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What Makes a Modern Linux Desktop, and Why Do You Care?

Location: D136 Level: Intermediate
Average rating: **...
(2.78, 9 ratings)

Once upon a time, the Linux desktop was easy to explain. An X server sat on top of the kernel, and applications called either the C library or the kernel directly to get things done.

Today, things are rather less simple.

As demands for desktop and hardware integration have grown, the level of complexity involved has increased greatly. From the hardware abstraction of HAL to the information transmission of dbus, from the policy management of udev to the kernel communication channel of netlink, the boundaries of functionality are unclear and users and developers alike may be confused about which layers perform which functions.

This presentation discusses what now lives between the user and their hardware, why it’s necessary, and how things could be so much worse than they are.

Photo of Matthew Garrett

Matthew Garrett


Matthew Garrett has been involved in Ubuntu since 2004 and is a member of the Ubuntu technical board and kernel team. He specialises in mobile Linux and power management technology and has travelled the world widely in order to give presentations on reducing power consumption. He is fully aware of the irony involved in this.

OSCON 2008