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Installing and Using the Sun Java Desktop System

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Installing and Using the Sun Java Desktop System

September 2004



Downloading and Burning the CDs

Installing the Java Desktop System

Installing Printers

General User Interface

Managing the Java Desktop System

Office Applications

Web Browsing


Calendaring and Contact Management

Project Management



The Java Desktop System offers a fully functional desktop environment for x86-based systems. The product blends Linux from SuSE, Sun applications (such as StarOffice office productivity suite and the latest Java runtime environment), and open source applications such as the Mozilla browser. The licensing model is an annual subscription of USD100 per desktop or USD50 per employee. A promotion through December 2, 2004 allows for a 50 percent discount.

In this article, a BigAdmin reader offers tips based on experience installing the Java Desktop System. See Resources section for documentation and further information.

Downloading and Burning the CDs

Although you can purchase a media kit, you may also download the ISO images from the Sun Download Center. The download requires a broadband connection to the Internet, and your CD burner software must be able to burn ISO images. A documentation CD and five installation CDs are available, although only the first three CDs are needed for the installation of the Desktop. CDs 4 and 5 contain the source code for the Linux OS.

Installing the Java Desktop System

Important: Before you begin, be sure to back up any data on the disk that needs to be retained. Some installations will remove existing data or modify the partition tables, so be sure an adequate backup is performed prior to proceeding.

1. Insert Disk 1 in the CD-ROM drive and boot the system from CD-ROM. Upon booting the computer, you may need to enter the computer's BIOS setup program to tell the machine to boot from the CD-ROM drive. Start with CD1 from the Java Desktop System loaded in your CD drive.

2. After displaying the Splash screen, the Desktop displays a boot menu with several choices. Upon booting, select the Installation option. In some cases, I encountered some difficulty initially when the system defaulted to 1280 x 1024 screen mode, which resulted in a garbled screen, and I had to start over again. If this occurs, change the video mode to 640 x 480 by selecting F2, which should work. You can select a higher resolution later in the installation. You may also specify special Boot Options in the box at the bottom of this screen. This was necessary for installation on the Sony VAIO with an external PCMCIA CD-ROM drive, which worked fine with the boot parameter of ide2=0x180,0x386.

3. Once the kernel is loaded (which takes about five minutes or more on slower machines), it starts the Yast2 installer program. This program will guide you through the rest of the installation process. Accept the initial terms and conditions to proceed.

4. Select your preferred language.

5. Current settings for mode, keyboard layout, mouse, and partition are displayed. You can edit the options for keyboard and mouse as you need them.

6. For partitioning the disk, the partitions and sizes shown in the following table are recommended.


Partition Size Type Notes

/ 5 GB, 3 GB Minimum Primary Install the entire Java Desktop System operating system onto a single partition. This provides sufficient space for you to install a later release of the Java Desktop System without the need to repartition the disk.

swap Double the size of RAM - 128 MB Minimum Extended You can increase or reduce the size of the swap partition as necessary.

The following steps provide a quick walk-through of the partitioning process.

From the Change button, select Partitioning.

First specify your choice of the following:

Accept the partitioning proposal as is. In many cases, these values are sufficient, particularly when you are erasing the existing data on the disk or are using an empty disk.

Base partitioning setup on this proposal. If you select this, you can still customize your options, although the suggested portioning proposal is the baseline. This is a good option if you would like to change the size of the partition prior to accepting the proposal. You may select this option and then select Resize. If installing on a system where Windows has already been installed, you can move the slider to change the amount allocated to Windows and Linux. Click Next to save the settings and continue.

Create a custom partition setup. This allows you to specify all the partition information from scratch.

The following sections guide you through the process of using the custom partitioning setup. Please choose either the steps under "Clean Installation" or those under "Dual Booting," depending on your needs. Choose "Clean Installation" procedures if no other operating systems are installed or you wish to delete the existing installed operating systems. Follow steps for "Dual Booting" if you have Windows already installed, and you wish to keep this installation and be able to alternate booting between Windows and the Java Desktop System.

Clean Installation

Note: This erases existing data from drive.

To customize the partitioning, select Partitioning and then select the Create Custom Partition setup radio button and click Next.

Select Custom partitioning -- for experts, and



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