Suns Second Java Desktop System Slated for May Release

The second version of the company's JDS will be generally available in the first week of May, a vice president says, and will include management capabilities that allow enterprises to fine-tune and remotely set up the desktop.

Sun Microsystems Inc. on Thursday will use the Desktop Linux Summit in San Diego to announce that the second version of its Java Desktop System will be generally available in the first week of May.

Curtis Sasaki, Suns vice president of desktop solutions, told eWEEK in an interview Wednesday, ahead of the summit, that among the key advances in version 2.0 are management capabilities that allow enterprises to fine-tune and remotely set up the desktop.

"They can turn features like macros on and off and can even modify the background screen for branding purposes," Sasaki said. "We have also added in remote desktop capabilities.

"And through our partnership with Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS), one of our enterprise support partners, they have access to remote diagnosis of their desktops as well as help fixing these," he said. "We are also using EDS internal to Sun."

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Also included in the latest software is an auto-update feature that allows enterprises to have their own mechanisms behind the firewall, and this feature would be used for both security and application downloads. Customers already using the Java Desktop System would be able to request a CD update of the software or download an update from the Web, Sasaki said.

He will demonstrate the new features and functionality at the summit and during his speech Friday, titled "Learning from Customers to Reduce Barriers to Enterprise Linux Desktops." Sasaki also will be talking up adoption of the Sun desktop system. More than 250 enterprises are trying out the software in their own environments through pilot programs, and the company had sold "tens of thousands of licenses, if not even more, as all the figures are not back yet," he said.

About 1,500 ISV developers had signed up for the Java desktop ISV program. "The good news here is that a lot of developers are certifying their applications on the Java Desktop System, and there is a branding system around that," Sasaki said. "We will be rolling this out on Java.com, and so already today there are applications there that have been run and tested on the JDS."

Next Page: A third version of the desktop system is planned for this fall, Sasaki says.