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Re: Objective-C 2.0 and other new features in Leopard


From: David Chisnall
Subject: Re: Objective-C 2.0 and other new features in Leopard
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2007 14:31:13 +0000

I've been following this discussion for a little while and I thought I'd chime in with my 2¢ too:

GNUstep is easy to install from source, but most people regard 'from source' as difficult. A huge problem with source installations is that they don't integrate with your distribution's update mechanism, so you can easily miss security-related fixes. For example, on FreeBSD portaudit will give me a list of all known security holes with software installed from ports, but won't tell me anything about my GNUstep install since that is from source (the GNUstep ports are getting badly out of date because the FreeBSD maintainer encountered a bug that never got fixed because he didn't enter it in the bug tracking system...)

The web site is terrible. Really, really, appallingly bad. Compare the following two links:

http://web.archive.org/web/20040110101954/http://www.gnustep.org/index.html

http://www.gnustep.org/

There is almost nothing on the second to indicate that anything has happened to the project in the last three years. The page has big links to Startup, Gorm and ProjectCenter on the front page, but what are these things? Sure, regular GNUstep users will know, but regular GNUstep users are not the people the front page of the site should be aimed at. There is nothing at all on the current front page saying that the last release was less than a week ago. There is nothing saying what applications have been recently released or updated. Give some hints that the project is not dead, please.

GNUstep itself is only interesting to developers. There should be something on the front page saying 'if you are not a developer, take a look at some of the applications that have been written with GNUstep' and linking to a page with lots of eye candy. The current applications page is almost completely devoid of images. No one installs applications without looking at screenshots first. Each application should have a screenshot showcasing it. Going back to the front page, the one screenshot there emphasises the vertical menu, which is likely to put a lot of people off.

As to the look, is there a reason why Camaelon still isn't part of the standard GNUstep distribution? Yes, the default look is clean, but it's clean and very 80s. Nesedah is clean and modern, and Narcissus is even cleaner. Using GNUstep apps without Camaelon feels like stepping through a time warp.

A slogan might help, but I'm not convinced that it will make any difference unless it's combined with a new attitude to the web site. A few people have mentioned blogging. This is a good idea... except that there's already a GNUstep blog maintained by Yen-Ju:

http://gnustep.blogspot.com/

Most of the entries are less than a single line long. A blog is only worth bothering with if the core developers regularly update it. Contrast that with the Étoilé blog:

http://www.etoile-project.org/etoile/blog/

Most of the entries there are longer than the entire GNUstep blog. Also compare the screenshots with those on the GNUstep page. Which are more likely to make you want to use the system? Quick comparison:

http://gnustep.org/images/full-screenshot1.png

http://www.flickr.com/photos/address@hidden/427649481/

Anything Étoilé does, GNUstep can claim at least partial credit for, so please do and use it to advertise how great GNUstep is to work with.

David



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