>>>>> "DV" == Dominik Vogt
writes: DV> ((Chuck, are you still lurking? Can you fill in the gaps before DV> 1998?))
CH> I am still lurking, yes, but not sure how much I can fill in as my memory is CH> getting a little fuzzy in my old age...I'll see what I can do... :) CH> I apologize for leaving all of the cited text in here. I normally would trim CH> out most of it but for filling in a history it seemed appropriate to leave it CH> in.
DV> Robert Nation started it back in 1993. The first time anything DV> was heard about it in public was on the 1st of June in 1993, when DV> Rob bundled a development version (0.5.something) with an rxvt DV> release (a still popular terminal program). In the next few DV> months, fvwm became an independent package and fvwm-1.0 was DV> released in fall, still 1993. Originally, the "F" in fvwm stood DV> for "feeble". But then, Rob seems to have forgotten this at some DV> point in time and thus the famouse FAQ question 1.1 was born. But DV> although there is strong evidence on the meaning of the "F" in old DV> new group archives, we nowadays prefer the "mysterious F" DV> interpretation ;-)
CH> I never agreed with "feeble" myself, even early on. That was one of the CH> reasons I came up with that list in the FAQ, to provide alternate CH> possibilities, hopefully mostly positive. Many of them were suggested in CH> emails on the mailing list, if I remember correctly. Of course, I added the CH> explicitives to that list because they were what I most often used while CH> trying to figure out bugs. :)
RN> There were two or three reasons for starting FVWM and RXVT. First, I had RN> a need 33 MHZ 486 laptop PC with only 4 MB of RAM, and I thought linux and X11 were RN> way better than the windows versions of the day. X11 with TWM and xterm would run on RN> my PC, but just barely. Second, I had a need at work to analyze spectrograms which RN> were about 4000 x 200 pixels when displayed at full resolution (analyzing acoustic RN> signatures for the DOD) - twm couldn't display RN> that, although some other window managers could (they used more memory though!). Finally, RN> I thought it would be nice to learn a few GUI software skills. RN> I think I did rxvt first. The source code fro xterm was pretty hard to understand, RN> so I found xvt on the net somewhere. I cleaned it up a bit and improved its vt-100 RN> compatibility in a few areas. Next, I tore apart twm to find out why it was so big, and RN> generated a very simple, low memory, low-flexibility version of a window manager. I added RN> the virtual desktop stuff and started using it at work too, since it could display my RN> spectrograms very nicely. RN> After I put the these things on the net, it was fun and educational for a while, as RN> the programs became more capable. But as my kids got a little older and needed more RN> attention from me), and the maintenance function got to be mostly integrating patches RN> from various people (and the patches had little or no utility to me), the fun went RN> away, and Chuck Hines stepped up to take over.
DV> I know litte about what happened between 1993 and 1996. Rob DV> stopped maintaining fvwm and Charles Hines took over the project DV> for several years(?). When Chuck resigned, Brady Montz became DV> the new maintainer for a couple of months, I believe in late 1997 DV> or early 1998. Anyway, it took almost 8 month between the 2.0.45 DV> release (22nd of January, 1997) and 2.0.46 (20th of August, 1997). DV> I can only guess why, but probably this was a foresign of Chuck's DV> approaching retirement. At this time I had been using fvwm-2.0.x DV> for about two years at home and wanted to implement some of the DV> features I liked in CDE to fvwm. In December 1997 I sent Brady my DV> patches and never got an answer. I tried again half a year later, DV> and contacted the mailing list, but fvwm development was as dead DV> as it could be.
CH> I believe that I maintained fvwm from Aug 95 through May of 98. CH> I had been using it actively from an early point (probably right around the CH> 1.0 version, but I can't be sure, I have some saved emails about fvwm from CH> early in 1994 and I know I had been using it for a while before then). I was CH> working at IBM and the machines we had at the time while fairly powerful were CH> still brought to their virtual knees by mwm, so I believe I searched USENET CH> (comp.windows.x.apps) for a good replacement. Found fvwm and never looked CH> back... :) CH> I kept a close eye on fvwm after discovering it (I believe there was a mailing CH> list at "firstname.lastname@example.org", and stuff on comp.windows.x.apps of course). I CH> contributed a couple of minor patches to fvwm in those earlier days, like to CH> get it to compile nicely under AIX and some stuff with colormap behavior (I'm CH> so happy to not have an 8bit display any more). By the way, if anyone has (or CH> can track down) any archives of that earlier mailing list, it'd probably be CH> pretty cool to resurrect them... CH> CH> Then one day Rob had sent out a message (on the mailing list, I believe) that CH> stated something to the effect that he didn't want to work on fvwm any more, CH> and was looking for someone else to maintain it. I wanted to offer to take it CH> over (as an X11 learning experience - I had dealt with X at the toolkits level CH> but was curious about the more low level stuff) but didn't feel I had the time CH> to properly devote to it so I didn't say anything at first. CH> CH> Then after about 2 weeks of watching people say "I'd love to, but I can't CH> program" I figured I'd better make that offer after all, qualifying it with CH> something like "I don't know if I have time to do this right, but I'm willing CH> to make an attempt". Rob remembered my previous contributions and figured I'd CH> be able to make a go at it, so he turned it over to me. That was version CH> "pre-2.0-patchlevel-33" if I remember correctly. CH> CH> Then I worked on it sporadically over the next couple of years. At first I CH> wasn't too bad about getting releases out, but the length of time between each CH> one got longer as "real life" invaded. Another part of the problem was CH> because I did use it as a learning experience, I would often rewrite patches CH> that were submitted to me so I really understood what was happening and with CH> an eye towards making things "easier" in the future (which I'm sure pissed off CH> a couple of people, but at the time I thought I had good reasons for doing CH> things that way). CH> CH> Finially I had to admit that I just didn't have the time to properly devote to CH> it any more. So it May of 1998 (I believe) I sent some email privately to CH> Brady Montz, as I felt that the stuff he contributed showed him to have the CH> most promise for taking it over at the time, and he (reluctantly?) agreed to CH> give it a shot. CH> CH> And you know the rest of the story from there... I wish I could have done CH> (and learned) more, but I'm happy to have done my part.
DV> Then - I believe it was in September or October (I have to look DV> this up in the mailing list archive) - Brady resigned and DV> everybody on the mailing list thought this would finally be the DV> end of fvwm development. Seeing this and not willing to give up DV> fvwm this easily, I took over the job as fvwm maintainer for the DV> moment. After a lot of discussion we agreed that we should try to DV> make a first stable release in the 2.x series as soon as possible. DV> With a great team effort we were able to resolve the most pressing DV> issues and managed to get the stable 2.2.0 release out the door DV> in February 1999. (I want to thank all the people who helped to DV> make it possible back then). DV> My memory of the sequence of events is a bit foggy. Some time in DV> late 1998 or early 1999 we decided that having a single maintainer DV> as the master over the code wasn't such a hot idea. In the past, DV> people had been eager to work on fvwm but had been hindered by the DV> maintainer, or more precisely: by the absence of a maintainer. DV> As a result, almost no work had been done in fvwm for over one and DV> a half years. So I gave up my role as the maintainer and the DV> responsibilities were since taken over by the people on the DV> fvwm-workers list. Unfortunatly I'm still stuck with most of the DV> project organizing work.
CH> I have to admit that at the time I didn't think the "rule by committee" stuff CH> was going to work with fvwm, but all in all it seems to have worked out pretty CH> well. I think that a lot of that has to do with the fact that you were there CH> to steer it's course. Having some other pretty sharp individuals contributing CH> helps too, of course. :)
DV> Anyway, since that day in October 1998 when a complete X newbie DV> couldn't keep his mouth shut fvwm development is as active as it DV> will ever be. Some of the people that helped to make 2.2 possible DV> left and some became less active, but we still have an excellent DV> team here (with a weakness in writing documentation). Although DV> I'd rather not single out anyone, I have to mention Olivier DV> Chapuis and Mikhael Goikhman who are doing an excellent job in DV> providing some framework (configure, fvwm-themes, DV> internationalization, not to mention all the nifty features in the DV> fvwm core they have written). Although at times it might appear DV> as if I am the one that keeps fvwm alive, fvwm wouldn't be half as DV> good without the help of the many people on the mailing lists, be DV> it by writing bug reports, complaining about missing features, DV> answering questions of other users or simply encouraging us to DV> continue our work. DV> What about the future? Well, the work for the next stable series DV> (2.6.x) is proceeding very well. Fvwm will go into feature freeze DV> again near the end of the year so that 2.6 is ready before fvwm's DV> tenth birthday on 1st of June, 2003. I have vague plans for a DV> big event on that day to remind people that fvwm is still there DV> and that it can easily compete with any other window manager. DV> After that there are plans for a version 3.0 that would change a DV> lot of the syntax and introduce fantastic new features, but that's DV> too far from now.
CH> Ah the future...scary and exciting... :)
>> Perhaps it'd be worthy of a page on the FVWM website too?
DV> That is definitely going to be done for fvwm's birthday.
CH> Cool. CH> Hope my feedback helped fill in some more of the blanks. CH> Later, CH> Chuck