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GNUstep's backend provides a small set of functions used by the GUI library to interface to the actual window system (X11, etc). It also has a drawing engine which emulates common PostScript functions.

The package gnustep-back provides the following backends

  • art – default backend on unixlike systems. Uses the vector-based PostScriptlike 2d graphics library libArt.
  • winlib – default backend on windows systems. Calls the Windows API.
  • xlib – old (deprecated) X11 backend.
  • cairo – experimental backend using the cairo 2D graphics library. Whilst being not ready for daily work it is planned to replace the current default backends and let cairo care about the underlying graphics system (xlib/xrender, win32, opengl...)

You can choose the backend to be used by e.g.

 defaults write NSGlobalDomain GSBackend libgnustep-cairo

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