There once was a time when “Windows” meant Microsoft. Nowadays, if you don’t precede the word with “Microsoft” or “X,” you may unwittingly reveal yourself as out-of-the-know. There are very few Linux distributions that don’t try to start an X session during the installation process, and the battle over desktop environments (Gnome versus KDE) and GUI toolkits (GTK+ versus Qt) puts the Cola Wars to shame.
The Unix desktop wars are clearly not limited to the various Linux distributions; the Gnome Project, for example, has gained the support of several large corporations. And it isn’t too far-fetched to imagine stable ports of XFree86 and other Unix-y essentials coming to the Microsoft and Apple worlds (think Cygwin and Apple’s OS X), opening up the possibility of even more widespread exposure for these desktop environments and the tools and applications that live in them.
How does this affect Perl developers? Perl has never lacked muscle in the world of back-end tool development and is often described as the duct-tape of the Internet. On the server side, Perl is considered by many to be the language of choice for web development (look at the hundreds of Apache:: modules), database tools (DBI), text processing, application prototyping, haiku generation, and more. But GUI development?
What does it mean when the ground Perl sits on most firmly (the Unix world) begins its move to the desktop? In a peek at an increasingly popular area, this article presents one ...