Linked by Chad Hardin on Tue 14th Oct 2003 18:05 UTC
OpenStep, GNUstep The SimplyGNUstep project was started a little over two years ago. It's goal was to create a pure GNUstep based user oriented desktop operating system. It used the Linux kernel and the standard GNU software, but it was not like any other standard Linux distribution.
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Cool!
by Richard Fillion on Tue 14th Oct 2003 18:15 UTC

I wasn't aware that SimplyGNUstep was innactive, but it's good to see that there's now some active development behind it. I'm a huge NeXT fan, and I'd love to see a linux distro that aims to be truly NeXT-like, I really like GNUStep apps, their Mail.app is the best GUI mail client I've used yet (too bad it doesnt like the window manager i use (ion)).

Also cool to see that he's basing it off of Debian. ;)

X11?
by Gabriel Ebner on Tue 14th Oct 2003 18:15 UTC

> Step Two: After the install is done, setup XFree86 (you're on your own with this one!), and install the WindowMaker X11 window manager using the command "apt-get install wmaker"

On their website they state that they are using the framebuffer. Does anybody know whether they are actually using X11 or framebuffer or...?

In a world
by zephc on Tue 14th Oct 2003 18:16 UTC

where Linux distros grew rampant, it was the job of just one to clean up the streets. That one: SimplyGNUStep.

(my take on the first paragraph of this story ;) )

sounds like Rox OS
by debman on Tue 14th Oct 2003 18:19 UTC

this is exactly what Rox OS is doing, but they are using Rox desktop.

not to sound trollish
by zephc on Tue 14th Oct 2003 18:20 UTC

but "After doing these steps you will have most of the available GNUstep softwares at you fingertips"? I think I have more than enough fingertips for the available software. :-

Re: Cool!
by Chris on Tue 14th Oct 2003 18:37 UTC

It's not that GNUMail doesn't like Ion, it's more the other way round as that Ion doesn't know anything about how to handle GNUstep specific window atoms.

Re: not to sound trollish
by Chris on Tue 14th Oct 2003 18:38 UTC

You might want to take a look at http://wiki.gnustep.org/index.php/All%20GNUstep%20Applicati... for a (almost) complete list of applications.

RE: not to sound trollish
by Eugenia on Tue 14th Oct 2003 19:10 UTC

Well try harder if you want to not sound like a troll. You might now want to include intentionally inflammatory statements, and then gloat about it. You flaming troll. That is all.


PS: My name is Eugenia, no relation to the editor.

RE: X11?
by thrift on Tue 14th Oct 2003 19:41 UTC

On their website they state that they are using the framebuffer. Does anybody know whether they are actually using X11 or framebuffer or...?

Don't know much about the project, but I've used the framebuffer before. The framebuffer is just the kernels way of getting some nice video out of the system. X11 then uses a driver to communicate with the framebuffer. So they are probably using X11 and Framebuffer.

So bad
by jmf on Tue 14th Oct 2003 20:04 UTC

I'm very confusing.
I'm a happy mandrake club member, and the mandrake 9.2 is just
out and seems great, but there are two things I planed to try for a long time, and these are GNUstep (not sure about the caps) and Debian.

Grrr ! Linux, too much fun.

what's differences with GNUStep packages ?
by djeang on Tue 14th Oct 2003 21:17 UTC

What's different with a debian distro's with Gnustep packages installed on it ?

This way, the project don't reach it's goal : a minimal linux things with GNUStep (no package manager, no X, KDE, gnome,....). Only Unix shell, GCC, and GNUStep API/Desktop.

RE: X11
by Scott on Tue 14th Oct 2003 21:25 UTC

I assume they mean they use the framebuffer to get a nice image on screen during startup, and to use a higher resolution terminal before X starts. Back when simply gnustep start that was cool. Now most distros do it. But it is still cool. You probably don't want to run X on the framebuffer unless that is the only video driver available to you. Using the video drive specific to your video card gives much better performance/features.

yawn
by Cheapskate on Tue 14th Oct 2003 21:33 UTC

sounds like jsut another rebuilt Linux distro to me, if it uses a Linux kernel glibc, gcc and mostly the rest of what other Linux distros use then thats all it is is still just another flavour of GNU/Linux, just because they move things around (/applications) does not change the platform, it just makes it imcompatible with LSB and a lot of noarch linux packages. but since it comes with gcc i guess if you get the source code and compile your own that wont matter much...

it is just another fork --{

looks outdated
by tuggy on Tue 14th Oct 2003 21:42 UTC

it can be a very good distro, and with excelent functionallity.. but is it just me or that screenshots look like they were taken 5 years ago?
i just cant use something that looks so outdated ;) they could change the icons at least.. its a simple thing...

re: yawn
by Anonymous on Tue 14th Oct 2003 21:47 UTC

Go over to distrowatch.com and yawn yourself to death. Its not going to change anything and its not like it should.

Please people.. if you don't care.. don't bother to post because your comments really add nothing.

v RE: Anonymous
by Cheapskate on Tue 14th Oct 2003 21:57 UTC
RE: RE: Anonymous
by Anonytroll on Tue 14th Oct 2003 22:10 UTC

Perhaps, in true Open Source spirit, you should make it an exciting Linux distribution. The source is available, what are you waiting for?

Re: looks outdated
by Chris on Tue 14th Oct 2003 22:13 UTC

It may look outdated to you, but there are people out there who think that NeXT/Openstep was and still is the most sexy and visually pleasing environment. And that's exactly what GNUstep is all about...

Beauty after all lies in the eye of the beholder.

hmm
by nego` on Tue 14th Oct 2003 22:14 UTC

I thought I read that it's not a really a rebuild of debian, it used linux from scratch (possibly based off of debian) and using the apt suite, could be wrong. Either way it's not just another linux distro, it's at least focused to what it wants to achieve instead of including a little of everything like some distros. I wish this the best of luck !

RE: Cheapskate
by t3RRa on Tue 14th Oct 2003 22:16 UTC

I don't think it will break the compatibility. Have you actually read the article?
It says All of the traditional Linux directories are still there, in their normal places, but they are hidden from the user when he or she is using GNUstep applications.
I guess it just links files to places more like the GNUstep or NEXTSTEP way. Simple and therefore user friendly.
Read the article before post something PLZ!

Not A Fork?
by Steve W on Tue 14th Oct 2003 22:24 UTC

I have to say I really don't see how this is not a fork. Simply callig it something else doesn't change what it really is.

Re: Cheapskate
by ThanatosNL on Tue 14th Oct 2003 22:28 UTC

Although it looks outdated on the outside, the ui itself is extremely well-thought out. I'm sure if GNUStep gets popular, artists will start theming it (I'm not sure if GNUStep supports themes, but at the very least someone will come up with a more pleasing color scheme/icon set).

re: cheapskate
by tuggy on Tue 14th Oct 2003 22:37 UTC

maybe i'm missing something but i dont find it very userfriendly. i just installed it along with WindowMaker... and... -g-.. the buttons take too much screen space ;) and most of what i've tried(samba browser, mail client) didnt work very well...

ok i RTFA
by Cheapskate on Tue 14th Oct 2003 23:11 UTC

i see now, the first three paragraphs of the article seem to have conrtadictions in them (unless you read the rest of the article)...

thats what made me stop reading and post a rant, lmao

you were going to build this distro frim scratch, but time and labor made this endavour impossible, so you took Debian Sarge with WindowMaker and built on top of that, thats cool, i don't have much room to talk as i have neither the time and resources to build my own distro either...

if it makes a user friendly version of Linux i am all for it, as i am getting lazy in my old age and i get tired of going in to /etc and editing files everytime i set up a Linux box for someone, anymore i reccomend Mandrake or Redhat for em, since these are getting user friendly enough that if they can follow instructions and install Windoze they can also install either Mandrake or Redhat too...

Re: Cheapskate (Themes)
by Chris on Tue 14th Oct 2003 23:57 UTC

I'm not sure if GNUStep supports themes

Yes. http://www.roard.com/camaelon/is an example. I'm sure there are sample screenshots around that show a more "modern" look, eg. Aqua'ish. There's even a modification to use horizontal menus, like you get on OS X.

Oops
by Chris on Tue 14th Oct 2003 23:58 UTC
Hum...
by fux0r on Wed 15th Oct 2003 01:58 UTC

The sarge installer actually works now?

Great!
by CooCooCaChoo on Wed 15th Oct 2003 02:23 UTC

I heard a rumour that Windowmaker may use ghostscript for postscript capabilities. Does anyone have confirmation of this rumour? it would be great if Postscript was embraced like the good old NeXT days ;-)

Re: Not a fork
by Scott on Wed 15th Oct 2003 02:46 UTC

It isn't a fork because it is just packaging a desktop environment for a linux distro. Just like gnome and kde are packaged for redhat, debian, etc. I don't see why this one couldn't be ported to other distros. That's my understanding anyway. I'm interested in checking it out. I've always wanted to try my hand at objective c. This packaging will probably give you everything you need to get rolling with it.

RE: Themes
by tup on Wed 15th Oct 2003 06:48 UTC

Shouldn't Windowmaker themes work? If so, here are about a zillion of them:
http://themes.freshmeat.net/browse/918/?topic_id=918

Personally, I use Golem... it's got a smaller memory footprint than Fluxbox, yet it's pixmaps are easily customized:
http://golem.sourceforge.net/

RERE: Themes
by Thomas on Wed 15th Oct 2003 08:47 UTC

> Shouldn't Windowmaker themes work?

No, they don't. The widgets WindowMaker uses are, while looking like GNUstep, WINGs - Wings Is Not GNUstep, name says it all.

Also GNUstep Apps are written in Objective C in contrast to plain C for WindowMaker.
Yet maybe the "Camaelon" team can tweak GNUstep so that it can use WindowMaker styles after all.

GNUstep usability and readyness?
by Johannes on Wed 15th Oct 2003 11:34 UTC

Most applications that are included with "Simply GNUstep" are in Debian anyway, notably "GWorkspace", next-like workspace manager and GNUMail, plus, of course, all the GNUstep libraries and a number of small apps.

Therefore I've tried them out several times in the past. While I'm unable to judge the technical merits of GNUstep, I must say that so far, the practical usefulness to end users like me is _very_ limited.

What I'm missing most of all is full and reliable keyboard navigation in GNUstep apps. It just doesn't work without the mouse.

I've tried out GNUmail, and I must say that in my POV it cannot even remotely compete with balsa, mutt, Evo or gnus. It has very little features. IIRC it doesn't even support threading and the overall impression it made was more like a demo app than that of a real application.

GWorkspace is still far too crashy for me and also very sluggish. It is much less responsive than, say, nautilus or the xfce4 file manager.

Most other available apps are merely little demos. (a dict client, a sticky notes applet etc).

There is no GNUstep based office software that I'm aware of, no browser, no editor (?!?). If the GNUstep folks aim to create a full and consistent desktop, like GNOME or KDE, they would have to create all that, given that GNOME or KDE apps certainly don't interoperate well with GWorkspace.

Sorry if this sounds like trolling, but could anyone explain to me, why I as an end user would want to use GNUstep, either now or at some point in the future.

GNUstep usability and readyness?
by Nicolas Roard on Wed 15th Oct 2003 12:24 UTC

There is no GNUstep based office software that I'm aware of, no browser, no editor (?!?). If the GNUstep folks aim to create a full and consistent desktop, like GNOME or KDE, they would have to create all that, given that GNOME or KDE apps certainly don't interoperate well with GWorkspace.

There isn't any browser for the moment, but that's because we're waiting for the upcoming inclusion of the ObjC++ trick in gcc 3.5 (I doesn't seems that it will be included in 3.4 ;) ) to simply reuse the WebCore framework of Apple. There are two editors as far as I know, that is, Ink.app -- an editor demonstrating the power of the NSTextView widget -- and CodeEditor.app, a... code editor.

Many apps aren't yet covered by the new debian packages made by Chad, as you could see on the gnustep wiki : http://wiki.gnustep.org/index.php/All%20GNUstep%20Applicati...

BTW, it seems that's what Chad did isn't very clear to many people here : SimplyGNUstep as yet another distro is over, he now simply choose to take the existing GNUstep apps, package them and release the result, for debian Sarge.

At first, it seems strange, as there are already debian packages for some of the GNUstep apps. Yet Chad's idea isn't so weird, because the "official" debian packages follow the debian policy, etc. Chad's packages didn't do that. What's the difference ? Well, principaly, instead of some weird located place in the official debian packages, you get more NeXT-ish location with Chad's packages (/Applications, etc.). So it's not really a new distribution, yet it's not a "pure" debian. This approach could be interesting imho... we'll see.

To conclude : currently, GNUstep apps are -- honnestly -- generally far behind GNOME or KDE apps. And they are fewer apps. And the only really "usable" app is GNUMail (which supports threading btw, as well as many features, plus the possibility of using bundles (aka plugins) to extend it ... see for example http://www.roard.com/fontify/ ). Yet, GNUMail is my main mailer since 2 years, as TalkSoup is my IRC client ;-) , so it's not that bad. Anyway, you could ask, why do you bother with that programming framework at all ?? well, the main reason is because of the quality of its design -- it really ease your work as a programmer (plus the existence of Gorm for designing your UI). As a user, I think that for the moment many things need to be done before we could have a truely great desktop. But the fundations are here -- the mechanisms of the pasteboard, services and bundles are just brillants. You could also add that it's easy to port a GNUstep app on MacOS X and vice versa. You could also realise that most of the GNUstep apps appeared in less than a year -- because the framework start to be useable. And more and more people seems interested.

All in all, the real reason of GNUstep, is that the way it intends to provide a desktop isn't the same way as GNOME or KDE. We are not inspired by windows. We are inspired by NeXTSTEP, and programming with a real and great object oriented framework is just easier.

Re: GNUstep usability and readyness?
by jmf on Wed 15th Oct 2003 12:33 UTC

GNUstep is not a desktop, it is an Object-Oriented application development framework and tool set for use on a wide variety of computer platforms.

This basically mean that, when it will be ready, you will have the ability to program your graphical apps for GNUstep and they will be able to compile it easily
for macosX, linux and the following platforms
http://gnustep.org/information/machines_toc.html

How does this compare to KDE and GNOME ?

KDE and GNOME have both a development framework (ie. you can programm better and more easily using their libraries) AND provide a desktop for end user.

They are the big ones of the free desktops and also much more popular and advanced than to GNUstep, but these guys do a very good job. GNUstep is a reimplementation of OPENstep, which itself come from NEXTstep. Browse the archives of osnews, there was an article from Eugenia a few months ago. This OS had 10 years avance, but and itīs a shame, it never succeed.

They are not yet very much apps who use the GNUstep framework : you can see them here
http://wiki.gnustep.org/index.php/All%20GNUstep%20Applicati...

The wiki is also very interesting.
http://wiki.gnustep.org/

Hope you understand.
I had a hard time figuring what it actually is, but itīs very interesting.

Sarge installer
by jmf on Wed 15th Oct 2003 12:38 UTC

The sarge installer didnīt also work for me.
I could not understand how to skip the "automatic partitionning" step, and it complains that he cannot find
the kernel to install it after that.

Re: Sarge installer
by jmf on Wed 15th Oct 2003 12:54 UTC

Ok, Iīve been to their site.
This iso exists only to develop and debug their new debian-installer for the next release of debian (december perhaps). The last reason not to use debian will perhaps disappear, but they have a bit of work.

I will find another way to install Debian-sarge

Re: GNUstep usability and readyness?
by Johannes on Wed 15th Oct 2003 13:54 UTC

Thanks jmf and Nicolas for your explanations! So it looks that atm the best thing I can do is wait for another while.

BTW: I just tried out the sgstep-meta-user package. Looks like gworkspace has improved since I last used it. It's much faster and hangs less than it used to. And some of the bundled apps do work (imageviewer, pdf viewer) while others don't (OpenUp.app).

What I'm missing is a repacked version of Debian's apps-wrappers package that helps integrating such applications as emacs, Mozilla, AbiWord, Gnumeric. The version from the Debian archives is incompatible due to the different prefix ( "/" vs. "/usr/lib/GNUstep")

Also I still have big trouble with keyboard-only navigation.

Yet another potentially offensive question: Do you GNUstep folks _really_ love the old NeXT look? To me it's far too darkish and greish. Just like bad old motif.

The "cubes" that GWorkspace's "fiend" covers my desktop with are _way_ too big for my taste and also the sharp unsmoothed edges around buttons and other widgets look a bit outdated, given that most current UIs (Aqua, KDE's Keramic, many Gtk themes) tend to round and smoothen corners and edges.

Are there plans to make the GNUstep GUI themable, just like Gtk, Qt or Swing?

 Re: GNUstep usability and readyness?
by Nicolas Roard on Wed 15th Oct 2003 14:28 UTC

Yet another potentially offensive question: Do you GNUstep folks _really_ love the old NeXT look? To me it's far too darkish and greish. Just like bad old motif.

Frankly, yes. But it's because many of us knew NeXTSTEP, and at the time, it was truely amazing and looked beautiful. It's sure that with the last trend of fisher-price desktops, it does seems a bit outdated... But really, many people just love the NeXTSTEP look ;-)

The "cubes" that GWorkspace's "fiend" covers my desktop with are _way_ too big for my taste and also the sharp unsmoothed edges around buttons and other widgets look a bit outdated, given that most current UIs (Aqua, KDE's Keramic, many Gtk themes) tend to round and smoothen corners and edges.

Well, historically, NeXTSTEP used big 17 inch screens, with a working resolution of 1120x832 : see for example http://www.levenez.com/NeXTSTEP/NeXT_Display.html ... That's why the cubes aren't tiny with unviewable icons, but has big 48x48 icons in squares of 64x64 ... the UI is just made in general for megapixel displays ;-)

But if it's just the dock that bothers you, wmaker let you resize them (launch the wmaker configuration panel). You could even entirely remove it (it's --no-dock I think), and use instead the GWorkspace panel.

Are there plans to make the GNUstep GUI themable, just like Gtk, Qt or Swing?

Well... As I explained, many people in the GNUstep project are just happy with the current look (me included ;-). But what will certainly come is a friendlier way of selecting at least colors themes (colors, patterns, gradients ..). Though, the OOP nature of GNUstep and the wonderful features of Objective-C (dynamic loading of code) don't make a real theme engine too difficult to do. In fact, I have started such a thing, but I am busy with others works (gnustep and non-gnustep) as anybody, so it evolves slowly (and imho there are more important thing to work on right now in gnustep than theme...). Yet you could see it here : http://www.roard.com/camaelon/ . The current theme is very similar to the NeXT one, but I made previous attempts ( http://www.roard.com/screenshots/screenshot_theme20.png ) which could show that at least a very different themes are possible quite easily. I'll try soon to update at least the current Camaelon code to match with the current GNUstep code in the cvs ...

Re: GNUstep usability and readyness?
by Chris on Wed 15th Oct 2003 17:11 UTC

What I'm missing most of all is full and reliable keyboard navigation in GNUstep apps. It just doesn't work without the mouse.

It is possible, however it's badly documented.

There are two editors as far as I know, that is, Ink.app -- an editor demonstrating the power of the NSTextView widget -- and CodeEditor.app, a... code editor.

Number 3 would be TextEdit.

Do you GNUstep folks _really_ love the old NeXT look?

Hell, yes.

Are there plans to make the GNUstep GUI themable, just like Gtk, Qt or Swing?

As was pointed out, that's already possible using http://www.roard.com/camaelon/ though personally, I don't get it why people want theme engines.

Nicolas, the main ingredient in making GNUstep more useable is to get more developers interested in it. A theme engine would certainly help make it a more attractive prospect, especially to Mac OS X developers.

Test-based installer
by diver_with_knife on Thu 16th Oct 2003 03:21 UTC

What about the idea of making a text-based (pseudographics) (ncurses for example) installer, so that a person coud just go to console type # ./gstep_install and you will have a menu-driven pseudographics installer. There you could optimize GNUstep system defaults and environment variables. I like GNUstep, but I am a Slackware user and not very eager to compile it myself. I would better have installer do it.

BTW, Chad yo're doing a great job. As well as other guys related to GNUstep. Just make it easier to install the thing and yusers will love it...and test it ;)

Hi

I use WindowMaker on YellowDog and RedHat and I also use apt for updating RH and YD boxes.

I would _love_ a SimplyGNUstep apt repo for these distros also.

If 2.6 is essential then it would makes sense to look at doing this for Fedora 1.0 or which ever if the first version ot have 2.6.

I agree that starting by basing this on debian makes sense but it would be so cool if people on other distros could apt-get it also :-)

My two cents
by James Simmons on Thu 16th Oct 2003 15:03 UTC

Some people were curious about the use of the framebuffer in Simply GNUstep. The original Simply GNUstep was a live CD system like Movix. You booted up your computer with the CD in the drive and it ran the OS there without installing it. Like other live CD systems it used X with the framebuffer. If you install Simply GNUstep according to his new instructions you'll install X the normal way.

As for that NeXT look and feel, yes people love it. It has several distinctive features like vertical scrollbars on the LEFT of the thing being scrolled, both arrows of the scrollbar on the same end of the control, and a "thumb" that gets smaller as the amount of stuff being scrolled gets larger, but never gets too small to hold. Menus are in separate windows, submenus tear off, etc. A very well thought out look and feel.

WindowMaker themes should work fine with Simply GNUstep. They are basically just background images for the desktop, dock icons, window title bars, menu items, etc. There are lots of good ones at themes.org.

Finally, if you want more apps with the NeXTSTEP L&F than GNUstep provides you might check out http://nicestep.sourceforge.net, a Java component library that implements that L&F and provides a bunch of sample apps.

GnuStep
by ChrisP on Fri 17th Oct 2003 13:42 UTC

I see there's a new version of Afterstep(2.0) WM available (deb testing) wouldn't that be more Next-ish for a window manager?