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Re: GNUstep moving forward

From: Riccardo
Subject: Re: GNUstep moving forward
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 12:07:09 +0200


On Saturday, October 22, 2005, at 12:46 PM, Gregory John Casamento wrote:

GNUstep has been relatively stagnant over the last several months and it has
become a cause for concern for me.
for me too, it has become sometimes a cause of frustration. Since I have put it as only graphical environment on my NetBSD/ppc computer and as the default one on my laptop for months now, I feel all the problems, missing things even more.

1) More apps. Many of the following points will help with this, but this is
very important.
I think this is of uttermost importance. We had many talks of dedicated distributions, special desktop environments, but everybody seems to forget applications. ALso many persons, including developers, might be more attracted by having a more complete environment where for example choices exists. Some people like to have the ability to choose between different programs that do task X. And, remember, for some tasks we don't even have a single choice.

2) Better theme support. Integration of Camaelon into the core gui library if
I agree that we need better theme support, especially when thinking about "impure" platforms like running gnustep applications inside windows, motif or gnome environments. I would strongly dislike a direct integration of camaleon or equivalents in gnustep itself directly, but I'd like it to be a no-brainer installation. That is something that can be built and installed without efforts (thinking for example that in a linux distribution it may be a "theme support package" that can be installed and removed with no harm)

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.
I too had people almost catching interest in gnustep but when they heard about essentially non-existent windows support... interest waned. Some people wouldn't even care for linux or solaris, but just about windows and mac for their applications. We might not like this, but it is the truth out there.

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.
I agree here. Currently I know we are in Debian and Gentoo and NetBSD. I don't know the state of the latter, but the first two are in terrible shape. For example my own PRICE is on both many minor and major releases old... Why? serious problems compiling new versions? Or lack of care? It is bad publicity essentially. And yes we all know that guys at Debian have serious brain problems... but well... What about Redhat, suse, yellowdog and madriva? I know they are very very popular. RPM. based. And OpenBSD and FreeBSD? How is the status there? Also having packages for sunfreeware for solaris 2.5 and up might be quite cool too. The site recently started accepting user contributions.

Getting into a distribution gets us exposure, but it is also a double-bladed axe: we get to the public, but if we give out a bad impressions.. well you know how people react if too many things are missing, broken... people installing from distributions won't question the quality of the framework, but just the sheer amount of applications available and their look and workings.

Thus... staying in a distribution but remaining there unupdated is dangerous. Also most of the usable applications should be immediately available.

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.
even more than that the gnustep community should be able to collaborate.
As I noted above, many persons work on their own pet-projects (as is often natural in volunteer efforts) but the common parts of projects may be overseen thus duplicating the effort and spreading our already thin coding efforts.

So although I think it is important that we integrate with other environments (windows, gnome and kde come to my mind), I wouldn't put this item very high in our priority list, at least not now. But I wouldn't cancel it either: I mean that if an incompatibility can be easily avoided or integration can be done without a bigger cost of complexity or bloat in gnustep it should be done.


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