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\input texinfo @c -*-texinfo-*-
@c %**start of header
@setfilename tasks.info
@settitle GNU Task List
@c This date is automagically updated when you save this file:
@set lastupdate January 15, 2001
@c %**end of header

@setchapternewpage off

@titlepage
@title GNU Task List
@author Free Software Foundation
@author last updated @value{lastupdate}
@end titlepage

@ifinfo
@node Top, Intro, (dir), (dir)
@top GNU Task List

This file is updated automatically from @file{tasks.texi}, which was
last updated on @value{lastupdate}.  See also
@uref{http://www.gnu.org/help/help.html#helpgnu} for other suggested
tasks.
@end ifinfo

@menu
* Intro::                       
* Highest Priority::            
* Documentation::               
* Unix-Related Projects::       
* Kernel Projects::             
* Extensions::                  
* X Windows Projects::          
* Network Projects::            
* Encryption Projects::         
* Other Projects::              
* Languages::                   
* Education::                   
* Games and Recreations::       
@end menu

@node Intro, Highest Priority, Top, Top
@chapter About the GNU Task List

If you did not obtain this file directly from the GNU project and
recently, please check for a newer version.  You can ftp the task list
from any GNU FTP host in directory @file{/pub/gnu/tasks/}.  The task
list is available there in several different formats: @file{tasks.text},
@file{tasks.texi}, @file{tasks.info}, and @file{tasks.dvi}.  The GNU
HURD task list is also there in file @file{tasks.hurd}.
@c to fix an overfill, join the paragraphs -len
The task list is also available on the GNU World Wide Web server:
@uref{http://www.gnu.org/prep/tasks_toc.html}.

If you start working steadily on a project, please let @email{gvc@@gnu.org}
know.  We might have information that could help you; we'd also like to
send you the GNU coding standards.

Because of the natural tendency for most volunteers to write programming
tools or programming languages, we have a comparative shortage of
applications useful for non-programmer users.  Therefore, we ask you to
consider writing such a program.

Typically, a new program that does a completely new job advances
the GNU project, and the free software community, more than an
improvement to an existing program.

Typically, new features or new programs advance the free software
community more, in the long run, than porting existing programs.  One
reason is that portable new features and programs benefit people on many
platforms, not just one.  At the same time, there tend to be many
volunteers for porting---so your help will be more valuable in other
areas, where volunteers are more scarce.

Typically, it is more useful to extend a program in functionality than
to improve performance.  Users who use the new functionality will
appreciate it very much, if they use it; but even when they benefit from
a performance improvement, they may not consider it very important.

Finally, if you think of an important job that free software cannot
solve yet that is typically solved by proprietary software, please send
a short description of that job to @email{tasks@@gnu.org} so that we can
add it to this task list.

@node Highest Priority, Documentation, Intro, Top
@chapter Highest Priority

This task list mentions a large number of tasks that would be more or
less useful.  With luck, at least one of them will inspire you to start
writing.  It's better for you to work on any task that inspires you than
not write free software at all.

But if you would like to work on what we need most, here is a list of
high priority projects.

@itemize @bullet

@item 
A new maintainer is needed for Goose
@uref{http://www.gnu.org/software/goose/goose.html}.

@item
If you are good at writing documentation, please do that.

@item
If you are very good at C programming and interested in kernels, you can
help develop the GNU HURD, the kernel for the GNU system.  Please have a
look at @uref{http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/hurd.html}, and
then get a copy of the latest HURD task list from:

@itemize @bullet

@item
@uref{http://www.gnu.org/prep/tasks.hurd.html}, via the World Wide
Web.

@item
@uref{ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/tasks/tasks.hurd}, via anonymous FTP.

@item
@email{gvc@@gnu.org} via e-mail.

@end itemize

@item
If you are a Scheme fan, you can help develop Guile.  Please have a look
at the URL @uref{http://www.gnu.org/software/guile/guile.html}
and then contact the Guile developers at @email{guile@@gnu.org}.

@item
Improve the facilities for translating other languages into Scheme,
so that Guile can provide support for a variety of languages.

@item
A package to convert programs written using MS Access into Scheme,
making use of a free data base system and the GTK toolkit.

@ignore
@item
Help develop XmHTML.  See @uref{http://www.xs4all.nl/~ripley/XmHTML/}.
@end ignore

@item
Help develop software to emulate Windows NT on top of GNU systems.
For example, you could help work on Willows Twin.
See @uref{http://www.willows.com/}.

@item
Add gettext support to GNU programs that don't have it already.  (Please
contact the developers of the specific packages that you want to work
on.) 

@ignore  The Kermit developers say they will provide a free program
to do this.
@item
Implement the Kermit data transfer protocol.  (See below.)
@end ignore

@ignore This is being done (Harmony)
@item
Develop a free compatible replacement for Qt, a GUI toolkit library.  Qt
is not free software, because users are prohibited from distributing
modified versions.  Thus, Qt cannot be included in a free operating
system (adding it would make the system as a whole non-free).

But some developers are writing free applications that use Qt and cannot
run without it.  These programs, although free software, are useless for
free operating systems because there is no way to make them run.

This is leading to a serious problem, and a free replacement for Qt is
the only solution.  Hence the high degree of urgency of this project.
@end ignore

@item
Develop a substitute, which runs on GNU systems, for some very popular
or very important application that many non-programmers use on Windows,
and which has no comparable free equivalent now.
@end itemize

@node Documentation, Unix-Related Projects, Highest Priority, Top
@chapter Documentation

We very urgently need documentation for many existing parts of the
system.

Note that there are proprietary manuals for many of these topics, but
proprietary manuals do not count, for the same reason proprietary
software does not count: we are not free to copy and modify them.
We do not recommend any non-free materials as documentation.

@itemize @bullet

@item
A reference document for SQL for use as a standard for implementors of
free software versions of SQL.

@item
A manual for libstdc++.

@item
A unified manual for La@TeX{}.  (Existing documentation is non-free.)

@item
A manual for Docbook SGML format. 

@item
A tutorial introduction to Midnight Commander.

@item
A thorough manual for RCS.

@item
A reference manual for Mach.

@item
A reference manual for the GNU Hurd features in GNU libc.

@item
A manual for writing Hurd servers.

@item
A manual for GNU sed.

@item
Reference manuals for C++, Objective C, Pascal, Fortran 77, and Java.

@item
A tutorial manual for the C++ STL (standard template library).

@item
A tutorial manual for Gforth.

@item
GNU Objective-C Runtime Library Manual; this would be a reference manual
for the runtime library functions, structures, and classes.  Some work
has been done on this job.

@item
Manuals for GNUstep: developer tutorial, developer programming manual,
developer reference manual, and user manual.

@item
A manual for Ghostscript.

@item
A manual for TCSH.

@item
A coherent free reference manual for Perl.  Most of the Perl on-line
reference documentation can be used as a starting point, but work is
needed to weld them together into a coherent manual.

@ignore
@c Bradley M. Kuhn is working on this. <bkuhn@ebb.org>
@item
A good free Perl language tutorial introduction.  The existing Perl
introductions are published with restrictions on copying and
modification, so that they cannot be part of a GNU system.
@end ignore

@item
A manual for PIC (the graphics formatting language).

@item
A book on how GCC works and why various machine descriptions
are written as they are.

@item
A manual for programming applications for X11.

@item
Manuals for various X window managers.

@item
Reference cards for those manuals that don't have them: C
Compiler, Make, Texinfo, Termcap, and maybe the C Library.

@item
Many utilities still need documentation.
@end itemize

@node Unix-Related Projects, Kernel Projects, Documentation, Top
@chapter Unix-Related Projects

@itemize @bullet
@ignore
@item
Modify the GNU @code{dc} program to use the math routines of GNU
@code{bc}.
@end ignore

@item
Less urgent: make a replacement for the ``writer's workbench'' program
@code{style}, or something to do the same kind of job.  Compatibility
with Unix is not especially important for this program.

@item
Rewrite @code{indent} from scratch to make it cleaner.

@item
Write a free software replacement for the @code{agrep} program.

@end itemize

@node Kernel Projects, Extensions, Unix-Related Projects, Top
@chapter Kernel-Related Projects

@itemize @bullet
@item
An over-the-ethernet debugger stub that will allow the kernel to be
debugged from GDB running on another machine.

This stub needs its own self-contained implementation of all protocols
to be used, since the GNU system will use user processes to implement
all but the lowest levels, and the stub won't be able to use those
processes.  If a simple self-contained implementation of IP and TCP is
impractical, it might be necessary to design a new, simple protocol
based directly on ethernet.  It's not crucial to support high speed or
communicating across gateways.

It might be possible to use the Mach ethernet driver code, but it would
need some changes.

@item
A shared memory X11 server to run under MACH is very desirable.  The
machine specific parts should be kept well separated.

@item
An implementation of CIFS, the ``Common Internet File System,'' for the
HURD.  This protocol is an offshoot of SMB.

@item
Support (in Linux?) for dumping the non-textual contents of an SVGA
console.
@end itemize

@node Extensions, X Windows Projects, Kernel Projects, Top
@chapter Extensions to Existing GNU Software

@itemize @bullet
@item
Enhance GCC.  See files @file{PROJECTS} and @file{PROBLEMS} in the GCC
distribution.

@item
Interface GDB to Guile, so that users can write debugging commands in
Scheme.  This would also make it possible to write, in Scheme, a
graphical interface that uses GTK and is tightly integrated into GDB.

@item
Extend Octave to support programs that were written
to run on Khoros.

@item
Rewrite Automake in Scheme, so it can run in Guile.  Right now it is
written in Perl.  There are also other programs, not terribly long,
which we would also like to have rewritten in Scheme.

@item
Finish the partially-implemented C interpreter project.

@item
Help with the development of GNUstep, a GNU implementation of the
OpenStep specification.

@item
Add features to GNU Make to record the precise rule with which each file
was last recompiled; then recompile any file if its rule in the makefile
has changed.

@item
Add a few features to GNU @code{diff}, such as handling large input
files without reading entire files into core.

@item
An @code{nroff} macro package to simplify @code{texi2roff}.

@item
A queueing system for the mailer Smail that groups pending work by
destination rather than by original message.  This makes it possible
to schedule retries coherently for each destination.  Talk to
@email{tron@@veritas.com} and @email{woods@@weird.com} about this.

@end itemize

@node X Windows Projects, Network Projects, Extensions, Top
@chapter X Windows Projects

@itemize @bullet
@item
An emulator for Macintosh graphics calls on top of X Windows.

@item

A package that emulates the API of Visual C++'s Foundation Classes
(MFC), but operates on top of X11.  It need not match the screen
appearance provided by MFC.  Instead, it would be best to use GTK, so as
to give coherence with GNOME.

@ignore
@c GNOME Basic is doing this
@item
A compatible replacement for Visual Basic, running on top of X11.
It need not match the screen appearance of Visual C++.  Instead,
it would be best to use GTK, so as to give coherence with GNOME.
@end ignore

@ignore
@c Denemo is doing this.
@item
A music playing and editing system.  This should work with LilyPond, a
GNU program for music typesetting.
@end ignore

@ignore  @c GNUskies should do this
@item
An ephemeris program to replace xephem (which is, alas, too restricted
to qualify as free software).
@end ignore

@c Gepetto (@url{http://laurent.riesterer.free.fr/gepetto/intro-main.html},
@c @email{laurent.riesterer@@free.fr}), according to @email{gnueval@@gnu.org},
@c does the job of displaing dancers but does not allow editing notation.


@item
Make sure the Vibrant toolkit works with LessTif instead of Motif.

@item
A program to display and edit Hypercard stacks.

@item
A two-dimensional outliner program, which lets you draw
graph structures of textual items, and then display them
in various ways.

@ignore  @c done
@item
A program for graphic morphing of scanned photographs.
@end ignore

@item
Software for designing and printing business cards.
@end itemize

@node Network Projects, Encryption Projects, X Windows Projects, Top
@chapter Network Projects

@itemize @bullet
@ignore
@c www.openh323.org is doing this. Craig Southeren <craigs@equival.com.au>
@item
A teleconferencing program which does the job of CU-SeeMe (which is,
alas, not free software).
@end ignore

@ignore
@c Bishop Bettini <bishop@synxcti.com> is working on this.
@item
A free ICQ-compatible server program.  (The ICQ server itself is not
free software.)
@end ignore

@end itemize

@node Encryption Projects, Other Projects, Network Projects, Top
@chapter Encryption Projects

These projects need to be written outside the US by people who are not
US citizens, to avoid problems with US export control law.

@itemize @bullet
@item
A free library for public-key encryption.  This library can probably be
developed from the code for the GNU Privacy Guard.
  
@item
An implementation of SSLv3 (more precisely, TLSv1) which has
distribution terms compatible with the GNU GPL.  We know of a
GPL-covered implemention of a version of SSL that you can use as a
starting point.

@item
Free software for doing secure commercial transactions on the web.
This too needs public key encryption.
@end itemize

@node Other Projects, Languages, Encryption Projects, Top
@chapter Other Projects

If you think of others that should be added, please
send them to @email{tasks@@gnu.org}.

@itemize @bullet
@ignore OpenBIOS is doing this
@item
A simple PC BIOS.  On most new PCs, the BIOS is stored in writable
memory (misleadingly known as ``flash ROM'').  In order to have a wholly
free system on these PCs, we need a free BIOS.

This task is made simpler by the fact that this BIOS need only support
enough features to enable a boot-loader such as LILO or GRUB to finish
loading the kernel.  Neither Linux nor Mach actually uses the BIOS once
it starts up.  Also, it is not absolutely necessary to do all the many
diagnostics that an ordinary BIOS does (though it would be useful to do
some of them).  However, there may be a need to configure certain data
in the computer in a way that is specific to each model of computer.
@end ignore

@item
An imitation of Page Maker or Ventura Publisher.

@item
An imitation of @code{dbase2} or @code{dbase3}.  (How dbased!)
Harbour, a free replacement for Clipper, would provide a useful start.
@uref{http://www.harbour-project.org/}.

@ignore  @c being done by Jonas etc.
@item
A general ledger program, including support for accounts payable, 
account receivables, payroll, inventory control, order processing, etc.
@end ignore

@item
A free replacement for Glimpse, which is not free software.
Swish does some parts of the job, but not all.

@item
Software for desktop publishing.  We are extending Emacs into a WYSIWYG
word processor, to handle primarily linear text; what this item proposes
is software focused on page layout.

@ignore It looks like TruePrint will fill this gap
@item
A program to typeset C code for printing, to make it easier to read on
paper.  For ideas on what to do, see the book,

@display
Human Factors and Typography for More Readable Programs,
Ronald M. Baecker and Aaron Marcus,
Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-10745-7
@end display

But you don't have to do exactly what they propose.
@end ignore

@ignore
@c This is now being worked on -- rms, 22 June 1998
@item
A program to convert Microsoft Word documents to text/enriched, TeX,
LaTeX, Texinfo, or some other format that free software can edit.
@end ignore

@ignore
@c People are helping the developer of siff release it as free software.

@item
A free replacement for siff (sometimes called sif).  This would be a
program to find similar files in a large file system, ``similar''
meaning that the files contain a significant number of common substrings
that are of a certain size or greater.  You can find some information
about siff (which is, unfortunately, not free software) at
@uref{ftp://ftp.cs.arizona.edu/reports/1993/TR93-33.ps.Z}.
@end ignore

@ignore
@c This is being developed -- rms, 3 May 1998
@item
A free replacement for the semi-free Qt library.
@end ignore

@ignore
@c Ogg Vorbis is doing this, see @url{http://www.xiph.org/ogg/vorbis/index.html} or contact @email{Monty <monty@xiph.org>}.

@item
High-quality music compression software.
(Talk with @email{mt@@sulaco.org} for relevant suggestions.)
Unfortunately we cannot implement the popular MP3 format
due to patents, so this job includes working out some other
non-patented format and compression method.
@end ignore

@item
A program to play sound distributed in ``Real Audio'' format.

@item
A program to generate ``Real Audio'' format from audio input.

@item
Programs to handle audio in RTSP format.

@ignore  @c Software patents have made this domain off limits to free software.
@item
An MPEG III audio encoder/decoder (but it is necessary to check, first,
whether patents make this impossible).

@c Chris Hofstader is working on a non-Festival speech-generation program.
@c Mario Lang <lang@zid.tu-graz.ac.at> reports that Festival needs only
@c to be 2-5 times faster to work well with Emacspeak.
@item
Speech-generation programs that are faster than the Festival engine.
This might be done by optimizing Festival.

@c We have a project now.
@item
Speech-recognition programs (single-speaker, disconnected speech is sufficient).
@end ignore

@item
A braille translation and formatting system which can convert marked up
documents into braille.  This should let the user customize the braille
translation rules; it would be good to divide it into a
device-independent part plus drivers.  Contact Jason White,
@email{jasonw@@ariel.ucs.unimelb.EDU.AU}.

@ignore Being done
@item
A program to display text word by word, always showing just one word at
a time.  This method permits much faster reading than ordinary text
display.  If you want to work on this, contact @email{stutz@@dsl.org} to
learn more.
@end ignore

@item
More scientific mathematical subroutines.
(A clone of SPSS is being written already.)

@item
A scientific data collection and processing tool,
perhaps something like Scientific Workbench and/or Khoros,

@item
A program to calculate properties of molecules by solving
the Schroedinger equation.

@item
Software to replace card catalogs in libraries.

@item
A simulator for heating and air conditioning systems for buildings.

@ignore
@c Pat Deegan @email{pat@@psychogenic.com} is working on this.
@c no URL yet, the status is updated in @file{volunteers}

@item
A program for voting and tabulating election results.

@end ignore

@item
A package for editing genealogical records conveniently.
This could perhaps be done as a Gnome program, or perhaps
as an Emacs extension.

@ignore
@c ToutDoux aims to do this.

@item
A project-scheduling package that accepts a list of project sub-tasks
with their interdependencies, and generates Gantt charts and Pert charts
and all the other standard project progress reports.
@end ignore

@item
Grammar and style checking programs.

@item
A diagnostic program to test a hard disk.

@item
Optical character recognition programs; especially if suitable for
scanning documents with multiple fonts and capturing font info as well
as character codes.  Work is being done on this, but more help is needed.

@c Some of the OCR work being done:
@c   Luis Cearra <luisjc@lem.eui.upm.es>, http://lem.eui.upm.es/ocre.html
@c The status of these projects is updated in @file{/gd/gnuorg/volunteers}

@item
A program to scan a line drawing and convert it to editable Postscript,
or some other editable format.

@item
A program to recognize handwriting (we don't believe PocketLinux's 
handwriting capability is ready for non-PocketLinux environments, yet).


@item
A program that can translate from one natural language, into another.
For example, a program to translate French into English.

@item
A pen based interface.

@item
CAD software, such as a vague imitation of Autocad.

@item
A program to receive data from a serial-line tap to facilitate the
reverse-engineering of communication protocols.

@item
A database program designed to store and retrieve patent information.

@item
A free software package to run on a Palm Pilot in place of its usual
software, doing more or less the usual jobs.  (Linux, the kernel, has
apparently been ported, but according to what we hear this port is not
useful yet.)

@end itemize

@node Languages, Education, Other Projects, Top
@chapter Programming Languages

Volunteers are needed to write parsers/front ends for languages such as
Algol 60, Algol 68, PL/I, Cobol, Fortran 90, Delphi, Modula 2, Modula 3,
RPG, and any other languages designed for compilation, to be used with
the code generation phases of the GNU C compiler.

@c Fortran status is here so gnu@gnu.org and the volunteer coordinators
@c don't have to answer the question -len
You can get the status of the Fortran front end with this command:

@example
finger -l fortran@@gnu.org
@end example

We would like to have translators from various languages into Scheme.
These languages include TCL, Python, Perl, Java, Javascript, and Rexx.
Perhaps Clipper as well.

@node Education, Games and Recreations, Languages, Top
@chapter Education

Programs for studying, teaching or doing administrative tasks in schools.
See @uref{http://www.gnu.org/education/} for additional information.

@itemize @bullet
@item
A programm to organize automatically the schedule of a school given
constraints about teachers, rooms, times, and students.

@item
A program to edit dance notation (such as labanotation) and display
dancers moving on the screen.  Gepetto does some of this work.  Contact
@email{gvc@@gnu.org} if you are interested in helping finish the job.

@end itemize

@node Games and Recreations,  , Education, Top
@chapter Games and Recreations

Video-oriented games that work with the X window system.

@itemize @bullet
@item
Empire (there is a free version but it needs upgrading)

@item
An ``empire builder'' system that makes it easy to write various kinds of
simulation games.

@item
Improve GnuGo @uref{http://www.gnu.org/software/gnugo/gnugo.html}, which is not yet very sophisticated. 

@item
Network servers and clients for board and card games for which such
software does not yet exist.

@item
A Hierarchical Task Network package which can be used
to program play the computer's side in various strategic games.

@item
A game like Mill/Nine Men's Morris.

@item
Write imitations of some popular video games:

@itemize -
@item
Space war, Asteroids, Pong, Columns.
@item
Defending cities from missiles.
@item
Plane shoots at lots of other planes, tanks, etc.
@item
Wizard fights fanciful monsters.
@item
A golf game.
@ignore Being done by jhall1@isd.net
@item
Program a robot by sticking building blocks together,
then watch it explore a world.
@end ignore
@item
Biomorph evolution (as in Scientific American and @cite{The Blind
Watchmaker}).
@end itemize
@end itemize

We do not need @code{rogue}, as we have @code{hack}.

@contents

@bye
@c  LocalWords:  dir texi lastupdate uref http www org html helpgnu ifinfo ftp
@c  LocalWords:  dvi hurd toc gvc URL GTK XmHTML xs nl ripley NT com gettext Qt
@c  LocalWords:  GUI libstdc Docbook SGML libc sed STL Gforth GNUstep TCSH Perl
@c  LocalWords:  Ghostscript PIC GCC Texinfo grep dc bc ethernet GDB IP CIFS CU
@c  LocalWords:  SMB SVGA Khoros Automake OpenStep diff roff Smail tron veritas
@c  LocalWords:  cxref ctrace API LilyPond xephem labanotation LessTif outliner
@c  LocalWords:  Hypercard morphing SeeMe ICQ Diffie Helman RSA SSLv TLSv GPL
@c  LocalWords:  OpenBIOS BIOS LILO dbase dbased Harbour harbour WYSIWYG ISBN
@c  LocalWords:  TruePrint Baecker siff sif cs arizona edu TR ps mt sulaco MP
@c  LocalWords:  RTSP MPEG jasonw ariel ucs unimelb AU stutz dsl TCL Javascript
@c  LocalWords:  Rexx GnuGo jhall isd Biomorph regexp eval gd gnuorg
Local variables:
update-date-leading-regexp: "@c This date is automagically updated when you save this file:\n@set lastupdate "
update-date-trailing-regexp: ""
eval: (load "/gd/gnuorg/update-date.el")
eval: (add-hook 'write-file-hooks 'update-date)
compile-command: "make just-tasks"
End: