Sunday, February 15, 2009

A browser on HURD

From time to time I check how the status of GNUstep is on GNU/HURD. After all, the goal of GNUstep and the GNUstep Application Project is to provide a complete Workspace or, in current speak, a Desktop Environment.

So, why do not use it on HURD, the crown of the GNU OS? Hurd is a project always in an unkown status, with the menace of changing the microkernel to something unknown, but with nobody taking GNU-Mach to top-notch status.

In any case, the combination of Debian on HURD is pretty interesting and complete and the advantage is that getting a "familiar" environment is relatively easy.

In any case, currently GNUstep on HURD runs pretty reasonable. With pedning limitaitons, the core seems to work, Workspace runs, the Terminal application does work and what is perhaps coolest, the Vespucci browser runs! So this not only proves the portability of gnustep core and simplewebkit, but also gives hope for a decent graphical web browser for Hurd once simplewebkit progresses more.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Bookmarks... and drawing pencils

Bookmarks are maybe the most valuable personal value that gets created by a user with a browser.  Bookmarks are what you miss if you use somebody else's computer or you loose your data for whatever reason.
Just a couple of days before OrobienStep I discussed extensively with Greg a flexible and yet simple bookmark archival strategy for Vespucci. I started implementing it,  then at OrobienStep with Nikolaus I shared the idea, since it would be core for the future to have a shared and exchangeable data model. Exchanging bookmarks from the GNUstep workstation to myStep mobile solutions, to ports to the mac, to netbooks... pretty much essential.
We did some reverse engineering of the Safari bookmark format and it did have similarities to my format, although it looks a bit more quirky and complex, the basic information is the same, so I started adapting my loader to it.
Vespucci is now able to load Safari bookmarks without any modifications and the native format of Vespucci is almost the same, so saved bookmarks can be loaded in Safari again. iSync information  does not get produced by Vespucci and gets lost if previously converted.
I think the result was worth the extra effort.

One note: you can also port over your Safari bookmarks from the Macintosh to GNUstep, but the property list (plist) needs to be converted from XML to the standard format. You can do that with the "Property List Editor" utility supplied by apple, use "ASCII Property List File".
And as an end note... I had some graphic design time as a break from coding time. Laterna Magica and Vespucci enjoy new icons...