Linux Desktop: Seven Leading Applications: Page 7

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7. Xandros’ Desktop Management Server

What it does: Automates the administration of desktops, giving IT a simple, consistent method for deploying, upgrading, monitoring, and removing OSes and applications.

How it will help you: Xandros already has a reputation for delivering corporate-focused Linux distributions. Able to run on just about any Intel or AMD processor, the distribution looks and acts a heck of a lot like Windows XP – meaning you are spared the training headaches that come with other Linux distros.

Lately, Xandros has also been working hard to position itself as an alternative to a Vista upgrade. Recent versions come bundled with CrossOver Linux, so you can run Windows applications, and Scalix, so you have messaging, calendar, and collaboration ready to go right from the start. For cost-conscious users who don’t want to upgrade the hardware to run the corresponding Vista upgrade, Xandros may look appealing.

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That’s all well and good, but if Linux hopes to become a desktop alternative to Microsoft, there’s a lot more than an OS to consider. Just as security, automatic backups and disaster recovery are musts in the enterprise, so is centralized administration. If each user must administer, upgrade, and manage his or her own desktop, or if IT must do this manually, most enterprise customers will stick with Microsoft.

With the release of Desktop Management Server (xDMS), Xandros tackles this problem. System administrators can use xDMS to automatically deploy Xandros OSes throughout the organization. xDMS includes an intuitive GUI that shields users from command-line headaches.

xDMS also gives administrators control over desktop environments, allowing them to add, update, and remove applications from any PC on the network, while also giving them the ability to monitor applications and enforce corporate policies.

Obstacles to Adoption: Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft. Before worrying too much about desktop management, Linux in general and Xandros in particular have to gain some traction as an enterprise desktop option first.

There are also other Linux-based desktop management products out there, including Novell’s ZENworks Desktop Management and Shaolin Microsystems' ShaoLin Aptus. And, of course, if Linux does make headway in the enterprise, traditional vendors of administration software, such as IBM and CA, will certainly target this sector.

Developer: Xandros, in New York, NY.

Management Team: Andreas Typaldos, CEO; Wm. Jay Roseman, VP and co-founder; Spencer Hayman, VP and CFO; Jeffrey C. Kuligowski, SVP of sales; Ming Poon, VP of software development; Todd Kanfer, VP of marketing.

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