Linux Desktop Review
by Web Editor
Here's a roundup of some Linux desktop news from the past couple of weeks.
Novell's Shaking Things Up
Many changes have been occurring at Novell over the past couple of weeks, including the naming of a new company president and job cuts for more than 10% of its staff. Novell also has said it will focus its efforts on the two areas the company believes have the most growth potential--Linux and identity. These moves are part of an overall company restructuring that hopes to cut costs and raise profitability in the coming fiscal quarters.
As part of the company's decision to focus more of its work on Linux, Novell also announced that future releases in both the SLES (SuSE Linux Enterprise Server) and Novell Linux Desktop line will feature GNOME as the default desktop environment. For now, KDE will continue to be supported on these product lines, but this announcement does suggest that Novell is moving in the direction of supporting only one desktop environment, a move many distributions have been considering.
Mandriva 2006 Shipping
Mandriva, formerly the Mandrake Linux distribution, announced that Mandriva 2006 now is available. Mandriva is a popular Linux distribution, especially among new Linux users, because it is easy to install and use. New features for the 2006 release include the Kat desktop search tool; support for Centrino mobile technology; Skype, software for making free voice calls over the Internet; an interactive firewall; and an auto-installation server. Mandriva 2006 is available by download or in a box in three versions, including one designed specifically for new Linux users, Discovery/Lx.
Although Mandriva currently is not available pre-installed on a laptop from any major vendors, DesktopLinux.com notes that Mandriva is available on Dell laptops in France. Perhaps the full support of Centrino in the Mandriva 2006 release indicates more laptop vendors will be offering Mandriva as a pre-install option in the future.
New Firefox Release Candidate Released
Hot on the heels on Firefox achieving its 100 millionth worldwide download, Firefox 1.5 Release Candidate 1 has been released for downloading and testing by users everywhere. This Release Candidate version is available for testing and bug detection in anticipation of the official Firefox 1.5 release, scheduled for December 2005. Being beta software, Release Candidate 1 offers no user support and thus should not replace your current browser. But if you'd like to see what Firefox 1.5 has to offer and help fix bugs before the official release, download Release Candidate 1 and check it out.
And, if you'd like to help spread the word about the Firefox browser--or help celebrate its 100 million downloads--check out the Spread Firefox Web site.
Nokia 770 Tablet
Finally, just in time for the holiday buying frenzy, Nokia released its Linux-powered 770 Internet Tablet in Europe this past week, about a month behind schedule. The 770 offers 802.11b/g and Bluetooth connectivity, support for a host of audio and video file formats and all sorts of Web and e-mail functionality.
For now, the 770 is available only in Europe, but rumor has it Nokia will be announcing US availability in the coming week or so.