Debian on the Desktop
The Universal Operating System as your Desktop
The Debian Desktop subproject is a group of volunteers who want to
create the best possible operating system for home and corporate
workstation use. Our motto is
Software that Just Works. In
short, our goal is to bring Debian, GNU, and Linux to the mainstream
- Recognizing that both GNOME and KDE as well as many Desktop frameworks like GNUstep, GTK, Qt and others exist, we will support the use of them, and make sure they work well on Debian. KDE and GNOME are the primary choices for a default environment for the end user. Supporting other desktop environments such as Xfce would be nice as well, depending on developer time and space constraints.
- We recognize that there are only two important classes of users: the novice, and the expert. We will do everything we can to make things very easy for the novice, while allowing the expert to tweak things if they like.
- We will try to ensure that software is configured for the most common desktop use. For instance, the regular user account added by default during installation should have permission to play audio and video, print, and manage the system through sudo.
We will try to ensure that questions which are asked of the user (which should be kept to a minimum) make sense even with a minimum of computer knowledge. Many Debian packages today present the user with difficult technical details. For example, if you simply select the
development environmenttasks during a woody installation, the first thing you will be presented with after all the packages are downloaded is a debconf prompt from binutils about
kernel link failure info. To the novice, this kind of thing is confusing and frightening. To the expert, this is annoying and unnecessary. Right after this question is one from less which asks something about a MIME handler. A novice doesn't even know what MIME is. An expert can configure less however they like it after the installation is complete. The priority of these kinds of Debconf questions should be at least lowered.
(Happily, many of these issues are already fixed for the sarge release using debian-installer).
- And we will have fun doing all of it!
How you can help
The most important parts of a Debian subproject aren't mailing lists, web pages, or archive space for packages. The most important part is motivated people who make things happen. You don't need to be an official developer to start making packages and patches. The core Debian Desktop team will ensure that your work is integrated. So here's some things you can do:
Desktop Default Environmenttask (or kde-desktop task), installing one of our next release testing images and send feedback to the debian-desktop mailing list.
- Work on debian-installer. The GTK+ frontend needs you.
- Help Debian GNOME team, Debian Qt and KDE Team or Debian Xfce Group. You can help with packaging, bug triaging, documentation, tests and more.
- Teach users how to install and use the Debian desktop tasks we have now (desktop, gnome-desktop and kde-desktop).
- Work on lowering the priority of, or removing unnecessary debconf prompts from packages, and making the ones that are necessary easy to understand.
- Help the Debian Desktop Artwork effort.
We have some articles in our wiki, and our starting point there is: DebianDesktop. Some Debian Desktop wiki articles are outdated.
This subproject is being discussed in the debian-desktop mailing list.
We encourage anyone (Debian Developer or not) who is interested in Debian Desktop to join #debian-desktop on OFTC IRC (irc.debian.org).
Anyone who wants to be is welcome. Actually, everyone in pkg-gnome, pkg-kde and pkg-xfce groups are indirectly involved. The debian-desktop mailing list subscribers are active contributors. The debian installer and tasksel groups are important for our goals too.