Lindows.com founder and CEO Michael Robertson reveals his plans to take LindowsOS to the business desktop.
Lindows.com Inc. has been popularizing an inexpensive Linux desktop for the public, LindowsOS, for years with low-priced bundles at Wal-Mart, but this year founder and CEO Michael Robertson is planning to introduce LindowsOS Professional, an operating system for business users.
Not that theres much difference in his opinion between business and home operating systems. "People always like to divide Linux distributions into business and home systems, but Microsoft [Corp.] sells identical products to both communities, and we dont see much difference."
After all, Robertson said, "business users want easy-to-use software too." That isnt to say, however, that LindowsOS Professional will be the same as todays consumer-oriented LindowsOS 4.5.
"With LindowsOS Professional," Robertson said, "well be focusing on making work easier for business users who use multiple computers. Were seeing people who use both a desktop and laptop at work or a desktop at work and another one at home to do interchangeable work. What these workers need are office services, universally accessible storage, and follow-me technology. They also want similar work environments on each machine. We want to give them this."
Thus in LindowsOS Professional, a user could close up a monthly report on his or her office machine, and go home and after dinner work on the same report after connecting with the office network. "This is not unlike Suns Sun Ray [a thin-client device that acts as a network computer], but the difference is that we focus on the desktop rather than on a giant server architecture," Robertson said. "Our strategy is much more PC-centric."
Why should Microsoft be afraid of Linux on the desktop? Find out in Microsoft Watchs interview with Lindows Robertson.
Specifically, he said, "well use small configuration files so that each desktop will look and act the same but we wont get away from using local applications. Data will be stored remotely, and the server will act as an immediatory. If I have software at work and I need it at home, the server will automatically install it for me using our Click N Run technology." On the server end, "it will be a very lightweight Linux server that will mostly mirror users configuration setups and installed software."
LindowsOS Professional will also come with changes that network administrators will appreciate. "Each businesss Click N Run warehouse will have remote management, and it can be implemented in several different ways," Robertson said. "Typically, the administrator will set up a baseline setup. Every time a users computer is turned on it will update to the current baseline." At the same time, administrators will be able to lock down Click N Run so LindowsOS Professional machines can only be updated by central administration instead of individual users.
Next page: Easier remote installation.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.