The GNOME ( GNU Network Object Model Environment) open source project is a highly ambitious project that owes much to the legacy of the X Windows System. GNOME started exclusively as a Linux project, but, as we’ll describe later in this chapter, ports are underway for other operating systems. The purpose of GNOME is twofold:
To build a completely free, easy to use, graphical desktop for end users (along the lines of the Macintosh and Windows models)
At the same time, to build a powerful GUI application framework for those on the development side who are building desktop applications
Some people think of GNOME as being simply a window manager. But the GNOME Project is really a whole group of projects under one vast umbrella, including many sophisticated and technically interesting projects that make extensive use of XML. GNOME started up as a discrete project around 1997, with an initial call for participation by Miguel de Icaza. Since then, many excellent developers have joined forces under the GNOME umbrella.
The GNOME development framework focuses on GTK+ (the GIMP Toolkit) and GDK (the GIMP Drawing Kit); we’ll describe these in the following sections. Many applications have already been developed for GNOME, including an image-manipulation tool, an image viewer, a word processor, various types of audio players, and various database applications. For information about these database applications—in particular, the excellent Orasoft applications suite—see ...