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Mission Statement (Re: Questions)

From: Doc O'Leary
Subject: Mission Statement (Re: Questions)
Date: Tue, 8 Mar 2016 21:36:24 -0000 (UTC)
User-agent: com.subsume.NNTP/1.0.0

For your reference, records indicate that 
Gregory Casamento <address@hidden> wrote:

> On Monday, March 7, 2016, Doc O'Leary <address@hidden>
> wrote:
> > And yet I see bugs dating back to 2003 that are still unassigned.  If
> > someone has taken responsibility for the involved classes/frameworks, why
> > aren=E2=80=99t these issues being resolved?  If nobody is taking responsi=
> bility,
> > it makes GNUstep a very hard thing to recommend to people.
> So?  So what if they're not resolved?

So that sends a message.  One that is in conflict with your assertion that
people are taking responsibility and/or the idea that GNUstep is
progressing towards some goal.

> Some of them may have been addressed
> but not marked as fixed in the bug system.

That’s a problem that should be fixed.  Why is there a policy that even
allows this behavior in the first place?

> Please, if you will, go to the
> gnome big list and let me know if it's empty.  You are drawing a strawman
> argument in the sense that you are assuming we don't care because you can
> find bugs which isn't true at all.

Please don’t conflate the issues by bringing up other projects.  Focus on
what can be done better for GNUstep.  Do you think best practices really
would say that leaving issues unresolved for 13 years is the way things
should be done?

It’s not *that* bugs exist, it’s that they are allowed to fester.  And, to
my thinking, it all revolves around the core problem that GNUstep has no
core mission statement that sets the context for how the project gets
things done.

> It's too bad that you disagree.  You yourself said that a mission statement
> needs to be short and understandable.

No, my argument is more that it should be concise and mindful.  And it
should be able to be detailed in a straightforward manner.  If you just
wanted to leave it at “Cocoa Everywhere”, I’d be cool with that . . .
but *only* if you actually set out the sub-goals that are involved in
making that happen and how they’d fit together to make the larger mission
a success.  Otherwise, it just comes off as so much wishful thinking.

> Was it not you that mentioned Kennedy?  I'm sorry you can't see the
> implications in the statement.  Perhaps you should review it and think
> about it at length.  If not then I would be happy to walk you through the
> reasoning.

Please do so, then.  My use of Kennedy’s moon shot was *precisely* to walk
you through the difference between the *list of technologies* that are
being used and the *goal* which they are being used to achieve.  GNUstep
is heavy on the former and *very* light on the latter.  It’s not a proper
mission statement, but I’ll be happy to hear you out if you think you can
contort it into one.

> The plain truth of the matter is that most cocoa development shops are not
> interested in porting their apps. I have talked with many and they see it
> as extra overhead they don't need since they feel as though they are doing
> well enough or, alternatively, they are relying on another cross platform
> environment like Java or something similar.

But *why*?  What is their main complaint that makes GNUstep unsuitable for
the task?  It makes no sense to say they’re the target audience, and then
never discuss the reasons why GNUstep is missing the target.  My bet is
that, if they were frank about their objections, they’d echo a lot of the
things I’ve been saying for years.  Yet GNUstep never seems to make the
changes necessary to be relevant to a larger development community.

> I pushed for a UIKit
> implementation base on GNUstep to no avail.   I also started on an
> implementation of sorts.  It was not picked up.

Stop with the pointless coding.  It’s wasted effort until the project
itself has set a mission statement!  It makes no sense to “push” for
anything in an unofficial way; an executive decision needs to be made
about what GNUstep *is*, and then all efforts follow from that.

> It should be mentioned that we are missing a similar opportunity with
> swift.  I am currently doing this myself.  Those who are capable of helping
> me are free to join me at any time in the effort. The GNUstep fork of the
> swift repo is on github and is not private.

You’ll get more people interested if you set Swift support as a specific
sub-goal in the GNUstep mission statement.  But, really, I think you need
to retract in order to expand.  GNUstep has a lot of cruft side projects
that need to be culled so that you legitimately have a core product that
is useful to a wider audience.  Throwing Swift into the mix isn’t going to
attract new developers if they’re not already interested in the other
pieces of Cocoa that GNUstep offers.

> I fail to see how we should assure them that it is current and accurate.

Management from the top down would be a good start.  Don’t allow the code
to be updated until the documentation if updated, and make sure it is all
done in a way that shows a coherent understanding of what the actual goals
of GNUstep are.

> Your assertion is somewhat circular in the sense that unless you actually
> try to use it you may not know if it's accurate and indeed we may not know
> of there is a problem unless someone reports a problem.  You cannot simply
> say "prove to me it's accurate a priori"

That’s true.  As an outside observer, all we can do is look at what you
present.  GNUstep presents a lot of old code.  Incomplete apps are promoted
as if they’re the project’s greatest achievements.  People talk about
little more than coding.  You link to documentation that hasn’t been
updated since 2009.  A rookie developer might dive in to see what’s really
what, but an experienced developer will look at the hints given and
conclude the project is organizationally a mess.  If you think that’s the
wrong conclusion, I would continue to suggest you address the issues that
we raise instead of leading with “So?” responses.

> I've given you a mission statement and where the project is heading.  I'm
> the project lead.  I should know, right? ;)

You should, yes, but do you?  And, more to the point, are you really
letting other people know the direction you’re leading them?  I still have
no idea if GNUstep *really* has any interest in seeing Cocoa apps being
ported over from the Mac.  Do you have plans for any initiative to address

> I am perfectly willing to discuss this.  Most of your time on his thread
> has been devoted to convincing us that we should discuss this amongst
> ourselves.

People currently involved in the project *do* need to come together and
self-select the goals that they’re looking to achieve.  That’s why it is
an ongoing disappointment to me when I see the brogrammer contingent chime
in with calls for nothing but more code.

> I believe that after all of these posts we would all love to
> actually discuss it rather than discuss and complain about how it's not
> being discussed. By all means.... Please give us an idea of what you think
> GNUstep should be. The floor on this mailing list is open. Have at it.

I’ve already discussed many of those things in previous messages.  People
seem unwilling to discuss them.  So let’s stick with the one I’ve changed
the subject to: setting a mission statement that can be built upon.

Blurb version: Cocoa Everywhere

Basic version:
GNUstep is a project to bring great software from the Mac and iOS to
other platforms, like Linux, Windows, and Android.  It is also a way
to portably develop software for those platforms using the same
technologies that have turned Apple into a juggernaut over the
past 10 years.

It should then go into the detail how it breaks down the features (e.g.,
GNUstep Base, etc.), limitations (no CoreWhatever, but maybe support of
portability frameworks that allow for support of platform-native
wrappers to accomplish the same tasks).  And it should go into specific
initiatives to bring existing apps to GNUstep as well as initiatives to
put GNUstep-first apps on Mac/iOS platforms.  Direct statements that are
calls to action rather than just an inventory of code repositories.

Discuss.  Please.  Don’t just dismiss.  That’s all I’ve been asking for.

"Also . . . I can kill you with my brain."
River Tam, Trash, Firefly

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