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GNUstep questions and comments

From: Peter Schols
Subject: GNUstep questions and comments
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 13:42:55 +0200

Dear GNUStep developer,

I'm a biologist and self-made Cocoa developer. Over the past few years, I have heard a lot about GNUstep but I never took the time to give it a serious look. Yesterday, I finally installed GNUstep on a Windows 2000 machine. The reason I'm trying out GNUstep is to port my bioinformatics apps and frameworks to Linux and Windows. First of all, I must say I'm impressed with the current state of the frameworks! I was able to build the entire core library, including gui and back. Running graphical apps works quite well, even on Windows!

However, I still have a few questions and some suggestions.

Here are my questions:
- I built the core libs without (much) problems. However, I can't seem to compile Gorm or ProjectCenter. While building Gorm, I get the following error (using Gorm 0.8.0, MinGW, Windows 2000): .../mingw/bin/dllwrap.exe: no export definition file provided. Creating one but that may not be what you want.
.../mingw/bin/dllwrap.exe: gcc exited with status 1
some more errors related to this. Any clues?
- Launching a GNUstep app (by double-clicking the .exe file in Explorer) always yields a command prompt window. Is there an easy way to avoid this? - I'd like to bundle the compiled .exe together with all .dll files, gdomap.exe and gdnc.exe into one executable Windows file. I'm looking for some hints to do this.

My comments:
- In its current state, GNUstep is a great environment and it makes Cocoa/ObjC even more attractive for bioinformatics. Major bioinformatics journals require that applications run on all major platforms (Linux, Mac OS X, Windows). While I could just write my apps in Java, I really like ObjC and Cocoa. GNUstep is the perfect tool to port Cocoa apps to other platforms. Congratulations! - Now that a lot of work has been done and GNUstep runs on Windows and Linux, it would be great if there were Windows installers for the entire core (including libtiff, ...). That would really drive GNUstep adoption since I know a lot of Cocoa developers interested in bringing their apps to GNUstep but hesitant to spend days to get everything up and running. I think a lot of developers are even willing to pay for a good Windows GNUstep installer, which would benefit the GNUstep project even more. - I'd like to underscore the importance of the graphical appearance of GNUStep apps on Windows and other platforms. If GNUStep Windows apps could get support for native Windows menus and other controls, that would be killer! I'm guess this would not be so difficult when compared with the effort that has already been done.

I'm well aware that GNUStep is a community initiative and that it is dependent upon the hard work of only a handful of people. I'm always willing to help the GNUstep project but I'm not a 'real programmer', just a biologist writing apps. However, I'll definitely promote GNUStep in the Cocoa/Bioinformatics community as much as I can.

Keep up the great work!
Best wishes,


Peter Schols
Laboratory of Plant Systematics - K.U.Leuven
Kasteelpark Arenberg 31
3001 Leuven

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