Sun embraces desktop Linux

Sun Microsystems Inc. is trying to undercut enterprise Microsoft Windows desktop deployments with the Java Desktop System, which will cost just $50 per user per year, or less for agencies that abandon Windows.

JDS comprises a Linux operating system based on Novell Inc.'s SuSE distribution plus Sun's StarOffice 7.0 suite and other open-source components.

Future versions could use other Linux distributions or possibly Sun Solaris, company spokesman Simon Phipps said.

StarOffice includes a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation manager compatible with Windows applications; RealPlayer; Macromedia Flash; and a DVD recorder-player. The other open-source components are the Gnome graphical interface, Mozilla browser, Ximian Evolution mail reader and Gaim instant messenger. 'There's probably a Linux driver for any printer,' Phipps said.

JDS works either standalone or in conjunction with the back-end Java Enterprise System server, which costs $100 per user per year. 'It can serve a mix of thin clients, PCs and notebook computers running Linux and Solaris,' Phipps said.

About the Authors

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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