Some days ago there was a strange article on linux.com talking about that the Portland Project will fail to unify the Linux desktop. This is particular strange because the Portland Project does not try to unify the Linux desktop. The whole article is very confusing since it claims aims for the projects where the real aims are completely different, and so on. Also the Tango Project is missing as well, which, in a way, in fact at least tries to unify parts of the look of the Linux desktop.
The people discussing if Portland helps or not, and if the “problem” of two different desktops can be solved or not. From my point of view (as I stated there), and others are on my side, all these projects help in their way, but you have to keep in mind very accurate the different aims the projects want to accomplish, and the different reasons why these projects exist. And the different projects are aiming for a different time frame: Portland is short/mid-term, while Tango just to complete the freedesktop.org naming specs (and to implement them, but not in a way it is very interesting for KDE). The LSB on the other hand is a long term project trying to provide a stable base for software developers and including also parts of the other projects.
But, and that’s important, there is no project to unify both environments to one single desktop environment. And that’s ok, because competition is good! If KDE and gnome compete on a friendly and compatible level, then there is no problem at all. Sure, we have to insure that every ISV can build its software in away that it does not depend on the actual desktop environment, but that is ok, and is possible. That is what Portland, for example tries to accomplish with some of its tools.
So, get over it, there will be no unified desktop. But hey, where would be the fun with only one desktop? 😉
And, btw., if you are reading through the discussion, Aaron points out some mistakes or miss-assumptions I did, so do not believe everything I write down.