Re: GNOME-DB, history, Open Source book

> Hi all:
> I hope I didn't miss anyone with this email.
you've just forgotten the new additions (see below), but I send this
mail to 
the gnome-db mailing list, so now everybody knows.

> I'm Sean Hull, and I'm working the Andy Duncan on an Open Source book.  In
> particular it's about Oracle Open Source applications, and related
> technologies.  I've used Linux with Gnome as my desktop environment for
> some time, and have kept close eye on the Gnome project.
> I found out about the GNOME-DB project, and have checked over the website.
> It looks like quite a framework for building database applications.   We
> want to mention it in our chapter on GTK+ database applications.  I've
> already contacted Vivien about gASQL, but I also want to have solid
> coverage of the underlying technology.  Even more importantly, I think
> this technology needs to be mentioned because anyone wanting to build an
> Open Source application for Oracle (or Sybase, MySQL, Postgres, Interbase
> or Solid) would do well to take a look at GNOME-DB.
well, thanks very much for what you say, it makes me feel good!

> Perhaps you can tell us a bit about the history of it, other developers
> who are involved if I missed any, and in what direction you expect to take
> it.  New and upcoming features would be nice to know about too.  :-)
well, here's a brief history,

GNOME-DB was created on 1998 by Michael Lausch, to provide a way of
different DBMS from within GNOME applications. He had a deep look at
ADO and other proprietary solutions to have a starting point. As the
project was basing all its architecture on CORBA, it seemed obvious to
use CORBA as the base for GNOME-DB.

So, a CORBA IDL was written to define the interaction between database
and servers. This IDL has been, since then, improved and adapted to
any kind of data source, not only DBMS systems.

GNOME-DB is separated in two parts. The lowest-level one is GDA, which
implements all the code around the CORBA interfaces, wrapping all CORBA
complexity. Thus, it's separated in two parts: clients and providers. 
Providers are CORBA objects implementing the CORBA interfaces, and
a given type of data source. That is, for each DBMS to be supported by
GDA, a CORBA object must be written. GDA has been recently separated
GNOME-DB to allow non-GNOME applications to use GDA.

The other part is GNOME-DB itself, which is a sort of frontend to the
part for the GNOME project.

The first year of GNOME-DB's life, it didn't have much attention,
due to the fact that only a few people knew about it: there were no
lists, no releases, although the CORBA stuff was proven to be quite
solid (but
of course, incomplete). In mid-1999, Miguel de Icaza, the GNOME leader,
gave a
big push to the project by offering me (rodrigo) the possibility of
a mailing list and room for web pages on This motivated me a
and gnome-db-0.0.25 was born. Then, some people started to know about
it, and
showed interest on the mailing list. One of the first contributions was
the one
by Stephan Heinze, who fixed the never-worked-before Oracle provider,
and made
it work with Oracle 8.*.

After that, I knew one day about gASQL, whose web page said: "TODO: add
gnome-db integration" (or something like that). So, I contacted Vivien,
we agreed to have him work on the PostgreSQL provider. Since then,
has been contributing in several ways, and is now one of the most active

Since then, the team has been growing slowly but no-stop, to get to the
which is right now, when the GNUe project (, one of
most important GNU projects to reach the introduction of free software
enterprises, decides to use GDA as their way for accessing data, new
are starting to be built with GDA/GNOME-DB in mind (the Snapper one),
and people
contact GNOME-DB authors to write in books about it. In fact, your book
be the second to talk about GNOME-DB, since Brian Jepson has already
sent to
print his, which I'm waiting for my copy desperately (thanks Brian!)

The current work is focused on several fronts:
* XML queries, which are a way of sending portable commands to different
* GDA-report, a report engine for distributed reporting, as well as
tools, such as a GNOME report designer and viewer
* removing all GNOME dependencies from the GDA part
* componentize the GNOME-DB part by using Bonobo, thus offering
database services to GNOME apps
* new providers: MS Access, LDAP, Sybase, Interbase, XML, mail

The future:
* add new providers: dBase, MS SQL server, GNU SQL server, DB2, etc, etc
* language bindings: perl, pascal, etc, etc
* integration with GNOME Office (and GNUe?)
* gnomedb-builder, an app to help develop GNOME-DB-based applications
* ...

The GNOME-DB team is now composed of:

Michael Lausch <mla gams co at> - founder
Alvaro del Castillo <acs futurnet es> - Rolodex and MS Access provider
Akira TAGOH <tagoh gnome gr jp> - Debian packages and oaf-bonobo-fixer
Brian Jepson <> - gda-build*, scripts for building GDA servers and
Joaquin Cuenca <> - waiting for CVS account
Reinhard Muller <reinhard gnue org> - waiting for CVS account
Stephan Heinze <stephan heinze xcom de> - Oracle provider
Vivien Malerba <malerba linuxave net> - Postgres provider, XML queries
Carlos Perello <carlos hispalinux es> - GDA-report
Chris Wiegand <cwiegand urgentmail com> - C++ bindings
Nick Gorham <nick lurcher org> - ODBC provider
Rodrigo Moya <rodrigo linuxave net> - Main programmer

Other people have contributed in other ways. You can see who in the
web site, in the "People" section.

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