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Re: GNUstep moving forward

From: Nicolas Roard
Subject: Re: GNUstep moving forward
Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2005 21:32:56 +0100

On 10/22/05, Gregory John Casamento <address@hidden> wrote:
GNUstep has been relatively stagnant over the last several months and it has
become a cause for concern for me.

yes, many people seems to be quite busy irl lately :-/ 

I've been doing a lot of thinking and have compiled a list of things I believe
that GNUstep needs to address to stay on top of things.   The list follows:

1) More apps.  Many of the following points will help with this, but this is
very important.
2) Better theme support.  Integration of Camaelon into the core gui library if

that's possible, and I must say that's what I was supposed to do, more or less..
but I was really busy these last months, so I didn't do as much work on camaelon
that I wanted :-/

Note that you can get the current sources from étoilé's cvs:

it wouldn't be that much work to properly integrate camaelon in -gui, but.. it needs to be done.

I need to encapsulate the current -gui drawing in the GSDrawFunctions class, and integrate camaelon's modifs to -gui so that the widgets call GSDrawFunctions. Then Camaelon can simply provide its own implementation of GSDrawFunctions, enabling a pixmap theme, or you can have "programmed" themes containing normal code (for the default NeXTSTEP look, or anything else)

Partly I didn't do it yet because I wanted to "freeze" the GSDrawFunctions api before starting to do that ... but well perhaps it would have been better to commit whatever was ready instead of waiting (retrospectively, it seems as a better idea).

3) Better win32 support.  Many companies are really eager to port their legacy
NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP or Cocoa apps to GNUstep under Windows.   The prospect of
Linux and BSD support appeals to them as well, but not as much as Windows.   I currently have two companies with whom I am talking about this.
Completely agree ! A good Windows port is really important, and I'm quite thrilled by what happend during this last year..

4) Better distro support.  We really need to get GNUstep into as many
distributions as possile, this will ramp up exposure of GNUstep to more people
and help us get more developers and users.

We as a project need to be more adaptive and less resistant to change.  More
than anything right now we need to consider the audience we are playing to.
GNUstep needs to be better able to integrate with other environments.

Additionally, I've noticed recently a trend for certain people to constantly
query the list asking for permission to make this or that change.  It seems
that what we need more than anything right now is more action and less talk.
If you are interested in doing something, please do it! :)

I completely agree :-)

And I think that svn/svk could really help for that... hopefully we'll be able to use svn, now that RMS gave its approval...

Please think about what I've said and let me know your thoughts.  I say the
above out of concern for the community.   GNUstep is and always has been a true labor of love for me.  I want to see it thrive.

I think we're all here because we love the project; and we need to come up with a good direction..

I think what's missing is a clearer distinction between gnustep "the framework" and gnustep "the rest of the frameworks, the dev apps, the user apps".. I think having "separate" projects (GNUstep Development Environment, GNUstep Desktop), even if it only amount to just changes on the website, would be helpful.

Also, GNUstep could be slightly modular (say, use -foundation but not DO..); and probably the "important" thing for the user would be a better separation/modularization of the desktop parts, eg, like Alex Malmberg once proposed with Desktop Bundles, where the desktop functionalities could be implemented/extended by desktop bundles (you'd want a "GNUstep" bundle to have the current behavior, but a "KDE" or "GNOME" bundle to have proper integration, etc.)

Anyway, as always, talk is cheap, but I think thoses are the directions that would be helpful.. To summarize, cleaner separations and modularization... but anyway, what will happen only depends on who will do the job -- so if you're interested by working on that, do it :-)

Nicolas Roard
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
  -Arthur C. Clarke
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