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Freedesktop.org

From Academic Kids

freedesktop.org (fd.o) is a project to work on interoperability and shared base technology for desktop environments for the X Window System (X11) on Linux and other Unix-like operating systems. It was founded by Havoc Pennington in March 2000.

The organisation focuses on the user. There are many development frameworks for X, and this is unlikely to change. The organisation seeks to ensure that differences in development frameworks are not user-visible.

The most widely used open source X desktops, GNOME and KDE, are both working closely with the project.

Stated aims

The aim of the project is not to legislate formal standards. Rather, it aims to catch interoperability issues much earlier in the process.

  1. Collect existing specifications, standards and documents related to X desktop interoperability and make them available in a central location;
  2. Promote the development of new specifications and standards to be shared among multiple X desktops;
  3. Integrate desktop-specific standards into broader standards efforts, such as Linux Standard Base and the ICCCM;
  4. Work on the implementation of these standards in specific X desktops;
  5. Serve as a neutral forum for sharing ideas about X desktop technology;
  6. Implement technologies that further X desktop interoperability and free X desktops in general;
  7. Promote X desktops and X desktop standards to application authors, both commercial and volunteer;
  8. Communicate with the developers of free operating system kernels, the X Window System itself, free OS distributions, and so on to address desktop-related problems;
  9. Provide CVS, web hosting, mailing lists and other resources to free software projects that work toward the above goals.

Hosted projects

fd.o provides hosting for a number of relevant projects [1] (http://wiki.freedesktop.org/Main/FreedesktopProjects) [2] (http://freedesktop.org/Software/). These include:

  • X.Org Server: the official reference implementation of X11. The current version is a fork of XFree86 from before its change of license.
  • Xserver (http://xserver.freedesktop.org/wiki/) a new implementation of an X server by Keith Packard, not based on XFree86.
  • D-BUS a message bus akin to KDEs DCOP
  • Drag-and-drop: X drag and drop still does not work consistently.
  • Hardware Abstraction Layer (http://xserver.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software_2fhal) (HAL) : a consistent cross-OS.
  • Render extension: anti-aliased alpha blended text and graphics.
  • fontconfig is a library for font discovery, name substitution, etc. Fontconfig (http://xserver.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software_2ffontconfig)
  • Xft: anti-aliased fonts using the FreeType library, rather than the old X core fonts.
  • RandR: Resize, Rotate and Refresh Rate extension, so that any of these may be changed dynamically.
  • Cairo (graphics) : vector graphics library with cross-device output support.
  • Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI) is an interface used in the X Window System to securely allow user applications to access the video hardware without requiring data to be passed through the X Server
  • Mesa: OpenGL-compatible graphics.
  • XCB/XCL (http://xcb.freedesktop.org/wiki/xcb?action=show&redirect=FrontPage) an Xlib replacement
  • GTK-QT engine (http://xserver.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software_2fgtk_2dqt) : a GTK2 engine which uses Qt tookit to draw the widgets, providing the same look'n'feel of KDE apps to GTK2 apps.
  • Multimedia synchronization.
  • Modularization, Autotool conversion.
  • Documentation and translation.

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