There had been some news around the desktop these days:
First the instant messaging front: yahoo and msn will cooperate to connect their networks. This will form a alliance against the still ruling icq network (read something around 56% they have in these days) and this alliance will secure them a little bit more against the google talk which hasn’t spread now as far as I see.
Speaking about google talk: they have hired the gaim main developer! That’s really surprising, and a good sign – they really try to open up their google talk. Ok, they have no other choice if they really want to roll up this market, but it’s a nice move. So we can hope that soon the important instant messanger of the open source field (gaim, kopete, miranda) will be able to use google talk natively :-)
Second, the desktop itself moves a little bit at the moment. The Tango project tries to uniform the both dekstops, kde and gnome. Therefore they provide some guidelines and a subsystem for standardisation – it would be nice if it really works.
On the other side there is a small developer group which tries to build up a complete new desktop focussed operating system based on Linux kernel and the Qt library. They will use the standard components of a typical Linux distribution but they want to melt it together to not have the variations which you have with Linux. The name of the new project is mockup – and I must say that although I really like the variaty you have on a Linux system and that I think that these possibilities are one of the strengths of Linux, this project looks nice and looks promising – in the worst case it’s just one project more which will not hurt anyone :-)
The only think what I do not like in this news is that no one really sees the problems we have with the software installation – it is nice to talk about not unified desktops, but when I look at the desktop of the windows-friends I have I see a winamp next to Office 2003 and they work with Firefox and Outlook (yes, I am working at this – step by step I influence them and bring them to the other side of the force :-D) – these interfaces are all not unified. They are much more different then the qt and gtk applications on a Linux distribution.
Hey, friends: you can have a look at unifiying, but please heave a close look on another real hard problem: you can not install software on a Linux system if you are a non experienced user! It’s almost impossible!
So, please, invent the magic installation tool I mentioned several times ;-)