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Re: GNUstep directory layout

From: Tim Harrison
Subject: Re: GNUstep directory layout
Date: Sat, 07 Sep 2002 04:23:56 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-US; rv:1.0.0) Gecko/20020529

Dennis Leeuw wrote:

> Guess we can setup a very lengthy discussion about what is and what isn't
> documentation and where the boundary of the definition of documentation lies. We
> probably never gonna agree.

You're probably right. :)

> Where we seem to agree is on the naming convention: DocumentTemplates.

True.  It matches with the full word naming of most other directories.
Which reminds me, maybe it's time to do away with the "NS" prefix on
some of the directories -- like NSTimeZones and NSCharacterSets.

> Let's keep it with that. In the end it doesn't matter where things reside as long as
> it is in a standard and a logical way.

Well, the discussion can lead to agreement on what's logical and
standard.  If no one ever discussed it, there wouldn't be a logical or
standard decision made. :)

> I think the NeXT idea was to sort things in a fashion that it was clear what was
> coming from where.
> /System -> NeXT
> /Local -> Sysadmin
> /Local/Users/<user> -> The user
> /Network -> another host on the network

Following that logic, that means the users are the domain of the system
administrator, as opposed to that of each individual user.  It's like
IRIX's /usr/people, which always annoyed me. :)  NEXTSTEP actually had
/Users, and Mac OS X has /Users.  Normally, the users are kept out of
any directory like /usr because /usr is, in many environments, mounted
read-only.  If /Local acts like /usr, then it's possible that it could
be mounted read-only.  Now, I know it's most likely impossible to mount
a GNUstep /Local partition as read-only (I haven't looked too closely
into it), but the argument could be made thus:  if directories within a
GNUstep domain were to inherit the rights and permissions of the parent
directory in which it is housed, then the permissions and rights of
/Local could negatively affect the users.  This could potentially make
/Local/Users read-only.  I still believe that /Users is the best place
for them to reside.  That way, the permissions only of the parent /Users
directory affect the structures below.

I might not be explaining this terribly well, as it's almost 4am, and
I've been having terrible insomnia over the past month. :/  I'll reread
it when I get some sleep, and see if I can make it more clear. :)

> And THAT is why I want it to be clean. As long as there is no good solution, don't > provide a semi-solution, which will eventually clash with the solution you find.

But, clearing out /Network is a semi-solution.  It doesn't address the
problems of where the GNUstep environment looks for applications.  If
the admin decides to use /Network/I_Rule/This_Network/Apps/BillyBob.app,
then how is GNUstep supposed to know to search there?  If we have a
standard way of mounting, then it can be designed to look in standard

> hmm, what about a database server. You use it to gain access to data...
> Maybe it is a bit too easy but you get the picture.... (I hope)

I understand your point, but I'm just saying that I see a distinct
difference between most tools and servers.  I'll leave it at that. :)

> I think me should keep the user in mind. Or is GNUstep written for the writers?

I'm definitely attempting to keep the users in mind.  Which is why I'm
in this discussion. :)  As for GNUstep being written for the writers,
that's not something I can answer.  I'm not writing GNUstep.  However,
my guess would be that they're writing it for people to use, other than
just themselves.  Hence, public discussion being had about things like
how the system should be laid out. :)  A cleanly laid out system makes
it easier for the user to interact with said system.  Everything in its
place, and all places easily understood.

> I think we should only "steal" what helps us, not what brings us further away... :)

Well, keep in mind that GNUstep was started to create a free
implementation of OpenStep.  OpenStep now lives on with Apple.  What
Apple does with OS X is a continuation of what OpenStep was.  I think
Mac OS X is an excellent place to look for concepts on how GNUstep
should be designed.  After all, Cocoa is the older brother of GNUstep.

Maybe we should be looking at how they deal with /Network and where
users are held.  Some of what they do, I agree with.  Some, I do not
(time to be rid of /private, I think :)).


Tim Harrison

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