OpenStep, GNUstep Archive

A new GNUstep desktop comes to Debian

So a few years ago, a Ukrainian programmer called Sergii Stoian started to build a modern Linux desktop environment based around the GNUstep components running on top of CentOS Linux, which he called NEXTSPACE. Sadly, development stalled a couple of years ago, before CentOS Linux’ premature end-of-life. We are happy to report that Stoian is alive and well, but what with his country being invaded and so on, he’s been a bit too busy to work on his project in recent years. This is where Ondrej Florian, also known as OnFlApp, comes in. Florian has put together a collection of GNUstep components, including some drawn from NEXTSPACE, to create the GNUstep Desktop Environment. For now, the project’s contains scripts to build it and install it, but only on Debian, although Debian versions 9, 10 and 11 are included. We tried on Debian 11.7 “Bullseye”, and in a VM, it works perfectly. The process is manual, but not too labour-intensive: install Git, clone the repo, then run three scripts. So, at this stage, GSDE is not very beginner friendly, but it’s a substantial improvement over manually finding, installing or compiling, and configuring the various bits of the GNUstep system which are already in the Debian and Ubuntu repositories. The end result is better integrated, more complete, and even includes a working web browser – although you’ll need to install the Chromium browser yourself, in order for the GSDE web browser to call it and work. A GNUstep-based desktop has exited in the periphery of the Linux world for decades, but it’s always been incomplete, buggy, abandoned, or simply unusable. I really hope that this time around, that might change, because it would be a welcome change from all the QT and GTK-based desktop.

GNUSTEP live CD 2.5 released

After almost 8 years (we talked about it, of course), a new version of the GNUSTEP live CD has been released - version 2.5, for amd64. The live CD is based on Debian 9, has low hardware requirements, and uses Linux 4.9 with compressed RAM and no systemd. The live CD is a very easy and non-destructive way of testing out and playing with GNUSTEP, a free software implementation of OPENSTEP.

It's been a long, long time since I got to use our glorious *STEP database category. Isn't that one beautiful icon?

Etoile 0.4.2 eleased

"Etoile intends to be an innovative, GNUstep-based, user environment built from the ground up on highly modular and light components. It is created with project and document orientation in mind, in order to allow users to create their own workflow by reshaping or recombining provided Services (a.k.a. Applications) and Components. Flexibility and modularity on both User Interface and code level should allow us to scale from handheld to desktop environments." A new release. An actual one. Awesome. And yes, OSNews has issues with diacritic marks, so don't ask.

Sony’s SNAP Uses GNUstep

I don't really know what Sony wants with this, but they're using GNUstep, so that's something, I guess. "Sony's Networked Application Platform is a project designed to leverage the open source community to build and evolve the next generation application framework for consumer electronic devices. The developer program gives access to a developer community and resources like SDK, tools, documentation and other developers. The foundation upon which this project is base comes from the GNUstep community, whose origin dates back to the OpenStep standard developed by NeXT Computer Inc (now Apple Computer Inc.). While Apple has continued to update their specification in the form of Cocoa and Mac OS X, the GNUstep branch of the tree has diverged considerably."

GNUstep Live CD 2.0 Released

The GNUstep project has released a new version of its Live CD, including many GNUstep software and developer tools. As a bonus you get some classic games like nethack, and quite a few network and system recovery and administrator tools. There are also a few 3D and audio programs on it. It's based on the 2.6.31 Linux kernel and Debian Linux distribution, and is created using the live-helper package. It is available for i386, powerpc, ultrasparc, and amd64. It comes with some added multimedia software packages like mplayer, lame, lives, vamps, mypaint, milkytracker, schismtracker, goattracker, opencubicplayer, and a nice selection of free fonts (like M+) and fontmatrix. Google Chrome is installed too.

GNUstep Windows Installer

"The GNUstep Windows installer is based on the MinGW system and consists of the basic MSYS and MinGW libraries, other library dependancies and the GNUstep Core packages (gnustep-make, gnustep-base, gnustep-gui, and gnustep-back). The installer installs GNUstep onto most varieties of Windows (see below for tested installations) and sets up the computer to make it easy to run GNUstep applications. It is based on the NSIS installer."

Etoile 0.2 Released

"The Etoile project is pleased to announce the release of version 0.2 of the Etoile User Environment for UNIX-like systems. The Etoile project aims to produce a user environment for desktop and small form-factor devices, with tight integration between components. The 0.2 release is primarily targeted at developers interested in a GNUstep-based environment. This release includes improvements to the Camaelon theme engine, providing a clean and modern appearance to GNUstep-based applications. This is combined with the Etoile Menu Server, providing a horizontal menu bar similar to that found in Mac OS, and making this the first Etoile release with enough features in place to be usable on a daily basis." There are screenshots too.

The Road to CoreObject Part 1: EtoileSerialise

CoreObject is intended to be one of the foundation pieces of Etoile. The current roadmap calls for an experimental version in 0.3, a stable interface in 0.4, and a completely stable version in 0.5. "What is CoreObject? Basically, it's a replacement for a filesystem as a programmer and user interface. Files (in the UNIX sense of the word) never were a good abstraction; an untyped series of bytes is no use to anyone. The operating system needs to deal with things like this, but programmers shouldn't have to. We already have a much nicer abstraction than a file; the object. Unlike files, objects have all of the structure and introspection that we want in order to be able to interact with them programatically. In EtoilE, we want to treat everything as an object, and objects as first-class citizens."

Etoile Progress Update

The Etoile team has published a progress update on the project. They are currently preparing the release of version 0.2 of the Etoile live CD, but on top of that, they are also busy developing new applications. A font manager, an alt+tab application switcher, hot corners, and more. "Étoilé intends to be an innovative GNUstep based user environnement built from the ground up on highly modular and light components with project and document orientation in mind."

Etoile: New Release, Live CD on the Way

The developers behind Etoile have discussed their future plans for the project recently, and have provided a summary of the discussion on the mailing list. The Etoile live CD project will be transferred from Nicolas (due to a lack of time) to Quentin; he says: "I will recreate an environment for building the LiveCD from scratch (will now be built on Ubuntu Feisty Fawn LiveCD). To help in this process, Nicolas sent me the current LiveCD scripts. I hope to succeed in two or three weeks." On Etoile itself: "Focus will be put on core elements like System, MenuServer, Azalea, AZDock etc. rather than polished applications for this release. We don't have enough manpower for now and it's better to have a stable foundation to begin with." The next release is now planned for the coming three weeks.

GNUstep Base 1.14.0, Make 2.0.0 Released

GNUstep Base 1.14.0 has been released: "This release continues the process of cleanup and restructuring to further improve MacOS-X compatibility, fix bugs, optimise performance, and improve portability between different hardware/operating system platforms." GNUstep Make 2.0.0 has also been released: "Version 2.0.0 is a new major release of gnustep-make which includes a number of major changes compared to previous 1.x releases."