Linux Business-Desktop Options Grow

While the headlines have been dominated by what Apple is bringing to the Intel platform and what Microsoft is taking out of Longhorn, Linux vendors Linspire and Xandros have continued to improve their business desktops.

Several Linux desktop vendors have recently made moves to improve their business offerings.

Xandros Inc. had the biggest announcement with the release of the latest version of its business desktop Linux, Xandros Business Desktop Operating System 3.0.

This operating system builds on top of Xandros previously released personal Xandros 3.0 desktops. In turn, the entire Xandros Linux family is built on top of the newly minted Debian Sarge distribution.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about Sarge, the latest version of Debian Linux.

What the Business Desktop brings to the table that the others dont is client compatibility with both Windows NT style PDC (primary domain controller) and AD (Active Directory) authentication. With this, Xandros can be used as a drop-in desktop replacement for Windows systems on a Windows-based network.

Further improving its Windows compatibility, Xandros comes with a full working copy of CodeWeavers Inc.s CrossOver Office 4.2. With this, users can run Windows business applications like Microsoft Office 97, 2000, and XP, and Intuit QuickBooks 2001-2004, on Linux.

The New York and Ontario, Canada-based company has also improved Xandros Wi-Fi compatibility, with better driver support for Intel Centrino and other Wi-Fi hardware. The new Xandros also has a graphical Click-N-Connect wireless network Access Point finder.

In addition to 1.1, the most common native Linux office suite, the Xandros Business Desktop includes Sun Microsystems Inc.s StarOffice 7 office suite.

This new Xandros has been well received by its users.

"I put Xandros Business Edition on my office, home and laptop computers, not because Im anti-Microsoft or anti any other operating system. I am going to put Xandros Business Edition on my computers and recommend it to others because its better than any OS Ive seen to date," said Alton Jones, technology development administrator for Marshall, Minn.-based Starpoint Communications.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read an analysis of Linux desktop prospects from the Gartner Group.

The new Xandros Business Desktop is availablefor purchase in retail stores and from the Xandros Web site, for a list price of $129. It is also available in a five-user pack for $495.

In addition to Xandros, Linspire Inc., the former Lindows, is making its own business desktop news with the release of MyBooks Professional, an SMB accounting and finance software solution from InsynQ Inc.s newly acquired Appgen Business Software division.

"Businesses want the added security and cost savings of desktop Linux, but need to have proven accounting software that allows them to easily migrate their data from Microsoft-based systems," said Kevin Carmony, Linspires CEO, in a statement.

"MyBooks Professional fills a key application gap for SMBs. Desktop Linux users finally have professional accounting software that can be customized to the specific needs of their business."

InsynQ, an ASP (application service provider), had acquired the Appgen software line because, "Over the last twelve months, we noticed more and more of our clients asking for a Linux version of our accounting programs, and we felt compelled to respond," said John Gorst, InsynQs CEO.

The MyBooks Professional release for Lindows, which followed on the heels of InsynQs move, was InsynQs first Appgen product release.

MyBooks Professional is a professional-grade double-entry accounting system that conforms to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) standards. It serves the same market as Intuit Corp.s QuickBooks.

The MyBooks Professional accounting and finance software is available for Linspire in two low-cost entry-level packages: a one-user or two-user model.

These packages are now available in Linspires CNR (click and run) Warehouse for $59 for the one-user version and $99 for the two-user version. Other versions are available from InsynQ can support up to ten users per license on Linux, Mac OS X or Windows.

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