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Shipping Windows binary applications

From: Nicola Pero
Subject: Shipping Windows binary applications
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 17:00:15 +0100 (CET)

Ok ... I had to start Windows up to check some web pages under IE 7, and
then since I was there I thought I'd give another try to GNUstep on Windows.
It looks pretty cool.

I updated the core/make/Documentation/README.MinGW file on trunk.  Please note
that (between other things) the recommended filesystem layout on mingw is now 
the new 'mingw' filesystem layout.  The reason for that is that in this way 
you don't need to source any more. :-)

With the new GNUstep.conf stuff, things are pretty easy/nice to package.
I did package and as standalone binaries that can be 
and documented the process in README.MinGW. :-)

I'll maybe put the Windows binaries of on the Gomoku web pages for 
to try out.

I have a few comments on the Win32 support though:

 1. the alert panel asking you to set your 'Server Preferences' is very 
annoying and very unprofessional.  I keep getting it any time I change 
something and it's horrid. :-(

The first thing that a user sees when they start a GNUstep application is this 
obscure alert requesting some obscure settings to be changed.  Because it's an 
alert, it also very much
gives the impression that things are just broken.  I think we should get rid of 
it. ;-)

Obviously the default on Windows should be using the Windows taskbar and using 
Windows window
decorations!, with the 'WindowMaker' way of doing things being triggered only 
by advanced users
who tweak their user defaults manually.  Is it OK if I remove this panel and 
make the Windows
behaviour the default ? :-)

 2. NSTask generates an alert (and crashes the program) saying it can't start 
'./gdnc'.  I 
imagine that path is used since gnustep-base.dll and gdnc.exe are in the same 
directory ?
But then NSTask would interpret it relatively to the current directory, so it 
wouldn't find
'./gdnc' ?  Anyway, I guess I can fix that. :-)

 3. gdnc.exe and gpbs.exe are quite annoying in general.  When you have your 
standalone application on a USB flash disk, the app starts nicely, and it 
automatically starts gdnc.exe and gpbs.exe.  Cool.

Unfortunately, when you quit the application, they keep running.  If you now 
try removing the
USB flash disk, Windows doesn't let you, because it can't unmount a flash disk 
from which
programs are running.  The average user would definitely be stuck at that point 
since you
have no clue about which programs are running from the USB disk (they are not 
visible anywhere
that an average user can see).  Not sure how to fix the problem.

Anyway, looked much more encouraging than I thought.  The GNUstep.conf 
relocation stuff 
does really work (I guess that's nothing new, Richard had already done that, 
but I had
never tried it out). :-)


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