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Welcome to the home of the Social Desktop!

What is the Social Desktop?

Social interaction between people becomes more important than ever. Communicating over the Internet via mails, forums and internet platforms is just normal. Just think of the web 2.0, Facebook, Flickr, BitTorrent...
One of the strongest assets of the free software community is its worldwide community of contributors and users who believe in free software and who work hard to bring the software and solutions to the mainstream.
Core idea of the Social Desktop is to connect to your peers in the community, making sharing and exchanging knowledge easier to integrate into applications and the desktop itself. The concept behind the Social Desktop is to bring the power of online communities and group collaboration to desktop applications and the desktop shell itself.

Presentations

Akademy 2008 Keynote
Linuxtag 2009
Gran Canaria Desktop Summit 2009

Ideas

(-) News

Having a communication channel for open source related informations directly to the users is a great thing. Announcements can be displayed on the desktop of users, for example in a small widget which displays a highly personalized RSS feed. So the users can excatly specify which kind of information he wants to see and which language he speaks and in which region on the world he lives. This could also be use for PR people and helpful to convert users into contributors.

(-) People and Groups

One of the strongest assets of the free software community is its worldwide community of contributors and users who believe in free software and who work hard to bring the software and solutions to the mainstream. The strengthening and enhancing of the social component inside the communities is one of the Social Desktop's main goal. In the end finding new friends in the Linux users mass, to support the community and creating new interesting groups with people sharing the same opinion or interests is really cool. Additionally being better connected is one of the critical necessity to reach new Linux user and to enlarge open source desktops' marketshare.

(-) Activities

People love to see what is going on in their friends network. Get informed directly from the desktop. For example:
  • A friend of mine posted a new blog entry
  • A friend of mine uploaded a new application or wallpaper on KDE-Look.org/GNOME-Look.org
  • A friend of mine is going to the Linux User Group meeting tomorrow
  • There is an update for an application I am fan of
  • A friend of mine committed a new feature in the KDE SVN/GNOME Git Repository
  • Someone was on my profile page and offered me a Linux/*BSD related job.
  • A friend of mine is now a fan of the application "OpenOffice.org"

(-) Events

An event system is also part of the Social Desktop. Every user is free to register new events e.g. a Linux conference in London, a developer meeting in Berlin or just a little barbecue in a backyard. One possible idea is e. g. to place a widget on the desktop where users can find other users in the same city or region, making it possible to connect to these people, to contact them and to collaborate. This event will be listed in the event database and other users can "join" the event. New participants can be invited to take part in events, friends get automatically informed via the friend newsfeed that some of their friends go to an event. The date, a short description and a location is enough to start a new event.

(-) Knowledge base

After the first installation of a Linux distribution users normally have questions. At the moment a lot of the support for them is provided through forums and mailing lists. Users have to start up a browser and search for answers for their questions or problems. The community is relatively loosely connected, it is spread all over the web and it is often hard to verify the usefulness and accuracy of the information found somewhere out on the web. Although is works relatively well for experienced users beginners often get lost. Showing a user near you with a picture of him, a face to remember could be very helpful for them. Access to a lot of user generated information offers a great way to provide online community support. This user generated content comes from different sources. At the moment openDesktop.org, GNOME-Look.org, KDE-Look.org and other sites implements the spec but we are working with other projects to have other data sources in the future so people can help each other via the web and application developers transparently integrate this knowledge into applications and the desktop.

Current Status

Many of this planed features are already visibly and usable via the site openDesktop.org but many of them could be hooked in the desktop via application integration or applets. Actually the Social Desktop was from the beginning on a cross desktop idea for open source desktops although the vision of the Social Desktop was first presented at Akademy 2008 the central KDE developer conference presented to a larger audience. You can find the presentation here.
A first realization of this concept is now implemented as a plasmoid (a desktop widget) for the KDE desktop. KDE Version 4.3 is going to have a so called Social Desktop Plasmoid integrated. Screenshots shown on this site are from this plasmoid.
  Frank Karlitschek frank@openDesktop.orgfooter