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Observations and Issues With Gstep Win32

From: mcgurme
Subject: Observations and Issues With Gstep Win32
Date: 20 May 2006 18:41:54 -0700
User-agent: G2/0.2

Hi all,

*brief intro*
I've been involved in Nextstep/Openstep/Cocoa coding since about '91.
I've used Gnustep at various times in the past to try to get some
scientific applications I was developing ported over, but at the time
the major effort took place, it was not mature enough, and I
unfortunately didn't have time to contribute much.  But lately it's
come a long ways and I'm back to porting one of my major apps, GFS
(http://gfs.unc.edu), which is currently a command line program for
analyzing proteomic data from fancy mass spectrometers.  I'm excited to
have this app available on all major platforms, and very thankful to
all the Gnustep developers who've made it possible.  I now have this
program running on Debian, Ubuntu, and Win32.  My program is memory and
processor intensive, so it is a good test of efficiency for Gnustep on
the various platforms.
*end intro*

Here are some observations and issues (repeating again that I am very
*thankful* for all the great work that's gone into Gnustep):
-  Gnustep is very fast on Debian/Ubuntu.  In speed tests against OSX,
it seems to be winning slightly.  This is using a MacBookPro (dual 2
Ghz Intel Core Duo) with the Parallels software running Debian.  So
this is also a testament to how fast the virtualization in Parallels
is.  I am using the latest Gnustep from SVN.

- It is *very* slow on Win32 (Win XP).  I have Win XP also running on a
virtual machine using Parallels, and other operations are quite snappy.
 But the program operation is about 10-fold slower on Windows.  I don't
know why... The processor intensive stuff has been highly optimized to
minimize objective-C message passing, so I don't think it's due to
that.  Any ideas?  For this I am using the downloadable installer
version of Gnustep.  As I am writing this, I am now attempting a
compile/install of Gnustep from SVN on windows, and have all fingers
crossed that this won't turn into chaos.

- I cannot figure out how to compile Gnustep apps (e.g. mine or
ProjectCenter) so that they can be double-clicked in Windows explorer,
or even run at a windows command prompt.  It always complains that the
".dll" files are missing.  I've done a lot of Googling on this, and
come up empty.  I've seen claims that this is possible, but never seen
any instructions as to how.  Any pointers would be appreciated.  I am
not very Windows savvy - I have managed to mostly avoid it...

- I tried to get GDB working under Win32 to try to debug a small issue
I was having with my program.  I got it downloaded and installed, but
it wouldn't recognize objective-c sources... This is version 5.2.1.  It
would just run my program, pop up a second window briefly, then come
back saying "program has exited with status 1".  It would not let me do
a backtrace or etc.  Has anyone gotten gdb to work with objective-c
under Win32?

I'll report back later if I notice any speed improvement on Windows
after re-installing from latest svn.

Thanks in advance for any pointers on some of the questions above.

Morgan Giddings

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