Gnome Debuts 2.8 Desktop

Gnome 2.8 now includes Evolution 2.0, the open-source e-mail and groupware client that like Microsoft Outlook, also serves as a scheduling center. Other improvements and additions range from a new standardized file-type system (one which will also be used by other desktops, such as the competing KDE) to a new virtual private networking (VPN) client.

Special attention, said Gnome, was put to making it easier to work with removable devices -- including USB-based flash drives -- and network servers, as well as easier-to-use network management tools for system administrators.

"Gnome 2.8 demonstrates the achievements in usability gained through deep collaboration and operating system integration. We've taken our 'Just Works' philosophy right down to the metal!" wrote one of the Gnome project leaders in a posting to the organization's message forum Wednesday.

Gnome is now looking toward a March 2005, deadline for the next update to the desktop suite.

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Although Gnome recommended that users obtain 2.8 from their Linux distributors, the new version can be downloaded from the Project's Web site.