Solaris Moves to GNOME

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-03-04 Print this article Print

Sun to collaborate with Ximian, Wipro; desktop gains features.

GNOME users and developers are upbeat about Sun Microsystems Inc.s decision last week to work with partners to develop a GNOME 2.0-based desktop for Solaris.

Sun will collaborate with open-source software developer Ximian Inc., of Boston, and IT services company Wipro Ltd., of Bangalore, India, to provide a next-generation GNU Network Object Model Environment desktop with Solaris.

Kevin Colquitt, a system administrator at the Texas attorney generals office in Austin and a user of Solaris 8 and GNOME 1.4, welcomed the news, saying GNOME is cleaner than Solaris CDE (Common Desktop Environment). Colquitt said GNOME is easier to configure and more intuitive and has a wider range of applications, utilities and accessories available to it.

The attorney generals office has some 20 machines running Solaris and CDE. After piloting GNOME 1.4, administrators will be rolling out GNOME to those machines. "We are also going to upgrade to Solaris 9 and GNOME 2.0 when they become available," Colquitt said. "The one thing I would like is for GNOME to install more easily, and so I look forward to having it as the default desktop with Solaris in the future."

Jamin Gray, a Unix programmer in St. Louis and a member of the GNOME 2.0 Release Team, said the announcement means that GNOME 2.0 will become a solid and widespread desktop on Solaris workstations. "It also means that GNOME 2.0 will arrive sooner and be of a higher quality," Gray said.

The final version of GNOME 2.0 was expected to be released at the end of this month, but that date will likely be pushed to May. "After testing the first beta, its apparent that were going to need another month or so," Gray said. "Well probably be adding another two beta cycles to the schedule. Well release when its ready."

GNOME 2.0 will have a number of new features, including a new look, stock icons, and improved fonts and graphics, as well as usability improvements, he said.

Leila Chucri, a group product marketing manager at Sun, in Cupertino, Calif., said the GNOME 2.0 implementation for Solaris will be available as a download as soon as it becomes available in the third quarter. It will then be integrated into the second Solaris update, scheduled for release by years end.

CDE will remain the default desktop in Solaris 9 when the latter ships toward the middle of the year, Chucri said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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