Mission Statement was originally formed in March 2000 to encourage cooperation among open source desktops for the X Window System by developing interoperability specifications.

Since then, our mission has expanded. Not only do we support much more than just the X Window System, but we support the development of a wide range of software - mostly building blocks to support free and open-source operating systems. We also take the 'desktop' of 2000 to have a wider scope in the modern day: desktops and cloud application servers, phones and tablets, in-car and in-flight entertainment, often have the same needs as originally set out to address. will always be a place where users and contributors alike are treated with respect. We actively enforce our code of conduct across all the communities we host.'s specifications are developed with the following concrete goals:

  • Collect existing specifications, standards, and documents related to open-source desktop interoperability and make them available in a central location;
  • Support the development of new specifications and standards to be shared among multiple open-source desktops;
  • Integrate desktop-specific standards into broader standards efforts, such as the Linux Standard Base, the ICCCM, and Khronos;
  • Serve as a neutral forum for sharing ideas about open-source desktop technology;
  • Implement technologies that further open-source desktop interoperability and free desktops in general;
  • Communicate with the developers of free operating system kernels, the lower layers of the OS stack, free OS distributions, and so on to address desktop-related problems;
  • Provide source code hosting, web hosting, mailing lists, and other resources to free software projects that work toward the above goals.

The concrete goals of 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 desktop environment
  • Users should have a maximum amount of choice in selecting the applications they wish to run
  • 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.
  • is first and foremost a work project; we intend to develop specifications, and then write code where needed. Work is the only currency that matters in the free software world.
  • is an organization made up of developers, designed to help developers do development
  •'s code will be placed under free licenses, placing all users and contributors on an equal footing

Most importantly: the goal of a 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). should be judged by how well it serves the interests of our target audience.

The goals of specifically exclude "blessing" or legislating formal standards, because does not have the formal infrastructure for that. This site is about catching interoperability issues much earlier in the development process, ideally before code has been written, and providing a forum to work on specifications. Some of these specifications may be standardized by other bodies, but only after "de facto" acceptance most likely. You can look at as a way to oil the wheels of "de facto" shared specifications.