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This support may be a small step for GNOME and KDE, but it’s a giant leap for the Linux desktop.

These first common interfaces are a set of command line tools, xdg-utils.

These first command line tools can be used by ISVs to help install software and provide access to the system while the application is running.

Specifically, these tools make installing and uninstalling menus, icons and icon resources easier for developers.

Developers also can obtain the system’s settings on how to handle different file types, and program access to e-mail, the root account, preferred applications and the screensaver.

Click here to read more about the Portland project.

There’s nothing new in this kind of functionality. What is new is that developers can use these regardless of which desktop environment—KDE or GNOME—they’re targeting.

This means ISVs can design programs much more easily for both environments.

Unlike some theoretical standards, Portland 1.0 environments are already available in several major community distributions, including Debian, Fedora and OpenSUSE.

The corporate Red Flag and Xandros distributions have also committed to including Portland in their next releases. Sources said that Linspire, Novell, and Turbolinux are also expected to announce Portland adoption shortly.

TrollTech’s Qt 4.2, the primary KDE application framework, is also using Portland 1.0 to provide developers with tighter integration with the GNOME desktop environment.

John Cherry, the OSDL’s (Open Source Development Labs) Desktop Linux initiative manager, said that this support from the actual movers and shakers of desktop Linux is vital. “The important part of this release is that we have real distros and they’re putting the tools in their development trees.”

Read the full story on Portland Points Desktop Linux at $10 Billion Market

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