Xandros Linux to Run Windows Applications

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-10-21 Print this article Print

Xandros is giving users one more reason to try Linux on the desktop—with applications that mimic Windows' ease of use and interface.

Xandros Inc. is giving users and businesses one more reason to try Linux on the desktop—with applications that mimic Windows ease of use and interface.

To achieve that, Xandros, in Ottawa, which bought Corel Corp.s Linux desktop distribution in August last year, signed a deal to integrate CodeWeavers Inc.s CrossOver technology into the Xandros Desktop 1.0 operating system, due this month.

CrossOver allows users to run Microsoft Corp. applications such as Office, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player without having Windows installed.

CrossOver for Xandros will combine functionality from CrossOver Office, which lets applications such as Microsoft Office and IBMs Lotus Software divisions Notes run; and CrossOver Plugin, which lets Linux Web browsers use Windows Web applications, such as Windows Media Player, QuickTime and Shockwave.

Xandros Desktop users will be able to run or view these applications without having to buy, configure or install additional software on top of the operating system, officials said.

There is one hook: CodeWeavers will not provide support or maintenance upgrades for Xandros customers, who will have to pay separately for a CrossOver support contract.

The move brings CodeWeavers vision of creating a fully Windows-compatible version of Linux a step closer to reality, but Jeremy White, CEO of CodeWeavers, in St. Paul, Minn., cautioned that the technology does not yet allow every application to work seamlessly.

While this is not the first time Windows compatibility technologies from CodeWeavers have found their way into Linux—they were included last year in the Lindows operating system from Lindows.com Inc.—White said the CrossOver technologies integrated in Xandros Linux are more advanced and robust and work better than those built for Lindows.com.

"The Xandros and CrossOver desktop Linux solution is a far more complete vision of what [Lindows.com] announced a year ago," White said, adding that his company no longer works with Lindows.com, of San Diego.

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.

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.

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    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 www.eweek.com.


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