Three years after pledging to integrate its Solaris operating system with the open source GNOME (GNU Object Model Environment) desktop, Sun Microsystems is finally ready to deliver.
The next version of Solaris, version 9 8/03, which will begin shipping on Sun's systems on August 13, will offer users the choice of running Solaris with the look and feel of the GNOME 2.0 desktop, instead of booting up with the more traditional CDE (Common Desktop Environment) user interface.
"Now GNOME is actually integrated as a part of Solaris 9," said Solaris Product Management Group Manager Bill Moffitt. "We will take bug reports against it and we'll promise a fix."
Previously, GNOME was bundled with Solaris, but only as an add-on CD that was not supported by Sun.
The GNOME project is an collection of open source software, founded by developer Miguel de Icaza in 1997. It is made up of a hundreds of desktop applications, from file managers to calculators to games as well as a number of software development tools, and, along with KDE (the K Desktop Environment), is one of the most popular desktop environments for Linux.
Sun announced plans to support GNOME within Solaris in August of 2000. Since then, GNOME has been working its way through the slow process of not only being ported to Sun's version of Unix, Solaris, but also of being approved by Sun's various architectural review and product approval committees. "We have a fairly long development cycle in Solaris," Moffitt said.
The new version of GNOME will not be the only enhancement to Solaris 9 8/03. Sun also pans to extend Solaris's Unix filesystem to support 16T bytes of data, and it will have a speedier version of its Live Upgrade software that will let users upgrade the operating system in less time. Sun is also enhancing its Solaris Volume Manager software so that it will be able to convert storage devices formatted by the Veritas Volume Manager into the Solaris Volume Manager format.