A common VFS and a Common conf-system [Part II]

gtg990h at mail.gatech.edu gtg990h at mail.gatech.edu
Tue Mar 8 19:34:09 EET 2005

> On Tue, 2005-03-08 at 11:37 -0500, gtg990h at mail.gatech.edu wrote:
> > > They can patch GCC if they don't like any of those solutions.  Nothing
> > > about D-VFS will make it impossible for non-desktop apps to use.  It's
> > > just not something that a whole ton of time is being devoted to.
> >
> > That's not a very good answer. Like it or not, something like an IDE is a
> > legitimate use-case here. Or something like a MySQL front-end, or a number
> of
> It's the only answer feasible.  What other answer is there?  There's no
> other possible solution except FUSE, which is Linux-only, which means
> that it is completely unsuitable for our purposes.  If an application
> wants to use D-VFS, nothing stops it from doing so except apathy or
> ignorance.

Apathy, ignorance, and inertia. Don't underestimate the power of the triumvirate
However, saying to the user "sorry the interface sucks, but the gcc folks are
ignorant" is not constructive.

With regards to solutions, one be to seperate D-VFS into a front-end and a
backend. Design the frontend so it can be implemented on a purely POSIX API.
This will have to be true anyway, if you want to support proper D-VFS semantics
for the file:// protocol. Then, make a back-end that exposes a POSIX API to
sshfs, etc, that would work on BSD, Solaris, etc. The back-end's POSIX can be
real sloppy, as someone mentioned earlier, because the only thing that will ever
use it would be the front-end. With that in place, it would be moderately easy
to run the front-end on top of FUSE or something like Darwin's in-kernel
file-access mechanism (or Windows's!).

Yes, this means that file-handling will be different on BSD, etc, than on Linux
or Darwin or Windows. That's okay, because its better than file-handling being
different between apps on the same system.

> > other applications in which 'desktop' and 'CLI' apps have to work together.
> > We're talking about UNIX desktops here --- CLI apps won't just go away, and
> its
> > useful to the user to allow them to work together.
> Then they will need to be ported just like the desktop apps.  I'm rather
> looking forward to getting some CLI apps using D-VFS, such as Vim.

The apps the user wants are never going to all be ported. The onus is on D-VFS
to make sure it works with the POSIX apps, not the other way around.

> FreeDesktop isn't about just Linux, and neither is D-VFS.  End of story.
> If you don't like that, there is nothing I can do about it.

FreeDesktop is about creating the infrastructure to allow writing good desktop
apps. To the extent that writing good desktop apps isn't always possible in a
cross-platform manner, it becomes a conflict in the principles of
freedesktop.org. I would argue that it's not wrong to resolve quality vs
portability issues in favor of quality, as long as a fallback is available for
other platforms.

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