Home > Oracle and SUN > First Look: Java Desktop System 2 First Look: Java Desktop System 2 Submitted by Jem Matzan 2004-05-21 Oracle and SUN 52 Comments Linux.com has a review of Sun’s second release of their GNU/Linux-based Java Desktop System. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 52 Comments 2004-05-21 8:40 pm That sounds like a frustrating experience. I’m suprised he went through as much as he did to get it fixed. 2004-05-21 8:45 pm It doesn’t sound like he got it fixed. What a shame, really. 2004-05-21 9:06 pm 4 systems and only only one worked (but worked only in safe mode). Ouch!!! But that’s very strange. JDS is based on Suse. 2004-05-21 9:25 pm Not only did I not get it fixed, but I never received a response from the support request. They were supposed to get back to me within one business day, and it’s been more than that. I can’t say that I blame them though; what are they going to do, send me a disc with a newer kernel on it? In regards to JDS2 being based on SuSE, it is… SuSE 8.1. That was released more than a year and a half ago, and it used the 2.4.19 kernel. The 2.4 branch is in maintenance mode, for cryin’ out loud — the rest of the GNU/Linux world is coming out with 2.6-based distros, and Sun’s still fiddling with 2.4.19? It has no SATA support, no support for 8X AGP (this was likely the cause of my display problem), no support for lots of things that have been standard on IA32 and AMD64 motherboards for the past four generations. -Jem 2004-05-21 9:26 pm “JDS is based on Suse. ” very old version. prehistoric actually considering the growth of linux 2004-05-21 9:37 pm It’d be interesting to see if you had the same problems on non-home-brew computers. While SuSE 8.1 should work just fine (it did on my home-brew, back in the day), Sun might have tested more throughly (read: at all) on Dells, IBMs, etc.. How are you supposed to read PDF files on a CD if you can’t even get the system working? Easy, put the CD in a different machine in your PC rollout room. What? You only have one PC available to you? unfortunately you’re not the target audience. While for Joe home user a manual is nice, for someone who has dozens, or hundredss of machines every manual sent is wasted space. Sun doesn’t bother even with paper manuals for their big hardware, either. 2004-05-21 9:38 pm I’ve seen poor reviews but this is diabolical. I think we can safely say that Sun is no good at desktops. A terribly put together distro, 60 days of support or $40 per incident for no help whatsoever. We’ve also got a terribly out of date Linux distro. Sun need to decide whether they are going with Linux or Solaris. If they try and do both then no one will use either. Is this really the desktop they’re trying to pitch to governments, the NHS and more than half a million seats in China? Bye, bye Sun. 2004-05-21 9:51 pm I also found it really weird to see all those old versions when installing JDS. It seems to be based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 though (United Linux), not SUSE 8.1 although it comes the nearest to SUSE 8.1 when adding extra software. (I was able to install the KDE from SUSE 8.1 without dependency issues, other SUSE versions had lots.) On my comp the installation worked perfectly (which could pretty much be expected though since SUSE 7.3, 8.0, 8.1 (and all later versions too of course) also ran without problems). Other than that, the distro seems to be pretty good. I personally like the theme they use and the package selection they include seems to be perfect for businesses. I also think it is really nice to see Novell (with SUSE->IBM) and Sun cooperating. 2004-05-21 11:02 pm I don’t know why you guys are so suprised. I mean, it is called the Java Desktop System… I’m so sorry. But you just can’t reset something like that. 2004-05-21 11:07 pm Sun’s still fiddling with 2.4.19? It has no SATA support, no support for 8X AGP You seen to have missed the point. This is meant to replace Windows on computers in government offices and that kind of situations. You know those things still running Windows NT? I wonder how many desktop computers at your local hospital have SATA drives. I’m betting none. How about AGP 8X? Even less. On older computers will 2.6 offer much? Even if it does it won’t be much (though increase in UI resposive would be nice). I’m also guessing that JDS won’t be shipping with NVIDIA drivers either. This are meant for practically dumb terminals. The fact that you can’t get it installed on your hardware is worrysome, but the issues you raise are moot. 2004-05-21 11:20 pm Quite the contrary; I understand the purpose of JDS2 well enough. But your argument doesn’t hold water… only supporting old hardware is a business plan that is bound for failure because it provides no upgrade path. If you want to get newer hardware you can’t because JDS2 doesn’t support it. You’re locked into old machines. What if one breaks? You can’t replace it with a new one and use the same OS. Not that you could necessarily do that with WinNT, but why bother to repeat the same dilemma with a different OS? Why not just get a more modern GNU/Linux operating system that supports more hardware (ergo more diverse machines) and has a better upgrade path? JDS2 doesn’t make any sense, except if it’s your only choice for a Korean/Chinese/Japanese/Portuguese-language environment. I don’t know what the situation is with that. -Jem 2004-05-21 11:31 pm sun is a little slow, and now people are saying sun is dieing again, well IBM is dieing too then. I personally feel that they should move the desktop onto Solaris… relying on old SuSE is stupid. Why would sun even use linux when they have Solaris anyway? Anyway, I bet they are making money at this… The JAVA brand is strong and they are exploiting its power for profit. Watch the quarterly profit rise. Again, this might just be something that sun will improve on and eventually make good. But for a multi-BILLION dollar company.. this must be kinda embarassing… considering all the othe premium, great software that they have 2004-05-21 11:59 pm >> But that’s very strange. JDS is based on Suse. What’s so strange about that? I’ve personally never seen SuSE in action because it always freezes each and every system on which I’m trying to install it. (and with ‘freezes’ I mean really badly freezing everything in the system, nothing works anymore, just the reset button) 2004-05-22 12:03 am Sun JDS started to be a nice addition to commercial Linux, but this 2 version really blew it based on this review. I like to see more reviews on JDS 2 before it can be officially called a bust. But it’s sure heading there. 2004-05-22 12:53 am I’m quite certain that JDS is meant to be upgraded yearly so they’ll get around- once you’ll have to scour to find IDE harddrives and SATA start making it into their target market. Personally I thinks it’s like complaining that a desktop OS is optimized for multiple CPUs. Sure some power users may want it but it’s not necessary for the majority (and thats where the money lies), so I’d say (just an out-of-my-ass number) that the said said Desktop OS (c) has 5 years before multiple core desktops become an issue and thats plenty of time to hack something together. Likewise for Sun and SATA and AGP 8x. Remember this is a desktop, quality really doesn’t matter that much. 2004-05-22 12:57 am As per the previous posting by Tim, it does seem strange that JDS is using the Suse OS. I don’t understand why JDS hasn’t yet been ported to the Solaris environment on x86 and on SPARC. Now that Suse is owned by Novell, it makes even less sense to bankroll your competitors. I’ll pass on JDS until it runs on Solaris and this review just confirms the need for Sun to stick to its knitting. 2004-05-22 2:46 am Yeah, but this way the get to ride the Linux hype. Even if it was based on FreeBSD they would take flak. Linux is a buzzword, and whether it’s the best tool for the job or not it’s got free advertising. After all if this was just anotherversion of Solaris who would be talking about it now? Nope. Marketing brings profit, Linux brings interests and brings credibility. Mystery solved. 2004-05-22 3:03 am Sun mentioned to me that their target market was very interested in an environment based on “open source technology” — referring to GNU/Linux. So yes, it’s likely that they’re using the SuSE base as a marketing tactic. From a usability standpoint it doesn’t matter if you’ve got SuSE or Solaris under the hood as long as GNOME looks the same and you have all of the same programs. I guess it’s easier to sell “Linux” though. For now anyway. -Jem 2004-05-22 3:10 am Silliness. I commented about the accents because they showed that Sun sold their support obligations to the lowest bidder, which means they outsourced it to wherever it was cheapest and easiest. No matter what country you live in, the best support is local support. When your software doesn’t work and you need support, you don’t want to talk to someone that you can’t understand — you may as well hang up the phone and stop wasting time. All I got from the Indian support guy was that I needed to use the email support system first. That was less than half of what he said, but I had neither the patience nor the inclination to ask him to repeat himself. When someone does not speak the language that you do very well, it is very difficult to communicate with them. Over the phone it’s even worse. Proper communication is essential to good customer service. -Jem 2004-05-22 3:58 am What I think you’re failing to realise is this; the average working environment does use the level of hardware you have. The average working environment is still using, in some cases, PIII’s, some early P4’s, possibly with USB1, 100/10 Ethernet and if extremely lucky, UltraDMA ATA 66 controllers with cheap 810 integrated video cards. That is the target market for SUN, the AUS$1000 business machine market which JDS would work on. Regarding the support issue; never had an issue with SUN technical support in Australia or New Zealand (same goes for Apple), all local people, in the case of Australia, IIRC the call centre is located up in Sydney. Infact, the only time I’ve ever had technical support issues was with Microsoft, and the calls being sent to America, with some person on the end who couldn’t understand a New Zealand accent. I eventually gave up and told her to put me through to their UK support desk, sure enough, I *finally*, after much frustration, got a person who was able to understand my accent. 2004-05-22 4:31 am I commented about the accents because they showed that Sun sold their support obligations to the lowest bidder, which means they outsourced it to wherever it was cheapest and easiest. No matter what country you live in, the best support is local support. When your software doesn’t work and you need support, you don’t want to talk to someone that you can’t understand — you may as well hang up the phone and stop wasting time. All I got from the Indian support guy was that I needed to use the email support system first. That was less than half of what he said, but I had neither the patience nor the inclination to ask him to repeat himself. Your attitude is apalling. I have had many bad experiences with American Support Agents, should I brand all American support reps as idiots. Are you saying that american phone reps are better? May be you should tell me why I need to call atleast three times to get any thing done right with american support agents from my wireless phone provider, insurance customer service, cable company etc, etc. Do you know how many times American reps (sometimes with heavy southern accents) can’t understand the simplest instructions in english? How is a strong southern accent is any better than a scottish accent or indian accent. By the way you mentioned accent, not language comprehension. When someone does not speak the language that you do very well, it is very difficult to communicate with them. Over the phone it’s even worse. Proper communication is essential to good customer service. Langauge is one of the requisites for proper communication not the only requisite. You mentioned that Sun took the cheapest support it could find. Well most companies are now a days. For the record cheap doesn’t mean substandard, the average indian k12 school student in better off educationally than most american students, Just search fpr Craig Barret’s view on out sourcing. Have you ever heard the average American pronounce the word “nuclear”, hint nuk-u-lar is not the right pronunciation, how ever even the president of the USA does so. This basic pronunciation error of a very basic english word shows what expensive American support agents would be capable of delivering. Perhaps this slashdot thread will open your eyes a little. http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/05/21/0053239&mode=nested… 2004-05-22 5:47 am Solaris x86 does not perform as good as Linux currently, I expect the new version to outperform it. Solaris completely smokes all other OS’s on SPARC though. Sun’s management has acknowledged the problem with x86 and they claim the new solaris OS will put an end to the lag of performance… It actually performs very well but its slightly below Linux.. which is expected since its not its native platform.. BTW – They are using SuSE Linux because they don’t have enough desktop driver support for Solaris x86 yet. Notice that most criticism about desktop OS’s is lack of driver support. As you’ve seen they are going to port the desktop to Solaris x86 THIS YEAR.. so they claim.. I personally think they should have just have gotten their act together and release it on solaris in the first place. But… according to the reviews it’s shocking that they are using an older version of SuSE.. very shocking to me. 2004-05-22 6:11 am Agreed regarding the comments about Solaris x86. WIth that being said, from what I’ve heard, their development team is going gangbusters getting things like 8x AGP support (currently there is no AGP support at all, it is just seen as a mutated PCI slot by Solaris), USB2/1 support, firewire etc. etc. I have a feeling that around the begging to middle of next year there will be a move by SUN to make Solaris 10 the core of their desktop offering. 2004-05-22 6:13 am The desperation to wound it’s foe Microsoft it turns to the ever impossible and hopeless conconction of linux + os…is a shot to the moon. I’m not a big windows or osx fan either but i find myself using and liking them instead. i just keep my slackware just for the heck of experiencing linux as it is so *noisy* on the oss crowd. However, I love FreeBSD on my servers and hope it’ll never bite on the popularity high and “desktop fantasy” of which linux is an addict. 2004-05-22 6:23 am I guess you’ve never dealt with Dell tech support then. Basically you have to call 5 or 6 times, repeatedly hanging up on the umpteenth Indian guy that failed his english class but somehow is still doing tech support. Been there, done that. The sad part? Dell actually think if they tell their support staff in India to have a fake US accent, the customers will feel “more at ease”; this was on a BBC documentry about outsourcing in India. Sorry, if you’re Indian, speak with your natural accent. There is no use trying to make me feel “nice” when I can’t understand a word you’re saying. As for the multi-nationals, sure, outsource, but don’t expect the call staff to act like fake American/New Zealand/Australia/etc employees. 2004-05-22 6:28 am I guess you’ve never dealt with Dell tech support then. Basically you have to call 5 or 6 times, repeatedly hanging up on the umpteenth Indian guy that failed his english class but somehow is still doing tech support. Yes, I have in 1998 when Americans were tech support agents. It took them three times to get them to send me a new monitor, when I explained to them in thier native language that “the Dell monitor was flickering and my roommate’s monitor connected to my Dell PC doesn’t”. Guess what this native english speaking tech support guy does, he “sends me a new video card”, Duh. Langauge is one of the requisites for proper communication not the only requisite Not only!? Put down the crack pipe. If you can’t understand the guy then it doesn’t matter if he holds dual Phds in Electrical Engineering and Physics. May be you should watch the movie “Lost in translation” it show cases how even people speaking the same language don’t communicate. Communication requires, two people who want to communicate. The author of the article already made a decision, based on the person’s accent, that he did not want to communicate, language barrier or not. But I guess the concept of communication is far beyond the grasp of your simple mind. 2004-05-22 8:41 am I am Norwegian and I’ve had a similar experience. A Swedish company was doing better on the Norwegian market, but their tech support was still in swedish. Now, I don’t have problems communicating with swedish speaking people, but the difference between the languages is not insignificant. This means I have to get some stuff repeated more and I have to phrase myself in a way understandable for the other end, as my dialect is not “mainstream”. The point is, in general the support will be of less quality when the support rep has a different native language. Yes, it probably works out in the end if you try hard, but it’s still a valid point. That being said, much else can bring down the quality of tech support, so a rep with your own language can still screw up. It’s still a significant point. Btw, the company mentioned has had norwegian tech support for a while now. Why is that, you think? They probably pay more for it. 2004-05-22 9:15 am Sun is already developing a version of Java Desktop System that uses Solaris instead of GNU/Linux. Despite the abysmal hardware support and restrictive licensing that Solaris generally offers, it should still be a better choice than the SUSE-based release that Sun currently offers. (from the article) Just out of curiousity, have you tried Solaris 9 (I would be (pleasantly) surprised they used Solaris 10) on any of the machines in question? I have to agree with CaptainPinko’s comments about SUSE 8.1 being a reasonable choice, for most of the machines which Sun are targeting. I reckon SUSE 8.1 would run better on these machines than Solaris 9. I agree that the support is shocking however, I don’t agree fully with Jem’s comment about the accents. If Jem had said that the support agent’s grasp of language was porr, then fair enough. An accent shouldn’t cause difficulties for Jem (I assume English is his first language, and he isn’t completely insular (i.e. he has encountered accents before)), however, it may cause difficulties for the support agent (which could probably solved by Jem speaking slower and clearer). I have found call centre staff in India (who are often highly intelligent and well educated (probably with MA’s in English)) to be much better than the minimum wage workers you often get in local call centres. Conversely, I have worked with offshore developers (based in India), who, although intelligent and well educated. don’t have a good grasp of English and are difficult to communicate with. 2004-05-22 9:18 am >> If Jem had said that the support agent’s grasp of language was porr A bit like my one porr spelling, oops 2004-05-22 9:24 am Solaris x86 does not perform as good (sic) as Linux currently You should try running a Solaris Express build before you blindly make comments about performance. Have you run any kind of benchmarks using a recent SX build? Or for any build? Hopefully you’re speaking from practical experience and not regurgitating something you read on slashdot. You’ll probably find that Solaris runs as well, if not better, than linux in the majority of benchmarks. Obviously, Solaris really starts to shine when you pump up the number of CPUs (since it inherits all the scalability work put into SPARC), but a lot of work has been done to make Solaris 10 competitive in the 1-2P x86 space. 2004-05-22 10:59 am I always thought IBM was running as lead blocker for MS against linux, but clearly Sun is now a country mile ahead. The best part is they are going to suck billions out of the chinese for this JDS garbage that only runs on antiquated equipment at best, built around an old problematic kernel and dead slow too boot, if at all. Hillarious !!! 2004-05-22 10:59 am I doubt JDS would be the best for international environments, either. The best distros for Asian environments are invariably home-grown ones; trying to get an American (or a German or a Frenchman) to implement an input system for a language whose writing system he has absolutely no knowledge of at all is a fairly futile exercise. 2004-05-22 11:01 am As in Funny. The poor bloke doesn’t even realise the OS is based on SUSE Enterprise Desktop V1, which is current shipping product. We have installed JDS on many many systems, old and new, and except for a soundcard problem, where the manufacturers delight in making the latest incompatible hardware so the driver doesn’t work, have had no problems. Compared to other distros, Sun JDS has proven to be stable and quite funtional. My take would be this reviewer needs to stick with the hobby market. 2004-05-22 12:14 pm Sun’s purpose for JDS 2 was including centralized adminstration. In a few months JDS 3 will be based in kernel 2.6.Anyway, how often do corporations update thei desktops? Once evey 3 years? 2004-05-22 4:59 pm Let’s examine the facts of this interview. 1. Jem purposefully takes hardware that is known to not work with 2.4.19 to prove that JDS2 is bad. Note he mentions early on in the review that JDS2 is based on suse 8.1 but proceeds to install it on the absolutely latest hardware. Novell the parent company of SUSE also sells a corporate desktop based on 2.4.19 that is directly in competition with JDS2: “SUSE LINUX Desktop The complete, user-friendly solution for desktop operating systems, office, and email. Support for Microsoft Office and IBM Lotus Notes. SuSE Linux Desktop provides a flexible platform that accomodates the needs of the typical office worker — ranging from standard environments up to Thin Client functionality for use with legacy servers.” A good journalist would have compared the two similar products, that are competing in the same market, instead of rigging a review to fail. 2. Shows perjudice towards foreign nationals on the basis of thier accent. Mind you, Jem made immmediate negative judgements about the quality of tech support based on the reps accents and nationality. Jem was predetermined that they couldn’t help him because he wouldn’t understand them, not because thier english was bad but because they had an accent. Not only did he make a judgement that thier english would be poor but also that it was because Sun had seeked cheaper means of support (a standard inductry practive today). Insinuating the Sun’s support was sub-par becuase they out-source. I wonder if Jem would be averse to say a latin american on the phone as well, or perhaps an African American with a strong accent or a southerner with a strong accent. All of whom would be local to the continental united states but would have had much the same effect albeit be more expensive. 3. Licensing: Again this is a personal predjudice it looks like. Suse Linux desktop also comes with a restrictive license, so does Redhat Entrprise Linux. Sun isn’t doing anything illegal. They do, as quoted in the review, honor the GPL portion of thier distribution. However, the reviewer without producing accurate facts about the license and why is it more restrictive than Sun’s competitor’s equivalent desktop suties, goes on to create a negative view about it by massaging facts that are convinient to his purpose. Over all the revierw seems like it was from the onset designed to show JDS2 and Sun in a negative light. Systems that the author knew would fail were tested, predjudice was shown. A review must be objective and this one most certainly was not. I am not the least bit surprised that linux.com is sponsored by Novell. P.S: I am not insinuating that Novell’s sponsorship colored the review, just an observation. 2004-05-22 5:35 pm Jem, I liked your review, but you’ll find out that here on OSnews there are quite a few Sun zealots, that will defend to death the superiority of Solaris, SPARC, Java, etc. I am not the least surprised by what you found out about JDS. Sun has never understood Linux, I guess the company culture at Sun kind of makes them blind to the features that Linux users want in a distribution (among other things, having a recent kernel). JDS2 will be pushed around by Sun’s marketing dept for some time, but will ultimately disappear, without ever putting the smallest dent in Microsoft’s market share. BTW, I hope people realize that Windows XP works well on not-too-old AND the newest hardware, which is just what people also expect from the latest versions of SuSE (9.1) and Mandrake (10.0) Linux. 2004-05-22 6:02 pm Jem, I liked your review, but you’ll find out that here on OSnews there are quite a few Sun zealots, that will defend to death the superiority of Solaris, SPARC, Java, etc. No, I am not defending Sun or JDS2 after I read the review I was surprised that JDS2 was so bad and that Sun would release something with an old kernel. However, SUSE’s comptetition to JDS2 as I mentioned above is also using the same kernel. So I find it rather odd that Jem would use new hardware that he knew fully well wouldn’t work with SUSE 8.1 (he mentions it in the Introduction). There was no reason to even try and Install the OS on hardware that won’t work, just to put it in a review. Also the old terminator box used a old 6 GB disk. Let’s examine this a little more, I can understand that the first two machines might have had newer IDE controllers that had problems with 2.4.19, I agree that Jem did his best to rule out the disk. But why didn’t he do the same with the Athlon terminator witht he 6GB disk. My friend has installed JDS 1 on a dell insprion 1100 with out any issues. After testing two machines, he suspected bad install media, But after two more machines failed he didn’t!!! A good reviewer would have still suspected the install media and tried downloading it again, just to give he benifit of doubt. If it had failed again his observation would be valid. I am not the least surprised by what you found out about JDS. Sun has never understood Linux, I guess the company culture at Sun kind of makes them blind to the features that Linux users want in a distribution (among other things, having a recent kernel). No corporate customers want stability, more than anything else. They will buy whatever hardware is needed to make thier software work reliably. Notice How redhat and SUSE ship 2.4 series kernels with thier corporate versions. That is the smart thing to do. Corporate customers don’t want beleeding edge. Many corporations will out hardware and software through a thorough test periods sometimes for months before they deploy in volume. Some might argue that its generally a practice reserved for servers, but it does illustrate that corporations don’t have similar needs as the average linux user. I will accept a bad review of any product done objectivelly and dilignetly but this review didn’t have etiher attributes. 2004-05-22 6:14 pm I was not talking about newer releases of Solaris for x86, nor solaris express and I did say the new release is supposed to outperform it. Compare it to Solaris 9 vs. Linux 2.6… 2004-05-22 6:15 pm I think this was a great review. All you Sun fanboys whining about the reviewer using modern hardware: get over it – it’s entirely reasonable to review a distro sold in 2004 using hardware sold in 2004. Solaris is an absolute pig on x86, so they had no choice but to use someone else’s kernel. Sun is a dying company (is their stock above $3 these days?) with no relevance in either hardware or software, living entirely off their past success – a failed Microsoft wannabe, and all they can do is pray for more handouts from Microsoft. 2004-05-22 6:23 pm All you Sun fanboys whining about the reviewer using modern hardware: get over it – it’s entirely reasonable to review a distro sold in 2004 using hardware sold in 2004. Solaris is an absolute pig on x86, so they had no choice but to use someone else’s kernel. No It is not that he used mordern hadware. It would have been perfectly fine if he had mentioned it and left it at that. The Jem Report’s review of SUSE 9.0 also mentions that linux distributions had trouble with his hardware rig. Even 9.0 would not install without special options. It would have been ok for Jem to have mentioned that there is no way that JDS2 would install on his ASUS K8V becuase he knew of problems with older kernel. He could have mentioned that as a negative. But playing the charade of attemplting to install an OS on hardware he knew wouldn’t work is what I have an issue with. “SuSE 9.0 has the best hardware compatibility of any distribution released in 2003. Where many others failed — Fedora Core 1, Gentoo 1.4, Lycoris Update 3, Lindows 4.0, Sun Java Desktop System, XandrOS 1.1 — SuSE succeeded… mostly. Where all of those others would not install properly (or at all) on an Asus K8V Deluxe with an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro video card, SuSE would. I had to disable ACPI and run the installation utility in Safe Mode, but after the initial installation it seemed to work well. It’s the only distro that properly recognized my SATA hard drive, but it had trouble with the SysKonnect/Yukon (3COM) gigabit ethernet chip on the aforementioned motherboard.” http://www.thejemreport.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=a… The facts are all there. If I have made any statements that can not be directly interpreted by the facts in the review, I will gladly retract them. 2004-05-22 7:22 pm But playing the charade of attempting to install an OS on hardware he knew wouldn’t work is what I have an issue with. I don’t think he did that – if he did so intentionally I would say you had a point. Most companies (Sun being an exception) aren’t quite so lame as to take someone else’s (old) work and then directly resell it without at least making an effort to improve it. Worse yet, Sun tries to slap a big JAVA! on the label as if they had something to do with Linux. What a bunch of chumps. For example, in Mandrake’s early days, they added (to a Red Hat base) numerous out-of-tree drivers and patches throughout – and people did review them even on hardware and for issues known to fail on Red Hat. 2004-05-22 8:02 pm Never ceases to amaze me how Internet trolls will accuse me of having an agenda. I sell my work based on good reviewing skills, not based on some paycheck from a corporation. I didn’t reviews JDS 2003 because it didn’t work on any of my hardware, although at the time I didn’t think about doing a text mode install like I did this time. I gave Sun the benefit of the doubt and figured it was a first release. They told me a second release was coming very soon. I actually wrote the majority of the review before I received JDS2 — I researched the new features and explained what they do, etc. so that I could save some time later when I would add my experience in actually using the software to complete the review. There’s a lot that you can do ahead of time. Since I was anticipating a great operating environment I preemptively talked about how much of an improvement it was and how JDS 2003 didn’t support any hardware, how Sun was getting with the program, etc. Then I talked to the Sun PR rep and asked her what enhancements had been made to the base OS. “Oh,” she said, “no changes have been made.” I told her that was going to be a problem because the original JDS didn’t work for me. Lo and behold I get the software FedEx the next day and I have all of the same problems all over again. I erased most of the review and rewrote it to fit my experience. I fully expected JDS2 to work perfectly on the AMD64 machine. After all, the other Linux-based OSes that just came out before this all work perfectly with it. There is absolutely no excuse for not updating the kernel in JDS2 — I could have even done it myself if I had an hour or two to spend on it. I tore apart my system and replaced the motherboard and CPU to try to get JDS2 to work (on the P4 setup) and then borrowed a friend’s computer to try it again. The 6GB drive was verified as working and had an OS already installed on it. I destroyed the nice Debian installation on my notebook system to try to get this POS operating environment to work. So put your Jungian projections on me if you want, but JDS2 sucks even on hardware more than a year old — and in some cases, 3-year-old hardware. If it worked, it would be great. It doesn’t, so it isn’t. I’m through arguing with trolls about this. -Jem 2004-05-22 11:48 pm I fully expected JDS2 to work perfectly on the AMD64 machine. After all, the other Linux-based OSes that just came out before this all work perfectly with it. There is absolutely no excuse for not updating the kernel in JDS2 — I could have even done it myself if I had an hour or two to spend on it. Yes there is a very good excuse for not updaing the kernel, the same excuse other vendors like suse and redhat have for shipping thier corporate version with old kernel verisons. When you review some thing atleast learn about it’s target market. Sun calls the damn thing Java Desktop System for a reason. So people don’t confuse it for just another linuc distribution and creae a set of expectations. Sorry, you shouldn’t review things you don’t understand Were you living in a cave? Your website Jem Report posts a review on SUSE 9.0 and stated that it too had diffiulty installing it on your hardware setup (posted relevant section above, remeber disable ACPI, safe mode). You are the editor of Jem Report right???? So are you telling me that you don’t even keep up with your own website? You can’t plead ignorance here, I tore apart my system and replaced the motherboard and CPU to try to get JDS2 to work (on the P4 setup) and then borrowed a friend’s computer to try it again. The 6GB drive was verified as working and had an OS already installed on it. I destroyed the nice Debian installation on my notebook system to try to get this POS operating environment to work. No you didn’t, you would have mentioned the anguish of your hardware swap in your review if you did. It is called ethos, writers do that to get empathy from thier readers, it would have made JDS 2 look even worse. You didn’t so I assume you are making it up to defend your article. So put your Jungian projections on me if you want, but JDS2 sucks even on hardware more than a year old — and in some cases, 3-year-old hardware. If it worked, it would be great. It doesn’t, so it isn’t. I’m through arguing with trolls about this. Ok so this is professionalism at it’s best. Call names. I made very valid points and didn’t once resort to name calling. I had objections on the validity of the review and you call that trolling. JDS works fine on less than one year old hardware, I have seen it installed on a dell inspiron 1100 (bought sept 2003), much newer than your dell 3800. That is why I don’t believe you or your review. Like you said you prewrote most of the review and then filled things in, that statement doesn’t do much for your credibility. You claimed you had high expectations, so you were disappointed, Tthat didn’t affect your objectivity??? You even go so far as to say that you had confirmation from Sun that the base OS hadn’t changed. You knew the first version didn’t work for you. Yet you tried it on your hardware and wrote a review. You just made my point for me. BTW, I have said what I have to say about your POS review, take it however your want it. If you had any professional integrity you will learn not to write reviews based on subjective biases and color a review making it look objective by manipulating facts. If you knew nothing had changed, why did you calim that you were expecting things to work, boggles the mind. Your review doesn’t give all of the information you posted here and how you aquired JDS. You have further reenforced my point that you knew something wouldn’t work and still posted a review on it. This is my last post on the subject. 2004-05-23 12:00 am It is called ethos, writers do that to get empathy from thier readers, Should be It is called pathos, writers do that to get empathy from thier readers, 2004-05-23 7:10 am Is it really unreasonable to expect, at the very freaking least, a more recent kernel in a brand new (2.0 even!) release of a distro? The commercial argument, that Red Hat or so has slowed down releases too, is invalid because /this is a new release/! The kernel in Red Hat AS 2.1 to 3.0 certainly freaking changed. Lay off folks. A new release, 2.0 even, should be expected at the very freaking least to have a new kernel to support newer hardware. What was Sun thinking? 2004-05-23 9:48 am Is it really unreasonable to expect, at the very freaking least, a more recent kernel in a brand new (2.0 even!) release of a distro? No, It is not unreasonable to think that a new version of a linux distro should have a new kernel. But JDS is not a linux distro, Sun goes through, it looks like, a lot of effort to hide the fact that JDS is based on linux. So the average rules of a distro don’t apply to JDS. JDS from the looks of it is a stack above the base OS, in this case SUSE linux. Sun decided to update the stack above the base OS and call it JDS2. If JDS is the software stack above the OS then why is it unreasonable that only that stack is updated in the new release? It is unreasonable to expect the rules of a linux distro apply to something that clearly isn’t marketed as one. But I do fault Sun for bad marketing. They should also release a JDS version without a base OS, so any linux distro can become JDS enabled. Hopefully that will stop the confusion and allow people to run it on the latest hardware. Sun never seems to get marketing right. 2004-05-23 11:59 am You seen to have missed the point. This is meant to replace Windows on computers in government offices and that kind of situations. You know those things still running Windows NT? I wonder how many desktop computers at your local hospital have SATA drives. I’m betting none. What happens when a business buys a new batch of computers. People generally don’t replace everything at once now, but they buy on an ad-hoc basis. It al still has to work though. I’m quite certain that JDS is meant to be upgraded yearly so they’ll get around… So Sun sells you outdated rubbish in order to get you to renew yearly? Sorry, but it would cost nothing for Sun to update their distribution to kernel 2.6 and to update their other software. This just isn’t going to fly because people will look at the JDS and Windows and say “Why bother moving to that?” There’s absolutely nothing there that is compelling. Remember this is a desktop, quality really doesn’t matter that much. Well, yes it does. Not only does it have to be cheaper and more flexible licensing-wise but it also has to be better in many ways than the Windows people have. This is not. 2004-05-23 3:47 pm well, they just missed the target by about a few light years. Raptor, I am sorry but your arguments are off the mark: while it’s true that SuSE and Redhat sell entreprise versions of their distributions with slightly older kernels, the fact is that these distributions are intended for servers, not for desktop machines. Asking for AGP 8x and SATA support in a 2004 vintage Linux distribution is not too much: it’s what any user would expect. Getting an old version of SuSE and simply slapping a big Sun Java Desktop System 2 sticker on it, is not going to make this pig fly… :^) This is a bad product and it’s not going to sell. I only hope that people who try it out also try some of the latest Linux distributions, e.g. Knoppix 3.4, Mandrake 10.0 or SuSE 9.1, to mention a few. Jem’s review is honest and to the point; however you may want to paint it, Sun’s JDS2 is crap. 2004-05-23 5:01 pm Groklaw on Suns License: Sun Java Desktop System Release 2’s License: “Worst Software License Ever to Have Crossed My Desk” Sunday, May 23 2004 @ 02:04 AM EDT There is a review, “First look: Sun Java Desktop System Release 2,” on Linux.com today, and it noticed some issues with the license. In a box, called “Restricted License”, the writer, Jem Matzan, says it is the most restrictive license he has ever seen: “Sun JDS Release 2 is the most heavily restrictive software package I have ever seen. Sun takes the heavyweight championship belt for the worst software license ever to have crossed my desk. . . . “The licensing is worse than anything I’ve seen come out of Redmond — or anywhere else — thus far. If Microsoft’s EULA says, ‘you can’t do anything with this software,’ Sun’s JDS license says, ‘I’ll tell you every single thing you can’t do, and that means everything, including unlikely possibilities, and while we’re at it here is a list of unreasonable demands and obligations for you. And get me another beer while you’re up.'” There are so many restrictions that the license requires a booklet of amendments listing all the other things you can’t do under this or that special circumstance. The wording, he says, is unusually complex, and he suggests you have your legal eagles look the license over before you even consider making a buying recommendation on it. The license, he writes, “is deceptive”: “It is worded initially in such a way as to make you believe that it governs the entire operating environment — everything on the CDs. Further in there is a quick phrase that states that Sun’s binary code license only governs the included software that is not already under another license. That leaves a staggeringly small portion of the operating environment under the governance of Sun’s license: the Java Desktop System Configuration Manager and the Sun Control Station. Everything else falls only under the control and jurisdiction of its governing license (mostly the GNU GPL). But if you didn’t know beforehand that GNU/Linux was under the GPL, you would have no way of knowing that by looking at Sun’s license. All of the “other” licenses that the software falls under are buried two directories deep on the first disc in a file called THIRDPARTYLICENSEREADME. Short of breaking the law, there is nothing more that Sun could have done to obscure the fact that JDS2 is mostly Free Software.” He states clearly: “If you’re considering buying this for your personal use and your rights are important to you, Java Desktop System 2 is not for you.” 2004-05-23 5:12 pm Raptor, I am sorry but your arguments are off the mark: while it’s true that SuSE and Redhat sell entreprise versions of their distributions with slightly older kernels, the fact is that these distributions are intended for servers May be you should do a little better research. Suse linux desktop 1 http://www.suse.com/us/business/products/sld/ Somewhere in the techincal literature is buried the information that this product runs kernel 2.4.19. From the looks of it, it is closer to JDS than the standard SUSE linux distro, market wise. http://www.redhat.com/software/rhel/desktop/ http://www.redhat.com/software/rhel/ws/ This is the desktop and the WS (workstation) based on 2.4.21 albeit with patches from 2.5/2.6 Jem report’s review of SUSE 9.0 ” Where many others failed — Fedora Core 1, Gentoo 1.4, Lycoris Update 3, Lindows 4.0, Sun Java Desktop System, XandrOS 1.1 — SuSE succeeded… mostly. Where all of those others would not install properly (or at all) on an Asus K8V Deluxe with an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro video card, SuSE would. I had to disable ACPI and run the installation utility in Safe Mode, but after the initial installation it seemed to work well. ” Note that fedora core 1 has a newer kernel than RHEL WS or thier desktop. from the data we can infer that the currently shipping redhat and SUSE desktop version wont’t boot on Jem’s review system. Also this illustartes that Sun is keeping with the industry, with regards to the kernel. Like I said Sun’s second update only upgraded, what JDS really is, the software stack/shell above the base OS. Suse 9.1 was jusst released, One can harzard a guess that Sun would be testing JDS2 with 9.1 and might update it when it is fully tested. I don’t know that they would do this, it is just a speculation. Atleast that is what I think they should do. however you may want to paint it, Sun’s JDS2 is crap. The only way you can paint it is Sun JDS2 running on SUSE 8.1 is crap becuase 8.1 is too old of a distro. JDS2 is a software bundle that is supposed to hide the base OS. I don’t recall the review having a problem with the software bundle that is JDS2 really. One problem with you and most linux <insert favorite word> is that you assume corporations want the latest Pentium 4 or athlon 64 with a monster 3d video card with an RAID array. They don’t. They want basic client desktops with enough juice to run Email, groupware and word processing software. I would suggest you go to a few real corporation’s IT departments and see what really happens before you pull requirements out of you nether regions. JDS2. SUSE linux desktop, RHEL desktop with thier old kernels are adequate for I would guess 90% of the corporate needs. Mind you I am not saying every corporation’s every department (some will still need more powerful and advanced workstations), but for the average seceratary or HR department a 2.0 GHz celeron/pentium4/athlon/duron with built-in on board graphics is more than adequate. 2004-05-23 6:28 pm It was just reported that almost all distros using 2.6 kernels have issues with dual boot. Primarily it was root caused to a 2.6 kernel change on CHS geometries. “it turns out that the bug (#115980) [redhat.com] is a result of a few subtle but key changes within the 2.6 kernel. A certain functionality with regards to hard disk geometry has been pulled out, as the kernel developers thought it would be better if userspace utilities took care of this instead. The Bugzilla bug is related to CHS geometry problems, which most likely stems from an error within the parted utility, addressing the BIOS incorrectly. It turns out that BIOS updates tend to fix problems for many users that have been bitten by this “bug”. On newer machines, this is basically non-reproducible.” It is issues like this that make it imperevative to not jump on the latest and greatest bandwagon for corporate versions. 2.6 is great for the avcerage home linux users but it hasn’t reached the stability on 2.4 interms of fully understanding changes and impact. Corporations hate massive changes that cause uncertainty. 2004-05-25 4:12 pm I’ve installed the Java Desktop System onto an older PII 400 Gateway system with no problems at all. It recognized all the hardware flawlessly. I haven’t used it extesively, Star Office so far is a great product.