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What is CDE?

The Common Desktop Environment (CDE) desktop is an interactive graphical user interface jointly developed by IBM, HP, Sun, and Novell for open systems. The desktop is a rich and intuitive user interface based on X11 release 5 and OSF/Motif 1.2. It is designed for enterprise computing and scales across a variety of platforms, appealing to a wide range of users from novice to expert.

CDE targets three key audiences: the end user, the system administrator, and the application developer.

End users are presented with an easy to use interface, with emphasis on common look, feel, and behavior. The desktop is both visually appealing and highly customizable. Extensive online help has been provided to aid users in familiarizing themselves with the desktop in minimal time.

System administrators will appreciate CDE's integrated approach to accessing applications, whether they reside locally or on a remote host. CDE is also easy to setup and configure, with most of the setup handled by tools which come packaged with the desktop. Applications can be served from systems that do not have CDE installed.

Application developers will find application integration to be straight forward and painless. An application developer's toolkit comes standard with CDE 1.0 on AIX. The toolkit includes libraries, custom widgets, header files, and application building tools. The desktop also supports existing X Windows, OSF/Motif, and OPENLOOK applications.

The scope of the desktop is pretty broad, and encompasses core services as well as productivity tools and applications. The base support covers areas such as window management, file management, customization, and online help. Advanced programming services for inter-application communication include messaging, drag/drop, data interchange, and session and workspace management.

More details on the nuts and bolts of the desktop.

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