Productivity apps, printing and

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

networking"> Productivity apps

Java Desktop System 2 ships with the StarOffice 7 office productivity suite, and Red Hat Desktop ships with 1.1. StarOffice is based on the OpenOffice code base, so we werent surprised that the suites were similar. Both can do a good job of handling Office documents, but they work best in their native document formats.

Click here to see how fared against Microsoft Office in an eWEEK Labs eValuation.
One thing we appreciated about how StarOffice is configured with Java Desktop System 2 is that the appropriate external programs were set. For example, when we were ready to e-mail a document, StarOffice launched Evolution. In contrast, we had to set up Red Hat Desktop to launch Evolution.

For Web browsing, both desktops include Mozilla 1.4, an excellent browser with good standards support, as well as usability features, such as pop-up blocking and tabbed browsing, that Microsofts Internet Explorer lacks.

Printing and network

We could connect both our desktop Linux test machines to networked printers and print from the desktops as wed expect, and we could browse Windows network shares using Samba. We could also browse Suns NFS (Network File System) shares.

One annoying thing with both products was that we couldnt directly edit an document stored on a Samba share; we had to first copy the document to our local disk.

Handling network shares well is another improvement in the latest version of GNOME, and, as with the file dialogs, we found that Sun has improved the default network share functionality compared with what Red Hat has done.

Along similar lines, we were pleased that we could plug a USB (Universal Serial Bus) thumb drive into the Java Desktop System 2-based machine and have the device turn up with other drives in the systems This Computer folder. Red Hat Desktop does not have a comparable folder; we had to manually mount our USB drive to access it.

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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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