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Mozilla to Form Major Component of Sun Java Desktop System

Tuesday September 16th, 2003

Sun Microsystems today unveiled its Java Desktop System, which will feature Mozilla 1.4 as a major component. Formerly known as Project Mad Hatter, Sun's new software is a complete enterprise desktop solution based on Linux and GNOME. It will cost $100 per user when it ships in December this year, or $50 if bought as an add-on to the Java Enterprise System. As well as Mozilla, the desktop environment also features the StarOffice 7 office suite (also announced today), the Evolution personal information manager (complete with a connector for the Sun ONE Calendar Server), the Jabber instant messaging system and RealPlayer streaming media software. As you might expect, the Java 2 Platform Standard Edition 1.4.2 is included, though the desktop environment as a whole is not Java-based.


#1 Typo

by Tweebiscuit

Tuesday September 16th, 2003 6:18 PM

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There's a typo in the link to the Java Desktop System site -- it should be <http://www.sun.com/software/javadesktopsystem/>

#2 Active Desktop

by WillyWonka

Tuesday September 16th, 2003 7:39 PM

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For a second there I thought it was going to be used like Active Desktop on windows. But reading it a second time dashed those hopes :) JALD (Just Another Linux Distro).

#3 Nice piece of marketing bs

by robdogg

Tuesday September 16th, 2003 9:47 PM

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Java Desktop System.

There are exactly zero java applications in this distro.

#4 Re: Nice piece of marketing bs

by Jens_B

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 12:06 AM

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Right, just marketing reasons.

However, since it includes the JRE, I must admit this Linux distribution has more to do with Java than JavaScript (which was once called LiveScript and then renamed for marketing reasons, too) - so it deserves the "Java Desktop System" name somehow ;-)

#5 Re: Nice piece of marketing bs

by leafdigital

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 1:59 AM

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Ah, but Java is the 'preferred development environment' so that makes it ok!

(That's what it says in their FAQ...)

There is also some vapourware written in Java which will be included in the next version. Apparently. Ho hum.

--sam

#14 Re: Nice piece of marketing bs

by jilles

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 10:25 AM

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Sun doesn't understand marketing. They build this nice office suit and their key marketing point is that it is MS compatible (which is sort of half true for the casual user). That's like saying "hey we know you really want to use ms office but we also know you're a cheap bastard so why don't you try our vastly inferior imitation".

They should be stressing the important features rather than constantly reminding their customers that it really is an MS world outside. Apple doesn't sell boxes by saying they are cheaper or compatible (which would be a hard point to sell anyway), they sell stuff by pointing out their stuff is much better/cooler than the competition. Sun should do the same. They should tell their customers that decades of messing with MS inferior products it is time to move to a professional environment with all the required features at an attractive pricepoint and excellent professional support options.

I'm not necessarily migrating my own computer tomorrow but to many this could be a far more appealing message than what is currently being communicated.

#18 Re: Nice piece of marketing bs

by thelem

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 3:13 PM

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Actually, being MS Office compatible is the most important feature of openoffice, and it doesn't do the job well enough. Even in an entirely openoffice organisation, you still need to send document to people using Microsoft Word.

Of course the real problem is that there is no open standard for office documents, but thats not something sun can change. At the moment .doc is the defacto standard. To compare it to browsers, it is like saying the browser is HTML-compatible.

#6 Modern vs Classic

by erik <erik@eae.net>

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 2:08 AM

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I find it odd that Sun designs their own Gnome theme (look and feel) and yet they do not use Classic (which would pick up that look and feel) as the default skin for Mozilla.

#16 Re: Modern vs Classic

by tseelee

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 2:42 PM

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I doubt Mozilla's Classic theme will be supported much longer, especially when the *birds replace the suit.

#17 Re: Modern vs Classic

by tseelee

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 2:43 PM

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I doubt Mozilla's Classic theme will be supported much longer, especially when the *birds replace the suit.

#7 Here's another article...

by zookqvalem

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 5:59 AM

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Yea, saw this article at CNN.com yesterday before this one came out on Mozillazine. You can find it at <http://www.cnn.com/2003/T…16/sun.java.ap/index.html> if you're interested. I wouldn't want to buy it when it mention that it cost $50 per user per year. But then when it mentioned about $100 for a purchase, that sound so much better. I have decided I wouldn't buy it anyway. As long as I can download a free linux like Red Hat for example then this is where I will stick to.

#8 aha, this is how the SUN-story goes - interesting

by mhonline

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 6:32 AM

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Sun is wanting it!! And I waited for stuff like this for months. However it does not make sense to go with it, esp. as a desktop-solution - in a company or even in a SOHO-environment - until you have it out of the box and working. I am not sure, whether it is fair to use opensource-projects like this, but it they want and will give the support that is nessessary, it might be fair to the user.

For me the most impressing is, how they learnt at SUN: Office-solutions without JAVA: YES !! JAVA as an option: thats okay (thats Java enough) Nothing from SUN will do it into small nets, when the use of Java is MUST. But in in this way: I will have an eye on it Martin

#13 Re: aha, this is how the SUN-story goes - interest

by leafdigital

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 9:31 AM

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If you'd used recent, high-quality Java client applications on recent hardware you'd know that whether an application uses Java or not makes little or no difference in terms of usability or performance. (Of course, given that there are rather few high-quality Java client applications, it's not surprising that you haven't.)

Sun are shipping non-Java solutions (Linux/X/Gnome, Mozilla, StarOffice) because there *is* no high-quality operating system, Web browser, or office suite written in Java; given that, it's better to use tried-and-tested technology rather than, say, spending gazillions developing entirely new Java-based software.

Additionally, it's hardly surprising to see Sun shipping StarOffice, which they own (and made open-source), or Mozilla, which they have contributed to. I don't see how you can claim that this is in any way 'unfair'; Sun have clearly contributed huge amounts to open-source and free-of-charge software.

You could check, but I would imagine that prices of $50/year do not include full individual support - probably only automated support via websites etc. However, even support via web knowledge base would obviously be better than nothing. The real advantage in buying this product would be to get an out-of-the-box solution that 'just works' because it's a standard configuration.

--sam

#21 "High-quality Java client applications"

by mpthomas

Thursday September 18th, 2003 9:34 PM

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"If you'd used recent, high-quality Java client applications on recent hardware you'd know that whether an application uses Java or not makes little or no difference in terms of usability or performance. (Of course, given that there are rather few high-quality Java client applications, it's not surprising that you haven't.)"

Whether software exists at all does have a considerable impact on its usability. Just IMO.

(Less amusingly, ensuring acceptable responsiveness on old hardware -- even things like using busy cursors when appropriate -- also improves usability on recent hardware.)

#22 Re: "High-quality Java client applications"

by leafdigital

Friday September 19th, 2003 2:32 AM

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There *are* high-quality Java applications. It's just that most of them are Java development environments... (Which also tend to be huge and require a great deal of memory, but you expect that of development environments; Java *is* more memory-hungry than native code, I'll concede that.)

As for busy cursors, Java applications can display busy cursors. The fact that some often may not is a bug in the program and something the programmers should address, not a bug in Java. It's something that could be easier - Java doesn't have anything as simple as MFC's CWaitCursor, you have to go find a window to set your cursor on blah blah blah - but it is doable. (There are a handful of instances within the system API that do cause problems, like opening a file browser, which still take ages for no apparent reason... a programmer could make a wait-cursor display even in this case, but it's a bit of hassle and it ought to be built-in.)

The main reason most Java client applications are of fairly poor quality (in terms of usability) is that most developers are willing to accept low standards. For example, many applications use the default (ugly) Metal look-and-feel - for no apparent reason. A one-line call will set it up to use the OS-native L&F. If the application is written as a simple proof-of-concept or not expecting actual 'normal users', no wonder they don't bother spending time on ensuring that controls in the dialogs are laid out nicely. Sadly, filesharing aside, not too many Java applications are written with serious expectation of actual users.

I'd like to see some major projects (other than Java IDEs like Eclipse) in Java, with a Bugzilla-like database and developers/users who will actually file bugs on things like default L&F or menu arrangements, right down to 'you need space between those two elements, use a standard four-pixel spacer'. Even where I work here there are people who will let any kind of shit go in their Java dialogue layouts, it seems to be a particular problem compared to previous use of C++Builder where it was easier to add space between things just by moving them on the form. (But less flexible, which is critical now that we have to support changing font size everywhere...)

--sam

#9 Right on!

by Kovu <Kovu401@netscape.net>

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 8:11 AM

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This looks like a really cool combination to be part of! I can hardly wait until a 2.0 version where Firebird and Thunderbird can replace 1.4.

#10 What flavor of Linux

by Racer

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 8:54 AM

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"Linux OS" with "GNOME 2.2" is the most specific they get when describing the underlying OS. Is there a reason why they don't mention a distro or EVEN a kernel revision?

#11 What flavor of Linux

by Racer

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 8:54 AM

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"Linux OS" with "GNOME 2.2" is the most specific they get when describing the underlying OS. Is there a reason why they don't mention a distro or EVEN a kernel revision?

#12 Re: Re: Speed?

by duffbeer703

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 9:20 AM

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The Sun Linux distribution is based on Suse 8.1

#15 Re: Re: Re: Speed?

by DJGM2002

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 2:31 PM

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SuSE Linux 8.1 is about a year old now. Why not SuSE Linux 8.2, which was only released a few months ago? Or even, whatever version that SuSE release next . . . probably v8.3 or v9.0. By my reckoning, the next version of SuSE Linux is probably only about a month or so away from now . . . probably . . .

#19 Re: Re: Re: Re: Speed?

by steve_w

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 5:58 PM

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Because they want a stable base to start from and following the latest and greatest just doesn't cut it. It's the same reason RH Advanced Workstation isn't based on the latest release of RH.

#20 RealPlayer/Helix Player support

by robla

Wednesday September 17th, 2003 11:44 PM

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I'd like to add that we are collaborating with Sun to create a new, open source media player* for Linux and Solaris, called the Helix Player. For details on this, see the <a href="<https://player.helixcommunity.org>">the Helix Player homepage</a>. This will be a Gtk-based player that should integrate very well into Mozilla. The team is hard at work as we speak on getting the Mozilla plugin working well.

* One caveat: RealAudio and RealVideo and some supporting code for the file format and some protocol enhancements will not be open source. However, these will be supported with binary-only components, and there will be support for purely open source codecs and datatypes such as Ogg Vorbis, JPEGs, and SMIL.

Rob Lanphier <a href="<https://www.helixcommunity.org>">Helix Community Coordinator</a>