NeXT Objective-C vs. GNU Objective-C

NeXT Objective-C vs. GNU Objective-C

Post by Chris Roehr » Sat, 22 May 1993 09:25:15



It seems odd that there are two independent efforts going on to  
maintain standardized Objective-C implementations: the GNU way, and  
the NeXT way.    Is NeXT making any effort to consolidate the two?

NeXT seems to be missing out on a golden opportunity to spread the  
acceptance of Objective-C (thus furthering NEXTSTEP's acceptance) by  
not fully integrating with the GNU project.   NeXT should be the  
official site for the GNU Objective-C implementation.   This would  
mean that:
        * NeXT could ensure that the latest gcc and gdb releases  
would always be fully compatible with NEXTSTEP, so that NEXTSTEP  
developers could always use the latest GNU technology without waiting  
for major releases from NeXT.
        * AppKit-independent programs written under NEXTSTEP would be  
instantly portable to other platforms running recent versions of gcc.
        * NeXT would have a major influence on the direction and  
standardizing of the Objective-C language and Standard Classes (i.e.  
the Common classes).

This would also mean that NeXT's compiler development team would be  
working solely to produce GNU software to be given away for free.    
More than that, NeXT would have to accept the GNU distribution as  
authoritative for NEXTSTEP systems, yielding their control of a  
critical component of their system.   By current corporate standards,
where suspicion is the rule and "good faith" is all but non-existent,  
this may seem like bad business, but it seems to me like such a step  
can only be _good_ business.

NeXT isn't out to sell Objective-C implementations; its baby is the  
AppKit and the NEXTSTEP development environment.  They do, however,  
have a substantial interest in the widespread acceptance of  
Objective-C.  Because of their heavy reliance on it, they also need  
to be able to influence its development.  The most effective way  
doing this is to actively contribute to the GNU project, rather than  
by maintaining a proprietary in-house version. (When the source costs  
$10K, it's proprietary.)  By maintaining the official GNU Objective-C  
site, NeXT can:
        * ensure that they still have a degree of editorial control  
over its development and that it is completely compatible with  
NEXTSTEP.
        * draw on the vast resources of hundreds of experienced  
programmers to fix bugs and make improvements.
        * eliminate the entire problem of keeping current with the  
GNU distribution.
        * foster the growth of standardized Common (AppKit-  
independent) classes that NeXT can take advantage of in their  
projects.
        * encourage the use of Objective-C on all systems, giving  
NEXTSTEP the edge.

What do the NeXT compiler folks have to say about this?   Of what  
benefit to NeXT is the current "closed system" policy?

--

Dept. of Computer Science, University of British Columbia, Canada

 
 
 

NeXT Objective-C vs. GNU Objective-C

Post by Adam Fed » Sun, 23 May 1993 03:23:45



>It seems odd that there are two independent efforts going on to  
>maintain standardized Objective-C implementations: the GNU way, and  
>the NeXT way.    Is NeXT making any effort to consolidate the two?

Actually, there are three efforts. Don't forget Stepstone...

Quote:>NeXT seems to be missing out on a golden opportunity to spread the  
>acceptance of Objective-C (thus furthering NEXTSTEP's acceptance) by  
>not fully integrating with the GNU project.   NeXT should be the  
>official site for the GNU Objective-C implementation.   This would  
[munch]
>    * NeXT would have a major influence on the direction and  
>standardizing of the Objective-C language and Standard Classes (i.e.  
>the Common classes).

Well I hate to be a spoil sport, because I agree with most of the post, but
NeXT already has a major influence on the direction and standardization
of Objective-C.  Most of the improvements and changes in the new GNU Obj-C
were made to be compatible with NeXT's Obj-C.  I doubt any other company has
written more lines of Obj-C code and is in a better position to direct the
change of Obj-C (and they have). By doing this, they don't constrain themselves
to programming within a framework that may be to rigid.

Of course this may change in the future as Obj-C becomes more accepted and
other people have the opportunity to suggest improvements based on more
extensive experience.

--
Adam Fedor. CU, Boulder             | Fudd's Law of Opposition: Push something  



 
 
 

NeXT Objective-C vs. GNU Objective-C

Post by Alex Blakemo » Sun, 23 May 1993 06:17:01



> It seems odd that there are two independent efforts going on to  
> maintain standardized Objective-C implementations: the GNU way, and  
> the NeXT way.    Is NeXT making any effort to consolidate the two?

NeXT donated their compiler mods to the FSF and according to the
early reports from the FSF effort were supportive.

How much further can you expect them to go, other than to try to keep merged
and as up to date as possible?

Quote:> NeXT should be the  official site for the GNU Objective-C implementation.

I doubt the Free Software Foundation would cede control over gcc to NeXT.
They would certainly welcome cooperation on technical matters and contributions.

dont sweat, they are getting closer over time.

if anything, I would expect NeXT to stop making gcc/gdb mods at some point
and just leave it all in FSF's hands.
--

--------------------------------------------------------------
"Without an engaged and motivated human being at the keyboard,
the computer is just another dumb box."      William Raspberry

 
 
 

NeXT Objective-C vs. GNU Objective-C

Post by B. Erickson Herri » Sun, 23 May 1993 08:40:45


Alex> I doubt the Free Software Foundation would cede control over gcc
Alex> to NeXT.  They would certainly welcome cooperation on technical
Alex> matters and contributions.

Alex> dont sweat, they are getting closer over time.

Alex> if anything, I would expect NeXT to stop making gcc/gdb mods at
Alex> some point and just leave it all in FSF's hands.

It is the intention of the GNU ObjC effort that there be no
differences between NeXT's runtime and GNU's runtime.  NeXT's
engineers seem to concur that this is a worthwhile goal, and their
work & cooperation has been indispensible to the project.

For persons interested in influencing/helping in the development of
GNU Objective-C, send a subscription request to

Erick
--
-----
Erick Herring           |  Computation is the art of carefully throwing
H Data, Aalborg         |  away information [and] Life is the art of
UNIX Consulting         |  carefully throwing away opportunities, an
SysAdmin & Programming  |  interesting coincidental parallel.

 
 
 

NeXT Objective-C vs. GNU Objective-C

Post by Jon Ros » Sun, 23 May 1993 10:51:35




>> It seems odd that there are two independent efforts going on to  
>> maintain standardized Objective-C implementations: the GNU way, and  
>> the NeXT way.    Is NeXT making any effort to consolidate the two?

>NeXT donated their compiler mods to the FSF and according to the
>early reports from the FSF effort were supportive.

>How much further can you expect them to go, other than to try to keep merged
>and as up to date as possible?

>> NeXT should be the  official site for the GNU Objective-C implementation.

>I doubt the Free Software Foundation would cede control over gcc to NeXT.
>They would certainly welcome cooperation on technical matters and contributions.

>dont sweat, they are getting closer over time.

>if anything, I would expect NeXT to stop making gcc/gdb mods at some point
>and just leave it all in FSF's hands.

  Unfortunately, if I were NeXT, I don't think this is a good idea either.
  As a commercial company charged with making a profit, I would have to
  reserve the right (in fact, I would have the obligation) to do whatever
  I felt was needed to be competitive.  FSF is under no such obligation,
  in fact, I get the impression that RS doesn't approve of such thinking.
  So FSF and NeXT are not necessarily playing by the same rules.  It is
  good that there is as much cooperation as there is.

  Jon Rosen

 
 
 

NeXT Objective-C vs. GNU Objective-C

Post by Chris Roehr » Mon, 24 May 1993 15:01:21



>>if anything, I would expect NeXT to stop making gcc/gdb mods at some point
>>and just leave it all in FSF's hands.

>  Unfortunately, if I were NeXT, I don't think this is a good idea either.
>  As a commercial company charged with making a profit, I would have to
>  reserve the right (in fact, I would have the obligation) to do whatever
>  I felt was needed to be competitive.  FSF is under no such obligation,
>  in fact, I get the impression that RS doesn't approve of such thinking.
>  So FSF and NeXT are not necessarily playing by the same rules.  It is
>  good that there is as much cooperation as there is.

This is where I think the problem lies, but I cannot think of why it would
NOT be a good idea for NeXT.   If NeXT donated their compiler to GNU and
adopted the GNU compiler, they would not be losing as much as it seems.
I'm sure that NeXT could never get a contractual commitment from FSF, nor
do I think that that is acceptable or in the spirit of the FSF, so it comes
down to a matter of trust.   But even talking about a corporate decision,
that's not as foolish as it seems.  (Sheesh, did I say what I thought I
said?   Trust?   Foolish?)

The GNU compiler is the product of developers who want the best compiler
for all systems.  It is entirely free of independent corporate interests, and
legally guaranteed to be so.   It is a true communal project in an entirely
cooperative spirit and has demonstrated itself to work.   There's no way
that it could "thwart" NeXT's interests;  if NeXT did something that was
incompatible with gcc, somebody would stick some conditional code in to
make it work, even if they grumble about how stupid it is.  There's no
reason for anyone to want things NOT to work.

And for that matter, NeXT should be treated no differently.  THEY would
put conditional code in to suit their needs.   They are in an advantageous
position when it comes to Objective-C, and would still have the same degree of
influence over the evolution of Objective-C changes as they have now.  It
would just be more democratic, and a whole lot more efficient.  I don't see
how Richard Stallman could object to an arrangement like that if NeXT has
no contract with FSF and is operating on faith.  Trust works both ways.

But then again, I'm too cynical to believe that a corporation would ever
consider trust to be good business, despite all evidence to the contrary.
We'll probably have to live with the current arrangement for no good reason
than the two groups don't trust each other. :-(

But I can always hope.

--

Dept. of Computer Science, University of British Columbia, Canada