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I agree standards are very much needed in Linux and other free desktops. Why is it that each web browser have to have a bookmark file format of its own? Almost all GUI toolkits makes it possible to set fonts and colors to its widgets why can't they use the same configuration file. After all a button is a button and a font is a font. Why can't I replace Nautilus with Konqueror in Gnome and still have the state, contents and function of my Trashcan preserved?
All modern desktops consists of windows filemanagers, trash, panels and menus. There is a window manager why are there not managers with standardized interfaces for the rest of the stuff. Developers doesn't seam to think that the window manager limits their creativity, why should it be any different in other areas.
If such things was in place it would be possible to create a consistent looking desktop based on application written in various toolkits. E.g. we could let the user chose if he wants the menus of his applications to appear on the top of each window as in windows or at the top of the screen like on a Mac, or perhaps in some other yet unseen way.
And it is not that new type of managers have apperad in the history of the X Window System. At the beginning nobdy used session managers, but today almost all modern applications are aware of them. So why not introduce some more manager standards that could make our desktops more consistent.
I also agree that installing more than one application of each application type by default makes a Linux distribution less usable.