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Re: Changes I've been thinking of...

From: Michael Thaler
Subject: Re: Changes I've been thinking of...
Date: Sat, 10 Oct 2009 19:21:43 +0200
User-agent: KMail/1.12.2 (Linux/2.6.30-1-amd64; KDE/4.3.2; x86_64; ; )


> I just completely disagree with your arguments here.  So what if you like
> "eye-candy"?  Riccardo and Richard like the grey NeXT look, and using the
> mailing list as the sample space I would say it's divided roughly 60/40 for
> the NeXT look over the so called "eye-candy".

My point is not that I like eye-candy (I actually do not like too much eye-
candy). My point is that apparently the majority of people like a more modern 
look for their desktop enivornements.

Here are some numbers for the usage share of desktop environements:

The market share of Windows is roughly 93%, Mac OS X is roughly 4.5% and Linux 
roughly 1%. Other  operating systems are about 2%. On Linux most people use 
either KDE or Gnome. So basically 98% of all desktop operating systems used 
have desktops that provide quite some eye-candy in their default 

Obviously some people change their themes to reduce the amount of eye-candy 
(others probably chose themes that offer even more eye-candy). But most people 
seem to be quite happy with their desktops otherwise Microsoft, Apple, KDE and 
Gnome would probably chose different themes / defaults.

On the other hand,Gnustep applications feature a more conservative grey Next 
look. Gnustep did not manage to attract many users / developers compared to 
KDE / Gnome even so they had a head start.

Certainly it is oversimplified to say that is just because of the Look & Feel. 
But don't you think that the old-fashined Next Look is at least part of the 

> Have anyone here using GTK or Qt applications ever actually built these
>  from scratch?  I would assume no, because the idea of "an easy install"
>  always comes up.  I've personally next built Qt, but have done GTK. 

As a former KDE developer I have installed Qt / KDE from scratch. I didn't 
have any major problems doing it.

>  Simple put, it's hell!  You have 15 dependencies you need to satisfy
>  before GTK even configures without an error, and another 10 dependencies
>  to get decent support for everything you want (
> http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/view/svn/x/gtk2.html everything in
> "Required" + their dependencies).  Then, after you're all done with that
>  you still end up with a "dull and grey" look... so you go out and install
>  the clearlooks theme engine.  How is that any easier than building
>  GNUstep?  I can truthly say, it's not.  I still say we need distribution

Building KDE and Gnome is probably not easier then building gnustep. But most 
people do not have to do that, they just install the packages provided by 
their distros. And even as a KDE developer, you usually do not have to compile 
Qt yourself, just install libs + headers provided by your distro.

> On top of all that, GNUstep has a serious identity crisis.  It's such a far
> departure from the usual Gnome/KDE/Windows desktop metaphore.  So you end
>  up with the problem that most people expect you provide at least a half
>  working desktop in order to feel comfortable, but that's not GNUstep's
>  goal, it's just a development environment.  You can see that littered all

And that is exactly the problem. GNUstep's goal is to provide a development 
environment, but the applications developed with it look foreign and out of 
place in KDE / Gnome and Windows. I don't know about MacOS X, but on MacOS X 
most people will probably use Cocoa anyway.

In my opinion GNUstep as a development environment was/is a failure because it 
did not attract many developers / users.I don't see this changing by just 
improving gnustep-base or gnustep-gui.  I think the only way to change this is 
to change the direction of the project.

>  over Michael's post, he's trying to compare GNUstep with KDE and Gnome
>  instead of with Qt and GTK (+ GLib and GDK).  Etoile is definitly working
>  to bridge that gap, but even so it's not easy to get it.  I personally do
>  not build all of Etoile because it's just simply too much work.  I would
>  not use Gnome if I had to build it everytime either.

Most people do not have to build their desktop environments. They don't care 
how many dependencies KDE or GNOME has and how difficult it is to build them. 
I want to write a cool new application for KDE, I just install KDE, all 
necessary headers and start developing my application. The exception are core 
developers that work on deskop components, but even they do not have to 
rebuild the whole desktop all the time.

> Here I agree with one of the messages that was posted before on this
> thread.  GNUstep needs to stop chasing butterflies.  GNUstep barely has
>  full 10.3 compatibility, yet there already are 10.5 features in.  In my
>  opinion, and that's all it is since there's not much I can do to help in
>  this aspect, GNUstep needs to focus on finishing full compability with one
>  version of OS X before moving to the next.  Pick one, and stick with it
>  until you're at least 90% finished before moving to the next.  I'm going
>  out on a limb here, but I'd say it will take a few years for a good chunk
>  of applications to move to 10.5 features.  New application might start
>  using these features, but application being ported from one version to the
>  next will probably not use them.

In my opinion GNUstep has to stop this it's just a development environment 
thing and develop a desktop environment where GNUstep applications do not look 
totaly out of place. GNUstep probably can't compete with KDE or GNOME but why 
shouldn't it be possible to compete with something like XFCE or Equinox or one 
of the other smaller OSS desktop environments. I think GNUstep needs to be 
more attractive to KDE / GNOME / MacOS X. In my opinion these are the people 
most likely to use GNUstep and if GNUstep attracts more users it will 
automatically get more developers.

> Anyway, that's enough for me.  I've already spent too much time typing.

I agree with that. This discussion happens about once a year or so and from my 
experience the outcome is always that many current GNUstep developers / users 
think that GNUstep and its Look & Feel is just fine the way it is. I think this 
is sad because I think this way GNUstep will not attract many users / 
developers. But I also think those you actually write the code should decide 
and if they want GNUstep to be a development environment for former Openstep 
users / developers then that's the way it is.


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