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Re: GNUstep moving forward

From: Gregory John Casamento
Subject: Re: GNUstep moving forward
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 16:10:43 -0700 (PDT)


--- Riccardo <address@hidden> wrote:

> Hello,
> On Saturday, October 22, 2005, at 12:46 PM, Gregory John Casamento wrote:
> > GNUstep has been relatively stagnant over the last several months and 
> > it has
> > become a cause for concern for me.
> for me too, it has become sometimes a cause of frustration. Since I have 
> put it as only graphical environment on my NetBSD/ppc computer and as 
> the default one on my laptop for months now, I feel all the problems, 
> missing things even more.
> > 1) More apps.  Many of the following points will help with this, but 
> > this is
> > very important.
> I think this is of uttermost importance. We had many talks of dedicated 
> distributions, special desktop environments, but everybody seems to 
> forget applications. ALso many persons, including developers, might be 
> more attracted by having a more complete environment where for example 
> choices exists. Some people like to have the ability to choose between 
> different programs that do task X. And, remember, for some tasks we 
> don't even have a single choice.

We are in agreement here.

> > 2) Better theme support.  Integration of Camaelon into the core gui 
> > library if
> > possible
> I agree that we need better theme support, especially when thinking 
> about "impure" platforms like running gnustep applications inside 
> windows, motif or gnome environments.
> I would strongly dislike a direct integration of camaleon or equivalents 
> in gnustep itself directly, but I'd like it to be a no-brainer 
> installation.  That is something that can be built and installed without 
> efforts (thinking for example that in a linux distribution it may be a 
> "theme support package" that can be installed and removed with no harm)

The problem is that unless it is directly integrated, it's capabilities are
relatively limited.   It is architecturally cleaner to separate out all of the
gui drawing code into a theme and have a theme manager built in.

Direct integration also forces developers to take into account that their apps
might run with many different looks.  While these looks shouldn't effect the
basic layout of the app (i.e. position and size should be constants in any
theme) the fact that the theme engine is now PART of GNUstep might make them
think a little more about how apps are designed in the first place. 

> > 3) Better win32 support.  Many companies are really eager to port their 
> > legacy
> > NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP or Cocoa apps to GNUstep under Windows.   The 
> > prospect of
> > Linux and BSD support appeals to them as well, but not as much as 
> > Windows.   I
> > currently have two companies with whom I am talking about this.
> I too had people almost catching interest in gnustep but when they heard 
> about essentially non-existent windows support... interest waned. Some 
> people wouldn't even care for linux or solaris, but just about windows 
> and mac for their applications. We might not like this, but it is the 
> truth out there.

I have a couple of potential jobs pending in this direction.  There is *GREAT*
interest among the Mac community in getting thier apps running on Windows.  It
would be a shame if we miss an opporunity like that to get more developers and

> > 4) Better distro support.  We really need to get GNUstep into as many
> > distributions as possile, this will ramp up exposure of GNUstep to more 
> > people
> > and help us get more developers and users.
> I agree here. Currently I know we are in Debian and Gentoo and NetBSD. I 
> don't know the state of the latter, but the first two are in terrible  
> shape. For example my own PRICE is on both many minor and major releases 
> old... Why? serious problems compiling new versions? Or lack of care? It 
> is bad publicity essentially. And yes we all know that guys at Debian 
> have serious brain problems... but well...
> What about Redhat, suse, yellowdog and madriva? I know they are very 
> very popular. RPM. based.
> And OpenBSD and FreeBSD? How is the status there? Also having packages 
> for sunfreeware for solaris 2.5 and up might be quite cool too. The site 
> recently started accepting user contributions.
> Getting into a distribution gets us exposure, but it is also a 
> double-bladed axe: we get to the public, but if we give out a bad 
> impressions.. well you know how people react if too many things are 
> missing, broken... people installing from distributions won't question 
> the quality of the framework, but just the sheer amount of applications 
> available and their look and workings.
> Thus... staying in a distribution but remaining there unupdated is 
> dangerous. Also most of the usable applications should be immediately 
> available.

The more exposure the more people who will come to help.   It's a vicious
cycle.  Unless we get the exposure GNUstep will continue to remain in one
> > We as a project need to be more adaptive and less resistant to change.  
> > More
> > than anything right now we need to consider the audience we are playing 
> > to.
> > GNUstep needs to be better able to integrate with other environments.
> even more than that the gnustep community should be able to collaborate.
> As I noted above, many persons work on their own pet-projects (as is 
> often natural in volunteer efforts) but the common parts of projects may 
> be overseen thus duplicating the effort and spreading our already thin 
> coding efforts.
> So although I think it is important that we integrate with other 
> environments (windows, gnome and kde come to my mind), I wouldn't put 
> this item very high in our priority list, at least not now. But I 
> wouldn't cancel it either: I mean that if an incompatibility  can be 
> easily avoided or integration can be done without a bigger cost of 
> complexity or bloat in gnustep it should be done.

I agree.

> Cheers,
>     R
Later, GJC

Gregory John Casamento 
-- CEO/President Open Logic Corp. (A MD Corp.)
## Maintainer of Gorm (IB Equiv.) for GNUstep.

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