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Pidgin: Not really portable

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doctor_nemesis
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Pidgin: Not really portable

I've look through these forums, and spotted lots of people with the same problem, who seem to recieve the same response.

Problem: Gaim cannot connect.
Cause: GTK 2.8.x is on the host system. This is incompatable with Gaim.
Solution: Remove GTK 2.8.x and replace with 2.6.x.

This is not a feasible solution for an application which is meant to be completely independent of the host machine! When using a PC which is not your own, you cannot "simply" remove the existing GTK installation.

I thought that part of the point of having the GTK installation within Gaim was so that it could be used regardless of what GTK was on the existing system, not just if there wasn't _any_ GTK present.

John T. Haller
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Welcome to GTK Hell

It's kinda like Windows' DLL Hell: Every GTK app uses a different version of GTK and most don't work with each other. Some apps, like GIMP, provide the ability to point it in another direction to look for its GTK (so it works regardless of what's on the PC). Gaim doesn't use the same settings and looks in the computer's registry to find the GTK. This is the way Gaim itself works. Luckily, you will encounter *VERY FEW* computers in the wild with GTK already installed. And, those that have it are *FAR* more likely to have the 2.6.x version, since it works with nearly all GTK-based apps... unlike 2.8.x which only works with a couple. In fact, the only computer you'll usually encounter with GTK 2.8.x is your own if you're using the *unstable* version of GIMP... in which case, you've made a choice to use that and have that PC be incapable of running other GTK apps like Gaim.

I am working on incorporating a different setup for the next release. We'll need to drop support for all custom directories and a couple other features for it to work. But it should be able to work with PCs that have the incompatible 2.8.x GTK installed.

So, once again, we're all VERY FAMILIAR with this issue. If anyone has something useful to suggest, we're all ears. But complaining about it accomplishes nothing.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

doctor_nemesis
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Issue in Progress

Actually, yours is the first response I've seen that doesn't just say "that's the way it is", and mentions that it _is_ an issue which will be resolved.

I suspect most current Windows GIMP users will actually have GTK 2.8.x on their system. Why? Because the automated installer page linked to from the GIMP homepage has a GTK 2.8.x installer next to the latest _stable_ GIMP 2.2.13 release installer. The GTK 2.6.x installer is listed "for Windows 9x use". This will be the reason that people have actually had the problem in the first place. GTK 2.8.x is recommended for GIMP on NT5 platforms, so that will be what people install.

Here is a link to the page I refer to:

http://gimp-win.sourceforge.net/stable.html

I'm sure you are very aware of the issue, and I appreciate your response. I was actually aware of the GTK compatibility issue thanks to attempts at using standard Gaim distributions before. The portable distributions inclusion of it's own GTK distribution was why I was looking at it, to attempt to get around this problem.

The suggestion I would make, is what you have stated in your reply. But since I do not know what that entails I would hesitate to say "just" change the path Gaim uses for GTK. Being familiar with the actual coding problems, you _can_ say that with some credibility.

Complaining about the issue brings it to the attention of people. Some of which may be in a position to do something about it. I did attempt to read all the threads on the forum relating to this issue, and nowhere did I hear it mentioned that this is a known problem that will be resolved at a later date. You have stated that, and I'm grateful for it.

Ryan McCue
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Well

That would be a GIMP fault, because it sounds like (don't quote me on this) Gaim only works with 2.6.x
So, even if you installed normal Gaim, it wouldn't work.

WRT custom directories, will this be dropped from all apps, or just this? Also, what other features must be dropped?
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doctor_nemesis
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Portable fault

But it's not a GIMP fault, is it? GTK 2.8.x is a stable GTK build. Just because GIMP operates on a different version to Gaim is no fault of GIMPs. Just like it isn't a fault of Gaims that it needs GTK 2.6.x. The problem is that the two GTK's can't be installed side by side (at least, not easily).

If there is any "fault", it's that Gaim Portable is dependent on the host machines GTK being compatible with it, defeating the point of being portable. Colleges and universities use GIMP, and they will probably have GTK 2.8.x installed on their systems, because it is the most up to date and _recommended_ version of GTK to use.

John T. Haller
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Actually

It's GTK's fault. GTK 2.8.x has a bug in it that causes Gaim to crash. So, GIMP works with GTK 2.8 or 2.6. Gaim only works with 2.6. Gnumeric has to use it's own *custom* GTK which is included in its directories. Grisbi uses 2.6 as well.

So, the only way to actually use these different GTK-based apps is to use 2.6.

And this is why I refer to this a GTKHell.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

doctor_nemesis
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Not really...

I agree that GTK should be able to handle multiple versions being installed, but reliance on a specific version of GTK being installed is the applications problem in portable land.

If someone were to make a portable application which relied on MS Devs DLLs being installed on a target system, people would call it useless. You can't rely on custom libraries being present.

In Portable Gaims case, you can't rely on custom libraries being _absent_.

It's also a bad idea because people will have different versions of 2.6.x on their host systems, leading to more unpredictable behaviour when it comes to fault diagnosis.

I don't think Portable Gaim is useless, I think it's a good idea. I just think cursing GTK or GIMP is not the solution to this problem. The aforementioned solution is making Portable Gaim use it's local version of GTK by default.

John T. Haller
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Which

I already said I was working on... but is NOT supported by Gaim. It requires a custom source-level modification... something we try to avoid at all costs as it greatly increases support efforts.

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doctor_nemesis
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Trunk

I know, you were the one that mentioned it!

I'm also aware it isn't something available in the main Gaim, because I've tried it. Which as I mentioned earlier was why I was interested in the portable version...

But you raise an interesting question, would the modifications (when complete) be useful to the main "trunk" of Gaim code? Are any of the modifications used in Gaim Portable given as candidates to be merged back into the main body of code?

John T. Haller
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Custom directories

It will *have* to be dropped from Gaim if I use this alternate setup. (But, what's more important... custom directories for the 0.1% of people that use them or having a Gaim Portable that works on every PC?) A couple other apps I'm working on won't support custom directories for similar reasons.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Ryan McCue
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I agree

I don't use them.
However, will it be dropped from all launchers?
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People who didn't need people needed people around to know that they were
the kind of people who didn't need people.
(Maskerade)

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."

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