Thu, 12 May 2005

GTetrinet and GNOME-Mud releases

In the last few days, two of the GNOME apps I'm somewhat involved in, GTetrinet, and GNOME-Mud, have released new versions. GTetrinet probably needs little introducing to many readers of the Debian and GNOME Planets as you've probably wasted one or two weekends trying to kick seb128's ass unsuccessfully.

For those who are new to Tetrinet, well, there's an old Chinese proverb which says You have not been on the Internet if you haven't played Tetrinet. Chinese proverbs are rarely wrong, so I would go play tetrinet if I were you.

GNOME-Mud is a MUD client for the GNOME platform, which according to some users that every now and then join the mailing list or the IRC channel, has the potential to become a very good MUD client for GNU/Linux. It supports most of the features you would expect to see in a MUD client: triggers, aliases, a mapper, a profile editor, etc. Oh, by the way, if you don't know what a MUD is, I think the elder Japanese think you haven't been to Uni.

What is not so cool about both of these apps is that for the last year or year and a half, the development has more or less come to a halt. The last few releases of both gnome-mud and gtetrinet are the fruit of random patches to fix bugs that keep floating around, contributed by different people (thanks guys!).

Dani, the lead developer for GTetrinet, had been working on a branch on separating some of the gtetrinet code that handles the tetrinet protocol to prepare a new libtetrinet package, which would then be used by some KDE folks that have expressed interest in writing a KTetrinet client. Some OS X people were also interested in writing a tetrinet client for MacOS X using the library, but the delays ended in them ripping most of this code into their own client Tetrinet Aqua. Dani had made lots of progress with libtetrinet before Real Life hit him hard and stopped having time to develop it. Future plans also included supporting different tetrinet protocols, most notably Tetrinet 2.

GNOME-Mud is an old project too, it's first releases date back to 1998. At that time, it was a GTK+-only application with little features. Right now, it's in the middle of a UI rewrite to make it HIG compliant and a bit more "Just Works"-like, but again, Robin has not had time in some time, and development goes on and off for one or two weeks every many months when someone in the mailing list reminds the rest that there's this or that patch available. The result is that it's taken 15 months to release 0.10.6, which has not that many changes anyway.

So, if you want to get initiated in GNOME development, this might be the tiny project that is desperately waiting for you to help. GTetrinet might involve some fun in figuring out how Tetrinet2's protocol works, and then writing a compatible client, and learning how to write shared libraries, etc. GNOME-Mud, on the other hand, might be interesting if you like app design. It really needs some usability love to re-think and redesign how it works. The current stuff is nearly 1999 stardards. :)

Feel free to join the or lists if you want to help out!