[fpc-pascal]Contributing to FPC.

Jonas Maebe jonas at zeus.rug.ac.be
Tue Sep 10 10:10:14 CEST 2002

On dinsdag, september 10, 2002, at 02:28 , ddt at headrush.co.za wrote:

> According to the freepascal website, you are the maintainer of the Linux
> port, hence this mail.

It seems you wrote to the wrong address :)

> I would love to contribute to FreePascal's developement. I am writing 
> you
> directly because I couldn't find anything on the topic after an 
> exhaustive
> search on freepascal.org .

fpc-devel would be a slightly better place than this list.

> My first idea for improvement is this:
> A recreation of the Graph unit using SDL. The current Linux version
> requires SVGAlib which is no-longer included with most distributions and
> requires root privelages. I have worked quite a bit with Daniel 
> Moisette's
> SDL headers and I am convinced it is do-able though it will certainly 
> not
> be a hundred percent compatible.

No? The current graph unit is quite flexible. It's almost completely 
independent of the underlying system, it can even work if you only 
implement putpixel(), getpixel() and mode detection/setting (though 
quite slowly, as demonstrated by the current win32 graph unit). You can 
override almost all procedures (they're all procvars) though and in 
general, the more you override, the fast things become (most banked VESA 
routines are quite fast). A graph unit based on SDL would be really nice 
though, since it's available on many platforms.

> Once that is finished I would create
> CRT'ish mouse and keyboard access using SDL's event manager behind it 
> -the
> result will be a graph unit that is portable to more platforms and OS's
> than FPC and depends only on a highly available, stable and open-source
> library.
> Please let me know your feelings on this one.

This sounds really nice, but it would be even better if you could keep 
the mouse/keyboard stuff separate so that we can have the cake and eat 
it too: a (hopefully) BP compatible graph unit and all the advantages of 
using SDL in some other units. We already have keyboard/mouse units in 
the RTL though, maybe it would be best to implement those on top of sdl 
as well instead of creating completely new ones?

> As for more relevant and immediate actions I would like to help with the
> following:
> Enhancing h2pas - the current version has severe problems with just 
> about
> every header file on my system - I am sure it can be improved.

I agree :)

> Documentation - There is a great deal of room for improvement with the
> documentation - for one thing the packages have been part of the FPC
> distribution for a long time now, but they are not documented, I think 
> I am
> allready capable of writing chapters similiar to those in Units.pdf for
> several of them (including mysql and ncrt).

You're more than welcome to help, though you should coordinate this part 
with Michael, since he is the docs maintainer and may have already 
written some parts of this.

> Please let me know if the FPC developers would be willing to let me 
> work on
> any of the above as an official member of the team. In the fullness of 
> time
> I will also be willing to work on improving the compiler itself, but I 
> need
> to understand it better first (I am currently studying the sources for 
> fun)

In general, it doesn't work like this with a solicitation and all :) All 
the source is available for you to work on, either by download or using 
cvs. You work on it, submit patches/new stuff, we test it/check it in 
and once we become bored with committing all the stuff for you because 
you submit so many good things, you get a cvs account so you can do it 
yourself ;) If you want to work on PFC, please do it on the main branch 
(1.1), since there may still be a 1.0.8 bugfix release, but after that 
all work will be done on 1.1 (which will probably become 2.0 when 


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