The structure and objectives of the upcoming Desktop Linux Consortium (DLC) are emerging, with its formation committee having set itself a 90-day deadline.
Board membership and the organisation's charter will be determined by the founding companies during the gestation period.
The non-profit trade organisation will raise funds from annual membership fees, but stressed that these will be set at "varying levels of financial participation, with varying associated benefits".
The DLC interim chairman is Jeremy White, chief executive at CodeWeavers, which specialises in making core Windows applications run on Linux.
White explained that the initial goal of the DLC is to "amplify the depth, breadth and speed of Linux adoption in the enormous desktop computer market".
Most of the leading Linux software companies, with the notable exception of Red Hat, are represented on the committee. Among these are KDE, MandrakeSoft, SuSE, Debian, OpenOffice.org, Samba, Xandros and Ximian.
Andy Butler, an analyst at Gartner Dataquest, said: "There's no doubt that the Linux market needs this because it hasn't grouped itself to go after the market in a big way.
"The commercial user is not technical by and large. He would contemplate a Linux desktop if it gave a rich graphical user interface experience and a pretty well ubiquitous portfolio of products."
He explained that there is a growing number of users who would contemplate a Linux desktop but are usually frightened away by a limited software portfolio and poor quality management tools.
Butler suggested that it is no surprise that IBM and Hewlett Packard, which also support Microsoft, are missing from the list of DLC members.
"They go to great pains to produce software that avoids conflict with Windows, so they will struggle to support this," he said.
Planned group initiatives include trade shows, conferences and DLC-sponsored public relations programmes.
Full details can be found at the official DLC website (here).
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