The 1.0 release of Eazel's Nautilus, the much-anticipated Gnome software environment, is scheduled to be available for download within a few days.
Eazel, the company co-founded by former Macintosh interface designers, will officially announce the 1.0 release later this month, but the first post-beta release of Nautilus will be able for download next week sometime at http://services.eazel.com/download/. Internet rumors had 1.0 available as early as Monday, but Eazel officials couldn't confirm that date as of mid-day Friday.
The Nautilus shell integrates file management, Web browsing, and system management into Gnome. "This desktop application is not only designed to be a major step forward in ease of use for Linux but will also lead the next generation of innovation on the desktop by integrating local file management with Internet-based services," according to the Eazel Web site. If you're still wondering what this all means, there's a Nautilus demo available at http://magritte.eazel.com/nautiluswsdemo.html.
The 1.0 release promises fewer bugs and more stability than the current preview release 3, and Eazel is constantly working on expanding the number of services that work with Nautilus, says Tom Goguen, director of product management for Eazel.
"I keep the hourly builds running on my system," he says, "and I've been pretty excited by how the performance has ramped up over the last couple of weeks. It's amazing how the stability of the system has increased as well, so it's a lot of fun to use."
Users of 1.0 should notice integration with Eazel's online services, a slick installer working on Red Hat 7, and an updated software catalog, Goguen says. "All of this is Open Source, so if someone else comes up with a service they want to do and tie it in, there's the opportunity to do that as well," Goguen says.
Among the features coming out shortly that will work with 1.0 is an easy-to-use software update service and software suites, such as a digital music suite that includes an easy-to-install group of applications for playing, ripping, and recording MP3s. Goguen also pointed users to the already available "text-based services," which helps users find applications for using and viewing different types of digital media and also allows users to highlight a chunk of text and search Google for those words. "Now everything in a document is a potential hyperlink," he says.
Goguen says he's heartened by the amount of support for Nautilus in the Open Source community. Of the 107 developers who've contributed to Nautilus so far, only 30 are employees of Eazel. "This is really a community effort; it shows the power of Open Source development," he says. "The source code is already in Gnome CVS, so people can check it out, they can work on it, they can add to it, they can extend it."
Eazel has tested the Nautilus installer extensively on Red Hat 6.2 and 7.0, but users of other Linux and Unix flavors should be able to run 1.0 with Gnome, too, Goguen says. This week, Goguen watched as Eazel employees ran Nautilus on Sun's Solaris 8. Eazel will test Nautilus on Mandrake, SuSE, and Debian over the next few months.
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