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Linux simplified with Portland Version 1.0

How does the Portland interface simplify my client's Linux desktop offerings?

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Nearly a year in the making, the OSDL and freedesktop.org announced general availability of Portland 1.0, which is the first set of common interfaces for GNOME and KDE desktops. This support may be a small step for GNOME and KDE, but it's a quantum leap for the Linux desktop. The release of Portland 1.0 is expected to really accelerate adoption of Linux on the desktop.

Portland is a joined OSDL/Freedesktop.org initiative, which was created to provide independent software developers (ISDs) with stable APIs into Desktop Linux and other Free Desktop platforms. The first result of the Portland initiative is Xdg-utils, which is a free set of open source tools that allows applications to easily integrate with the desktop configuration your customer has chosen to work with. Portland intends to deliver two sets of interfaces. One set will be offered in the form of a set of command line tools. The other will be offered in the form of one or more libraries that applications can link with. These first common interfaces are a set of command line tools, xdg-utils.

There's really nothing new about this kind of functionality. What is new, is that developers can use the functionality regardless of which desktop environment --KDE or GNOME -- they are targeting. This means ISVs can design programs much more easily for both environments because Portland is designed to help bridge the gap between these two widely used Linux user interfaces. It will allow clients to develop only one type of application, regardless of the desktop environment.

This was first published in January 2007

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