User experience

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2004-06-21 Print this article Print

User experience

Java Desktop System 2 and Red Hat Desktop ship with GNOME 2.2 as their default desktop environment, and each desktop system carries its theme across the environment.

Red Hat Desktop offers KDE 3.1.3 as a desktop environment alternative, a choice that Java Desktop System 2 does not provide. Among desktop Linux users, KDE is as popular as GNOME and has its own strengths, so its nice to see KDE available as an option.

Check out eWEEK Labs review of KDE 3.2. A downside of the staid development pace of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell Inc.s SuSE Desktop 1—the enterprise Linux distributions on which Red Hat Desktop and Java Desktop systems are respectively based—is that their components are not the latest and greatest versions.

GNOME 2.2 is now two versions old, and its missing some nice features present in the latest version. For instance, GNOME 2.6 offers a dialog for saving and opening files thats much-improved over the one that comes with GNOME 2.2.

Click here to read the review of GNOME 2.6. However, while Red Hat Desktop ships with the crude GNOME 2.2 dialog, Java Desktop System 2 includes a modified version of the dialog thats much easier to use.

Java Desktop System 2 and Red Hat Desktop ship with Evolution 1.4.5 as their default groupware application. We tested both Evolution installations with IMAP mail accounts. Evolution also can access Microsoft Exchange calendar, contact and to-do data using Novells free Exchange connector plug-in, but neither Java Desktop System 2 nor Red Hat Desktop includes the plug-in.

In addition, its fairly trivial to set up Evolution to use SpamAssassin for client-side spam filtering, but neither desktop includes spam-filtering capabilities in its version of Evolution.

See eWEEK Labs review of Evolution 1.5. Both desktops ship with the open-source Gaim instant messaging application, which works well and supports multiple IM protocols.

Next page: Productivity apps, printing and networking.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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