Click here to close now.


Linux Containers Authors: PagerDuty Blog, Anders Wallgren, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Xandros on the Desktop Means Business

A talk with Dr. Frederick H. Berenstein, director of Xandros, Inc.

With a new business desktop, a "Best Front Office Solution" award, and an expanding product line, things are looking good for Xandros. LWM Editor-in-Chief Kevin Bedell spoke with Dr. Frederick H. Berenstein at LinuxWorld Expo; here he shares the history of Xandros and, more important, what he sees in the future.

LWM: So, Frederick, tell us a little bit about Xandros and where it came from.
Xandros originally came from the acquisition of the former Corel Linux Business Division by a group of investors called Linux Global Partners. That took place in 2001, and it was sort of the last major acquisition that Linux Global Partners did after they invested in and started some of the best-known companies in the Linux world today. For instance, Linux Global Partners started Ximian, which was sold to Novell this past summer, and Linux Global Partners also started CodeWeavers, which is famous for the CrossOver Office applications.

LWM: That's pretty interesting; I hadn't realized they were involved in those other projects. So you acquired what had been the Linux group from Corel - what was the motivation behind that?
When Linux Global Partners was originally started, our idea was that in order to make a viable alternative to the Windows desktop we would need to invest in the technologies and applications that we felt were essential for people using a desktop on a day-to-day basis. Our ultimate idea at that point, that was 1998, was that at sometime in the future we would take all of these applications and technologies, and go to one of the major distributors and say, "Let's do a joint venture - your distribution, our applications." But what happened was Corel came out with an award-winning Linux desktop, and after a year of very successful selling, they came to us and said, "Let's do a joint venture." Along the way Corel ran into some financial difficulties; they took an investment from Microsoft and decided to divest themselves of the Linux Business Division, which gave us the opportunity to acquire a distribution rather than do a joint venture. After that acquisition, we renamed the company Xandros, and that's how Xandros was born.

LWM: There are so many distributions - how would you position Xandros among the different distributions available today?
I think of the commercially viable distributions, the real difference is that Xandros has an extended business plan that is logically thought out. We started with the consumer market, precisely because the consumer is in one or another way the most demanding user. He's the most dependent; he needs to have things done mostly for him. We wanted a proof-of-concept that if we put out a desktop that was easy to install, totally familiar to Windows users, and totally compatible with Microsoft files, that people would simply be able to install it and go back to work. This has garnered reviews from people saying about our 1.0 product, "It just works." Everything works right out of the box. About our 2.0 product we got a review yesterday that said "If you're coming from Windows to Linux, this is the distro to buy. It's that good." So we felt that if we could make that proof-of-concept, which is what we've basically spent the first year and a half doing, we would then move on in our logical chain to enterprise products.

We announced today the Xandros Business Desktop and the Xandros Desktop Management Server, or xDMS. We have further plans down the road obviously for server products. There's a logical progression here. I think the other major distributions primarily started off saying, "Let's go after the server market, it's the low-hanging fruit," and that's why they're there. Now they're having second thoughts and saying, "Well, maybe we should do a desktop." It's not because it was thought out that way from the beginning, but simply because it seems to suddenly be a very big and appealing market.

LWM: I've also heard wonderful reviews from people who have used the product. I understand that one of its real strong points is how Windows applications or Windows files can still be used within the Xandros distribution. Can you comment a little on that? Was it a conscious decision?
That was a very conscious decision. Right at the beginning, and several years before Xandros became Xandros, the philosophy that I and Will Rosen, my partner at Linux Global Partners, had adopted was this: the position that other Linux companies were taking at the time of "We're going to give you Linux; it's so much more stable; it's so much more secure; you'll learn how to do things our way and you'll love it," was the wrong way to go.

You have to be realistic and realize that no matter what you're doing, you're selling into a Windows world. Every article about PCs always says Microsoft has 92% of the market, 94% of the market - it's always over 90%, and so the reality is that you're selling into a Windows world. Everybody out there is using a box with Windows on it. So when 1.0 came out it was, amazingly, the only distribution in 2001 that had automatic domain authentication against Microsoft servers. With every other distribution, even if they would allow you to recognize it through one technology or another, you had to go in each time; you had to identify yourself; and you had to authenticate yourself. But the Xandros 1.0 product did automatic domain authentication. Similarly, when 1.1 came out last April very quietly in response to our corporate customers, it was the only Linux distribution - and it's possibly the only one today - that had automatic support for Active Directory Servers. And our feeling is that anybody who doesn't offer those things is pretending that they're not selling into a Windows world. We know we're selling into a Windows world.

As far as support for Microsoft Office files, we put that capability in as well as the ability to install Microsoft Office directly on the Xandros desktop because, at least for the foreseeable future, those are the applications that a lot of people use. Those are the applications where they have 10 or 12 years of data files in Word format and in Excel format, and those are the files that they cannot lose and don't have time to change to some other format. They can't afford to filter them through some other application, with the result being that they sort of get the document but maybe the formatting doesn't come out right, or maybe the macros don't work. They have to just be able to put in the Xandros desktop and go back to work. So it was a very conscious decision.

LWM: So where is Xandros at today - what do you have going on now, and what do you see happening over the next 12 months?
Just on behalf of all the developers we have, the most important thing that's happened in the last day is that we won the "Best Front Office Solution" award here at LinuxWorld Expo. It was a real tribute to the men we have working up in Canada and to their managers; all of them are down here at the show. As far as the future goes, we have announced today the Xandros Business Desktop; we announced xDMS, which is Xandros' wide area deployment manager for enterprises, and we also announced a little bit of the future in terms of thin clients and future server products. We're basically growing our product line as we see that the way we've done things has been successful for consumers, who are the most needy and the most dependent. We're now growing the product line out so that ultimately Xandros will provide an end-to-end solution for every type of user.

LWM: What's the idea behind the Business Desktop? Does it have remote management, remote deployment of applications, remote control of policies? How does that all work?
The Business Desktop includes a variety of features in terms of operating within a mixed network environment that aren't in the Deluxe or Standard versions. The wide area deployment and enterprise management tools are going to be a separate xDMS product that you can schedule to run, for example, every day at midnight. Actually, in the Xandros management server you can make a perfect PC protocol, take a snapshot of it, and deploy that over any number of servers in a network, any number of hosts, or any group of hosts. You can also define specifically, "Okay, this is the perfect arrangement for people who are doing word processing all day; this is the perfect arrangement for people in the accounting department." And you just deploy those specific systems that you've put together to those specific PCs. With the remote management control, for instance, on Xandros networks if you go in and there are security patches or kernel updates, they're automatically downloaded and installed. You can download these things to the management server and you can schedule this - for example, every day at midnight. If there are any critical patches or kernel patches, you can simply apply them to all the PCs that are attached to the management server. So it has very powerful wide area deployment tools and very powerful remote management tools.

LWM: It sounds like you're really listening to the corporate users and trying to provide tools for them to manage whole departments. What's in store for the future?
I think what's going to be in store for the future is continued growth of Linux both on the server side and on the desktop side. I think everybody is kind of familiar with Linux's astronomical growth on the server side - from about 2% of the server market to almost 30% of the server market. And that's basically been based on a CAGR [Compounded Annual Growth Rate] of about 33%. Currently, the CAGR of Linux on the desktop is 44%, so I think what you're going to see is the kind of algorithmic deployment of Linux on both the desktop and the server over the next three to four years. It's going to go from a very small percentage to upwards of 40% on a global basis.

LWM: What industries or markets do you think are going to be the earliest adopters?
I think that governments, because of cost issues as well as security issues, are major Linux clients. Linux is a very cost-effective solution for computers in the school systems. As of this date, 24 countries have had national votes to wire their school systems to the Internet using Linux. So they're already going to have all these students sitting in front of boxes using Linux to do searches on the Internet, and it's a logical progression that they'll use Linux desktops and Linux applications to integrate those results into spreadsheets, reports, and things like that. I think that when you realize that supposedly there are 500 million PCs in use, and that the number of students represented by the 24 countries that have decided to do this is larger than that number, you realize that in 10 or 12 years you're going to have 600 or 700 million students who spent their entire school life in front of a Linux computer, not a Windows computer. I think that there's just astronomical growth and that it's going to be totally algorithmic from this point on.

More Stories By Kevin Bedell

Kevin Bedell, one of the founding editors of, writes and speaks frequently on Linux and open source. He is the director of consulting and training for Black Duck Software.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content. Join @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 7-9, 2016 in New York City, for three days of intense 'Internet of Things' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indespensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) IoT's use in Vertical Markets.
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
We are rapidly moving to a brave new world of interconnected smart homes, cars, offices and factories known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors and monitoring devices will touch every part of our lives. Let's take a closer look at the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is a worldwide network of objects and devices connected to the Internet. They are electronics, sensors, software and more. These objects connect to the Internet and can be controlled remotely via apps and programs. Because they can be accessed via the Internet, these devices create a tremendous opportunity to inte...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Kintone has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. kintone promotes cloud-based workgroup productivity, transparency and profitability with a seamless collaboration space, build your own business application (BYOA) platform, and workflow automation system.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.