When I was at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), working
for Paul Kunz as a coterm, we took on an interesting project to port
a great NeXTSTEP statistical plotting application (HippoDraw was the
name) to X-Windows. Although the application worked great on NeXT,
most high energy physicists at that time used Unix derivations (and
X-Windows), not NeXTSTEP. And they were using an application called
PAWS which was a character form application (no interactive GUI).
So, we embarked on porting this application. Within a few weeks,
we determined that the fastest way to do this would be to mimic the
NeXTSTEP AppKit API, which our application depended upon, rather than
try to kludge all of our application code to work on two totally different
environments. So, in essence, our spoofing of the NeXT AppKit would
contain all the multi-platform kludges. Realizing that we had not
the manpower nor the funding to pursue a faithful port of the entire
AppKit, we decided to make our code available to the public domain,
with the support of the Free Software Foundation. This landed us the
support of other interested parties who also wanted to write objective-C
code that would make X-Windows behave more like their favorite NeXT
interfaces. The project became known as gnustep. You can find information
about gnustep at:
Quite a bit more information is to be found at a site that Adam Fedor
or at the gnustep.org site.
Adam was one of the first contributors to gnustep back in '93-'94,
and has become the most prominent voice in the gnustep community.
The source for gnustep is located here.
And there is a good, brief history of the origins of the project here.
I was one of the original anonymous contributors working for Dr.
Paul Kunz at SLAC.