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Re: Minimalist GNUstep possible?

From: Philippe Laporte
Subject: Re: Minimalist GNUstep possible?
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2010 14:58:12 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; fr-FR; rv: Gecko/20090605 SeaMonkey/1.1.17

As a side question that I am sure to be interested in moving into the
future, is GNUstep planning on supporting mobile architectures, say
like Android? I would really love to keep using a compiled language
(like ObjC) on such a platform and be able to take our tools with us
onto that end, if we ever go there. Has anybody heard of any luck with
any developers going this route? I did notice that there was some work
being done on incorporating ObjC into Android, but I'm sure somewhere
along that path GNUstep is going to be one of the major players.

I'm not sure about Android specifically, because it uses its lets-reinvent-the-wheel-and-make-it-square windowing system and doesn't seem to like people not living inside their slow VM.  Mobiles like the N900 are definitely of interest to us.  Supporting Android will probably be easier once Cairo has been ported, otherwise we'd have to port the back end to use Skia natively, which is a lot of effort.  For a minimal port, we should be able to use Cairo's OpenGL or image back ends and just write the event handling code (which is nontrivial, but not a huge amount of work).

You might like to look at MySTEP, which is a friendly fork of GNUstep that aims to target mobile devices.  Where design decisions require optimising for either desktop or mobile use, GNUstep went one way and MySTEP went the other way.  I'm not sure how relevant it is now - modern handhelds are more powerful (in terms of RAM, CPU, and GPU power) than desktops were when MySTEP was forked, but it's still pretty lightweight.

Over the summer, we have a GSoC student finishing up our CoreGraphics implementation, providing the core that we'd need for implementing more of the iPhone APIs.  We'd like to start working on a UIKit implementation later in the year, so if your company would be interested in partially funding, or contributing some code to, that effort then let us know.  A lot of the existing code in GNUstep's AppKit implementation can be used in UIKit, but some things will need extending or rewriting.



So you see no legal impediements in proceeding?  No patents, no royalties, no rules in any agreement?

Would you say it is like coming up with a Java implementation 10 - 12 years ago? Did the rules for the Java technology, the JDK, disallow reverse-engineering? If they did, we are OK, and there are several competing “Java” implementations.

Of course, we need only the public APIs specs for our work. But these may be governed by their web site’s terms of use, no. Then is it sufficient to rename the classes with a common project-related prefix?

What bout the SDK rules against reverse-engineering? Do they affect our task?

Documents that should be analyzed include the iPhone SDK Agreement and the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement.

But since the XMLVM project has proven that a Java version of Cocoa-Touch is legal, an Objective-C version should be clean as well, no?

There is also an Open-Source project which implements some of the UIKit while only adding a prefix to the file and type names. We have contacted the leader to seek his advice on the legality of the endeavor.

Best Regards,
Philippe Laporte

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