April 27, 2001, 5:38 PM —
Ximian announced this week the release of Ximian GNOME 1.4 and version 1.0 of its software update mechanism called Red Carpet. The company intends both products to be steps along the path to increasing the number of Linux desktop users through ease of use. With both KDE, the other major Linux desktop environment, and GNOME making major releases in recent months, a lot of Linux desktops have gained additional polish and functionality.
Ximian's press release for GNOME 1.4 mentions several highlights of the new desktop package, including:
- A fully integrated version of the Mozilla Web browser
- File management with Eazel Nautilus 1.0
- MonkeyTalk, an online community chat support facility
- GNOME Doorman, a wizard to help users with their initial configuration of the desktop
- Red Carpet 1.0
Ximian GNOME is available in distribution-specific versions for seamless installation on Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE, TurboLinux, and Debian.
I had a chance to speak to Nat Friedman, Ximian's cofounder and vice president of product development, about the company's newest releases. Friedman said that the most exciting and important part of the release to him is "the inclusion of Red Carpet as the default updating technology, and as an integrated part of the desktop." He said the product will make it more convenient for end users to keep their systems updated and will provide a means for ISVs and GNU/Linux distributors to "deploy software to Linux users."
Of course, I was anxious to give the new version of Ximian a spin, but my download was slowed by heavy traffic at the Ximian site, and I had a problem installing the software on my system's particular configuration. Friedman told me the day after the release that Ximian accounted for "about 5 percent" of Akamai's traffic at that time. Akamai provides content distribution for firms like CNN and the New York Times as well as for Ximian. During the first 24 hours after the release of the new Ximian GNOME, the company distributed about 700 GB of data.