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Re: GNUstep vs. The Cocotron for Mac to Windows porting


From: Gregory Casamento
Subject: Re: GNUstep vs. The Cocotron for Mac to Windows porting
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 2015 02:31:22 -0500

Dr. Jansen,

On Sun, Dec 13, 2015 at 6:34 PM, Dr. Rolf Jansen <address@hidden> wrote:
Am 13.12.2015 um 19:59 schrieb Riccardo Mottola <address@hidden>:

Rolf wrote:
Ricardo wrote:
Rolf wrote:

4. PDF readiness

My application requires reading and flawless display of PDF files, as well as generation of PDF files from its view contents, some of which may become really huge. Does this work with GNUstep on Windows?

I would say no, I am not aware of native PDF handling on windows. Do you know what The Cocotron uses?

Cocotron does the whole PDF handling (parsing, reading, writing) by itself, using its Quartz2D replacement named Onyx2D. Recently I committed a minor fix to the PDF generator.

Interesting, is this in-house of cocotron or does it has an external library?

Onyx2D works completely without external libraries, even the rasterizer is internal code. The internal rasterizer is somewhat slow (a little faster than pixman+cairo) but way slower that Quarz2D, so people who need speed can include the AntiGrain rasterizer as an external library, however, Cocotron works well without any external dependency — it is completely self-contained.

​I find it interesting that Chris not only had time to write a complete clone of Cocoa, but also a complete PDF implementation as well.   GNUstep could theoretically use the same code it uses for GSPdf to support PDF viewing.  I do apologize.  PDF viewing is possible on Linux, but not on Windows currently.
 
We support most PS functions instead

Well, the way from PS to PDF is not that stony, having some hope now.


​Please let us know how we can help.​
 
On GNUstep you have two kits: PDFKit and PopplerKit which rely on xpdf and poppler libraries. Or you can GSPdf's approach to work with ghostscript.
I got none of the above working on windows yet, not because of the GNUstep code, but because of the dependend library/application.

Well, this sounds not that promising. I have to evaluate this. One option might be to switch from a PDF to a SVG workflow. Recently, I wrote a SVG generator for a non GUI server application. SVG is less complex than PDF, and I guess that I will be able to implement a simple parser and writer in my application.

Actually, perhaps those libraries can be ported. I will try one of these days.
PDFKit needs some revamping, but my efforts to update it to current xpdf were unsuccessful, apparently they removed some functionality it relied on.
If PDFKit suits you, maybe it is worth improving it as well as corresponding GS support. Maybe you can try on Linux first.

Certainly, I will evaluate the options. I need PDF import for directly displaying it in some views of my application and PDF export of the document view for file exchange with third parties, I don't need PDF manipulation.

Does GNUstep provide complete RTF compatibility, editing and display. …

Our RTF support is quite good. …

The formatted text is kept within my application. Interoperation of formatted text with other applications is not necessary.

Formatted text inside your application should really work quite well! That is, AttributedStrings are quite capable. To exchange stuff between apps I would rely on that. You can copy a piece of a web page from Vespucci to Ink and it is quite good.

OK, this sounds promising.

Is cocotron mantained actually?

Yes, it lost a little bit of inertia over the years, however, definitely yes.


​Partly, from my understanding, because it depends on an undocumented feature within Xcode to allow plugging in SDKs that can change at any time.​
 
We actually always suspected and even have the proof that they copied stuff from GNUstep circumventing the license.

Well, I recently saw on the list that GNUstep people have a habit to suspect this about other projects, in that case somebody suspected that Microsofts WinObjC might be a stolen clone of GNUstep. When reading this, I browsed the code in the GitHub repository, and at that time I found no indication that they took code from other projects, neither from GNUstep nor from The Cocotron.


​WinObjC uses Cocotron header files all over the place.   You should take another look at the code and you'll see what I mean.​

 
The Cocotron received many small code contributions from many developers over the years. I cannot speak for everybody, however, I am sure that Christopher Loyd (who is the initiator and maintainer of The Cocotron) would cut off his right hand before he would steal code from other projects. I also contributed some pieces to The Cocotron, and I took nothing from GNUstep.


​I have, in the past seen references from other developers comparing Cocotron code to GNUstep code.  I can provide examples of this if needed.  While there is no evidence of direct copying there is reason to believe that much of Cocotron's code was "inspired" by "outside sources." ;)​
 

After all the whole repository is online, and you may want to search for yourself for unauthorized copies:


Best regards

Rolf


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​I apologize for voicing some of my bile with respect to Cocotron, but I believe our efforts would have been better consolidated than apart.   Nevertheless, it's all open source and free software, so there's no problem.  Just let it be known that I don't like the idea of any other project taking GNUstep code, relicensing it and claiming it as their own.

GC​
--
Gregory Casamento
GNUstep Lead Developer / OLC, Principal Consultant
http://www.gnustep.org - http://heronsperch.blogspot.com
http://ind.ie/phoenix/

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