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DeveloperWorks: Connect KDE apps using D-BUS

Jul 30, 2004, 17:02 (6 Talkback[s])

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D-BUS is an up-and-coming message bus and activation system that is set to achieve deep penetration in the Linux® desktop. Learn why it was created, what it can be used for, and where it is going.

D-BUS is essentially an implementation of inter-process communication (IPC). However, several features distance D-BUS from the stigma of being "Yet Another IPC Implementation." The reason that there are so many different IPC implementations is that they each aim to solve a particular well-defined problem. CORBA is a powerful solution for complex IPC in object-orientation programming. DCOP is a lighter IPC framework, with less power, but is well integrated into the K Desktop Environment. SOAP and XML-RPC are designed for Web services, and so use HTTP as the transport protocol. D-BUS was designed for desktop application and OS communication.

Desktop application communication

The typical desktop has multiple applications running, and they often need to talk to each other. DCOP is a solution for KDE, but it is tied to Qt, and so is not used in other desktop environments. Similarly, Bonobo is a solution for GNOME, but it is quite heavy, being based on CORBA. It is also tied to GObject, so it is not used outside of GNOME. D-BUS aims to replace DCOP and Bonobo for simple IPC and to integrate these two desktop environments. Because the dependencies for D-BUS are kept as small as possible, other applications that would like to use D-BUS don't have to worry about bloating dependencies.

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