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Re: Plans for change....

From: Gregory John Casamento
Subject: Re: Plans for change....
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2006 14:15:30 -0800 (PST)


> I like the original GUI as it has a sober and calm look and I  
> wouldn't mind a new GUI, but there are a lot of imperfections  
> especially in shoddy text placement that makes it look unfinished.  
> It's quite easy to tell the difference between GNUstep and NeXTStep  
> screenshots, just by looking at how carefully text and elements are  
> arranged.

If you convert the gui of an application from NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP 
to GNUstep using nib2gmodel and Gorm it is almost impossible to tell
the difference between the two.

For example, look at Cenon.  This application worked on OPENSTEP for
years.   It was ported to GNUstep and looks almost exactly the same.

Additionally, it is possible to create GUIs which look exactly like those of
a NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP application using Gorm.  I believe what you
might be seeing is a difference between 

> Would it not be a good idea to embrace a scheme that says that you  
> keep going with refining a specific feature until it's perfect,  
> before moving on to the next, so it doesn't come back and bite you in  
> the behind later?

When users, such as yourself, actually take the time to fully define
what problems they are seeing, it generally makes it easier to correct 
the issues.

I, personally, am not sure what you're referring to here as the text
placement done by the text system works wonderfully.  If there is an
issue with how that's done, then it would be great if you would report a
bug on the bug tracking system so that we can focus on the problem.

> I've been observing GNUstep for some time now and if there's  
> something that I see open source projects suffer from, it's a lack of  
> focus and trying to do too much at the same time. GNUstep is no  
> different in this matter and I think also that is why it has not come  
> any further than it has.

I don't think that the list of things that I have enumerated is too much or
will cause lack of focus.   With sufficient effort all of these things can be
done in the next year.

> Spending time making GNUstep working with Gnome and KDE and all the  
> other desktop environments gives absolutely no advantage to GNUstep  
> at all at this time. It would make sense if GNUstep had a killer  
> office package that Gnome, KDE or Windows users really want to run,  
> but the amount of killer apps are rather limited at this time.
> Doing this now will show everyone that GNUstep is just trying to play  
> catch up and that the developers are spending their time to make  
> TalkSoup look somewhat integrated into someone else's desktop  
> environment. Is there a future in that? Would developers then start  
> developing for GNUstep? I don't think so.

This is the principle complaint I am hearing from companies I have spoken
too about getting their apps working on GNUstep.

They love the fact that it can work with Windows or on Linux or on BSD, but
they are supremely turned off by the fact that it looks like a gui that was 
invented in 1985, which is because *it is a gui which was invented in 1985*.  
that it completely fails to blend in with any other apps on the platform.

> I think it would be much better to focus now on getting a decent  
> desktop environment out of GNUstep powered programs alone. Make a  
> desktop environment that runs flawlessly off an installable live CD,  
> one that shows that GNUstep can give life to a PC all on its own  
> without the help of KDE, Gnome or whatever.
> It should be a live CD that would allow a user to be productive and  
> creative and would impress other people than just a few objective C  
> developers.

I have found that there is almost no market for this.  No one wants 
yet another specialty OS floating around.   For the record there are 
a number of these out there...

* AROS - A reimplementation of Amiga OS
* Haiku OS - A reimplementation of BEOS

What you are proposing is a distro which is basically just GNUstep as 
a "re-implementation of OPENSTEP."  While this is an interesting idea, 
and I have thought quite a lot about this, it doesn't help us at all, in my 
opinion.   People would simply go  "Oh, look it's a reimplementation of 
OPENSTEP as it was in 1985" and move on.   Will it necessarily 
impress people, I don't think so.

Also, not to mention that the software development companies that 
I mentioned earlier would *surely* not want to run their apps on a distro 
which would be a minor subset of the Linux world.  

> When that happens, people will see that it's a system that can be  
> worth learning to develop for and you will get much more notice than  
> doing the other thing. You will stand out of the crowd.

> The current live CD is the right direction, but it needs a lot more  
> work.

Part of the problem with the community at this point, is people who lack 
an open source/free software mentality and would rather point out what 
they feel is wrong, but lack the time, talent or ability to actually help.

If you have the time and the talent, you are very very welcome to join the 
project and 
further whatever goals you feel are most relevant.  Not picking on you, 
personally, here...
I just see this pattern a lot.  People watch and wait too much, instead of 

While I agree that the Live CD is a good thing, the purpose of GNUstep is
not to make a distro, that is the LiveCD project's purpose.  GNUstep's purpose, 
like OPENSTEP's, is to create a cross-platform environment.  And this, speaking 
of focus, is what I'm trying to focus the community on.   This has the highest
probability of getting us more developers in the shortest amount of time.

> I now ask these questions: What was the original goal of NeXT with  
> their OS? Should that goal not also be the same for GNUstep?

The original goal of OPENSTEP was to create a crossplatform set of
libraries which could be easily used.  These platforms consisted of
 Windows (OPENSTEP Enterprise 4.2/Windows), Solaris (OPENSTEP 1.1/Solaris), & 
Mach (OPENSTEP 4.2/Mach) were the implementations of this created by 
Sun and NeXT while NeXT was still in business.   There were proposals to 
have an OPENSTEP implemented under HP-UX on the PA-RISC architecture, 
but that didn't happen prior to the buyout by Apple.   On each one of these 
platforms, mainly windows, OPENSTEP was made to look/act like the operating
system it was on.   As you can see, GNUstep's purpose is *precisely* the same

Later, GJC

Gregory Casamento
## GNUstep Chief Maintainer

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