The Future Desktop on Solaris (...?)

Over the last few months I've been tasked with looking at the desktop on Solaris and figuring out what it is that discourages people from using Solaris as a desktop instead of Linux (and in someways even MS Windows and MacOS/X) and to then look at how we could enable users to have a better experience on Solaris. As a result of this I have produced a document which has beem made public at the Desktop community at Open Solaris.org:

Solaris Desktop Gaps Analysis

Usability of Solaris, from the kernel to the desktop level is being heavily invested in at the moment. There is a lot happening right now, and from a desktop perspective there are quite a few gaps that need to filled.

What I want to really do is to spark some discussion. So I ask that you read the document and I would love to hear your comments, but I do ask people to keep it constructive... ;)

Comments:

Great article! I'll be back after more time to read more and provide more a constructive critique. However, in the mean time, I've always considered a UPS monitoring utility very important, even for desktops. Granted I live in Central Florida, but EVERYONE here should have a UPS [lightning capital of the US, #2 in the world).

You may consider the Gnome UPS Monitor utility (http://heim.ifi.uio.no/~hennikul/gupsc/) for inclusion as well.

Thanks. Keep up the good work!

Posted by Wes Williams on November 08, 2005 at 09:35 AM GMT #

This is just the kind of work I have hoped that Sun would do! We have a fairly simple Sun Ray setup so what is important to me may be different from the single user desktop. A few points I would add:

Printing needs to be addressed at the application level. We use StarOffice, Firefox, and Acrobat and all three have different printing configurations.

The lack of Acrobat on x86 is also holding up some of our plans to use Solaris on v20z or X4100 for Sun Ray servers as the current JDS with gpdf isn't seen as a good enough solution.

I also think it may be time for the default browser to be Firefox instead of Mozilla (SeaMonkey) but that may be a bit of a religious issue.

This is a great paper and Sun needs to move on its recommendations.

Posted by Stephen Surbey on November 08, 2005 at 11:17 AM GMT #

Good stuff. Unfortunately, reading that article completely turned me off from even considering Solaris 10 on my desktop for a year :)

Posted by Jeff Blaine on November 08, 2005 at 11:19 AM GMT #

I'm still going through the docs (very good, BTW), but I noticed two items that (may) belong somewhat together. Please remember that most MP3 players, etc. will use a Windows filesystem. This would also be important for cross-platform use of USB thumb drives, etc. The mounting of these devices needs to support the various filesystem formats. Thus, does this tie in with the required CIFS support mentioned later? Either way, both CIFS support and local FAT/FAT32/NTFS/etc. support would be required for full usability as you are suggesting. Just my 1.5 cents so far. Good work; I hope this moves forward. :-)

Posted by Rainer Heilke on November 08, 2005 at 12:42 PM GMT #

In a general purpose computer that several different people use S10 + zones is great but ... When you power up have a login screen that lets you chose which user to login as. Most users can remember their username (usually). Once they login they go directly to their zone with all their settings. If I login as the root user it logs me into the global zone to admin things. All non-global zones must be logged into as a user first then they can su to root in their zone if they need to admin things. I'll read the doc now :) Hopefully that isn't already covered.

Posted by Tim McMurphy on November 08, 2005 at 02:25 PM GMT #

Okay, since my first post I've realized I didn't mention that the Gnome UPS Monitor utility is abandoned, but now you know. Any UPS management utility would be welcome as I have had horrible luck installing any of APC's own utilities on Solaris 10 GA.

One other application I'd like to see in the default desktop install, Gnu Cash. Who knows, perhaps even Sun may provide additional support for this project similar to Open[Star]Office and/or [Open]Solaris?

Another utility I'd like to see in desktop Solaris is a more detailed GUI system monitor. We can all agree nothing will beat the CLI here, but a more detailed GUI type of system monitor will help ease the transition of users of other systems. Of course there is already existing FOSS/Gnome software for this, but adding functionality for some enhanced Solaris-only features would be great.

You are right on with OpenGL, graphics, and screensaver support...if nothing else for only some eye candy to prove just how powerful this system can be in order to draw more attention and further develop your user base.

Posted by Wes Williams on November 08, 2005 at 06:40 PM GMT #

I'm concerned about the assumptions and exclusions being made around MP3. Sun Microsystems must have the legal resources to properly check the issues surrounding codes rather than continuing to make assumptions based on Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. I do not believe anyone has yet gotten clear answers on what the legal risks a really are and in which countries the risks are valid. I fear there is a chilling effect on Open Source and the lack of legal expertise is causing projects to steer well clear and be held to highest strictest legal requirements which may not even apply in all but a few countries.

Posted by Alan Horkan on November 10, 2005 at 11:59 AM GMT #

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