OSDL outlines needs for Desktop Linux

The Open Source Development Lab last week released four specifications for its Desktop Linux Capabilities document, which outlines what requirements a Linux distribution should have to meet the needs of certain desktop Linux users.

Speaking at the LinuxWorld Expo in Boston, J. Craig Manning, chairman of the OSDL's Desktop Linux Steering Committee, gave a talk on where Desktop Linux can make an impact, and what requirements will be necessary from Linux and other software vendors.

The Desktop Linux Capabilities document outlines four areas where Linux vendors and software vendors should focus on developing features and functions for the Linux desktop. These include: Basic office, which involves simple word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications; transaction worker, focusing on call center and data entry applications; technical workstation, where Linux is used for such applications as computer assisted design (CAD) or software development; and fixed function, which outlines Linux capabilities for information kiosks, ATMs, cash registers and other low-level devices.

Manning says the OSDL's recommendations are more of a suggestion of what developers should focus on in terms of desktop Linux, as opposed to a requirement or certification standard. Among the vendors behind the OSDL Desktop Linux effort are AMD, Red Hat and Novell.

While interest in desktop Linux has picked up over the last few years, Manning admits that it is still a very Windows-centric world.

"There is a corporate culture around Windows desktops that's very hard" to break through, said Manning. This is due in large part to the entrenchment of Microsoft Office applications, and Microsoft Outlook and Exchange e-mail systems.

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