On Monday 28 February 2005 10:30, Don Allingham wrote:
> I guess it is time for me to chime in. But first, I want to correct a
> slight misstatement that Alex made above. If you look at the GRAMPS
> project page at SourceForge, you will notice that there are two project
> managers for GRAMPS - me and Alex. Alex tends to want to defer to me for
> final declarations, but I see Alex as having just as much authority over
> the project as I do. Fortunately, we usually tend to agree on issues -
> with the exception that Alex tends to pull his Monty Python quotes from
> the "Flying Circus" TV show, while I tend to pull mine from the Monty
> Python movies :-)
So that's how you do it! I will have to watch both now! *smirk*
> When I started this project almost 4 years ago, the goal was to fill a
> void for Linux users - an easy to use, open and standards compliant
> personal genealogy software package that would be usable by the power
> user and by Aunt Martha, who is still trying to figure out how to use a
I have to agree with this statement, since my wife isn't all that much of a
power user under Linux. I've been the one that's been dinking with things
around here in Linux, and I can say that Don and Alex have met this goal
> So, if I have a couple of hours to spend, I think the project will get
> more benefit from a new or enhanced report than from a different set of
> toolkit widgets. The report adds new functionality, the additional
> toolkit does not add new functionality.
I would have to be the third person to agree with this statement. Reinventing
the wheel to make someone else happy isn't the primary goal of the project.
Providing functionality and ease of use is the top goal, even for us people
who only poke around for bugs in the program.
> Sometimes the comment comes up, "But if you supported XXX toolkit, you
> could run it under the YYY operating system." And as harsh as it sounds,
> my honest answer is, "I really don't care." I have no interest in
> supporting Windows, and I am not capable of supporting the Mac (Apple
> hasn't given me a free mini-Mac, and I'm not holding my breath :-) The
> goal of the GRAMPS project has been to supply a solid genealogy project
> for the un*xish operating systems using GNOME. Windows and OS X don't
> fit in with these goals.
I would agree with Don's assessment. I could help with a port to KDE/Qt, but
why? I would not want to assist in maintaining that fork, since there's
really no need to change anything. And I also agree that providing
additional branches for different toolkits is going to make the whole thing
much worse in the end.
I can sympathize with Don and Alex in this view. Since the whole Gramps
project is based on Gnome and it's tools, leaving it the way it is, is the
Porting rarely does any more good than what people think it will do. I mean,
you can still run Gramps under KDE. In the end, Linux will still run it, and
getting things aligned with the end user is still happening. Porting it will
do what? It will make it more confusing for the end user.
> That being said, I have no objection to someone porting GRAMPS to other
> platforms. The FINK project has ported to Mac OS X, and a few people
> have ported to Windows using Cygwin. I think these efforts are great,
> and I appreciate the efforts of these people. However, I am not capable
> of supporting these efforts (I don't have a Mac, and will not run
> Windows). And while we won't do anything to hinder these ports, we
> aren't going to change the direction of the project to support these ports.
*nods at Don* I agree with your points. I would like to see Gramps running
on Windows, but I also have to admit that running it under Linux will be
vastly better, since that's what it's designed to do. Cygwin comes close.
but the end user will not want to go through and compile code, and set up
Cygwin just to run Gramps. For Windows, there are a myriad of genealogical
programs. The end user has the options open to them, let them run with it.
> Alex proved himself over time. He started by providing the Russian
> translation. He then rewrote the User's Manual. He started submitting
> patches, and gained CVS access. His patches and contributions became
> very significant, and he started helping with the release process and
> helping with bug reports and solving user's problems. He proved he's in
> it for the long haul and became invaluable to the project. That is why I
> decided to share the project manager role with him. This has proven to
> be the smartest decision I made since starting the project.
And we thank you for it, Don. You and Alex are the best developers that I've
ever worked with.
> Now, sometimes we get a request for a major architectural change that we
> will accept. A good example is the new database backend for the upcoming
> GRAMPS 2.0. The request came in to support a real database backend so we
> could support larger databases. We analyzed the request, and felt that
> it matched the goals of the project and would provide a significant step
> forward in the usability of the program. The result was a major redesign
> effort that will soon be released.
I think I and few others are the ones that impacted this decision. Having an
850,000 person database tends to be deadly to the XML architecture that we
were with. I've been the main person to test the integrity of the system
with my Gedcom file importing. When I found that I couldn't import my file
without extensive data loss, I came to Don and Alex and we all sought for
solutions. We found that the XML interface was taking huge amounts of
memory, and we looked for database backends that would handle the load. Don
and Alex came through with the BSDDB backend, and ever since 1.1.3, I've been
happy as a clam with the Gramps project, because I'm one step closer to
I personally want to do away with it, but I need it for other applications.
I've also come to the realization that both Windows and Linux are good, but
in their own realms. I don't want this to become a huge flame war about
Linux and Windows. so if you have other questions as to why I feel this way,
> So, would we accept a mySQL database backend? There is a good chance we
> would (depending on the implementation), as long did not impact Aunt
> Martha. We have even architected the backend to support this, since we
> can see that higher end databases could provide additional functionality
> such as versioning and multiuser support.
We could accept mySQL because of this, but I agree with Don. If it negatively
impacts the end user, why would we want to proceed with it? I have a friend
that wondered about mySQL interaction, but he can see the impact that BSDDB
has had on my database, and he has sided with me as well as the rest of the
team. Not to say that this is not a possibility, but we need to remain
focused on the tasks at hand.
> So, in summary, the project is going in a direction that seems to meet
> the needs of our users. If we changed directions, we might or might not
> be able to reach a larger audience, but numbers are not our goal. We
> fully support others submitting patches and other contributions, but
> they will be weighed on how they match the goals of the project (and
> most of the patches we've received to date do match the goals). If
> someone wants us take the project in a different direction, we may or
> may not be receptive depending if the direction matches our goals.
> However, we will support your efforts if you decide to fork the project.
> Who knows, maybe a remerge will occur in the future, or a forked project
> will make us irrelevent.
I agree with Don on this, numbers don't matter as long as the users are happy.
Getting things appropriately nailed down and ready for the end user's use is
what is paramount. After all, if there were no users, why would we even have
a project with which to collaborate in the first place?
We are here for the users, especially Aunt Martha, because of the fact that
many people are just moving over to Linux and having something familiar to
them, like a genealogical program is what matters to them. Making the
transition to Linux is hard, don't get me wrong. But we are making it one
step easier by not complicating the user's experience in their move.
Like I said before, I'm just a bug finder. I'm not really a Python
programmer, or anything, but I like to find bugs. Even if that's all I do on
this project, I'm rather content. Everyone else that wants to port over to
other toolkits and whatnot is free to do so.
But also as an end user that's still a greenie to Linux in general, I can say
that this program has helped my move over to Linux that much easier. Even if
I have only contributed a little in the way of feedback (mostly from the