May 24, 2003 by Allen George
What Do I Want?
I’m sure the title of this article will give pause to any reader. After all, what will one read within? Is it fit for a work environment? I imagine that these are potential thoughts entering readers’ minds – but the truth is probably much more prosaic.
There are no readers.
I have a hard time picking a project to work on. It may sound trite, but it is something that bothers me immensely. I am interested in working on the ‘correct project’. This, I suppose, is the start of my problems. Currently I use X11 with GNOME on Linux. Although I avocate this combination, I still realize that something is … missing. I’m interested in the Linux environment, and here’s where things get a little complicated. Where do I work?
On the kernel? Should I work on the Linux kernel or something like GNU-Hurd? I like the idea of GNU-Hurd, but I know that its development _seems_ nonexistent.
On the graphics layer? Something like kgi, directfb or dri? DRI’s the incumbent but its heavily tied to X. Should I consider kernel-fb? Does it have a future? Should I try with kgi – another project with lofty goals that seems to have died?
Should I work on the window server? Should I try to improve X, work on Fresco or picoGUI? Assuming I don’t want to work on X, which of these new designs should I take a look at – Fresco or picoGUI? I really don’t like CORBA, but at the same time I prefer C++ over C.
Should I work on the toolkits? Which language? Should I take a look at GNUStep – or more accurately – LinuxStep, which does away with (in my opinon) confusing situation present currently. Or should I work on something more established like the KDE framework or GTK?
So what does this mean? It means that I am scared about putting large amounts of time and effort into a project that may, in the end, be unviable. Or may not ever be _the best_. I want to work on a design that people can point to and say: “Yes, that is a well thought out design. It is, by far, the best”.
I suppose what I really want is someone to put together an OS with a large number of components and say “this is our next generation OS. We need to work on it.” Then there would be a goal. Real life is not this easy. I sometimes wonder if I am the only one feeling this way. Perhaps it is complicated by the fact that one of the reasons I want to be involved in open source is to “make a dent” in Microsoft’s monopoly. I want to know the best way to do this.
This may seem foolish, but its a real problem for me and I don’t know what to do.