Proposal and RFC: Introducing DAL, the "Desktop Abstraction Layer"

John (J5) Palmieri johnp at
Thu Jan 13 16:18:26 EET 2005

On Thu, 2005-01-13 at 05:38, Ikke wrote:
> Hi xdg list members,
> Last days I've been thinking of desktop integration on the Linux/...
> desktop. Not limited to Gnome OR KDE OR whatever more, but
> desktop-neutral application integration.
> I started thinking about this issue after I wanted to write some code
> that enables me to get the "Away" state in Gaim when my screensaver is
> started. I got this working using some DBUS magic, some sort of polling
> application for xscreensaver, which is working now, but then I started
> to feel this is very limited. I wrote this now, its working, but it is
> relatively difficult to get any other application making use of these
> DBUS signals (screensaver started, stopped,...). Like, if I start using
> a new screensaver application, I'd need to write some other application
> to send out signals and monitor the screensaver app. Or if I'd start
> using aMsn instead of Gaim, I'd have to hack on that one, and so on. But
> in the end there would be no global overview: it would be hack on hack
> on hack, where most of the previous work gets lost.
> This explanation may sound very obscure, I know it's not really well
> written, but I don't really know how to explain this better.
> So I started thinking about a more "global" desktop notification and
> information providing system. I wrote down a document where I try to
> describe what I got in my head here [1]. Someone commented on it already
> here [2].
> The current "working title" I chose is "Desktop Abstraction Layer",
> similar to HAL, because this proposal has a lot of similarities to HAL.
> It's just not hardware-centered.
> I'd like to know whether you guys think this is a useful application, if
> there already exists something like this, if it is useful, where do I
> make mistakes in my proposed implementation,... Most of you are far more
> familiar to desktop programming than I am, so...
> If this proposal looks useful in some way, I'd like to make a
> project of it, because IMHO that's where it belongs.
> That's a discussion for later on though :-)
> I'm looking forward to read your ideas, comments and so on on this!
> Kind regards,
> Ikke
> [1]
> [2]
>, 2nd comment
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I don't know if DAL is the right name for it but it seems like a worthy
goal.  I would think the major goal of a project like this would be to
identify common integration points and define a spec that defines a set
of standard interfaces (signals and methods) classes of applications
should implement.  Perhaps the Common Desktop Interface would describe
it better.


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