KDE Social Desktop Contest: Freeing the Web: Page 2

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The original deadline was supposed to be August 25, but the deadline was extended for a month in the hopes to encourage more entries. As the entries were submitted, they were posted (naturally enough to a page on openDesktop.org.

Contest winners were announced October 9:

  • First place: Téo Mrnjavac's Extended About Dialog for KDE Apps, which gives the developers the option of helping users to contact them directly via openDesktop.org.
  • Second place: Marco Martin's Knowledge base widget, which provides a desktop search application for the openDesktop.org Knowledge base.
  • Third place: Guido Roberto's libopengdesktop, a Glib library for social desktop applications that will help extend the concept to GNOME, Xfce and other desktops.
  • Fourth place: Ni2c2k's PyContent, a KDE widget for showing the most recent items from a designated content site.

Other contest widgets include a KDE widget for the microblogging sites Twitter or Identi.ca, an applet for viewing new entries for openGNOMEDesktop, one of the sites that is part of openOffice.org, and one for asking questions that can be answered by others.

All the entries are available under the GNU General Public License and available as source code.

The entries suggest an emphasis on the practical, especially the development of basic tools for expanding the browser. Since many of these tools are never seen by users, to some they might suggest that the contest and its winners are decidedly minor.

However, while Seigo admits that "obviously, we want dozens or thousands of applications," he argues that the ten or so that were received represent a good start, especially since "this is a new, groundbreaking area in the free culture / free technology movement."

At any rate, Seigo says, like any venture into online applications, freedom services need participants to make them worthwhile. From this perspective, the contest is at least a start.

"We got a few people thinking to the point where they actually wrote a few pieces of software," Seigo says. "But, just as important, people are taking notice, are talking about the idea, and thinking about it. That's really a huge step towards what needs to be done -- getting online services freed and integrated into our software stack."

Karlitschek agrees. "We got great submissions, feedback and ideas. So now we have several different client libraries for KDE and for GNOME, different applications, different servers, and a lot of new ideas. So the contest was very successful."

Up and coming

Certainly the contest has contributed to KDE. The knowledge base application is scheduled to be a desktop widget in KDE 4.4, and the extended About dialog will be used in the next Amarok release, and possibly in the KDE core applications.

Further out, a developer meeting for the social desktop is planned for later in 2009. Plans are also being made for Silk, a browser integrated into the desktop that, like Google Chrome, will run each page as a separate process, and offer the option of allocating custom resources to each one.

Freedom services will evidently take several years to develop fully, but they are clearly central to KDE's concept of the desktop's future.

"Online services being proprietary as the status quo is taking a huge set of steps backwards from where we are today," Seigo says.

"I think a lot of people who have seen the rise of software are trying to use proprietary online services as a way to avoid this new era of software freedom. "If we're going to trust our computing to online services, and we're going to build huge economies around such services, we need to have freedom services."

ALSO SEE: GNOME and KDE: In Search of the Perfect Menu

AND: KDE's Expanded Desktop vs. Online Apps

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Tags: open source, Linux desktop, KDE, OS X

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