Things left to do in gentoo
(hey, it rhymes!)
This little file lists things that I have planned for future
versions of gentoo.
Please note that gentoo is free software, developed in
my spare time, and distributed free of charge. Therefore, please
don't take the things mentioned in here as promises: I might
implement all of these, or I might implement none of them. Also,
things are likely to be added/removed from this list as time
passes by and I think things through more.
The purpose of this list is to allow users of gentoo a
way of knowing what to expect from the program, not to generate
mail of the form "when will feature X be implemented?". Please
respect this. :)
Here are the ideas, presented in one subsection each. Enjoy!
1.1 Virtualize the File Access
I have an initial implementation of a file system abstraction
layer, which allows neaty stuff like viewing the contents of
an archive as a directory, or using gentoo to get and put files
on an FTP site. The code I've written is based on a URL-like
access scheme, where individual access-schemes (ftp, tgz etc)
cause plug-ins to be dynamically loaded to handle the access.
Integrating such a system with gentoo is quite a big
task though, and I've been putting it off for almost a year
now... I'm also afraid that implementing virtualized file
access will slow the program down for local accesses. Further,
I think some commands might need to be rewritten, and have
some "intelligence" added that makes them avoid running on
certain access schemes (doing a GetSize on a remote FTP site
might take a while and be difficult to abort, for example).
On second (or third) thought, it seems like a waste of
work to re-invent a virtual file system layer. I briefly looked
at the one used in GNOME Midnight Commander, but had problems
understanding it. :) That typically triggers my "rewrite it!"-
instincts, but I suppressed them.
1.2 Write a Menu Editor
The buttons used in the button bank below the panes support
individual pop-up menus; but there is currently no way of
defining and attaching menus to them. Writing a fully-fledged
menu editor is a lot of work, and I'm close to thinking of
it as duplicated effort, since a menu editor exists in e.g.
Having a menu editor would allow users to attach their
own menus to every command button. Seldom used commands could
be moved from a button of their own to a related button's
menu, thus saving valuable screen real estate in the button
The menu that is typically bound to the right mouse
button in the panes would of course be editable as well, and
the MenuPopup command would be extended to take the name of
the menu to show as an argument. The latter would allow things
like shift-RMB to pop up a different menu in the panes...
UPDATE: As of gentoo 0.11.16, there actually is some general
code for menu management built into gentoo (it's in
the "menus.c" file). No editor has yet been designed,
though... I find I have conceptual problems with de-
ciding on just what a menu really *is*. Weird, huh?
1.3 Generalize Buttons
The command buttons displayed under the panes are very general
internally, where they are represented as a specific "sheet"
of buttons. I plan to add ways to add and delete button sheets,
and also lay out the sheets in the window. The layout interface
is what's currently holding this off.
1.4 Drag and Drop
This is perhaps the #1 requested feature, and it's still not
there. This is because of several things. One is that I'm not
at all sure how it should work. Should gentoo support DnD only
internally, or also to/from the external environment? In that
case, do I need to write specific code for the various kinds of
environments in use? I hope not...
Furthermore, there's the practical problem of how to
trigger a drag action. Clicking and dragging is already in use
in gentoo to select files, and I really want to keep that. One
idea is to use "horizontal" drags to trigger DnD, leaving the
vertical ones for selection. Unfortunately, my investigations
show that GTK+ won't support that. Next idea, please.
Another scary thing with DnD is semantics. What should
happen if a set of files is dragged from one pane and dropped
in the other? Should the files be copied, copied as, moved,
moved as, symlinked, or what? What if you drop stuff on a