[Python-Dev] Miscellaneous comments on Tkinter and related matters

Cameron Laird claird@starbase.neosoft.com
Wed, 25 Oct 2000 09:58:53 -0500 (CDT)

I can rarely afford to dip into Python-Dev.  My head is exploding
too much of the time as it is.

Maybe I can help with the recent Tkinter discussions, though.
1.  Tcl's going to be around for a long time.
    Here's the insider scoop on what the Ajuba
    Solutions announcement means:  insiders
    don't know.  That is, *nobody* is sure how
    Tcl will develop.

    It'll survive, though, for quite a while.
    Do NOT worry that it'll suddenly dry up
    and blow away.

    I'm working on a more detailed explanation
    of Tcl processes.  It'll probably take a
    few weeks, though.  In the meantime, just
    ignore the mess, and understand that the
    Tcl Core Team includes bright people who'll
    land on their feet somehow.
2.  I agree that MacOS is the thorny problem for
    the standard Pysolution.  I'd be happy to
    discuss the possibilities (Tkinter?  wxWindows?
    Qt?!? GTK+?!!?!? ...) with a smaller group,
    and, of course, Fredrik, Robin, Guido, ...
    all are quite knowledgeable about these

    There are a few things you should know about
    the Tcl side.  The bad is that Tk is barely
    maintained for MacOS.  It's really rather
    miserable.  On the other hand, Jim Ingham is
    now an Apple employee, and things could change
    in a hurry, at any time.

    The good is that Tk starts far ahead of any
    competitor.  It has already solved most of
    the hard problems.  All it needs is a little
3.  Is there a way to have Tk without contamination
    by Tcl?  More than ever.  This is what makes me
    most cheerful about Tkinter's prospects.  The
    Tcl Core Team has largely given up its hangups
    about co-operating with foreigners (or its
    hangups that barbarians have hangups about co-
    operating with Tcl).  This is a *very* good
    time for someone like Fredrik to establish a
    working relationship, and get CVS access.  I
    really think Tk can be maintained by a different
    group than Tcl.

    Perl, Ruby, ... folks are also receptive to the
    idea (I've talked with them).  For pointers to
    some of what's happening in this area, see

    Also, you should know that my favorite enhancement
    to Tk is a remodularization called TkGS.  This
    should improve performance under Win*, make it
    more portable to BeOS, improve access by Python,
    and so on.
4.  Greg's right that some publishers are dumping Tcl.
    Not all, though.  If it matters, we can go into
5.  Pango is indeed cool, but it's different from
    [text].  The world is probably moving to Pango and
    similar implementations.  The world will be missing
    much of what [text] offers.
6.  ANYONE with an urge to get out a Python-related
    idea should pursue it.  *DDJ*'s a great outlet.
    It's far from the only one.  If people have ideas
    about articles, but are held back by lack of time/
    fluency/contacts/..., *please* get in touch with
    me.  I'll find a way at least to give articles a
    fair chance at being published.

Cameron Laird       <claird@NeoSoft.com>       +1 281 996 8546 FAX