Shame on us all!

Check out this 1991’s video, starting minute 23. We are in 2009 now. After you’ve watched it, repeat with me:

To everyone building open source desktop development tools:
SHAME ON US ALL!

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Shame on us all!

  1. Direct manipulation IDEs don’t work very well. It’s been eighteen years, if the concept worked well we’d all be using it. The concept works great for small apps but it falls apart for large projects. For large projects the engineering effort needed to build the development environment exceeds the effort needed to simply write the app you want.

    Like

  2. what i can say from a nobish perspective is, that its much easier to build a gui with Mac OS X’s Interface Builder than its with GTK/Qt-ones.
    It’s just much more intuitive…
    but thats my creepy noob-view 🙂

    Like

  3. I love these old next videos, it really gives you a feel for how impressed steve jobs was with the software. I suppose he’s always had that excitement over the products he drives but it’s still really cool to watch him smile at how “awesome” and “gorgeous” things are 😉
    Next was far ahead in it’s day, now MacOSX is the follow on from it and still has many things that we need to copy well in order for us to become more powerful on the desktop.

    Like

  4. Hi!
    I think the reason for this powerful development model is the nature of the underlying programming language (ObjC)and the class framework (NextStep/Cocoa). I’ve been using various frameworks for 20 years and it is simply the most elegant one IMHO. It is a shame that Objective-C has such a bad reputation in the community. I would love to code Gnome applications in Obj-c.
    Regards,
    Björn Sveinbjörnsson

    Like

  5. @Markus, @James: GNUStep has an awful toolkit, what really pisses me off is that you can’t have that development model with a modern open source development platform.
    You can’t deploy a .app in a GNOME or a KDE desktop environment, if developers expect their apps to be deployed in a linux distro, they have to go for autotools and they have to learn 2 or 3 packaging formats for their apps to be used by normal people.
    So the fact that Gorm or Lazarus gives you this sort of environment is not enough I’m afraid.
    @Jon:
    That concept is followed by Xcode on Mac, and it *DOES* work (look at the iPhone store).
    The problem is that after 18 years, the people building this tools are still using VIM and autotools as their reference for a nice to use desktop environment.

    Like

  6. its like linux desktop hasn’t improved past something from 1991. go us!
    @Alberto I totally agree about the vim autotools thing, I was there and recently switched to IDE’s..I’ll never go back. Course the only IDE’s i use in linux currently are eclipse and netbeans ;( anjuta and kdevelop after all these years really are in a sad state of affairs ;(

    Like

  7. It just goes to show that anything that is great is great by virtue of being built upon the shoulders of the giants that proceeded us. It is awful humbling looking at that video and realizing that the ‘vision’ that Steven Jobs had(and that of the other developers of NeXT) have all but been forgotten in the last 25 years.
    That software was developed to enable people, who themselves were not coders, to be able to easily create applications (live applications-without compilation, autotools, packing etc.) with incredible abilities to enable them to do their work.
    Nowadays, with very few exceptions, those who develop development tools only develop for people who are hard core developers and completely ignore the target audience that NeXT was focusing on.
    But those were the days of idealism. The days when computers and software were supposed to liberate people and empower them. Your average Linux user is utterly powerless and overwhelmed by the software environment they use every day-sure they do simple tasks(write an email, watch a video, print a document, surf the web etc.) but they cannot dynamically link the input of various programs to the output of various other programs easily(drag’n’drop) to create new and unique applications.
    All the talk about plugins and extensibility forget that even python extensions effectively preclude 90% of users from ever using them.
    The days in which a small business user could write their own DB frontend as their business method are effectively over. Instead they have to hire a slew of programmers or fork over a large sum of cash to purchase custom applications.
    While this is great news for those programmers it is bad news for users.
    GNUstep would be awesome if it could be properly integrated in GNOME ( ie. using the same underlying libs or wrappers to libs used by GNOME). Probably devs from both camps are to be blamed for this-GNOME completely ignores the rest of FOSS development except for the occasional oneupmanship with KDE ( GNUstep, EVAS etc.) or even worse as in actively trying to fight off Mono, and the GNUstep devs are content to play around in their own little sandbox ignoring the fact that %90 of FOSS computer users have never even heard of them.
    If GNOME and GNUstep could work together and provide users the kind of tech displayed in that demo it could become the kind of tech which actually enables and empowers users again. So much for silly idealism.
    I had hoped that Gobject and Vala might make such possible in GNOME. But having replaced bonobo(which was a nightmare) with dbus leaves GNOME without any real IPC to enable something like NeXT. As it stands- aside from the lack of development tools GNOME simply doesn’t have the infrastructure to pull off something like this. GNUstep has the tech, but is written in a language which has 0 uptake in GNOME, and by itself GNUstep does not offer a viable desktop. Perhaps such a marriage is not so unthinkable….

    Like

  8. My problem with modern Linux compiled environments is that upgrading versions of libraries often break applications. Its logical and understandable why, but as a developer I miss the fact that a delphi app I wrote 10 years ago on windows 95 will run on *EVERY* version of desktop windows until now, depending on the type of app, libraries used, etc. It seems the only way to do it on linux is to use something like python, but even that is no guarantee. Having recently tested OSX and Vista for development, I see that Linux has a long way to go to make a stable environment for commercial developers to deploy apps on disparate systems. The packaging is a nightmare. It seems that KDE/QT is at least becoming a stable dev platform and I hope that it continues to improve. Having looked at Apple’s docs for its various api’s, I have little hope for Gnome/GTK. There doesn’t appear to be enough consistency across various O/S components like networking, sound, video, databases, etc.
    Regarding the database demo, the easiest thing I can think of on Linux would be Lazarus. I know that demo could have been replicated in delphi in 1996 or so, so I expect Lazarus could do it against a mysql backend without any code as well.
    The world would be a very different place if technologies like Next, BeOS, Amiga, etc had been better marketed and adopted.

    Like

  9. I’ve discovered this video one year ago when I looked for material on Macintosh’s history.
    What impressed me and still gives me a sort of chill, is how well Steve Jobs can present things. After watching this video you feel like you’re missing out on something very important, if you don’t get one of these boxes.
    I watched many of his Apple keynotes and believe me, he still does the same thing in a brilliant way!
    Despite Steve being an undoubtedly gifted speaker (just have a look at his Stanford speech http://tinyurl.com/cmgge2) the technology, or better the ideas behind that technology were truly exciting. Empowering the user such that he’s able to do things better (more efficient, quicker, less painful, more joyful, etc.) than before was truly something that reached out.
    This is best demonstrated by drag and drop wich is a pain in the arse on current *nix systems.
    What should not be neglected is one thing: NeXT (as well as Apple) ships some of the most critical apps themselves. And by most critical I mean most used. Just think of iPhoto, iTunes, Safari, Mail etc. etc.
    Due to it’s open nature, this is just not true for the FOSS world where you often have 10 tools for 1 thing. Although this might be liberating for professionals, it’s confusing and sometimes frightening for normal computer users.
    To come back to the vid: What fascinated me most about the NeXT system was the services menu, which as an idea today seems to be re-enacted by web services and such things like Ubiquity or Gnome-Do.
    The question is: What are you going to pick up to build a better future?

    Like

  10. Jerome Haltom : not it isn’t the same.
    M$ only recently tried to “get it” when they created WPF but it is a mountain of ugly XML and the static nature of C# will make you plunge into the XML description of the interface quite a lot. Objective C + Cocoa + IB work seamlessly. The interface is dynamically bound to the code and the language itself is based on message passing.

    Like

  11. Just remember this video is before DOLE, PDO, EOF, WebObjects, OpenStep. NeXTime, RenderMan, ObjectWare, etc.
    May be you should look up WebObjects, EOF as well you will see that NeXT had lead over all the WebServer development also.
    It took the power of desktop development to web.

    Like

  12. As he stated in the video, the frosting requires the underlying system.
    The underlying system is a mess due to it’s need for backwards compatibility.
    So, why don’t we fix the underlying system? rewriting the underlying system requires rewriting the upper layers and the bar for a desktop environment is so high currently that rewriting the upper lays will take 10 years.
    There are a bunch of projects doing this, and the reason you haven’t heard of them is because they are useless because the upper layers don’t have the features users expect.

    Like

  13. Microsoft’s Visual Visual studio pretty much blows away anything you can get on any other platform. Suck on that for a while.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s