Six months ago, architects from two dozen desktop-oriented Linux projects gathered in Portland, Ore., to work together on creating the best possible Linux desktop. Thus was born the Portland Project.
The expanded group met again on May 8 and 9 in Mainz, Germany, to see how far its come and to look at whats ahead.
Unlike many such collaborative efforts, such as the tangle of conflicts that are bedeviling the 802.11n wireless standard, the Portland Project is moving smoothly forward with its goal of creating a common set of standards that allow applications and desktop interfaces to easily integrate into an easy-to-use Linux desktop.
In his status report to the OSDL (Open Source Development Labs)-sponsored group, Waldo Bastian, Linux client architect at Intel, opened by covering the four areas that the developer felt needed the most improvement: increased binary compatibility between distributions; increased compatibility between the two major desktop environments (GNOME and KDE); making cross-distribution packaging easier for third-party developers; and improving documentation.
Bastain said, "There exists a perception that developers need to choose between targeting GNOME or KDE, [but] in reality, 95 percent of desktop application functionality is independent from window manager and desktop environment." Its that remaining 5 percent that Portland is addressing.