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Re: Thoughts triggered by these NeXTbuntu guys


From: Gregory John Casamento
Subject: Re: Thoughts triggered by these NeXTbuntu guys
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 05:40:08 -0700 (PDT)

Tima, 
 
> This  person was, of course, very rude and very unfair to  
> Gregory Casamento. His obvious dissatisfaction with current GNUstep  
> project, however, reflects my own state of mind. 
 
He wasn't simply "dissatisfied".   His impressions about the project were just 
plain wrong.

I admit, however, that this whole episode has made me think as well. 

Let me take some of your arguments here.... 
 
> While many people here seem to think in terms of porting, I believe that
> new development bears greater potential. I believe there are enough people who
> have their own powerful ideas that would be happy to implement them with
> our superior tools - if we provide ones.

I think in terms of both.   Both are important to get developers to come to 
GNUstep.

> However, we do not have such tools to show, because the core libraries -
> I mean four of the packages taken together - are still incomplete.

Gorm is far superior to any open source gui builder out there.  When was the 
last time you tried using Glade? :)  But, then, I'm biased.

> Yet Gregory Casamento writes: 
>  "The libraries are complete in every sence that they need to be." 
> 
> By what standards? 
 
As it stands, gui is about 95% complete, this estimate is based on the number 
of classes and methods implemented.   The base library has been at 1.x for 
quite a while.  The only thing base currently lacks are some Apple-specific 
scripting classes, which will likely not be implemented because they depend on 
the Apple scripting infrastructure.
 
> It seems to me that the project lost its leadership and its focus. 
 > Good leaders can set the goals and show path from one goal to another. 
> I think we need that. 
  
On Free Software/Open Source projects it's possible to set goals and show the 
way, but not to force people to do exactly what you want when you want.  They 
are volunteers, after all. :)  The roadmap in the wiki and the task and bug 
lists on savannah in GNUstep are being used to show what needs to be 
accomplished.   

> Instead, it seems, we start things like facelifting, windows port, desktop 
 > environments without completing the foundation, beginning the new 
 > project without finishing the old. That way there is nothing solid to show 
 > to the mankind at any point in time - for years. 
 >
> I believe this is the most important GNUstep problem right now. 

I, personally, have focused on Gorm and gui exclusively for quite some time now 
in the hope to make things better, so I don't think that the statement that 
"we're moving on without completing the foundation" is accurate.  Also, unlike 
GNOME or KDE, GNUstep has Cocoa by which it's completeness can be measured.  
Additionally, Apple is constantly adding things to both libraries, so it should 
be expected that GNUstep will lag behind slightly.   The WINE project, to some 
degree, suffers from the same issue.

One of the most obvious issues with GNUstep right now is it's appearance.   It 
looks like something right out of 1995, and, honestly, most companies that I've 
spoken to about using GNUstep (both for porting existing apps and for 
developing new ones) don't like how it looks.   They would like something more 
modern to deploy their apps on.  So the "facelifting" effort is being done to 
help make GNUstep more mainstream, and, hopefully, bring more developers in.  
That being said, it's being done on a branch by one developer, it's not our 
"focus" by any stretch of the imagination.

> Then if we get a person who is able to contribute there is another thing 
> that I consider the second most important problem - the copyright 
> assignment to FSF. 
 >
> This topic deserves another message with a different subject line, 
> here I can only say that it presents a natural obstacle for people who, 
> like me, wants their work to be recognized by others.

I'm not sure how the assignment prevents you from being personally recognized.  
 The only reason they ask for it is so that if a legal problem occurs with an 
FSF project, then they have the legal standing to defend it.
 
> Thus the Nextbuntu's idea on removing this requirement seems to me 
> quite appealing. 
 
Some people don't mind the assignment, some do.  It's a matter of personal 
preference.  I, personally, haven't found any person who has expressed an 
interest in GNUstep that have minded at all.

> To summarize: before going into new desktop environments, please finish 
> the core gui/back libraries to let people learn and use them for their own 
> purposes. Declare specific API version - being it Mac OSX 10.2.7 or not - 
> and make it work completely under at least one platform. 
 
I understand and agree with what you're saying, we should determine what 
version of the API we're going to be compliant with and focus on that.  And, As 
I said before, myself and others are working on completing the core.    Other 
people have started projects such as Etoile,  Backbone and etc. because they 
want to bring more people to GNUstep by creating apps with it.

One of the things GNUstep needs most is developers.   We need to get them any 
way we can.

> Thank you and sorry for being so long. 
 
Not a problem.

> --Tima 
   
Thanks, GJC
-- 
Gregory John Casamento 
 
----- Original Message ---- 
From: Tima Vaisburd  
To: address@hidden 
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2006 12:12:37 AM 
Subject: Thoughts triggered by these NeXTbuntu guys 
 
Hi list, 
 
This  person was, of course, very rude and very unfair to  
Gregory Casamento. His obvious dissatisfaction with current GNUstep  
project, however, reflects my own state of mind. 
 
My interest in GNUstep stems from the desire for powerful and practical  
graphical programing library for Unix. In the line from pure X -  
Motif - GTK - Qt I was inclined towards Qt, but none looked very  
exciting. 
 
The GNUstep made huge leap over those technologies in the right direction, 
and I was very happy as I  though we are getting the definitive programming 
environment for complex applications that's far better than enything else 
in existence (it was in 1998). 
 
I still maintain my position that the creation of the superior  
development platform for modern Unix systems (Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD 
and that's, probably, it) is the primary meaning of this project. 
The Windows and OS X compatibility, while being nice, is, IMHO, not as 
important. 
 
While many people here seem to think in terms of porting, I believe that 
new development bears greater potential. I believe there are enough people who 
have their own powerful ideas that would be happy to implement them with 
our superior tools - if we provide ones. 
 
However, we do not have such tools to show, because the core libraries - 
I mean four of the packages taken together - are still incomplete. 
 
Since I'm writing some image editor I happen to know that writing of 
images in any  format other than tiff is not implemented (and most people 
need jpegs or pngs instead). We do not have a single backend that works 
perfectly. The arts backend is prohibitely slow on remote connection. 
Xlib does not support rotation and poorly supports transparency. There are 
cairo backend in development, but it's not released yet. 
 
I often connect to my home machine from work, and use X windows over ssh 
and then cable internet provider. Since GNUstep is extremely slow on that 
connection even with xlib it exludes any GNUstep program as a viable 
alternative to other X clients (but emacs, for instance, works reasonably 
fast). 
 
These are things I can claim from my personal experience, but from reading 
this mailing list I got the impression that there are other unfinished areas. 
 
Yet Gregory Casamento writes: 
  "The libraries are complete in every sence that they need to be." 
 
By what standards? 
 
It seems to me that the project lost its leadership and its focus. 
Good leaders can set the goals and show path from one goal to another. 
I think we need that. 
 
Instead, it seems, we start things like facelifting, windows port, desktop 
environments without completing the foundation, beginning the new 
project without finishing the old. That way there is nothing solid to show 
to the mankind at any point in time - for years. 
 
I believe this is the most important GNUstep problem right now. 
 
Then if we get a person who is able to contribute there is another thing 
that I consider the second most important problem - the copyright 
assignment to FSF. 
 
This topic deserves another message with a different subject line, 
here I can only say that it presents a natural obstacle for people who, 
like me, wants their work to be recognized by others. 
Thus the Nextbuntu's idea on removing this requirement seems to me 
quite appealing. 
 
To summarize: before going into new desktop environments, please finish 
the core gui/back libraries to let people learn and use them for their own 
purposes. Declare specific API version - being it Mac OSX 10.2.7 or not - 
and make it work completely under at least one platform. 
 
Thank you and sorry for being so long. 
 
--Tima 
 
 
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