GNOME and KDE work together on the Linux desktop

Fragmentation has long been a problem for the Linux desktop, but now the two biggest open-source desktop foundations are joining forces.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

The Linux desktop has its fans -- I've been using it for over twenty-years -- but it's never been a mass market favorite. In part, that's because as Linus Torvalds says, "fragmentation of the different vendors have held the desktop back." Now, in a major step forward the two chief Linux desktop rivals, GNOME Foundation and KDE, have agreed to work together.

GNOME and KDE are coming together to sponsor the Linux App Summit (LAS) 2019 in Barcelona from November 12th to 15th, 2019. This isn't the first time the two rival Linux desktop groups have come together, but it has been a decade since they've joined forces to run a conference together. Both organizations are eager to bring their communities together to build an application ecosystem that transcends individual distros and broadens the market for everyone.

It's their hope that by working together at LAS they can drive the growth of the Linux desktop "by encouraging the creation of quality applications, seeking opportunities for compensation for FOSS developers, and fostering a vibrant market for the Linux operating system."

GNOME's executive director, Neil McGovern said: 

LAS represents one of many steps towards a thriving desktop ecosystem. By partnering with KDE we show the desire  to build the kind of application ecosystem that demonstrates that Open Source and Free Software are important; the technology and organization we build to achieve this is valuable and necessary.

Aleix Pol Gonzalez, KDE eV vice president, agreed: 

Over the years we have built great solutions that millions of people use around the world. It's been when we have worked together that we have managed to become bigger than the sum of the parts. Together with GNOME, counting with the collaboration of many distributions and application developers, we'll have the opportunity to work side by side, share our perspectives and offer the platform that the next generation of solutions will be built on.

Paul Brown, a KDE Communications Specialist, added, "The desktop wars is not really a thing any more. It makes more sense to work together and pool resources."

It certainly does. Torvalds wishes, "we were better at having a standardized desktop that goes across the distributions." This may be the Linux desktop vendors and developers's best chance in years to come together to create a single, unified desktop that will appeal to more than just hardcore Linux users.  

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