Desktop Developers Conference - Summary

The 2006 Desktop Developers Conference in Ottawa is now over and here is a summary. I was able to attend most of the sessions, but unfortunately not all ("real work" got in the way).

There were about 65 people in attendance at this "self moderated" conference. The sessions as usual at such a conference varied widely in quality (and duration) but there were a few sessions I would like to highlight.

Waldo Bastian from Intel gave a very interesting presentation on the Portland project from the OSDL. Portland intends to generate a common set of Linux Desktop Interfaces and Tools to allow all applications to easily integrate with the free desktop configuration an end user has chosen to work with.

Christopher Aillon from Red Hat gave a presentation on the Network Manager project from GNOME. Networking on Linux right now is painful for the mobile desktop user, especially in comparison to other operating systems. A laptop user should never need to use the command line or configuration files to manage their network; it should "Just Work" as automatically as possible and intrude as little as possible into the user's workflow. NetworkManager attempts to make networking invisible. I have been using this tool with Novell's SLED10 and it really does make life easier.

George Kraft and Peter Parente from IBM gave a presentation on Accessibility Enablement and Usability for Gtk+ applications, including the Linux Screen Reader (LSR). Accessibility to Linux for the visually impaired is something that should be important to all of us.

Brett Johnson from HP gave a great presentation on Linux on desktops in large enterprises. His experiences here very much reflect mine over the last couple of years in that Linux is not (yet) a general purpose desktop in this environment, but it certainly does have a place.

Jon Phillips gave a very interesting presentation on Creative Commons. Creative Commons is much more than just an "open source" documentation license, and he covered many of the different ways in which Creative Commons licensing can be used.

Rajesh Banginwar from Intel gave a presentation on the Free Standards Group Linux Standard Base. The Linux Standard Base (LSB) is an application binary interface (ABI) for Linux and Linux-compatible platforms. The LSB draws on the source standards of the IEEE POSIX standards and The Open Group's Single UNIX Specification for many of its behavioral interface definitions. Rajesh discussed how the LSB spec has been extended in the 3.1 level in support of desktop applications.

There were several other sessions, but for me these were the highlights.

Jim Elliott - Linux, Open Source and Virtualization Advocate, IBM Canada Ltd.