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Re: pure gnustep system

From: Ivan Vučica
Subject: Re: pure gnustep system
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2012 17:26:47 +0200

On Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 09:55, Jamie Ramone <address@hidden> wrote:

OK...why? Where its it said that you need these things for it to be
good? I find all the current wizz-bang decorations and effects
annoying and distracting. While I'm sure there are people who like
them I'm not convinced that most people do. Also the only OpenGL UI
I've actually seen on X is the one on MeeGo...the Windows Millenium of
GNU distributions.

Compiz has many annoying features. So are some things in OS X Lion. Windows Vista/7 "require" the use of the compositor only to paint the most useless task switcher I have seen.


Entirety of the user experience consists of many small improvements. I like Snow Leopard's Spaces. I like the general idea of Expose. I like the custom addon for OS X adding preview of application's windows when you roll the mouse over the dock. These are some of the useful things that work well only with a good, GL-accelerated compositor, and while not absolutely necessary, they can be properly executed and they can be very useful. It's disputable whether or not one actually wants too many animations - for example, I find OS X Lion has crossed the line, and Compiz is also capable of becoming an animated monstrosity. But animations are not the most important part of the idea of permitting GL-accelerated compositing. It's simplifying task switching and data access.

I really don't care about the basics and about basic animations. They can be tasteful or distasteful. But you may be limiting the features environment could one day be capable of. One of disputably-useful Lion's features comes to mind: autosave-in-place (you know, the per-document time machine). While the principle behind it -- saving is automatic, manual saving is checkpointing -- is confusing to users, and potentially slows down the app and system, versioning is not. And it's very useful to be able to browse previous versions of a document side-by-side, along with being able to interact with that version of the document in order to copypaste from it, or what-not. 

User interface of this old-version-browser is somewhat annoying and eyecandyish, but the basic principle behind it (there's a stack of windows aligned in a timeline) is not. I wouldn't put old versions one on top of another, and would rather put them horizontally next to each other, but that's a design decision. You still wouldn't be able to easily do this using anything but a compositor. 

That being said, the UI will be initially based on the OPENSTEP 4.2
interface and grow from there. I do have plans for much later to
re-work it into the first REAL 3D GUI. I say first 'cause I've heard
many claim this but either fall short or is an outright lie.

I saw some "real" 3D GUIs. None of them were compelling. 

I'd love to see one that truly makes use of 3D and that's easy and fast to use. Anything that's AppKit based can never be "real" 3D and that's a good thing; it can make use of 3D acceleration, it could perhaps paint buttons as boxes or something like that, but I doubt that's what you meant. :-)
Actually, the backend would generate PDF code and send it to the
sever, which would draw it on the screen through a display-driver
module. This module is a plug-in implemented as a bundle and can be
anything. The one I'm writing uses SDL to interact with the display,
but others can be developed. And things like OpenGL don't have to be
IN the server, or be used by it to draw on the screen

This sounds interesting, and I can't wait to see it.

I didn't dig deep into either of the techs, but isn't something similar the idea behind Display Postscript, as well as gnustep-gui+gnustep-back?

As for it being great or not, it's really just a matter of taste. You
might not like it for one reason or another, someone else might be
like "meh, I've had better", while others might be all like "OMG I
can't believe I've been able to function in society without this!!
What a total eye-gasm! EVERY THING ELSE IS SO GHEY!!"...and everything
in between.

I completely agree. I just believe that compositing, as well as animating parts of the UI, is not purely eyecandy.
To me it's not the Well Known Features (TM) that are important, it's
the overall architecture. As the contractor said in The Money Pit "But
the foundation is good. And if that's OK, then everything else can be
fixed". The branded standards and technologies (to us the term
loosely) are just fads that come and go...remember VRML or Gofer?
Anyone? Things like OpenGL didn't exist forever. It's here today but
could be replaced by something else tomorrow, so I've learned to
ignore these things and go with my gut.

That's a good way to go, as long as you don't completely discard the technologies you can use today.

I'm pretty sure OpenGL isn't going anywhere for the next 5-10 years, considering the vast amount of software written for it -- especially in the last 4 years for mobile platforms.

Thanks for the great discussion! 

I'm wondering, however, are you intentionally replying just to me instead of the list? If so, I apologize for CCing the list.

Ivan Vučica - address@hidden

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