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4/4/2006
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Beta For Desktop Linux Interoperability Due In May

Vendors involved say the so-called Portland technology may help eliminate a major obstacle to Linux desktop deployment--reconciling applications developed on GNOME and KDE.

The "Portland Project" has announced early availability of the first set of common interfaces for GNOME and KDE versions of desktop Linux.

At Linuxworld Expo, the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and freedesktop.org said the technology preview may help eliminate a major obstacle to Linux desktop deployment -- reconciling applications developed on GNOME and KDE.

The first Portland beta is expected to be released in May with the final release planned in June 2006, the organizations announced.

The technology preview released to ISVs here is aimed at testing. The interfaces are hoped to simplify the process of porting and integrating applications on GNOME and KDE-based Linux desktops and are slated for inclusion in the Linux Standard Base. (LSB). LSB ensures interoperatibility between Linux and applications.

They will also give ISVs, OEMs and enterprise application vendors such as SAP more incentive to increase development and availability of Linux-based desktop products -- which has seriously lagged behind Linux server adoption.

The two desktop standards, GNOME, which is backed by OpenOffice.org, and KDE, which grew up out of Europe and serves many SUSE environments, have been positioned by some as competing standards, which has stalled desktop adoption to some extent, observers noted.

The software was developed by the Portland Project, named for the city where open source leaders gathered last year to promote solutions to accelerate use of desktop Linux, the OSDL said.

The technology preview includes two sets of interfaces: a suite of command line tools and a set of library Application Program Interfaces (APIs) known as DAPI. The DAPI APIs, for instance, are part of a service-oriented architecture (SOA).

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