Wednesday, July 03, 2024

What Apple has forgotten...

 When NeXT still existed and the black hardware was a thing, Steve Jobs made the announcement that OPENSTEP would be created and that the object model, not the operating system and not the hardware, was the important thing.

This is a concept that Apple has forgotten.  With it's push towards Apple Silicon and a walled-garden, Apple has committed itself to the same pitfall that NeXT fell into.  NeXT lacked the infrastructure to handle OPENSTEP running on multiple kinds of hardware, but the object model on different OSes was successful... this is evident in OPENSTEP1.1 for Solaris and OPENSTEP for NT.

GNUstep attempts to reach the same goal, but provides the APIs that are available with Cocoa.   The object model IS the important thing and this is why GNUstep is so important.  It breaks the walled garden and makes it possible for users to run their apps and tools on other operating systems.  GNUstep HASN'T forgotten and we believe this is a core concept that Apple has left behind.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Free as in Freedom, not as in beer...

 So... recently I was working for a bit (sweat equity or so I thought) for a company by the name of ImmortalData.  The company is headed by a man by the name of Dale Amon.  I have worked, on and off, for them for about 2-3 years.   They are developing a piece of software that is used to extract data from their proprietary black box systems.  This piece of software uses GNUstep.   They were born from a previous company known as XCOR which was developing a space plane at the Mojave space port.   That company is now defunct.

Okay, so with that bit of history, I worked for a while for XCOR and then, because ImmortalData inherited the software, for them as well.  When I worked for XCOR it was as a contractor.  There have been issues with the software (some GNUstep bugs and some bugs due to problems introduced by Dale) that I have been asked to address.

At the end of a meeting a few weeks ago Dale made a comment like "Well, this issue seems like a GNUstep bug, so there is no reason we should have to pay for any of this" which hit an EXTREMELY sour note with me.

Later on that week I tried to clarify it with Dale, and it seems as though he was under the impression that since I was working on Free Software any changes or fixes TO that software should not be billable.   This is NOT true.  Additionally, the issue that they are experiencing is because of something THEY did, and it is not a GNUstep bug. 

I mentioned this in the previous post, but I feel strongly that this needs to be called out explicitly.   Free Software is free as in FREEDOM.  This means you are free to look at, examine, and modify the software as you see fit.   It does NOT mean services performed on that software on your behalf by someone other than you are free.

This development was VERY upsetting to me and I feel the need to make the above VERY clear.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Keysight laid me off in January!

A little history first. Keysight is a large company that, primarily, makes testing equipment such as oscilloscopes and other electronics. They bought a company a few years back named TestPlant. Prior to that, TestPlant bought a company by the name of Redstone that produced a product known as Eggplant. Recently, I was laid off for economic reasons (at least that's what they said). It occurs to me that nothing in this world lasts forever. I was so depressed when I was let go because Keysight was the perfect home for me... they used GNUstep deeply. So, as you can imagine, I was deeply upset when things ended... but all things do. 

 I think it happened for several reasons: 
  • Economic - This is what was explained to me, but I am not sure I believe it 
  • Politics - I think this part is because I expressed my opinions HONESTLY about the direction of the company given that they wanted to make the application into a VSCode plugin.
  • Perception - I am 54 years old... so I think that they believed that Objective-C was my one and only talent, it's not... I know many other languages and have many other skills. 
Unfortunately, in the US, any employer can let go of any employee or contractor for ANY reason. This is known as at-will employment, making it very hard to take any action against any employer (not that this is something I considered).

Keysight is and will remain a major contributor to GNUstep.

That being said, I recently ran into something rather disturbing at another company.   I have been working with a company based out of New Mexico that is interested in space applications.  They have been using GNUstep and have been awaiting funding.

The lead of this effort expressed something during a meeting saying "We will work on the GNUstep side of this because there is no reason we should have to pay for any of this."   This hit a sour note with me to say the very least.   As it turns out he was under the mistaken impression that, because the work was on GNUstep, it was for free... which is WRONG.

I wonder if the same impression was present at Keysight or if other companies believe this.  The saying, according to RMS, is "Free as in freedom, not as in beer."   If you are a manager at a company who is under the mistaken impression that work on any Free Software or Open Source project is free when your product depends on it, please correct your thinking.   Just because it is someone's passion project does NOT mean that they are going to do that work for free and prioritize the things that need to be done for your organization.

All of that being said the positive sides are this:
  1. More time to code on GNUstep without interruption
  2. More time to work on my own projects
  3. Time to rest and relax
So, as much as I hate being unemployed there ARE some upsides to it.  Here's to hoping something works out soon.   I literally loved my job at Keysight and, honestly, hope to return.   I have my eye on their changes as well as those of others just like any other member of the community.  Yours, GC

Monday, November 27, 2023

Objective-C end of life?? Not a chance...

Recently, I saw this article regarding ObjCs "end of life" from JetBrains.

The tiobe index seems to disagree. It’s also important to remember that jetbrains recently had to take down their AppCode application (which sucked) since it didn’t sell.
Jetbrains is the creator of the kotlin language so they have a vested interest in their android customers. I would take their “index” with a grain of salt to say the least.

While it is certain that Apple won’t be investing into thing beyond ObjC 2.0, it is foolhardy to think that ObjC is going away anytime soon since there is an enormous installed base of stable code, not the least of which is Foundation and AppKit themselves. Also consider CocoaPods.

So, no, not worried about it. Also… look at Java and COBOL. For years people have declared the end of both languages. Java is still popular, though not in vogue and COBOL while not one of the “cool kids” has literally billions of lines of code being maintained and new code being written every year. This (admittedly biased as it is by the CTO of MicroFocus) article gives some reasons why….

Here is the article about COBOL...

Plus… Apple already has a mechanism for automatically allowing objc and swift to work together. Take a look at the frameworks in Xcode and you’ll notice some files called *.apinotes. These are YAML files that are used by the compiler to allow easy integration into swift projects. So, essentially, if Apple writes an ObjC version of a framework they get the swift version for absolutely free (minus the cost of writing the YAML file). If they write a swift only version they don’t get that benefit.

So, yeah, in conclusion… Yes, ObjC is NOT on the rise, but reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated! ;)

PS. That being said, Apple dumping ObjC might spell a boom for us as all of the people who have installed codebases would suddenly need support for it either on macOS (on which we don’t currently work) or on other platforms. Something to think about…

PPS. All of the above being said. I admit I wouldn’t be terribly shocked to hear from Apple that “we have dropped support for the legacy objc language to provide you with the best support for our new swift language to make it the ‘greatest developer experience in the world’” or some grotesque BS like that. Lol


Saturday, March 25, 2023

Swift->ObjC interop

Some interesting notes. I will update this posting as i find more: *

Compatibility project almost complete

As the much villified theme for star trek enterprise says "its been a long road getting from there to here" i am almost done with all of the work that needed to be done to get us to Catalina compatibility in GNUstep. The reason this is still significant is because Apple hasn't made many changes to either the Foundation or AppKit APIs since then. I have been workinf hard over the last three years. All of the new classes are fully tested. Once this effort is completed I am going to focus on printing, which has always been a problem in GS. And possibly a "reference" distribution.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Foundation is now close to Catalina compatibility

I have worked hard to get it to this point, but all of the classes in Catalina are now present in GNUstep's base implementation. Soon, all of the classes available in AppKit will also be available in GNUstep's GUI implementation. Please contribute to the project via patreon.... Become a Patron!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The results speak for themselves...

For the record, when I say "modern" I do NOT mean the current, old, NeXTSTEP based theme with new widgets. I mean a redesigned one.

What Apple has forgotten...

 When NeXT still existed and the black hardware was a thing, Steve Jobs made the announcement that OPENSTEP would be created and that the ob...