proposal for extending XSETTINGS registry keys

Marius Bugge Monsen mmonsen at
Wed Mar 28 09:58:34 PDT 2007

On Wednesday 28 March 2007 17:39, you wrote:
> On Wed, 2007-03-28 at 16:46 +0200, Marius Bugge Monsen wrote:
> > Hi all,
> >
> > At the Desktop Architects Meeting 3, beginning of December last year,
> > Waldo asked me if I could write a proposal for extending the XSETTINGS
> > registry keys.
> I'm not sure there is a big need for extension here, though, and I'm a
> bit wary of extending the spec before it is even used in more than one
> toolkit. The important step here is to actually have a second xsettings
> implementation using the current keys, then we can have a careful look
> at what Gtk/ keys can be shared.

As you say, XSETTINGS was intended as a cross-toolkit settings mechanism.
For this to work, though, the settings keys also need to be toolkit 
independent (as is the intention with the Net/ keys).
The Gtk/ keys are basically a mapping of GtkSettings properties, and may not 
always make sense for other toolkits.
As it is now, I think the set of Net/ keys is just to small to be really 
useful. An application will always need to get additional desktop-related 
settings elsewhere.

I realize that it is in some ways a chicken-and-egg problem, but I think that 
it will be easier to get other toolkits to support XSETTINGS if the set of 
Net/ keys is complete enough to allow good integration with the desktop 

> > I've written a small paper where I look at the Gtk+ and Qt settings and
> > color palettes to find where they overlap, and where the common subsets
> > need to be extended to be useful. The result is a proposed set of new
> > settings keys for the XSETTINGS registry.
> >
> > The document is available here:
> >
> I don't see any proposed new keys there though, just a list of currently
> used keys. Also, to make informed decisions about what keys can be
> shared, you need to provide some information about the allowed values
> and how their semantics. I'd be happy to provide this information for
> the XSettings used by GTK+.

The list of suggested keys are there, in the "Proposed New XSETTINGS Keys" 

> The document also lists the GtkSettings properties, which are a superset
> of the XSettings that GTK+ reacts to. Some of them are not suitable as
> XSettings though, and some are just implementation details, e.g. the
> "color-hash" property is just a more convenient form for the
> Gtk/ColorPalette XSetting.

I'd still say that there is a need to find a toolkit independent way to set 
the color palette for the applications on your desktop.

> Anyway, I'm looking forward to actually using XSettings for cross-tookit
> sharing, as it was originally envisioned.

Great! I hope we can work together on this.


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