posted by Eugenia Loli on Fri 21st Nov 2003 03:33 UTC
IconOSNews sent over to Sun Microsystems ten questions for a Q&A session with Sun's product team working on Java Desktop System. Read more for the full Q&A.

1. Which is the target market of Java Desktop System? To which consumers and/or businesses it is best suited for?

The target market for Sun's Java Desktop System includes companies and governments in emerging markets, small to medium business as well as larger enterprises. Our target market includes any company who want to lower the cost of managing their desktops; an easier and more straightforward licensing model; a more secure, less virus-prone desktop.

The target users for Sun's Java Desktop System includes knowledge workers and transactional workers. The Java Desktop System meets their needs with a familiar user interface and by providing a broad based of productivity applications from mail, calendar, office suite, browser, instant messaing and more.

2. What enhancements exactly the Gnome and XFree86 codebase has seen from Sun's JDS engineers as opposed to the vanilla versions?

Sun engineers are one of the major contributors to the GNOME project and have made it available not only for Java Desktop System, but also to all Solaris Users. Additional enhancements to GNOME from Sun's engineering team include accessibility, globalization and usability enhancements.

3. Which are the main differences of JDS when compared to SuSE, Red Hat or Mandrake Linux?

The following are the primary differentiators of the Java Desktop System:

- Enhanced familiarity for existing Desktop users, for instance users who are trained on Windows. This is done through a unified look and feel throughout the applications via the Blueprint theme as well as from using a well thought-out layout for the launch menus and desktop icons.

- Sun versions of the following applications:

* Java 1.4.2
* GNOME 2.2
* StarOffice 7.0
* Mozilla 1.4
* Evolution 1.4

4. JDS' desktop subsystem is to be ported on top of Solaris, we heard. When do you expect that this will happen? Will the Solaris version for AMD64 will sport the new GUI?

Many of the key components that make up JDS are already available for the Solaris OS, including the GNOME Desktop, the Mozilla browser, StarOffice, and Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition. However, we do intend to update these components and deliver a complete Java Desktop System for Solaris OS platforms in the second half of 2004.

5. Any estimated release of Looking Glass 2? What is its status? Will Sun work on a 3D-based X server similar to the techniques used on Longhorn or Apple's Mac OS X?

The Looking Glass 2 product team is working to define the requirements and deliverables, there is not a publically available release date. There are no plans for 3D-based X server at this time.

6. What is the release cycle of JDS like? How can administrators or users upgrade the system? Do you use SuSE's YaST2 to deliver updates online?

JDS is following a quarterly release schedule.

- Sun Java Desktop System, Update 1 introduces the following features
- System Administration tools for centralized application deployment and user configuration
- Online patch delivery
- Improved support for Chinese (both Simplified and Traditional)
- Korean language support
- Japanese language support

Q2CY2004: - Java Desktop System, Update 2 introduces the following features:
- Support for assistive technologies for people with disabilities
- Usability improvements
- Bug fixes
- Java Desktop System, Developer Edition

In the first release of Java Desktop System, system patches can be obtained online using the Sun Java Desktop Online Updater.

In the March release, whe the system management tools are available, administrators will use Sun's Control System to download from Sun and manage & deploy patches in their desktop environment.

7. Do you have plans on moving to kernel 2.6 any time soon after its release?

Moving to 2.6 is on our roadmap, but can not be disclosed at this time.

8. How's multimedia support on JDS? While JDS is enterprise software, many engineers... listen to mp3s at work, while marketing departments need support for Windows video formats that their advertisement dpts send over for approvals...

JDS has excellent support for multimedia, including the ability to play back MP3 audio. We include a CD Player utility as well as a Java Media Player capable of playing media in a variety of popular formats using the Java Media Framework -- see here. The popular RealPlayer utility is also included under license from RealNetworks.

9. Will JDS be sold to individuals? Will it be bundled with Sun or non-Sun PC hardware?

Yes, in December when the product is introduced and generally available, there will be a single user license for individuals and mulit user licenses for companies and governments. The December release does not include Sun bundled hardware, we are working closely with our hw OEM partners who will deliver the hardware components.

10. Once you said that you are going after Microsoft with JDS, and not after Red Hat, but what do you think of the recent Novell-SuSE merger? Does this have an impact on JDS' targets?

Sun has always believed in a strong and growing Unix/Linux marketplace because it provides greater open choices to customers. This move signals that the Linux market is consolidating much faster than anyone had ever predicted around two major Linux distributions: SuSE and Red Hat. It happens to leave Sun in a very compelling position since we provide customers terrific choices with our new low-end systems, which offer both Solaris x86 and a choice of Linux.

More importantly, as every vendor attempts to move 'upstack'to catch up with Sun's groundbreaking Java Enterprise System with its $100 per employee pricing model (and availability on both Solaris and Linux), we think this makes Sun the safest and most comprehensive choice today.

On the desktop, Sun's new Java Desktop System is clear and compelling choice for customers looking to save money and improve security of their enterprise clients. Sun's competitive position is strong because of its ability to deliver better choices end to end from server to desktop.

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