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GNOME sliding Linux onto business desktops

Update to Linux desktop interface is designed to make it easier for companies to install and use the open-source software.

The next version of GNOME has been designed to make it easier for administrators to deploy the Linux desktop environment in enterprises.

GNOME 2.14, which is due for release on March 15, will include new administrator tools such as a profile manager and an editor to lock down PC functionality, developer Davyd Madeley wrote in an article posted on the GNOME project Web site last week.

Madeley explained in his blog that he wrote the article to "pimp the shiny features" in GNOME 2.14, although he cautioned that the details of what is included in the final version of 2.14 may change.

The profile manager, called Sabayon, enables administrators to make profiles for groups of users and to create default and mandatory settings for these groups.

The lock-down editor, called Pessulus, lets them disable certain functionality in the GNOME desktop. "This feature is useful in corporate environments and Internet cafes where users should not be allowed to edit panels, use the command line, etc.," Madeley wrote.

GNOME 2.14 should also offer "significant" performance increases due to a new memory allocator. The new allocator takes only two seconds to perform an operation that took the previous one 26 seconds, claimed Madeley.

Although GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment) has a devoted following among the technical community, Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux, is not a fan of the desktop environment. Last year, Torvalds claimed that GNOME has been developed by "interface Nazis," and recommended that users switch to the rival desktop environment, KDE (K Desktop Environment).

Ingrid Marson reported for London-based ZDNet UK.