A project to promote and improve software for the Linux Desktop, only using Free software.
It includes many initiatives:
Some of them designed to improve inter-operability between the GNOME and KDE projects, such as a shared ".desktop" file format for menu entries and shortcuts, and the "D-BUS" message-passing system, designed to be a next-generation replacement for KDE's DCOP and GNOME's CORBA interfaces.
An experimental XServer, based on KeithPackard's "kdrive" xserver code. (http://freedesktop.org/Software/xserver). The main purpose of this project is to provide a platform for quicker development of X protocol extensions, such as transparency.
A modern XServer, currently based on XFree86 code. (http://freedesktop.org/Software/xorg). Some of the core XFree86 developers, fed up with the slow pace of development, (and later with the change of xfree86 license) created this fork. Also, another goal is to split up the code into more modular chunks (such as xlibs, some xclient programs, freetype, etc) as opposed to the massive monolithic xfree86 source tree.