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
* 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
* 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
* foster the growth of standardized Common (AppKit-
independent) classes that NeXT can take advantage of in their
* 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