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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 21:07:13 +0200


On Thursday, October 23, 2003, at 03:33  Uhr, Philip Mötteli wrote:
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.

Erm ... this is what I just wrote :-)

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.

Why do you think so?

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.

Well then, why discussing at all...

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 do not agree because you will not find many Mac OS X apps which only rely on Cocoa and this GNUstep cannot be used for porting. I am thinking of CoreFoundation, Carbon, Quicktime, WebCore, the security stuff, Apple Scripts and so on... Besides why would anyone be interested in a GS port if there is no real environment to run GS apps?

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…

So you think that having GS on Windows would just shift GS to the bright side?

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.

See, then why not try to achieve this? If you do not try you cannot succeed!

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.

This is one point where I do not agree. I seriously doubt that having a Windows port would have big impacts on the GS project. Windows programmers are definitely not waiting for GS and most of the current GS users are more "Unix oriented" anyway. Even if it was possible to port let's say excellent Cocoa apps to Windows using GS they would probably not succeed on Windows, because AppKit/Mac OS X paradigms do not match the Windows experience and thus won't be accepted by Windows users - OPENSTEP Enterprise is the proof for this I'd say.

But if we go directly to for the distribution, we will never have the manpower to achieve it.

Does it really take that many more men to reach this goal? And don't you think that there are programmers eg. on the Linux side who would join if this was the goal? Well I believe there is at least a chance for this, especially because there are programmers in the Linux world who cannot afford to buy a Mac but would love to - so GNUstep could be the alternative.

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.

Well, they did not succeed selling enough versions of OPENSTEP Mach or OPENSTEP Enterprises, also they did not attract enough programmers/companies to use their APIs, so they failed in this respect, no?!

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

It became much slower, some UI got crippled because of the fact that OpenStep had to run on Windows as well plus they adopted more and more the Windows philosophy where 1 app can do a lot, whereas in NEXTSTEP you had many little tools who worked together. PB + Edit is a brilliant example for this, have a look how this changed over the years from release to release!

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.

Which also changed the way the heart was initially meant to be...

But do not get me wrong please, I DO love OpenStep and I am glad it exists, period! :-)

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.

But maybe the goal of this other group prevents faster progress wrt the bolder goals?

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

The experience of NEXTSTEP, or better phrased, some parts of the philosophy which made this NEXTSTEP experience so brilliant. This includes APIs like the IndexerKit, DBKit, 3DKit plus QuickRenderMan and so on which were killed by moving to OpenStep.

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).

Well, these people are frustrated, it seems! So one reason for this might be the current strategy, no? Besides, a good development environment is not a reason for writing apps. There must be a chance to actually use or deploy these apps so that they will be used by real users...

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.

I heavily doubt that...

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.

Good for you...

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.

This is good for you, but I am afraid it will not be what others are looking for. This is just something different.

Philippe C.D. Robert

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