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wxWidgets - Cross-Platform GUI Library

Name Change

In September 2003, Microsoft approached Julian Smart to open discussions about the wxWindows name, in relation to the ‘Windows’ UK trademark owned by Microsoft. The result of these discussions can be summarised as follows.

After a polite request from Microsoft, and a lot of thought on our part, we have decided to change the project’s name to wxWidgets. Apologies to all wxWindows users, and developers of wxWindows-related projects, for the short-term discomfort caused by the name change.

These are the main points of the agreement:

  • Julian Smart and Robin Dunn will cease using the name wxWindows by August 2004.
  • Microsoft will redirect to our new domain for at least a year after that.
  • There will be modest financial compensation, of which the residue (after fees) will be used to fund library development and tools. Contributors can submit claims to Julian Smart to compensate for time lost because of the name change.

Users and developers other than Julian Smart and Robin Dunn are not legally affected by this agreement. However, the sensible thing is for us to all use the same name for the library. Users of wxWidgets who are currently referring to the old name in their products or on their web sites do not need to be worried, but it’s a good idea to change to the new name as soon as is convenient so that product releases from August use the new name.

There has been much debate about whether this agreement was necessary. You can browse the wx-dev archives for the arguments for and against. Obviously a name change is not something that Robin and Julian would undertake take frivolously or for financial gain. Please confine further discussions about the name change to the new wx-discuss mailing list.

As for the choice of name, this also has been debated at length. There were many suggestions and a shortlist was drawn up. wxWidgets has been chosen because:

  • It is very similar to the old name and therefore should be easy to associate with the project.
  • It seems less of a target for trademark disputes than many alternatives.
  • It has a slightly quirky feel to it.
  • Although the library has much non-GUI functionality, ‘widget’ can be interpreted to mean more than just a UI control, and anyway, GUI functionality is a good starting point when trying to understand what the library does.

If we can be certain about anything, it’s that not everyone will like the new name. We’re sorry we can’t please everyone, but we have spent many, many hours thinking about the issue, and we would now like to get back to improving the library.

Thank you for your patience while we change to our new name over the coming weeks. We will keep everyone informed about changes in our services, such as web site and server addresses.