GNUstep - A free implementation of the OpenStep standard
GNUstep provides an Object-Oriented application development framework and
toolset for use on a wide variety of computer platforms. GNUstep is
based on the original OpenStep specification provided by NeXT, Inc. (now Apple
and called Cocoa).
GNUstep is written in Objective-C, an object-oriented
superset of the C programming language, similar to SmallTalk. However there
exist a number of bridges and interfaces to develop GNUstep programs
using other languages like JAVA or Ruby.
The GNUstep core system consists of the following parts,
which are jointly referred to as gnustep-core :
- A set of scripts and makefiles that heavily ease the creation and
maintenance of software projects.
- The FoundationKit libraries for non-GUI tools providing everything from
string and array classes, filemanager classes to distributed objects.
- The ApplicationKit containing widgets, workspace classes and means for
applications to interact with the user. This is the frontend of
GNUstep's GUI part.
- This is the backend of GNUstep's GUI part which does the actual
rendering and event handling. It acts as a layer between gnustep-gui and
the operating/drawing system. Backends exist for X11 (one using cairo, one
using libart, one using xlib drawing) and win32.
Apart from the above, there exist a number of addon libraries
related to GNUstep, like Renaissance which allows developers to
specify an application's user interface in xml. For database access, there
is GDL2 - the GNUstep Database Library. Please refer to the
GNUstep website for more information.
GNUstep per default is self-contained. That means that all
GNUstep applications, tools, libraries and add-ons are installed into
the GNUstep directory hierarchy. However as of
gnustep-make-2.0.0 it is also possible to install everything in
compliance with other filesystem hierarchies. See the
FilesystemLayouts directory in the source package of
gnustep-make for more information.
There are four domains which are searched for files: the System
domain, which should only contain the core system files, the Local domain
which stores all that has later been installed on the system, the Network
domain which should be used for importing data from a remote system, and the
User domain which resides in the user's home directory (mostly
A complete description of the default GNUstep layout can be
found in the filesystem.pdf.
In the world of GNUstep the term tool refers to command line programs
whereas applications are fully fledged GUI programs. Naturally,
tools reside in the domains' Tools folder, applications can be
found in the domains' Applications folder.
Applications are either launched using the openapp command
or from the Workspace.
In GNUstep applications globally offer functionality to other
applications through services. They can be reached through the Services
menu entry in an application's main menu. Apart from services offered
by applications, there may be programs whose sole purpose is the offering of
services. They can be found in the domains' Libary/Services folders.
The make_services tool makes sure the services are known to
other applications when a application is newly installed.
A bundle is a collection of resources making up a discrete package for use.
There are currently three types of bundles: applications, frameworks and
A loadable bundle is a kind of plug-in. There are two types of
loadable bundles, namely plug-ins and palettes. The plug-in is normally
referred to as a bundle, which can make it a bit confusing. A plug-in is a
bundle that can be loaded by an application to provide additional
functionality, while a palette is a plug-in for GORM, the interface
builder. A palette is used to extend GORM with custom UI objects.
Palettes have a .palette extension.
The central place of the user interface is the Workspace or Workspace
Manager which acts as an interface between the user and parts of the
system like files, processes, etc. The GWorkspace application provides this
functionality in GNUstep. See the GWorkspace website for more details.
What would a development environment be without the applications to create
applications? The applications provided by GNUstep for Rapid Application
gcc(1), gdnc(1), gdomap(8), gopen(1), gpbs(1), make(1), openapp(1)
- GORM is the interface modeler. With GORM you can quickly
create the graphical interface of your application.
- Project Center
- Project Center is the program where you can develop your program.
It offers you automatic generation of GNUmakefiles , project
maintenance and of course a code editor.
- Official GNUstep website
- GNUstep Wiki (lots of useful information)
- GNUstep Project Page
- GNUstep Documentation Library
- Collaboration World, the home of GNUmail
- The home of GWorkspace, JIGS, Renaissance and programming tutorials.
- Mailing lists and mailing list archives.
GNUstep was at first a collaboration of two projects that wanted to
create a single GNUstep project that complied to the OpenStep
specification provided by NeXT Computer, Inc. and SunSoft, Inc. Development of
this joint effort started around 1993-1994. For a more detailed history
description see the GNUstep Documentation Library referenced in the SEE
- #GNUstep on FreeNode
- You are invited to join the #GNUstep IRC channel on FreeNode
GNUstep is developed and maintained by a large number of people.
Please see <http://www.gnustep.org/developers/whoiswho.html> for a
This man-page was first written by Martin Brecher
<firstname.lastname@example.org> in august of 2003.
In December 2007 it was expanded by Dennis Leeuw
<email@example.com> and made to comply with the gnustep-make-2.0.x