Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 21st Apr 2006 14:37 UTC, submitted by historyb
Linux More than a dozen technology companies, including IBM, Red Hat, and Novell are planning to support a new integrated server and desktop Linux standard unveiled at next week's Linux Desktop Summit by the Free Standards Group. The FSG is a nonprofit organization that has worked for years on a number of open standards including a server specification called the Linux Standard Base.
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Impossible barrier
by dsmogor on Fri 21st Apr 2006 19:07 UTC
dsmogor
Member since:
2005-09-01

I used to believe that closest possible integration and stabilization and exsposure of as much as possible abis was the only way to make Linux a serious contender.
I was constantly dissapointed by constantly changing APIs and and disregard for backward compatibility and fragmentation. I was fascinated by the sophisticated infrastructure build around COM and Miguel's efforts to emulate it. I was fascinated by MS way of buildnig complex software over complex frameworks. I even had ideas for another component model that would bring the unity.

Years passed and nothing happened in this department.
Did any disaster happened. No. We have two slick desktops that are perfectly productive enviroments. They get more and more integrated and get by without any of those technologies.
Gnome ditched bonobo and is alive and kicking.
KDE is doing wonders by squeezing last drops out of much simplier technologies that are proven to work well.
You may not be able to copy/paste between warious apps, embedd documents and even copy pixmaps system wide but in the long run nobody seems to care.
Generalization of those office centric technologies enjoyed at most a modest success, even in the Windows world and brought some damage to the propeller (ActiveX).

Now I start to think that trend to public every single, tiniest OS functionality as an extension api have some madness to it and will backfire as those guaranteed binary back compatible apis turn from being advantage to liability. They drag innovation down and increase bloat. They cover the most evident disadvantage of being closed source OS.

Maybe what suffice is set of basic integration apis (mostly in terms of basic user information exchange and synchronization). They will because the most os level plumbing and fixing tasks are more than well handled by open source solutions.
How much would be lost if the desktop was monolytic and set in stone as single blessed technology. All the great suprises as Xfce and ROX with stunning potential could not exist. The lack of fruifull competition on ideas between KDE and GNOME would a left us with maybe not so rough but borring environment that starts to loose community interest.

The choice does not allways incurs damaging fragmentation, especially if handled by responsible people.

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