I liked Anthony’s post
about looking forward quite a bit. It is definitely time to be
thinking about the next big targets.
In particular I liked his approach of looking at existing programs
we can make work. So far this has worked quite well for us, and I
think it can continue to work well in the short term — it lets us
efficiently leverage our manpower into the greatest number of working
applications. (It would be great to be writing new gcj-using
applications, say using java-gnome, but the gcj hackers are probably
not the best bunch to be doing this. Plus which there simply aren’t
very many of us.)
There are a couple of things to think about here. First, are
these actually good additions to FC? I think there are two important
criteria for choosing a “target application” — what it provides to
users, and then how it helps us evolve our implementation. So we need
to talk to the desktop guys about this — throwing random applications
into the mix isn’t the best approach; instead we have to think about
how they fit into the desktop and OS offering as a whole. Azureus, I
think, is probably a good choice, but as for RSSOwl we probably need
to think more carefully. For instance, how does this tie into
something like Project Soylent?
(Assuming that project is even real. I have no clue what goes on in
the Gnome world any more; but this is exactly why we need to talk to
I think Anthony’s idea of working on security before the GUI makes
a lot of sense. In particular I think we’re more likely to see GUI
fixes from the community, whereas the security work seems to need a
dedicated effort to get through. I’m sure someone will tell me if I’m
overestimating the completeness of the AWT implementation.
In addition to Anthony’s goals, I think we ought to also implement
the 1.5 language features. These aren’t heavily used yet, but uptake
is beginning and it would be good if we weren’t completely behind the
times for a change. This isn’t a user-visible feature, but is an
important completeness and developer feature.
One other little thing I’d like us to ship is a JNLP
implementation, set up to make it trivial to launch programs from the
web. This requires minimal work on our part really, and seems like a
nice piece of infrastructure, to make deploying an application much
simpler for third parties.
Suppose for instance we decide that RSSowl is not a good match to
ship in FC. What is the advantage of packaging it in an RPM and
requiring root access to install it? Someone could simply ship a
.desktop file describing it and users would run it off the network.
We would provide a way to drag a launcher from a web page and drop it
on the panel, and that would suffice.