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Re: GNUstep and Cocoa#???

From: Sheldon Gill
Subject: Re: GNUstep and Cocoa#???
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2004 14:31:20 +0800
User-agent: KMail/1.6.2

On Sat, 14 Aug 2004 11:44, Gregory John Casamento wrote:
> Having read about this Cocoa# business on slashdot, I'm not sure what the
> GNUstep community's response should be to it.  I thought I would take the
> initiative and post something here about it to see how the rest of the
> GNUstep community feels about it.
> I'm neither for it, nor against it, I'm just interested in hearing
> opinions. Any thoughts?

It's an inevitable thing to happen. It's also a good thing. Very definitely.

I don't know how familiar you are with the whole C# & .NET thing so I'll 
assume relative ignorance. (Forgive me otherwise and skip down to ANYWAY...)

C# is just a language, really. Many consider it a nice re-working of java in 
that sense. It's also evolving, having acquired generics etc.

A debate between C# and Objective-C isn't going to get us anywhere and I take 
the position that the developer should be reasonably free to choose their 
language and accept the consequences of their decision.

C# implementations all compile to an intermediate level code {ILS} which is 
then either interpreted or compiled {JIT} at run time. Conceptually the same 
as Java but there are some important differences I won't go into here. It's 
entirely possible to expose the *step API to C# (any .NET language really)

The strength of .NET comes from a number of key areas. Firstly, it's backed by 
MS so there is lots of money and hours behind it all. Secondly, MS has shown 
their characteristic "take the best of theirs and make it ours" approach in 
creating it so it does address a number of issues users have had with Java. 
Thirdly it's quite extensive libraries, ease of development and promised 
ubiquity make it an attractive target.


Currently, if you're programming .NET under MS the only reasonable option for 
your GUI layer is to write to the MS graphics sub-system {GDI+}.

This effectively ties your application to run only under Windows. Of course, 
it's possible that Mono will have a fully implemented compatibility layer for 
other platforms but that's really not the case currently.

The Mono culture (boom, boom) are developing GTK# as well as Cocoa#. This 
gives application developers more choice about which libraries they will use. 
Only good things. It dilutes which is very important.

MS is pushing developers to adopt .NET and move their applications. This is 
only just getting started and the time to do something about it is now. Later 
will be too late.  Providing choice and making developers aware of that 
choice will only help companies develop migration strategies that avoid 
effective lock-in.

I believe that the best bet for the open-source community is to provide 
cross-platform alternatives to help avoid that.

Working with the Cocoa# effort so that it can target both MacOS X and GNUstep 
is the right thing to do IMHO.  Those companies interested in being 
multi-platform should be able to port their front-end to Cocoa and have it 
also work on GNUstep.

One thing it will provide is exposure of Cocoa to more developers. This has 
the potential of attracting developers to Cocoa who otherwise might have 
ignored it.


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