Home > OpenStep, GNUstep > GNUstep Project Gets New Chief Maintainer GNUstep Project Gets New Chief Maintainer Eugenia Loli 2006-12-24 OpenStep, GNUstep 18 Comments The GNUstep project has recently elected a new Chief Maintainer. Gregory Casamento has taken over as the new chief of the project and has posted to his blog a set of goals which spell out the direction the project will take in the future. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 18 Comments 2006-12-25 3:28 am trenchsol Windowmaker is a window manager developed on GNUstep. It looks different. They say that it is related to NextStep and OpenStep projects. Both projects were discontinued long ago, so I can’t say how similar they are. Windowmaker is much different from any todays desktop, except maybe AfterStep. It looks beautifull, and has some unique magic. Compared to it, other desktops look conventional and dull. Yet, Windowmaker system requirements are really low. Windowmaker comes with a great GUI configuration tools which is very easy to use. Nobody is making much money out of Linux and BSD desktops theese days, so experimenting won’t hurt anybody. Imitating commercial desktop products is probably not way to go. Diverting some efforts to Windowmaker could yield something unique, good, and appealing. DG 2006-12-25 3:55 am heron I would like to clarify something for those who are unfamiliar with GNUstep. It comes up often… While WindowMaker is the official window manager of GNUstep, it does not use GNUstep. It uses a library called WiNGs (literally WiNGs is Not GNUstep). GNUstep is not a window manager nor it is a desktop, it is a cross-platform API and development environment. It’s primary purpose is to provide a way to write and port applications across many different platforms including Linux, BSD, Solaris, and Windows to name a few. The port to the Windows platform is still under development at this time. It is usable, but needs some work. Other projects outside of the GNUstep project, such as Etoile, GAP and Backbone, provide desktop functionality for GNUstep. Thanks, GJC # GNUstep Chief Maintainer 2006-12-25 4:33 am spikeb Said projects are both moving glacially and unofficial. What would be nice is an official GNUstep-Desktop (sub)project 2006-12-25 6:18 am zbrimhall Just out of curiosity, what makes a project “official?” With respect to the mentioned projects, yes, one can certainly get by without Backbone (which doesn’t really consist of much at the moment, though Terminal.app is great), but Etoile has been coming along very well, and has made GNUstep a lot nicer to look at. As GJC mentioned above, GNUstep is a cross-platform API, nothing more, nothing less. It’s important that projects such as Etoile exist separately so that a distinction between the different goals of the projects can be preserved. Of course, the two will inform one another; GNUstep-GUI needs a lot of work to make theming possible, and since this is an important aspect of a desktop environment, work on Etoile has necessarily meant making improvements to the relevant parts of GNUstep. 2006-12-25 12:56 pm trenchsol While WindowMaker is the official window manager of GNUstep, it does not use GNUstep. It uses a library called WiNGs (literally WiNGs is Not GNUstep). I didn’t know. It is confusing that Windowmaker cretes GNUstep directory upon instalation, and that it puts GNUstep logo on the desktop (is it GNUstep logo) ? What is the story behind it ? DG 2006-12-25 1:43 pm zizban I always wondered that too…of course if GNUSTEP had a window manager it would make a great desktop OS. 2006-12-25 10:15 pm zbrimhall …of course if GNUSTEP had a window manager it would make a great desktop OS. http://www.etoile-project.org/ Help is [slowly] on the way! 2006-12-25 11:24 pm Doc Pain “I always wondered that too…of course if GNUSTEP had a window manager it would make a great desktop OS.” Lately I downloaded and tried out a live system CD with GNUstep. Source: http://www.linuks.mine.nu/gnustep/ From the description: GNUstep (this is a Live CD, an OS, a distribution) contains a lot of software for GNUstep, a free implementation of the OPENSTEP framework (which was also the base as Cocoa in Mac OS X). It includes an excellent application called Gorm for RAD (Apple Software Design Guidelines). […] The currently used window manager is Window Maker. Maybe it’s interesting for you. 2006-12-25 6:25 am Doc Pain “Windowmaker is much different from any todays desktop, except maybe AfterStep. It looks beautifull, and has some unique magic. Compared to it, other desktops look conventional and dull. Yet, Windowmaker system requirements are really low. Windowmaker comes with a great GUI configuration tools which is very easy to use.” I can completely agree. I use it along with FreeBSD. Windowmaker even supports programming the extra keys on a Sun USB keyboard within its UI configuration tool. Very useful! Ah, I forgot: Keyboard support is great. I use it for my daily work for more than five years now and I’m very happy with it. Even some of my customers like it (the better educated ones), but most of them use XFCE instead. 🙂 In some points, it reminds me a bit to the desktop system of IRIX I used on my Octane – http://toastytech.com/guis/irix.html – and the dock mechanism can even be found in Apple’s MacOS X. Because Windowmaker is that different from, let’s say, KDE, it’s very good to be used in professional applications where you don’t need a desktop environment, but a well functioning window manager that does not steal too much of your expensive screen lines by displaying clickityclick bars on the top and bottom of the screen. 🙂 I hope the anticipated goals (described in the original article) can be achieved; let me elaborate a bit: 1) Adopt a more modern look. This includes the look of the windows, the color scheme and how the menus are rendered. It’s okay to let that old gui go, it’s not going to kill you to do so. Users like things to look “good”. This is entirely subjective. […] To this end, we need to make integrated theming available in GNUstep and make it easy. It should support the “old fashioned” looks to be set (I don’t like 3 + 3 icons on the title bar). Furthermore, there should not be a lack of speed so you have the change to run newer GNUstep based applications on older hardware which is still in use. Therefore I think theming is a good way to achieve this. It even allows KDE to have the look and feel of Solaris. 🙂 2) Make regular releases. Start courting different distributions to include GNUstep in their package set. Wow, it would be great to have a Linux that Joe Q. Average can install and then have Windowmaker. 🙂 3) Eliminate the need for GNUstep.sh, either by making GNUstep place it’s binaries and libraries in more “standard” places, or by providing an installation procedure The standard directories should be used, usually /usr/local/ with its bin/, share/, include/ and lib/ subdirs. Some time ago, I read /usr/X11R6/ should / will be obsolated sooner or later, GNUstep should go the right way. A custum installation procedure would be a way to install GNUstep on systems that don’t support the upcoming standard yet. 4) Start appealing more to the Mac OS X/Cocoa crowd. […] We are here to make life easier for our users not to make GNUstep into the epitome of “perfect design” by excluding classes we personally don’t like. This is not productive and, not to mention, highly subjective. In respect to 1), that would be the right way. If classes are included, but a programmer does not want to use them – it’s okay. Another one will. 5) Focus and concentrate on one and only one set of display technologies per platform. […] For Linux/BSD we have two functional backends and another on the away for cairo. What’s the point of this? In my opinion we should complete the cairo backend and deprecate BOTH the xlib and art backends. xlib is hopelessly outdated and libart isn’t really supported by anyone anymore. Correct. Backward compatibility can be achieved even by using neither of them. 7) Make GNUstep friendly with other environments like GNOME, KDE, Windows and etc. Make sure that GNUstep functions sanely in these environments. This might mean that we need to have behaviors for each different environment. How to implement this is unclear, but it’s something that I believe would make the user experience better overall. I have to admit that I don’t really understand what this means. Having GNUstep based applications running on KDE looking like a native KDE application? If you have anything to add to or detract from the above, please feel free to comment. I would love to hear all opinions. I hope it’s okay that I’ve done this here at OSnews. 🙂 2006-12-25 6:51 am zbrimhall Good points. WRT 7, I think GJC was just referring to the fact that GNUstep apps minimize themselves in a way inconsistant with the Windows taskbar metaphor, and that application menus aren’t part of the application’s windows. I agree that these differences make running GNUstep apps in KDE/Gnome annoying at best, but I solve this problem by not using KDE/Gnome! Edited 2006-12-25 06:51 2006-12-25 7:12 am Doc Pain “WRT 7, I think GJC was just referring to the fact that GNUstep apps minimize themselves in a way inconsistant with the Windows taskbar metaphor, and that application menus aren’t part of the application’s windows.” Ah, thank you, I see now. Because I understand the “Windows taskbar metaphor” as having disabled miniwindows and using the windows menu (right click on desktop or Alt+PF3 or Ctrl+Find) instead – so I do not have this metaphor in use. 🙂 Now I recognize… hmmm… yes, there has to be a way to pass control over minimization / window menu to the respective desktop environment (KDE or Gnome, to name the most popular ones). “I agree that these differences make running GNUstep apps in KDE/Gnome annoying at best, but I solve this problem by not using KDE/Gnome! “ Same done here. 🙂 I don’t want to say KDE or Gnome are useless, surely they aren’t, but until now I did not find any reason to use one of them. Maybe later sometimes… 2006-12-25 7:32 am alcibiades “it’s very good to be used in professional applications where you don’t need a desktop environment…” Absolutely right. If you need to give someone an appliance with minimal scope for confusion, WM is a very serious contender. And its very fast on old cheap hardware. The classic case is the older generation nervous about computers who wants email and web. I once showed it to a group of such people and one lady said, to nodding of heads, ‘Oh, of course I can use that‘. You don’t get that reaction to XP, or OSX, or KDE for that matter. Just shows: don’t ask if its easy to use. Ask: easy to use by who, and for what? 2006-12-25 7:54 am Doc Pain “Absolutely right. If you need to give someone an appliance with minimal scope for confusion, WM is a very serious contender. “ It doesn’t look childish and playful (I know, you can tweak KDE to look serious) by default. So the customer won’t ask “Can I play solitaire on my x-ray workstation?” or “Will my 7 year old daughter be able to paint with the data managing computer?” It’s just because it looks very professional. Maybe, that’s not what someone wants to use at home for recreation and gaming, but a serious customer does not care about this. He wants to have a helper for his work, no matter how many icons can be placed on the desktop, “And its very fast on old cheap hardware.” Just that’s the way. If you’re building a psychological testing and evaluating system, you won’t hear something like: “Oh, of course I will buy three PCs from the store right now, I have too much money.”, rather “Uhm, does my 300 MHz P2 serve the purpose?” will be suitable. So it’s very easy to sell even complete systems with minimal investments for hardware. I can even offer something like “Just try it, I leave the system for three months here with you.” “Just shows: don’t ask if its easy to use. Ask: easy to use by who, and for what?” Completely right. An all-in-one device suitable for every purpose (in German: eierlegende Wollmilchsau) simply does not exist, even if some average users may think so. 🙂 The good choice you have among Linusi, UNIXes and their respective amounts of toolkits and platforms makes it possible to intentionally select what’s the best solution for a special purpose. So I really do not want to miss Windowmaker, GNUstep or Objective C because all of them have their fields of advantage where they cannot be beaten. Windowmaker, for example, is easy to use, looks great and is fast, even on older boxes. And I’ve seen so many people having extreme problems using KDE, Gnome, or even “Windows”, finding where to install packages, knowing what’s their CD-ROM drive, telling what’s their IP or how many RAM they have… if things get to complicated, users’ brains switch off. Just “DUMB MODE ON” and clicking on everything they find… don’t tell me anything, I’ve seen it all! 🙂 2006-12-25 1:13 pm trenchsol The classic case is the older generation nervous about computers who wants email and web. Exactly. My mother has been running Windows. I had to reinstall it every couple of months because of viruses and misplaced Windows files. My mother just dont accept the concept of nested files and directories, and file manager is very confusing to her. The question “where did you save the document” has no sense to her. In Windows, Explorer is everything, so it becomes a nightmare. KDE is not much different, though is safer to use. Her concept of comuting is: – writing documents (that means wordprocessor) – Internet (that means browser) – email (this is NOT Internet, browser is Internet :-)) – shutdown I have installed a single icon for each task, and that was it. I needed to play a little with sudo to enable shutdown and pppd for non-privildged users, and with Xdialog to create “wizzards” for both. DG 2006-12-26 5:44 am heron One more time with feeling… GNUstep is an API, it is a clone of OPENSTEP with Cocoa extensions a *development environment*. WindowMaker is a window manager. GNUstep is NOT a window manager. GJC 2006-12-27 2:13 am Doc Pain “GNUstep is an API, it is a clone of OPENSTEP with Cocoa extensions a *development environment*. WindowMaker is a window manager.” I didn’t say anything different. Your information is completely correct. 2006-12-25 5:05 am MacTO I have only encountered two object oriented languages that made any sense to me. Objective C was one of those languages. It is great to hear that the GNUstep team will be focusing on the development of a library that will enrich that language. 2006-12-26 3:14 am zbrimhall What was the other?