December 11th, 2002, 04:41 PM
Linux: report for new Xandros
Here's a very good report for new Xandros
(Report from newsfactor.com)
It is the Holy Grail for Linux: a desktop OS that provides a better Windows experience than Windows. Xandros may not have reached that lofty goal yet, but it seems to be closer than any distribution to date.
Several other distros also are trying to emulate Windows to a degree, most notably Lycoris and Lindows, but Xandros goes a bit further. The Xandros OS supports Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Office, Quicken, Lotus Notes and some other Windows programs out-of-the-box, thanks to the integration of CodeWeavers CrossOver into the operating system.
The Xandros Backstory
Even though Xandros only recently made its commercial debut, it has a long history. The system began life as Corel's (Nasdaq: CORL) Linux distribution, which itself was based on an even older distro, Debian GNU/Linux.
Fred Berenstein, co-chairman of Linux Global Partners and a director at Xandros, told NewsFactor that the company did not initially intend to buy Corel Linux. "Corel came to us in August 2000 about pairing up some of the applications our companies [were] developing," he said. Corel eventually decided to exit the Linux market, and Xandros was founded in May 2001.
A Windows-Like Desktop
For those who fear the Linux installation process, Xandros promises an easy ride. Only five mouse clicks stand between the user and an installed system, according to the Xandros Web site. Besides ease of installation, the feature most users will notice right away is that Xandros looks and feels much like Windows. The desktop is actually a customized version of KDE 2.2.2.
Indeed, Xandros has remained loyal to KDE despite the fact that Linux Global Partners, which has invested in Xandros, also backs Ximian, a company that specializes in the GNOME desktop.
"Originally, it was mostly [because of] the ease of programming and simplicity in architecture that we chose KDE/Qt over GNOME/GTK," Ming Poon, Xandros' vice president of software development, told NewsFactor. Poon still has high praise for KDE and the Qt toolkit. "Doing KDE/Qt programming [is] really simple and intuitive, and we can have university co-op students being productive within a week."
The main goal, Poon said, is to focus on what makes users happy. "The mass market does not care or know what is KDE or GNOME. They just want something that looks and behaves like Windows and just works."
Free Software Roots
The Xandros distribution has been updated to remain compatible with the latest release of Debian, according to Poon. "Basically, Xandros is compatible with Debian 3.0 (the current stable distribution)," he said. "However, if they update something from their unstable stream, then all bets are off, as expected."
Thanks to the Debian connection, Xandros users also have access to a large collection of software.
"I think Debian can be an excellent base for developing specialized distributions," Bdale Garbee, Debian's project leader, told NewsFactor. "Debian's open development model helps, but it's important for a company or group that wants to create a derivative distribution to learn enough about how Debian works for their inputs and efforts to be appreciated by the rest of the Debian community."
Poon said he wants to see Xandros become more active in that community in the future. "We are not as active as we would like, mostly due to budgetary constraints," he noted. "As time goes on and as our customer base grows, we will become far more active than we are today."
What's Ahead for Xandros
Now that Xandros has gotten out of the gate, the company is gunning primarily for the corporate market -- and not just in the United States. Berenstein noted that demand for Linux is much greater abroad. "Demand for Linux globally is enormously high. For example, about 50 percent of computers in Argentina are running Linux."
Berenstein also said Xandros is planning to enter the server market "in the 2003 time frame." And the company's ambitions are not small. "We're talking with several companies that are starting very large-scale pilots for replacing Windows with the Xandros desktop," he noted. "We're talking about corporations that have upwards of 100,000 PCs."
December 11th, 2002, 07:06 PM
I'd been looking at Lycoris for a while. If Xandros can install and run MS Office with the same ease as Windows, then I may have to look at them.
--The main goal, Poon said, is to focus on what makes users happy. "The mass market does not care or know what is KDE or GNOME. They just want something that looks and behaves like Windows and just works."--
That's what I've been saying here and on some other forums for a year. The mass market isn't interested in learning how a computer works. They just want it to turn it on and use it. Somebody finally listened to the other 90% of computer users who don't have linux and only want to work on the things. I think this is some of the best news I've heard yet.