The Xandros Desktop Linux operating system is finally shipping, more than a year after the company bought Canadian software firm Corel Corp.s Linux desktop distribution and all the licensing rights.
The Xandros Desktop product is built on the Linux kernel 2.4.19, XFree86 4.2, Debian 3.0, Corel Linux 3.0 and an enhanced K Desktop Environment. According to the companys Web site (www.xandros.com), the product is priced at $99.
It builds on Corels Linux work and is designed to provide a simple, familiar product. “The original tenets of Corels design were: easy to install, easy to configure, easy to use and easy to integrate into existing network environments.
“Xandros expanded on this in creating its product that also offers easy migration for Windows users,” the company says.
Included in the box is the Xandros Desktop installation CD, the Xandros technology preview CD with K Desktop Environment (KDE) 3, a 250-page manual and 30 days free installation technical support via e-mail.
The Xandros Desktop has a five-step graphical installation process and uncomplicated configuration facilities to get the system up and running. Xandros also claims it is the “first and only Linux operating system to support non-destructive NTFS (New Technology File System) partition resizing during installation.”
Other features include automatic hardware detection and configuration, including some popular winmodems; auto-mounting of existing Windows and Linux drives; and hot plug-and-play USB device support.
The Xandros File Manager allows files to be dragged and dropped from any source to any destination, including shared Windows drives and FTP sites, while seamless Windows networking integration including domain-level authentication is also included.
Also included is the open-source Mozilla Web browser and the OpenOffice.org office productivity suite, while users can run Gnome applications as well as Java applications through the Web browser.
: 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.
OpenOffice.org, the open-source office software development project, which competes with Microsoft Office, also recently released a new developer version of OpenOffice.org 1.0 for the Solaris, Windows and Linux operating systems, as well as a beta release of OpenOffice.org 1.0 for the Mac OS X.