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Sun To Launch 'Java Desktop System' Today

Sun To Launch 'Java Desktop System' Today

Last September as part of Project Mad Hatter Sun Microsystems said publicly that it was gonna go into the plain vanilla Linux desktop business. Then subsequently it said it wasn't. Now, on the threshold of its Sun Network confab tomorrow, it appears a Linux x86 desktop - reportedly dubbed the Java Desktop System - is back on the menu. However, it is widely believed the thing will be a typical Sun bait-and-switch for its latest darling, Solaris x86.

ISVs that got a copy of the desktop code last week to certify their own software on it say it's practically a model of Franciscan simplicity and consists of the SuSE 8.2 desktop operating system and a new cut of SunOffice, version 7.0, reportedly a very close relative of OpenOffice 1.3.1.

Other sources say it also includes Ximian's Gnome desktop and Ximian's Outlook-like Evolution.

In keeping with Sun's new upgrade policy, the software will be revved every quarter.

The Java Desktop System will be sold for a fee collected monthly or yearly - like one pays one's car insurance or school taxes - calculated on how many people work at the company buying the stuff. At least that's Sun's high-level view of the pricing scheme. Whether it works out that way in reality after negotiations is another. Sun insiders fancy the numbers Sun is going to put on the table are quite aggressive.

Orion, Sun's high-end integrated software stack, which also launches tomorrow and consists of all Sun's Sun ONE middleware, is supposed to be sold on the same basis. It will officially be called the Java Enterprise System, sources said. It is supposed to be available on Solaris, Linux and Solaris x86.

Some sources say that they have been given to understand that Sun will be selling the Java Desktop System, an alternative to Microsoft Office, unbundled for customers to run on their existing x86 machines - a strange departure for a hardware company.

Another rumor connected with Mad Hatter suggests that rather than go out and procure a conventional white box to run the Java Desktop System code on - as Sun suggested it would back in September - it'll sell the stuff on a single-board Grizzly, a version of its dual Xeon-based white box blade server passed off as a desktop.

Another set of rumors say Sun's going to "pull a Steve Jobs" and sashay it with a sexy widget run up by one of those fancy hardware designer outfits.

It's unclear how much credence to give either of these rumors, especially since the Sun Ray version of Mad Hatter involves hardware.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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Most Recent Comments
Gil G'witch 09/16/03 08:39:23 PM EDT

Reading the speculations presented as fact in this article, I think I now have a better understanding of why a usually trustworthy writer recently said that "famous for her confrontational style in press conferences, Maureen O'Gara is single-handedly the reason why most companies in the sector have abandoned having press conferences."

In Shock 09/16/03 05:11:56 PM EDT

Does LinuxWorld really feel the need to publish articles that basically consist of "Here's some stuff I made up that is obviously all wrong?" Since when is StarOffice called SunOffice? How does giving months of press interviews, announcements, demos in LinuxWorld Expos translate into "it said it wasn't" going to ship a Linux desktop? And starting off with things like "widely believed the thing will be a typical Sun bait-and-switch for its latest darling" translates into "I feel the need to bash Sun so will make up any lies necessary." This moron should never be allowed to write for LinuxWorld again unless you want your rag to be considered even less trustworthy than the National Enquirer.
This isn't even an opinion piece disguised as news, it's simply fabrication of the sort the New York Times fires people for.

someone who knows 09/16/03 12:11:17 PM EDT

This article has so many things wrong it's painful.

The author should get the information checked with Sun before publishing.

It's rubbish like this, that causes people to lose jobs.

The Java Desktop System is a Linux distribution that uses the talents of many Sun people, to say that it's just a bundling of different parts is not correct

Value Privacy 09/15/03 11:51:11 PM EDT

"Gonna"? Whatever happened to the English language? I had a hard time reading the rest of what must have been an informative article because of that ridiculous choice of words in the introductory paragraph

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