Sun offers Gnome test drive for Solaris users

Sun releases an early version of the Gnome desktop for the Solaris operating environment, SPARC and Intel Architecture Editions
Written by Peter Galli, Contributor

Continuing its drive to promote the Gnome desktop, Sun Microsystems today issued a preview release of Gnome 1.4 for its Solaris 8 operating environment.

The release, entitled "Exploring the Gnome Desktop", is available for free download at www.sun.com/gnome or on a CD for $9.95 plus shipping.

Leila Chucri, a product line manager at Sun, said this was "an introductory software package designed to allow workstation and Internet customers to test drive, explore, and evaluate an early version of the Gnome desktop for the Solaris operating environment, SPARC and Intel Architecture Editions."

Sun's adoption of Gnome underscores its commitment to open systems strategies that benefit its enterprise customers, Chucri added.

Sun is making significant contributions to the Gnome (GNU Network Object Model Environment) project and is collaborating with other key industry players, including Red Hat, Ximian and Hewlett-Packard, to ensure it becomes the leading desktop for Unix and GNU-Linux-based systems, she said.

Last August Sun said it would adopt Gnome 2.x as a standard component and future user environment for Solaris. Although Gnome 2.x will not be available until mid-2002, Chucri said Sun is making available "this unsupported distribution of Gnome 1.4 that we have built and packaged."

She added that "the recently released Gnome 1.4 (allows) our customers to familiarize themselves with the advanced capabilities of Gnome and begin formulating plans for moving to this new desktop."

Gnome 1.4 employs an intuitive desktop interface that enables users to easily locate and access files and applications, manage workspaces and run a broad range of software, Chucri said.

It also includes several new client software applications and technologies, including the Nautilus file manager with its new user interface, which makes it easier to organize and find local or remote files, she said.

Nautilus also has built-in Web browsing capabilities and support for WebDAV, which allows for collaborative editing and management of files on remote Web servers. Gnome-VFS, a virtual file system that provides an abstraction to common file system operations like reading, writing, copying and listing files, is also included, as is Bonobo, a CORBA-based technology that facilitates the creation of reusable software components and enables rapid creation of custom applications.

GConf, a configuration management system, also simplifies the handling of system and user preferences, particularly in networked environments, she said.

Among the advantages of Gnome 1.4 is that it has been designed "from the ground up" for tight integration with the network and the Internet, enabling easy access to global information, Chucri said.

In addition, Solaris users will be able to run CDE, the current desktop for the Solaris operating environment, and Java applications seamlessly, she said.

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