Home > Oracle and SUN > NewsForge: First look at Sun’s New Desktop NewsForge: First look at Sun’s New Desktop Eugenia Loli 2003-09-17 Oracle and SUN 35 Comments Chris Gulker is offering a first look of Sun’s new desktop OS, dubbed “Java Desktop System”, for NewsForge. Yesterday, OSNews also published its first impressions on the Linux-based OS. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 35 Comments 2003-09-17 6:42 am Since OSNews chose this review, you know it has some Microsoft slant to it, but anyway, Sun could be on the verge of breaking a chunk off of the Monopoly. I agree though, I would like to know more about the ‘Java’ parts of this product. 2003-09-17 7:34 am Maybe the ‘Java’ puzzle means that vendors like IBM, Oracle, Novell, will be able to have equal opportunity to compete with their middleware solution technology using Java on this platform where as this is not possible on the Microsoft platform. Java is also a bridge between this platform and Solaris. 2003-09-17 7:51 am OSNews==Microsoft.slant ? Somehow, I think I missed the memo. I’d say this site is very even handed though I wish they’d be a little more happy about OS X, but that’s just me. I can’t think of a single OS they treat unfairly. 2003-09-17 7:52 am Is their going to be a free download of this new OS??? 2003-09-17 7:58 am Were his examples bad because he is not writing clearly, is he not qualified to compare, or is this slanted? “Cut and paste worked just about everywhere I tried, though some of the open source apps behave a bit differently from the more uniform Star Office 7 applications. For example, terminal windows treat Control-C differently than Star Office Writer, but an average office worker will never see a terminal window.” If you open a windows command prompt, Control-C has the same actions. You must use a context menu to copy/paste. Did anyone notice other such flaws in the preview? Mutiny 2003-09-17 8:02 am I don’t think that the Java Desktop System will be very expensive, probably only about $100 or so, and if that’s the case than it’s about the same as any distribution charges. It might be worth it, but I was looking forward to the 2.6 kernel more than anything. 2003-09-17 8:03 am I read the last comment made on that article and the guy does raise some damned interesting points with regard the whole “cheep compared to M$” spin they’re putting on this. If a large company were to deploy this system and the required servers (assuming they don’t have sun equipment beforehand) then this little settup is going to be exorbitantly expensive. Whatever happened to the whole idea of buying an OS or application and then buy the next one when it comes out? Renting software just wont work in this day and age, not while beancounters control the purse strings at least. Even Joe public tends to shy away from such things unless their is no alternative. Seems people like bargains and dislike being ripped off… odd that… As the poster said, all this does is make OpenSource look that much more appealing in comparason. The giants are becomming so big as to be unsupportable, something that doesn’t just afflict the IT industry, the media industry too suffers largely because of this.. But mostly we suffer because of it, be it through work through stress of having to deal with the crap that gets sold as software these days, or through our pockets at home when we go to join the information revolution. 2003-09-17 8:09 am With regard to OSNews being slanted, lets put it this way. I’ve been attending this website for one year and now I’m practically a China man. Renting the product (platform) is correct. Great to see people are thinking. With Microsoft you don’t own your product (platform), you rent it, because it is not open source. Think about this however. It appears that a vendor who has an organizational structure that performs R&D might ‘have to’ lock in their customers, however IF it is done through ‘middleware’ than there can be lock-in but also fair competition since the ‘platform’ is open source, no single vendor can maintain control of the platform and by the same token, vendors can lock-in customers, but customers will have a choice of what middleware provider to use. 2003-09-17 8:10 am “For example, terminal windows treat Control-C differently than Star Office Writer, but an average office worker will never see a terminal window.” This is a little unfair! Have you tried copy and paste shortcuts in Windows command (even on 2003) it doesn’t work either! Plus it only ever copies about 100 words in (really annoying for those long filenames). 2003-09-17 8:11 am …And I’m talking about business customers. 2003-09-17 8:27 am It’s actually amazing that Sun can come out of nowhere with a new operating system, and not only that, it’s the best operating system there is because it’s a platform rather than a product. I’m not sure why Microsoft doesn’t do the same thing, because they could let customers decide which platform to use rather than fencing them in tighter and tighter. IF Microsoft used an open source ‘platform’ than I might even be interested in purchasing their distribution (which like Sun’s Solaris would be compatible through Java/.Net to this open source platform). 2003-09-17 8:36 am I tried to watch their webcast yesterday using SuSE 8.2 and its default Mozilla configuration. Sun first presented test utilities to see that all plugins work ok and everything was working fine, RealPlayer running smoothly. But, by the time the real thing started, it never worked. Mozilla got stuck in “No RealPlayer detected” and refused to work. That was not convincing as Sun’s Java Desktop is based on SuSE 8.2 and they don’t get even their own streaming working. But perhaps their webcast was meant to be seen only in Windows. 2003-09-17 8:46 am The review is not on OSNews it is on Newsforge. Newsforge BTW is a extremely Linux oriented site and is anti-Microsoft. 2003-09-17 8:56 am Rental software is a solution to a planned problem. There are four good reasons to upgrade IMHO: 1. Added features (ones you really want) 2. Bug fixes (but good companies should supply bugfixes free of charge) 3. Major changes of the OS or hardware make an old version fail 4. To support a company you like Remember the Amiga? IFF or Interchange File Format was planned before the third parties ever started writing apps. Along with the graphics. sound and multitasking abilities, IFF was one of the great advances that caught peoples eye. IFF was a well planned out, open standard, way of writing files that any app could read and write. This promoted development of all types of applications and let people use what ever program or combination of programs suited them best. The problem was, in some cases, once you bought DPaintIV for example, DPaintV might not be something you were interested in. You could use DPIV for the rest of your life if you were happy with it. This type of business plan leads to an eventual slowdown in sales, followed by a steady revenue stream. Look at any emerging industry that eventually becomes stable. However, computer companies followed Microsoft’s lead with a different plan. The current trend is to change the file format with every version so that customers are forced to upgrade. This is purely a marketing plan. Comsumers are buying new versions in many cases simply because if anyone they do business with upgrades, they can no longer do business with them without the newer version. This is very flawed reasoning. The newer software is actually the broken version, yet consumers throw out working applications just in case. Rentals are simply a way to enforce the need to upgrade by paying in advance. Until consumers refuse to buy every new version of software that comes out and breaks compatibility this will not stop. Mutiny 2003-09-17 9:25 am True I suppose… They won’t do anything until enough people wise up to the fact that they’re being swindled… problem with that is that theres a fool born every minute… Here’s hoping one day though eh? 2003-09-17 9:28 am The fact that Microsoft or any R&D vendor that sells a closed platform can make changes that introduce compabililities into a line of software means that you are renting because you have not control. People could refuse to stop buying or even better, the platform could be open source, and therefore the control is decentralized. That is what we have here in the Java Desktop SYSTEM. The innovation of the platform does not come from Sun but it comes from the open source community. In addition, there is a level of lock-in but it is though middleware, not through control of the platform. Yet although businesses are locked into middleware they have a choice of provider (IBM, BEA, Oracle) or else the products Solaris or Windows. 2003-09-17 9:57 am The guy at Newsforge was able to get to Webmail and stuff, and didn’t think of taking a screenshot of what he was looking at. All us screenshot hungry people will be starving tonight Did he say it had the menu bar at the top? That is different than the Sun official screenshots right? 2003-09-17 10:37 am Strange. Among the plugins promised for Mozilla , they go on to say Mpeg 2 , 3 and 4. Where did they license that from?? Whatever , the prospects are yummy…. Check out http://wwws.sun.com/software/javadesktopsystem/details.html 2003-09-17 11:40 am Java is opensource? Where is the Sun Community Source License (SCSL) on the following website? http://www.opensource.org/licenses/ It’s nice they let you look at sourcecode, but if you start calling that opensource, then there’s almost no limit to what you can label opensource. 2003-09-17 11:46 am The big question I wanna raise is whether it’s possible to use the Java Desktop on Solaris so no Linux boxes is needed? I can see why they chose Linux as they have already received huge amount of publicity, but why not just use this desktop on top of Solaris??? Or maybe they already offer the same stuff on Solaris for the same prize? Any one know anything? 2003-09-17 12:10 pm …Solaris is closed, and Linux is open source. If you mix the two you will get a violent chemical reaction. 2003-09-17 12:24 pm Scox doesn’t have the technical expertise to defend itself against the open source community. It doesn’t even know the origin of it’s own code that it is basing it’s lawsuit on. The code has been published in text books for for Christ’s sake. I think that the computer industry has already decided the fate of SCO, and it’s just for the comics. 2003-09-17 1:23 pm little light on the details, however, here is something tasty: http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104_2-5077619.html?tag=zdnnfd.main “Sun has signed up 10 customers so far, including publisher World Book, (a financial services company with 5,800 employees) and a telecommunications company with 36,000 employees, MacRunnels said. About 90 companies have approached Sun for price quotes, she added.” Funny, for an “ugly” and “usable desktop”, they’ve already grabbed a decent number of significant companies. Compare that to Microsoft’s cases, like “Dollar Car” or that cut price air line, nice, tell me when Budget, Avis, Europecar, Virgin (which is a big Linux customer), Qantus, Air NZ, Singapore Airlines (aka, the flying bank) or Luftansa start using .NET then I’ll be “wowed”. When telstra move over, there will yet another 30,000 desktops added. So lets look at the benchmark. By the end of this year we’ll have close to 100,000 people migrating to Java Desktop thanks to SUN. Could someone please point out what IBM, HP or Dell have done to improve Linux on the desktop? where is Lotus Smart Suite? Lotus Note Client? Websphere Development tools? I think it is time for the anti-SUN naysayers to suck it in and accept that SUN has done alot more to bring Linux forward as a desktop solution that what the lipservice crew; IBM, HP and Dell, have done over the last several years. 2003-09-17 1:54 pm “That was not convincing as Sun’s Java Desktop is based on SuSE 8.2 and they don’t get even their own streaming working.” Your statement is pretty fallacious. “based on SuSE 8.2” is already suffcient to say that Sun’s use of SuSE could be very different from your own, and they are probably less likely to leave things unconfigured or misconfigured than individual users are. 2003-09-17 1:54 pm I think CooCooCaChoo is correct. If Java Desktop System works out, we may have some apps ported to Linux. Fingers crossed. 2003-09-17 2:14 pm I think CooCooCaChoo is correct. If Java Desktop System works out, we may have some apps ported to Linux. Fingers crossed. Well, I am looking forward. I don’t see Microsoft sycophants such as Adobe or Macromedia porting their stuff to Java Desktop System however, I do see a possibility for the likes of MYOB offering a Linux version of their product. MYOB being the most popular accounting package with +85% of the Australian market. It now pisses the anti-SUN crowd even more by the fact that SUN has relised that it is not only the large but the little things that count. Mozilla and plugins that work properly, good multi-media support, easy to use Office Suite and so forth. As for the GNOME Desktop, it will be coming to Solaris x86 and Solaris SPARC so as they say, “watch this space”. SUN will now have an end-to-end, unified desktop, from their uber-ultimate server right down to their desktop offerings. What I would like to see, however, is SUN get Crossover Office to be ported to Solaris x86 so that Solaris x86 customers can also use Photoshop, Lotus Notes and Quicken directly from Solaris. 2003-09-17 2:22 pm Solaris has been my main desktop/file-serving OS for some time now and I don’t see that changing. This new design looks to take leaps and bounds in terms of usability and it’d be nice to see it accepted further on the corporate desktop now that the days of GNOME 1.4 and CDE are behind us. Sun’s new commitment to drivers on Solaris x86 should certainly speed this along. I love the SUNInstall method but some would (probably) argue that the process could be simplified somewhat. Cheers to Sun! 2003-09-17 2:31 pm Adobe and Macromedia won’t bring their apps to Linux until the Linux desktop stops being such a mess. Period. That’s the only thing stopping me using Linux full time. 2003-09-17 2:43 pm “Adobe and Macromedia won’t bring their apps to Linux until the Linux desktop stops being such a mess. Period. That’s the only thing stopping me using Linux full time.” Please explain ? 2003-09-17 2:49 pm “Adobe and Macromedia won’t bring their apps to Linux until the Linux desktop stops being such a mess. Period. That’s the only thing stopping me using Linux full time.” Please explain ? <AOL>ME TOO<AOL> I would love to know “the mess” that apparently exists. I am Joe developer, who do I target? SuSE and Red Hat. They are the two largest linux vendors, that is who you target. It is no different to a developer choosing to target Windows 2000/XP instead of the whole Windows line. If you are Adobe and Macromedia, there is nothing stopping you from teaming up with SUN, and BUNDLING Java Desktop System with the software title! That is the exact move Corel did with their Linux offerings, putting aside that Wordperfect Suite really sucked on Linux, the idea of bundling a “lite” version of their operating system with software package introduced many people to their “flavour” of Linux and then spurred them onto buying the “deluxe” version. 2003-09-17 3:25 pm For most people Microsoft is as good as God 2003-09-17 3:33 pm I run both XP and Linux, no problems with either. I run openoffice and mozilla on both. Why do I need this mad-mcnealy product? 2003-09-17 5:35 pm MS still holds a choke on major pc manufacturer like HP and Dell. These vendors are still reluctant to sell linux bundle pcs to home users since MS still threatens them. Linux bundle pcs with openoffice is $ 200 cheaper than windoze bundle office pc and linux desktop is stable and you dont have apply patches every day with reboot it keeps running no more blue screen of death. MS tenticles are very where when it comes to pc manufacturers they even are bribing some of them this makes the inroad of the linux desktop even more harder. MS is a monopoly that should be broken up. Windoze with all the bugs and security holes amazes me that windoze is not banned . MS is making OS for 16 years and they are still crap. 2003-09-18 12:46 am Although I don’t think that Sun is the best company for Linux I tend to agree that they did help Linux a lot. Which makes their anti-Linux actions so strange and reeking of jealousy and spite. Don’t you find it odd that they would say the things they do about Linux and then turn around to use it for their platform? What are they thinking? But we probably already know… 2003-09-18 4:08 am Although I don’t think that Sun is the best company for Linux I tend to agree that they did help Linux a lot. Which makes their anti-Linux actions so strange and reeking of jealousy and spite. Don’t you find it odd that they would say the things they do about Linux and then turn around to use it for their platform? Interesting you bring that up considering: 1) SUN was the first to refer to Linux as a UNIX, before the IBM and HP tag alongs jumped on the gravy train. 2) What anti-Linux tirades? all they have said is that they don’t believe Linux has what it takes for the datacentre. Linux for desktops, small business servers and blades was a-ok. 3) SUN employees were using Linux before it became fashionable. Back in 1998/1999 Linux was viewed by SUN has a UNIX operating system for those who either needed a low cost solution OR wanted to learn UNIX without the need to shell out hundreds of dollars. It was never seen as some sort of “spawn of satan” as the case with Microsoft and Linux. 4) SUN is the ONLY company willing to put their reputation on the line promoting an integrated Linux desktop solution for the enterprise. When was the last time you heard IBM, HP or Dell openly speak of Linux being used for the desktop? it seems that these companies are more willing to cosie up to Microsoft than willing to stand out from the crowd and be an individual. 5) Linux doesn’t scale well, even Linus, the “god father” of Linux admits that it chokes on SMP configurations over 8 CPU’s, however, that is not to say that 2.6 or 2.8 will correct those problems. SUN’s comments always refer to the NOW not the TOMORROW and what COULD possibly happen.