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Re: Gnustep + mac + windows? Possible?

From: Jeff Teunissen
Subject: Re: Gnustep + mac + windows? Possible?
Date: Sun, 22 Sep 2002 07:51:02 -0400

Dennis Leeuw wrote:

> Jeff Teunissen wrote:
> > "Philippe C.D. Robert" wrote:


> > > What do you mean by that? Cocoa is still OpenStep wrt previously
> > > existng APIs, of course they add new stuff which cannot be OpenStep,
> > > but I consider this is a GoodThing - the OpenStep spec is 8 years
> > > old and a lot has changed since then (I don't say every addition
> > > they made is good or necessary, though...). Now if the new classes
> > > are well designed or not I cannot judge, I never used them so far...
> >
> > In Cocoa, Apple have changed (and continue to change) the existing
> > APIs.
> >
> > As for whether or not it's a Good Thing(tm), WHY do you think it is a
> > Good Thing? Older things are not just something to be destroyed.
> > Apple's changes to Cocoa do not make Cocoa better, they just make it
> > different, and take away the hope for portability between
> > implementations.


> > > PS: I don't try to defend Apple, I just don't understand your
> > > message - and I also get somehow tired of these Apple bashing
> > > discussions ( from both sides, ex NeXT and ex Mac OS )...:-)
> >
> > I'm not bashing Apple. I don't hold anything against them for doing
> > what they are doing to Cocoa -- good for them. I'm simply saying that
> > it is probably not good, in a general sense, to follow where they are
> > going.
> >
> > 1. The developers will still not come to GNUstep if it becomes Mac OS
> > X-compatible, so why do it? This is not just idle chatter, it has been
> > proven time and time again. Anyone remember OS/2? Between Win-OS/2 and
> > DAX (the Developer API Extensions -- a Win16 subset to make porting
> > easier), it really was "a better Windows than Windows", and that was
> > one of the biggest factors that destroyed OS/2 as a platform in the
> > 2.x days.
> >
> > 2. There are some things that simply cannot be done because of
> > patents, nonportability, or a multitude of other reasons.
> >
> > 2. (or 3, for those counting) you can't keep up with Apple anyway, so
> > it's never going to actually happen.
> What are you suggesting? That we stick to the OpenStep spec. as
> published and create, e.g. bundles, or frameworks to extend that.
> Or do you just want to walk another path and create another cocoa, but a
> free one. Meaning another OpenStep extended with the same problem as
> OpenStep vs. Cocoa?
> Or do you see another way?

Sticking to the letter of the OpenStep spec is unreasonable; there ARE
several things that have changed since 1994/1996 (OpenStep spec/OPENSTEP 4
release). For example, it is clear that something else should be done for
display, because Display PostScript(tm) isn't readily available
everywhere, and because it's suboptimal even when it is available.

However, following Apple is largely fruitless and improbable, if not
outright impossible. There exist things in GNUstep _today_ that are, or
may be, infringing on Apple-held patents (like the key-value coding in
-base and GSWeb, which may be covered by a whole raft of patents assigned
to NeXT Software throughout the '90s).

I do suggest that non-core functionality should not be part of the core
libraries, but rather in secondary libraries, bundles, and/or frameworks.
Like the sound system, or an OpenGL framework, or bundles to add different
image types (though this _was_ specified in OpenStep) to NSImage.

However, I also suggest that GNUstep should evolve along paths that make
GNUstep better for GNUstep, and not necessarily in ways that Mac OS
developers would expect.

NeXTstep and OPENSTEP were _the_ most Unix-like, bar none, graphical
operating systems ever developed. The whole operating environment was
based on, and leveraged to a tremendous degree, the philosophy of the Unix
operating system -- a system built of small tools that you could use to
build systems with a high degree of rapidity, reliability, and ease of use
at every level.

*step is an extension of that philosophy. It's a system that lets you do
even more, even more quickly, than anything else -- including Mac OS X.

Objective-C, Frameworks, Services, the Pasteboard, *PORTABLE* Distributed
Objects, WO/GSWeb, IB/Gorm, the shell, even the "spartan" (elegant and
distinguished) interface, contribute to something that is far, far greater
than the sum of its parts.

You don't need Microsoft Office, or even a clone, on a system like that.
You put pieces together to assemble a single system that precisely fits
your needs, with nothing there that you don't need. Other people put
together systems that fit exactly what *they* need. And Free Software
helps them help each other to make everything they all need.

Mac OS X has left that path almost entirely. Big apps in which everyone is
reinventing wheels and not taking advantage of the things that were left
by its progenitors(NeXTstep/OPENSTEP), with very little in the way of
collaboration. The interface is bright and cheery, but it has the smell of
death about it.

Apple have left the path. GNUstep should keep going, because it's as close
to a holy grail of computing as anything most of us is ever likely to see.

| Jeff Teunissen  -=-  Pres., Dusk To Dawn Computing  -=-  deek @ d2dc.net
| GPG: 1024D/9840105A   7102 808A 7733 C2F3 097B  161B 9222 DAB8 9840 105A
| Core developer, The QuakeForge Project        http://www.quakeforge.net/
| Specializing in Debian GNU/Linux              http://www.d2dc.net/~deek/

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