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Eazel to ship second GUI preview today

Nautilus' Net services suite will debut

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Eazel will later today give Linux users a "sneak preview" of the Internet services technology to be built into its upcoming GUI for the open source operating system.

The company will unveil its Network User Environment, a key component of its Nautilus GUI. Essentially, NUE is a set of APIs, called Eazel Services, around which Net-enabled applications can be built.

They will be included in Nautilus' second preview release, which boasts "improved usability" and "additional features", according to Eazel.

Eazel is only going to release two of its APIs, Eazel Software Catalog, an intelligent online software installation tool, and Eazel Online Storage, which will provide Nautilus users with virtual, Net-based hard drives. Eazel will itself offer online storage facilities, 25MB of it per user.

That's rather like Apple's iDisk facility, part of MacOS 9 and, we presume, MacOS X. iDisk essentially permits remote drives to be mounted across a TCP/IP connection. Indeed, there's much about Nautilus that sounds like MacOS, though that's no great surprise since there are a few ex-Apple software folk working at Eazel. The way Nautilus displays a thumbnail of a file's contents within its icon is rather similar to the way MacOS X works.

Still, since so much of the MacOS' GUI has been 'inspired' by work at Xerox Parc and elsewhere, that's fair enough, we reckon. And heaven knows, Linux needs a solid, user-friendly interface if it's to break beyond the world of the nerd. No wonder, the Gnome guys want it to be the UI for the next major release of their environment - which, of course, it will be. And, unlike MacOS X's UI, Nautilus is free and issued under an open source licence.

The Eazel Services sneak peek will be posted later today at Eazel's Web site as a free download. ®

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