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Re: First Impressions of GNUStep
Re: First Impressions of GNUStep
Mon, 16 Jun 2003 05:36:22 +0100
On 2003-06-15 21:39:05 +0000 Raphael Bosshard <address@hidden> wrote:
I just recently discovered GNUStep, so some of the impressions may be
inaccurate or even wrong, but people judge by first impressions. And because
you can't gain some first impressions on GNUStep again, I will try to provide
you with the thoughts and impressions of a first time GNUStep user.
(There was a thread in the mailing list archives, the title was something like "Why has
GNUStep not as many users as KDE or Gnome" or something alike. This mail also tries to answer
that question and tries provide some ideas deal with these "problems".)
Everything written here is my opinion, so please, take no offence.
- Where is the taskbar, dammit? It's quite a change if you are used to Gnome (in my case)
or KDE. Heck, even OSX has a "taskbar" these days.
Well... GNUstep in itself isn't a desktop... So... well if you use GNUstep with
WindowMaker as window manager under X11, you
should have a Dock. It's not like a taskbar, that's a different system. In
short, launched applications displays themselves via a small icon in a tile
The icon is displayed at the bottom (along with the icons of iconfied windows).
right there is the Dock, which is a stack of icons; You could drag the bottom
on the Dock to permanently keep them. As it is, it's just seem to be a
BUT if you double-click on the appicon (either on the dock or at the
bottom) of a launched application, it should raise the application, like a
Other difference is that unlaunched application on the dock shows three dots
Another thing, GNUstep applications could be hided, when you click on the "hide"
menu item. Double-clicking on the appicon will unhiden them. Of course, as we
don't live in a perfect world, WindowMaker has problems with virtual desktops
- Windows covering other windows of the same application. OSX (and partly MS
Windows with windows that don't apprear in the taskbar) has the same problem:
There are two problems with this situation: You have to know that there is a
window beneath the window. And to bring this window to the top, you must first
move the covering windows.
Neither Gnome nor KDE have this "problem" because the only windows not
appearing in the taskbar are modal.
(This one is quite tricky. Have to talk to some of the other students tomorrow
on how to solve this. Do it like KDE, all windows in the taskbar? or like OSX,
a single icon for the applications brings all windows to front. But how to
access covered windows in this case? Tricky...)
That's already how it functions (as OSX)
- Strange menubar (NSMenu). Perhaps it's just me, but it gets always in my way.
I'd prefere a OSX solution. The menubar (in my humble conditioned opinion)
should stick somewhere where it doesn't interfere with the other application
windows. And it should probably be horizontal aligned - it's more desktop-space
preserving this way.
hm :) you will soon start a heating debate on that. Anyway a bundle exist to
let you have a mac-like horizontal menu. For small
displays I tend to prefers it. For large displays, try vertical menu, they
I don't see the use of tear-off/detachable menues. GTK had/has the same feature
but they may be going to disable it per default. (There was a discussion about
that topic a while ago, but I don't know what the current oppinion is)
Hu ? tear-off menus *are* good. One thing cool with GNUstep is that the
application "remembers" the menu and windows positions, so you could see
menus as some place which handles availble "palettes".
And they are very easily tear-off, as the title of the menu is displayed.
- Applications: There are very few native GNUStep-Applications and there is no
"killer-application" that would propagate GNUStep. But maybe there will appear
some opensource/free software OSX applications that can be ported to GNUStep. Who knows.
(I'd like to try a native GNUStep-Browser, probably with khtml - Apple already
did a great job by providing the wrappers to ObjC.)
Problem is that Apple made a wrapper to khtml using "ObjC++", a hack to mix
C++ and ObjC code in the same source, which is not yet included in the official
WebCore should be easily ported once ObjC++ will be included.
Anyway it won't be a "killer-application" that would propagate GNUstep, but
just yet another browser ...
- Look and Feel. GNUStep feels and looks like a desktop of the nineties. Maybe
it should follow the path of OSX. Or try something completly new. But that is
just the opinion of an ignorant, un-enlightend and stupid hollow head.
See http://www.roard.com/camaelon/ and http://www.roard.com/screenshots/
Splitting the GNUStep-Project into two seperate projects (GNUStep Framework and
GNUStep Desktop) would be a good idea.
Last, but not least: GNUStep is no eye-candy. Really. Maybe a new default theme
would help here. Or some new icons. There was an interesting proposal at OSNews
some time ago. Maybe some of Eugenia's ideas could be incorporated.
it's not the main concern right now, but some things are in work.
- How difficult would it be to implement gnome-vfs-like features. Could
gnome-vfs even used for stuff like smb/bzip/ftp-browsing?
It depends on what you want ... If you want vfs-like feature at the programming
level, it will involve some modifications of NSFileManager. I Didn't really
of it but it should be doable. If you want vfs-like at the file manager level,
could program a) a bundle for GWorkspace b) a smb/bzip/ftp app with browsing
feature and drag'n drop, reusing GWorkspace component for visualisation.
- Does GNUStep intent to support freedesktop.org?
I don't know. We use some ewmh things..
- Should GNUStep be a unix-hacker only desktop or also a desktop for Uncle Tom?
GNUstep should definitely be a desktop for your uncle tom : it's aim is to be
easy to use ... see the NeXT UI guide.
- What is the state of Apple's NextStep-extentions like drawers? Do you plan to
imho they are more important things to do than NSDrawers...
I hope you don't take my heretic thoughts to serious.