The X Desktop Group Mission Statement
The X Desktop Group (XDG) was formed in March 2000 to encourage cooperation
among open source desktops for the X Window System.
An X desktop is a graphical environment designed to give a technologically
advanced, user-friendly face to the X Window System running on UNIX-like
operating systems. Most X desktops also provide a development infrastructure for
writing applications that integrate well with the desktop.
XDG has the following concrete goals:
- Collect existing specifications, standards, and documents related to X
desktop interoperability and make them available in a central location;
- Promote the development of new specifications and standards to be shared
among multiple X desktops;
- Integrate desktop-specific standards into broader standards efforts,
such as Linux Standard Base and the ICCCM;
- Work on the implementation of these standards in specific X desktops;
- Serve as a neutral forum for sharing ideas about X desktop technology;
- Implement technologies that further X desktop interoperability and free
X desktops in general;
- Promote X desktops and X desktop standards to application authors, both
commercial and volunteer;
- Communicate with the developers of free operating system kernels, the X
Window System itself, free OS distributions, and so on to address
- Provide CVS, web hosting, mailing lists, and other resources to free
software projects that work toward the above goals.
The concrete goals of XDG stem from the following general principles:
- Developers should be able to use the development environment of their
choice without limiting their potential userbase to users of a particular
- Users should have a maximum amount of choice in selecting the
applications they wish to run. Users should not be limited to a certain
subset of applications; ideally, even the components of the desktop
environment (window manager, panel, file manager, etc.) would be
- Code sharing and modularity are a good thing. When possible, a common
implementation not dependent on a specific desktop increases stability,
increases interoperability, reduces system footprint, and optimizes the use
of free software development resources.
- Concept sharing is a good thing. Users do not benefit from the existence
of multiple desktops if those desktops do not share their good ideas and
work together toward common goals.
- XDG is first and foremost a work project; we intend to write standards,
and then write code where needed. Work is the only currency that matters in
the free software world.
- XDG is an organization made up of developers, designed to help
developers do development. XDG does not intend to provide user resources.
- XDG's code will be placed under free licenses that encourage wide use;
most commonly, the LGPL for libraries, or an X-style license when
- Most importantly: the goal of an X desktop is to provide a service to
users (including not only the users of the desktop environment, but also the
developers who use the development infrastructure). XDG should be judged by
how well it serves the interests of X desktop users.