Re: Athena User Interface Project seeks advice

Richard Tibbetts <tibbetts@MIT.EDU> writes: 
>   My current project is to construct the development platform on which
> we will be building the system. This seems to mean a decision between
> the GNOME-1.0 platform and the GNOME-2.0 platform. Most of the work
> will be occurring over the summer, before GNOME-2.0 goes to release.

You should never use unreleased stuff, unless you are into pain. The
GNOME 1.0 platform will continue to work long after 2.0 is released;
you can install the two platforms simultaneously.

> 1) What will the changes be between 1.0 and 2.0? If we modify the
>    panel, or the file-manager, or other things, how much will we
>    lose? 

If you hack the apps without sending the patches upstream, you will
lose quite a bit; there's no guarantee of code stability there
whatsoever. (Apps are not in the development platform.)

I would suggest that you make the apps configurable so you can modify
them as you wish using a config file, and then you get that patch
upstream. You don't want to maintain patched versions of the apps.

(If you do require patches, I would recommend that you create custom
RPMs and maintain patches in the SRPM, which is fairly manageable;
this is what we do at Red Hat.)

> If we build apps on 1.0, how much will we need to change
>    them to work with 2.0, and how many convenience API's will we be
>    missing out on?

The upgrade from 1.0 to 2.0 will be trivial, because backward
compatibility will be maintained except for a few things that are easy
to fix.

You'll be missing out on:

 - many GTK enhancements, see the TODO on
   (if you notice a nasty bit in GTK 1.2, it's probably fixed)
 - GConf
 - gnome-vfs
 - Bonobo
 - GtkHTML

> 2) How unstable will GNOME-2.0 be through the summer? Will maintaining
>    a GNOME-2.0 system be unduly painful? Will the API's be changing,
>    or will we just be dealing with buggy code?

I would recommend that you use the released stuff that comes with most
Linux distributions right now. This would be GTK 1.2, gnome-libs 1.0,
etc. I would then consider porting to the 2.0 platform when it comes out.
Also at the end of the summer a bunch of components (such as GConf)
will get added to the 1.0 platform, and you can use them then.


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