Remember my little project to get together a desktop that would run on the framebuffer? You might be interested to know where it ended up.

gtk-fb turned out to be a dead end. I did get to build the libraries and tried out gtk-demo but a lot of the widgets don't work properly. Gnome aren't maintaining fb support any more and it will disappear completely in gtk3. In addition, you have to be root to run anything which is a complete nono for me.

The apps that run directly over DirectFB work fine but there are very few of them. I couldn't find an email client for example. All these apps are full screen only.

You could use them, in theory, to run a hybrid system: CLI for most things with graphics where you really need them (image display, browsing the web and pdf reading).But the framebuffer console is practically unuseable for CLI because it uses very small print.

Someone once wrote a complete UI for the frambuffer with multiple windows (fbui) but it hasn't been updated since kernel 2.26.9.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!