GNUe Traffic #68 For 15�Feb�2003

Editor: Peter Sullivan

By Arturas Kriukovas �and� Peter Sullivan

"we've been getting quite a few interesting characters in here lately" - "There's not enough Derek and Dan here to scare these folks away? =)"

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. The eGovOS conference and Microsoft "Shared Source"

6�Feb�2003�-�11�Feb�2003 (61 posts) Archive Link: "eGovOS conference in D.C.; I'm not attending that"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Why GNUe?

People: David Sugar,�Derek Neighbors,�Scott Lambert,�Ruben Safir,�Jay Sulzberger,�Richard Stallman,�Stan Klein,�Jean-Michael Poure,�Scott Lamb

David Sugar said he "originally had offered to help with a gnue presentation at eGovOS this year" , as previously discussed in Issue�#59, Section�#3� (5�Dec�2002:�GNUe and Bayonne at eGovernment Conference?) Issue�#62, Section�#5� (28�Dec�2002:�GNUe and Bayonne at eGovernment Conference?) . But "For a number of reasons, and contrary to previous plans, after reviewing the circumstances of the eGovOS event, I have chosen this afternoon not to attend this year's eGovOS conference in mid-march after all." Derek Neighbors agreed "that the event should be boycotted by GNUe and anyone else that is sick of seeing Free Software slowly being eroded into "Open Source" software and further watered down" , with Microsoft being invited to talk about their "Shared Source" initiative "that negates the whole purpose of being of Free Software to begin with."

Scott Lambert said "Boycotting gains you, and your cause, nothing. They probably won't notice that you didn't show up. Showing up and talking to people might help get people's attention." Ruben Safir said "It should be boycotted if your presenting Microsoft as a 'Open Souce' contributor" . Jay Sulzberger replied "No. Let us go and show our better stuff and point out to everyone the gross lies of Microsoft." Richard Stallman said "It is important to go to the event to correct the falsehoods, but at the same time we must also cast doubt on the legitimacy of the event" , adding "The tendency for events that pretend to be part of our community to betray its spirit is very harmful, and we have to push back against it."

Jay said he still felt attending was the best way to spread the message that "Microsoft being at this conference is a fraud. It is a fraud on all those who do not yet understand free software." David suggested "thinking about what our goal really should be, and after that, then seeing if and how best we can achieve that goal. Is our goal to have Microsoft removed from the venue? Is it to have an effective platform and representation of our views at the conference to correct any mis-information they are permitting Microsoft to portray? Is it something else?" Richard said he thought the invitation to Microsoft and the lack of prominance to "free software" advocates (as opposed to "open source" speakers) was deliberate policy on the part of the conference organisers. He was willing to meet them in person to discuss this if this would help.

Stan Klein said "Are you suggesting that in order for the conference to be legitimate a university and a conference committee that includes several government employees should deny a speaker from Microsoft the right to present the Microsoft position in debate before an audience almost guaranteed to be packed with active competitors and adversaries of Microsoft?" He added "I view the eGovOS conference as a positive move to help block Microsoft from what they are trying to do and to advance our cause within government" as "by the end of the session in which the Microsoft speaker appears, I expect it to be abundantly clear to every attendee that "shared source" is lipstick on a pig."

Ruben disagreed - "experience with the Open mailing list, and my groups door knocking and 2 large scale business demos clearly shows that the public will buy this line of reasoning without any trouble..." David said the issue for him was not so much "Microsoft's participation in events, but in their deliberate attempt to mis-represent themselves and "shared source" as a legitimate form of "open source" somehow related to/an extension of Free and Open Source software licensing."

Stan said it was important to control the political agenda - by allowing Microsoft to participate, the focus could be on getting press for the clear difference between Free Software and Open Source on the one hand and Microsoft's "Shared Source" initiative on the other. "We don't want the headlines to be "Academic freedom is OK for controversial racists but not for Microsoft,"" . But Jean-Michael Poure felt that "The simple fact that Microsoft speaks at an open-source meeting is a large victory for them." Richard Stallman did not see why "free software events must offer a platform to a convicted corporate felon."

Stan pointed out that "The entire list of speakers is available at ( " - Microsoft were in the same category - Corporate Open Source Perspectives Track - as speakers from RedHat, IBM, Sun, Dell and Oracle. He said "If FSF wants to sponsor an event, it can be done as a pure advocacy event with no opposing views" but "Universities don't do pure advocacy events."

(See also related press coverage at ( .)

2. Generating PDF output from GNUe Reports

6�Feb�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 06 Feb 2003"

Summary By Arturas Kriukovas

Topics: Reports

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

Keith Jagrs (Keith_jgrs) asked whether GNUe Reports was better than Reportlab (library for PDF reports, Jeff Bailey (jbailey) thought "probably not." James Thompson (jamest) was more enthusiastic about this - "GNUe Reports is better than everything" ! Jason Cater (jcater) also expressed his opinion - "reportlab is a PDF library mostly, not real reporting application. It is the pdf library for their non-free reporting tool." GNUe reports at least initially would use that pdf library. He said that "the reportlab pdf toolkit is free, the reportlab reporting tool is not, but the pdf toolkit is very good, from what I gather" . Jeff offered using libgnomeprint in case reportlab pdf usage failed, but James noted that "libgnomeprint requires gnome libs" .

Jason's first goal would be "to output very robust postscript - from there many things could be generated via 3rd party stuff" . To output reports in MS Word or MS Excel, or RTF - "the way reports is structured, there's no reason we can't have a "gnomeprint" printer driver" . Later Derek Neighbors (revDeke) said that "jcater / jamest i agree 100% at this time libgnomeprint is not path of least resistance, .ps file is probably best bet and looking at reportlab might be a good thing a bit later" .

3. Business Objects in Application Server

6�Feb�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 06 Feb 2003"

Summary By Arturas Kriukovas

Topics: Application Server

People: Arjen Runsink,�Reinhard M�ller,�Jason Cater,�Jan Ischebeck,�John Lenton

Arjen Runsink (Suit) asked: "about app server, web site states: "user-defineable business objects". Is that user as in user or user as in "not core gnue developer"" ? Reinhard M�ller (reinhard) explained - "user as in everybody who wants to ;)" , "much like not every secretary does set up excel macros but it's a "user" thing" . Jason Cater (jcater) was interested whether there had been any progress "on what the actual business object "definitions" are going to look like?" Reinhard said it had been decided "to have those "definitions" in the database for various reasons" . Jason asked: "is a scema in place for those?" And Reinhard's answered he was working on it - "currently i'm planning to have it quite simple in the start and to grow it as we see what we need" , but as Jan Ischebeck (siesel) had not been online for some time, Reinhard was lacking constructive contradiction.

Arjen inquired how to see these objects - are they SQL statements or code. Reinhard suggested to think "of a simple database table, then add some "calculated fields" that are accessible as if they were stored in the database but calculated by a given formula, then further add some "methods", that is code to operate on the data. The combination of those 3" was a "business object" in GNUe terminology. John Lenton (Chipaca) asked whether business objects could be purely virtual (something like a view) and reinhard had to admit - "we aren't sure yet how exactly to do it - we want different "views" on the same objects depending on permissions" .

4. Getting started with GNUe Forms

8�Feb�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 08 Feb 2003"

Summary By Arturas Kriukovas

Topics: Forms

People: Andrew Mitchell

It was asked where it was possible to get examples - needed examples were any with multirows form for a mysql table. Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) offered looking in the source and cvs for multirow forms - in designer "in the block properties, there's a 'rows' attribute" . It was documented in forms developer's guide (for forms-0.4.x at ( ). Also a question arose whether it was possible to run gtk2 interface for form in debian sid. Andrew confirmed that, however "it needs some work - it's not enabled in the debian packages" . It was noted that copy/paste (select & middle click) did not work - trying to paste text from another row seemed to work initially, but it then disappeared when moving off (whether by clicking or using the tab key). Andrew couldn't recall whether this has been reported as a bug or not and advised sending an email to ( with all technical details.

5. GNUe and Double Chocco Latte

9�Feb�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 09 Feb 2003"

Summary By Arturas Kriukovas

Topics: Why GNUe?, DCL

People: Mike Vincent,�kac,�Keith,�Dan Bethe,�Andrew Mitchell,�Jason Cater

Keith (kac) asked where he could find any user docs and Mike Vincent (Vee2d2) suggested asking questions directly, because "there's almost always at least someone lurking so it's usually best to just state your questions or comments.. if not some people read the logs and may answer later on" . Keith said he would have liked to try GNUe on RedHat, so Mike answered - "if you were to grab the tarballs there should be sample directories contained within with some example forms and such to play with.. I would imagine they would be installed somewhere by the RPM, in debian they'd probably end up somewhere in /usr/share/doc/gnue*/examples. The forms will have extension of .gfd and you can run them with the forms client, gnue-forms.. some of the examples may require a db, though I'm not completely sure of that." After some small problems (like installing mxDateTime), Keith "tried the helloworld sample "gnue-forms helloworld2.gfd" and i got a screen asking for name & address" . Keith did not find any GUI stuff and Mike listed all available GUIs: "right now, I think there's a text client, and gui client done with wxpython, a gtk2 client is in the works but I havent seen it, and I think a native windows client is also in the works but I maybe mistaken.."

Mike admitted he himself was not too long with GNUe - "I first bumped into the project a year or two ago.. but was too tied up with other things to really spend much time, and it really looked like things were still much in the planning stages anyway. Recently I checked it out again and found they had these neat tools to play with and so I spent a couple days reading as much as I could (the web docs, kernel cousins (<-real good reads), etc..) then played with the samples and stuf. I have a small embroidery business and have made a couple attempts to make systems using php, but they've ended up being 'clunky' and hard to maintain.. I was about half way through my latest attempt when I decided to redo it, in a more gnue friendly manner.. So before my drive crashed, I was working on an inventory management system.. luckily I think I was able to recover that work from the dead drive" . This followed Keith's history - "I'm involved with a small but growing company that needs some integrated software to handle its affairs... and commercial apps either do too little or too much or at too much cost or without giving you escape routes... so I started looking at linux as a desktop replacement (RedHat specifically). Desktop-wise it's all ok ... e-mail client, which we are mega-dependent on is FINE with evolution ... now we lack an accounting package and a repair-job-logging system - and they need to be integrated ... and if a local coding enterprise is going to take forever to do it & keep it for himself, it's more sensible to look around and use what's publically avaliable... or assist in changing some of that and allowing others to use / reuse / contribute... The only coding environment I can seem to get to grips with is the Anjuta/Glade combination, but i'm willing to try my hand at anything if it will help..." It was asked whether "repair job logging" system meant ticketing and help desk type stuff - if so, Keith should look at Keith explained in more details - "we repair photopiers... so I need to log jobs, send out guys to fix, and bill clients based on time and parts consumed..." .

Keith asked what to database to choose - mysql or postgresql. The general consensus was for postgresql - Dan Bethe (ddttmm) said the main GNUe "prefer it and hence it has less potential issues, and because mysql is known for data corruption under high volume concurrent writes - either mysql itself, or the way people tend to use it" . Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) felt that "mysql is essentially a glorified SQL wrapper around a filesystem" .

Later, Keith asked for a brief integration of dcl and gnue. Jason Cater (jcater) offered a really short description - "I can do it in 3 words: "Hasn't happened yet". Next level up in briefness: "... but the details are being worked out"" . Keith explained he needed dcl (in an ideal world) to dump billing records into an accounting system. Jason explained that "dcl's database schema is fairly straight forward. I don't even think it'd be hard to get dcl to dump that data as a CSV file (if that was an option with your accounting package)" . But sadly, "gnue's accounting stuff is in the works... it woulnd't be usable for anyone looking for an accounting package to use today :(" . As of time of writing, the current status of the financials was mainly proposals, "but the bulk of the work is in getting the underlying tools in shape so I expect to see stuff really takeoff with actual modules soon" .

Keith gave a short background - accounts executive for some years now, some experience coding using (mainly) MS Access, playing around with gnome/gtk/glade, fed up with commercial stuff & looking for open-source alternatives and Jason invited him to "stick around with us :)"

6. Breaking CVS HEAD to add new UI support to Forms

10�Feb�2003�Archive Link: "[IRC] 10 Feb 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Forms, Designer

People: James Thompson,�Derek Neighbors,�Andrew Mitchell,�Jason Cater,�Daniel Baumann,�Peter Sullivan,�Keith Jagrs,�Keith,�Jeff Bailey

James Thompson (jamest) asked "would people hunt me down if I broke cvs HEAD for probably about a week - I've got a paritial UI rerwrite completed but" Jeff Bailey (jbailey) "was going to be starting work on the GTK ui this week - I'm debating on breaking cvs or just syncing tarballs with him. Breakage in this case means forms barely works only in wx mode, designer is toast" . Later, Derek Neighbors (revDeke) said "cvs head is meant to be broken - we have a stable 0.4.x - as well as a 0.5.x development somewhere. i would say breaking head is better than tarball and synching" . James, suitably emboldened, said "well, seeing as no one has complained I'll break it tonight" .

Andrew Mitchell (ajmitch) had "a project that needs done within 2-3 weeks :)" but would "just grab what's in cvs at the moment & stick with that" - he would be using the GTK2 user interface. James said this should be easier with "the new ui drivers" he was working on - he suggested that Andrew look at his latest tarball. Andrew, who had already seen it, agreed but said "i feel that i'll need something stable to work on :) - but i also need gtk2 drivers" . James thought "well, honestly stability wize we're about the same I imagine - it's missing features that kills head" . Jason Cater (jcater_) warned "for the record, this commit will break designer's support of forms" - "as in, you load a form - designer will segfault" .

Andrew was not sure what to do, as he had already done much work on getting the GTK2 user interface working with the stable releases. James suggested "what I would do is get the new drivers gtk'ized - if you have that much complete then you're really close to being functional now" - and copy some of the old code across temporarily for missing features.

Later, Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) enquired "is 0.5.0 going to contain this ui rewrite?" Jason said yes - "0.5.0 is shaping up to be a really major release" . Peter Sullivan (psu) said this made sense, as "from a practical point of view, "upgrade to 0.5.0, it breaks all your old forms" is a less attractive msg than "upgrad to 0.5.0 it breaks all your old forms but has radikool new UI drivers"" . Andrew said this "depends if someone is willing to submit themselves to writing a win32 driver" . Daniel suggested "maybe start with kde first" . James said "i've started a qt driver - the format changed - the ui drivers are *hopefully* cleaner" to write for.

Peter suggested "in effect, all that has happened is that we are skipping the planned 0.5.0" release. Jason said "the issue was that once we release 0.5.0, people expect the 0.5.x series to kind of stabilize (at least based on 0.4.0 experience)" . Peter said "to me, 0.4 remains stable unless & until the" GNUe core developers "say otherwise" . Jason said "I think we've been pretty good at keeping 0.4.x stable - that's the most point releases we've done since 0.0.x (which didn't count)" .

Later, Keith Jagrs (KeithJagr) asked "how are things going" with the Windows 32 native user interface driver? James said "it's still in progress - according to cvsweb a new ui driver model was commited 8 minutes ago - this does not have a win32 module yet but it will hopefully be a step in making one easier to create" . The intention was not to discard the wxPython user interface toolkit - "it's still the first implementation in the new setup" . Jason explained "we'll just offer additional native models" . Keith asked "what is the porpuse of using 3 GUI builders at a time?" James said "i'm doing it becase it will help keep the driver system more ui independent" for Forms, although "designer will remain wx based" only. He hoped to have new drivers done within the next week or so - "if the win32 widgets are not radically different in design I would hope it wouldn't take long at all" .

Sharon And Joy

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