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

From: Philip Mötteli
Subject: Re: GNUstep roadmap (was Re: [Suggestion] GNUstep-test for quality control)
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 15:33:13 +0200

Am Donnerstag, 23.10.03, um 14:20 Uhr (Europe/Zurich) schrieb Philippe C.D. Robert:
Philip Mötteli wrote:
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.

I don't agree. It's a huge step from "based on" an API to a whole system distribution with desktop and applications. Not just a subtle difference.

I could have also asked whether the current definition is still true and valid or would it maybe be better to change it?

I wouldn't. But that's my opinion. If we already fail in with the actual one, I don't think we would be much luckier with the bold goals that others already have.

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.

I don't want to hear a specific answer, because, as I already said twice, I do not expect anything to change after this discussion. Independendantly what answers I receive.

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).

Exactly what I said. People will do, what they are interested in. But if we will achieve those bold goals, we would better make that Windows port. Because having that, Mac programs would be recompiled for Windows via Gnustep. And of course there would always fall off a Linux version on the way. So from one moment to the other, you will be drawn in software. Then you could easely bring out your GS desktop and even your GS distribution. But if you bring out with a huge effort your desktop and distribution without applications… I don't think, that a lot of people will quit KDE or Gnome.

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? :)

Btw, I'm not even interested in the Windows port at all. I don't need it. I need GS, GDL and GSW. But in order to bring GS out of its shadow life…

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 :-)

Yes, I see the intention of a NeXTstep remake. I would love that. The moment GS will have a decent ProjectBuilder (including Editor, Class-Browser and GDB integration) I will leave MOSX. For me then just EOModeler and WebObjectsBuilder would be missing. But those goals are too bold. I mean, make a list of goals (very roughly!):

Goal                    technically needs       marketingly needs
------------------------------------------------------------------------ ---
- Distribution  Desktop
- Desktop               Apps                    Windows port, GSW
- Apps          AppKit
- Finder                AppKit
- GSW           GDL2
- GDL2          Base
- AppKit                Base
- Base

You see, that most of them have preliminary goals, which include yet other preliminary goals. Now, where on that list are we? And how could we progress as quickly as possible? I think, the moment, we have the Windows port, we will have the Apps. And then all people are happy, because we do not only have the libraries, but we can even make a distribution. But if we go directly to for the distribution, we will never have the manpower to achieve it.

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?

I understand that NeXT did only survive because of WO in the mid 90ies because their cross-platform strategy failed,

I don't think at all that their cross platform strategy failed. In my eyes, Jobs wanted to continue part of his splendid isolation strategy. This one failed. So they had to become more and more open. First by being open concerning hardware, then even concerning the OS. By reducing their product to the best minimum they had: the API and the development environment. So this was actually the second step of NeXTs healing process. But it wasn't enough to make enough money. But the situation was already much better. So I wouldn't say, the strategy failed. It was just not enough. WO was the final joker.

In fact even OPENSTEP Mach 4.x is in many aspects already a step backwards wrt NEXTSTEP.


this product (and in fact the OpenStep spec itself) has nothing to do with what made NeXT initially so special.

I think, the OpenStep spec is a direct outcome of what made NeXT so special. It was a definition of its heart.

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.

I agree with that. I just think that one group has a bolder goal, which could only be achieved, by achieving the other groups goal.

I'd rather see the GNUstep continue what NeXT stopped when they switched from NEXTSTEP to OPENSTEP.

What did they stop?

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 :-)

Yes, I do accept that. I even think, it's the realistic answer. The GS community is not like a company, where a boss makes a plan and all the employees are implementing the bosses plan.

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)?

Well it's still a great development environment. At least the libraries. And as long as we have a certain compatibility to others, we can slowly but constantly continue until we have enough building blocks, to implement the complete environment. But, if we just go for the boald goal right from the beginning, than people like you (and many others) are becoming frustrated (as you said in your initial posting).

All this has IMHO nothing to do with being a hobbyist or an enterprise.

I especially don't think so. The moment, we can concince companies, all your goals will be achieved in no time at all.

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?

Of course not. But as long as this has not been changed, I'm starting from this definition of GS and not something else.

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 > :-)


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....

Great to hear!

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

I will use GS, GDL2 and GSW. In a first run I ported everything to MOSX. The moment my program runs on MOSX, I will try to port it to Linux in order to deploy it. I will probably continue developing on MOSX and deploy on Linux, as long as I prefer Xcode to the development tools on Linux. I also need a WO compatible HTML editor (e. g. WebObjectsBuilder). I will also try to sell the GS&GDL&GSW solution to potential customers – whenever possible. So that slowly, but constantly, we will complete, what is missing.


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