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Re: Some random thoughs and questions on the future of GNUstep

From: Sheldon Gill
Subject: Re: Some random thoughs and questions on the future of GNUstep
Date: Sun, 01 Oct 2006 09:35:39 +0800
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20060909)

Nikolaus Waxweiler wrote:
Adopting CMake (or better: Replacing GNUstep Make)
on maintaining GNUstep Make and that's the problem: GNUstep Make is a
build system in its own right which needs to be maintained somehow.
The (obviously) smarter thing to would be to let others do the coding,
especially if that piece of software is their main development focus.

There would still be maintenance, I'm afraid. Just like there is maintenance with gcc that has to be done. Maybe we could get some nice features with less effort but there'd still need to be maintenance.

- CMake is a replacement for the whole Autotools suite, yet rather
   guess this will make it a bit easier to check for external
   dependencies compared to GNUstep Make.

GNUstep-make doesn't deal with this issue: autoconf does. As an autoconf replacement, CMake is very nice.

Application, library and framework authors are free to use whatever build configuration tool they wish. Turns out that it is rarely needed.

- As mentioned on
   http://wiki.gnustep.org/index.php/Roadmap_to_Windows#Make, GNU make
   is very unixy. CMake generates files for Windows-native build tools,
   making Windows developers' lives a bit easier.  Building the core
   libraries on Windows might also be facilitated if we switch from

Well, *I* wrote that so let me respond. The issue mainly is that gnustep-make as it currently is, assumes a very POSIX environment which Windows just isn't.

So you need a POSIX-ish shell in which to do it. It would be good if gnustep-make would run under the command shell. It would also be very good if make could handle paths and files which have spaces in their names. Those two things are the real problems. Hmm... maybe I should update the wiki. I did that as a bit of a quick brain-dump a while ago.

The core libraries do build on Windows already. Have done so for quite some 

As for "generates files for Windows-native build tools, making Windows developers' lives a bit easier" you don't seem to realise that gcc is the only Objective-C compiler available. It does a pretty good job and I don't believe there is any compelling reason to move away from it.
Windows native build tools won't help. Besides which, there is the freedom 

- CMake works out dependencies of files automatically, so you can run
   several concurrent build processes ("make -j 4"). I heard there were
   problems in that area with GNUstep Make.

This is a nice feature of CMake

- It includes CPack, a tool for automatically packaging files to
   install (.tgz and such). It even supports generating installers for
   Windows and Mac OS X if I understand correctly:
   http://www.cmake.org/Wiki/CMake:Packaging_With_CPack.  This should
   fulfill wish #2 (and maybe #3?) on
   http://wiki.gnustep.org/index.php/GNUstep_wish_list.  Might be
   possible to extend it to fulfill #4.  AFAIK it's currently in beta,
   .rpm and .deb support will come later.

- It includes CTest, a tool for running tests and submitting the

GNUstep has a testsuite. It is really easy to run. Doesn't require much setup, either.

Testing is really a much bigger issue and CTest is essentially a wrapper script to invoke "make test" and send the output somewhere if you want. It doesn't really address the bigger issues in testing.

Unfortunately, there are also some downsides.

The big upside for GNU make is that it's available everywhere gcc is, which means everywhere you could consider Objective-C.


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