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CDE (Common Desktop Environment)

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The CDE is a graphical user interface for UNIX environments that was developed as a cooperative effort by members of The Open Group. CDE provides a user interface for UNIX systems that could be compared to the Microsoft Windows user interface. It also provides a common programming environment for developing off-the-shelf software that works across different vendors' versions of the operating system. Originally, CDE was jointly developed and licensed by Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Novell, and SunSoft. CDE is an important feature of Sun's Solaris operating system.

The Open Group was created in 1996 by the merger of X/Open and the Open Software Foundation. It provides a focal point for the development of international standard, advanced open systems research, and the management of an internationally recognized brand for open systems. For example, Microsoft turned its ActiveX specifications over to the group, and in 1996 the group took over custodianship for the X Window System technology. See "Open Group" for more information.

CDE supports end users, developers, and administrators with a consistent and customizable interface. The consistent interface simplifies software development and marketing. CDE also helps network administrators control desktops throughout the enterprise. It incorporates the Motif 2.1 application programming interface and additional interfaces for programming desktop services, as well as the X Window System. CDE also include a multimedia e-mail facility, Web browser, and an array of desktop tools.

The source code is available for evaluation, or you can purchase the full-distribution source code from The Open Group direct at 1-800-268-5245, or send e-mail to

Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.
All rights reserved under Pan American and International copyright conventions.