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I've been playing with a little side project that aims to help build lightweight GUI applications that look native-ish on multiple Desktop Environments (DEs). The immediate use case was to look native-ish in both Gtk and Qt based environments. My definition of native-ish is the little things such as using Gtk windows when in Gnome or Qt event loop bindings when in KDE. Of course, if the developer so chooses, any combination thereof.
Whilst developing Pharlap, our utility for easing the installation and removal of drivers, we came across a big hurdle that other distributions had seemingly solved. The hurdle was being able to identify packages that provide support for a particular piece of hardware. Our initial workarounds used a dedicated map and for a while it was sufficient but it wasn't ideal. Over time, the frustration of it's inelegance grew and thus began our journey to investigate a more elegant solution.