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Re: Changes I've been thinking of...

From: Nicola Pero
Subject: Re: Changes I've been thinking of...
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 2009 09:37:27 +0100

Additionally I really dislike the coding style, not because it's not
mine, but because it fails to make the code more readable. On the
other hand, there was code by Fred which looked really ok, so maybe
it's just about using the coding style in a sane way.... All I
wanted to say is, that it's not that easy to start hacking inside
the GNUstep core libraries.

Completely agree.  Good coding conventions are picked because they
make things that are wrong look wrong or generate compiler errors /
warnings.  The GNU coding conventions were picked by selecting at
random various bits from all existing coding conventions in the hope
that that would make everyone happy.  They are a horrible mash of
things.  The indenting style is horrible, for example, and only works
if you have your editor set up in exactly the same way as RMS;
mixing  tabs and spaces for indenting is one of the most stupid ideas
I've  ever seen.  The convention of putting a space after function
names and  before the open bracket makes code harder to read because
it makes it  difficult to tell without reading the context that
something is an  argument list rather than a subexpression.  In fact,
almost everything  about the GNU coding conventions looks painfully
stupid to anyone with  a basic understanding of how the human visual
system works, but as an  official GNU project we are stuck with it.

I didn't know you have to stick to the GNU coding guidelines if you are
an official GNU project. Now I understand all the people complaining
about gcc being unreadable...

Just to clarify for the non-developers, GCC being unreadable is a completely different problem,
not particularly due to the coding style. ;-)

Having a standard coding style for the whole GNUstep project is really important as it makes it easier to copy/move code from one part of the project to the other. Using a "standard" coding style that is documented and used by many other projects is also good as contributors will
be immediately familiar with it.

The GNU coding standards are used by a large number of projects with a lot of contributors and popularity so can't really be blamed if GNUstep is less popular than, say, GIMP (which also happens to follow the GNU coding standards) or any of the other million projects that use the
GNU coding standards or some variants of them.

While I sympathize with David who prefers (or is used) to some other coding style, the GNUstep project needs a consistent coding style and the GNU coding standard are as good a choice as any. Since GNUstep is a GNU project, it's a natural choice.

By the way the GNU coding standards are not bad, in fact I personally like them (mostly because my eyesight is really bad and whitespace is much more effective at separating tokens than brackets or commas). There are some details I'd change, but they certainly are not an unusual
or weird choice for a large free software project.

If it's a burning issue for many developers, I guess changing the coding style to something else could be discussed. There would be *lots* of reformatting to do if we ever reach an agreement
on some other coding style. ;-)


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