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\input texinfo @c -*-texinfo-*-
@c %**start of header
@setfilename tasks.info
@settitle GNU Task List
@c UPDATE THIS DATE WHENEVER YOU MAKE CHANGES!
@set lastupdate 6 April 1995
@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, Documentation, (dir), (dir)
@top GNU Task List

This file is updated automatically from @file{tasks.texi}, which was
last updated on @value{lastupdate}.
@end ifinfo

Check with @code{gnu@@prep.ai.mit.edu}, for a possibly more current copy.
This task list is not exclusive; any other useful program might be a
good project---but it might instead be something we already have, so
check with @code{gnu@@prep} before you start writing it.

@menu
* Documentation::
* Unix-Related Projects::
* Kernel Projects::
* Extensions::
* X Windows Projects::
* Other Projects::
* Compilers::
* Games and Recreations::
@end menu

If you start working steadily on a project, please let @code{gnu@@prep}
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.

In general, a new program that does a completely new job advances the
GNU project more than an improvement to an existing program.

@node Documentation
@chapter Documentation

We very urgently need documentation for some parts of the system
that already exist or will exist very soon:

@itemize @bullet
@item
Completion of the documentation for CC-mode, a new C/C++ mode for
Emacs Lisp.

@item
A C reference manual.  (RMS has written half of one which you could
start with).

@item
A manual for Ghostscript.
@c
@c @item
@c A manual for CSH.
@c Ick, do we want to encourage using THAT?  -djm

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

@item
A manual for Perl.  (The books that exist are not free, and
thus not available to be part of the GNU system.)

@item
A manual for Oleo.

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

@item
A manual for programming X-window applications.

@item
Manuals for various X window managers.

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

@item
Many utilities need documentation, including @code{grep}, @code{cpio},
and other small utilities.
@end itemize

@node Unix-Related Projects
@chapter Unix-Related Projects

@itemize @bullet
@item
We could use an emulation of Unix @code{spell}, which would run by
invoking @code{ispell}.

@item
Less urgent: @code{diction}, @code{explain}, @code{style}.

@item
An improved version of the POSIX utility @code{pax}.  There is one on
the Usenet, but it is said to be poorly written.  Talk with
@code{mib@@gnu.ai.mit.edu} about this project.

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

@item
A @code{grap} preprocessor program for @code{troff}.

@item
Various other libraries.

@item
An emulation of SCCS that works using RCS.
@end itemize

@node Kernel Projects
@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.
@end itemize

@node Extensions
@chapter Extensions to Existing GNU Software

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

@item
GNU @code{sed} probably needs to be rewritten completely just to make it
cleaner.

@item
Work on 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
@code{tron@@veritas.com} about this.

Smail also needs a new chief maintainer.

@item
Enhanced cross-reference browsing tools.  (We now have something at
about the level of @code{cxref}.)  We also could use something like
@code{ctrace}.  (Some people are now working on this project.)
@end itemize

@node X Windows Projects
@chapter X Windows Projects

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

@item
A music playing and editing system.

@item
A "disk jockey" program to keep track of a collection of recorded music
samples (songs, etc), and queue up a sequence of them for playing.  This
program could use rplay to do the actual playing.

@item
A program to edit dance notation (such as labanotation) and display
dancers moving on the screen.

@item
Port the Vibrant toolkit to work on X without using Motif.

@item
A widget for displaying circle-shaped menus ("pie menus") with X
windows.

@item
A program to display and edit Hypercard stacks.

@item
An interface-builder program to make it easy to design graphical
interfaces for applications.  This could work with the dynamic linker
DLD and C++, loading in the same class definitions that will be used
by the application program.

@item
A "desktop" program with drag-and-drop icons and such.

@item
A paint program, supporting both bitmap-oriented operations and
component-oriented operations.  @code{xpaint} exists, but isn't very
usable.

@item
A program for manipulating photographs---something vaguely like Photo
Shop (though not exactly like it).
@end itemize

@node Other Projects
@chapter Other Projects

If you think of others that should be added, please
send them to @code{gnu@@prep.ai.mit.edu}.

@itemize @bullet
@item
[This seems to be being done:]
A program to convert Postscript to plain ASCII text.  Ghostscript will
soon have a mode to output all the text strings in a document, each with
its coordinates.  You could write a program to start with this output
and ``layout the page'' in ASCII.  The program will be both easier and
more useful if you don't worry pedantically about how the output text
should be formatted.  Instead, try to make it look reasonable as plain
ASCII.

@item
A program to convert compiled programs represented in OSF ANDF
(``Architecture Neutral Distribution Format'') into ANSI C.

@item
An imitation of Page Maker or Ventura Publisher.

@item
An imitation of @code{dbase2} or @code{dbase3} (How dbased!)

@item
A program to reformat Fortran programs in a way that is pretty.

@item
A bulletin board system.  There are a few free ones, but they don't have
all the features that people want in such systems.  It would make sense
to start with an existing one and add the other features.

@item
A general ledger program.

@item
A program to typeset C code for printing.
For ideas on what to do, see the forthcoming 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

(I don't quite agree with a few of the details they propose.)

@item
Speech-generation programs (there is a program from Brown U that you
could improve).

@item
Speech-recognition programs (single-speaker, disconnected speech).

@item
Scientific mathematical subroutines, including clones of SPSS.

@item
Statistical tools.

@item
Software to replace card catalogues in libraries.

@item
Grammar and style checking programs.

@item
An implementation of the S language (an interpreted languages used for
statistics).

@item
A translator from Scheme to C.

@item
Optical character recognition programs; especially if suitable for
scanning documents with multiple fonts and capturing font info as well
as character codes.  This may not be very difficult if you let it
@emph{train} on part of the individual document to be scanned, so as to
learn what fonts are in use in that document.  We would particularly
like to scan the Century Dictionary, an unabridged dictionary now in the
public domain.

You don't need scanning hardware to work on OCR.  We can send you
bitmaps you can use as test data.

We may soon have an OCR program, but it will need lots of additional work.

@item
A program to scan a line drawing and convert it to Postscript.

@item
A program to recognize handwriting.

@item
A pen based interface.

@item
Software suitable for creating virtual reality user interfaces.

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

@item
Software for displaying molecules.

@item
Software for comparing DNA sequences, and finding matches and
alignments.
@end itemize

@node Compilers
@chapter Compilers for Other Batch Languages

Volunteers are needed to write parsers/front ends for languages such as
Algol 60, Algol 68, PL/I, or whatever, to be used with the code
generation phases of the GNU C compiler.  (C++ and Objective C are done,
Fortran is now in beta test, and Ada and Pascal are being worked on.

@c Fortran status is here so gnu@prep 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.ai.mit.edu
@end example

@node Games and Recreations
@chapter Games and Recreations

@itemize @bullet
@item
Video-oriented games should work with the X window system.

@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
Imitations of 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 monster.
@item
A golf game.
@item
Program a robot by sticking building blocks together,
then watch it explore a world.
@item
Biomorph evolution (as in Scientific American).
@item
A program to display effects of moving at relativistic speeds.
@end itemize

@item
Intriguing screen-saver programs to make interesting pictures.
Other such programs that are simply entertaining to watch.
For example, an aquarium.
@end itemize

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

@contents

@bye