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Re: The Path of GNUstep (Was: Re: Gnustep + mac + windows? Possible?)

From: Jeff Teunissen
Subject: Re: The Path of GNUstep (Was: Re: Gnustep + mac + windows? Possible?)
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 01:02:31 -0400

Stefan Urbanek wrote:

> Even I do not have too many experiences in computer science as many of
> you have here,  I would like to express some of my thoughts. I do not
> want to offend anyone, so excuse me if I accidentaly did.
> On 2002-09-22 13:51:02 +0200 Jeff Teunissen <address@hidden> wrote:


> > 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.
> OpenStep was here, it was good, but we have to go on...

I think you have somewhat misunderstood that bit, or I have slightly
misstated myself.

There should be a strong reason to contradict either the letter or the
spirit of OpenStep, otherwise GNUstep may fall into the same trap that
Apple have fallen into.

> > 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.
> I agree. GNUstep already has good mechanisms for extending the
> functionality, but it is not used as much as it can be used. Moreover,
> that functionality can be added at runtime. I can imagine loading
> NSImageRepresentation or NSString readers/writers classes as they are
> needed, but this is only a small portion of what can be done.
> > 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.
> I could not agree more, but ... despite GNUStep has it's own way,
> GNUstep may benefit from being compatible with OSX in the beginning.
> GNUstep needs apps, and this is one of the ways how to get apps fot it.

I somewhat disagree. Apps that do not "fit in" with a GNUstep system don't
help as much as one might think.

The availability of random apps isn't as important as quality apps.

> > 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.
> Speaking about UNIX ... it was here for many many years and it is still
> here. I do not want to start arguing here, just want to say what I
> think. Unix is old, and it is its time, soon or later.  As one may see,
> ~step is trying to hide it under the objects where one does not see or
> even feel it (well, not entirely). But this is completely another story
> about a system with objects. There was, and still is, a try: Smalltalk
> or Self, for example, and even being big fan of both I do not think they
> will succeed ant time soon, because they are revolutionary.
> Now it seems that GNUstep is heading similar goal, but it goes
> step-by-step, slowly replacing mechanisms of the old world with new
> Objective one. I see GNUstep as one of first/next steps towards one
> object environment. GNUstep goes on a path of the evolution.

Unix is not old. It is more modern than most other operating systems out
today, and what's more it _evolves_, particularly Linux and to a lesser
extent the BSDs.

Unix is as revolutionary and new today as it was 30 years ago, and I see
no reason to believe it will not continue to be in the future.

As for *step hiding Unix under the objects, you could not be more wrong.
*step is a powerful ADDITION to the already-powerful Unix system. The Unix
philosophy, tools, and APIs are part of the fabric and heritage of a *step

You don't replace your heritage, you add to it -- and *step does just


> > 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.
> At this time and with current systems, what can we want more? This is a
> good foundation.

It's a VERY good foundation, with the potential to be the best ever
created. It will take vision (and good code, of course) to make that
happen--but it *can* happen.


> > 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.
> Amen.
> It may be necessary to change the way of thinking or point of view and
> to free ones mind from existing systems to be able to understand and
> efectively use ~step. It is not ideal, but it is the way to go. It's not
> a catch-up game, but the evolution.

Exactly. The battle is not over "market share", but "mind share". Getting
people to understand just why *step is such a powerful thing. Of course,
that requires that GNUstep *be* a powerful thing, but it is mostly there

> Maybe I am just a dreamer, but I am not the only one ... (John Lennon)

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.  Therefore all progress
depends on the unreasonable man.
                -- George Bernard Shaw


| 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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