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

From: Pablo Di Noto
Subject: Re: GNUstep roadmap (was Re: [Suggestion] GNUstep-test for quality control)
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 18:36:10 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.3.1) Gecko/20030428

Hi guys,

Just my impression about this whole issue of GNUstep roadmap.
There is something I feel nobody is having on mind: There are standalone apps.

Not everybody uses a computer for personal computing (like reading email while listening to their MP3 collection while exchanging information between the spreadsheet application and the presentation software).

I see a lot of places (Argentina, Brazil, Germany and USA) where there are still windows 95/98 computers that are networked only to reach a central server by terminal emulation. With the (unfortunate) popularity of Windows development tools, now there are lots of horrible windows apps that replaced the 80x32 terminal emulation screen with horrible VisualBasic UIs and are the only app being run by the user. On these systems, Windows just provides the bluescreen support.

As an example: I would like to make a simple Point-of-Sale program for my brother. It does not require a complex or eye-candy UI. In fact the more simple the better. It does not have to run on a particular OS, but I prefer a *nix which runs on slow Pentiums.
Technically, GNUstep can do it. And I would love to do it with GNUstep.
I would certainly benefit if I could use a DB abstraction so convenient as GDL2.

Roadblocks I see now are:
- GNUstep insists being a whole NeXTish thing (starting a gdomap, gdnc, gpbs) - GNUstep apps use some basic UI items in a strange way for a mortal user (don't kill me please, but I mean the vertical menus here...) - GNUstep is not easy to install (I lost track how many times I've built the whole set to see a ProjectCenter work without crashing)
- GDL2 is really hard to install and looks like kernel hacking to me.

So my 2c for the roadmap:

-- 1
Make GNUstep friendly to a standalone App:
Allow turning off the daemons which are not needed. Just one GNUstep app could be running. No drag and drop is going to happen. May be the mouse is not going to be used often.

I think this could be an AppKit option.

-- 2
Keep the NeXT spirit, but be flexible allowing optional UI changes if the app requires it.

Example: Let's say Bjorn Giesler's Addresses app evolves into a powerful contact information manager, with unique consolidation features, international address support, etc. etc. and two users like to use it, because other similar applications dont have such features.

User A has Mandrake/KDE system. It downloads the application, which is for Linux. Ok. It uncompresses into a strange executable within a Addresses.app directory (weird...) but the user clicks on a alias and the app is there. No daemons. No services. Ok, some weird GNUstep directories get created to hold preferences, but that does not harm. The application has menues more-or-less like the rest...

User B, a real-GNUstepper. Siting in front of his/her GNUstep box (a debian linux tweaked distro with a nice NeXTish WM which keeps getting better and better). Addresses now runs with all the supporting daemons, so it nows provides Services to other GNUstep apps, exchanges Addresses with other remote copies of the same app in the LAN using DO, it detects that the SystemNotificationManager is running, so it listens to system-wide events and knows when the user opens his/her laptop on a different country by the change of network location, and now phone numbers are relative to the new country, etc. etc.

-- 3
Make GNUstep more easily installable.
Either going the way of a GNUstep-centric distribution (in the linux/BSD world) or by careful and updated packaging. For a Linux user, GNUstep should be a dependency for an application the users wants.

-- 4
Make GNUstop run easily in Windows.
Who cares if the UI metaphor is lost? Where is the UI interaction between a SAP client and WindowsXP?? Copy and Paste?? Not to mention all those VisualBasic business apps, or these terminal emulator windows.

-- 5
Give more thrust to GDL2 and GSWeb. These could become a honeypot for business apps developers.

Please excuse the long posting.
Have a nice weekend!

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