Cooperation on the Social Desktop

Hi everyone,

first of all, let me explain you who I am. My name is Frank Karlitschek
I'm the founder and maintainer of network. As some of you may know which contains,, KDE-, and many similar sites with over 130.000 registered Linux users.
More information can be obtained on
I´m also the creator of the Social Desktop idea which will be implemented in KDE in the future. The idea of the Social Desktop and the Open Collaboration Services is to have a cross desktop standard for all Linux Desktops.

I read the interview with Luis Villa on about GNOME and its foundation. He mentioned there the Social Desktop idea of the KDE project. So I as a main creator of this idea sent him an email in which I wanted to explain the whole story an asked if the GNOME project is interested in working together with us. He seemed interested but unfortunately he isn't developing inside the GNOME project anymore. Advised by him, I would like to present you the vision of the (cross desktop) Social Desktop to spread our idea and vision and to collaborate between both big desktop environments.

Actually the Social Desktop was from the beginning on a cross desktop idea for open source desktops. I think it is important that the open source desktops have several unique features to be more attractive for interested new user or Windows and Mac switchers. This is one of the most promising way to gain new fans, potential developers and even customers. It's one on the few ways I see to gain more market share in the world. Furthermore social interaction between people becomes more important than ever. Communicating over the Internet via mails, forums and internet platforms is just normal. Just think of the web 2.0 and facebook etc. The concept behind the Social Desktop now is to bring the power of online communities and group collaboration to desktop applications and the desktop shell itself. One of the strongest assets of the free software community is its worldwide community of contributors and users who belief in free software and who work hard to bring the software and solutions to the mainstream. A core idea of the Social Desktop is connecting to your peers in the community, making sharing and exchanging knowledge easier to integrate into applications and the desktop itself. One of the ideas is e. g. to place a widget on the desktop where users can find other GNOME and/or KDE users in the same city or region, making it possible to connect to these people, to contact them and to collaborate. After the first installation of a Linux distribution users normally have questions. At the moment a lot of the support for them is provided through forums and mailing lists. Users have to start up a browser and search for answers for their questions or problems. The community is relatively loosely connected, it is spread all over the web, and it is often hard to verify the usefulness and accuracy of the information found somewhere out on the web. Although is works relatively well for experienced users, beginners often get lost. Showing a user near you with a picture of him, a face to remember could be very helpful for them. Access to a lot of user-generated information offers a great way to provide online community support. This user-generated content comes from different sources. At the moment, and other sites implements the spec but we are working with other projects to have other data sources in the future, so people can help each other via the web, and application developers transparently integrate this knowledge into applications and the desktop. An event system is also going to be part of the Social Desktop. Every user is free to register new events e.g. a Linux conference in London, a developer meeting in Berlin or just a little barbecue in a backyard. This event will be listed in the events database and other users can "join" the event. New participants can be invited to take part in events, friends get automatically informed via the friend newsfeed that some of their friends go to an event. The date, a short description and a location is enough to start a new event. Locations get directly displayed via an OpenStreetMap applet provided by the free wiki world map on each event page. Many of this planed features are already visibly and usable via our site but many of them could be hooked in the desktop via application integration or applets. We invite people to work with us on the community integration of the Social Desktop. There are many ideas... The backend of the Social Desktop is designed to be platform independent. Its features are based on the OCS API, Online Collaboration Services API. The OCS API was developed by me. The API spec is published on so third party provider are able to implement OCS API which is very welcomed. So the KDE Forum already announced that they are going to integrated OCS.
What do you think?
It would be great if KDE and GNOME could work together at this topic which has a huge potential in the future.

I'm looking forward to your reply.


Frank Karlitschek
frank openDesktop org

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