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Sun To Upgrade Java Desktop System

Sun plans to introduce a new version of its desktop Linux with added enterprise management capabilities.
Sun Microsystems plans on Thursday to introduce an upgrade to its desktop Linux, Java Desktop System, with added capabilities for management in an enterprise network.

JDS 2, due to ship in May, adds capabilities for remote deployment and management. Network administrators can lock down the system so that users can't make any changes to the configuration, not even to the wallpaper, said Curtis Sasaki, Sun vice president of desktop solutions. Network administrators can remove programs from the start menu to block users from running programs, and preconfigure the browser to block access to all but permitted web sites.

Policy information can be stored in either Active Directory or LDAP.

The software also includes an enterprise automatic update mechanism, to allow network administrators to control deployment of patches and updates.

JDS will be priced at $100 per desktop per year, or, for users licensing Sun's back-end Java Enterprise System, $50 per desktop per year.

JDS is based on SuSE Linux, and runs a modified GNOME interface.

Sun is also working on an experimental three-dimensional interface for JDS, code-named Looking Glass. The interface will allow users to move application windows so they appear to be in the distance, turn the application windows and write text on the sides - as though they were the spines of books - or write on the backs of the windows. Sun posted screen shots of Looking Glass to its web site.

Sun expects to roll out toolkits this summer to allow developers to write applications taking advantage of Looking Glass.