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KDE and GNOME Buddy Up


Who would have believed it in 2004? KDE and GNOME, the two major Linux desktop interfaces, buddying up and having their annual meetings together? It would have been easier to believe in cats and dogs signing a permanent peace treaty. Believe it.

The two once bitter rivals for the Linux desktop have agreed to co-host Akademy and GUADEC, KDE and GNOME’s main conferences in the summer of 2009.

In a press statement, Cornelius Schumacher, director of KDE e.V., said the move to co-host the conferences: represents collaboration between the two communities which some believed could never happen.” As Behdad Esfahbodof, a Red Hat software engineer and director of the GNOME Foundation pointed out though, “We have much more in common than we have differences. We share a love for the freedom which we give to our users through our software, and for the sense of community which binds us.”

This move to work in concert has been coming for years. It can be traced back to December 2005 when KDE and GNOME developers, along with many other desktop Linux programmers, came together in what would be known as the Portland Project.

What they discovered at that seminal meeting was that they had more in common than they had to argue about. From this meeting, sprang Portland 1.0, the first set of common interfaces for GNOME and KDE desktops.

In addition, the two groups started working on DAPI (Desktop Application Programming Interface).” DAPI, which was built on top of D-Bus, enables ISVs (independent software vendors) to create applications that can work on either GNOME or KDE without needing to re-work the program for each interface.

Esfahbodof added, “The big winner in the co-hosted conferences will be free software on the desktop. Getting the developers in the same place can only lead to increased collaboration, and even more high-quality software for our users.” Based on the past record of what’s been done when GNOME and KDE’s leaders have gotten together, he’s probably quite right. As Jim Zemlin, the Linux Foundation‘s executive director said in his statement, “Having GUADEC and Akademy at the same venue is good news for the Linux desktop. I suspect we will see great things come out of this meeting.”

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