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Sun's Global Desktop Released 96

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the shiny-new-toys dept.
aphaenogaster writes "Suns Global Desktop version 4.2 has been released and appears to be quite effective. Applications load very quickly, and is not limited to Sparc or Solaris. Applications piped to a desktop across a slow DSL line appear to work very well. Sun has also set up a test server for users to play with."
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Sun's Global Desktop Released

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  • Who copied who? (Score:3, Informative)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Monday April 17, 2006 @10:31PM (#15146631)
    To put it better, who innovated first? Was is SUN or NoMachine? You can test Linux out via a slow DSL line at http://www.nomachine.com/ [nomachine.com]. A faster one would be better though.
  • by Cyberax (705495) on Monday April 17, 2006 @10:33PM (#15146643)
    Remember the last time when SUN made a public-available demo of their grid-computing thingy.

    I wonder how much time it... Oh wait, their server is already down.
  • by David Hume (200499) on Monday April 17, 2006 @10:45PM (#15146680) Homepage
    FTFA:
    Secure Global Desktop Software allows you to:

            * Access applications from nearly any location on the internet over a secure connection without specialized hardware
    Sweet!
    * Reduce costs by centralizing management of users and applications
    To tell you the truth, I really don't care, but if it helps save money, leading to me getting a raise....
    * Enable auditing of application usage
    What??? Oh oh... I don't like this. How can I use the software for my *own* work... and play... after hours, of course.
    * Dramatically reduce the time to securely deliver applications
    Well, ok.
    * Ensure users can access only applications they are authorized to use
    And this is supposed to be an advantage? I guess I better update my resume on Monster.com... from the Starbucks down the street.
    * Increase resiliency by housing application sessions at the data center and not on individual PCs
    Lord knows, I'm not a techie, but it *increases* "reliliency" by having the applications located at the data center and not my PC??? And if I can't access the Data Center? Or if the application there becomes corrupt, virus infected, etc.?

    More seriously, part of my compensation package, whether my employer realizes it or not, is access to applications and a modicum of control over my PC, applications, and user experience. Take those away, and I'm less than a happy camper.
    • Lord knows, I'm not a techie, but it *increases* "reliliency" by having the applications located at the data center and not my PC??? And if I can't access the Data Center? Or if the application there becomes corrupt, virus infected, etc.?

      Well, it cuts both ways, if you're running all your applications on one server, and that one machine goes down, you're fucked, but you only have to maintain one machine, not the multitudes of machines running your application. In the end, which setup makes the most sense de

      • Well, it cuts both ways, if you're running all your applications on one server, and that one machine goes down, you're fucked, but you only have to maintain one machine, not the multitudes of machines running your application. In the end, which setup makes the most sense depends on what type of application you're using.

        Who is this "you" that is being referred to? It certainly isn't me . I'm a "mere user." I don't have to maintain the multitudes of machines running my applications. Somebody else does

        • Who is this "you" that is being referred to? It certainly isn't me . I'm a "mere user." I don't have to maintain the multitudes of machines running my applications. Somebody else does.

          And, as a user, your main concern is whether or not the applications are available. So, it doesn't really matter whether it is you, or not, what matters is that the maintenance is easier. Also, if the apps are centralised, they are running from server class hardware, not that £299 Dell that the boss saw an offer for

    • by pavera (320634) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:28AM (#15146932) Homepage Journal
      Lord knows, I'm not a techie, but it *increases* "reliliency" by having the applications located at the data center and not my PC??? And if I can't access the Data Center? Or if the application there becomes corrupt, virus infected, etc.?

      Ok, so you trust your desktop machine with a 40GB IDE disk drive, that you admit you install applications and such onto (probably from the internet), so you've got at least 1 virus, and probably 300-400 hits on a random run of spybot... and that power supply in your system isn't redundant, and if you have a UPS it maybe lasts for 5 minutes... but you trust that more than the 2 redundant servers in the data center, with triple redundant power supplies, a RAID5 SAN, and redundant NICs, and a 6 hour UPS sitting underneath it....

      See, with this system, you can get full redundancy for the whole enterprise by simply building a 2-3 machine cluster... Everything is redundant, and I guarantee you I can build a system that will smoke your little Dell as far as reliability is concerned, and I can do it for the cost of maybe 10 standard PCs...

      Oh yeah, and now you can access your applications from any internet connected computer, not just your Dell that sits in your cube. Also, now your computer at your cube can be replaced by a completely silent, fanless, no moving parts thin client...

      If you believe part of your compensation package is being able to make system admins life hell... well I'm glad I don't work at the same place you do. Besides the license violations your machine probably presents (I know I worked at a firm that got audited by the SBA, and you wonderful users with your "Oh, I think I'll just install this app even though the IT guys told me I couldn't" cost that company more than 750k in fines). 99% of all "computer" problems are problems with some crap software the users have installed... "But I have to have this new nifty 3d Screensaver with weather reports"... Oh it logs all my keystrokes and sends them to a server in the Ukraine, and it also attempts to automatically install this software on random PCs across the internet and that's why the network has been slow for the last week? I don't care I've gotta see this cool 3d butterfly! Or my favorite was the lady who kept installing real networks player (even though we uninstalled it almost every night from her machine) to watch real time video of birds hatching... on a 128k ISDN line that fed 100+ employees... and everyone wondered why for 2 months in the spring the internet was mysteriously slow...

      Part of your compensation package is not to use the computer systems however you feel... They are provided to do a job, not watch movies or play MP3s, and they are certainly not provided to allow you to run up expenses in the IT dept. If you want that go purchase your own PC, but leave the company systems to their proper function.

      • I'm sorry - but something's amiss here.

        You proclaim you can make a more resilient setup with centralized, network-accessible services, but you were unable to find (and permanently fix) a one-PC bandwidth problem in two months?

        Now, I'm all for centralized services when it makes sense, but you haven't sold me in this case ;-)

        Nothing personal, that one just jumped out at me. Maybe it was the idea of watching baby birds hatching live...
        • I'm sorry - but something's amiss here.

          You proclaim you can make a more resilient setup with centralized, network-accessible services, but you were unable to find (and permanently fix) a one-PC bandwidth problem in two months?

          Now, I'm all for centralized services when it makes sense, but you haven't sold me in this case ;-)

          Nothing personal, that one just jumped out at me. Maybe it was the idea of watching baby birds hatching live...

          Well, the OP did say he uninstalled the RealPlayer repeatedly, so I don't th


      • i really think you should get another job, if you really are an admin, because you really arent suited to the job.

        your users install crap *because you let them*.

        its your fault that company got fined 750k, if you were responsible for that network.

        its your fault it took 2 months to diagnose a bandwidth problem & by the sound of it, it could happen again.

        99% of your problems are caused by crap your users install, because you obviously have no idea how to lock down a system.
        • Its your fault that company got fined 750k, if you were responsible for that network.

          its your fault it took 2 months to diagnose a bandwidth problem & by the sound of it, it could happen again.


          Well it isn't really his fault it's his bosses fault in either one of two ways:
          1. For not sticking up for him when he told his boss how to secure the network to ensure they wouldn't get fined when they got audited. (I had this occur to me when I worked an IP law firm who had 4 workstation licenses and 60 workstati
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Obviously you live in a fantasy world.

          Users are a huge problem to work with and half the time its not technical reasons, its political. Sure you could lock stuff completely down even under windows through group policies but when you get managers and CEOs complaining and have to start making exceptions it snowballs out of control easily, especially if you don't have somebody at the top of the food chain backing you up. When I started up at this company they didn't even have any clue how many licences they
          • "Users are a huge problem to work with and half the time its not technical reasons, its political."

            Now you know why I don't do sysadmin work in the "real" world. I earned my sysadmin spurs in the US Navy some twenty plus years back and the politics were very clear. There were no exceptions, ever. I was not going to face a court martial for anyone, even the commanding officer, and my commanding officers from then on knew that as I made it clear from the outset. Especially since they would be right up t

            • I find it amusing that a decker-mage worked as a navy sysadmin. When you weren't setting up the black ICE, were you tossing manabolts around?

              More seriously, I think your blessed situation was probably too rare. I've only worked at two different places, but I've seen four different sysadmins face this exact problem. They wanted to lock everything down, but the upper management inclination to do whatever the heck they wanted prevented the sysadmins from being able to do their job.

              At the last place, t
              • Oh, I agree. Having talked to many a sysadmin over the years, it is all too rare. And I still think it comes down to the fact that there were legal consequences to high command if I allowed any activities against Navy security and ADP regulations; something you won't see in the 'real' world, for now. It'll come as these new regulations start getting enforced with real fines.

                As for the mage part, well Mom's and anthropologist and I typed all here papers. I sort of got interested in the subject and given

          • i'd hope you can persude the ceo to stop downloading 3d-screensavers & crap.

            if not & your ceo tells you to make the network as insecure as possible & not to pay any attention to the network at all, you arent a real admin, the ceo is.

            any 'normal' users dont need admin rights.
        • by pavera (320634)
          Ok, this was an engineering firm, and unfortunately, because of some of the software that was REQUIRED for a customer contract, this lady had to have admin rights on her machine. Yeah, that's windows for you. Further, it didn't take me 2 months to diagnose the problem, it took about 30 minutes, but it had been happening for 2 months every year for the last 5 (since they hired her).

          Also, she was about 3rd in command at the company, way above me, or even the IT manager... One word from her and we'd both be
      • See, with this system, you can get full redundancy for the whole enterprise by simply building a 2-3 machine cluster... Everything is redundant, and I guarantee you I can build a system that will smoke your little Dell as far as reliability is concerned, and I can do it for the cost of maybe 10 standard PCs...

        Those must be expensive PCs.
        Let's say $2,000 a pop for the PC's x 10 = $20,000. An HP DL380 loaded with 36GB (small) hard drives and 4GB (also small) of RAM is around $10,000. So OK, you could s
    • You are probably a developer/sysadmin...this is for a company operating in 7 countries with 25,000 notebooks/desktops for specific purposes, like POS, specific apps, etc.).

      Companies do not want every employee being a vulnerability due to malware, virus, etc. can cause chaos. This is not for you.
      • You are probably a developer/sysadmin...this is for a company operating in 7 countries with 25,000 notebooks/desktops for specific purposes, like POS, specific apps, etc.).

        I inherited a POS project like this a few years ago. It's a crappy idea in most some cases.

        If you have say a home depot with redundant T3s then great, of course they already do this. If you have a chain of smaller stores in malls across the country with DSL connections it won't fly. The reliability isn't there.

    • Take those away, and I'm less than a happy camper.

      I dont pay you to be happy. Now get back to work playing with your fonts and browsing slashdot.
    • "is access to applications and a modicum of control over my PC, applications, and user experience."

      You my friend and people like you are the reason why the CTO and myself will do our best to demo this to upper management and executives. Along with cost savings analysis (bye bye Winblows licencing hell), security analysis (bye bye Winblows security hell) and help desk analysis (bye bye wanabe Winblows poweruser hell), etc..

      It's not the people who are completely new to computers that give me the hardest

  • by Alphax.au (913011)
    ...what can it do that ssh and an X11 session can't? And if you're being forced to use a browser to access your server, who says that you're not on a machine with keyloggers and screen capturing?
    • by lowoddnumber (814033) on Monday April 17, 2006 @11:21PM (#15146783)
      ...what can it do that ssh and an X11 session can't?

      Well, maybe if you did a little reading...


      Supported Protocols
      Microsoft RDP
      X11
      HTTP, HTTPS
      SSH
      Citrix Independent Computing Architecture (ICA)
      Telnet VT, American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
      TN3270E
      TN5250

      Supported Application Types
      Microsoft Windows
      Solaris, Linux, HP-UX, and AIX (character and graphical)
      IBM mainframe or AS/400
      HTML, Java

      Client Requirements
      Leading Java technology-enabled clients, including Microsoft Windows, Java Desktop System, Linux, and Mac OS X
      Sun Secure Global Desktop Native Client-enabled devices including thin clients, wireless PDAs, and pocket PCs
      Server Requirements

      Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) v3
      Microsoft Active Directory
      RSA SecurID
      Network Information Service (NIS)
      Microsoft Windows Domains
      HTTP, HTTPS including Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)-based client certificates


      And if you're being forced to use a browser to access your server, who says that you're not on a machine with keyloggers and screen capturing?


      Well, if I were a Sun salesman, I'd say you don't use a crappy Internet Explorer/Outlook Express spyware machine, you use a nice little Sunray which is supposed to use less power than a nightlight - 4 watts - http://www.sun.com/smi/Press/sunflash/2006-04/sunf lash.20060412.4.xml [sun.com]


      I admit I work for Sun.
    • X11 is a fairly chatty, single-threaded protocol and not particularly optimized for low-latency links. Have you ever tried to run X11 apps over a WAN? VPN connection from home? Etc? Especially if your Window Manager is not something extremely bare-bones and your app windows contain more than a few widgets?

      It's incredibly painful to use, unfortunately. There are much worse protocols as well, but something like ICA, RDP, or even VNC (with extensions like those included with UltraVNC) are much better suit
  • Wow Its X11 (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by I kan Spl (614759)
    Wow...

    They just invented something really new that nobody else could have ever thought of ...

    errrr...

    X11 forwarding anyone?
    • In a normal 1 person 2 boxes scenario you are correct there isn't a whole lot of difference. However if you move beyond this into a situation where you want to scale up and have a central pivot delivering to multiple persons then you run into some heavy I/O problems. X is too CPU intensive in modern form and too bandwidth hungry as well. It just won't scale.

      There are other problems as well. Say for example I want to open Konqueror as a file manager on 3 boxes (Mine and two others) at the same time. You
    • Try remoting some chatty X11 apps across a 100 millisecond link.

      Then introduce periodic link failures that make remoted X apps go "pop!"

      Then constrain an entire office down to a few mbps of shared WAN bandwidth

      Then introduce IP phones that suck up all the "extra" bandwidth.
    • They just invented something really new that nobody else could have ever thought of ...errrr... X11 forwarding anyone?

      Swooosh! That was the sound of this technology's purpose whizzing over your head. X11 is great, but has scaling issues and is limited to X11 applications and clients that have X11 support. This is supposedly more scalable, with better bandwidth usage. It has a client for most every OS you want to use, including Windows and OS X. It includes authentication and monitoring tools using LDAP,

  • by Allnighterking (74212) on Monday April 17, 2006 @11:05PM (#15146738) Homepage
    I wonder if it works. Seeing as how it was down faster than somewhere around the second post could be written. So much for Robust. One Monday morning 9am e-mail check would bring your entire company to it's knees.

    Can this kind of application of an OS/System work. Heck Yes! It works and it's needed. However it will always fail as long as they keep trying to put all the eggs in one software basket so to speak. Stop with "one box that does it all. Get into the idea of, "this box does this, that box does that, and you can see it all from that box over there."

    We need to move from the application having access to the OS, to the OS having access to the application. Once OS/data/application are void of their death grip on each other some really amazing things can begin to happen.
    • I wonder if it works.

      Of course it works. I'm a Sun diehard and I've been using the Global Desktop since version 1.0. It was a bit rough then because I was, downloading files to run on my computer, and that was new, but they made 2.0 better. 2.0 added completed downloads of files. Then 3.0, and now 4.2, I'm ecstatic.

      No, wait. I was using NFS, scp, and http downloads. Not Sun's Global Desktop.

      Now, I'm confused. What does this give me?

    • I wonder if it works. Seeing as how it was down faster than somewhere around the second post could be written. So much for Robust. One Monday morning 9am e-mail check would bring your entire company to it's knees.

      I think there's a difference between your company's 500 employees and millions of pr0n^H^H^H^Hknowledge hungry geeks the world over hammering your machine to death.

      I'd give it the benefit of the doubt until I see it fail in a real-life usage scenario, as this most certainly is not.

      And now th

    • Actually it does work and fairly nicely here which was a surprise. Why a surprise? Well, the best link I can get is 31Kbps (yes, bits) and I usually only get 28Kbps and no DSL or cable in sight here. I was rather impressed.
  • SGD isTarantella (Score:5, Informative)

    by poopie (35416) on Monday April 17, 2006 @11:18PM (#15146772) Journal
    For those of you who wondered... this isn't new, just a new name. I'll never understand why their marketing chose to change the name to something nobody knew. Perhaps trying to re-launch it?

    Sun has actually done a good job of fixing a lot of java bugs since they acquired Tarantella.

    For those of you who don't know about how SGD/Tarantella work, it's a session server/screen scraper combo that allow you to have access to Windows and Linux apps or entire desktops that can be served from arrays of application servers.

    It uses a protocol called AIP that adapts to the available bandwidth and can scale down well for low bandwidth links.

    The good things about SGD are:
    - Transportable workspaces
    - great for providing VERY LOW bandwidth links to console-based apps
    - enterprise authentication
    - ability to create and serve applications based on centrally managed user and application groupings
    - ability to manage many different OS sessions and mix of sessions from OSes in a single login session
    - pass-through printing to local printer
    - ability to connect local hard drive to remote systems
    - Client is trivial to install for users
    - a rich html application page can be created that can serve many of the requirements for previously locally installed apps
    - works very well for deployments that many many users to a few application set profiles that can load balance between arrays of application servers

    The bad things about SGD are:
    - it's a 3-tier architecture and if/when you overload the server or hit an OS bug and need to restart it, UNIX users lose x-sessions
    - not ideal for mapping of many users to unique resources where sessions are very long lived
    - some java 2d and 3d stuff takes up a lot of bandwidth

    It's worth checking out. Some users prefer vnc or NX, but SGD really is an enterprise solution - not just a machine a to machine b tool for a single user.

  • This looks like yet another software product or strategy coming from Sun that's meant to put thin clients on everyone's desktop and to put all applications on the (Sun Microsystems, of course) server..
    • by sol_geek77 (742238) on Monday April 17, 2006 @11:36PM (#15146819)
      How is this any different then what Google is doing (aside from being the "benevolent and all holy" Goggle versus the "almost as evil as Microsoft" Sun)? The client should never matter when running the application and if you look here http://www.sun.com/download/products.xml?id=433240 e1 [sun.com] you can get the client application for just about anything including dumb terminals and handheld devices.

      And stating that Sun is trying to put all applications on Sun systems is a bunch of crap. The design of the product is to have a gateway to all vendors applications. So you continue to run your existing applications and connect to them from the gateway, and no it doesn't have to be Solaris http://www.sun.com/download/products.xml?id=43321d b9 [sun.com]
    • Ok dude, you now run the IT center. You have 25000 remote-enabled users with different levels of skill, patience, etc. How would you propose to support them?

      • Ok dude, you now run the IT center. You have 25000 remote-enabled users with different levels of skill, patience, etc. How would you propose to support them?


        A lot easier than 25000 users on stand-alone PC's scattered around the country.
        You don't have to upgrade 25000 individual pc's anymore.
        Second, due to the fact that the applications aren't running localy you have only a couple of machines doing all the work.
        So, upgrading and fixing things is a lot easier.
        There are a lot of good examples of companies who
    • Well, over the past several yeas, Sun has gotten REALLY GOOD at the whole thin client thing. A modern Sun Ray setup bears no resemblance to the terminals of old, or even X terminals. They're essentially stateless devices you just "plug in", and everything runs off the server. When I say "everything", I even mean your whole session and screen contents (something X terminals and serial terminals don't do as nicely). You can even detach and re-attach (i.e. hot-desking) your session between thin clients. (
  • by DuncanE (35734) * on Monday April 17, 2006 @11:34PM (#15146815) Homepage
    Seems to only be available for download for Linux and Solaris, but the features list indicates that it can run Windows applications. Any ideas how they do this?
    • SGD proxies RDP sessions from Windows servers, or it can use Citrix.
    • Probably the same way NX does.

      It tunnels VNC or RDP connections, adding it's own compression to these protocols, this way you connect to the NX/SGD server on an specific port, and then it redirects your connection to the VNC/RDP server machine.

      But I guess you get better performance from X11 based applications, because X can do caching of bitmaps, drawing primitives, and a lot of other smart things that VNC and RDP can't.
  • by IceFoot (256699)
    "Sun's Global Desktop Released"

    Will they name it "Warming"?
  • Once you login, you can launch an instance of Solitaire from within your remote webtop. I expect the MS-fanbois to jump all over this one even though it comes from Sun...
  • Hmm, when I click on it, I get Page cannot be displayed. I guess it couldn't handle getting /.ed. I'm not incredibly surprised, nor do I find this unusual, however I find I give a lot of respect to sites that actually still run when I click on the link posted in the /. article. I don't mean that sarcastically, the word slashdotted was coined for a reason.

    I'll try again tomorrow when it's done being p0wned by bored folks like myself.

  • by bout (128020)

    Here are some archived Sun employee blog posts about SGD (aka Tarantella, aka Secure Global Desktop).

    -Eric Boutilier [sun.com]

  • Is everyone forgetting that Sun Microsystems bought Tarantella last July? See: http://www.sun.com/smi/Press/sunflash/2005-07/sunf lash.20050713.1.html [sun.com] This is the productization of that acquisition, at least it looks that way. Tarantella, um....Sun, has an excellent product. Try it, you might like it!
  • by stinkbomb (238228) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @01:44AM (#15147115)
    "Sun has also set up a test server for slashdot to melt." Fixed that last sentence for you.
  • I do not understand them. Really. They are Sun, and they publish something "revolutionary" on the internet. Did they expect that \. would not learn about it? these days when a big player like Sun or Microsoft coughs, the sound is instantly heard in the 4 corners of the Earth, thanks to the internet. And Sun is supposed to be network-centric and network-aware right from the start (unlike Microsoft that initially ignored the network).
  • by revxul (463513) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @04:42AM (#15147421)
    They get my vote for best Slashdot Effect message.
  • At least Sun has a sense of humor about it:

    Welcome to the Sun Secure Global Desktop demonstration server ... well, it was the demonstration server until it got mentioned [slashdot.org] on Slashdot - now it's only demonstrating how we didn't size it with this sort of load in mind.

    Probably best to check back in in a couple of days - it should be available again...

    I'll look at it next week, if I remember to. :)

  • Welcome to the Sun Secure Global Desktop demonstration server ... well, it was the demonstration server until it got mentioned on Slashdot - now it's only demonstrating how we didn't size it with this sort of load in mind. Probably best to check back in in a couple of days - it should be available again...

    see what we can do if we just work together???????

  • Just released? WTF? I've been working with 4.2 since late February/early March?
  • Welcome to the Sun Secure Global Desktop demonstration server

    ... well, it was the demonstration server until it got mentioned on Slashdot - now it's only demonstrating how we didn't size it with this sort of load in mind.

    Probably best to check back in in a couple of days - it should be available again...

  • Hmmm . . . not sure I'm getting the whole picture. Sounds like Citrix Presentation Server, with the twist that it can deliver apps simultaneously from multiple OS platforms. Citrix on steroids I guess.
  • Why is it that Sun never offers anything for BSD? The FreeBSD community only weeks ago finally got access to official Java binaries, after years of tweaking and weedling from the FreeBSD Foundation. Could it be that Sun has forgotten their heritage, that the only reason they exist is because of BSD Unix? Such arrogance towards the BSD community from a company founded by one of the original BSD developers is astonishing and shameful.

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