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Re: Object-Archiv

From: Don Yacktman
Subject: Re: Object-Archiv
Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2003 20:24:33 -0600

On Thursday, July 3, 2003, at 03:17  AM, Stefan Böhringer wrote:
I'm in favor of such a software collection.

Me too, and that should come as no surprise.  ;-)

Perhaps I can put into this discussion some experiences gained from the
famous MiscKit that was in place in the NeXTstep/OPENSTEP days. You can
still obtain information about that project on http://misckit.com [Don, if
you are on this list, please chip in].

I am on this list, but have been on vacation and I just got back. The timing of this thread to coincide with my being away is quite ironic...

One conclusion is that definitely cvs access is a must. Don Yacktman did an excellent job over many years to apply patches in his source tree and bring out releases frequently [this was in times when anonymous cvs was alien]. Then NeXTStep/OPENSTEP ran into trouble and Don didn't have the capacities to do the laborious maintenance job any more which brought the project to a

Yup. Too much for one guy, especially once I stopped being a student and had to actually start working for my food... obviously CVS is part of the answer to that, these days. The other thing that got in the way was writing Cocoa Programming. That took a couple years...and left me with zero free time. But I felt that the book (and the info it would contain) would be more valuable to the nascent Cocoa community than the MiscKit at the time (you have to move beyond beginner status before you're ready for a big kit that adds to the already huge Cocoa). Now that the community is more grown up, it's time for the MiscKit again...overdue for it, really.

The MiscKit was used commercially, but there were restraints on account of two things: the arcane MiscKit license and quality. LGPL is fine but quality
would still be an issue for a similar GNUstep related project. Such a
library would potentially grow fast and uncontrolled bringing with it
duplication of functionality, an inhomogeneous class hierarchy and the like. A solution discussed for the MiscKit was to split the library into two part: the wild and the tame (the attributes were not used back then). "Wild" can be extended in a very liberal way and is considered "low quality". If a set
classes is to migrate to "tame" it should fulfil several criteria. E.g.
there have to be regression tests for the classes, they have to fit smoothly
in the class hierarchy as present, there must be documentation and so
The bottom line is that migration would have to be discussed explicitly and
decision should be on several shoulders (one is not enough).

That's a pretty good summary of where I plan to head with the MiscKit when I revive it. There's a lot more than just the above though, and a few details will be slightly different. Given what's been discussed in this thread, I think everyone here will be happy with what I have in mind, if I (and the team I'm assembling) manage to implement all the features I envision. (The final vision is much more than just a library, that's for sure.)

Since having me as a bottleneck CLEARLY won't work, I am quietly recruiting a board of people who would all have CVS commit ability, and work together to keep things in order, and make the releases. Then if any one person gets busy, the others can take up the slack and things move on. I certainly don't feel any need to exercise dictatorial control over the kit, by any means. Back in the day, it worked well enough, but it just doesn't scale. I figure a model pretty similar to how Apache is developed is a good way to go there. (A few things would be a little different for practical reasons, but that's pretty much the model I like.)

Anyway, my company (illumineX) is helping out with the hosting and infrastructure, but we're sort of swamped at the moment. That means I don't quite have a time frame yet for when you'll see kit 3, or the new infrastructure open to the public, but I really hope it is before 2003 finishes out. (And by all rights it certainly SHOULD happen much sooner than that.) We were going to try to have sometime for WWDC, but it didn't happen, unfortunately. (I got really sick about a month before WWDC and that pretty much shot our plans for that completely.)

Once everything is set up, though, things will progress pretty quickly. I feel it is important to take the time to carefully lay a good foundation that will be able to go on a lot longer than the foundations of the original MiscKit could handle, rather than rush something out. (ie, learn from past mistakes and make it orders of magnitude better). So setting up the infrastructure isn't going to happen overnight. If I could have my way, though, you'd see something before Panther releases.

Oh, and since this group probably cares about this...initially the kit will might only build on Mac OS X, since that's what I use every day. I have full intentions of supporting GNUSTEP and would hope to have it building and working there ASAP, probably with a bit of help from the community, of course.

Right now I don't have a good machine to put GNUSTEP on, so I'll need help from the community for that support. If I could run GNUSTEP, then I'd have GNUSTEP support in there right out of the gate. I do consider it vital for the long term success of the project. If we get a GNUSTEP person on the team from the start, support out of the gate might be possible. Any nominations? <grin>

The thing is, it has to be someone who has demonstrated some talent and is willing to put in some time and really wants to be part of the project. Since I don't want to have a lot of people with commit access at the start (only 5 or so at first), it is important that those who have commit ability actually use it...until things stabilize a bit. Then we can look at adding more people with commit ability later.

I know that the above is sort of sketchy, but at least you know sort of what I'm thinking (there's a TON more than what I wrote above, of course; a lot of details). I'd like to give time frames, but right now my economic situation is pretty tight. That means I don't have as much free time as I'd like to have, and makes it hard to predict when I'll have the initial (very, very modest) release out the door. Best I can say is "as soon as I possibly can"...

And as to the library vs. index thing, there are good arguments for doing it each way, and it makes sense to me to have both. I have plans to address both; MiscKit first, for the library, and then of.org for the other...

I think that covers what's been said in the thread; most of the issues that have been raised are things I've already thought through at great length and tossed around with various friends to find workable, good solutions. I'm happy to answer questions you may have (if I can), but there's a lot of details I can't talk about just yet, while I'm still getting them ironed out. But not that I'm not on vacation, my latency in responding should be a little better. ;-)


Don Yacktman

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