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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-10-28 Print this article Print

: Xandros Desktop Linux OS Ships"> As first reported by eWEEK, Windows application compatibility from the CodeWeavers Crossover Office and Plugin products allow some popular Windows applications (including Microsoft Office 2000) to be run on Xandros Desktop without having Microsoft Windows installed. Xandros co-chairman Rick Berenstein, who is based in New York, recently told eWEEK that Linux vendors could not ignore the success and attraction of the Windows graphical user interface (GUI) and its ease-of-use. Potential Linux desktop users wanted the same, he said.
"Our distribution gives users of many Windows applications the assurance they need to move confidently into the Linux environment. We will initially focus our offering on corporations and businesses, but there is also huge demand from governments, educational institutions and individual users," he said.
But some users remain unconvinced about the need for heavy Windows compatibility in Linux. David Blood, a Linux desktop user and software engineer for Vivendi Universal Net USA Group Inc., in San Diego, said emulation of another operating system is always a second-rate option. "I think Linux has enough native software to do most things. I use Linux on the desktop, and I use [OpenOffice.orgs] OpenOffice for the occasional Word document. Thats the extent of my Windows needs," Blood said. However, Scott Gates, a programmer in the information services division of Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, in Ashland, Ky., said he believes Xandros distribution will offer competition to Microsoft and make Linux more attractive to businesses. "I would certainly buy it. But the challenge is that Xandros doesnt have as much name recognition as Red Hat [Inc.] and SuSE [Inc.]," he said. Xandros plans to follow its desktop offering with a Linux server product that will facilitate the deployment and management of large desktop installations for corporations, Berenstein said. The server offering will focus on security, scalability and interoperability with Linux/Unix and Windows clients. It will have a set of SOAP-based remote management tools, code-named DaVinci, allowing staff to easily manage both servers and desktops remotely, the company said. The Xandros moves are among a wave of announcements from Linux companies and the open-source community designed to compete with Microsoft products and lure its users. German-based SuSE Linux AG recently said its Openexchange Server, a Microsoft Exchange competitor, will be available in mid-November. The Openexchange Server will combine the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system, an e-mail server and groupware functionalities in what SuSE officials said is an "innovative all-in-one communication and groupware solution for companies of all sizes at an unmatched price/performance ratio." SuSE also recently shipped SuSE Linux 8.1 Personal and Professional, the latest version of its Linux operating system for personal and business computers, at a recommended retail price of $39.95 for SuSE Linux 8.1 Personal and $79.95 for SuSE Linux 8.1 Professional., the open-source office software development project, which competes with Microsoft Office, also recently released a new developer version of 1.0 for the Solaris, Windows and Linux operating systems, as well as a beta release of 1.0 for the Mac OS X.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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