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Re: GNUstep roadmap (was Re: [Suggestion] GNUstep-test for quality contr

From: Philippe C.D. Robert
Subject: Re: GNUstep roadmap (was Re: [Suggestion] GNUstep-test for quality control)
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 14:20:02 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.4) Gecko/20030701

Philip Mötteli wrote:
I'm tired of that thread, becaue the longer it gets, the more people have problems to remember, what the subject actually is. So I just try to keep it short, in order to prevent the next misunderstandings:

Me too, especially since I initially only wanted to know about the midterm roadmap of GS :-) Thus allow me to skip some comments and only answer what I consider important. If you think this is not fair I will give you all answers in a private mail.

As I understand it you see GNUstep as a clone of OpenStep (read: the API spec)
I remind you of the following: "GNUstep is based on the original OpenStep specification provided by NeXT, Inc. (now Apple)." (About the first sentence on the first page of <gnuste.org>.

This is my point and thus I started the thread, it says "it's based on the original OpenStep specification" and not "it strictly implements the original OpenStep specification only", this sounds like a subtle difference but IMHO it is a big one, see below.

 plus some other libraries.
No, that's not my understanding. Gnustep is an implementation of OpenStep. Without any additional library.

You misunderstood me I guess, what I meant was only that you are interested in GNUstep being the 2 frameworks plus some additions, such as GDL2 and GSWeb. But then maybe I am wrong with this assumption?

Now there are others which would like to see GNUstep as an OPENSTEP clone, the environment based among other things on OpenStep - and on OPENSTEP WO did not play an important role from a user's perspective, so you might understand why I made my statement.

Well there are infinite possible ways, how one possibly wants to see Gnustep. But the definition is clear (see the first page of its homepage. Those are individual ideas, that might or might not have something to do with reality.

Well, there is no final definition. This is why I asked the question, I could have also asked whether the current definition is still true and valid or would it maybe be better to change it?

This is out of the context: I never said GDL or GSW are part of OpenStep, but a big reason to make GS more widely known and used. That's unfair to produce the impression, I could have said that. Are you trying to let me look stupid?

No, but the context is what GNUstep should be, no?

No. You yourself said, that you are a "little bit frustrated", that after 10 years, Gnustep still leads a life in the shadow and that you "would like to know, where Gnustep could be in, say, 12 months?" Didn't you say that? So the first poster said about, that he doesn't know and he doesn't care. I dared to add my 2c, which were a proposition, how to bring Gnustep out of its shadow life, taking into account its biggest problem: Manpower. This was a direct answer to your question.

I agree of course that manpower is one of the big problems we face. But still my question was/is what GNUstep should be(come one day). And because we have many different answers to this question we do not work together to reach the same goal. But then, anyone is free to choose what to do anyway :-)

I got the impression that you see GNUstep as a pure "OpenStep API spec" clone,

No, not an API spec clone – an API implementation. An OpenStep API implementation. Originally probably only intended for the Linux platform, because at that time, there was already one for the other platforms.

Now it's you who are picky - of course it is an implementation and not a clone of a spec, but you know exactly what I mean, do you ... :-)

So this whole thread says the following: "Please complete the missing parts of the Windows port of Gnustep" and you answer: "We have only parts of the Windows port of Gnustep". Don't you think, that you so apparently didn't understand the subject? I thought, you just didn't read it.

What I wanted to say (and IMHO did) was that we should not spend time on a Windows port of GS but rather work on making GS become a user environment on X11 based systems. Now of course this is answered from my perspective and probably not the answer you want to hear, but it is an answer to the original "request", as you put it.

BTW now it is you who rips sth out of context :-) I definitly wrote more than you quote above, I eg said that we will maybe never have better support on Windows (because of manpower, lack of interest and so on).

I agree with you on completing the API, of course. But I do not agree with the cross platform aspect. For you (and others) GS is AppKit + FoundationKit and thus this is important from your perspective - and I bet you are not even that much interested in the AppKit but more in the FoundationKit, GDL2 and GSWeb, am I correct? :)
Of course. Usually GSWeb and AppKit in the same program are redundant together. But that's only for my case. It is by far not true for others! And it's not a problem at all anyway. Every user of Gnustep or any other library is usually interested in just a part of it. But by using it, the userbase as a whole gets bigger and with that the potential manpower.

Yes, and it is good that there are different aspects to a project, so that people can actually work on/with stuff they are interested in, but this never was a question (at least to me). My question is "why do people want to see stable GS libraries", what is the final goal behind this effort? Now you will probably answer "to implement a stable OpenStep compliant library set". But this is exactly what is not sufficient IMHO or at least not the momentum that drives some of us - and we are back in the original discussion :-)

I can understand the reasoning behind it, but I do not share it - I just do not want to see GNUstep going the same way NeXT did.
That's an interesting point! May you elaborate that?

Of course :-)

I understand that NeXT did only survive because of WO in the mid 90ies because their cross-platform strategy failed, but I do not understand why they tried to compete with Microsoft and others by creating the OpenStep spec in the beginning. In fact even OPENSTEP Mach 4.x is in many aspects already a step backwards wrt NEXTSTEP.

So I perfectly understand that there is some interest in eg. a free, stable WO clone, because it *is* an interesting product, esp. for WO developers who worked with the ObjC version. But on the other side this product (and in fact the OpenStep spec itself) has nothing to do with what made NeXT initially so special.

Thus I see mainly 2 groups of people on this list, those who are mainly interested in an "OPENSTEP Enterprise and/or WO" clone (running on *nix, Windows and also other systems) based on GNUstep and those who are interested in creating an environment (on top of *nix) which brings back the spirit of NEXTSTEP, but this time on top of the GNUstep frameworks. Both are valid positions, they just do not fit well together in some aspect.

This is why I made the statement above, I would not like to see the GNUstep project going down the same road as NeXT did. There is no reason for that from an economic standpoint and I doubt it would help the project itself. I'd rather see the GNUstep continue what NeXT stopped when they switched from NEXTSTEP to OPENSTEP.

Some of us are not interested in a Windows port of the API because what we want is the GNUstep enduser environment

This is not an official aim of Gnustep. The official aim is to implement the OpenStep API. Which is btw. (mostly) also true for Apples Cocoa, which should show you, that an "enduser environment", based on OpenStep can take a lot of different forms. So if this should really become an official goal of the Gnustep comunity, then it's about time to define, how this thing should look like. At the moment this seems to be mostly a copy of the NeXTstep GUI.

Well, of course the look is one aspect, but I doubt it is a central one (technically). To me it is much more important to know whether it is the final goal to create this environment or not!

we just do not care about Windows.
But you do care about manpower, don't you? Because you need that for such bold goals!


But to me it just looks like you cannot accept the fact that there are people on this list who do not have the same vision or goals for GNUstep as you do.

Ohh, I can accept that easely! I even said myself, that people either use Gnustep for the fun of it and then it's more fun to implement a desktop, than to complete the Windows port. Or they use it professionally and then they just implement what they need for the task at hand. That this leads to an almost uncoordinatable way of progressing is logic in my eyes. So my propositions were in any case (at least in my eyes) purely theoretic. It was a strategy based on the hypothetical assumption, that the Gnustep community would act like an enterprise. But this assumption had (in my eyes) to be made in order to answer your question. Otherwise the real correct answer would have been the one you got from the first poster: "I don't know".

Which is what we both do not accept :-) But still we can ask ourselves what we want, no? If it turns out that GNUstep will never become an enduser environment why should anyone then spend time to write GUI based apps, for example (be it as a hobby or as a professional enterprise)? All this has IMHO nothing to do with being a hobbyist or an enterprise.

Please read the official definition again: "GNUstep provides an Object-Oriented application development framework and tool set for use on a wide variety of computer platforms. GNUstep is based on the original OpenStep specification provided by NeXT, Inc. (now Apple)."

Does it talk or even imply an "enduser environment"? Not in my eyes.

So we are not allowed to ask ourselves if this statement is what we really want?

If you want to change the officially phrased goal, please make a proposition to the community. But until then I think my idea of GS is way closer to the official definition, than yours.

Well, I asked the maintainers of the project what the midterm strategy is from their perspective, you see what came out of this question. Once the official answer is given, 'we' can see what has to be done :-)

I do completely agree with you! So please write it! Ah, you don't have the time! I do understand. But surely others will have the time? Ah, no. Pitty. So no-one ever will write that. Hm. So we will stay with this little bunch of very small little tools like ImageViewer and thelike

Well, I am currently in the situation where I have to decide whether I should use Cocoa/Mac OS X or GNUstep for a GUI based project. And there is also another, highly commercial project where I am involved which is in the very same situation....

So yes, I acutally do have time I can spend with GS.... Besides if no-one uses GS then it is a nobrainer anyway :-}


Philippe C.D. Robert

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