Sun Microsystems Inc. last week quietly released a version of its Java Desktop System (JDS) software based on the Solaris x86 operating system, a move the company is calling the first step in a long-term strategy to unify the user interface for Sun's Linux and Solaris products, Sun officials said Thursday.
The software, which was made available on Oct. 5 for users of Sun's Opteron-based wz1100 and wz2100 workstations, is the first version of JDS to be based on Solaris instead of the Suse Linux operating system, but it will not be the last, according to Susan Jeffries, product line manager with Sun's User Software Group.
"You can see what we introduced last week as the first step in expanding the platform support for JDS and extending that user interface to Sun products," said Jeffries. "We're definitely merging to single user interfaces across the product line."
First released in 2003, the Java Desktop System is an integrated bundle of desktop software that includes many of the same components already found in Solaris, including the GNOME desktop environment and the Mozilla browser. The Solaris version of JDS includes usability enhancements and software, like the Evolution groupware client, that was not available in previous versions of Solaris.
Some of the features found in the Linux version of JDS are not available in the first release of the Solaris version, Jeffries said. Sun's Java Desktop System Configuration Manger, for example, will be made available in a subsequent release of JDS for Solaris, she said.
Jeffries declined to say whether the upcoming release of Solaris 10, which is slated for November, would include the Java Desktop System, but she indicated that a version of JDS for Sun's UltraSparc systems was also in the works.
"In the next three to four months, we'll have the next version of JDS 3, which includes wider platform support," she said. UltraSparc is the only platform not presently supported by JDS.
Though JDS is at present certified to run only on Sun's Opteron workstations, the company would like to certify the software for a wider number of systems, Jeffries said.
The x86 version of Solaris is presently certified to run on over 250 different systems, including PCs from Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., and Dell Inc.