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Sun's Java Desktop

Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

I'm thinking about buying the Java Desktop from Sun. It's $50 right now. I thought, you know, support Sun, support Linux, lose Windows..
But I was wondering if anyone else has messed around with it. How does it compare to other distros like RH and Mandrake, Debian, etc?


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Tim West
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Joined: Mar 15, 2004
Posts: 539
I haven't used it a *great* deal, but I've installed it on a couple of work laptops (for other people...I'm not the most highly ranked employee ;-)).
As you probably know, JDS is basically SUSE without the gecko logo. (Sun tried to develop their own distro but decided it was too expensive, I think). It has all the goodness of YAST and other SUSE utilities (though YAST is the only one I've used). It uses Gnome exclusively; it doesn't come with KDE by default.
The big advantage is that it's all tested to work well together, the packages are stable etc etc. However, I understand (though can't confirm) that it's somewhat harder to upgrade - and there's less community support than there would be for SUSE. I'm not sure how often it's upgraded, but I gather it doesn't keep pace with community-controlled distros. I don't think JDS is on the 2.6 kernel yet, for example. (I could be entirely wrong on this paragraph; maybe SUSE packages are directly compatible...more investigation needed)
I've used Mandrake a lot on the desktop, and from a naive perspective I'd say JDS is equally friendly. I installed it on the laptops fine; the only sticking point was that it didn't automatically detect the PCMCIA network cards. A few clicks in YAST had this sorted out though.
That's the extent of experience with it - I don't know enough to make a recommendation but it does seem pretty and stable
For my money though I'd check out SUSE and go down that path, unless stability is your primary concern and the latest kernel and packages are of little importance.

--Tim
Adrian Yan
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Joined: Oct 02, 2000
Posts: 688
I read all the reviews about it, I just don't see anything that catch my eyes. The so called Java I think it's more of a marketing gimmick. Personally speaking as a Java developer, I wouldn't want to use too many Swing based applications just yet.
Tim Holloway
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Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16145
    
  21

Originally posted by Adrian Yan:
Personally speaking as a Java developer, I wouldn't want to use too many Swing based applications just yet.

Oh? Java Desktop has precious little Java in it (this is basically just a ".Net" from Sun - rememember Everythings.Net?).
But what's wrong with Swing? Aside from the obvious fact that's it's a totally NIH-reinvention of a windowing system that has the unfortunate habit of naming internal methods the same thing as other UI packages name commonly-used user API methods?
The days when Swing was slow and unreliable are pretty much gone now - I've seen some very impressive GUIs done in Swing, including major UML modelling tools that have completely real-time performance.


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Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

I downloaded Mandrake 10 the other day. I have always been pretty happy with Mandrake. 9.2 as a little buggy, but nothing major. 10 seems pretty solid. Funny how we talk about distro versions and bugs but, to be honest, it's not the distro that buggy. It's the software that is included in the distro that is the problem.
I find it interesting that Sun is using a Suse distro as a base since Novell bought Suse. I wonder how that is working out?
I agree with Tim H. on the whole Swing issue. I read recently, will need to find it again, that on Linux and Solaris platforms, Java 1.5 final will use OpenGL to render for the Graphics2D API which is what SWING uses to draw all of it's widgets. That should increase the speed considerably. Down side to that is it won't be available in Windows.
Dmitry Melnik
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Joined: Dec 18, 2003
Posts: 328
Down side to that is it won't be available in Windows.
...beacause of ???
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

Originally posted by Dmitry Melnik:
Down side to that is it won't be available in Windows.
...beacause of ???

Good question. Who knows? I'll see if I can find that article again but I don't remember it saying why.
Adrian Yan
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Joined: Oct 02, 2000
Posts: 688
Swing still has a long way to go, aside of its performance, it is still immature.
Also, why would anyone pay for a linux distribution? Most people has broadband nowaday, downloading couple of CDs no longer a problem.
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

Originally posted by Adrian Yan:
Also, why would anyone pay for a linux distribution? Most people has broadband nowaday, downloading couple of CDs no longer a problem.

It's about supporting something. If I like Mandrake enough, I will buy it from the Mandrake Store. Same goes for JDS.
Tim Holloway
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Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16145
    
  21

As I recall, in a corporate setting, Sun obtains an employee count (as reported to the US govt. at end of year) and bills $50/employee, regardless of the actual number of systems used. Contractors, multi-CPU servers, etc. don't count, only employee head count. No audits or software raids. Once every 3 months, you get a fully-integrated update of the system where every component has been validated against every other component (or as close as you can get in a complicated world).
This isn't a solution for everyone, but it does save time/money for heavily computerized corporate environments.
Why get one for home use? Well, either because you too like the integrated updates or because that's what you have at work. Assuming that the work license doesn't cover your home copy (which it might, I'm not sure).
 
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subject: Sun's Java Desktop