Following its recent Mainz, Germany meeting, the Portland project has now decided on its next moves. Portland, an ad hoc group of commercial and community Linux desktop developers, aims to create a common set of interfaces and tools to allow all applications to easily integrate with the Linux desktop.
After this latest meeting, John Cherry, OSDLs (Open Source Development Labs) initiative manager for the Linux desktop, listed action items for the group to address as it moves forward.
The first of these is for developers to participate in testing xdg-utils on existing Linux distributions. The xdg-utils package is a set of simple Bash shell scripts to provide basic desktop integration functions. The first beta for this package is due later in May, and a 1.0 release is planned for July.
Next, the developers will work on delivering packaging requirements to the LSB (Linux Standard Base) working group, for development of a package creation tool.
Software installation and updating package management, even on a single distribution, as Novell SUSE has recently shown, continues to be a sore spot for Linux distributions. The eventual goal is to have a package manager that will enable both users and developers to install and patch programs on any Linux desktop as easily as Mac users do on Mac OS X.