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SEUL: Project Hierarchy and organization (was Re: What GUI style)

On Fri, 30 May 1997, Jeffrey S. Dutky wrote:

> I think we should use one of the more unixy window managers or
> else one of the ones that is just completely off the wall. There
> are two that spring to mind: One is Enlightenment and the other
> is wm2. Both are distinctive and interesting. Both would set the
> SEUL project apart from it's peers.

I've been thinking a bit about this since before I joined the list a few
days ago (must say, I'm amazed at the traffic!).  Basically, I feel that
the user should be able to pick whatever interface they wany (within
reason).  This may sound a little insane (like me 8-), but there's a
reason this is possible.

What Linux needs a project like SEUL to tie things together.  As someone's
.sig reads: "Anarchy doesn't scale well".  Linux development is at this
point a semi-controlled anarchy.  This puts inherent limits on the size of
any one project, and SEUL falls way outside the envelope under current
development methods.

Linux needs a few big projects, like SEUL, to drive both drive and
coordinate development.  Think of it as a hierarchy: SEUL needs a UI, it
needs user apps, configuration tools, etc.  There are already projects out
there that cover almost all of the aspects of SEUL.  The trick is to
organize them, define (devine?) standards, and try to integrate them.

Another project in this category would be LINNET (started same time as
SEUL), which aims to produce a distribution that an admin can drop in the
computer, hit install, and get a nice shiny new high-perf Web server/
router/file server/whatever.  Another would be a BIG-Linux project,
encompasing the Linux-HA (high-availability) work as well as things like
the Beowulf clusters and Condor project.

Of course, all of these projects have many shared dependencies.  LINNET
and SEUL need configuration software that's simple but deep (joe user: 
install, start web server;  guru: find latest, tweak code, compile,
install, configure for some obscure task, start web server).  And the
obvious one: the kernel.

I propose that the "steering committee" mentioned take on the task of
finding all the projects out there and getting all of them walking,
talking, and chewing gum in the same direction.

For instance, there are two or three word-processor projects out there,
with names like *word, Xword, LinuxWord, etc.  That's a lot of man-hours
out there, and they're divided among three very similar versions of the
same thing.  While I agree that diversity is a good thing, triplication of
work is not.

Now back to the idea of letting the user choose between mwm, fvwm, and
enlightemnent (for example).  If all the projects that sign up with the
SEUL meta-project decide on a standard configuration scheme, it would be
possible to use something like the wildcarding used in X resources to
allow most (all in some cases) of the user's configuration to follow them
from wm to wm.  That would make the process of 'trying out' enlightenment
(as I did yesterday) much less painful (and believe me, it's a killer
right now).

This of course requires a robust configuration mechanism that can handle
config data for *all* software on the system.  

Comments and ideas welcome (not that I could stop them anyway ;-).

I have many more ideas, but I also have two more weeks of college.  I'll
be back in force when summer starts... ;-)


         Erik Walthinsen - Programmer, webmaster, 3D artist, etc.  __
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