[Cairo] Window manager

Carl Worth cworth at east.isi.edu
Tue Aug 5 05:16:33 PDT 2003

On Aug 4, Josh Hansen wrote:
 >     Couldn't cairo be used to create a new window manager for X in which 
 > ever window, every element, is integrated into a PDF-like rendering 
 > model?

In X the window manager is only responsible for drawing a window's
decorations, (ie. it's outer frame), not the window's contents. Each
application must draw its own contents. So changing the window manager
wouldn't fix every element.

Fortunately, most applications, (including window managers), don't do
custom drawing of each element, but use a toolkit, (ie GTK+ or Qt), to
handle the drawing of high-level elements, (eg. "draw a button" or
"draw a menu"). This means that by simply porting the toolkit to
Cairo, the look of many graphical elements on the screen can be

This is exactly what the cairo-gtk-engine of Julien Boulnois does for
GTK+. See:


I imagine something similar could be done for Qt as well if someone
were interested.


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