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Learn About Ximian and Gnome From Nat Friedman 204

This week's interview guest is Nat Friedman, co-founder and vice president of product development for Ximian. Nat is also co-chair of The Gnome Foundation, and an all-around nice guy. Post your questions (one per post, please) for Nat below. We'll forward 10 of the highest-moderated ones to him, and will post his answers (verbatim except for HTML formatting) within the next week.
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Learn About Ximian and Gnome From Nat Friedman

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  • Gnome & KDE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:03PM (#3343633)
    What are you doing to further intergrate code with KDE?
  • When? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by iamsure ( 66666 )
    The global answer for open source projects is always "when it is ready", but even developers have rough ideas around timeframes whether they are a decade, a year, a month, or a day.

    So, I would love to know, "When will we see OpenOffice and Mozilla integrated into Gnome more effectively?"

    • Use the Galeon [] browser, and you'll have a nicely integrated version of Mozilla, with a native GTK interface.


    • more effectively?

      It's to vague! If you want a solid estimation of how long time it would take you have to be more specific.

      I would say something like:

      When will we see OpenOffice and Mozilla integrated as good into Gnome as MS Office and IE in Windows?
    • Re:When? (Score:3, Funny)

      by 56ker ( 566853 )
      Shouldn't your question be the other way round ie
      "When will we see Gnome integrated into OpenOffice and Mozilla more effectively?"
    • Re:When? (Score:2, Informative)

      by nedrichards ( 254332 )
      For it should be the upcoming 1.0 release. A GNOME shortcut icon and document thingamys should be done by then. The same should be true for KDE.
  • Mono & Miguel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sircus ( 16869 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:05PM (#3343650) Homepage
    OK, this is three question marks, but I figure they go together in one answer:

    What are your feelings regarding Miguel's stated preferences for future integration of Mono and Gnome? Since you're a major part of Ximian, does it automatically follow that you're in agreement?

    How do you resolve the potential conflicts of interest over issues such as this one between your role at Ximian and your position with the Gnome foundation?
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:06PM (#3343656) Homepage Journal
    There are a lot of failed business models that begin, "we can give away software and charge for ..." How is Ximian's business model different
    • You're assuming it *is* different :-)

      I'm not trolling -

      a) they could fail just like those other companies,
      b) the services they provide (Red Carpet) could simply be found more valuable by the public than those of failed companies,
      c) they've already departed from the traditional "give away the software" business plan by selling the Exchange connector. I don't know if this was always in the plan, or a sign of trouble ahead
      d) They could simply implement the exact same plan better than other companies have. As far as I can make out, their cost structure's not exactly crippling - they employ a bunch of coders, but they're not out throwing million-dollar parties, sending free stuff to people, etc.
  • my question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rosewood ( 99925 ) <rosewood AT chat DOT ru> on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:07PM (#3343660) Homepage Journal
    "What is the hardest part of working in such a hard-core, community driven work sector?"

    The idea for this question came with that article about Lindows and not releasing their source. I ask this here because of the hard core community that seems to side so staunchly on this KDE vs Gnome idea.
  • by Everach ( 559166 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:09PM (#3343671)

    How does Ximian intend to leverage the Open Source movement for continued economic growth?

  • by Kaypro ( 35263 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:09PM (#3343678)
    Currently the Exchange Connector seems to integrate quite well, are there any plans to create a standalone server with similar capabilities to Echange Server?
  • gnome and mono (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    How will MONO project affect GNOME project in the future?
  • by joebp ( 528430 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:10PM (#3343682) Homepage
    In many ways, Microsoft's introduction of the infamous Version 6.0 on August 1st might be a watershed for Linux desktop usage in business.

    Are you looking forward to an increase in private-sector uptake as Microsoft makes its licensing arguably less attractive, or do you feel there are still 'holes to fill' WRT the feasibility of Linux desktop usage in business?

  • Nautilus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ahde ( 95143 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:12PM (#3343695) Homepage
    What can you tell us about the future of the Nautilus file manager as it relates to Ximian Gnome? Is Ximian planning to continue development where Eazel left off, continue using and maintaining it, or replace it with something a little more ...uh... lightweight?
    • Re:Nautilus (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tempest303 ( 259600 ) <jensknutson AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:19PM (#3343739) Homepage
      No offense to the poster, but moderators, please don't mod this up any further - it's a waste of an interview question, IMHO. Nautilus IS being *actively* maintained, and if one checks out the GNOME 2 snapshots or betas, Nautilus is MUCH faster now. The need for a "lighter" file manager is becoming less of an issue all the time. And if you really must have something lighter-weight, I hear lots of good things about Rox Filer... but let's not waste 1/10th of our questions on Nautilus 1.0.x speed issues, please.
      • Look at the CVS commits. Nautilus was being actively maintained when Eazel was gone. Now Nautilus development has speed up *a lot* because WIPRO joined the development.
    • I've heard that Nautilus in Gnome 2 should have gained a real speedboost. So it's well maintained and that it would be replaced is very unlikely.

      But if your really looking for a more lightweight filemanager you might want to look into Gnome Commander [], a Norton Commander look-a-like.
  • Future of gnumeric? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tet ( 2721 ) <slashdot@astradyn[ ] ['e.c' in gap]> on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:13PM (#3343704) Homepage Journal
    Miguel has stated that he believes the GNOME project should stop putting its effort into gnumeric, and instead concentrate of openoffice. Can we take it that this is an official Ximian position? I believe it's the wrong one, and while the code will remain available for anyone to pick and and modify thanks to the GPL, it's hard to see a long term future for gnumeric if its lead developers are advocating switching to something else...
    • by miguel ( 7116 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @01:03PM (#3343975) Homepage
      I believe that Gnumeric is a very advanced spreadsheet. But it will take 5 years to get to the point where Excel is. In some areas, Gnumeric is more advanced than Open Calc, and in some cases, Open Calc is more advanced than Gnumeric.

      Open Office is an integrated office suite, so that does help a lot in terms of a unified office suite to deploy to people. To move more people away from Microsoft Office and into an Open Source/Free Software product, I am encouraging people to use OpenOffice.

      That being said, Gnumeric has a beautiful code base, and will likely be a nice testing ground for new technologies (as it has always been).

      Gnumeric is better suited for people who want to do build a spreadsheets for PDAs which are compatible with Excel, for a works-like scenario, or as a reusable engine. Open Office is a lot harder to hack on currently.

      So I see both existing. I am in love with both products.

  • by AirLace ( 86148 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:17PM (#3343726)
    Ximian has explained that it is developing [] the Mono [] .NET runtime and C# implementations to provide a modern development environment for the GNOME / Linux desktop. Of course, a pleasant side-effect of writing future applications in C# will be that it's easy to make them Windows compatible. Do you see a future in producing cross-platform software solutions or will Ximian remain devoted to the Linux desktop? Will Ximian use Windows.Forms (in conjunction with a GTK# compatibility layer) or will GTK# [] be used directly by Ximian programs? After all, the two toolkits have fundamentally different philosophies behind widget packing/placement etc.
    • To generalize the question, Ximian is putting effort into the Mono project. How does Ximian plan to leverage Mono and .Net in the future released of Ximian software? (I don't think they would put so much into Mono just for the sake of creating a .Net for Linux.)
    • I'm talking out of my ass here (but hey, this is Slashdot ;) but I think Windows.Form will be used as a top level interface to any GUI tookit binding. IMO, in an ideal world, Ximian would concentrate their efforts on making it work with GTK# and if C# becomes popular, the KDE team could develop a Qt# binding and a call Windows.Form would automatically detect which desktop the user is running and use the right binding.
    • a pleasant side-effect of writing future applications in C# will be that it's easy to make them Windows compatible

      I realize that in attempting to douse extravagant claims for Mono is like persuading the tide to reverse itself, but for the record:

      Mono does not significantly contribute to the development of cross-platform software since the main Windows APIs (WebForms, Windows Forms, Dotnet ADO etc.) are not standardized, and Ximian has no plans to implement them. The standardized classes make up about 120 of the 1200 or so Dotnet classes used for building Windows apps.

      A much better approach would be to take the Java VM and work with that - IBM is already working on a GTK port of the SWT graphics library, for example.
  • My Question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by magnwa ( 18700 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:19PM (#3343743)
    Over the past few years, there have been plenty of dependencies and what not in GNOME. One package upgrade seemingly shatters the entire setup. Now Gnome is many years older but doesn't seem to have approached the capabilities of the KDE. In this day and age when people are choosing KDE for their distributions in order to attain user-friendliness, what do you think Ximian can do to catch up? How do you plan on bridging that gap?
    • Gnome is many years older but doesn't seem to have approached the capabilities of the KDE.

      This is completely false. Gnome was started *as a reaction* to KDE's use of the then non-Free QT toolkit, so it'd be kind of hard for it to be older. ;)
      • My bad.. I meant GNOME is now many users older from when it used to be that a single parameter change in a GTK Function would cause a recompile of the whole thing.. heh.. sorry about the nonclarity of the question.

        My original question still stands. How does Ximian and GNOME plan to catch up to the large distribution deficit it seems to be facing on the new linux user market?
  • Microsoft and Mono? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zoward ( 188110 ) <> on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:21PM (#3343748) Homepage

    Have you gotten a sense of how Microsoft views the existence of an open source alternative to .NET? Do you think that, over the long term, Microsoft will grow to love, ignore or loathe (and perhaps seek to undermine) Mono?
  • by wrinkledshirt ( 228541 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:23PM (#3343765) Homepage
    Despite its relatively short lifetime, Gnome's been really great about embracing all sorts of different technologies -- gtk, ORBit, bonobo and now Mono. However, it's sometimes difficult trying to figure out how this all ties together (if it's supposed to at all). Generally speaking, if someone's going to want to develop for Gnome in the future, how should they prepare themselves? What should they want to learn?
    • To go along with the parent post, will Ximian ever combine all of the libraries it uses into one large tarball to keep updates easy and to try to unify the distros? Kind of what KDE does with KDELibs ??

      I realize Gnome is still somewhat in its infancy, but I believe this would go a long way in getting Gnome easier to update and maintain.

      • Having lots of different modules makes compiling GNOME a real pain but gives developers more fine-grained control on the libraries they include in their applications. The GNOMErs made a decision to favor developers in this regard, figuring end-users would depend upon their distributions or upon Ximian's Red Carpet to handle the rest.

        That said, have you tried GARNOME []? It makes compiling GNOME very easy, to the happiness of beta-testers everywhere. Cheers!
  • Useability research (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nakhla ( 68363 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:24PM (#3343767) Homepage
    One of the big problems facing GNOME and other open-source software is that of ease-of-use. Microsoft and Apple spend millions of dollars when developing new operating systems or UIs in order to ensure that their product is easy to use for the non-geek end user. What kind of useability studies has Ximian conducted? What is Ximian doing to correct any problems that the research has brought to light?
    • Look at GNOME usability project []. Very extensive tests were sponsored by SUN (click "User testing") -- unfortunately is it already one year old stuff. I think GNOME guys realy take care about non-geek (l)users. Nearly every problem from the SUN usability study were fixed. And much more is comming at GNOME2.
      • the Sun usability test looks like something someone dashed off in a half hour just to say they had a whitepaper. Any casual "grandma" test reveals more, and even most geeks are aware enough of regular usability issues that there is plenty to work on without going afield.
    • Microsoft and Apple spend millions of dollars when developing new operating systems or UIs

      I have no idea how much each spent, but, judging by the results, whatever money was spent was much better spent at Apple than MS.

      The now classic Fitts's law column [] on AskTog explains a great number of points that Apple got right and Microsoft (and, for the most part, GNOME and KDE as well) got wrong. Although the column is more than three years old, the majority of the items are still not corrected even in the latest Microsoft Windows. Compare this with the Macintosh which got most of the items right from the beginning, in 1984.

  • by polyphemus-blinder ( 540915 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:25PM (#3343771)
    I would like to know:

    What is your take on the apparent paradox resulting from:
    1. the goal of uniformity on the Linux desktop, and
    2. the many, many, groups who have this as their own special goal?

    Mandrake and RedHat work toward this on the OS level, and Gnome and KDE battle it out on the desktop integration level, and many others espouse some sort of a "grand unification theory" of Linux.

    Do you subscribe to the theory that less is more, or that multiple groups with a common goal will result in the goal's earlier acheivement?
  • As a buisness (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fizzlewhiff ( 256410 ) <jeffshannon&hotmail,com> on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:25PM (#3343776) Homepage
    Is it frustrating to see potential revenue lost due to offering the same products for free? Do you ever run the numbers to see what your income potential might be if you stopped giving away the same software you sell or do you believe that the Linux community, as a whole, cannot and will not support companies who only sell Linux software?
  • by yusufg ( 3239 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:29PM (#3343800)
    Hi, Red-Carpet seems to offer functionality similar to up2date/redhat network. However, there seems to be a very substantial lag between packages made available via Ximian's redhat channel and up2date.

    An example being (till now, RPM 4.0.4) is not available via the Redhat 7.2 channel. Is Ximian going to ever make a policy statement as to what is the maximum duration their userbase will be diverged from receiving the latest updates of their respective distributions.

    If there are specific packages which are likely not to be made available via red-carpet, can their be an official statement on this so that users are aware of the pros/cons of using multiple update mechanisms

  • The Future of Gnome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by I_redwolf ( 51890 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:30PM (#3343809) Homepage Journal
    What do you think about the future of Gnome in the usability arena. With the advent of Sun donating the usability team that worked on CDE and tiny little things (ie: not being able to manage the menu system without being root) where do you see Gnome fitting in amongst users. Will Gnome be only for power users, or experts only or for that matter users in transistion? (By the way I know who's working on the menu system and I'm currently trying to help figure something out). KDE has it's niche defined but Gnome seems to be in a little bit of a haze as having a defining role in the OpenSource desktop movement lately. What is it's defining niche and target audience if there is any at this point?

    Also if I can squeeze another one in; With MONO being cooked and simmered in the pot how do you see the usefulness of the Compiler and .NET as a language affecting/detracting/helping opensource and Gnome in general. As MONO is a Ximian funded open source project there must be some plans to use it in Ximians' version of Gnome. If I might ask whats coming down the pipe from Ximian in the aspect of MONO/.NET and Gnome?
    • You said KDE has it's niche defined. Just out of curiosity, what would you say it is? I don't pay a whole lot of attention to KDE just because I don't personally use it.
  • Personal feelings (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mapnjd ( 92353 ) <nic AT worldofnic DOT org> on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:32PM (#3343822) Homepage Journal
    Question for Nat: "How do you cope, on a personal level, with all the negative and sometimes ill-informed comments that people make about GNOME and Ximian?"

    People reading this: I am a GNOME user, and I love it. I understand that you may prefer KDE and that it does do somethings better than GNOME. It's just that GNOME suits my needs better.

    I only ask as I personally don't deal with these sorts of things well.

    • Er, a bit of advice.... it's just software. If people bash GNOME and you use it, so what? Who cares? Why are you so emotionally attached to your desktop? If someone says "I hate Fords", an dyou drive a Ford, do you start bawling?

  • by spudnic ( 32107 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:36PM (#3343849)
    The first step in the installation instructions for upgrading to Red Hat 7.3 was to remove all Ximian components. How are ya'll going to resolve this issue so we won't have to jump through hoops to keep Ximian updated and Red Hat Happy?

  • Usability (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Khazunga ( 176423 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:39PM (#3343863)
    The two main desktop environments for Linux (KDE and Gnome) do not offer usability improvements over mainstream desktop Operating Systems -- namely MS Windows and MacOS.

    Gnome does have a usability project. What is your opinion on its actual impact on Gnome? Do you feel the open-source movement can attract non-programmers -- like usability experts -- with the same intensity it attracts programmers?

  • Are there any plans to increase the amount of documentation on GNOME internals? While GNOME seems to have plenty of trivial documentation (such as the GNOME User's Guide [], there's virtually nothing that explains what's going on underneath. Are there any plans for a "GNOME Administrator's Guide"? I'm thinking of something that documents usage of files in $HOME/.gnome, what session management is and how it works, what controls the contents of the GNOME menu, and so on. For example, when GNOME fails to correctly save session information, I'd like to be able to check the documentation to see what should be being written to .gnome/session. At the moment, I just have to guess. Some of it is reasonably obvious from context, but it's the sort of thing that really needs formally documenting.
    • It already has documentation. It's called source code.

      C-X C-S
      (No, I'm not being serious. But sadly, I've seen that posted as a serious reply to similar questions.)
    • Two things have been lacking-- Developer docs and Sysadmin docs. Developer docs are expanding pretty rapidly-- that's a project that's underway now.

      As to admin docs, well... .

      Part of the issue is that GNOME system administration isn't that different from any other kind of UNIX/Linux system administration: config files in the ~/ and ~/.gnome directories, defaults in /etc/skel or per-app in $PREFIX/gnome, (/usr/share, or /opt, depending on distro), and so forth. So it hasn't been as cruicial as you imply.

      However, it's something that at least a few GNOME community members are either working on or plan to work on in the near future. Check out the or mailing lists if you're interested in having more input.
  • .net Integration (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fabiolrs ( 536338 )
    I would love to know how Ximian expects its products to integrate MS .net strategy. Will Ximian products integrate with .net? If so, how Ximian is planning to do it? When it is planning to do it?

    • Why?
      What actual benefits are you looking for?
      What do you mean by "integrate"?
      Are you looking for portable applications, or interoperation with Dotnet apps like Active Directory?
      Perhaps you are just looking for transferable skills, e.g. using the C Sharp language in more than one environment?
      Why do you apparently care more about Dotnet than Java, when the latter is much more established?

      From what I can see, arm-waving generalities like this are exactly the kind of thing that Miguel de Icaza thrives on. He relies on people not defining very precise or complete requirements, he can then deliver something that appears to be interesting but is actually of marginal applicability and/or no improvement over what's been available before.
  • by dspeyer ( 531333 ) <dspeyer@wa[ ] ['m.u' in gap]> on Monday April 15, 2002 @12:57PM (#3343943) Homepage Journal
    What plans do you have to improve compatibility with the non-GNOME world?

    For example, do you think it's practical to implement Xaw as a front-end to GTK? That would get OpenOffice integration real fast, among others. What about a unified theme format with KDE? Or a common protocol for copy/paste?

    It seems like this sort of stuff would be really helpful -- what's actually in the works?
    • > Or a common protocol for copy/paste?

      umm, select the text with left mouse button, and click with middle. That works in /any/ X application. Seems pretty common to me...
    • a common protocol for copy/paste? this has been in X long before i started using it 5 years ago.

      and a unified theme format would be kinda useless, since both qt and gtk can be styled. so if you want a microsoftish theme, qt and gtk both have microsoftish styles to choose from by default.. and if you want an aqua ish desktop use kde-liquid and any gtk aqua them.. and apply colors to non-kde apps in kcontrol.
  • embedded gnome? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @01:01PM (#3343966) Homepage
    Gnome is great for the overpowered computers of today, and I am glad your group brought us Gnome (just like I thank the KDE people for KDE) but I have a very important question....

    Is there any plans to make a Gnome lite or an embedded Gnome? something that would work on minimal hardware (P133 as a target)? Having available a "desktop" that is very similar to the workstation desktop on embedded or small devices would be a huge advantage for linux in general (look at winCE and PocketPC os or whatever microsoft calls it today)

    Is it possible to release a mini-gnome?
    • by alext ( 29323 )
      Problem is that small devices aren't usually x86 devices, so you have to solve the cross-platform deployment portability problem first.

      Unfortunately, Ximian appears to be pushing only one solution to this, and that is under the control of Microsoft.
      • but X86 embedded IS common.

        the MachZ embedded processor Cirrus Logic has a X86 embedded processor, and many more.

        It really would be useful and many of these embedded systems that use these new, super integrated pc's on a chip that are X86 based would give linux another edge.. (Embedded NT is a hideous abortion, and WinCE is also a nasty thing to deal with.. an Embedded linux can be hand-rolled by an amateur linux techie within 2 hours from scratch with a simple recipie. being able to add a gnome interface to it would rock.
        • I'm sure it would. Unfortunately for Linux, most PDAs are using non-x86 chips such as the ARM. This is the time bomb that, in conjunction with Mono, could effectively deliver 'the Linux platform' to MS.

          (To the cretin that marked the parent as flamebait, I suggest you consider why a) the post has only generated useful replies and b) where else this point as been answered as opposed to being airily dismissed).
  • Why subscribe? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JThaddeus ( 531998 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @01:03PM (#3343981)
    I was considering subscribing in order to improve the performance of downloads (which have gone to a snail's pace since the subscription program began) but two out of three of my last update attempts have ended in file not found errors. This type of error doesn't give me confidence in how well RedCarpet setups are tested. So why shouldn't I just forget about subscriptions and go with KDE?
  • Ximian & support (Score:4, Interesting)

    by finasf ( 567193 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @01:15PM (#3344065)
    How Ximian can be so slow by publishing compatibility to Mandrake 8.2? This cannot be the way to work because Mandrake is one of the major distros! Shame you! You will lost many possible clients if you wont bring compatibility to latest versions asap. Is this gonna be same on Red Hat v7.3???
  • Gnome sans-X? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by emil ( 695 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @01:17PM (#3344079)

    The KDE project is attempting to develop a version of KDE/Qt that does not require X.

    They've been at this for awhile, and I don't know their status, but have you any thoughts on similar work?

    • Re:Gnome sans-X? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      GTK+ 2.0 supports frame-buffer so IMO generic GNOME stuff like the excelent kick-ass panel should be easily portable to fb.
      As long as they do not use anything other than gnome, like SDL and stuff.
      (Maybe it compiles and runs un-modified?)

      I don't know.
      • IMO generic GNOME stuff like the excelent kick-ass panel should be easily portable to fb.

        The panel has hundreds of references to X types and functions. Only applications built purely on top of GTK+GDK port cleanly to the framebuffer. It's fixable, but it's not about to build unmodified.


  • Gnu ROPE question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 15, 2002 @01:17PM (#3344090)
    When will GNU ROPE be released? A few years ago you (Nat) and Miguel made a lot of noise about the fact it would speed up the loading times of Mozilla by 30%. However it never came out. Did the project die?
    • Re:Gnu ROPE question (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This question made me quite curious as well. A google search [] just results in lots of postings asking "Where'd it go?"

      There's also a paper [] and some slides []. So, I'll reiterate the question... where'd it go?
      • The most recent reference to it that I could find was April 2001 on netscape.public.mozilla.performance, where shaver is quoted:
        everything I have is at [] but it's not for the faint of heart, and I don't have time to talk people through it.

        Back in late 1998 lwn ran a status report [] of GNU Rope by Nat:

        What is the status?

        The link-time optimizer is fully working, benchmarks indicate 30% less memory usage, and it is better than twice as fast on many machines.

        The ordering algorithms need tuning. The post-link optimizer needs debugging. It will be released soon: []

    • Did the project die?

      It never really lived. It appears that Nat's 1998 ALS talk oversold the project's readiness, and that GNU Rope was never finished or released. In a note [] to Alan Cox on the gnome-hackers list, Miguel summed up the status (as of October 2000) thus:

      Last I head Nat dumped all his patches on Richard Henderson, or was trying to dump them to him.

      Currently there is no set of tools that would match IRIX's pixie/cord tools which is what we would ideally want to see.


  • I like Ximian but it is only GNOME Desktop distribution. It "sits on" some Linux distribution. Unfortunately the integration with the leading distros is poor (I explain it later).

    So the qestion is: Are you going to cooperate with some Linux distro more?

    Explanation what concerns me (I currently use Debian, RedHat, Mandrake on different comps for different purposes -- all with Ximian desktop):

    With Ximian I have basicaly two sets of config tool -- one from distro (in distro menus) the second one from GNOME/Ximian (in Ximian menus) -- neither of these sets is complete. This is the main Ximian stopper for me.

    Two different menu systems. Some application are accesed from distro menus another from Ximian menus.

    It seems to me it would be logical if RedHat and Ximian cooperate. (but I'm gonna to change distro if Ximan chooses somebody else :)

  • Methodology (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shomon2 ( 71232 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @01:23PM (#3344151) Journal
    I have just finished a computing degree where I devoted most of my final year to studying the methodologies used in different open source projects... I looked at a lot of the things which are being used to make larger open source projects work, such as python's PEPs, apache's voting structure, the enlargement of the CVS writing and code review heirarchy etc. What other technical or non technical methods are you thinking of implementing (or are already doing) with regard to the gnome project, and the way software is built within ximian, to allow for it's continued growth?

    Also, are there any suggestions you could give towards getting smaller projects to bridge the gap and grow to optimal sizes?


    • As a technical editor, this one really drives me nuts. People use "methodology" all the time, when simply, "method" should be used. A methodology is a study of methods. And this is the first time I've seen it used correctly! Conratulations!
  • Assbarn? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by huberj ( 12015 )
    Can you tell us more about your efforts with the assbarn [] project?

  • by ACK!! ( 10229 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @01:37PM (#3344291) Journal
    Considering the many divergent tools most users end up having to learn to manipulate system settings especially if they use multiple or try out multiple distros of linux, I found the Ximian Setup project very exciting.

    Where does Ximian as a company see this component fitting into its list of priorities?

    ________________________________________________ __ __
  • Ximian Evolution seems to be Outlook KILLER but how to improve it against other email clients? Many users are using Mozilla because of support to news (usenet). Have you planned to include news support to Evolution? On that way you can get more people to change their email- and news softwares to Evolution. "One software which handles all users needs" ;-)
  • I am using Ximian for Solaris as my only desktop at work. However, My experience has been very painful. Bugs still seem to be plentiful. When I report bugs with the bug report tool, the response team seems to think I'm from outer space because I'm running it on Solaris, and they have never been able to help. Red Carpet upgrades seem to always bring new bugs (the most notable ones have been ones which prevent Red Carpet from working). The Evolution mailer will no longer launch, even though I have removed and added back in the package.

    Considering all the problems with the Ximian desktop for Solaris, the fact that Solaris is going to make Gnome 2.0 the default desktop, and the lack of profit potential in the Solaris desktop market, isn't it best to knife the baby?
  • Most operating systems, Mac and Windows in particular, only support one flavor of desktop. Linux currently supports at least two, GNOME and KDE. Some contend the competition is good. I contend it is the single factor most likely to cause Linux to fail on the desktop. Not only does it causes massive duplication of effort, but more importantly it fragments application development and support. You get applications that integrate properly with only of the two desktops, or neither, or developers who have to build two applications which is wasted effort. How do we justify two competing desktops. Would the Linux desktop be more likely to succeed if someone like IBM bought Qt, open sourced it, and we move to a single standardized desktop where all applications ran properly out of the box?
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @01:59PM (#3344474) Homepage Journal
    What kind of GUI elements would you have?
  • by n8willis ( 54297 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @02:15PM (#3344581) Homepage Journal
    What are your favorite unsung GNOME applications; in particular which ones strike you as clever, original or just plain well-done?
  • Why does the Ximian installer overwrite the Gnome "foot" menu items that came with my distribution?

    As a new user, this was very frustrating, because I had begun using a few of those programs, but was unable to access them after the Ximian install because I did not know the command line phrase to start them. Without the menu I was lost.

    Can't you just append your stuff to the menus... maybe in a submenu called "Ximian"?

  • by Black Art ( 3335 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @02:47PM (#3344821)
    I am curious what the plan is for keeping up with the various versions. I have Mandrake 8.2 and would like to install Ximian. I can't do it because you don't support that quite yet. I have another box that will go to Redhat 7.3 as soon as that is out of beta (and I can get the hard drive clean enough to do the install). Will that be a long wait as well?
  • I've been trying to automate my system's updates using cron. Since I'm running Red Hat 7.1, I can run up2date nightly out of root's cron, and get the latest patches, but I cannot do this with Red Carpet, which insists on running in X. Would it be possible to add a CLI to Red Carpet to facilitate this? It might even make it worth my while to join Red Carpet Premium! (*grins*)
  • I use FreeBSD on my desktop as I fell in love with it many years ago. I use Suse on my laptop however for the advanced power management features. About two months ago a friend introduced my laptop Suse install to Ximian Gnome. I fell in love all over again. The interface is the most aesthetically beautiful and yet wholeheartedly functional I've ever seen.

    My question for Nat would be "Have you ever thought about making a FreeBSD port with /stand/sysinstall in place of Red Carpet?"
  • This may sound like an ignorant question, but it has been gnawing at me for the last year or so,

    What advantages do I get from running the whole gnome package? Every few months I try out the latest and greatest for a little while (gnome and/or kde), and always find myself feeling a little slowed down -- so I end up throwing out the whole "startgnome" and/or "startkde" thing and replacing it with an X session that consists soley of the gnome panel and fluxbox -- and things feel a little more responsive. The only reason I am asking this question is that after I "trim" down my desktop -- I don't feel like I have lost anything -- or have been forced to make a sacrifice just for the issue of speed. What am I missing?
  • Lately I wanted to check out the new version of Gnome, I went to and the download page sent me to Ximian where the only option is to download the 'Ximian Desktop'.

    I do *not* want 'Ximian Desktop' (which seems to want to do all sorts of stuff to my system, come on, asking users to su and do a lynx | sh is absolutely ridiculous, and the 'manual install' option is barely more acceptable 'run this executable as root') I just want a bunch of precompiled packages that I can inspect and install as needed: even better if instead of 'packages' you provided bare .tgz files.

    I understand the need to minimize dependency hell (see the latest kde, which I wasn't able to install on my redhat 7.1 box) but at the same time there must be a third option besides 'use the source' and 'let Ximian's installer hijack^H^H^H^H^H^Hupgrade your machine'

    /me is nostalgic about the good old Slackware days where everything was distributed as tgz archives.
  • Evolution (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Firewheels ( 252266 )
    Evolution is one of the finest email applications I have used, bar none. Unfortunately, as a Windows admin, it sometimes becomes difficult to monitor my email while I'm working (and I absolutely REFUSE to use outlook).

    Are there any plans to produce a win32 Evolution build?
  • by TheFuzzy ( 140473 ) on Monday April 15, 2002 @04:49PM (#3345740)

    I don't think that there's any question that Ximian has the vision and talent necessary to produce excellent, extremely user-friendly tools for Linux and Gnome. However, there's no question that such an undertaking is expensive ... not just for the programmers, but for Q/C, tech support, refunds, documentation, etc.
    In three parts:

    1. How successful has the Red Carpet Subscription been in funding Ximian development, or at least itself?

    2. What other ideas do you have to make people want to pay for Ximian software?

    3. Where do you think that you can use the resources of the Open Source community to reduce costs?

    I ask because, as a member of the project, we are looking to become more independant of Sun/StarOffice and need to answer these questions ourselves.

    -Josh Berkus
  • It is my understanding that Krotus has had a profound effect on your development in college.

    Would you say that it was for better or worse, and why?
  • This is why the average PC user really likes MS Office/Works. When all they want to do is write a letter, create an invoice, etc., there's a ready made template that does the job. This is what's missing from Openoffice. Templates! Sure, there are great template tools, but no templates. They're not included. You have to create your own. To the average user, this really sucks, and it's the dealbreaker.

    No one cares about Bonobo, XML, and the rest of the alphabet soup. Create some nice templates, and the world will beat a path to your door.
  • While all the hype surrounds what Mono will and won't do, and what Microsoft will and won't do about it, I think people miss a very key void that Mono might fill. In the "worst case" (assuming Windows ABI compatibility with Mono is not achievable), won't Mono at least end up replacing Winelib as a porting kit as Windows developers move to .Net as their development platform? If so, then I think Mono is a very important move for Linux in general, at least to those who feel it is important to see popular commercial Windows software ported to Linux. Am I seeing this right? Or am I simplifying it too much? Regardless, I feel Ximian's viewpoints on this and your views of possible scenarios for the future of porting Windows apps to Linux could put a different spin on why Mono exists.

    • Yeah, I think this is idealistic. The problem is the sheer size and complexity of the non-standardized Windows APIs, and the risk that they'll include patented mechanisms. If MS don't back it it becomes a very sticky area legally, and if Mono starts sucking up most of the volunteer effort going into cross-platform development we could quickly find ourselves cornered.

      A much safer alternative is Java, maybe using a native GUI library like IBM's SWT (already being ported to GTK as well as Win32 and Motif).

      I also wish the Parrot / Perl 6 effort the best of luck - aiming high (level) is always a good idea from the portability PoV.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein