Linux desktop and server solution provider Ximian Inc. will on Monday announce the next major version of its Linux desktop software, Ximian Desktop 2 (see eWEEK Labs review).
Ximian is taking aim at some of Microsoft Corp. Windows customers, particularly in Europe and South America.
Nat Friedman, the vice president of product development at Ximian, said the new product is designed to offer an alternative to Windows for targeted user populations within the enterprise.
“The public sector, especially in Europe and South America, is increasingly looking to Linux and open source for cost savings. Ximian Desktop 2 will enable enterprise customers to cost-effectively adopt and support Linux desktops.
“It is the culmination of direct feedback from strategic design partners, including enterprise customers and business partners worldwide. The result is an enterprise-ready Linux desktop that is easy to use, supports existing Windows infrastructure, and is affordable to manage,” Friedman said.
Ximian Desktop 2 provides interoperability with Windows file formats, applications and networks to enable organizations to cost-effectively deploy and maintain Linux, while keeping training costs low, he said.
Ximains move to target Microsoft customers on the desktop follows just days after Microsoft lost a lucrative Windows contract with the city of Munich, Germany, to Linux and open-source software.
Ximains new desktop product will be available next week, and the Boston, Mass., company will offer a free version for download from its Web site that does not include third-party software or any support.
Users who pay $99 for the Ximian Desktop 2 Professional version will get a number of bundled third-party software components, including Agfa fonts, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Macromedia Flash, Real Player, and Java2 Run Time; 30 days of installation support; and high-speed Linux software updates via the Red Carpet Express service for a year.
Ximian Desktop 2 is based on the open-source GNOME 2.2 project and supports Windows file formats, networks and standards. It includes Ximians own enhanced version of the OpenOffice.org productivity suite, which lets users create, edit and save Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
Ximians additions to the OpenOffice.org suite include default Microsoft Office file formats, 800 new icons, user interface enhancements, GNOME desktop theme and font consistency, and the ability to browse, open and save files on remote file systems.
Ximian Desktop 2 also features Ximian Evolution 1.4, the latest version of its e-mail and personal information management application that can be integrated with Microsoft Exchange 2000 and other messaging and collaboration servers.
In addition to support for Microsoft Office file formats and Windows networks, the Ximian Evolution e-mail client supports POP, IMAP, LDAP and other corporate standards. The software also features familiar Windows keyboard shortcuts for saving files, printing and copy/paste.
It also includes the Mozilla-based Galeon Web browser along with Microsoft Windows metric compatible fonts and common browser plug-ins. Other capabilities include drag-and-drop CD burning, built-in terminal emulation, instant messaging, chat and other applications.
The Ximian desktop, which Friedman says has already been installed by more than 1.5 million users worldwide, also supports SuSE Linux 8.2 and Red Hat Linux versions 7.3, 8.0, and 9.
“SuSE and Ximian are both committed to delivering enterprise quality Linux solutions that reduce customers overall computing costs. Ximian Desktop 2 is an interoperable desktop environment that directly addresses the needs of corporate customers,” Uwe Schmid, vice president for SuSE Linux, said.
Some enterprises that have evaluated the product agree. Duncan McNutt, the senior project manager at Siemens Business Services in Germany, says he is seeing increasing interest from customers for Linux desktop solutions, especially in the public sector.
“Our evaluations show that Ximian Desktop 2 can be a great fit for Linux workstation deployments. Its familiar interface for Windows users, full application suite, integration with Windows environments and centralized management through Red Carpet Enterprise can help reduce support costs for enterprise customers,” he said.
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