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Parasite Moved Into LibGTK

First of, the title is pretty much wrong. There isn’t such thing as GTK Parasite, but only GTK Inspector. Christian Hammond who is the original author of GTK Inspector (former known as Parasite), left this comment in G+.

Awesome! Good work guys :)This is exciting.I’ll miss the name “parasite” (was hoping to see it internally somewhere at least), and will miss seeing the little yellow Parasite guy around, but he’ll always be in my heart.

Notice that Christian wrote Parasite about 6 years ago(!!), so Parasite (as a name) might has some “emotional” value for him.

“Giving credit where credit is due” is a disease in Open Source and specially on Free Desktops, with ridiculous cases around, and the worst? With known symptoms.

Me, calling Inspector as Parasite has nothing to do with giving credits.

When we come to “naming”, GNOME suddenly loses their whole creativity. Parasite was a nice name, it was the original name, there was not a reason to change this. It would only be visible to programmers anyways.

Parasite Moved Into LibGTK

Today we have a significant change from Matthias Clasen

inspector: stop being a module

Moving the inspector into libgtk lets use reuse internals without having to add public API for everything or inventing awkward private call conventions.

Bug #730095

Notice also that together with Shift+Ctrl+I, there is also an alternative keybinding to launch parasite, Shift+Ctrl+D. This is because Shift+Ctrl+I shortcut was already used by quite a few apps for their own debugging tools #730043

To launch the debugger from Terminal

$ GTK_DEBUG=interactive the-gtk-app

More Changes

There are a couple more changes happened today, all by Matthias. By the way Matthias is introducing GTK Inspector in detail in his blog post:


There is a new view [General], that shows the GTK+ version, and the various paths that affect GTK+ operation at runtime.


The Visual and Themes views are now merged into a single tab [Visual].

What Parasite Isn’t

People like to think Parasite as something similar to Chromium Tools.


We can inspect GTK elements, we can change some properties on the fly, we can even inject some CSS in real time.

However unlikely with Chromium, we cannot inject actual code in runtime [obviously for dynamic languages] and see the effects immediately, something that is super useful specially on animations.

Probably that would be possible if we were using Node and V8, and some GNOME developers are already thinking a GJS replacement on top of NODE.JS.

GTK on NODE? ..Well not soon, but I doubt if never :)

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