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From what I understand, Emacs uses GTK as it's default X toolkit. Does Emacs support X toolkits other than GTK? For example, can I build Emacs to use Qt4 instead of GTK?

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Only if someone wrote such version, which seems unlikely. I'm not aware of any software which offers both a GTK and a Qt interface. – goldilocks Mar 11 '13 at 15:19
@goldilocks: If ever there was a program that'd do it, Emacs would be that program. For some reason, though, some people are worried that such support would not fit in well due to Qt's C++-based API, even though the OS X port seems to fit in okay and that's in Objective C. (If someone actually tried a port, we could even find out if they're right ...) – SamB Dec 27 '13 at 4:01
@SamB : Emacs is GPL'd, so anyone who wants to expand/port/whatever it in anyway is free to do so. I did just notice that there's a vim-Qt in the works bitbucket.org/equalsraf/vim-qt/wiki/Home -- so in the spirit of one upmanship, Emacs should really do it too. If you like C++, it would probably be a good way to learn about both it and Qt. I imagine the "wouldn't fit in" line originates with someone who simply doesn't intend to ever do anything in C++, period, and what it really means is "I won't be doing any such thing, because I do not fit in well with that". – goldilocks Dec 27 '13 at 13:19
@goldilocks: Yeah, "it wouldn't fit in" is not a very convincing claim in the absence of an actual port attempt. I would certainly encourage any interested parties to give it a try, at least if they don't anticipate any difficulties with the copyright assignment. (I really do wish they'd be less insistent about that ...) – SamB Dec 29 '13 at 5:46
@SamB : You don't have to go along with all that if you want to fork a GPL'd project -- the copyright assignment issue applies to official GNU projects. You would have to change/tweak the name; there are already long running, unofficial, but perfectly legal Emacs forks of that sort. Have a look at section 5 of GPL v3, "Conveying Modified Source Versions". Making it an official GNU project involves more hoops, but there's no need. – goldilocks Dec 29 '13 at 13:38
up vote 5 down vote accepted

./configure --help for GNU Emacs 24.3 informs me:

--with-x-toolkit=KIT    use an X toolkit (KIT one of: yes or gtk, gtk2,
                        gtk3, lucid or athena, motif, no)

So yes, you can use other toolkits, but Qt seems not to be not among them.

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The lucid and athena toolkits are long obsolete, AFAIK. Motif is horrible (and is more a desktop environment than a toolkit really). – vonbrand Mar 11 '13 at 17:06
@vonbrand: The desktop environment is actually called CDE. And to be perfectly honest, I have Qt configured with style=Motif myself, and that at least looks more-or-less indistinguishable from lesstif. (I haven't tried the real Motif yet, since it's only been open sourced a short while ago and Motif apps are kind of thin on the ground these days.) Or did you mean that the API is horrible? – SamB Dec 29 '13 at 6:07

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