posted by Eugenia Loli on Wed 2nd Jun 2004 03:13 UTC
IconSun introduced recently the second version of Java Desktop System (JDS) for a flat fee per employee/per year. We tried it and here is what we found out about:

Click for a larger version Basically, very few things have changed in the client version of JDS. The desktop and installation looks very much the same as it did a few months ago. The installation has a few bugs: a) some strings haven't been converted to "Sun JDS" from "SuSE Linux", b) Evolution and gnome-user-docs packages are stalling during installation because of the misbehaving 'scrollkeeper-in' process that takes 99% of the CPU and needs killing to continue (same bug as on JDS1) and c) when trying to edit a user's groups the font representing the groups is unreadable.

After you've installed the system from its three CDs, the Gnome 2.2 desktop comes up (with a few gnome apps upgraded to 2.4 status) and it looks very similar to how it used to look before. Star Office 7-update2 is there, Mozilla 1.4.1 is there, Evolution 1.4.x and Gnomemeeting 0.98 are there too.

And then the big boom: JDS2 has the same bug as JDS 1 and the previous SuSE Linuxes had: some RealTek revisions won't work because of the patches used on the Sun/SuSE modified kernel. Some Sun engineers emailed me about it the last time I mentioned that, but the problem is just not resolved (the card is fully compatible with Linux and all the other 10-15 Linux distros/versions I have tried it on have worked fine). Inetd is up, the driver module is up properly, but there is no network functionality, not even when trying to ping my neighbor PC through IP. I am pretty sure that if Sun had moved to kernel 2.6 the patches used would be different enough to not trouble the RealTek driver, but it seems that Sun didn't even bother upgrading their 2.4 kernel above 2.4.19 (same as in JDS1 months ago). Bah.

Click for a larger version And then there was the Mozilla resize problem. Now, that is a new bug only on JDS2: resizing the Mozilla 1.4 window to become bigger works great, resizing it to making it smaller it stalls. Other applications don't have the particular problem, only Mozilla does (however refreshing of any window while resizing is not done in acceptable intervals, giving the feeling that the operation is slow in general).

And then it was the fact that after you left the JDS2 untouched for a few minutes and it would go to the mode of screensaver-locking the monitor would re-sync itself over and over again (making the same mechanical sound as it was changing resolution or refresh rate, but it wasn't really).

And then there is Nautilus. Sun does a mediocre job automounting all devices/partitions on "This Computer" Nautilus view: someone tell me the logic behind naming a partition as "Disk (3)" (while it is hda2) and when double clicking into it it, it gets renamed as "data 1". Honestly, that's confusing as hell.

But there are more problems: for example, navigating to "data1" partition, which is nothing but my Slackware (also kernel 2.4.x and ReiserFS-based), Nautilus would misbehave: click on any file on my personal folder (/data1/home/eugenia/) and they would dissapear from Nautilus! Thankfully the files were not getting deleted (I almost got a heart attack for a second or two), they were just dissapearing from the Nautilus view. Refreshing the folder would show again all files until you simply select a file and it would dissapear again. I don't remember seeing this bug occuring on JDS1.

As for the sharing options on folders, the UI is terrible (check screenshot). Usability is ranking zero in the 3 dialogs when trying to create a new samba share on a selected folder.

Table of contents
  1. "Sun JDS2 review, Page 1/2"
  2. "Sun JDS2 review, Page 2/2"
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