both KDE and GNOME provide themes for some groups of partially sighted users, 
but usability tests have shown them all to be very buggy.

We are currently working on a complete solution for this for KDE4 and it would 
make a lot of sense to cooperate with other toolkits here. Unfortunately 
GNOME and KDE use completely different approaches for colour configuration. 
In KDE the user can select colours. In GNOME this is coded into the themes, 
which makes it imposssible for the majority of partially sighted users to 
select the exact colours they are comfortable with.

It requires some thought to find a good solution. I am cc'ing this to the FSG 
Accessibility workgroup so that we can work on it. If other people wish to 
forward it to the Portland list as well, then this is fine by me, as long as 
all suggested solutions are reviewed by FSG Accessiiblity.


Olaf Jan Schmidt, KDE Accessibility co-maintainer, open standards 
accessibility networker, Protestant theology student and webmaster of 
http://accessibility.kde.org/ and http://www.amen-online.de/

More information about the lsb-discuss mailing list