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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: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 02:27:28 -0400

Jason Clouse wrote:
> <<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.>>
> Ah, but the availablity of programmers is very significant.  The reason
> Apache, Linux, and Gnome are such successful projects is because they
> have a lot of enthusiastic developers building a *lot* of applications
> and supporting the project.

> The only way that GNUstep can get a large number of people involved is
> through the publicity that Mac OS X has brought to the table because
> it's the only thriving Objective-C community around today--everyone else
> thinks it's DOA.  It's the only thing that will cause anyone to take a
> look.

I think you are dead wrong.

GNUstep cannot ride Mac OS X's coat-tails and still be a good thing. If
GNUstep cannot stand on its own, it does not deserve to stand at all. That
said, it *can* stand on its own, and it *can* attract developers based on
its own merits, not because it's a clone of Cocoa.

The fact that GNUstep *PREDATES* Cocoa is irrelevant to OSX users. If
GNUstep copies Cocoa, it's still going to be nothing more than an inferior
clone -- because if it becomes a clone, it *will* be inferior. It's that
vision thing: if you don't have it, you're doomed.

GNOME had one HUGE thing going for it in the beginning: de Icaza had
vision. He's wrong a lot of the time, but he's still got it.

I haven't seen much of any vision coming out of the KDE project. It's
pretty, it works, but it has no soul. It looks and feels like they're
merely trying to out-Windows Windows. What happens if, in some way, they
succeed? Nothing, because there is no direction.

> And even in the Mac OS X community, it doesn't seem like many people are
> aware of the project.  Perhaps more evangelizing and publicity are
> needed.

This time, you are absolutely wrong. Most OS X developers know about
GNUstep. Why aren't they here? The simple fact is, not many of them CARE.
They only care about OS X, and the fact that only a very few people use
GNUstep or even have the libraries does not help. It also doesn't help
that most of the very things that make OS X attractive to developers (like
QuickTime, for example) can't become available on GNUstep.

This means that GNUstep has to be big and popular before most of them will
even LOOK at it. No amount of evangelizing, no amount of publicity, will
make that happen -- only something that is better than the other things.

Publicity and evangelism doesn't work in Free Software. If you build a
better mousetrap, the world will notice. That the world hasn't noticed is
not because of a lack of "visibility", or a "sexy image", it's because
GNUstep is not a better mousetrap yet. Note the "yet": GNUstep has matched
some of the strengths of OPENSTEP, and in some ways (GS*Box, for example)
gone further. The apps exist, but there aren't many of them, and some of
them are pretty bad.

For GNUstep to become as "big" (as a meta-platform) as lots of us hope it
will, it needs to have its *own* strengths that make the total package
better than not just Cocoa, but Mac OS X, GNOME, KDE, and so on.

> But I think that cross-platform portability would be a great draw. 
> Especially if deployment on other Unices AND Windows were solid AND
> easy.

GNUstep is cross-platform already. It doesn't need to be compatible with
Cocoa for that.

| 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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