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Microsoft Office and New Desktop Available on SunRays
In response to student concerns, ITSS has upgraded the Sunrays to offer the KDE desktop (a new Windows-like user interface) and the full suite of Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Access).
In the Fall of 2000, ITSS replaced many old terminals and pre-Pentium PCs with a new kind of computer: SunRays. SunRays are "thin client" computers. The strength of SunRays is that the computing power, stability, speed, options, and features are determined more by a cluster of central servers than by the desktop units. This keeps costs of maintenance and upgrade significantly lower than the cost of a comparable number of regular PCs.
The original roll-out of SunRays was an effort to replace and expand the terminals, which only did email, and the older PCs which were used only for email and web browsing. As an upgrade in service, Star Office was also made available. Star Office is a word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation suite similar to Microsoft Office, but free to education customers. Users reported that the SunRay interface was too different from the Macs and PCs which they had been using. Also, while the Star Office idea was nice, it was not Microsoft Office and, again, was too unfamiliar.
In response to these issues and in an effort to improve service, ITSS has made changes and offered new services on the SunRays. The interface change is a new desktop environment which is more similar to Windows. This new desktop, called KDE, is the default environment for incoming freshmen. Previous Sunray uses can also switch to the KDE desktop, just follow the easy instructions on the KDE Desktop web page. The original CDE desktop interface is still available and KDE users can switch back to that if they prefer.
The major new service is that Microsoft Office is now available on the SunRays.
Students can save their MS Office documents directly to their unix (email) accounts on the SunRays and then access those documents on the lab PCs or from home. Selecting and printing to the lab black-and-white and color print queues is also much easier. Information and instructions on using these new SunRay features and services is available on the SunRay website.
ITSS hopes that these expanded services will make the SunRays more useful and usable for you. Please direct comments, questions and concerns to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Last modified on 10/02/02
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