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Re: GNUstep Window Manager (was RE: Idea)

From: Gregory Casamento
Subject: Re: GNUstep Window Manager (was RE: Idea)
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2001 22:25:18 -0800 (PST)

See below...

--- "Philippe C.D. Robert" <address@hidden> wrote:
> Hi,
> before I write this, let me say one thing very clearly:
> I do not blame anyone for not having written the perfect GNUstep system up to
> now, X/DGS window manager or whatever else. I just express some feelings of
> mine, based on observations I make during the time I spend working on things
> like PC.app, the GNU 3DKit or smaller GS apps. Thus I believe I know of what
> I talk...
> Nicola Pero <address@hidden> wrote (Thu, 14 Dec 2000 10:39:10 +0000
> (GMT)):
> >     Philippe> So it is not possible to use GDK and Libart instead
> >     Philippe> of/in xgps, for example?
> > 
> > Ahm - I must say I fail to follow your reasoning.
> > I find the proposals quite contradicting and confused.
> >
> > You argued that to be succesful, gnustep must reproduce in full the
> > nextstep experience.  You even propose to rewrite from scratch the
> > window manager because in your opinion, being written in C, using its
> > own little widget set, supporting well gnome/kde/X apps, it's not
> > suitable for gnustep.
> > Then, you are now proposing that we rewrite all the gnustep gui stuff
> > basing it on gtk.  How can you think we can reproduce the nextstep
> > experience in that way ?  We can't.  Not a bit.  Unless by the
> > nextstep experience you mean a nextstep/openstep theme for gtk, in
> > which case you may just simply use gtk with that theme and you are
> > done.  But then, I don't understand all your integralist threading
> > about rewriting window maker in objective-C.
> OK, so I write it again...*sigh*
> A) I said we should have a GNUstep Window Manager which offers better
> integration than WindowMaker does today. I stated several times that this can
> probably be done *either* by adding code to an existing solution *or* to
> write another window manager *based on an existing solution* (eg blackbox,
> WindowMaker or whatever else). I never cared about WiNG or whatever, I am
> talking about *integration* here, that is the use of DO perhaps, ObjC
> interfaces to important 'classes' and so forth. I also think that stuff like
> the dock and clip are not needed in a window manager being 'part of the
> GNUstep project', as is WindowMaker (but I never told anyone: please remove
> those from the codebase!!!). Such a tight integration could help to reproduce
> the NEXTSTEP experience we all like that much, I think.

I agree w/ this...
> B) I further said that GNUstep should reproduce the full NEXTSTEP experience
> (that is mainly the feel), this is one of the major goals of the project (the
> look is IMHO less important for now, you get used to rounded buttones, you
> know...). Since we do not have the support of hundreds of volunteers, I
> suggested to share some foundations with other projects *if it makes sense*
> (such as of GNOME or gtk+). Since we lack experienced X developers and since
> DGS is just 'whisful thinking', it could be wise to adopt existing, stable
> technologies in that area which could help us complete the GNUstep
> experience. Therefore I suggested to have a look into GDK, libart and such
> which could be used to write sth which serves the needs of a NEXTSTEP like
> experience better than xgps or xdps/DGS. I apologise for typing 'gtk'
> sometimes when I mean 'a subset of gtk+, mainly glib and gdk'.

I also agree w/ this...

> > In general, as tradition in this mailing list, I see two main extreme
> > (and contradicting) positions repeating themselves in your posts: 
> > 
> >  * <integralist> gnustep should clone nextstep totally.  Whatever is
> >    slightly different from the holy nextstep 3.3 interface or
> >    environment is shit.  No compromises, never: rewrite the entire 
> >    system from scratch in Objective-C and Postscript.
> Sorry, I never stated anything to be shit, holy or whatever nor did I suggest
> to write everything from scratch, be it ObjC or whatever language. Have a
> closer look before writing such sentences, please.
> >  * <destructivist> gnustep is basically useless.  Since most people in
> >    the real world are using gtk or qt, we should as well turn gnustep 
> >    into an objective-c wrapper for gtk <or qt>.
> GNUstep *is* basically useless as of today if you want to write good, fast,
> stable UI based solutions!

This does not justify throwing the baby out w/ the bathwater.  GNUstep gui is
useable for making UI based solutions, it's just not fast and stable.   We need
to continue to use it and make fixes/optimizations where necessary.  This is
the only way it will gain the stability and speed it needs.
> <snip>
> > I think we should try to find a good balance.  Which begins by
> That is probably true, depending on the goals one has - for me this is very
> true!
> > And precisely because Objective-C is such a nice and flexible language
> > and gnustep such a nice environment, we can play to interface them
> > with whatever is on the market.  I worked on a java interface, and
> > played with writing apache modules in objective-c using the gnustep
> > base library.  In both cases, I found Objective-C and gnustep enough
> > flexible and well designed to allow us to interface with alien stuff
> > quite well.
> See, this is only 'non-UI' stuff. But there are persons out there who like
> *STEP because of the interface part, the part of GNUstep that is sadly not as
> mature and usable as gnustep-base. The design and elegance itself is
> worthless if the implementation is not yet ready! So my question is and
> always was: how can we improve the quality of the gnustep-gui code. Like
> Helge already mentioned, the remaining 10% will take 90% of the time to get
> to the point, this I think we should really think carefully about future
> steps!

We can improve the quality of the gui code by continuing to test and optimize
it.  Helge seems bent on *replacing* gstep-gui w/ GTK which I, personally,
think is somewhat extreme.  Replacing gui w/ GTK is like saying "Well, we're
not satisfied with our first crack at it, so why don't we just throw it all
away and start again."
> > We want to be open, we need to be open, this is not a competition,
> > everything is free software.
> Exactly.
> > About the gnustep gui library, the library is perfectly usable, we
> > only have few developers writing apps using it.  Which is a pity in my
> > opinion, because the gnustep gui library is very nice.  And it's very
> > easy to extend and interface it with other libraries or environments.
> > It doesn't make any sense to drop it at this point, when it works.
> The gnustep gui library is simply not perfectly usable. If you don't believe
> me, try to write a good text editor...  

Please see comments above about "testing and optimizing".   The complexity of
the text system is something we will have to deal w/ no matter what the gui
library is based on. 

> Besides, the integration with X is
> also just not as good as it should be - I know you know the nasty focus
> problem for example.

I don't think that this is a problem w/ GNUstep so much as it is a problem w/
> > The more we (GNUstep) are able to keep calm and don't get hysterical
> > because of this competition, and don't disperse energies in mad
> > projects (rewrite window maker in objective-c, throw away gnustep gui)
> > but get to the concrete stuff <applications and stuff that can be
> > delivered>, the more we can be happy.  I guess there are many people
> You already mentioned it, it's free software, so everyone can do whatever
> he/she likes to do, be it a new window manager, a gdk/glib/libart/... based
> backend, the forthcoming killer app, a SmallTalk or even a Java bridge...;-)
> If it's good, it will be adopted, if not, it won't last for long.

Very true.
> cheers, Phil
> --
> Philippe C.D. Robert | http://www.nice.ch/~phip/
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss-gnustep mailing list
> address@hidden
> http://mail.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss-gnustep

Later, GJC

Gregory John Casamento           Sr. Software Engineer
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