GNUe Traffic #59 For 14�Dec�2002

Editor: Peter Sullivan

By Arturas Kriukovas �and� Peter Sullivan

Table Of Contents


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

Kernel Cousins GNUe is now group-authored: if you'd like to join the team, let us know ( .

1. GNUe Architecture Diagram

24�Nov�2002�-�7�Dec�2002 (13 posts) Archive Link: "[Gnue-dev] New Architecture Drawing based on Whitepaper."

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Application Server, Common, Forms

People: Neil Tiffin,�Reinhard M�ller,�Derek Neighbors,�Stan Klein,�Ariel Cal�

Neil Tiffin had "revised the color diagram ( based on the whitepaper" - this would go on the main web site if people were happy with it. Reinhard M�ller asked "if you tried to combine 2-tier mode and appserver mode into a single diagram (for example you have a direct link between forms client and data interface, which actually only happens in 2 tier mode)." If not, Ariel Cal� had already done an AppServer-only diagram. Neil said "I was trying to get across the ideas of common without going into too much detail. I think it is important to understand where there is significant overlap between common and appserver. Derek seemed a bit frustrated that we were discussion Security as if it was Appserver only and I wanted to make it clear how it all fits together." Derek Neighbors agreed - "and I like that you are trying to visually document it so we can all be clear. My frustration only lies in that not doing it in common means doing it twice. :) Certainly it doesnt mean it shouldnt be done." On terminology, he "would call it Database Server instead of SQL Server. Partially because it could be a nonSQL database server but mostly because most windows folks think SQL Server mean MS SQL Server." Likewise, "I would consider using RPC instead of RPI. Most programmers will know that RPC is Remote Procedure Call, I think Remote Procedure Interface sounds better, but we might be better using something more familiar."

Reinhard was "not sure if forms would directly access the authentication interface. Other than that, I think the drawing is perfect." Stan Klein agreed - "PAM is a *nix operating system service for modularly integrating authentication methods and applications. It can handle a wide variety of authentication methods" , not all of which would necessarily involve Forms using the authentication interface in Common.

Stan also raised the issue of 'tracability' of data - whether "it is possible, given the way a data item is defined on one side of appserver, to identify the data item on the other side of appserver" ? This was an issue where there was not a one-to-one relationship between business object and database field, e.g. for calculated or derived objects. Where people needed higher levels of security than the base level appserver security (e.g. combining this with operating system and/or database security), the interaction between the less-secure business objects and the more-secure database might be an issue. Reinhard agreed this was important, and said "how table and field names ("backside of appserver") are created from class and property names ("frontside of appserver") will be well documented, straightforward and easy to understand." Stan was reassured, but worried about possible problems from the difference between the relational (database) paradigm and the object (appserver) paradigm, and compatability with the 2-tier model (Forms talking directly to the database using Common), which was always relational. Reinhard said that a business object was not really ""object" as in "object oriented programming", it's more "object" as in "thing". We use the terms "class" and "property" not because we want to refer to OOP, but we use them because they fit best for what we mean. Of course, there's some overlap between the classical OOP model and our business object definition. The main part of the overlap is the concept of "encapsulation", which means that we define the data elements and the code to operate on them side by side." Stan said this sounded good - in effect, both sides of the Appserver were ultimately relational. "I think this would be quite different from the old GEAS, which to the extent I understood it, mapped an object paradigm onto a relational database with all the attendant complexities."

2. GNUe in Argentina

4�Dec�2002�-�5�Dec�2002 (4 posts) Archive Link: "[Gnue-dev] Presentation (fwd)"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

People: Bernando Clavijo,�John Lenton

Bernardo Clavijo asked how, "as kind of sysadmin from Argentina" , he could get involved in GNUe. John Lenton noted that "the Fundacion Via Libre will be deploying the first pilot tests of PAPO, a GNUe-based ERP, in Cordoba during the month of December" . Bernardo asked if this would include stock. John confirmed this. Bernardo asked if there anything similar to Via Libre in Buenos Aries. John said that they were thinking about having people based there, but so far nothing had been agreed.

3. GNUe and Bayonne at eGovernment Conference?

5�Dec�2002 (2 posts) Archive Link: "Another opportunity to publicize GNUe"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Why GNUe?, Bayonne

People: Stan Klein,�David Sugar

Stan Klein forwarded a Call for Papers for a conference on "Open Source for National and Local eGovernment Programs in the U.S. and EU" in Washington D.C. in March, noting "There are lots of potential topics that related to GNUe." David Sugar of Bayonne said "I actually do a number of free software related events any given year where we do get to talk at least a little about GNUe as well as Bayonne :)" , the GNU telephony project. "Actually, if there was a general GNUe interest in participating in this event, I might look at going to speak seperately about GNU Bayonne and the recent discussions in using it to provide e-government services for the blind."

4. Security framework for GNUe

5�Dec�2002 (2 posts) Archive Link: "Update to draft security framework proposal"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

People: Stan Klein

Further to Issue�#57, Section�#2� (7�Nov�2002:�Security and Role-Based Access Control) , Stan Klein "provided for posting, comment, and feedback my latest draft (0.3.1) of the security framework proposal document." It identified different categories, based on size of company and security requirements, and suggested appropriate security strategies for each of them - either using just the security features built into GNUe, or supplementing these with additional security specific to the target operating system or database where appropriate.

5. Preferred database back-end for GNUe

4�Nov�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 05 Dec 2002"

Summary By Arturas Kriukovas

Topics: Common

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

Peter Sullivan (psu) said: "we don't set out to be an M$ Access replacement but we're a pretty good one" . He was critical about mysql too "I know is that mysql is not popular" with the GNUe developers "and many of our dbdriver problems seem to be mysql specific" . Derek Neighbors (revDeke) preferred SAB-DB - "there is a channel on this network #sapdb that regularly has sap developers in it (europe time)" . However as SAPDB was pretty complex, Jason Cater (jcater) expressed his opinion that PostgreSQL was simplier and "it's one of the better supported databases" .

6. Debian packages for 0.4.2 release

4�Nov�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 05 Dec 2002"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

People: Andrew Mitchell,�Jason Cater,�Derek Neighbors,�Jeff Bailey

Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) asked "what shall we do about that mysql fix & the runForm issue" for the 0.4.2 releases. Jason Cater (jcater) said "if its a biggie for anyone, I say we do 0.4.3" . Andrew said "probably only for me :) - and i've got the fixes in my local copy" . Derek Neighbors (revDeke) said "if 0.5.0 will be after jan 1st we need a 0.4.3 to fix the runform - as i will need it before then. If 0.5.0 will be around jan 1st i think i can wait" . Andrew said that "to fix runForm, you just uncomment one line" . Derek was "willing to package a 0.4.3 with the two fixes runform and mysql patches - especially if they are done and applied in the branch - /me would suspect a release wouldnt take long and would be worth it" . Jason said "I certainly have no problem" with doing a 0.4.3 release, but would probably not have time to do this himself.

Earlier, Jeff Bailey (jbailey) asked "I'm thinking I might have a moment now to do 0.4.2 updates. Should I take the release tarballs, or update to the recent CVS branch?" Andrew replied "we're still discussing whether to do 0.4.3 after the uncovering of a couple of bugs :)" . Derek said he could apply the patches to the CVS stable (0.4.x) branch if necessary. He asked Jeff "how to make gnue debs from what you have? so that we can make the debs? and then give to you for update" . Jeff said that it was just a few commands from the command line. Derek said that, even if they were not immediately uploaded to sid, the Debian unstable distribution, "we can get those in our site - so i can start alpha testing them :)" .

Jeff said "There are three places you need to change" for a new release - "1) The tarball. 2) debian/changelog 3) The hardcoded date in debian/rules - It basically needs to know what the tar directory is set to. Also, you might have to touch all of the files in debian/patches since dbs updates with -p0 instead of -p1" He was "looking at changing from dbs to cbs to accomidate that better, though." He explained "'dbs' is "Doogie's build system". 'cbs' is "Colin's Build system". Basically all Debian requires for your packaging is that you take a "ar" archive of all of the files you want in the final distro, and another "ar" archive of all of the control files (preinst, postinst, etc). And it doesn't much care how you get them there. So a series of tools have appeared over the years to make that a little easier on the developper." Andrew confirmed "colin being colin walters?"

7. 0.4.2 setup.exe for Microsoft Windows

6�Dec�2002 (2 posts) Archive Link: "[Gnue-announce] GNUe Tools 0.4.2 setup.exe for Microsoft Windows"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

People: Peter Sullivan,�Bajusz Tamas

Peter Sullivan announced "The 0.4.2 release of Forms, Designer and Common and the 0.1.0 release of Reports are now available as a single setup.exe for Microsoft Windows, including many of the supported database drivers" , in both debug and non-debug versions "Thanks to Bajusz Tamas for all his work on this."

8. Problems with ON-SWITCH trigger

5�Dec�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 06 Dec 2002"

Summary By Arturas Kriukovas

Topics: Forms

People: Dmitry Sorokin,�ra3vat,�Derek Neighbors

Dmitry Sorokin (ra3vat) noted that he had found out why "ON-SWITCH trigger is not fired" . Dmitry corrected it, however "now the trigger is fired even with empty datasource that require to put checks in trigger code" . He thought that some additional checking was needed to make sure that datasource is initialised with real data.

Derek Neighbors (derek) said he had added the ON-SWITCH trigger, which he personally had needed to trigger not just on switches, but also when forms with the 'pre-query' attribute (to open the form with data already loaded) were opened. However, this meant the ON-SWITCH trigger was now being called whenever a form was opened, even if there was no pre-query. He suggested "we could probably switch back to making it only work on 'switching'" and have a seperate ON-FORM-LOAD trigger.

9. Preparing for 0.4.3 release

5�Dec�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 06 Dec 2002"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

People: Derek Neighbors,�Jason Cater,�Jeff Bailey,�James Thompson

Derek Neighbors (derek) said "if you have things you want to see in 0.4.3 (bug fixes outstanding etc) please pipe up now - the mysql master/detail, runform and schema upgrades have been added for 0.4.3 - if there are other things that are 'quickie' bug fixes not dealing with ui - let me know. I hope to bundle tonight or tomorrow morning." He asked James Thompson (jamest) and Jason Cater (jcater) to let him "know of anything else that should move 'backwards'" - bug fixes in CVS head that needed back-porting to the stable branch. He suggested that Jeff Bailey hold off producing a new Debian package from CVS, and wait for the offical release.

10. XML tags for GNUe Form Definitions (.gfd)

6�Dec�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 07 Dec 2002"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Forms

People: Daniel Baumann,�Jason Cater

Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) asked "what does importable mean? for an xml tag" . Jason Cater (jcater) explained "if set to true - then gcommon automatcally creates an <import-????> tag for it - e.g., <datasource> is importable, so <import-datasource library="filename.gfd" name="mydatasource"> is a valid tag in a .gfd file - without us having to actually create the <import-datasource> tag definition" . Daniel asked whether this "lets you use external files then?" Jason confirmed "yeah, automatic support for importing from another file" .

Daniel also asked "what exactly does single instance mean again? single instance in the xml document or.." Jason said "single instance is *supposed* to mean per the parent tag" He thought "there is some code in there that's forcing on a per-XML basis - but that wasn't the purpose - so it's broked" . He suggested "if something should be singleinstance - I'd add it, but comment it out - so when fixed, we can just uncomment" .

11. GNUe Overview

7�Dec�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 08 Dec 2002"

Summary By Arturas Kriukovas

People: Peter Sullivan,�Jeff Bailey,�Reinhard M�ller

It looked like GNUe might have got another developer. Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) ran a small tutorial for him, then Peter Sullivan (psu) joined Reinhard and discussion turned to copyrights, history and then back the whole circle to user interfaces. Peter said "Our "quick and dirty" solution was to use the wx toolkit with wxpython, the wrapper that lets this C+ library be used with python. This gave us GNU/Linux, Win 32, Mac OS etc GUIs all at once. However, the wx toolkit is a bit flakey sometimes so alongside the wx strategy we are currently developing "native" UIs. The GTK2 one is there already (but still buggy). Next on the list is Win32 native API, which should be... interesting." Further discussion mentioned wxpython for win32, drawbacks with wx, touched different GNUe parts (designer, forms client), new .gfd format and arrived at current GNUe status.

Peter informed that "we have about 6 people working on it a lot and probably several times more who hang around and help where they can" . Jeff Bailey (jbailey) thought they were "poking derek with sticks." There are also about several hundred following the project on the mailing lists.

Jeff Bailey (jbailey) said "GNUe is deployed at my office and people are using it in production." It took 3 days to move to GNUe (time was spent while navigating around some bugs) and some time was still needed to finish it.

12. Application Server and ODL

7�Dec�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 08 Dec 2002"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Application Server

People: Daniel Baumann,�Reinhard M�ller

Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) asked "am I wasting my damn time writing a parser for godl and odl?" Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) said "we talked about the odl parser in frankfurt - we basically agreed that it would be a good thing to have a tool that can import odl into appserver - however it's very unlikely that we will use odl as the "native" storage of appserver" . Daniel asked "so no one ever has looked at the architecture document that I started?" Reinhard said he had, and had discussed it with Daniel, as reported in Issue�#20, Section�#8� (11�Mar�2002:�GNUe Application Server API) . He did not think Daniel's work was wasted - "it is very likely that appserver will store its class definitions in a database - for a number of reasons. But it is also very likely that there will be a lot of (external) utilities - to "import" class definitions from different formats" .

Daniel noted "you can make tags importable now - like <datasource> - so I am going to make <module> importable" into "the Gobject tree form an external file" , giving an example. Reinhard asked about "automatic conversion from odl to xml?" Daniel said "i have an odl markup - see thekicthensink.[g]odl" .

13. Error handling in GNUe Application Server

8�Dec�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 09 Dec 2002"

Summary By Arturas Kriukovas

Topics: Application Server

People: Ariel Cal�,�Reinhard M�ller,�Jan Ischebeck

Ariel Cal� (ariel__) noticed some errors in GNUe Application Server documentation and asked what the "remove objects" code should do "if one of the ids is missing" already. Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) thought that "we have to think about the policy for the delete function" , but spontaneously suggested "if any id is invalid then do nothing and throw exception as it most probably indicates an error" . He would like to hear the views of Jan Ischebeck (siesel) "on this as well" .

14. GNUe Small Business and demo application for GNUe

8�Dec�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 09 Dec 2002"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Small Business

People: Christian Selig,�Jason Cater,�Peter Sullivan,�Jeff Bailey

Christian Selig (lupo) asked "what is "SKU" and "UPC"" in the item maintenance form from GNUe Small Business. Jason Cater (jcater) said SKU was "stock-keeping unit" . Peter Sullivan (psu) noted that this was needed as you could "e.g. Order in boxes of 1000, keep in stores in inner boxes of 100, issue as individual items" . Jason said that UPCs were "the barcoded numbers that appear on items at a store" . He wondered "how hard do you think it'd be to do a dictionary for gnue-sb? should it be in gnue-sb/doc? or just a web thing (like a faq?)" Peter thought "in the docs - but I have no idea what the docs for gnue-sb will/do look like" .

Christian asked "what are item sources?" Peter guessed this might be "what derek was talking about some time ago, that item foobar may be made from item foo and item bar - both of which are also in stock." Christian said "thats "stuecklisten" in german - "part lists" - where you can put together things you sell as a single product from various things you buy" .

Jason suggested "I have the perfect example schema for our sample apps - a bookstore!!! or a book collection" - "maybe a book collection would be better than a store - as I wanted to avoid a business theme. derek wanted a music collection - but I wonder if books would be more universal (plus we can avoid trademark issues easier :)" Jeff Bailey (jbailey) suggested "Mp3 collection? Get sued by lots of people then." Alternatively, "if you did a book collection and allowed for an interface to the dewey decimal system, you could probably tag it as software for libraries. Which might actually get you some users." "That's been on the FSF's wishlist for ages." Jason agreed - "a card catalog system? I think I like this" as the standard "sample schema" for GNUe documentation.

15. Python not Java for GNUe Application Server

9�Dec�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 10 Dec 2002"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Application Server

People: Keith Jagrs,�Peter Sullivan,�Jason Cater,�James Thompson,�Keith

Keith Jagrs (KeithJagrs) asked "if the announce of JBoss and Sun about the Open Source J2EE 1.4 spec aap server would have any effect in the development of GNUe - because as I understand, one of the reasons to chose Python was that Java wasn't open source" . Peter Sullivan (psu) said that open source was not the same as free software, "and, to be fair, the preference for python over java isn't just about freedom" - "python is a better lang for a large, volunteer project like this as it produces fairly claen code - and is, if anything, more multi-platform than java" . Jason Cater (jcater) said "java is not scalable for client stuff" - "before I joined GNUe I did a complete forms-equiv package in java - we abandoned it because on our high-end windows machine it was barely usable - and only a few people had high-end machines :) /me considers himself to be a fairly efficient coder too - but even then, the free/open source aspect was huge too - but regardless we LOVE python" , adding "you couldn't pay me to switch back to java" . James Thompson (jamest) agreed - "dude - don't even get me started on java based solutions :)" Keith asked "Do you think GNUe App Serv could be the JBoss of the Python World?" Jason said "GNUe App Serv will be the JBoss of the GNUe World - that's all we are worried about. If it moves beyond that, then great!"

16. Running GNUe on PDAs

9�Dec�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 10 Dec 2002"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Forms

People: Keith Jagrs,�Perry Lorier,�Derek Neighbors,�Matthew Emmett,�Jason Cater,�Keith

Keith Jagrs (KeithJagrs) asked "Are there experiences in setting GNUe clients in PDAs?" Perry Lorier (Isomer) noted "theres a python interpreter for palms I think - but I don't think that there is a GUI layout for them yet, you might have to code that" . Keith said "another option would be via HTML - or WML" (the WAP phone equivalent of HTML). Derek Neighbors (revDeke) did not know "if gnue will ever work on a palm pilot - they are severely underpowered for gnue type applications. I would expect the gnue core team target for PDAs will be Sharp Zaurus and iPAQ - not to say someone else couldnt make a palm or that palmOS may improve" . Matthew Emmett (memmett) suggested "an ssh client when the curses interface matures" . Keith said "Well it doesnt have to be Palms in this case" . Derek thought that "iPAQ and Zaurus show extreme promise" - "i KNOW iPAQ will about run gnue as it sits - i hope to be in position to prove it after Xmas :) - as virtually anything available in debian is available to iPAQ. Zaurus would be a stronger stretch as we would likely need a qtopia client for forms" . He thought these were "the only current PDAs worthy of devoting time and energy to at this point" . Keith said that iPAQs came with Windows CE on ROM. Jason said "debian runs on the newer iPAQs iirc" . He offered "anyone who wants to dropship me an iPAQ - I'll get a GNUe driver working for them :) - or a Zaurus. /me is only halfway joking btw - ya never know when it might be cost effective for a consulting job. Of course, if someone wants GNUe running on an AS/400 - I'll take one of those too. Wife might get upset though - as I think we'd have to keep it in the living room" . The conversation went off-topic fairly rapidly...

17. Key mapping support in Forms

10�Dec�2002�Archive Link: "[IRC] 11 Dec 2002"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Forms

People: Matthew Emmett,�James Thompson

Matthew Emmett (memmett) asked "re: navigation in forms (curses): how do i move the cursor into a detail block?" James Thompson (jamest) said "page down or page up" . Matthew reported that his terminal emulator "isn't playing nice with pgup and pgdown" - both with his own form and the sample intro.gdf. James said "keymapper support has never been officially announced but in your gnue.conf (systemwide or local .gnue/gnue.conf file put
- replacing F3 and F4 with a character you'd like to test"
. Matthew confirmed this worked - "woohoo. gotta love that curses interface." .

Sharon And Joy

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