Sun Microsystems is putting its weight behind an open source desktop environment for its Solaris operating system.
The company is teaming up with software developers Ximian and Wipro to develop the system that will be based on Gnome 2.0, the upcoming open source Windows-like desktop environment for Unix.
The aim of Gnome is to push adoption of open source desktop applications for Linux and Unix platforms to attack the Microsoft desktop monopoly.
Wipro is heading the overall development effort, including porting and bug fixing, and is responsible for the integration of the Gnome solution with the existing common desktop environment.
Meanwhile, Ximian, an open source desktop software provider for Unix, will be developing the desktop platform, including the graphical user interface, user personalisation, drag and drop file management and internet browsing.
Sun explained that the agreement is a culmination of multiple Sun contributions to the Gnome project and is an indication of its continued commitment and support of open source efforts.
Mike Rogers, vice president and general manager for desktop and Star Office products at Sun, maintained that the aim is to provide Solaris software enterprise customers with "a high quality and rich offering to meet the everyday needs of business organisations".
Steve Hnizdur, managing director at open source consultancy NetProject, said: "The significance of this partnership is the attachment of Sun's name which gives it credibility."
Al Gillen, research director for systems software at IDC, commented: "As other large players make plans to use software built by the open source community, the proliferation of the Gnome desktop will accelerate and lead to a unified desktop across Linux and Unix."
Online delivery by Sun is planned for the third quarter of this year and will be available for Solaris 8 and higher.
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