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GNUstep installation, was Compiling from scratch.

From: Ian Jones
Subject: GNUstep installation, was Compiling from scratch.
Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2003 13:10:23 +0000

Hi all,

I have been thinking about this a lot over the past couple of days with the 
amount of discussions that have been going on it has brought to light some 
valid points and even small niggly things which are lacking (that I might be 
capable of doing something about) which will greatly spoil the user / developer 
experience even at such an early stage as trying to get GNUstep installed. Who 
knows how many potential gnustep / application developers and users we lose 
through people simply giving up at the installation stage or after struggling 
with installation, getting a poor version of GNUstep which gives a very bad 
impression by making the whole effort of getting it installed seem not 

Well, I sent one patch yesterday for -base configure.ac which hopefully now 
will try to use ffi if it can't find ffcall. I haven't looked at compile-all 
yet but I'm willing to do that if other people are busy elsewhere or see other 
things being more important.

I would very much like to see gnustep easy to install and when installed 
working reasonably well, which may mean exiting the build from compile-all as 
Chris Vetter has previously stated if it can't find critical depandancies, such 
as ffcall or ffi not being installed, with clear and understandable explanation 
as to what has gone wrong. I would also like to make available a script that 
would run prior to compile-all which would basically do a CVS checkout of Alex 
Malmbergs latest_semi_stable tag; this would provide a gnustep installation 
which would be kept reasonably up to date and tested probably by myself and or 
whoever else would like to get involved to make sure it is kept to a reasonable 
quality. Hopefully this will provide developers and users who wish to give 
GNUstep a go a much better experience and impression of the project as a whole 
and through this we might gain a little extra man power.

Some things that have been brought up by other and ideas of my own for 
1) Ability to choose between a user installation and developer installation, 
difference being development tools
2) Ability to choose which backend you want to use x11/art (obviously providing 
a default for people who don't know what's what)
3) exiting with good explanation after compilation of -base if critical 
depandancys aren't met that would make gnustep install but work with very 
limited functionality if at all.

This is all open to suggestion, this is why I posted; I'd like to hear what 
others have to say on the subject and maybe any other ideas which would be good 
for inclusion or reasons why things I've stated would be a bad idea.


Ian Jones  (Ian_J on #gnustep)

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