Linked by Richard McKinley on Wed 9th Jan 2002 17:55 UTC
OpenStep, GNUstep I'm a happy BeOS refugee this morning after having just tried Simply GNUstep. Simply GNUstep is a new Operating System that runs on the latest Linux kernel compiled with the latest GNU compiler. This new OS is way more (perhaps by being less) than just-another-Linux-distribution. It aims to be similar, extremely similar, to Apple's OS X. However, Simply GNUstep, unlike OS X, will run on your PC. In fact, you can be running it in under 15 minutes from this very moment.
Order by: Score:
Cross Platform Development with NS
by Hank on Wed 9th Jan 2002 18:44 UTC

I looked into GNUStep when OS X hit Public Beta because I liked the idea of developing in Cocoa and having it run on Linux and Windows. There is a very unstable GNUStep for Windows if I remember correctly. Hopefully this project comes to fruition. Cocoa/OpenStep development really is a joy, even if you have to learn another language to do it on other platforms.

by acous on Wed 9th Jan 2002 18:54 UTC

i haven't tried this (no cd burner! what a pain), but why linux? wont that mean we'll have to recompile the kernel for different drivers and features?

RE: Cross Platform Development with NS
by therandthem on Wed 9th Jan 2002 18:59 UTC

Right now you can develop for GNUstep in at least Object-C, Java, and Ruby

RE: Why Linux?
by therandthem on Wed 9th Jan 2002 19:03 UTC

"but why linux? wont that mean we'll have to recompile the kernel for different drivers and features?"

Yes, but the trade-off is drivers, drivers, drivers! Today GNUstep can run on many platforms. Simply GNUstep chose Linux.

Visit: for a list of supported platforms.

Java bridge
by Hank on Wed 9th Jan 2002 19:06 UTC

On a brief look it seems the JIGS Java bridge is source-code compatible with the Cocoa Java bridge. Is that true, or is that a drive. If it isn't, then we'd have to stick with Objective-C. I'm really excited!

by Nixon Valdez on Wed 9th Jan 2002 19:43 UTC

<blockquote>wont that mean we'll have to recompile the kernel for different drivers and features?</blockquote>Most drivers are now as modules which can be inserted into a live kernel (it's been this way for some time). Some features will require a recompile, but a stock install will be able to do most things. I can't be any more specific without knowing the features that you want.

by Anonymous on Wed 9th Jan 2002 20:24 UTC

"If you want something that OS X has, but you canít get behind Apple for whatever reason, try Simply GNUstep today"

Erm... am I the only one who thinks the main thing consumers will like in OS X is Aqua? People will never try this GNUStep without something like Aqua!

re: Anonymous
by Rude Turnip on Wed 9th Jan 2002 20:33 UTC

Someone whose name I know not said: "People will never try this GNUStep without something like Aqua!"

My fiance's reaction to Aqua after she got her OS 10.1 upgrade for Xmas: "Ugh, how do I turn all that stuff off?" Her UI is now no more than something much more colorful and prettier than WindoMaker with a drag-n-drop desktop and better icons...and it runs a bit quicker than full-blown Aqua.

But what does it look like?
by James on Wed 9th Jan 2002 20:38 UTC

How about some screenshots somewhere? I don't want to download a 110mb ISO and burn it only to find out the whole thing looks like CRAP like most Linux WMs. A picture says a thousand words.

Re: But what does it look like?
by Eugenia on Wed 9th Jan 2002 20:46 UTC

This is why there was a link to the windowmaker web site in the article. Follow the link and you will see how it looks like in general.

by mlk on Wed 9th Jan 2002 21:00 UTC
Menu and look
by Hank on Wed 9th Jan 2002 21:08 UTC

I love the NeXTStep look...even more than Aqua. My favorite is the way they did menus.

by pgo on Wed 9th Jan 2002 21:10 UTC

As usual, an OS is really as useful as the applications that run on it.

What is out there for GNUStep? What comes with the "Simply GNUStep" suite?

Anything comprable to iTunes (no I'm not kidding) or do all Linux programs work flawlessly? It would seem that getting and easily installing programs on GNUStep would be of top priority. Ease of use and desktop elegence are two reasons that many people choose Apple's products to begin with.

i just tried it...
by the doctor on Wed 9th Jan 2002 21:45 UTC

I just installed it onto my laptop here, i must say.. its very minimal (i like that). Especially with regards to what's actually contained on the CD. It's got exactly what it needs.. though it is missing some things, like a browser, etc. but again, check the version number. I'm sure it'll only get better.


by pg on Wed 9th Jan 2002 22:14 UTC

> Skinning should be added to GNUstep as soon as possible
> ...
> Why worry about the kernel when Linux is here today and works?

i think a little reevaluation of priorities is in order. skinning definately helps things aesthetically but if app support is as abysmal as you claim, i would think that that should be the first order of business. i dont know of many people can accomplish their day-to-day tasks with only a (minimal) text-editor, no browser, no email client, no nothin ...

perhaps you're not all that familiar with kernel development. sure, some features of the kernel are not always strictly *necessary*, but a lot of subsystems on linux are quite broken (vm, usb to name a few). giving up on the kernel for a time to work on other things (like skinning?) would lead to a system that's maybe more useable, but at the cost of support for large chunks of current hardware that most non-technical users (presumably the target audience of simplegnustep in the first place) would potentially have. i don't mind rebuilding the kernel and playing with development/unstable patches to get my system how i want it, but this is hardly the thing an everyday user should expect...


Lack of Applications
by Hank on Wed 9th Jan 2002 22:48 UTC

If the GNUStep interface is brought anywhere near compliant with the Cocoa standard, then they have a good shot of getting many OS X Cocoa programs ported over directly, since it would be mostly a recompile. It would be a lot like wxWindows or something like that...write once, compile everywhere.

by RafaelFF on Wed 9th Jan 2002 22:48 UTC

"f Apple ever licenses Darwin as free software, Simply GNUstep could switch"

Isn't Darwin already free? I was under the impression it was licensed with the FreeBSD licence.

Please straighten me out.

by Mike on Wed 9th Jan 2002 23:02 UTC

ya, darwin is free, and is the core(kernel) of osx. it uses(to my understanding) a lot of freebsd, which it is based on. Also, a future goal for apple or maybe just the darwin developers is a full(full) blown OS, not just the osx kernel.... hope that helps

About linux binaries
by Will on Wed 9th Jan 2002 23:07 UTC

Review said it should handle most programs pretty well, but how has everyone found it? for stuff like emacs or gimp?

by stew on Wed 9th Jan 2002 23:25 UTC

Hm...nothing in it that I couldn't do on my existing Debian system, right?

OS? Isn't that a strech?
by Rayiner Hashem on Wed 9th Jan 2002 23:45 UTC

Its a bit of a strech to call this thing an "OS." OSs are resource managers for programs. This thing is, in fact, is nothing more than a distribution of Linux packaged with the GNUStep destkop environment. Save yourself some trouble, don't DL the 110 MB ISO. Just install GNUStep from

by stew on Wed 9th Jan 2002 23:47 UTC

Darwin is open source, but not (forced) "free" by Stallman's definion. It's under an extra licence, which is not the FreeBSD licence. And please stop with that "'s based on FreeBSD" - it's as well based on Mach, NetBSD or OpenBSD. It uses code from various sources, FreeBSD just happens to be the most prominent.

by Anonymous on Thu 10th Jan 2002 00:28 UTC

Why not just use windowmaker on a regular linux distro, and install the other gnustep stuff?

by Anonymous on Thu 10th Jan 2002 01:04 UTC

from what I can work out it's ment to be easy!
Not (like linux) on hell of a time faffing about with config files.

by Peter Schultz on Thu 10th Jan 2002 02:01 UTC

As far as I can tell you can get the same thing under FreeBSD by installing the gnustep-1.0.2 and windowmaker-0.80.0 ports

by Peter Schultz on Thu 10th Jan 2002 02:21 UTC

I just installed windowmaker and it's about a billion times faster than gnome

Re: whoa
by Eugenia on Thu 10th Jan 2002 02:29 UTC

Yup, WindowMaker is the window manager of my choice when I am under any Unix. I run WindowMaker happily for 2.5 years now... ;)

by Peter Schultz on Thu 10th Jan 2002 02:39 UTC

I'm still lost without Tracker though, can you suggest a good filemanager? It looks like windowmaker expects xfm, is that good? (the already funky cursor in mozilla is even stranger under windowmaker: I do like the minimalistic window border)

re: fm
by Eugenia on Thu 10th Jan 2002 02:54 UTC

I would recommend to try <A HREF="">Krusader for file manager.
There is also">AM... Amulet" rel="nofollow">">Amulet Explorer,">Gentoo theLeaf" rel="nofollow">">theLeaf and another one that looks like Explorer and works pretty well I must say, but I can't remember its name...

by Anonymous on Thu 10th Jan 2002 03:30 UTC

you can do it via any OS (inc Win32 with GNUStep!)
the point is thou. this is a nicly & tightly (one would hope) set up system, which boots of a CD.

But yeap, it's "just" a linux distro.

by Spark on Thu 10th Jan 2002 03:41 UTC

"I just installed windowmaker and it's about a billion times faster than gnome"

Gnome could run on top of WindowMaker, so you can't really compare that. ;)
It's a bit like saying "woah, DOS runs faster than Windows 3.11!". ;)

To Peter Schultz
by Yama on Thu 10th Jan 2002 04:30 UTC

> I just installed windowmaker and it's about a billion times faster than gnome

Umm... GNOME isn't a window manager. WindowMaker is.

Hey Guys, they say it's NOT an OS
by Jon Hodgson on Thu 10th Jan 2002 10:34 UTC

From the site, from the link "why use gnustep" on the homepage.

"First of all, GNUstep is not an operating system and it's not a window manager (although it is closely tied to the Window Maker window manager, the "official" window manager of GNUstep). GNUstep is a development environment. "

Unless they've changed their minds and not got round to updating their own website to tell us about it, GnuStep is intended as a cross-platform development environment, with OpenStep compatibility. Very interesting, but NOT intended as a replacement for your OS.

by KAMiKAZOW on Thu 10th Jan 2002 10:45 UTC

There was a project which tried to clone MacOS X for x86.
It was based on GNUstep. It's dead now. Check

by anonymous on Thu 10th Jan 2002 10:54 UTC

From reading this article, I was expecting a goodlooking, sharp, simplistic GUI like the two he compared it two (Be, Mac OS X). Then I see a screen print and was amazed that such a fluffed article was written about this. I was like "So". I think enlightenment looks better. And Blackbox is the best WindowsManager for linux I think (at least for now). IT looks better. Plus it is VERY resource friendly and is a tiny download.
So this guy makes it seem he discovered the next great OS. How could you compare it to Be. Be was fundamentally SO different in its OS concepts and design. Can you say On-the-fly module/driver recognition and load at bootup, in under 15 seconds?!? This is just Linux and xfree86 with a different Windowsmanager.(both 20 year old botch jobs. Not taking ANYTHING away from either. They both have come along way. Especially Linux)
You don't take a tank (Linux) and throw 20 inch Michelins on it and a new paint job and then claim it revolutionary...

by anonymous on Thu 10th Jan 2002 10:58 UTC

You want a simple Linux distribution that is small in size to Download and is geared as a very nice, easy to setup "desktop" replacement that doesn't include all the Junk (can be added if needed of course, it is Linux) TRY PeanutLinux.

by Ungoilant on Thu 10th Jan 2002 12:14 UTC

Hmmm might try that. I've always like afterstep/litestep.

by Kevin Craik on Thu 10th Jan 2002 12:17 UTC

How do I install it instead of running from CD? Is there a dialler? Didn't see one. Doesn't seem to give access to my Win partition either. Where can I ask questions about it, the site is so empty.

no gnome
by Peter Schultz on Thu 10th Jan 2002 15:38 UTC

Okay, I meant the combination of gnome/sawfish. Anyway, it doesn't look like I need gnome as windowmaker seems to fill in for at least some of what gnome is for. Something BeOS refugees need too is something to replace Deskbar. Gnome panel is okay, but if I start running more and more gnome apps...

Lightweight Linux Distributions
by whydah on Thu 10th Jan 2002 15:55 UTC

Apropos Slashdot discussion from 12/28/2001, is
"Newbie's Guide To A Lo-Fat Linux Desktop":

A Little Unclear On The Concept
by Ed Heil on Thu 10th Jan 2002 16:37 UTC

This isn't a new OS, it's a linux distroid designed to focus on and exploit GNUStep.

GNUStep isn't an OS, it's the API from NeXTSTEP.

It's supposedly really really cool to program in because Objective-C is a lot more dynamic in its design than C++. (Much less type checking = less recompilation, more rapid development, it's a lot more like working in Smalltalk or a scripting language like Ruby. So I hear from people who use Objective-C in my company.)

HOWEVER it ain't ready, GNUStep is still laying the foundations. When they're all laid, it should be possible to add a lot of very good apps very fast. (NeXT is most famous for having been something you can develop apps very well and fast in.)

This is an interesting start.

GNUStep apps should be relatively easy to port to Cocoa and vice versa, that's the extent of the connection.

All this yammering about how pretty the window decorations are is silly. It ain't about looking like candy, it's about being pleasant to use and working well.

All this stuff about "being the next BeOS" is silly too. This isn't about users... not yet. It's about developers. It isn't a new OS, it's a new programming environment and a Linux distro optimized for it.

by Raptor-32 on Thu 10th Jan 2002 18:07 UTC

Long live NeXTStep/OpenStep! eheh If they would replace X with another windowing system, i'd be impressed. X is old, not meant for desktops really. It seems really nice, and im a huge fan of WindowMaker (Although i run blackbox), but what i worry about is... if i right click on my debian box, go to Window Managers, and click "Window Maker", what am i lacking here that i would get in that? If their goal is to bring linux/WindowMaker/GNUStep into the homes of computer illiterates, ok, good luck with that (i do believe its possible), but i like playing with configuration files and battling it out with my kernel config (sound is a bitch on an Alpha), so i think i'll stick with Debian thank you.

is there a mirror to download simply GNUstep??
by LD on Thu 10th Jan 2002 19:33 UTC

I tried to download the program but the file seems not to be there.
is there a mirror that I could download this file from??


Chad has asked that the following be posted:

I've got to run to work (I'm late!), but if one of you could please put a post on the slashdot article explaining the problem I would be very thankful!

It seems I broke a rule at sourceforge which limits file sizes to 100MB

If someone could offer a mirror site I would be very thankful for that as well!

Thanks! Chad

Here's what sourceforge had to say



My name is ********; I am the Quality of Service Manager for This message is directed to you since you are
designated as a project administrator for the Simply GNUstep project on

First, we would like to take a moment to congratulate you on your recent
press exposure on -- we love to see Open Source projects
succeed, and press exposure of this nature is always of great benefit.
Since the announcement of your project efforts on /., your project has
received roughly 2241 downloads of the ISO image provided through your
download page at:

It has come to our attention that you are making use of
project web services as a mechanism to release file materials in excess
of 100MB in size. Each project hosted on is provided
with project web services as to ensure that they may adequately provide
an online description and information regarding their project.

... etc

Why why take a GNUstep backwards?
by Timothy R. Butler on Thu 10th Jan 2002 23:22 UTC

I have two things I wanted to note - (1) GNUstep should support TrueType fonts (answering the author's question), if it uses XFS, like a good X11 desktop environment should. (2) I don't understand how using GNUstep can make one question whether we need KDE. KDE is much more mature and robust than GNUstep in it's current state, and features a large variety of quality applications. KDE also a great, well thought out framework - QT is very nice to work with (so I hear), and technologies like DCOP, KParts, and aRts push KDE's capabilities far ahead most others. Hey, and KDE implements themes such as "Aqua" just like the author must look ahead to the future to see on GNUstep.

MIssing the point.
by Greg on Thu 10th Jan 2002 23:24 UTC

Yes, it seems that the author is talking about it as a new OS, but it seems a lot of you are missing the point. The way I see it, it is just another Linux distro. Some Linux distros are centered around Gnome, other KDE. This new distro is based on GNUStep. Yes you can get GNUStep and Windowmaker and install them on Linux, but this person has gone to the trouble of gathering, compiling and setting up a GNUStep environment with GNUStep applications. I applaud him for this. And remember that this new environment could increase the porting of GNUStep and MacOS X applications back and forth. And remember what version it is.

I have used Windowmaker as long as I can rememeber running it on Linux at home and on Solaris and HPUX at work. It's a nice interface.

It's just to bad that I can't download the ISO and try it out.

Hey Peter
by moooooooo on Fri 11th Jan 2002 02:04 UTC

i have a solution for your Tracker and Deskbar replacement.....why not run XWindows under BeOS in a Window ?? then you'll have all of your favourite X apps just sitting there and the power and flexibility of BeOS at your fingertips.
If you cant find the stuff you need for this, email at the address above :-)

by Anonymous on Fri 11th Jan 2002 02:44 UTC

... And to think all this (NS) was out doing what it's doing before Windows ever made it in the mainstream. Look at all Billg stole - and he's still behind!

by Christian Huldt on Fri 11th Jan 2002 10:25 UTC

If I can come up with a mirror (NO promises!), where do I get the zipped iso? from Chad?

Simply GNUstep is back online
by Chad Hardin on Fri 11th Jan 2002 10:48 UTC

you can get it at


Hope you like it. Remember it's what it is, but what it can become...