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GNUstep on Windows, "desktop" bundles...

From: Nicolas Roard
Subject: GNUstep on Windows, "desktop" bundles...
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 19:30:00 +0100


As I got a window machine for a few days on my desk, I just couldn't try to compile GNUstep ;-) Although it's not completely straightforward, overall it was a lot simpler than I expected, thanks to the gnustep-base installer and the recent explications sent on the ml by larry cow ;-) I had some troubles compiling libtiff, but using the dll from the gnuwin32 packages worked nicely. In fact I guess it's probably better to do everything using the gnuwin32 packages... Applications behave surprinsingly well too (eg, er... they seems to work :), the most annoying things are just the GDI backend (I guess it's the one to blame for not handling transparency and thus having theses black areas in images ;-) and the vertical menus -- they definitely are not at their place on Windows... and sometimes they
behave, hm, strangely.
Here is two screenshots, the first one is and, the second one is with the same apps plus and a color scheme matching the windows one (and magically the gnustep apps looks much less
"alien" to the windows env, notice the winzip window):

Anyway. Apart for providing nice screenshots, I think it will definitely be good to focus a bit more on the windows backend -- a LOT of people are interested, and it's mostly working... A good start would be to have an installer for gui as well -- it should'nt be that hard ? I'll perhaps try to do something with Wix (the xml installer recently published by microsoft..) -- if I can keep the window machine a few more days... but if somebody else knows how to do an installer, go on :-)

Ideally, I think we'd like to have a "GNUstep developer" install and a "GNUstep runtime" install (for people who just want to use GNUstep..)

Which also bring the second point of this mail... even with a good and easy to use installer, and even with a gui theme matching the Windows GUI, GNUstep apps won't blend easily, because too many things are done as if GNUstep was it's own OS rather than a cross-platform development environment. In order to have gui applications blending easily, we need to have things like menu in windows, use of the local file panel, tracking of the color scheme, etc. And that's probably the same thing if we want to run GNUstep apps under KDE/GNOME. Alex Malmberg once raised the possibility of having "desktop" bundles, that is, isolate all the specific code to "blend" in a particular desktop (Windows,KDE,GNOME,Backbone,Garma,XFCE,CDE,ROX,etc.) in separate bundles -- a clean solution. Do people agree on that idea ? and what kind of things do we need to abstract ?

What I can list is :
- color schemes
- menu policy (vertical, horizontal, in windows, etc.)
- theme
- open/save panels
- iconification..
- pasteboard
- notifications

Any other ideas ?

Nicolas Roard

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