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It's not about DE, it's about toolkit. Which used to be a common pond but now they like put a fence around it and dump toxic waste into it. The reasoning revolves around it being easier for them and allowing them to do useful things in other places.

Guess what, not a good recipe for love of community.

but it is about the DE. when GTK was transitioned to the GNOME foundation the Gimp folks essentially let them take it in any direction that benefits the GNOME community. GTK is standalone only in that it has bits that others can use, but it doesn't exist so others can use it. Should they be aware of other who might want to use it, yes. Should they make design decision that hurt their primary purpose so that GTK can be more useful to others ? That's a good question , I tend to side on no.

That's a terrible role model you're describing. GTK is not a swiss clock you can pass to your ancestor.

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