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Google Gadgets for Linux appears

Until now, Gadgets--the mini applications that can be placed anywhere on the desktop--have only been available on Windows and Mac.

Google has announced the first release of Google Gadgets for Linux.

Google Desktop has been available for some time now on the Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. Until now, however, Google Gadgets--mini applications that can be placed anywhere on the desktop--have been available only on Windows and Mac. Jim Zhuang, of Google's software-engineering team, announced the first Linux version on Tuesday.

"Since releasing Google Desktop for Linux, we've added almost all of our most requested features, like 64-bit support and the ability to search applications and documents. All (but for) one major exception: Desktop Gadgets," Zhuang wrote on the company's open-source blog. "Gadget support is not just a single feature, but rather an entire platform for miniature applications. It's a complex undertaking, but we're now putting the finishing touches on the product."

Zhuang invited developers to view the source code for the entire project.

"For Gadgets for Linux, we don't just want to simply release the final offering, but we also want to give everyone a chance to tinker with the code powering the gadgets," he wrote. "For this project, fostering a transparent and lively developer community is just as important as serving our users."

Google Gadgets for Linux are compatible with those written for Google Desktop for Windows and the "Universal Gadgets" on iGoogle. Therefore, according to the company, "a large library of existing gadgets (is) immediately available to Linux users, (and) gadget developers will benefit from a much larger potential user base without having to learn a new API."

The downloadable application includes the gadget library and a host program to allow users to run the gadgets on the desktop. Hosts are available for both GTK+ and Qt. The project is open-sourced under the Apache License.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.