Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Ask Slashdot: Attracting Developers To Abandonware?

Soulskill posted 1 year,7 days | from the use-bacon dept.

Programming 321

phlawed writes "I've been a Linux user since the previous millennium. I came from OS/2, which I really liked. I quickly felt at home with icewm, using a suitably tweaked config to give me something resembling Presentation Manager. I may have commented on that before. Today, I find myself in a position where my preferred 'environment' is eroding. The only force keeping icewm rolling these days is the distribution package maintainers. I can't code in any meaningful way, nor do I aspire to. I could easily pay for a supported version of icewm, but I can't personally pay someone enough to keep it alive. I'd love it if someone took a personal interest in the code, to ensure that it remains up to date, or to make it run on Wayland or whatever. I want someone to own the code, be proud of it. Is there a general solution for this situation? How do I go about drumming up interest for an old project?"

cancel ×

321 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Welcome to Linux (0, Troll)

toygeek (473120) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852309)

And you thought Android suffered from fragmentation.

Re:Welcome to Linux (4, Informative)

pipatron (966506) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852359)

While on the topic about fragmentation... Android is another type of linux.

Re:Welcome to Linux (2, Informative)

Blaskowicz (634489) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852417)

By that metric Playstation 4 is another type of BSD, so I guess it's the same as using linux, right?

Re:Welcome to Linux (4, Insightful)

Windwraith (932426) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852559)

No, it's the same as running BSD :P

Android is not Linux ... (3, Interesting)

perpenso (1613749) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852491)

While on the topic about fragmentation... Android is another type of linux.

No, its not. End users and nearly all **developers** don't see it. The Linux kernel could probably be swapped out with a BSD kernel and few would notice. Even for those using the NDK and writing some C code they are probably making POSIX calls not calls to anything Linux specific.

Re:Android is not Linux ... (3, Interesting)

dindi (78034) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852757)

Funny you mention this. When I got my first (and last) Android phone, I was honestly expecting a somewhat functional/scriptable Linux environment with Perl, some web server, and a sane package manager. I imagined that I would be able to script behaviour and set up a cron job to make a call or connect to the net......
I did not even consider, that what I was getting was nothing like that. Besides this little surprise I hated the phone, the experience, everything about it.. including the uselessly slow emulator and the whole eclipse-based dev environment.

Re:Android is not Linux ... (4, Insightful)

Fishchip (1203964) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852767)

Why did you even consider this? What did you expect from a consumer-grade cellular phone? Honestly?

Re:Android is not Linux ... (1)

PCM2 (4486) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852903)

Funny you mention this. When I got my first (and last) Android phone, I was honestly expecting a somewhat functional/scriptable Linux environment with Perl, some web server, and a sane package manager I imagined that I would be able to script behaviour and set up a cron job to make a call or connect to the net......

What a strange thing to say. Do you expect that of your consumer Wi-Fi router, too? I mean, sure, there are third-party firmwares that will let you do some of that stuff, but that's true of Android, too.

Re:Android is not Linux ... (2)

Microlith (54737) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853213)

Amusingly, the 3rd party firmware on my router has more in common with desktop Linux than any 3rd party Android firmware.

Re:Android is not Linux ... (2)

H0p313ss (811249) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853211)

While on the topic about fragmentation... Android is another type of linux.

No, its not.

Yes it bloody well is.

End users and nearly all **developers** don't see it. The Linux kernel could probably be swapped out with a BSD kernel and few would notice.

That's true of desktop linux as well. If you used gnome on FreeBSD you would not notice.

Re:Android is not Linux ... (-1, Troll)

perpenso (1613749) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853271)

While on the topic about fragmentation... Android is another type of linux.

No, its not.

Yes it bloody well is.

Android is a Java based environment not a Linux based environment. Having a hidden Linux kernel several software layers down does not change this fact.

End users and nearly all **developers** don't see it. The Linux kernel could probably be swapped out with a BSD kernel and few would notice.

That's true of desktop linux as well. If you used gnome on FreeBSD you would not notice.

You are mistaken. On the desktop Linux users are not restricted to the GUI, there is also the console. Linux and BSD are a bit different when you get to the console.

Re:Android is not Linux ... (2)

Arker (91948) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853297)

Not that I agree with his original point, but...

"Linux and BSD are a bit different when you get to the console."

Actually they arent. Dont let the default shells fool you. You can get bash on BSD and Zsh on linux. Or you could install ksh on either one for that matter.

If you install and use bash and other gnu tools in preference to the BSD tools, you would wind up with GNU/BSD.

Re:Android is not Linux ... (2)

FPhlyer (14433) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853345)

Android is very much Linux. It's just not GNU/Linux. All the GNU utilities that give Linux the functionality and feel of Unix have been stripped out and replaced by running Dalvik on top of the Kernal.

Re:Android is not Linux ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44853333)

A more valid comparison would be Debian/kFreeBSD not just running Gnome on a different OS.

Re:Android is not Linux ... (1)

morgauxo (974071) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853299)

So? Most of the time you could say the same thing about a Desktop Linux distro.

Re:Welcome to Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852643)

Nah.

'Linux' is a shortening of GNU/Linux, an open source OS built on the Linux kernel and available in many rather different distributions.
Android is a different OS, also build on the Linux Kernel, available from Google.

Re:Welcome to Linux (3, Interesting)

petteyg359 (1847514) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852725)

That's utterly inane attention-grubbing bullshit that needs to stop because it makes all of us look bad. Linux is not GNU/Linux any more than Windows is "GNU/Windows" after you install Cygwin. Do you use the Cerf/Internet every day, and sometimes drive a Lenoir/Car? What did you have for Albertson's/Lunch?

Re:Welcome to Linux (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852889)

Linux is not GNU/Linux any more than Windows is "GNU/Windows" after you install Cygwin.

That is an intellectually dishonest comparison. The more accurate comparison is "MS/Windows to GNU/Linux" - basically all of the userland on Windows depends on MS code. Similarly pretty much all of Linux userland depends on GNU code - gcc and glibc have practically 100% coverage for Linux userland's dependency on GNU software without having to get into the nitty-gritty details of exactly what other GNU software is in a typical distribution.

I'm not particularly in favor of GNU/Linux as a term but I'm not particularly against it either. Right now, in this post, what I am against is bogus arguments either way.

Re:Welcome to Linux (4, Funny)

bigdavex (155746) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853163)

It's properly referred to as Free Cell/Windows.
 

Re:Welcome to Linux (2)

Arker (91948) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853281)

"Right now, in this post, what I am against is bogus arguments either way."

And you did that quite well.

(And if there was a big meta-package I could install on Windows to add all the GNU tools, ported and compiled for Windows, THEN I might talk about GNU/Windows. I keep waiting for someone to package up ReactOS like that to support netbooks, but I digress.)

And btw, I think a big part of why Stallman draws a red line on his terminology here is out of fear of exactly the sort of deliberate confusion that was used above us in this thread. 'Android is linux' is technically true, but since so many people hear 'linux' and think of a fully functioning GNU OS that happens to use linux as the kernel, it's very (deliberately) misleading. Android is really little if any more open than OSX. Both exploit a free kernel by hooking it into unfree userland and incorporating unfree drivers without which it is no longer functional.

Re:Welcome to Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44853091)

Is that you Stallman?

Re:Welcome to Linux (3, Interesting)

mellon (7048) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852957)

Indeed. The problem is finding enough icewm users to fund a programmer to do maintenance on it. What the OP really ought to be doing is not looking for someone to work on icewm, but for fellow users.

Relax the License (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852347)

Turn the license into a BSD license, maybe? If it's good code, it might attract some interest. If the software is dead, why not?

Re:Relax the License (3, Informative)

HiThere (15173) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852565)

Well, BSD generally attracks fewer developes than GPL, and you need to own the copyright to change the license, but outside of that it's a reasonable idea.

Re:Relax the License (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852953)

I think the poster is talking from the point of view of someone who does not have the power to do that.

There is a way (3, Interesting)

Rinisari (521266) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852349)

I could easily pay for a supported version of icewm, but I can't personally pay someone enough to keep it alive.

Sure you can. Find someone to work on it and get them to sign up for Gittip [gittip.com] , while you do the same. You can "tip" them a few cents to several bucks per week for their efforts and they can get paid by you and other supporters.

Re:There is a way (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852433)

Yes, I'm sure a few dollars a week is going to attract a coder to a project be isn't otherwise interested in.

The submitter needs to just face reality - if there were enough people interested in keeping icewm going, it would already be happening.

Re:There is a way (-1, Flamebait)

Jmc23 (2353706) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852661)

In some places a few dollars a week is a good living for something you can do as a hobby. And apparently you don't know how the website works. You need to learn to keep your mouth shut.

Re:There is a way (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852733)

But a few dollars a week forsakes quality. Do you really think some Visual Basic copy-and-paste programmers in Dehli would produce well tested code for icewm? Not on your life.

The submitter would be better off with a kickstarter campaign and manage the project. As in writing a spec for additions/fixes that get people excited, not just mundane additions. But he'd better be really committed to seeing it through because it won't be easy.

Re:There is a way (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852787)

In some places a few dollars a week is a good living for something you can do as a hobby.

Anyone that is able to write good code can make a decent living anywhere in the world. I have hired contract programmers from China, Pakistan, India, etc. If they are any good, they can easily make a few hundred USD a week. You aren't hiring rice farmers.

Re:There is a way (2)

Arker (91948) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853313)

The hardest thing would be getting a coder that's mature enough to do the job properly. It would take very little time to simply maintain the mature code and occasionally stomp a bug. Unfortunately if you give this job to a younger coder, regardless of what country he's from, you stand a very high chance of seeing him go crazy wanting to add new features and just screw it all up.

Is there something similar that can tip a project? (3, Interesting)

ron_ivi (607351) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852561)

Or perhaps better - tips attached to specific bugs and feature requests in projects - and held in escrow - so they go to people who commit specific fixes to the project?

I'm not too interested in an escrow service, but personally I liked tvtwm [wikipedia.org] enough I might join a bounty program to bring it back into the mainstream.

I'd gladly toss a few bucks to fund a bounty to get it back into a major distro.

I Tried (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852355)

I started a website dedicated to this, but I eventually gave up on it.

Re:I Tried (-1, Troll)

djmurdoch (306849) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852399)

Sorry, but "Anonymous Cowards" are not allowed to use the "I" pronoun. There is no "I" there.

Why would anyone do that? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852357)

"Hey guys, I really love your software... I'd be totally unwilling to pay for it, but I'd really love it if you did all of this work for me, thanks."

The problem with the Linux software ecosystem is that it does not run on gratitude alone, as much as some of the users would love to think that it does. Cough up the coin and someone will do the work.

Like Linux, thank Corporations ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852535)

"Hey guys, I really love your software... I'd be totally unwilling to pay for it, but I'd really love it if you did all of this work for me, thanks." The problem with the Linux software ecosystem is that it does not run on gratitude alone, as much as some of the users would love to think that it does.

In truth, Linux is largely subsidized by various commercial corporation. If it had remained a hobbyist effort it would be far far behind where it is today.

uhh that's exactly the point I was making? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852587)

There's no "in truth" about it. Linux is where it is today because people paid people to write software. Some of it was good will gestures, some of it was students learning, some of it was having fun... but the software largely is where it is today because money changed hands and the software writers earned some money.

This guy is proposing that someone picks up the ball, but isn't oftering the scratch. As soon as he's willing, someone will turn up to do it.

In "old vs new", usually "new" wins (2)

ClassicASP (1791116) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852369)

Sorry but thats just how it is, even in the Linux world. You can't relive the past. You gotta move on to newer things. Just look at my screen handle; I've learned this lesson myself. Don't waste time hoping it will make a comeback because it won't; not as long as there's a surplus of people willing to complain about how old and obsolete it is, and not as long as there's no significant payoff to be made.

Does maintaining mean reinventing the wheel? (2)

atari2600a (1892574) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852371)

What's keeping this layout from being re-implemented on any other window manager?

Re:Does maintaining mean reinventing the wheel? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852521)

What's keeping this layout from being re-implemented on any other window manager?

I. Do. Not. Get. It. Either.

Here's his linked comment:

I. Do. Not. Get. It.
It is beyond me why people want to emulate the clutter they have on their physical desk, on their computer.
One does not need a "Desktop Environment".

What I want is a window manager that allows me to set the only sane focus policy (focus follows mouse, click to raise), maintains the user experience and config-file compatibility from release to release and otherwise stays out of the way. Not having to choose between 42 different plugins/extensions/addons and whatnot is also a good thing.

A couple of years ago (*cough*) when IBM killed OS/2, I made the transition to Linux. I soon landed on icewm as my preferred window manager, as it had a "OS/2 Warp" theme. I believe I at one time played with a Presentation Manager-like desktop, but I soon realized it was more hassle than benefit.
icewm has a fully configurable "context-menu" on the entire desktop background (right-click mouse for *your* selection of files, programs, folders, etc), ditto menu for windows (left click), configurable hotkeys (I hit F12 for a terminal), a toolbar with the regular stuff, workspaces and so on.

And for any newbie out there: not running gnome or kde or whatever does not prevent you from launching gnome or kde programs.

Now, please tell me again about the added benefits of having a zillion garish icons on your desktop background?
Or, by the way... don't bother,...

Seriously, let me paraphrase the parent:

What the fuck is keeping the elements of this layout that you like from being re-implemented on any other window manager?

Have you even tried? Hint: You don't need to know how to write code to customize a window manager...

Re:Does maintaining mean reinventing the wheel? (2)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852951)

Totally agree.

I used IceWM for a long damn time. I even wrote some patches (never released) to handle multi-monitor better.

Now I use a combination of openbox/xfce and have it set up with all the behaviours I liked in IceWM (and many that wern't available in IceWM). It's not really that hard.

When a project gets to a point where no-one wants to work on it any more, or even fork their own version off from it, it's time to let it rest.

How to attract developers? (-1, Flamebait)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852381)

You want them to do boring, tedious work. Hmmm. What could you do to make people want to do boring tedious work? I know, pay them!

Oh, wait, you want them to work for free? Now you know why 90% of FLOSS projects are crap. When all the sexy code is written and all that is left is the boring stuff, the coders leave to for the new hotness.

Oh sure, people will point to things like Linux, Apache, etc. but when you get down to it, most FLOSS projects end up as either abandonware or as rarely updated side projects with half-implemented features and unfixed bugs, let alone getting modern features.

So, if you are interested in maintaining or upgrading your favorite FLOSS project, you better be willing to pay for it.

Re:How to attract developers? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852427)

He did say he was willing to pay for the software, just not pay a guys salary.

Re:How to attract developers? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852501)

In other words, he is not willing to pay the going rate to get the work done. Same difference.

Re:How to attract developers? (2)

HiThere (15173) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852597)

Not precisely. He doesn't think of himself as the only user. Micropayments is a perfectly reasonable model, that has just never taken off. Pertially because there's usually so much overhead to managing them. And THAT is partially because of legal constraints.

OTOH, please note that I did say "partially". There are other reasons that it hasn't taken off, and the "free rider" problem is one of them. There's no obvious way around that. But someone *might* find a way if the legal obstacles were removed, and the overhead were lower.

Re:How to attract developers? (1)

tftp (111690) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853175)

Micropayments is a perfectly reasonable model, that has just never taken off.

And why is that? You are answering:

Partially because there's usually so much overhead to managing them. And THAT is partially because of legal constraints.

Overhead? I can't think of much overhead in sending a fraction of a BTC, or in sending over PayPal. There might be a problem if you are an Amazonian native who lives in a rainforest and has no Internet. But then you aren't very likely to be a user either. Everyone else, who has access to the Net, can pay.

OTOH, please note that I did say "partially". There are other reasons that it hasn't taken off, and the "free rider" problem is one of them.

Somewhat yes, I agree. Very often optional payments are optimized away. Also, a small payment is seen as not influential, and therefore not necessary. People are conditioned to not spend their money left and right because they have needs in the real world, and those needs are not optional. For micropayments to work you need a new man. Good luck with that. People are, generally, opportunistic gatherers and freeloaders. They do contribute sometimes, but not too much and not too often. A modern society requires too much labor from an individual to just stay alive, pay for the house, and for the children, and for healthcare... very few people come home from a 12-hour hacking at work and immediately sit down for another 8 hours of hacking at home. Not everyone works as hard, but good coders usually do - and you want only those.

Re:How to attract developers? (5, Funny)

bmo (77928) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852459)

I have a mod stalker who is modding down my past comments and is too much of a cowardly pussy to admit it or face me.

No, you get modded down because you say idiotic things like this:

Now you know why 90% of FLOSS projects are crap.

Implying that this is different in closed source software. This is false. 90 percent of closed-source software is crap too. Sturgeon's Law applies everywhere.

--
BMO

Re:How to attract developers? (0)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852589)

It is different than closed source software. You are conflating the utility of an application with the quality of the project.

If the developer of a closed source app can make enough of a profit selling an app, then the developer will continue to maintain and improve the app regardless of the size of the user base. With FLOSS even if a project has a large user base, it can and will die a slow and ugly death as soon as all the "sexy" code is written because the developer(s) will move on to more interesting projects. The primary exceptions to this is when a project is adopted by one or more companies who pay for developers to work on the project or the most of the changes in the project involve sexy code.

In short, if a closed source application is profitable, it will be maintained, even if it is of low quality and possibly low utility. Even useful, high quality, high utility FLOSS projects will be left to rot because the work that is left is boring and no one wants to work on it. If you want evidence, just look at the high profile projects that have had annoying little bugs that lasted for months or even years because hunting down the bug and fixing it would be boring.

Re:How to attract developers? (2)

bmo (77928) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852743)

If you want evidence, just look at the high profile projects that have had annoying little bugs that lasted for months or even years because hunting down the bug and fixing it would be boring.

You mean like Windows itself?

Your argument is nonsense.

--
BMO

Re:How to attract developers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852749)

In short, if a closed source application is profitable, it will be maintained, even if it is of low quality and possibly low utility.

Hard to disagree with that. Look how long Windows has been around.

The closed source story is the same, except worse. (4, Insightful)

robbak (775424) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852791)

You make this point yourself. If the developer of a closed source package gets bored of it, or it is not profitable (which itself is a high bar for a most producers!), or both, they will drop it. Anyone who came to rely on it is completely stuck, as they cannot fix the most trivial or sexy bugs. They have to live with it until advancing technology and other changes make the program fail completely, and they will have to retrain.

If it is open source, then at least you can recompile and/or port to a new OS. You have the option of paying someone to fix a problem. You have none of those options if the closed-source producer of a package arbitrarily decides to drop it.

Re:How to attract developers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852949)

No, he's right.

I have nothing to do, so I spend all of my time finding his posts and down modding them with all my different accounts.
It takes up so much time I even stopped contributing to a certain open source project.

There is a 2nd alternative ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852555)

When all the sexy code is written and all that is left is the boring stuff, the coders leave to for the new hotness ... Oh sure, people will point to things like Linux, Apache, etc. but when you get down to it, most FLOSS projects end up as either abandonware or as rarely updated side projects with half-implemented features and unfixed bugs, let alone getting modern features.

Linux is where it is today because of various commercial corporations subsidizing its development. So there is a second alternative, you don't have to pay devs, you can get a major corporation interested in the project and they can pay the devs. That is the Linux model.

Re:There is a 2nd alternative ... (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852693)

That assumes you can convince a major corporation that it is in their best interest to fund development. Linux is a major server operating system. IceWM is a minor and little used window manager. There is a big difference.

There are reasons for corporations to support Linux, Apache, Mozilla, and some other projects. But, there is no reason for corporations to support the majority of projects because the corporations don't get anything out of it.

Re:How to attract developers? (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853077)

You want them to do boring, tedious work. Hmmm. What could you do to make people want to do boring tedious work? I know, pay them!

1. Announce a course in window manager design.
2. Collect tuition.
3. Give your students the current source code for icewm.
4. Tell them their assignment is to make icewm compatible with modern Linux.
5. Profit!

Become a Free Software Manager (2)

reluctantjoiner (2486248) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852383)

Determine if there's sufficient demand for your preferred environment to grow and be maintained, sufficient to pay the salaries for a small dedicated team. If you can't code, perhaps you can manage the project or handle the marketing. If the demand isn't there, you may have to deal with the situation as is, or transition to another platform.

icewm-devel mailing list? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852393)

Have you tried contacting their developer mailing list [sourceforge.net] and ask them what they need?

A 12-pack of Mountain Dew Code Red... (2)

KrazyDave (2559307) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852423)

...and a family-sized bag of Cheetos ought to do the trick.

Workplace Shell (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852425)

I'm an OS/2 refugee.

There are parts of KDE that seem much closer to WPS than the other environments. For example, right clicking in Dolphin and "Create New" to make a new blank object is similar to Workplace Shell's templates.

The only parts of icewm that are similar to WPS is the coloring and button layout.

None of the environments on Linux, Windows, or OSX are like the WPS "object oriented user interface." To understand what this is like you have to actually have used OS/2. Everyone else has no idea.

--
BMO

Re:Workplace Shell (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852531)

I'm an OS/2 refugee.

There are parts of KDE that seem much closer to WPS than the other environments. For example, right clicking in Dolphin and "Create New" to make a new blank object is similar to Workplace Shell's templates.

The only parts of icewm that are similar to WPS is the coloring and button layout.

None of the environments on Linux, Windows, or OSX are like the WPS "object oriented user interface." To understand what this is like you have to actually have used OS/2. Everyone else has no idea.

--
BMO

Not even the windows version of Object Desktop from the folks at Stardock?

Re:Workplace Shell (2)

bmo (77928) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852629)

>Not even the windows version of Object Desktop from the folks at Stardock?

Just because you call something "object" doesn't mean it's object oriented.

I'll give you an example: Say you have an icon. The icon is a representation of an object that does something. You take another object, drop it on the icon, and an output object is created. But it's not just that, this "an object that does something" is available throughout the entire environment. That's the view from the user side.

From the developer end, to quote Wikipedia:

A part of the WPS design allows for the developer of a class Y which extends or modifies a class X to execute an additional API on installation which will let the WPS 'replace' class X by class Y. This will make even all existing instances of class X behave as instances of the modified class Y; i.e., almost a retroactive inheritance. This allows for many useful third-party desktop utilities that add or modify functionality to or of existing objects without access to IBM's source code. Where the IDL and class headers also of derived classes are published, these classes can as well be extended in turn in the same way.

You can find out what this is really like by downloading EcomStation.

--
BMO

Re:Workplace Shell (1)

The_Revelation (688580) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852553)

Whats wrong with eComStation? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EComStation [wikipedia.org]

Re:Workplace Shell (1)

bmo (77928) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852645)

Nothing's wrong with EcomStation, except the unavailability of modern software. People who buy EcomStation have legacy applications that need to be run on OS/2.

I've used it in VirtualBox for nostalgia reasons.

--
BMO

Re:Workplace Shell (2)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853105)

The WPS was elegant and very well designed & was light years ahead of anything else. I still miss it. It'll never happen, but I wish the old code could be open sourced and developed for again. Like I said, it'll never happen though.

Re:Workplace Shell (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44853265)

Thanks to Adventure Time, I read your comments in a high pitched female voice with a light Korean accent.

What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852437)

Use a different OS or window manager and find an OS/2 theme for it. I'm sure there are a bunch floating around out there and even if not, you could make your own or modify an existing theme.

Time to switch (1)

bugnuts (94678) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852439)

That reminds me of when uwm went away in pref of twm. Window managers have all sorts of abilities and usu have widgets and event traps, and may have to be rewritten from the ground up to incorporate new ideas. But all is not lost, because you can usually tweak the new ones to behave like the predecessor.

As far as window managers, old is often a subset of new, so my suggestion is to spend a day to adapt some new, maintained software using its config and dotfiles to behave the way you want.

Kickstart? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852455)

I suppose you could start a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a developer's salary. It wouldn't have to be a full year's salary, just enough to encourage a developer to take on the work. Heck, I'd probably do it for a couple of grand. Anyway, if the Kickstarter campaign is a success you can hire a part-time developer to work on the project. On the other hand, if the campaign fails then maybe it is time to move on to a new window manager. There are plenty of free ones out there that work just fine.

What to do: (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852509)

Get together a group of people who are willing to pay something to keep the environment alive, then come back. I personally have no love for OS/2, but even someone like me may consider doing coding on a project like that if it was paid work.

Plan 9, too, is dying. (1)

rolfwind (528248) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852519)

I feel the same way about Plan 9 / Inferno.

Re:Plan 9, too, is dying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852923)

Was Plan 9 revolutionary? What about it is worth keeping?

Crowdfunding specific compatibility features (5, Informative)

Statecraftsman (718862) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852525)

You might want to check into a class of crowdfunding sites that exist to fund features in free and open source software. The two main ones I could find are:

https://www.bountysource.com/ [bountysource.com]
https://bountyoss.com/ [bountyoss.com]

Re:Crowdfunding specific compatibility features (1)

Jonah Hex (651948) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852813)

Thanks this might be just what I need, I've been looking for a bounty/escrow for an I Can Haz Chat to IRC Bridge [icanhazchat.com] using their API.

Done The Impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852543)

Watch the documentary, echo ${stringZ/#firefly/icewm}

Innovate, explore, move forward. (1)

Tim Boone (3037461) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852563)

I get that you don't like change in this area of your life, but without active development and few users the writing is on the wall here...

Fluxbox? Enlightenment? Awesome? All three can be customized and skinned/themed without "coding in a meaningful way".

Progress (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852571)

The days when desktop environments improved as time went by seem to have gone. Now they just get more and more annoying with every iteration. Unfortunately that's the way of the world and there's nothing to be done but to grit your teeth and put up with it. Hopefully things will change again before too long.

Re:Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852655)

I could not agree more. Unfortunately, I see Wayland as a problem too because it will break compatiblily with old software. This really makes me sad. And there does not seem to be a single real advantage to it, the fanboys only keep repeating that X is old and bloated (the later is not true).

Start a corporation (1)

retchdog (1319261) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852607)

Not an eeeevil corporation, not even necessarily a formal one. Post on forums (like you've already done here) with a solid proposal about chipping in (unlike you've done here); start a webpage; whatever. I guess you can even do a Kickstarter, unless it's required for the host to actually do the work. Start negotiating with developers, say that the $ is on its way or in hand.

Seems like a lot of work? It is, and you probably won't do it. But unlike waiting for someone to be inspired to passionately solve the problem you care about, it has at least a snowball's chance in hell of actually happening.

It's almost like those evil corporations are actually providing a service which random developers, with no motivation but fun and ego, can't or won't provide.

It's called marketing. (5, Insightful)

Qbertino (265505) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852619)

It's called marketing. RubyOnRails wasn't the first web framework and it certainly wasn't the best. In fact, it was pretty shitty. But it was the first that had a professionally designed website [rubyonrails.org] that advertised its benefits and a screencast that explained and demonstraded them. The pratically invented screencasts. Weeks later slashdot was filled with Rails fanatics.

The first version of the Zope Webapp Server came out roughly a decade before rails and still was notabliy superiour to any other WebFW, Rails included, in all aspects. Yet nobody cared. Why? That's why [zope.org] . Bland website? Nothing flashy? Can't find what I'm looking for? Backend UI without good looking buttons? Won't adhere to the loudmouths and hippsters and won't get attention, won't get critical mass, will lose eventually. It's that simple, even in the FOSS world nowadays (Rails actually sought to that, btw.)

If you really want to bring ICEwm (back) into the limelight, join the team, update their 12 year old website, bundle a new version with good looking modern themes and your tweaked setup, give it a new version number and do a little rattling on related online forums. Once everything is in place, tested, up and running that is. If you've done your job well, userbase will rise again and IceWM 2.0 will the the Hip WM of 2014. Fluxbox, a Blackbox fork, gained hippness status some years back the exact same way. Neat website, one or two nice little extras, screenshots, a well kempt miniblog and everybody went "Oh, look, new and shiny."

That's just about all there is to it. But don't you dare think good marketing isn't work and isn't worth giving as much thought as your projects software architecture. It's more work and - most of the time - even more important than that for the success of a project. Even in FOSS.

Good luck.

Re:It's called marketing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852681)

Not just marketing in the sense of flashy websites and screencasts, but developer outreach, example code, and good documentation. (This is something Microsoft was historically very good at as well.)

I never could get my brain around Zope. (Hell, I'm looking their docs and still have no idea how this stuff fits together.) But, as near as I can figure, it's something much more complex and heavy-weight, like Drupal or Lotus Domino, so I have no need for it.

Re:It's called marketing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44853023)

I don't know about how they used to be, but I find that microsoft has some of the worst documentation ever.
First of all, navigating their website is impossible. I have to use google to find the function I'm looking for.
Then I have to hope a user posted the relevant code examples in the comments, because the ones in the actual documentation are often misleading, or incomplete.
I'm mostly talking about their VBA documentation here. For some functions I wasn't even able to find the VBA version. I found the C++ prototype, and just assumed it would work if I called that function.

I think the biggest problem is that the layout is so horrible that I can't search for what I want once I do find their documentation.
It also doesn't help that they have different sets of documentation.
There's one in the office documentation, and one in the general visual basic documentation. And it's not even the same.
I wouldn't be surprised if there is a third set somewhere in the technet documentation.

Documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852773)

Bingo, you've got it.
I'll bet (haven't checked) that the documentation and website have lots of room for improvement. Work on that will help substantially, and show a commitment to the project.

Re:It's called marketing. (3, Interesting)

nigels (264332) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853359)

I second this. What IceWM needs most is a project manager and an evangelist.

Do a refresh of the website, reach out to all the known historical developers, start a blog about IceWM - little tutorials about what is good about IceWM, triage the bugs the best you can without diving into the code. If the debian and/or Fedora packages are missing, create some or work with the packaging folks to make them better. Convert the revision history to git and put it up on github, if possible.

I think there is a decent backlash going on against Unity and Gnome 3. I'm currently using Cinnamon, but I'm fairly willing to give something old-school a try. I was happy with KDE3, then went to Gnome2, and really feeling that Unity is both unstable and inappropriate for work. (I do want to search for things locally without that going to Amazon for advertising purposes) Cinnamon is workable for me, but I'm not rusted onto it.

Get the pitch right - it's probably not for Grandma, but it might appeal to seasoned developers who don't like instability and don't like any "surprises". One thing that's valuable to me is having something agreeable without much customization. I tend to have various machines with various distros installed, something solid and consistent across all those is a valuable feature to me.

- Nigel

Try KDE4 (1)

Windwraith (932426) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852623)

You can configure KDE4 pretty well, and even if you can't, you can always get someone to write a plasmoid in QML or python or something. Probably for a bounty you can afford, or even asking nicely, who knows.
Alternatively, there's Gnome 3, but I haven't tested that one much.
Even more alternatively, there's FVWM...you can do pretty much anything on it, if you can afford the time.

I got my KDE using an Unity-like look and using some Unity apis for menus and displays. Didn't need to code at all (and any code I did for custom displays is pretty much bash and a python helper, about 10 minutes of coding).
Of course, this only looks like Unity (I always used sidebars anyway, even in windows), but behaves more like I want it to behave.

Re:Try KDE4 (1)

Arker (91948) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853355)

What's the KDE base system? 500 megs or more these days? I havent looked at it in years. But tell me, why would I download and install all that for a window manager when I can get one that works better in less than a meg? Really?

Dont get me wrong, KDE is ok. A lot better than GNOME. But I think it's absolutely ludicrous to talk about installing KDE just to get a WM. Which is what we are talking about. ICEWM, it's even in the name.

what's there to be done? (3, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852649)

I use icewm pretty regularly on some machines. It hasn't changed in years, and I like it that way.

Is there actually anything that needs doing?

Zawinski's Law of Software Envelopment (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44852883)

I still doesn't have a builtin mail client :)
On the plus side jwm has seen quite a bit of development recently.

Re:Zawinski's Law of Software Envelopment (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853233)

Please explain to me in short simple terms why a WINDOW MANAGER needs a "built in" mail tool.

Do NONE of the dozens of existing mail tools work with icewm?

Re:Zawinski's Law of Software Envelopment (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44853279)

It's a reference to a rule of software development that every projects grows in scope until it can do email.

Re:Zawinski's Law of Software Envelopment (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44853291)

Please explain to me in short simple terms why a WINDOW MANAGER needs a "built in" mail tool.

All software evolves until it has a built-in mail client.

Get the government involved (2)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852715)

Lotus died a long time ago. Everyone on the planet uses Acrobat for electronic forms. Yet the US Government requires you to use crappy Lotus-based forms. Not only that, you have to submit them with Internet Explorer on Windows due to a crappy digital signature implementation that only works on IE and Windows. So, if you want keep an obsolete technology around, hire a lobbyist.

Like 16-bit DOS applications (1)

msobkow (48369) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852785)

Like 16-bit DOS applications and Windows XP, all things eventually reach end of life.

Get over it and move on to something else.

I wouldn't mind seeing icewm going again either. (1)

aklinux (1318095) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852885)

Never could figure out why it didn't catch on better than it did. I think it just lacked proper advertising.

i3 tiling window manager (1)

Oliver Bestwalter (3086937) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852925)

... fits your requirements of being easy to configure and not getting in your way.

Icy Goodness (1)

markdavis (642305) | 1 year,7 days | (#44852965)

We use Icewm for a Linux/X thin client environment (IceWM and apps runs on the host, not the desktop machine) and it works really well. It is simple, fast, reliable, low-resource, and controllable. I would hate to see it die or fade away. It does lack a few features that I had hoped would be added, but anything other than bug fixes stopped several years ago.

Look Around (1)

enter to exit (1049190) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853155)

I don't get this kind of mentality.

The OP is using a WM because it's reminiscent to the WM of a dead OS he liked from the early 90s.

If developers do anything more than maintenance work on the code, it's going to be less and less like his beloved, "Presentation Manager" and more like a modern WM, giving him less and less incentive to actually stay with IceWM. So what exactly does he want? He seems to be sticking to IceWM out of habit, perhaps he should look around at other WMs and not limit himself.

When i was running Linux I used IceWM+PCmanFM for desktop icons, It's a fine for what it is, a loose imitation of the classic windows UIs. Like all cloneware, there comes a time when interest wanes, and the code is deemed "done".

Re:Look Around (1)

Arker (91948) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853325)

"So what exactly does he want?"

What he wants, and your analysis practically fell across it without you ever noticing, is simply someone to do maintenance work so he can keep using the window manager he knows and loves. What's so wrong with that?

A DE by any other name (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853169)

is really the same DE, really seriously, tell us what ICEWM does so much better than any other DE (not counting the recent crimes against useability from the big names) move along, which may be extremely difficult since your referencing OS/2 as a crowning glory in freakin 2013. Dont get me wrong I like presentation manager and ice wm as well, I have them both loaded up on a fat pentium MMX laptop as a dual boot.

but its not cause its the best thing ever made, its more along the lines of its neat and not windows mentality

Re:A DE by any other name (1)

Arker (91948) | 1 year,7 days | (#44853239)

First off it's not a DE it's a WM. A Window Manager, not some Detestedesktop Environment.

And while it's not my WM of choice, there is a lot to be said for a WM rather than a DE. It has a lot lower requirements in terms of memory or storage or dependencies, and it also has a lot less junk to get in the way of its core functionality. And since the codebase is smaller it's much less difficult to audit as well.

There are several great old WMs out there that are mature, feature-complete, and nearly bug-free at this point. Companies arent interested (companies make profits selling latest and greatest and herding customers on the upgrade treadmill) and unfortunately in many cases neither are coders (maintaining a project that releases two updates to stomp minor bugs over 3 years does sound slightly boring, and isnt likely to help much in a job interview either I guess.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>