wxwidgets terminal

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wxwidgets terminal

Timothée Lecomte
Hi !

I am a pleased user of gnuplot. I often use it, standalone or through
Octave, to study physic datas.

In order to make it more user friendly (but it already is, with a little
practice), I thought to write a terminal to wxwidgets
(hhtp://www.wxwidgets.org), a gui toolkit. It would have the advantage of
being cross-platform. Moreover, I think it would be really easy to copy
all the features of current x11 or windows terminals, and then to add
toolbars and other useful buttons ou dialogs. In particular, it would
be something interesting to make 3rd-party software (like Octave,
or Maxima) reach a higher level of usablility.

I have looked for such projects, but found none. There's a
couple of projects which aim at buildung a complete gui for
gnuplot, but they appear dead. And none of them was using a
new terminal, as far as I guess.

I am not afraid at all by such a project, and I have began to
learn how to use wxwidgets. But I have a question : wxwidgets
is a library for C++, and gnuplot is written in C. So, can
I write a terminal for gnuplot in C++ ?

Can gnuplot be compiled entirely with a C++ compiler (g++ in my
case) ? Does somebody know a way to do it (I've not tried) ?

Do you think the whole idea of writing a wxwidgets terminal is good ?

I would be pleased to get your opinions.

Timothée Lecomte
French student, at the ENS, Paris (http://www.ens.fr)




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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Hans-Bernhard Bröker
Timothée Lecomte wrote:
> In order to make it more user friendly (but it already is, with a little
> practice), I thought to write a terminal to wxwidgets
> (hhtp://www.wxwidgets.org), a gui toolkit.

Somebody else had the same idea recently.  But there's a significant
obstacle, esp. in the way you plan on doing it: licensing.  wxwidgets is
GPLed, gnuplot's license is deemed not sufficiently compatible with GPL
to allow linking GPLed libraries into it.  At least not in distributed
binaries, by the interpretation of the legalese as seen by the Debian team.

> be something interesting to make 3rd-party software (like Octave,
> or Maxima) reach a higher level of usablility.

I don't think that adding a GUI to gnuplot will make it any more easy to
use by external programs, who want to control gnuplot themselves, rather
than let the user do it.  They already have enough control over gnuplot
as it is --- the only major exception being that they can't swallow the
gnuplot graph window into their own GUI yet, and that the Windows
version offers no access to its command line output channel.

> But I have a question : wxwidgets is a library for C++, and gnuplot
> is written in C. So, can I write a terminal for gnuplot in C++ ?

Not really.  At least the actual terminal API functions (i.e. those that
go into the termentry struct) have to be C functions, i.e. they have to
be qualified 'extern "C"', in C++ terms.

> Can gnuplot be compiled entirely with a C++ compiler (g++ in my
> case) ? Does somebody know a way to do it (I've not tried) ?

You certainly shouldn't have to do that, and no, it wouldn't work.
gnuplot is written in C. Trying to compile genuine, non-trivial C code
with a C++ compiler is generally impossible, dangerous, or both.  It
would cause a boatload of pain in the lower back to translate gnuplot to
"C/C++", the strict common subset of both languages.

[In the interest of more fluent discussion, please subscribe to
gnuplot-beta if you're going to continue posting to it.]



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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Timothée Lecomte
Hans-Bernhard Broeker wrote:

> Timothée Lecomte wrote:
>
>> In order to make it more user friendly (but it already is, with a little
>> practice), I thought to write a terminal to wxwidgets
>> (hhtp://www.wxwidgets.org), a gui toolkit.
>
>
> Somebody else had the same idea recently.  But there's a significant
> obstacle, esp. in the way you plan on doing it: licensing.  wxwidgets
> is GPLed, gnuplot's license is deemed not sufficiently compatible with
> GPL to allow linking GPLed libraries into it.  At least not in
> distributed binaries, by the interpretation of the legalese as seen by
> the Debian team.

Oh no ! I was aware of the non-GPL licence of gnuplot, but I have not
taken it into account when thinking of a wxwidgets terminal. So is there
any hope to use one of these wonderful gui toolkits like wxwidgets, gtk,
qt, etc. as terminals ?

>
>> be something interesting to make 3rd-party software (like Octave,
>> or Maxima) reach a higher level of usablility.
>
>
> I don't think that adding a GUI to gnuplot will make it any more easy
> to use by external programs, who want to control gnuplot themselves,
> rather than let the user do it.  They already have enough control over
> gnuplot as it is --- the only major exception being that they can't
> swallow the gnuplot graph window into their own GUI yet, and that the
> Windows version offers no access to its command line output channel.

You're right when you say that external programs want first to control
gnuplot themselves. However, I think the user would be pleased to have a
little more interaction with the terminal without having to send a new
plot command with modified options. That's precisely what you've added
with the mouse support. I was dreaming of a terminal with other options...

In fact, I must admit that I had used gnuplot for months before
discovering the mouse support (in octave, it's not activated by default,
as explained in the gnuplot faq) ! That's why I want to design a more
intuitive terminal, regarding this point (toolbar, etc).

When reading the terminal readme and the corresponding API, I have been
impressed by its simplicity. As far as I understand, gnuplot owns an
entire abstract layer which give really simple drawing commands. It is
really ideal to use it with a gui library like wxwidgets.

>
>> But I have a question : wxwidgets is a library for C++, and gnuplot
>> is written in C. So, can I write a terminal for gnuplot in C++ ?
>
>
> Not really.  At least the actual terminal API functions (i.e. those
> that go into the termentry struct) have to be C functions, i.e. they
> have to be qualified 'extern "C"', in C++ terms.

It's precisely what I've learned on other pages. So the mix between C
and C++ should not be a problem, provided the extern "C" magic words.

> Trying to compile genuine, non-trivial C code with a C++ compiler is
> generally impossible, dangerous, or both.  It would cause a boatload
> of pain in the lower back to translate gnuplot to "C/C++", the strict
> common subset of both languages.

Ok, I understand.

I hope we could continue this discussion to find a solution, especially
about the license problem.

Timothée Lecomte



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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Hans-Bernhard Bröker
Timothée Lecomte wrote:

> Oh no ! I was aware of the non-GPL licence of gnuplot, but I have not
> taken it into account when thinking of a wxwidgets terminal. So is there
> any hope to use one of these wonderful gui toolkits like wxwidgets, gtk,
> qt, etc. as terminals?

I'm afraid not without violating either gnuplot's license or the GPL, as
they both currently are.

> plot command with modified options. That's precisely what you've added
> with the mouse support. I was dreaming of a terminal with other options...

Even the current mouse support is running into considerable problems
with remote-controlled gnuplot sessions.  That's why it's kept disabled
by default in such cases.  Having a single instance of gnuplot try to
serve two independently acting masters (octave and a human being, e.g.)
simultaneously has to cause trouble.




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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Gael Varoquaux
On Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 01:53:42PM +0200, Hans-Bernhard Broeker wrote:
> Even the current mouse support is running into considerable problems
> with remote-controlled gnuplot sessions.  That's why it's kept disabled
> by default in such cases.  Having a single instance of gnuplot try to
> serve two independently acting masters (octave and a human being, e.g.)
> simultaneously has to cause trouble.

    That's why a dedicated terminal would be very usefull. However have a
cross platform interactive terminal probably means either using a
toolkit, which does not seem compatible with gnuplot's current licence (a
pity) or using a dedicated terminal for the platform, wich basically
means reusing the current existing interactive terminals.
   
    Maybe what we need is more a API for interactive terminals ?

    By the way, I think there should be an alias for the default platform
dependent interactive terminal. Say I want to code a script (Octave for
instance, but it could as well be Gnuplot) that work under various
platforms and switches terminals. If I want to switch back to the
platform specific interactive terminal, how do I call it ?

--
    Gaël


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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Hans-Bernhard Bröker
Gaël Varoquaux wrote:

>     By the way, I think there should be an alias for the default platform
> dependent interactive terminal. Say I want to code a script (Octave for
> instance, but it could as well be Gnuplot) that work under various
> platforms and switches terminals. If I want to switch back to the
> platform specific interactive terminal, how do I call it ?

"poll", as in

        set term poll

You'll want to look up the docs to see what I mean ;-)



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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Timothée Lecomte
In reply to this post by Hans-Bernhard Bröker
Hans-Bernhard Broeker wrote:

> Timothée Lecomte wrote:
>
>> Oh no ! I was aware of the non-GPL licence of gnuplot, but I have not
>> taken it into account when thinking of a wxwidgets terminal. So is
>> there any hope to use one of these wonderful gui toolkits like
>> wxwidgets, gtk, qt, etc. as terminals?
>
>
> I'm afraid not without violating either gnuplot's license or the GPL,
> as they both currently are.
>
A precision : wxwidgets is LGPL, not GPL. I'm not completely sure, but
it seems that it solves the license problem. Can you confirm by reading
the LGPL ? Here follows the piece of the license which is important :




*"6.* As an exception to the Sections above, you may also combine or
link a "work that uses the Library" [ A program that contains no
derivative of any portion of the Library, but is designed to work with
the Library by being compiled or linked with it ] with the Library to
produce a work containing portions of the Library, and distribute that
work under terms of your choice, provided that the terms permit
modification of the work for the customer's own use and reverse
engineering for debugging such modifications.

You must give prominent notice with each copy of the work that the
Library is used in it and that the Library and its use are covered by
this License. You must supply a copy of this License. If the work during
execution displays copyright notices, you must include the copyright
notice for the Library among them, as well as a reference directing the
user to the copy of this License. Also, you must do one of these things:

    * *a)* Accompany the work with the complete corresponding
      machine-readable source code for the Library including whatever
      changes were used in the work (which must be distributed under
      Sections 1 and 2 above); and, if the work is an executable linked
      with the Library, with the complete machine-readable "work that
      uses the Library", as object code and/or source code, so that the
      user can modify the Library and then relink to produce a modified
      executable containing the modified Library. (It is understood that
      the user who changes the contents of definitions files in the
      Library will not necessarily be able to recompile the application
      to use the modified definitions.)
    * *b)* Use a suitable shared library mechanism for linking with the
      Library. A suitable mechanism is one that (1) uses at run time a
      copy of the library already present on the user's computer system,
      rather than copying library functions into the executable, and (2)
      will operate properly with a modified version of the library, if
      the user installs one, as long as the modified version is
      interface-compatible with the version that the work was made with.
    * *c)* Accompany the work with a written offer, valid for at least
      three years, to give the same user the materials specified in
      Subsection 6a, above, for a charge no more than the cost of
      performing this distribution.
    * *d)* If distribution of the work is made by offering access to
      copy from a designated place, offer equivalent access to copy the
      above specified materials from the same place.
    * *e)* Verify that the user has already received a copy of these
      materials or that you have already sent this user a copy.

For an executable, the required form of the "work that uses the Library"
must include any data and utility programs needed for reproducing the
executable from it. However, as a special exception, the materials to be
distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in
either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler,
kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs,
unless that component itself accompanies the executable.

It may happen that this requirement contradicts the license restrictions
of other proprietary libraries that do not normally accompany the
operating system. Such a contradiction means you cannot use both them
and the Library together in an executable that you distribute."



So it is possible to write a terminal which uses wxwidgets, as gnuplot
is open-source (although it's not gpl). We just have to notice in the
code that this LGPL library is used.

What do you think of it ?

Timothée Lecomte


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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Petr Mikulik
In reply to this post by Hans-Bernhard Bröker
> Somebody else had the same idea recently.  But there's a significant
> obstacle, esp. in the way you plan on doing it: licensing.  wxwidgets is
> GPLed, gnuplot's license is deemed not sufficiently compatible with GPL
> to allow linking GPLed libraries into it.  At least not in distributed
> binaries, by the interpretation of the legalese as seen by the Debian team.

The attractiveness of the wx widget is that is NOT GPL, thus it can be used
in open source as well as for commercial applications.

> Not really.  At least the actual terminal API functions (i.e. those that

The question is whether the terminal should be managed via pipes (as X11 or
OS/2), i.e. an independent executable, or to be linked with gnuplot itself
(like Windows).

---
PM



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RE: wxwidgets terminal

Nigel Nunn
In reply to this post by Timothée Lecomte

Hi Timothee, Petr, Hans-Bernhard,

> The attractiveness of the wx widget is that is NOT GPL, thus it
> can be used in open source as well as for commercial applications.

I did a wxGnuplot class inside a threaded C++ wxSimulator, with a
"wxTerm" providing the familiar gnuplot command line; worked fine.
Only significant problem was that a simulator can really only have
a single active plot, since some of the core gnuplot data is still
global.  If these were wrapped in a struct, each plot could have
its own gnuplot "data struct", and we could steer any number of
wxGnuplot panels.  Tim, sounds like a worthwhile project.

Nigel

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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Timothée Lecomte
Nigel Nunn wrote:

>Hi Timothee, Petr, Hans-Bernhard,
>  
>
>>The attractiveness of the wx widget is that is NOT GPL, thus it
>>can be used in open source as well as for commercial applications.
>>    
>>
>
>I did a wxGnuplot class inside a threaded C++ wxSimulator, with a
>"wxTerm" providing the familiar gnuplot command line; worked fine.
>Only significant problem was that a simulator can really only have
>a single active plot, since some of the core gnuplot data is still
>global.  If these were wrapped in a struct, each plot could have
>its own gnuplot "data struct", and we could steer any number of
>wxGnuplot panels.  Tim, sounds like a worthwhile project.
>
>Nigel
>  
>
Thanks for supporting me ! I might need your experience some day...

I have almost written my terminal, at least with the mandatory functions
to make gnuplot access it. I just implemented those calls and simulate
gnuplot action with some menus (_move, _vector, _graphics, etc).

My next step is to make it work *inside* gnuplot, which should not be a
big problem, as I have prepared myself to call the wxwidgets library
without building a whole application, in the same way as Videolan or
Bochs, which both use it as a gui plugin. I have to declare some
remaining variables, and pay attention to those 'extern "C" ' magic words !

I will continue and keep sending news to the list.

Timothée Lecomte


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RE: wxwidgets terminal

Petr Mikulik
In reply to this post by Nigel Nunn
> I did a wxGnuplot class inside a threaded C++ wxSimulator, with a
"wxTerm" providing the familiar gnuplot command line; worked fine. Only
significant problem was that a simulator can really only have a single
active plot, since some of the core gnuplot data is still global.  If
these were wrapped in a struct, each plot could have its own gnuplot
"data struct", and we could steer any number of
> wxGnuplot panels.

That single plot is a normal way, as multiple plot windows from a single
gnuplot session are available only for X11 terminal. How would the
simulator work under native Windows or OS/2 terminals?

If it was under X11, have you used the new feature of an x11 handle from
sourceforge patches? This patch waits for confirmation that it works.

Similar "problem" with one active window is also e.g. under Octave. Once
has to run several instances of gnuplot. Works fine.

---
PM





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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Ethan Merritt
On Tuesday 14 June 2005 03:09 pm, [hidden email] wrote:
>
> If it was under X11, have you used the new feature of an x11 handle from
> sourceforge patches? This patch waits for confirmation that it works.

I think that patchset may have broken due to subsequent changes to the
cvs code.  I can't get it to work here any more.  Daniel?


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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Daniel J Sebald
Ethan Merritt wrote:
> On Tuesday 14 June 2005 03:09 pm, [hidden email] wrote:
>
>>If it was under X11, have you used the new feature of an x11 handle from
>>sourceforge patches? This patch waits for confirmation that it works.
>
>
> I think that patchset may have broken due to subsequent changes to the
> cvs code.  I can't get it to work here any more.  Daniel?

I'll have a look at that one later this evening.  Should be fairly straightforward.

Dan


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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Daniel J Sebald
In reply to this post by Ethan Merritt
Ethan Merritt wrote:
> On Tuesday 14 June 2005 03:09 pm, [hidden email] wrote:
>
>>If it was under X11, have you used the new feature of an x11 handle from
>>sourceforge patches? This patch waits for confirmation that it works.

I've updated things on my system.  The demo works as originally designed except
for one problem.  The buttons and list items need to be pressed several times to
cause the actions of starting a new demo or clearing a demo.  It seems to be a
random number of times, but usually two or three times.

Can anyone think of any changes in gnuplot that might cause problems with the
following tcl lines?

     # Send an ctrl-C to gnuplot in case a different demo is running.
     exec kill -INT [pid $gpfd]
     set file [file join $dirName [.sel.f.list get @$x,$y]]

     # Some demos may have set terminal and failed to set it back.
     gnuplot "set term x11; reset; load \"$file\""

Or similarly, this line?

button .plt.buttons.bstop -text Reset -command {exec kill -INT [pid $gpfd];
gnuplot "reset; clear"}

The idea in both cases is to issue a CNTRL-C to the gnuplot process to break out
of any currently running demo, then issue "reset", then proceed.

This used to work fine.  Could something have changed where the CNTRL-C doesn't
occur until the "reset; clear" is partially through the pipe?

Dan


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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Ethan Merritt
On Tuesday 14 June 2005 10:46 pm, Daniel J Sebald wrote:
>
> I've updated things on my system.  The demo works as originally designed except
> for one problem.  The buttons and list items need to be pressed several times to
> cause the actions of starting a new demo or clearing a demo.  It seems to be a
> random number of times, but usually two or three times.

Hmm. Does this mechanism only work from tcl?
I had forgotten about tcl, and just tried speficying X-window ids for windows
already open on my desktop, including the gnuplot command line window.
It didn't work.


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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Daniel J Sebald
Ethan Merritt wrote:

> On Tuesday 14 June 2005 10:46 pm, Daniel J Sebald wrote:
>
>>I've updated things on my system.  The demo works as originally designed except
>>for one problem.  The buttons and list items need to be pressed several times to
>>cause the actions of starting a new demo or clearing a demo.  It seems to be a
>>random number of times, but usually two or three times.
>
>
> Hmm. Does this mechanism only work from tcl?
> I had forgotten about tcl, and just tried speficying X-window ids for windows
> already open on my desktop, including the gnuplot command line window.
> It didn't work.

It should work once I put the patch on SourceForge.  (I was going to wait until
I had tcl working.)  Many hunks were rejected and needed fixing.

Should I put an intermediate patch there for you to test?

Dan


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Re: wxwidgets terminal

Daniel J Sebald
In reply to this post by Daniel J Sebald
Daniel J Sebald wrote:

> Ethan Merritt wrote:
>
>> On Tuesday 14 June 2005 03:09 pm, [hidden email] wrote:
>>
>>> If it was under X11, have you used the new feature of an x11 handle from
>>> sourceforge patches? This patch waits for confirmation that it works.
>
>
> I've updated things on my system.  The demo works as originally designed
> except for one problem.  The buttons and list items need to be pressed
> several times to cause the actions of starting a new demo or clearing a
> demo.  It seems to be a random number of times, but usually two or three
> times.

Ay, ay, ay... adding a newline character at the front of the gnuplot command
string right after the ctrl-c appears to have fixed the problem.  E.g.,
("gnuplot" is a pipe command defined in the tcl file)

       gnuplot "\nset term x11; reset; load \"$file\""

So, I've updated the patch on S.F. and things should be ready to go.  The demo
is run with

command> gpdemos.tcl &

Dan


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