Ximian releases lastest Gnome desktop products

Open source software maker Ximian Inc. on Tuesday released the latest version of its bundle of desktop software, Gnome 1.4, for Linux and Unix operating systems.

Ximian, which launched in 1999 under the name Helix Code, released the first version of Gnome (GNU Network Object Model Environment) in August 2000 as one of the original GUI (graphical user interface) desktop applications for the Gnome project.

"We've really taken the product a long way in the past year," said Nat Friedman, co-founder and vice president of development for Ximian. "We've also gone a step further than we have in the past in terms of polishing up the desktop for users.

"It's a major launch for us," he said

Gnome 1.4 includes the Mozilla Web browser; Red Carpet 1.0, a software management application that allows users to install, update and remove software from Ximian and third parties; and Gnome Doorman, a configuration and set-up program. The software also includes Nautilus, a file management product from open source software maker Eazel Inc., and MonkeyTalk, an online chat service that connects users to Ximian's help desk, and is built into every application.

The most functional upgrade to the new software, Friedman said, is the Red Carpet application management product, which also launched as a new version Tuesday.

"It's connected to our back-end service so people can run Red Carpet, choose from a list of software and product upgrades, grab them and install them," he said.

In February, Hewlett-Packard Co. announced that it would begin shipping Ximian's Gnome Desktop as the default system with its HP-UX and Linux systems, later this year. HP said it would replace its existing desktop environment with Gnome and make it a common, open standard for versions of Linux it offers and for its HP-UX operating system.

Its partnership with HP has given Ximian some traction in the business software space, which it continues to develop for.

IBM also started shipping Gnome 1.0 on its ThinkPad laptop. Ximian says it has about 600,000 users for the software.

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