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Re: why do we need change?

From: Gregory John Casamento
Subject: Re: why do we need change?
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 22:06:46 -0700 (PDT)


--- Riccardo <address@hidden> wrote:

> Hello,
> I will put my thoughts down very bluntly thus try to get the meaning and 
> don't stop too much on the form.
> My question is essentially... "why do we need a change in gnustep"? 

We need change in GNUstep to make it more palatable to a wider audience.  While
most of us are perfectly content to use a gui which was designed in the late
80's and early 90's, most people want something more. 

They want themeability and they want the freedom to endlessly customize thier
desktop. This is something that people have been able to do on Windows for

But this is about more than themeability, among other things it's also about
the fact that we also need to make it so that GNUstep is friendlier to people
who aren't experts.  Currently installing GNUstep is much harder than it should
be.  Most novices are unable to install all of the dependencies.

I think a better question is "Why should GNUstep sit still."  The nswer is, of
course, that it shouldn't.

> The 
> pope recently said "continuous change is evil". ANd I agree, it is one 
> of the things that in computing is disturbing me most. You need to 
> accomplish task X and are using tool Y. Tool Y requires library A and B. 
> Now you have a bug in Y. Suddenly you realize that there is no bug fix, 
> but you need to upgrade Y to Y2... but Y2 does require version A2 
> which.. stupidly requires a tool Z2 to just get (any hint to svn is 
> purely coincidental) it and it might even happen you might need a new 
> compiler to build the whole thing. And you end up discovering that 
> things changed too much, you need to relearn everything, your 
> preferences are lost and at the end you are just frustrated.

Change is a fact of life in this industry more than any other.  I have heard
the expression "if airplane technology had advanced as fast as computing
technology, we would all be flying around at lightspeed in little boxes the
size of a matchbox" many many times.

So, if you dislike change, the computing industry will deal you much

> I am not advocating to stop every change, but just to ponder changes and 
> additions carefully, the more they are low level and at the end gnustep 
> core itself is the foundation of everything.

Most of the things currently being considered have been on the table for a

The changes will not happen overnight, but gradually.

> This to write that personally I don't feel all that urgent change in 
> -core of gnustep! People seem to hint we need a revolution and powerful 
> tools to do it, but I think -core is already in a powerful shape that 
> could lead to the writing to a whole OS with applications (aren't we 
> almost openstep?).

We are, but we need to be more than OpenStep, if the project is to survive.  I,
for one, am not satisfied with just a few users liking our stuff.  We need to
make GNUstep appeal to a larger audience.  As I said before there are some
companies I have spoken to which are interested in porting applications from
Mac OS X to GNUstep on Linux or Windows.   I have seen people hesitate in using
GNUstep because of it's interface.

In some cases, this might mean integrating features that not everyone will
like, but if it means more users, then it will mean more developers, and thus
more apps.

> What I think we need most now is an evolutionary approach in fixing and 
> stabilizing the core itself and providing the best tools for development 
> and a desktop environment. This is a way to get exposure, to stabilize 
> things and getting a "good" release on which to build upon later without 
> spreading our resources too thin. Also, the only way of finding weak 
> spots in a library is to actually use it to build a lot of serious stuff 
> and not just dreaming of integrating the latest and coolest technology 
> we have heard of.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't stablize core.  And Camaelon is hardly new

No one is advocating integrating the latest and greatest buzzword technology
into GNUstep.   The only thing that's being discussed here is what we need to
do to get GNUstep out of the current state of stagnation that it's been in (and
is hopefully now getting out of).

> Once we have done our "gnome 1 with gtk1" step using current tools we 
> might think what to do next. I personally would think weary about a step 
> like doing gtk2/gnome2 at the beginning, but it is too easy to speak 
> now. Since we have a cousin which gets developed and is called macosx it 
> can be wise to keep an eye on it too.. but the current approach which is 
> "try to do a bit of everything" is not proving out well with our current 
> limited set of resources. Of course, this too, may change.
> So it might be interesting not only to think about a "gnustep roadmap" 
> but a "gnustep environment roadmap" trying to think in a broader view.

I broader view is always good. 

> Cheers,
>     Riccardo

Later, GJC

Gregory John Casamento 
-- CEO/President Open Logic Corp. (A MD Corp.)
## Maintainer of Gorm (IB Equiv.) for GNUstep.

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