GNUe Traffic #52 For 26�Oct�2002

By Peter Sullivan

"chillywilly 's initials make him a 'deb' package ;) - I was born to run debian ;) - "It is your..... desssssssssstinyyyyyyyy. << mechanized breathing apparatus sound >>"

Table Of Contents


This Cousin covers the three main mailing lists for the GNU Enterprise ( project, plus the the #gnuenterprise IRC channel.

1. Problems with PostgreSQL python drivers on RedHat

12�Oct�2002�-�22�Oct�2002 (8 posts) Archive Link: "A quasi-CVS install of 0.4, a problem with database drivers, and more"

Topics: Common

People: Stan Klein,�Jason Cater

Stan Klein described "my quasi-CVS install of" the 0.4 official releases on Red Hat GNU/Linux. He had done this because "I wanted to install 0,4 locally in my user space (/home/stan)." This had involved setting some symbolic links, and then running the script rather than the normal script. He had "downloaded and installed the pypgsql package." Because the Red Hat package management had located the file in a different place to where GNUe expected to find it, he had had to create a symbolic link, but after doing this, "I think the driver is available and visible." However, he was getting an error from Designer "No database driver found for provider type 'pypgsql'" . He did some more checking, and reported "The pypgsql driver has a .pyc file with it, so I know something has been happening there." These set-up problems could have proved very embaressing if GNUe had been "selected to do a demo at the e-government conference this week" , as referred to in Issue�#45, Section�#20� (4�Sep�2002:�GNUe at open source e-Government conference) . Later, he noted that "there is another e-gov conference (state and local focus) planned for next March." Jason said he might be able to make this, as it co-incided with his quiet time at work.

Jason Cater recommended "either do a real installation, where you untar each package and run it's, or install a CVS copy." He personally preferred psycopg as a python-PostgreSQL driver, which was available from - it was "better tested" and what he used "in production" . He also asked "Have you installed Egenix's mx-base ( package. Most of the dbdrivers (pypgsql included) need mxdatetime internally." He suggested trying "to manually import your pypgsql package" from the python command line - if that failed, "PyPgSQL isn't installed properly. If not, I imagine it has something to do with mxDateTime."

Stan confirmed that it appeared the default RedHat set up of PostgreSQL was the issue - "The access for language API's is through port 5432. I probably need to figure out how to create a configure string for connections.conf that will accomplish that kind of connection." Jason said "I *think* there is a port= option for connections.conf. I would have to check to see. Either way, I think 5432 is the standard Postgres port that GNUe (and any other pg tools) default to." He still wondered if "Postgres is actually listening on a TCP/IP port? On Debian, Postgres, by default, only listens via a sockets file." The postgresql.conf needed "tcpip_socket = 1" adding to it to change this. "Also, you'll need to set permissions in your pg_hba.conf file for the appropriate interface" - for testing purposes, you would probably "trust" connections from localhost ( and "reject" connections from everyone else. "On a production machine, you would probably want something besides "trust". With trust, the password supplied is ignored." Running the postgreSQL client as "psql -h localhost Template1" would force it to use TCP/IP, and test whether this was the issue.

Later, Stan reported "My problem turned out to be the pypgsql rpm's that I downloaded from They had been configured for an installation other than my Red Hat 7.2 system, with "include" files and libraries expected in places that Red Hat doesn't put them." He had had to obtain "the source rpm package" and make the necessary changes that way. "I also had to install the rpm with the "--nodeps" option because I knew I had the dependencies and didn't want to try to straighten out the dependency tracking issue." He attatched details of his patches for reference. Jason was pleased Stan was now up and running, but asked whether "the rpms of psycopg" from the website did "not work for you? If so, we need to report that to the psycopg people." Stan said he could not remember if he had tried these - "I found psycopg packages at an ftp site together with the deb packages, but the rpms seemed to be marked as deprecated (or something similar) and when I tried to download them nothing happened."

Earlier, Stan said he had considered using the psycopg driver instead, but it "only comes packaged in deb format." He had downloaded the "alien" utility "that converts back and forth between rpm and deb formats" but had not had time to install or try it yet, and he was not keen to "install from tarballs in root-controlled areas, because I lose configuration control of my system that way." Jason asked whether the (unofficial) RedHat package (rpm) at ( did "not work for you?" .

Earlier, Stan suggested "an improvement in the error messages and/or diagnostic capability. I had a syntax error in one line of the connections file (a "-" where a "=" belonged). The only message I got was that the connections file was in a wrong format and could not be parsed." "It would help if there were some way to provide a further indication of the nature or location of the parsing error."

2. Installing GNUe and PySablot on SuSE GNU/Linux

13�Oct�2002�-�17�Oct�2002 (4 posts) Archive Link: "mini-GNUe-SuSE-HOWTO and compiling PySablot"

Topics: Reports

People: Arjen Runsink,�Peter Sullivan,�Derek Neighbors

Arjen Runsink had almost resolved his problems getting GNUe 0.4 to work with SuSe GNU/Linux 8.0, and had "written down what I did in a mini-HOWTO" , both to help others and himself. However, he had one outstanding problem "compiling PySablot, it needs to be linked to libxmlparse.a, libxmltok.a and libiconv.a But when compiling expat only libexpat.a is created." Later, he reported the solution, which involved setting some soft symbolic links for some of the libraries - "And now it will build" . Peter Sullivan and Derek Neighbors both asked for a copy, so that they could add it to the Documentation section of the GNUe website, which was done ( .

3. Roadmaps and other project planning issues

14�Oct�2002�-�19�Oct�2002 (7 posts) Archive Link: "Kudos - keep up the hard work!"

Topics: Application Server

People: Bill Witherspoon,�Jan Ischebeck,�Derek Neighbors,�Derek Neighors,�Jason Cater

Bill Witherspoon wanted "to pass on my congratulations on a fine effort so far!" He had got Forms up and working, but was now having problems with Application Server, even after resolving "some initial problems getting the right version of py-xmlrpc (the 2.2rpm is actually 1.5??)." He was now getting an error message saying "'NoneType' object has no attribute 'keys'" . Jan Ischebeck said that "The problem you are running into is caused by an changed thread model in python 2.2. To solve it just replace the file /usr/local/gnue/lib/python/gnue/common/commdrivers/_helpers/ with the cvs ( version." . Bill confirmed that this resolved the problem.

Derek Neighbors said "This and some other release type issues makes me wonder about road maps. Should we fix a few things and do a 0.4.1 release of things or a 0.5.0 and then begin roadmapping for the future?" . Bill said "I, for one, would love to see a roadmap. I suspect many savy IT managers are watching your progress and would love to see dates beside some of the modules." Derek said "Being free software you will likely never see 'dates'. That is for proprietary marketing. ;) Roadmaps should serve as a path for developers to follow and an expectation for users to know what is there." He felt that previous reluctance to do roadmaps for GNUe was precisely because of the potential for pressure on dates - "When you are a volunteer without repayment often times this makes things no fun, as then its like work. :) So while I am advocating strong roadmaps, I have no intention to push putting dates on them. :)" . Bill accepted "Dates would be wonderful, but yes, realistically in a volunteer effort, they are a little too much to ask or expect."

Jan Ischebeck felt that "the main problem with this release seems to be that there were many changes and too little testing of the prereleases. Although roadmapping could solve some release type issues" , they would not resolve this. He felt that more organised testing was the way forward, with "1. a list of platforms/configurations to test" , "2. a list of tests to run" amd "a way to document which testcases were tested on which configurations and if they worked or not" , preferably on a web page. He cited examples of this from other free software projects. He felt this would "help to increase the QA of gnue, and there will be one point in the nearer future, when it will become mandatory." .

Derek said that a roadmap would help with some of the problems there had been with the last release: "

  1. We dont have a good vision of what is in the release to help for testing. (ChangeLogs and such help with this)
  2. Features get thrown in last minute and are not done in a reliable way. (this is what killed much of this release)
  3. Outstanding bugs that are important are overlooked
" . He regonised Jan's points about "formal testing. We have always not 'pushed' this too much because of minimal resources. As the product gets more and more functional and stable it becomes more and more important" .

Jason said that changelogs were normally kept up to date from the first release on. He also ensured the NEWS file was updated early on in the release cycle as well- "This is a 6-10 line condensed changelog that gives anyone a feel for what has happened." Derek agreed, but said he would really like to find a way of doing this automatically throughout the development process, rather than having to wait for the first pre-release - "theoritically testers could obtain lists of 'completed' parts of a release via a report and start whacking on testing."

On outstanding bugs, Jason said "One thing I would like to see is a tool for our DCL setup that creates a BUGS file from outstanding tickets (or TODO, from the workorders)." Later, he said "After thinking about this for a minute, I realized this should be a GNUe Report example. Doh!" Derek agreed - in the long term, "Roadmaps should be built out of DCL as well." "This way file bugs with 'version' targets and workorders with version targets. Then run a report of what is slated for version X and a roadmap falls out. :)" .

4. Forms graphical resolution and other feature requests

15�Oct�2002�-�19�Oct�2002 (8 posts) Archive Link: "Forms definition features request"

Topics: Forms, Designer

People: Robert Jenkins,�Jason Cater

Robert Jenkins "was hoping to use GNUe forms as a front end for a database project that I'm currently working on, but unfortunately in it's present state, it's just not got the capabilities I need."

He needed a "Facility for accurate positioning of elements on a graphical form." "If these default to 80 x 24 when not explicitly given, then present form definitions should work with existing character coordinates." He thought "Would'nt is be advisable to change over to higher resolution 'graphics friendly' coordinates as soon as possible? Surely it's going to be easier than converting more complex code in the future?)" .

Jason Cater pointed out that the "underlying philosophy" of GNUe Forms was "We are not a widget set and we don't target certain display interfaces." "Properly designed forms should be equally runnable and functional on a variety of interfaces:

Obviously we don't have a good chunk of these done, but you get the point." . He felt that higher-resolution graphics "goes against our goal of interface-independence." "However, we do plan to move to a pluggable "layout management" style in the near future. This will allow people to use various Layout Managers besides our "Character-based" default. One such style will be, I'm sure, an absolute positioning system as you describe. For now, though, x,y coordinates" based on a character-sized grid "solve 99.999% of our immediate needs."

Robert said "If the forms system was capable of handling up to graphics resolutions, users could define the resolution they want to use for their system, whether it is 1280 x 1024 graphics or 80 x 24 text. Note that I'm not saying graphic-only, just definable resolution." He felt that 80 x24 was "not enough to be useable for serious applications. It's not whether the screen is graphical or text, it's about quantity of information displayed per screen." Jason said "character-based does *not* imply an 80x24 grid. I have forms running closer to the equivalent of 200x60. Character-based simply implies the positioning granularity, not screen resolutions." He explained "Forms determines the "character cell size" based on the chosen display font. By default, this is given to us by wx (and is usually Courier.) In the gnue.conf file, we specify the point-size for these characters. By default, this is 12 (I think.) If you wanted more screen space, make your point size smaller. At work, I have mine set to 10. We don't even look at proportioning the screen resolution to determining this. It's simply the size taken up by a character in 12 point Courier. (Or 11 point, or 10 point...)" .

Earlier, Robert and Jason discussed some other feature requests. Robert asked about defining forms with a range of allowable rows (min and max) rather than a fixed size, mainly for subforms. Jason said "I have thought about subforms in the past" but "the more I think about it, the more I'm not sure of its necessity. We currently have importable libraries which solve the same problems. You can actually import blocks, datasources, pages, etc from other forms." .

Robert also suggested "use 'box' to give visual, as opposed to logical, grouping." Jason said "We actually have an outstanding patch that makes <box> a container, with relative x and y coordinates. It would have been in the 0.4.0 release except that I had a few stability issues at the last minute and commented out the code." .

Robert suggested that "multi page forms are displayed by page swapping rather than scrolling." Jason was not exactly sure what this meant, but noted "We do have notebook-style pages currently, which sounds like your page-swapping." .

Robert suggested "Add foreground & background colour parameters to all displayable elements. (I know it's rather low priority...)" . Jason felt this was "GUI-specific" .

Robert asked about numeric and text formatting. Jason said "We have input masks that accomplish this, as well as much more complex requirements. Expect these to be stable within 1-2 releases." He explained how the current case, typecast and style flags worked, emphasising "Style is strictly a suggestion to the UI Driver of how to handle the display of this field... should it be a regular text field, checkbox, combo box, etc." However, this was only "a suggestion. If an underlying UI doesn't have, say, a combo box, then this attribute would simply be ignored, but the form would still function perfectly. See the Forms Tech Ref for a better explanation of why we choose this route." . Robert also asked about adding "'minval' & 'maxval' for setting limits on numeric values" . Jason said this was possible, but could in any case "can currently be handled via triggers."

Robert suggested adding a "means to explicitly define a virtual field (i.e. for calculated values or data derived from a relationship that is not to be stored)." Jason said that "The "field" attribute is completely optional. If omitted, the entry then becomes a virtual one" which could "be populated via triggers" or in turn "populate hidden, bound fields." .

Jason said that several other of Robert's ideas could already be done via triggers. He noted that GNUe Designer was aimed at "Joe Developer, not Joe User. However, GNUe Designer automates A LOT and can even automatically create certain types of triggers on the fly."

Robert asked about the difference between a <label> and an <entry style="label">. Jason said the first was "static text to be displayed" - the second "is an entry that is bound to a database field, but is displayed like a label (i.e., non-navigable, read-only.) From a designer's standpoint, the difference is quite large... from a user's standpoint, not so large. However, the developer is the only one that will see the" GNUe Form Definition (.gfd) "internals" .

Robert said "Both entry and label need view / edit security control. For many business apps, different users need different access to certain elements of a standard form." Jason agreed, saying "We are still working on our RBAC (role-based) integration. I'm not sure what approach we will take." .

5. Free Entity Relationship Diagram tools

17�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 18 Oct 2002"

Topics: Designer

People: Mickael Graf,�Jason Cater

Mickael Graf (Korbinus) said "I am looking for a free tool for designing" Enitity Relationship Diagram (ERD) "stuff, I quickly read about GNU designer..." Jason Cater (jcater) said "GNUe Designer is more for designing data-bound forms - there has been talk about adding an ERD module, but that's not really what it does" . He was not really familiar with any free ERD tools - "I've heard that some use dia (a free diagramming tool) and that there's a free tool that takes dia files and can create SQL create statements" but "that's not exactly an ERD tool - but I don't know exactly how complex you need" . However, "if you find any though, stop back in and let us know - as we do get asked that occasionally" .

6. Fixes to 0.4.0 releases setup.exe on Microsoft Windows

18�Oct�2002�-�21�Oct�2002 (1 post) Archive Link: "[Gnue-announce] Re-packaging of Microsoft Windows setup.exe for GNUe Tools 0.4.0"

Topics: Common, Forms, Designer

People: Peter Sullivan,�Jason Cater,�Keith Jagrs,�Derek Neighbors,�Andrew Mitchell,�Charles Rouzer,�Bajusz Tam�s,�James Thompson,�Keith

Further to BROKEN KCREF, Peter Sullivan announced that a new, corrected, version of the GNUe Tools setup.exe for version 0.4.0 was now available on the website ( , which also "included some more database drivers and other goodies." He added "A big thank you to Bajusz for all his work on this." Based on his own brief testing, "The only known bug" was "that the Connections form, which should allow you to edit the connections.conf file via a Form, doesn't currently seem to work. You will have to edit connections the "old fashioned" way by using a text editor on the connections.conf file (Hint: Using Wordpad rather than Notepad will save you a *lot* of grief with the end-of-line characters.)" .

On IRC ( , Peter Sullivan (psu) asked whether GNU/Linux users were having the same problems with the Connections form. Jason Cater (jcater) said this was why "I didn't want the connections editor to be linked to in the install - as it wasn't tested - that's why no links to it were created in the 0.4.0 official release" source tarballs. He confirmed "it doesn't work on" his Debian GNU/Linux install either - "but that's because he doesn't account for service= type connections - not all connections are host/dbname based :-/ That's pretty slick though - once we get stuff ironed out" . Peter agreed - "it's a bit like the early versions of Designer. It looks so cool and useful that the fact it doesn't quite work yet is forgivable. Of course, Designer is much more solid these days anyway - well, Derek doesn't seem to say "goshdarnit, i forgot to save every 5 mins" as much these days - that's all i'm going on" .

Some days later ( , Keith Jagrs (KetihJagrs) reported that he had downloaded the new version and it seemed to be working fine. He asked whether GNUe Designer, which was based on wxWindows, supported "all the wxWindows widgets?" Derek Neighbors (derek) said it did not - this was a deliberate design decision. "remember we are portable - i.e. one form definition shoudl work on wx as well as native gnome as well as curses as well as html etc - we arent about 'fluff'" . GNUe ran on KDE as well, but Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) explained, "it'll still use gtk+" . Derek said "you need not install gnome - only the gtk libraries. There WILL be a native qt port as well - there is already a native gtk2 port - and i know jcater has a qt brewing in a local directory somewhere" . Andrew said that "wouldn't surprise me - there have been qt bindings for python for awhile" .

Keith asked how to hide the DOS console from end-users when they ran GNUe - "use py2exe or something?" . Charles Rouzer (Mr_You) said that these DOS consoles were "for debugging purposes."

The next day ( , Bajusz Tam�s (btami_) confirmed that he had compiled the Windows .exe version with the DOS consoles visible "to let peop make bug reports" . James Thompson (jamest) said "that's an optoin in the build - we leave it on for debugging but the docs used to say how to turn it off - for releases it was to be turned off - i put a comment somewhere on how to do this in old mcmillian" . Peter Sullivan (psu) said that previous releases of the Windows .exes had come in two versions - "debug and non-debug" . Jason Cater (jcater) confirmed "it's still there in the conf file - just in a slightly different format" .

Bajusz felt that "two exe is good solution imho" - "but, maybe 0.4.1 comes soon..." Jason said that he wanted to do a 0.4.1 bug fix release "real soon - but 2 weeks probably isn't realistic - I'd like it to be - but let's be honest" , so a non-debug version of the 0.4.0 Windows .exe was worthwhile in the interim. Jason and Bajusz discussed some of the practical issues in getting the new upload to the web server. James Thompson (jamest) asked "what's pending for 0.4.1 release" - in particular, should he hold off his planned changes on the trigger system in the meantime. Jason said "no - please go ahead" .

7. Frustrations with Release Process

19�Oct�2002�-�22�Oct�2002 (2 posts) Archive Link: "[Gnue-dev] Release Process [Was Re: Kudos - keep up the hard work!]"

People: Jason Cater,�Stan Klein

Further to Issue�#52, Section�#3� (14�Oct�2002:�Roadmaps and other project planning issues) , Jason Cater said "I mostly agree with Jan. However, this highlights a few issues in this project. [ I apologize in advance if this turns into a rant. ]" He felt that the main problem with the last release was "I could not get much feedback at all from others" - "Btami, Jan, and a handful of others were the primary people to get involved with bug-fixing the release" , and their help was much appreciated. But "We have a growing community and we were on a prerelease cycle for a good while." The whole point of prereleases was "TO GET OTHERS TO TEST!" He had little sympathy for people who could have been helping to test the pre-releases who only realised their Forms were not working after the release had gone out. "The releases are FOR the community, not for the primary developers" , who used CVS. He felt that roadmaps would not address the underlying issue of getting more people involved in helping out. He agreed with Jan that "we need a set of test forms" and repeated his "open call for" users' Forms to make up "a GNUe smoketest." He had no problems with the concept of a web form for reporting testing progress, but did not want the work to develop this to "end up on the shoulders of the primary developers to carry out" as in the past. He recognised "that as we come closer to 1.0, this will become less of an issue" as "we will move from "new feature" mode, to "bug fix/minor improvement" mode." But "The more complicated the release process becomes, the less frequently we will be able to release -- UNLESS we have release coordinators separate from the main developers" which was unrealistic. The GNUe project had to decide whether it wanted releases "Early and often? or infrequent, feature-complete, and rock-solid?"

Stan Klein said "We need to work out ways that make it easier to participate in pre-release testing" . "What Jason has called my "mutant install" (for tar.gz files) seems to work and makes it relatively easy to create a GNUe installation in my user directory that doesn't have consequences for my system configuration. I think it is a good way to install pre-release versions for testing. It is easy to delete the installation when the testing is finished." Also, "We probably need (if we don't already have them) pre-planned test cases, and a plan for going through them. We need to include a plan for regression testing, and that needs to be provided to potential testers." He "can't comment on other parts of Jason's rant" but noted that "GNUe has developed to the point where a python newbie (which I am) finds many parts of it difficult to follow. I will help where I can, especially in the area of advocacy, but there are some areas that will necessarily rest on the shoulders of the key developers, because they are the ones who understand the guts of the code. And may they keep up the great work."

8. GSParser and the GNUe XML DTD

19�Oct�2002�-�23�Oct�2002 (4 posts) Archive Link: "Installation question about GSParser"

Topics: Common

People: James DuPont,�Jason Cater

James DuPont reported "a small problem, it looks like the GSParser has been moved out of its old location in the cvs tree under the form designer." He noted "It looks like it did exist some time - designer/src/schema/parser/" . But it "looks like it moved, I will try and see if I can get that work..." Jason Cater said "I have fixed the gnuedtd script in CVS. However, please note that this file is a convenience file for developers... it has nothing to do with the operation of GNUe." .

9. WikiWikiWeb for GNUe

19�Oct�2002 (8 posts) Archive Link: "wiki [Was Re: The trick to build PySablot and an updated SuSE-GNUe-HOWTO]"

People: Jason Cater,�Daniel Baumann,�Derek Neighbors,�Peter Sullivan

Jason Cater, referring to Issue�#52, Section�#2� (13�Oct�2002:�Installing GNUe and PySablot on SuSE GNU/Linux) , said this was a good example of how a GNUe wiki ( could be useful. "Our users are a wealth of information. Especially when it comes to installation. Most of the core developers are Debian-biased, so it's hard for us to document the steps for other *nixes." Daniel Baumann agreed - "I love the idea of a wiki. We use one for our LUG and it is just a lot of fun and a nice place to slings ideas around. It's like a "living" document so to speak and would serve as a valuable resource, imho." Derek Neighbors said "I like Wiki. I just dont want to spread us too thin (core team). User contributed docs via Wiki is great." However, it did not replace the need for good documentation, and "I dont see wiki as a 'discussion' replacement to irc or mailing lists either. It might be a good place to do FAQ's and HOW-TOs and such though." "Maybe our web site just needs an easier way to upload 'user contributed' documentation?" Peter Sullivan said "I like the concepts behind wiki, and I think it would fit well with both what we are now and what we want to become as a GNUe community. My concern would be that we already have multiple channels of communication on this project" , citing a quick list of 9-10. "The net effect of all of these is that not only newcomers, but also the core people, can find it difficult to keep in touch with everything that is going on" . "So, I would support a wiki, and even be prepared to help set it up and "seed" it, provided that we used it to *replace* some of the above channels instead of just letting it become" yet another channel.

10. Strong commercial interests and free software projects

19�Oct�2002�-�21�Oct�2002 (10 posts) Archive Link: "Tools"

Topics: Forms, Why GNUe?

People: Dragi Raos,�Derek Neighbors,�Rich Bodo,�David Sugar

Dragi Raos said he "was pretty excited when I saw there is open source ERP effort, and then a bit disappointed when I discovered that, while tools part of the effort got under way quite nicely, actuall apps are still far away. Perhaps that's in part because of reinventing the wheel on the tools side." He pointed to POSSL ( as a possible open source application development tool - this had been open-sourced by its original authors, who "left it from there on to the community (which has not done much)." . It worked "on all Unix-based OSes and Windows" , although Mac and VMS support had now been abandonded. Like GNUe Forms, it aimed to support "character mode, GUI and Web (from the same forms)." Derek said that, although Dragi perceived the GNUe Tools as reinventing the wheel, "We think of it as providing a completely liberated solution." He noted "

  1. POSSL was not opensource at the time GNUe was started.
  2. POSSL (to my knowledge) requires non-free software to be used.
  3. POSSL is under a copyright holder that has strong commercial interests.
" "The gist of the GNU project is to provide a completely free alternative. Under consistent and compatiable licenses. GNU Enterprise is a part of the GNU project and so aims to work cohesively with the rest of the GNU project." Dragi accepted that "#1 was excellent reason not to use POSSL - it did not exist :-)" . However, "#2 is not exactly correct: POSSL can work with, but does not require, non-free SW; one can use it without WebSphere and business graphics, and with some of the free database systems. They have also switched from commercial to free version of Motif." . "Of course, I am not sugesting that people @ GNUe should change their platform just because I happen to like another one - it's too late for that now. Frankly, I was surprised that anybody even heard of POSSL :-)" .

Rich Bodo accepted that any non-free dependancies would make POSSL unusable for GNUe, but he did not see why having a copyright holder with strong commercial interests was a bad thing - "Leadership changes, people change. Organizations agreeable to you today may not be tomorrow. Happens with governments all the time. If you don't agree with the ideals of a copyright holder of a GPL project, fork it or leave it. If you do, work with them." Derek said "We can agree to disagree. Strong commercial interests means no sense of community. (read they will screw you at first chance they have to make money) Generally corporations like this put out 'dead' product to hope some one carries it, or they hope to attract folks to get them 'buy' something they need that is not free. (i.e. bait them)" . Dragi Raos said that POSSL's authors had open-sourced it to "simply to raise visibility of their commercial product" - as the commercial version was still being developed, it was already effectively a fork. David Sugar said "There are ways of dealing successfully with commercial entities that may mearly use free software licensing to seed product or play bate and switch games. Of course, there is always the notion of forking the "last public version", if it comes to that. A more effective strategy is for the community to dilute the corporations copyright with another far more stubborn and committed free software party (the FSF being an excellant example of this :) through strategic contribution, thereby blocking the corporation from changing to proprietary licenses in the future. That being said, one does have to choose carefully, but I do not think strong commercial interests are automatically bad for community."

Rich said that "it's not only o.k. to have a strong commercial interest in a free software project that you contribute to, but that it's a common, productive source of motivation. Lots of businesses depend on it, like the FSF, or most people who consult on free software." Derek said "There is a difference between commerical interest and commerical interest at all cost (which I was alluding to by saying 'strong' commericial interest. We likely disagree in that I think when the interest in making money is stronger than doing the best thing for the project as a whole then the commericial interest is TOO strong." .

11. Problems updating GNUe CVS server

19�Oct�2002�-�20�Oct�2002 (2 posts) Archive Link: "[Gnue-dev] CVS Errors"

People: Derek Neighbors,�Mathieu Roy

Derek Neighbors reported a problem with checkking in code to CVS with savannah, the CVS server used for the GNUe codebase. "reading appserver/grpc/GEAS.grpc: Too many levels of symbolic links" . This meant he "can checkout out the tree new, but not update it. Any ideas as to cause or how to fix?" Mathieu Roy asked "Can you try with the basic syntax - cvs update ?"

12. GNUe packages included in GNUWin

19�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 20 Oct 2002"

People: Matt Rice

It was announced that the GNUe packages would be part of the next version of GNUWin, a collection of GNU and other free software packages especially compiled for Microsoft Windows, which was due out in a few days. The information that had been published on the GNUe web site was a little bit in anticipation. Matt Rice (ratmice) felt "they sure need a us mirror" . People were asked to write to GNUWin if they could offer this - the University of Texas was reportedly about to set one up.

13. Non-free alternatives to GNUe Reports

19�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 20 Oct 2002"

Topics: Reports

People: Jason Cater

Further to BROKEN KCREF, Jason Cater (jcater) corrected "reportlabs is not free software - their PDF library is - but their reporting framework is not" .

14. Other Payroll projects and GNUe

19�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 20 Oct 2002"

Topics: Human Relations, Financials (Accounting)

People: Nicholas Lee,�Derek Neighbors,�Jason Cater

Nicholas Lee (esands) said "Anyone looked at payroll software? These guys look like they have done some design work ( ( )." Another free alternative was " ( . Doesn't look as polished" . Derek Neighbors (derek) said "fwiw acclite does payroll - its part of gnue today :)" . He was hoping to talk to Jason Cater (jcater) about further progress on acclite later. He had also received an e-mail from the maintainer of openpayroll ( , who was interested in working with GNUe. Jason noted that epayroll was "Made with PHP and MySQL" and "throws his hands up in disbelief" . Nicholas said "Why? If it works, and its not like payroll is a db intensive problem" .

15. Focus problem with multi-line Forms

20�Oct�2002�-�22�Oct�2002 (3 posts) Archive Link: "[Gnue-dev] Re: focus nightmare"

Topics: Forms

People: Bajusz Tam�s,�John Lenton,�Jason Cater,�Nicholas Lee

Further to Issue�#46, Section�#6� (5�Sep�2002:�Focus problem with multi-line Forms) Bajusz Tam�s asked "Was any solution for this" discovered. John Lenton said "not yet." Jason Cater said "Try latest cvs" , pointing to a screenshot ( demonstrating the inactive rows greyed out.

Jason (jcater) also mentioned his screenshot on IRC ( . Nicholas Lee (esands) asked "Is it possible to click though an item on that list somehow to a master detail screen? Say your've got a list of items with 40 fields, but you want to display 3 of them to select the correct item to edit" . Jason said "you could have a detail block linked to a multi-row block like that - so that when one of the rows is selected - the detail block brings all the details for that record up - my picture was showing the greyed out lower records, though :)" Nicholas asked "What about the last blank un-greyed record?" Jason said "I did an insert record there - so that's actually a record" .

16. Status of GNUe Tools and Packages

21�Oct�2002�-�22�Oct�2002 (5 posts) Archive Link: "ERP"

People: Antonio Wiesner,�Derek Neighbors,�Reinhard M�ller,�Andrew Mitchell

Antonio Wiesner said he was interested "in ERP -MRP open/free software." He asked when GNUe would be usable, given that it had not yet been started. Derek Neighbors said "I would hardly call the project not yet started. We have more code than most similar projects. We are building a lot more than an ERP application - we actually built and ERP Application Framework. A large portion of that framework is more than usable (and in use production today). The specific applications like Financials, Human Resources and the likes are not ready, but all one needs to do is pick up the framework and make them. If you are volunteering we can certainly put you to work." Antonio said "I am not a software developer, only a highly motivated potential customer. I wonder if GNUe would benefit from early feedback /suggestions from people like us that so badly need an affordable yet highly capable ERP system." Derek said "Actually customers/users exactly like you are who we need to help drive the package development. :)" .

Some days later, on IRC ( , it was asked what was needed to get GNU Enterprise running on Windows NT - a back-end database, the tools and the packages? Reinhard said "um.... i think we have to tell you that there are no gnuenterprise packages yet... well to be precise there are some qite usable samples - but if you are after "accounting" or "invoicing" then you'd have to wait. There are some ready to use apps that are managed under the "roof" of the gnuenterprise meta project - like nola or acclite - but there are no "gnuenterprise packages" yet" .

It was asked who used the GNUe Tools at the moment. Andrew confirmed it was people who write their own packages - "custom systems that use forms & reports" .

17. GNUe Navigator for classic workflow

20�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 21 Oct 2002"

Topics: Navigator

People: Nicholas Lee,�Derek Neighbors,�Andrew Mitchell

Nicholas Lee (esands) asked "Is there actually a way to generate a navigatable (cursor keys/mouse click) list of things? Rather than just having everything as forms" ? Derek Neighbors (derek) suggested "gnue navigator? have you tried that" ? Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) said Navigator produced "a tree of forms and reports with descriptions" . Nicholas said "So it tries in with the classic UI workflow. ie. open app, (*) open list, chose item, edit item, save item. Repeat from (*)" .

18. acclite/nola or sql-ledger for simple Financials

20�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 21 Oct 2002"

Topics: Financials (Accounting)

People: Nicholas Lee,�Andrew Mitchell,�Derek Neighbors

Nicholas Lee (esands) said that, ignoring installation time, with an hour's work "I now can run a business in NZ with sql-ledger." . Having spent half a day with acclite/nola "I realised I'd have to hack the nola/acclite scheme to deal with the fact its US-centric and doesn't report GST (sales tax) on purchases. Thus, regardless of the code base, for me sql-ledger is usable and nola/acclite is not. sql-ledger still has some things I'd like to have, 8) but its functional. It deals with FX gain/loss in a nice manner, plus it has a system which works for NZ GST. The two main things I need at the moment." . Also, sql-ledger had a much smaller schema than nola - "nola's got moore features, but in most cases you dont need it." Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) agreed - "people are so conservative when it comes to accounting systems - they want something that's proven to work well :)"

Later, Derek Neighbors said "sql-ledger might work, but not being able to reconcile an account is well not good - but furthermore re: # of tables thats why we wouldnt touch sql-ledger - their schema is horrid - it might be 'easier to understand' cause there is less of it - but that doesnt make it 'a better schema' imho" . Nicholas said "that might be true, but sql-ledger gets me where I want to go today. Nola would require a new schema to sort out the lack of GST/sales-tax tracking for vendors. SL does have some issues with its schema, I suspect it needs to normalise a little bit. Still working today is better than working tomorrow with something better. Esp if it saves me having to running MYOB under win4lin and I can wait for gnue to get to a better point" .

19. Reports server not currently used

20�Oct�2002�-�21�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 21 Oct 2002"

Topics: Reports

People: Andrew Mitchell,�Jan Ischebeck,�Jan Ischebeck

A bug was reported trying to start the GNUe Reports server. Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) asked whether this was with CVS or the official releases tarball - "source tarballs are ok but CVS gives latest features (and new bugs)" . "when using cvs, use '' to install" - "it's in the root gnue directory" .

The next day ( , Jan Ischebeck (siesel) confirmed that "the gnue-reports-server is nothing more than a stub for the moment - even if you could run it, the gnue-report client has no "execute report on server" functionality" as of time of writing. The GNUe Reports client was not dependant on the Reports server, but ran as a stand-alone application.

20. Field names in GNUe Schema Definitions

20�Oct�2002�-�21�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 21 Oct 2002"

Topics: Common

People: Ariel Cal�,�Jan Ischebeck

Ariel Cal� (ariel_) asked "have you noticed that the <row> entries in" GNUe Schema Definition (.gsd) files "have to be in the same order as are declared the columns in the table declaration, otherwise it does'nt work - the "field" attribute is completely ignored - this is because xls's translate it to insert into table xxx values( ....) and not to: insert into table xxx (...) values( ....)" . Jan Ischebeck (siesel) said he had "forgot to add >"field" attribute support in data sets< to the TODO list" .

The next day ( , Ariel confirmed that he had "tried to correct the xsl's to produce "insert into sometable (...) values (...) - the problem is that, then the "field" attribute must be REQUIRED - otherwise you can have a mix of <row>s both with and without "field" atrribute - that is sintactically correct but meaningless. Another solution (but seems me cumbersome) is to have two kinds of <row>

  1. <row> </row> can only have <value>'s without field attribute and in exact number and order as in the table declaraion.
  2. <namedrow>..</namedrow> that must have <value field="foo">bar</value> elements
" In any case, "since the corrisponding table declaration can be in another file, it is beyond xml/xls capability to check that the <row>'s are in the right number and order," and there could also be type mismatches (character data into numeric fields, etc.). Jan agreed - "we need to differentiate between row and namedrow - or we just make the field attribute required, (although its kind of overhead)"

21. GNUe App Server as a business application server

20�Oct�2002�-�22�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 21 Oct 2002"

Topics: Application Server

People: Keith Jagrs,�Jason Cater,�Reinhard M�ller,�Nick Rusnov,�Andrew Mitchell,�Keith

Keith Jagrs (KeithJagrs) asked a "(maybe) silly question: Whats the difference between a Business app server (like GEAS) and a general purpose app server?" . Jason Cater (jcater) "doesn't think theres such a thing as a general purpose app server - /methinks all app servers have a purpose or focus, even if they are billed as general purpose - but I could be wrong :)" . Keith said "I mean, giving that GNUe emphasizes in being developed towards business, I wonder what does it imply - What features include and what are excluded, compared to other ones" . Jason pointed to Issue�#19, Section�#1� (28�Feb�2002:�GNUe Application Server (GEAS) version 2 Discussion) , saying "I think the key concepts are centralization of business rules [or logic] coupled with database abstraction - there's more of course" . Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) said "appserver will _use_ common to achieve db abstraction" .

On naming terminology, he explained "geas was our original implementation of an application server -it was contributed by a company in nz. However it turned out that it didn't fit too well into the overall concept of GNUe so we decided to restart from scratch - and to not mix up the "old" one and the "new" one, we agreed to call the new one "appserver" instead of "geas" - so most documentation that refers to "geas" probably is obsolete as it refers to a no-longer-used-piece-of-code - or it refers to the new appserver but was written before that renaming decision was made :)" Keith felt "it is better to use a name instead of the general term "application server"" . Nick Rusnov (nickr) suggested "an Appserver called Gary" , but Jason said "I like Bob" . The rest of the conversation went rapidly off-topic, as people suggested other alternative names and acronyms.

Two days later ( , Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) confirmed that GNUe Application Server could run on Windows NT - the FAQ was out of date on this as it referred to the old GNUe Application Server (GEAS). Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) said "i have to talk to" the webmaster "about the web page - much of it is out of date wrt appserver - because there's much on the web page that still refers to GEAS (v1)" . He explained "what we call GEAS (v1) is an application server that we got contributed - however after some time of hacking in that code we decided to rewrite from scratch - which we now call "appserver" to have a clear distinction" .

22. Javascript forms client

20�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 21 Oct 2002"

Topics: Forms, Why GNUe?

People: Derek Neighbors,�Charles Rouzer,�Daniel Baumann,�Andrew Mitchell

Further to BROKEN KCREF, Derek Neighbors (derek) asked "anyone know status of our html driver ?" Charles Rouzer (Mr_You) said "it seems.... everything can be written in javascript (except backend db routines).. and it may be beneficial (but license problematic) to create a mozilla/netscape version and IE version within the same script code ie. XUL for mozilla and JScript/?? for IE. the javascript is in jans dir ( ... IIRC" . Derek asked "why problematic? there is a free javascript implementation iirc - and there is no license issue - it is only a moral issue - i.e. i would think it poor form in someways to spend time on" "an implementation that requires a non free parser - but certainly one could do it without license issues" - as long as "the source is GPL or free software it could be part of GNUe officially, but i would lean towards not including as 'official' gnue if it required non free software to run" . Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) pointed out that the Mozilla implementation of javascript was "avilable under the GPL in their dual licensing scheme" . Derek agreed, but noted that Microsoft Internet Explorer was definantly not - this was why he would prefer "if you make a xplatform javascript app thats cool - its only if you make it so it CANT run on non freesoft" that would be an issue. For example, the main GNUe Forms client used wxWindows, which worked on many different platorms, including Microsoft Windows - "but it doesnt MANDATE windows" . He would even "supoprt a native w32 port of forms client (even though it requires non-free software) - only because we have more functional clients that run on free platforms. I would say the same for javascript as well as long as we have free equivalents in place" - "but i think the free ones should take priority" .

Charles said "well siesel is a coding madman.. completely blows me away, but I think its possible to write such an app." Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) asked "ok, but wouldn't a JS application still be Free if licensed under the GPL even if it ran on a prop. implementation?" In any case, "we have a Free implmentation and Ecma standards" . Charles was not sure that ECMAScript was as fully funtional as either Netscape/Mozilla's Javascript or Microsoft's JScript. Derek said this was not the point - "if i write an application that is GPL that uses visual basic - well thats kind of stupid for GNU to support. Certainly my application is free software - but if requiring NON FREE software to 'modify' it is a requirement - it kind of defeats the purpose of making it free software in the first place :) btw: this has long been my gripe with compiere - they require oracle and java2 and other non free stuff" .

Charles said "well anyways, check out siesels javascript work for HTML driver, I think its the way to go. think about this.. with XMLRPC bultin to the client.. you wouldn't even need a webserver." Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) said "i'm not hot on javascript, does it have the functions you need?" Charles said "well thats the big if.. with XUL it might be much more useful." Andrew noted that "triggers in forms would have to be javascript, and thus harder to use outside of the browser" . Charles agreed - "but hey, we just need some basic functionality at the moment." In the longer term, the triggers should be placed in the Application Server "and just use XMLRPC ;-)"

23. New Developer's Guide to Forms

20�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 21 Oct 2002"

Topics: Forms

People: Jason Cater,�Charles Rouzer

Jason Cater (jcater) asked "have you seen my new Developer's Guide ( ? - /me is trying to get feedback" . Charles Rouzer (Mr_You) asked how it related to the exisiting Developer's Introduction ( . Jason said the new document was "specifically GNUe Forms - nothing more. I want to do one for each tool - but also have a general overview one as well" . He would probably do Designer next, then Reports. "/me thinks the one you linked to will be more the general purpose overview i.e., how you can use GNUe to do a complete application - but not necessarily get into the nitty gritty" . Charles said "if I come across changes/comments I'll send them to you."

24. GNUe Developers meeting in Germany

21�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 22 Oct 2002"

People: Jan Ischebeck,�Reinhard M�ller

Further to Issue�#50, Section�#5� (3�Oct�2002:�GNUe Developers meeting in Germany) , Jan Ischebeck (siesel) asked "do we need to make a list of points to talk about, or prepare some other stuff?" Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) said "i think the sole topic is concept of appserver" . Jan said this involved several "appserver subtopics, like "how to implement transactions", "how to solve replication" etc." .

25. Python for GNUe triggers and scripting

21�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 22 Oct 2002"

Topics: Designer

People: Christian Selig,�Reinhard M�ller,�James Thompson

It was asked why GNUe used python rather than scheme/guile for its scripting language. Christian Selig (lupo) said that "gnue is meant to be language neutral when it comes to program applications with it, but there are AFAIK no hooks for other languages than python yet" - this was just because "nobody has shown interest for that yet" . Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) said "our main reason to choose python as our main scripting language - is that gnue should be usable and extendable by business people - and scheme is not a language that typical business people tend to understand :)" Christian agreed - "most ERP programmers don't want to "program", they just want some simple coding facility for their purposes - gnue is coded in python because it's easy to learn and understand and because it is as good as java (as a programming language), but better than java (as a platform / reg. licensing)" . It was noted that Designer would be a key part of the framework in reducing the amount of "programming" needed. Christian agreed - ""programming" implies (for me) a deep understand of the entire structure, "coding" a well-placed hack to solve a specific problem" .

It was asked how GNUe Designer compared to other graphical database tools like Siebel. James Thompson (jamest) said "long long ago I user oracle's SQL* Reports....once - didn't care for it at all" . It was noted that the Siebel client did not need an explict commit or save for data - this was done automatically when navigating to the next record. James said "i see no reason that couldn't be done w/ a trigger in gnue-forms"

26. Forms usability issues

21�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 22 Oct 2002"

Topics: Forms

People: Nicholas Lee,�Derek Neighbors,�Jason Cater,�James Thompson

Nicholas Lee (esands) said "I think the main thing preventing me from using forms at the moment is a method have a 'clickable' (master) list of items that points to the form view detail/edit bit. Possibly Navigator/Reporter/Form might do it, but I'm still looking at it. Once I can sort that out, I'll can probably contrib a few end-user apps I need for my own use. " Derek Neighbors (RevDeke) said "you can do this with tabs i think - btw: we will have a solution for this soon as i need it for a client" Jason Cater (jcater) said "certainly, a dummy-style popup search would be nice... and we will do that someday - but have you looked at our querying support?" Nicholas said "Querying from a form then having to step though each form to find the right one, just isn't nice. Imagine trying to read your email list that, with out the folder list screen."

Derek said "there are two things we need - 1. is the lookup / search box - 2. is what he is talking about" . Other users had expressed a need for this, where "you see a list of the items via a grid - you troll around find the one you want - and click a 'detail' button - then you get full contents of that record in a single form. So maybe your grid has product number ; product desc; qty on hand; qty on order; or such - you find the one you want and click it - and poof you get FULL detail" . Jason said "if you are wanting the equiv of the panes - we do that - and do it well - it's called master/detail blocks" . Derek agreed - "this might be doable with tabs - think 'hidable' panes - i.e. one pane with grid one in normal mode" . "In a nutshell the functionality is there - maybe just not 'exactly' how you want it visually - but getting a list and selecting an item to get its detail works today - just you must use two panes - or use a tab" . Nicholas said "Cool, now I just need to figure out how to use it."

James Thompson (jamest) asked "hey, didn't someone patch forms to take args on startup for quering?" Jason said he had - "look under Advanced Topics -> Runtime Parameters" . Derek wondered if "Advanced Topics" was a euphemism for "We Hope It Works" .

Nicholas asked how tabs worked in the php client version of Forms. Derek said "oh php version is a whole different story anything i said up till now may or may not apply to php version (As i havent used it yet)" - the python/wxWindows version was the "reference" client for Forms.

27. GNUe on

21�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 22 Oct 2002"

People: Derek Neighbors

Further to Issue�#45, Section�#5� (29�Aug�2002:�GNUe on , Derek Neighbors (RevDeke) reported "hmm i decided to check and looks like filmgimp and xiph got the grants - despite gnue just whooping arse on penguin pesos - /me is kind of disappointed but glad to see grants go to worthy projects - though i would suspect if film gimp is in use by big studios they shouldnt be hurting for cash much" .

28. Triggers and Application Server

21�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 22 Oct 2002"

Topics: Application Server, Common, Forms

People: Charles Rouzer,�James Thompson

Charles Rouzer (Mr_You) asked "with the appserver, all triggers/script code is executed via the appserver? or not always?" James Thompson (jamest) said "i think it would depend upon what you wanted" . Charles cited "the example in the doc, twofish encryption.. would that be required in the client or used in appserver? ie. including python modules." He cut and pasted:

"External Python Modules - Python triggers have full access to your installed Python modules. For example, if your project needs the twofish cryptographic module, you can install it normally and do an import twofish in yourtriggers. Alternately, GNUe's gnue.conf file supports an ImportPath directive. You can have this point to a directory containing your custom python modules."

James said "that could be used anywhere a trigger is available - however I didn't think appserver used the common trigger system" as of time of writing. Charles said his specific interest was "how triggers would be used in the javascript HTML client.. I'm wondering if it would be best to just make it an XMLRPC client.. if all the trigger stuff is handled on the appserver" but "I guess triggers are useful on the client also."

29. DCL web site and Gantt Charts

21�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 22 Oct 2002"

Topics: DCL

People: Keith Jagrs,�Michael Dean,�Derek Neighbors,�Keith

Michael Dean (mdean) said he had moved the roadmap that Derek Neighbors (derek) had done to the DCL web site ( . Keith Jagrs (KeithJagrs) asked "are there any plans to include gantt charts in DCL?" . Michael said "yup - it's a lower priority, but if the code happens to drop in our lap we'll put it in ;-)" . Keith said "well, the code for Mr Project is available - it's a gnome application" . Michael said "I think there's a PyGantt project too" . Derek said he had tried to put the roadmap for DCL on the site himself, along with some revised documentation, but did not have the necessary permissions. "really we should migrate off sourceforge at somepoint - no hurry, but we should" . Michael agreed.

30. Documentation and support for GNUe

22�Oct�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 23 Oct 2002"

Topics: Forms, Designer

People: James Thompson

It was asked what information designed for non-tech people was already available about GNU Enterprise - or whether it was best to ask in the IRC channel. James Thompson (jamest) said "it's the perfect channel for dang near anything you care to ask :) - this is a great way to get gnue info but people here are helpful whenever then can be about anythin. As for when.... if gnue is anything it's slow moving with wild spurts of activity - so I can't really give a timeline" . The best mailing list for keeping up to date with GNUe was the main list, but "the developer list is ok too" . For getting used to the tools, "i would play with gnue-designer and gnue-forms if you have a database installed" . "We support lots of databases - a fair number of us in the channel would not recommend mysql for biz data" , although it should work fine for testing purposes.

Sharon And Joy

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