GNUe Traffic #2 For 10�Nov�2001

By Peter Sullivan

"Putting the free back into Free Enterprise"

Table Of Contents


This Cousin will cover the IRC channel for GNUe (and most of the mailing lists as well). For more information about the GNU Enterprise project, see their home page at ( . Details of the mailing lists can be found at ( . The irc channel is on #gnuenterprise on, or you can review the logs at ( .

Thanks to everyone for the compliments and constructive criticism about the first issue.

1. Using GNUe for a custom CRM application

1�Nov�2001�-�2�Nov�2001 (3 posts) Archive Link: "[gnue-discuss] Suiteability"

Topics: Customer Relations, Application Server, Forms, Reports

People: Dan Browning,�Reinhard M�ller,�Jason Cater,�James Thompson

Dan Browning was "bidding on the creation of a custom CRM app." He wanted to know if anyone out there was using GNUe in production yet. Reinhard M�ller said "GNUe is mainly volunteer work, so the progress mostly depends on the time the volunteers can spend, and of course the number of volunteers." He recommended using the CVS version of GNUe Application Server (GEAS) rather than release 0.0.6, and warned that "GEAS still needs a lot of work to be usable for production. We even expect incompatible changes to come up within the next few months." The main problems currently were:

However, GNUe Reports and GNUe Forms were already in use for production in a 2-tier environment. Reinhard thought "You maybe might want to check out those tools, and come back to GEAS at a later point." Dan replied that Forms and Reports "may be all that I need to get 1.0 out the door." He added that Interchange ( could be used to integrate an e-commerce module.

Later, on IRC ( , Reinhard clarified that the incompatible changes would come because he expected James Thompson and Jason Cater to request API changes "as they write the geas driver for forms/reports" - he was not looking make unilateral changes himself.

2. Problems with master-detail queries in Python

30�Oct�2001�-�31�Oct�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 30 Oct 2001"

Topics: Forms, Application Server

People: Vsevolod Lobko,�Derek Neighbors,�Jason Cater,�Daniel Baumann

Vsevolod Lobko (sevik) asked for samples of " minimal client using dbdriver interface" , using Python rather than GNUe Forms. He explained "I can do simple queries for one object. I need to do master/detail query" . Derek Neighbors (derek) pointed him to ( , but added "its not a 'simple' little sample :)" He suggested asking Jason Cater.

The next day ( , Jason said that to get master-detail to work, the attributes had to be "present in the datasource before the initialize() [...] if set after the initialize, the datasource doesn't know to transfer it" . Vsevolod said this seemed to be what the problem was, but he didn't think it was very logical. Jason said "currently, most of our tools don't use GDataSource directly, but subclass it... all of the subclassed GDataSources automatically handle this during init - but if it always happens, then it should happen at the most basic level :)" .

Daniel Baumann (danielb) asked if that was how triggers were supposed to work - "this would correlate with GEAS too then" . He wanted to work on a library "to do plugins for various languages" starting with python. Vsevolod asked for TCL support, either ITCL (the official implementation) or XOTCL (with dynamic classes). He gave some examples of embedding using TCL.

3. any-gui and GNUe

31�Oct�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 31 Oct 2001"

People: James Thompson,�Reinhard M�ller

It was asked whether the GNUe team had looked at the any-gui initiative ( . James Thompson (jamest) thought it looked interesting, but wanted to know what kind of license was involved. Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) asked what the difference was from wxWindows. James said "any-gui supports curses" . It was explained that any-gui will load the GUI toolkit that was available on the platform, even dropping back to a text based question and answer session if necessary.

4. The localisation (sic.) police

31�Oct�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 31 Oct 2001"

People: Reinhard M�ller,�Neil Tiffin,�Jeff Bailey,�ra3vat,�Dmitry Sorokin

Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) used the words "zip" and "state" in an example. Jeff Bailey (jbailey) asked if this would be changed to postal code and province in Canada. Reinhard confirmed that "I am the localization police for this project" . Dmitry Sorokin (ra3vat) would be even harder, as he needs cyrillic. Neil Tiffin (neilt) knew "a very small spattering of traditional chinese and might be able to test" .

5. BOND as an alternative to GNUe Application Server

1�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 01 Nov 2001"

Topics: Application Server

People: Andrew Hill,�Daniel Baumann,�Vsevolod Lobko,�James Thompson

James Thompson (jamest) asked Andrew Hill (andru) if he had been working on his user interface for GNUe Application Server (GEAS). Andrew said he had re-written bits of GEAS "as it was doing bizarre things to my records" . James said that GEAS had had a major overhaul, with more work planned. Andrew said there was very little GEAS code left in his re-write. It was 2-tier with an Object Orientated wrapper but could easily be made 3-tier. "It's about 4000 times faster than geas and it doesn't shag my data" James said the major issue with GEAS was the use of temporary tables while building query structures, which seemed like major overkill.

Andrew said his code was a database abstraction layer which could be slid in as a straight replacement for GEAS. Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) pointed out that "a db abstraction layer is not an app server" . Andrew admitted his code was effectively a fat client, "but I don't mind have a 3mb libary on every client" . Vsevolod Lobko (sevik) asked "what about thin clients and forcing business rules in server?" Loading methods in the client would force all client applications to be in the same language. The website ( implied that Andrew's code only worked on plain one table selects or updates, and supported postgresql only.

Daniel reckoned that the current GEAS was far too slow and "the whole caching design is lame as hell - you need multiple caches" . He thought "the parser internal stuctures should also use GObject system" which would allow you to change it on the fly.

Vsevolod downloaded the source for BOND 0.0.8 from the website ( - he didn't think much of the code quality.

6. Transactional support in MySQL driver

2�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 02 Nov 2001"

Topics: Common

People: Jason Cater

Jason Cater (jcater) announced that "transactional support is in the gnue-common mysql driver now (and is used by default if mysql-server was compiled w/transactional support). Oh, yeah... and we work w/the MySQL 4.0 release" .

7. GNUe Investor relations module?

2�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 02 Nov 2001"

Topics: Reports

People: Charles Rouzer

It was suggested that the GNUe model could be generalised by adding an investor interface. Charles Rouzer (Mr_You) said you could customise GNUe to fit any business model - "generally an investor only needs prepared reports AFAIK" .

8. Using DCL while waiting for GNUe Project Management

2�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 02 Nov 2001"

Topics: Project Management, DCL

People: Charles Rouzer

It was asked when the GNUe Project Management module would be started. Charles Rouzer (Mr_You) suggested ( , saying "derek has also created GNUe screens to DCL's database tables" .

9. Time for GNUe version 0.1.0?

3�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 03 Nov 2001"

Topics: Forms, Designer, Common, Application Server

People: James Thompson,�Jason Cater

James Thompson (jamest) asked whether it was time to promote GNUe Forms, GNUe Common and GNUe Designer to version 0.1.0. The patches to GNUe Common for the GNUe Application Server (GNUe Common versions 0.1.1 onwards) could then be done without having to re-release GNUe Forms and Designer each time - "right now they are a package deal" . Jason Cater (jcater) agreed.

10. General Development Work

4�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 04 Nov 2001"

Topics: Designer, Forms

People: Jason Cater,�James Thompson

James Thompson (jamest) and Jason Cater (jcater) were working on GNUe Designer. James was having problems with mouse drag and drop - the event system couldn't keep up with the movement. Meanwhile, Jason had some queries about what level to handle errors at. He also simplified the format for ODBC - "I'm going to make the provider='odbc' and take all the special meaning out of it" . There was a general discussion about what jobs on GNUe needed doing next. Jason noted that GNUe Forms is now crashing on duplicate primary keys. Also, if you have an update and an insert, if the insert fails it will also rollback the update. James said this would be fixed in later versions of 0.1.x

11. GNUe Application Server inheritance bug

5�Nov�2001 (2 posts) Archive Link: "[gnue-geas] [Fwd: geas, connection.c, Connection_realNewObject]"

Topics: Application Server

People: Didid Sumarta,�Reinhard M�ller,�Derek Neighbors

Derek Neighbors forwarded a bug report from Didid Sumarta - "When I created objects which use inheritance, I found that only the parent get saved to database." Reinhard M�ller said this would be looked at, and asked "Would you be interested in helping with the development of GEAS?"

12. GNUe Forms as a replacement for Microsoft Access

5�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 05 Nov 2001"

Topics: Forms, Why GNUe?

People: Andrew Mitchell

Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) said he was trying to convince his parents to switch to OpenOffice for their business. However, they used MS Access quite a bit for simple databases. These could be written in GNUe Forms instead, but they "need a nice graphical DB designer tho" .

13. A volunteer for the Methods code

5�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 05 Nov 2001"

Topics: Application Server

People: Andrew Mitchell,�Reinhard M�ller,�Daniel Baumann

Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) asked if there was "an opportunity for someone like me to help out?" Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) said "first of all you would want to understand the basic structure. Then you would pick a part of the code where you are not satisfied (I promise there will be such parts) and improve it" . Andrew said he could look at the Methods code.

Later, Andrew asked Daniel Baumann " how incomplete is the methods code?" Daniel said it was "not really incomplete per se, but it does not work how we want it to work..." Python and C are handled, but "we need a plugin system for various languages and code to allow you to mix and match at the class level" .

14. First Issue Of KC GNUe

5�Nov�2001�-�6�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 05 Nov 2001"

Topics: Application Server, DCL

People: Reinhard M�ller,�Perry Lorier,�Andrew Mitchell,�Derek Neighbors,�Peter Sullivan,�Jason Cater,�Michael Dean,�Neil Tiffin

Further to Issue�#1, Section�#10� (29�Oct�2001:�Non-Implemented Keywords) , Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) confirmed that he and Neil Tiffin (neilt) had subsequently agreed to remove the READONLY keyword. Also, in Issue�#1, Section�#12� (29�Oct�2001:�Andrew Murie's Profiling Code) , "Andrew Murie himself told us he is not happy with that sort of "manual" profiling and that we would probably do better by removing it." That would be done in the next few days. Later on, Jason Cater (jcater) clarified that, in Issue�#1, Section�#1� (23�Oct�2001:�A new release of DCL) , Michael Dean was talking about a new release on his DCL project (which GNUe is working with).

The next day ( , Perry Lorier (Isomer) commented on the use of square brackets for the nicks, and pointed out "nowhere on the page (that I could see) did it mention the network or the channel name " .

(ed. [Peter Sullivan] Oops! Now fixed.)

. Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) noted that the GNUe Kernel Cousin was now linked from ( . Perry asked "can you get gnuebot to put the occasional <a name="ts"> into the channel logs? So you can put the links on the KC page to go direct to the start of the conversation?" Later, Andrew noted that 1358 people had already read KC on linuxtoday. This had driven traffic to the website, which was "peaking at 15000 today" . Derek Neighbors (derek) said this was comparable to the traffic peaks on a new release day - GNUe normally averages "3500 - 5000" hits a day.

Another day on ( , Derek said he had "a log to html converter" . This lead to a general discussion about how to mark topics/threads in an IRC log, and the differences between e-mail lists and IRC.

15. Platform-specific drivers for GNUe Forms

5�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 05 Nov 2001"

Topics: Forms

People: James Thompson,�Reinhard M�ller,�Andrew Mitchell,�Jason Cater,�Derek Neighbors

James Thompson (jamest) said he would like someone to write a GTK-specific driver for GNUe Forms - he intended to write a QT-specific one himself, "and I'd rather have a windows app look like a windows app on windows machines" . Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) agreed, and even said "we might want a native windows forms client" . Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) thought that was "a bit too much code duplication" . Reinhard replied that "there shouldn't be too much intelligence in forms for n-tier" . But Jason Cater (jcater) pointed out that GNUe Forms would always be 2-tier as well as n-tier. Reinhard agreed, but said that the n-tier version could be different from the 2-tier version. The fact that James had previously described GNUe Forms as a "reference implementation" of a forms client implied there would be other clients as well in the future.

James said the reason for talking about clients other than GNUe Forms was because "I never see it running on things like Palm pilots" . Whilst he was not against people creating specific clients for Windows 32-bit platforms "written in the language of the week." , he thought GNUe Forms "works pretty well" . (As a side issue, Jason Cater (jcater) noted that "wx and python run on PalmPilots" , prompting James to ask for one "for "testing" purposes :)" .)

Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) said that "having to install cygwin, x, etc to get gtk to 'work' is not having gtk 'work' on windows." It was effectively installing UNIX on top of Windows - "which is an UNDUE prerequisite IMHO" . He was keen for James to do a QT driver, " but actually would rather see you look at making wxQT instead of just adding native qt support to forms" . James said that was a major project - "much easier to write a gnuef UI wrapper to QT " . Derek agreed, but thought this would be "not as good for community" .

16. Bayonne as a fax/phone firewall

5�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 05 Nov 2001"

Topics: Bayonne

People: Charles Rouzer,�Derek Neighbors

Charles Rouzer (Mr_You) asked whether Bayonne could be configured as a fax firewall - "I hate fax spamming more than email spam" . Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) said he was considering setting up an "anti solicitor service" with Bayonne, matching caller ID against a list of known accepted users. Bayonne did not handle faxing yet, but it was being worked on.

17. Roadmap/ToDos for GNUe

5�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 05 Nov 2001"

Topics: Common, Reports, Forms, Application Server, Integrator

People: James Thompson,�Derek Neighbors,�Daniel Baumann,�Jason Cater

James Thompson (jamest) suggested agreeing roadmap files for each project. The strategy for future version numbers was discussed. James said the GNUe team needed to finish the GNUe Application Server (GEAS) driver for 0.1.x, then move on to " finish "conditional" support, basic gcomm support, trigger system, gsetup system, anything else" Derek Neighbor's (dneighbo) quick list, after some discussion about triggers, was:

James said the major issue was the User Interface (UI) rewrite, as so much else is dependant on this. Although triggers were probably more important technically, the new UI would be huge marketing - "as I think people would almost get naughty pleasures from running the same form on their win boxen, web site, vt320 terminals" Derek agreed, but said "The simple fact is we need applications. One usable good solid app will do more than any number of ui options will. I'm half tempted to say one of the main focuses should be get one or more apps out. We all have some 'internal' stuff but I mean something useful and distributable."

Jason Cater (jcater) suggested doing the UI rewrite for GNUe Forms 0.3.0, and adding triggers for GNUe Common 0.3.0. James said these could then be folded together into GNUe 1.0.0. Jason also mentioned that the forms specific language needed standardising. Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) pointed out that "the idea was to have a plugin system for various langauges" . Jason said that adding more languagues might not be a priority. Daniel agreed, but said that setting up support for multiple languages in the future was important.

Jason thought GNUe Designer "needs to be more generalized" so it could do report definitions as well. It also needed a better debug system. James would have liked it to "do more introspection of data sources" - the ability to query a database for table names, column names and basic schemas. Jason said that at the time GNUe had introspection support for "postgres (and maybe Oracle)" .

James said GNUe could do record locking "via select for update in the db drivers or something more complex " . This might link to cross-database transaction support, but "that's way down the line" . Daniel said this should be in GNUe Application Server instead. Derek said that abstractions like transactions should be in GNUe Common so that n-tier and 2-tier could both use them.

18. GNUe Forms User Interface

5�Nov�2001�-�6�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 05 Nov 2001"

Topics: Forms

People: James Thompson,�Jason Cater,�Derek Neighbors,�Perry Lorier,�Daniel Baumann,�Charles Rouzer

When asked if users could have multiple windows open at once, James Thompson (jamest) said " the forms client can be open as many times as you like" , and forms can launch other forms. Jason Cater (jcater) said "it does support multiple "pages" if your data doesn't fit on one screen but even then, only one page can be visible at once" . Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) said that "historically curses based systems did this all via menus and I think most gui apps continued this tradition" This way, "the top level menus were 'modules' so to speak and the detail menus were 'processes'. Of course this is how 'security was enforced' as well - either you had access to a menu option or you didn't." Not that he was suggesting a curses-style interface, just "a similar 'effect'" - tabs or something else.

Jason also pointed out "that we are trying to be UI independent." Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) said this was done by using XML, which could be displayed on anything. James said that the same form definition could be used on Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, and web users "and possibly palm-pilot :)" You could also use old amber-screen text-only screens. A single user might have wanted to use full GUI, text-only telnet access or web-based depending on where they were and what they were doing. Also, users could work off-line with a snapshot of the data.

The next day ( , Perry Lorier (Isomer) asked "is there a HTML frontend?" Jason said "we don't have a functioning version available yet" . Later, Daniel added "madlocke was supposed to have done some work on that but we have seen no code for it" . Another day on ( , James said "I think if we don't hear anything by the weekend we'll call it a loss :(" Charles Rouzer (Mr_You) thought the team should "still make one or two more attempts to at least get the code and look at it.. I could hack at it, or learn from it" .

19. GNUe Project Aims and Scope

5�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 05 Nov 2001"

Topics: Why GNUe?

People: James Thompson,�Jason Cater,�Daniel Baumann,�Derek Neighbors

James Thompson (jamest) said GNUe was initially targetted at small to medium businesses, but "eventually I think we'll be able to handle rather large systems" . It would be user-friendly - "so the monkey on the phone could fill in the blanks" . Jason Cater (jcater) said GNUe was aimed at "putting the Free back into Free Enterprise" .

Jason said that the problem with other enterprise systems was that "they are tied into proprietary systems... we work with MANY, MANY systems" . James said the aim was to "Stop letting overpriced consultants sell you overpriced solutions that require overpriced customizations. We're all for consultants as some of us do that for a living but we're trying to keep them honest. If you don't like your current gnue consultant you can find another one. If you don't like the way gnue works you can change it and in doing so NOT buy me a new BMW" . Although this could be seen as quite a heavy thing to put on the user, Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) said "this is true for all Free Software" . Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) gave the example of Nautilus, where the company went out of business, but "the product lives on w/o the company" . James said that "the idea is that if you don't like your consultant (s)he doesn't own the code, or the regional rights to the code. Anyone code savy can tweak the system."

Derek said there would be nothing to stop a company hiring a GNUe consultant and have them create a system for their business, but they could also "just use the base system or just devlop it internally. We plan to offer packages/modules that are like 'shrink wrap' so someone can walk up and use out of the box. In our experience we find FEW companies work this way. They have 'little quirks' on how they want things or they want it integrated elsewhere etc. That is where the 'consultant' role comes in" . James expanded "Eventually we'll have a clearing house of packages so you can just grab something close someone else has made and tweak it to your liking" .

Jason said that "the idea is they will be as integrated as possible yet be able to be used independently" . For example, you would just usesupply chain, if you were already happy with your non-GNUe accounting system. Derek said GNUe hoped to become like a SAP, covering all business processes. Jason emphasised that "we are really two projects in one: 1) A complete architecture for implementing business apps and 2) a set of packages that implement business apps. Someone could do an educational management system using our architecture (rather easily, as a matter of fact), but this may not be a "business process" so to speak" .

With respect to the time taken to do all of this, James said "We've got the time :) Gnue isn't a rapidly developing project but she's too damn stubborn to die" .

20. Preferred backend database

6�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 06 Nov 2001"

People: Perry Lorier,�Jason Cater,�Michael Dean

Perry Lorier (Isomer) asked "What backend do you guys recommend?" Jason Cater (jcater) said "we work with all major backends but of course we must recommend a free one :)" - he preferred postgresql. Michael Dean (mdean) mentioned "mysql" , but Jason and Perry were not keen on it.

21. Website redesign and mailing lists

6�Nov�2001�-�7�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 06 Nov 2001"

People: Jason Cater,�Derek Neighbors,�Reinhard M�ller

Jason Cater (jcater) said "I think we need a solid (few paragraph) description of GNUe on home page" . Derek Neighbors (derek) went further - "we need a new homepage " . He continued "I think there is still HUGE value in a 'business news site' that is concentrated on free software i.e. a free software business portal" but the basic information about GNUe needed to be more prominent.

The next day ( , Reinhard M�ller commented that the old static homepage and single mailing list had been replaced with a "hyper super dynamic homepage" and a set of 15 seperate mailing lists, neither of which had attracted much traffic.

22. libGDA for data access

6�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 06 Nov 2001"

Topics: Application Server

People: Daniel Baumann,�Jason Cater

Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) asked "why don't we use libgda for all data access?" Jason Cater (jcater) said "I don't think it was ready when we were ready" , but was not sure of the history. Later, Daniel noted that libGDA had "25 dependencies according to apt" , which might have been a factor.

23. GNUe Integrator

7�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 07 Nov 2001"

Topics: Integrator

People: Peter Sullivan,�Derek Neighbors

Peter Sullivan (psu) had received an e-mail from someone who has persuaded "a large private company to GPL its HR/Payroll" system and who was interested in working with GNUe. Derek Neighbors (dneighbo) said to forward him to, but warned there were often problems in such cases with incompatible architectures or use of non-free componants. Peter said we could use GNUe Integrator if architecture was an issue. In response to queries, Derek explained that "Integrator is a GNUe Tool that will allow you to merge disparate data" . Work has yet to start on it, but it would build an XML definition of the two sources and visually match one field to another, applying rules. It would be run in either batch mode or real time.

24. GNUe Application Service Providers - bad idea?

7�Nov�2001�Archive Link: "[IRC] 07 Nov 2001"

Topics: Why GNUe?

People: Peter Sullivan,�Derek Neighbors

Peter Sullivan (psu) said that a local ASP had just gone under, and their clients were feeling nervous. "If they were using a GNUe Application Service Provider they could switch tomorrow" . Derek Neighbors said "I think nautilus is a shining example of how in free software world a good product lives even if its company dies " . He continued "obviously one could use GNUe for an ASP, but its not something we intend to encourage much" . Peter said he didn't think GNUe early adopters were likely to be ASP clients anyway. Derek said the problem with ASP is you lose control of your upgrade process. ASP was attractive to vendors because "its easier to 'control' the customer" . Peter said that was "why free as in speech is more important than free as in beer" for GNUe. Derek said that ASP was more risky, because ASPs were more likely to be the target of crackers, "even if their security is better theoritically" .

Sharon And Joy

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