Questions and Answers. As posed by the Cairo community.

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What is Cairo?

Cairo is a desktop environment for Windows. Currently in the alpha stages, our goal is to develop a desktop experience that increases productivity and advances current technology standards. With a focus on stability, performance, and productivity, Cairo aims to deliver an interface that exceeds expectations and delivers superior ease of use.

What is a Windows shell?

Cairo is a Windows shell. A shell is an environment for your computer that allows you to browse files, launch applications, and interact with your computer. The current Windows shell is the 'Start' menu, the taskbar, and if you have Windows Vista, the translucent window borders.

What operating system(s) are supported?

Cairo will fully support Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Windows Vista at the time of release. Support for Windows XP will not begin until the 7 and Vista versions are complete and relatively bug free. The rationale behind this decision is due in part that 7 is a newer operating system and is the environment of choice for future software development and compatibility.

I installed Cairo on XP but it does not work. Why?

Cairo is not officially supported on Windows XP, however some users have had success. Please be sure you have .NET 3.5 installed.

How do I install Cairo?

Cairo will install with an executable file (.exe) when released to the public. It will close the default Windows shell (explorer.exe) and load itself in the background. Once installed, Cairo will guide the user through a quick and easy configuration process and be ready to use in less than fifteen minutes.

Will Cairo be free?

Cairo will be freeware, which means we will not require a fee for using our software. However, Cairo is closed source and not available for duplication.

How can I donate to Cairo?

As a freeware project, users who would like to support Cairo may do so by donating any monetary amount. All donations are greatly appreciated and help us keep Cairo a free project and negate our expenses. You may click here to donate.

What are the system requirements?

Cairo is being built with performance and stability in mind. The recommended system requirements have not yet been determined. Nevertheless, if you can run Windows XP or Windows Vista well, Cairo will most likely run smoothly.

What are the benefits of Cairo?

Cairo offers many enhancements over the typical Windows environment. Many of these may be found on our homepage. They include desktop file browsing, accessibility, and application enhancements.

Does Cairo come with a software license?

Cairo will come with a custom software license that must be accepted to install. The details of this license have not been determined, however users will be allowed to install Cairo on multiple systems provided that they do not sell Cairo for profit, reverse-engineer or duplicate Cairo, or use Cairo in any way which might damage or otherwise negatively impact the Cairo Developers.

Will Cairo hurt my computer or replace important system files?

Cairo will not replace any system files or cause any damage to your hardware or files. Cairo will be removable through the Control Panel under Add/Remove Programs.

What languages will be supported?

Cairo will support Unicode or similar methods to allow for language customization. The primary language will be English, with support for Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese/Japanese/Korean and others coming later. Language support will be dependent upon community input and involvement.

How do I build a plugin for Cairo?

Cairo will allow for the use of plugins, enabling users to fully customize their experience. Cairo developers hope to release a plugin SDK/API set in the future. All plugins will require Cairo testing and validation to ensure stability and performance and will become available through our website downloads.

When will Cairo be out of the alpha and beta stages?

The first Cairo alpha was released January 15, 2009 to private testers. While Cairo is still in its infancy, we have made great progress on features and stability. At this time, we have no date set for our 1.0 release.

Last updated: September 22, 2009