all in desktop et al.

Mike Hearn mike at
Fri Apr 14 01:06:26 EEST 2006

On Thu, 13 Apr 2006 15:38:50 +1000, Benjamin Rich wrote:
> It details the Common Linux Desktop Platform, which is a set of
> cross-distro tools I'm going to write to allow a set of 'foundations'
> for anyone wanting to write a desktop/GUI application for 'Linux',
> distro-nonspecific. I realise this isn't a new idea and I'm sure there
> are other projects based on this concept - nonetheless.

So, from my perspective, as somebody who indirectly distributes a lot of
software across different distributions, what we need is simple:

a] A big list of libraries and minimum required versions, that are
   commonly used by desktop Linux programs.

b] A mailing list/forum where people can collaborate on building
   distro-specific repositories so end users can add this repo, and
   just do "apt-get install platform" or whatever to ensure that every
   library the platform contains is installed. Of course it would be OK
   to install a newer version that is compatible with the one in the

c] A schedule/timeline for updating it, and a set of criteria for what can
   be included.

It's really not that complex at all. Some things we definitely *don't*
need are:

a] Precise ABI specifications of libraries. Depending on the
   implementation is good enough - if something wishes to be a substitute
   then compatibility with the implementation is required.

b] Some new packaging scheme. That is a separate project and should be
   left to compete on its own merits. Note that there are already several
   appfolder implementations for Linux, see ROX Desktop, ZeroInstall and 

c] A new desktop - what has this got to do with a platform?

d] Politics over what's included. Duplication is fine, KDE is fine,
   GNOME is fine, dependencies on stuff not in the platform is fine, non-C
   languages are fine, even C++ is fine because we can hack around its
   unstable ABI using external tools. But what's harder to hack around is
   when the library is flat out missing.

The net result is that no matter what package system is used, whether it
be RPM or Klik or autopackage or ZeroInstall, the users experience is more
reliable and ISVs are more confident in the platform as a whole.

Unfortunately I didn't really see much of that on the website ... I think
you're on the right lines though, but really, the appfolder/desktop thing
is not really relevant, what's needed is just a big list :)

thanks -mike

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