Wikipedia:WikiProject Desktop Linux

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The connected Human Machine Interface (HMI) peripherals dictate the range of use. These need some kernel-support (e.g. evdev, ALSA, DRI, V4L2) some middleware-support (e.g. PulseAudio, Maliit), but eventually the UI (e.g. GNOME Shell, Plasma Next) must be tailored to them to enable an ergonomic workflow.
Software can be grouped into Linux kernel, middleware and user application. Ergonomics regarding responsiveness requires the latency/delay of the input-processing-output loop to be below a certain threshold. Linux gaming requires an even lower threshold and VR the lowest.
When employing a windowing system, any user applications runs as a client of the display server (here: Wayland compositor).
A couple of daemons provide functionality: systemd, PulseAudio, NetworkManager, PackageKit, etc. The user sees and interacts with them solely through some graphical front-ends written in one of the common widget toolkits: (GTK+, Qt, etc.). Regularly these front-ends are mistaken to be the actual program. This ain't dramatic, but its wrong. The above scheme depicts how it actually works, and one can easily deduce why not only developers and plumbers but also end-users do profit from a well-designed and lean display sever protocol. The same way Uncomplicated Firewall is confused with netfilter.
Android predates Tizen and uses SurfaceFlinger.
DRI and X
DRI and Wayland
OpenGL is the rendering API of choice on Linux

This project started to address the problem of un-maintained articles relating to free and open-source operating systems with a graphical shell based on the Linux kernel.

The points[edit]

Linux kernel-based ...[edit]

Article structure over multiple articles:

Available software[edit]

  • Software on Ubuntu is a nice example of showing and interlinking available software; but it is Ubuntu only and German only. I think, such a structure around existing articles would be useful to the Wikipedia as an encyclopedia
  • AlsaPlayer allows adjusting the playback speed forward and backwards. I happen to know that, but in case I did not, how would I most efficiently find software with this property
  • the available desktop environments (DEs)
    • only contain a very small fraction of all the free and open-source software available
    • and especially they usually "exclude" each other
    • especially GNOME is strictly speaking only composed of the GNOME Core Applications only; Inkscape or GIMP not only don't belong, but also bring their own GUI Widgets, additionally to those in GTK+! IMO (User:ScotXW) this is a good thing. For that matter that there are several DEs, the least they should do, is to concentrate on "widgeting" their core applications and sharing the bigger programs as well as the lower levels of the user stack
  • Let them do their stuff in "their" articles GNOME/KDE SC, but let as maintain some core and glue article(s) regarding Linux on the desktop computer.
    • An encyclopedia is about explaining stuff, and I see the need use for a core and glue article from which to link to the various DEs and also to components hosted by and other components
    • articles like Graphical user interface are very general and clearly not suited for this purpose
  • new articles regarding new software are not created any longer...


Convergence is a term for the coming™ amalgamation of desktop, laptop, mobile computers and what not else. Smartphones have as much as 1GiB of RAM and Quad-Core CPUs, while computer monitors have become (big) touchscreens (for the user to get gorilla arms). I would insidiously call the result: a "home computer". So, when the marketing people will certify that "convergence" has arrived, we could address that stuff as Linux on the home computer (instead of Linux kernel-based operating system with a graphical shell). People are actually coding stuff, to make this happen, e.g. Aaron Seigo from KDE: connect your tablet with keyboard, mouse and a bigger screen, and the UI will automagically change accordingly.

From a software perspective differentiating devices based on chassis dimensions is pointless anyway. For the software engineer, the only two properties that matter are:

  • the Human Machine Interface (HMI) peripherals and
  • the available computing power.

The goal of any UI is obviously always an efficient workflow while performing the intended tasks. Marketing calls it "user experience", probably because of the "work" in workflow. There are a couple of computer sizes and the marketing departments are spitting out additional ones, plus all the codenames for their newest "platforms" to bamboozle the poor customer. And the Wikipedia is full of it. And I would like to not pay attention to it at all. Because smartphones have as much as 1 GiB of RAM and quad-core CPUs, the articles Desktop Linux and Embedded Linux would imperatively describe one and the same Linux kernel-based operating system with a graphical shell. So would Tablet Linux and Netbook Linux. Both, tablet and a netbook are "mobile devices" (and at the same time "embedded devices"), but the latter has a keyboard (and maybe additionally a touch-display). Because of convergence the underlying operating systems would not differentiate.

Lots of words ... ⇒ so, I would like to merge the articles Desktop Linux, and the Mobile Devices-parts of the Embedded Linux (and Sailfish OS, and WebOS and Firefox OS) into a new article called: Linux on home computers (or Linux kernel-based operating system with a graphical user interface). On the way there one could split off the Mobile Parts of Embedded Linux into a new article called Mobile Linux and then merge this later. The point is, that only the UI differs from traditional desktop systems. The entire underlying software is identical.


  • To ensure that Wikipedia can be used as an appropriate reference for components (programs) of Desktop Linux and also of underlying technologies for:
    • people employing Linux on a home computer (formerly: Desktop Linux)
    • people thinking about employing a Linux on a home computer
    • people giving lectures about DEs, Linux on a home computer,
  • To ensure that existing Wikipedia articles about Desktop Linux
    • are cited, NPOV and factually accurate.
    • don't fall unmaintained or go obsolete.
  • To ensure that not existing Wikipedia articles about Desktop Linux
    • are encouraged to be created, (e.g. There is an article about Mode setting and there should additionally be an article called KMS (Linux kernel) which describes that particular Linux kernel module. At the moment the KMS module is part of the Direct Rendering Manager, but at the Linux Plumbers Conference 2013 a split of that one module into two kernel modules is being discussed.)
    • are well interlinked with each other and with the rest of the Wikipedia articles




General articles[edit]

Comparison of... articles[edit]

Available Comparison of ...-articles usually intermix proprietary with free and open-source software, are quite crowded, hard to maintain and usually not maintained at all! They often do not mention the graphical toolkit, the programming language, when the program was last updated, etc. Also they regularly lack the program logos. It would be nice to have pages like Multimedia, this AudioPlayer, etc. in the Wikipedia. Given that Wikidata is on the way, we of course should not waste too much time creating and grooming comparison of-pages, yet a couple of those would be a really really nice to have.


There is the Template:Man. Wherever manpages are available, this template should be used. For example in systemd for systemctl and journalctl, or in GNU GRUB for grub-setup and grub-install or in netfilter for iptables, ip6tables, arptables, ebtables and ipset, etc.

Articles about Events[edit]

New technologies are regularly introduced on such Summits/Conventions/Congresses. Usually they offer the papers as PDF and often also a Video recording even years after!

The official Homepages of such events are usually well organized, so there is little point in making a big fuzz on the Wikipedia. But it seems to me very useful, when citing something to also link to the Wikipedia page for the corresponding event: e.g. [4]

Multimedia resources[edit]


I (User:ScotXW) think, that awesome looking screenshots are nice, but I'd rather have diagrams to understand the clumsiness or elegance of the implemented software architecture. Especially at the moment (2013) there is a lot of talk about Wayland replacing X11, yet the Wikipedia offers very little to make it easy for the interested person to understand the advantages that come with the transition from X11 to Wayland. A comprehensive Wikipedia article will address and satisfy the individual interested in the mere news, but also early adopters and even people willing to participate further.


Nice looking screenshots are just eye candy, so they need to look as awesome as possible! They do not contribute to any understanding whatsoever! Their sole purpose is, to attract the user to read on or even to install the concerned programs/combination of programs.

Games and a graphical shell upon the Linux kernel
An montage instead of just one screenshot and with the Logo in the corner. I think it is very attractive. 
useful, but not as good as the first 
frankly quite lame 
even lamer 
Example 1