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Re: Some thoughts about GS

From: Nicola Pero
Subject: Re: Some thoughts about GS
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 16:35:48 +0100 (CET)

Hi Philippe,

here are some random thoughts about gnustep vs gnome etc.

gnustep aimed at technical excellency.  It took us so long because we do
not just want a good development environment - we want something very
close to the best development environment on earth up to now. 

Now we are getting very close to our target.  

The base library is in incredible shape, and getting better and better.  I
never used mac os x, but my impressions reading mailing lists etc is that
the gnustep base library is already a better product than the one shipped
by apple <!>.  As an example, we supply networked DO and they don't.  The
gnustep base library is IMO the best free environment available to develop
<non-graphical> OO, distributed, scalable, portable, etc applications.
This just works - and it's amazingly better than anything else on the
market - free or non free.  I think we need to merchandise this more. 
Merchandising gnustep only as a different desktop is forgetting about this
very important part.  Actually, we should probably insist more about this
part - which `rocks' now - rather than the desktop stuff when
merchandising gnustep.

The gui library works.  We don't have the color panel, we don't have a
great layout manager, but you can write apps with the gui library: real
gui applications *are* possible.  Yes - you have to write code for the
interface - Gorm is not yet finished - but now Gorm *is* possible.  <and
IMHO writing gnustep code for the interface is much easier, quicker and
cleaner - once you know objective-c and gnustep - than writing the
corresponding gtk code.>

gnome aimed at completing a development environment quickly.  gtk was the
first complete free widget set with a simple C interface.  For the
university student having learnt C, it's a great tool to bring graphical
user friendly interfaces to his C programs.

but gnome is failing quite hard when it comes to something more than gtk. 
The gnome stuff is a mess.  Bad design and chaos reigns.  Everything is
written in C, which makes OO programming very difficult and ugly.  The
gnome Corba/bonobo stuff is IMHO a complete failure - very difficult to
use, very difficult to maintain, incredibly difficult to debug.  Gnome
can't provide (yet?) a simple and consistent OO environment to program in. 
It's simply a very difficult mess.  They try to solve their big problems
by copying and cloning the Microsft stuff (COM etc) which IMHO is a bad

In these areas (OO design of big applications, interprocess communication
etc) where gnome is in great difficulty, gnustep has a total technical
superiority.  Objective-C is a very powerful OO language.  Very clean,
very easy.  Distributed Objects are easy to use, and they work really
well.  We probably need to do more marketing in this area - and provide
more documentation - write intros to Objective-C, write DO tutorials.

So - I don't think we should try to `merge' gnustep into gnome - actually
this seems to me a big mistake - our stuff is better.  We should certainly
try to make sure that our gui apps can run nicely into a gnome or kde
environment, and vice versa.  I don't think a gtk backend makes sense or
is of any use. 

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