GNOME is an easy to use Graphical User Interface for UNIX-like operating systems. It is the official desktop of the GNU Project.

Table of contents
1 Origin
2 Organisation
3 GNOME platforms
4 Versions
5 Architecture
6 Major native applications
7 See also
8 External links


The GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment) project was started in August 1997 by Miguel de Icaza as an attempt to provide a Free desktop for the GNU/Linux operating system. At the time, the only serious alternative for the non-technical user was KDE.

However, there were a number of problems associated with KDE: it was based on Trolltech's Qt toolkit, which had a number of licensing issues, and its language of implementation was C++. The licensing issues regarding alleged violations of the GPL were resolved by the released of Qt under the GPL and also the QPL, an approach known as dual-licensing. There is still considerable disagreement over the use of the full GPL for a library like Qt, and the restrictions this imposes on code linking to it, such as the KDE framework and any applications written for it.

GNOME screenshot showing: RhythmBox (music), gthumb (image manager), Abiword and the Nautilus file manager viewing the available network shares. ()

The GNOME framework is written in C, rather than C++, to avoid the problems associated with using different C++ compilers, and to ease the task of using other languages to write GNOME applications. In place of Qt, GTK was chosen as the basis for future GNOME development. This had a number of advantages: it was written in C; its license was the Lesser General Public License; and it was already used by The Gimp, a major Free software project.


GNOME project development, like most Free software projects, is loosely organised -- preferring to rely on the dedication of those working on it. Most discussion regarding GNOME occurs on a variety of open mailing lists (see GNOME website). The GNOME foundation was set up in August 2000 to deal with administrative tasks, press interest and to act as a contact point for companies interested in GNOME development or distribution.

GNOME platforms

Although originally a GNU/Linux desktop, GNOME now runs on most Unix-like systems (*BSD variants, AIX, IRIX, HP-UX), and in particular it has been adopted by Sun Microsystems as the standard desktop for its Solaris platform, replacing the ageing CDE. Sun Microsystems has also released a business desktop system under the name Java Desktop System -- a SuSE Linux system base with a GNOME desktop. There is also a port of GNOME to Cygwin, allowing it to run on Microsoft Windows



Several vital pieces of technology make up the advanced infrastructure of GNOME:

Major native applications

See also

External links