Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Linux Authors: Liz McMillan, Clinton Wolfe, Trevor Parsons, Carmen Gonzalez, Brett Hofer

Related Topics: Linux

Linux: 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.
Berenstein:
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?
 Berenstein:
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?
Berenstein:
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?
Berenstein:
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?
Berenstein:
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?
Berenstein:
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?
Berenstein:
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?
Berenstein:
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 Linux.SYS-CON.com, 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
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, had reached 30,000 page views on his home page - http://RobertoMedrano.SYS-CON.com/ - on the SYS-CON family of online magazines, which includes Cloud Computing Journal, Internet of Things Journal, Big Data Journal, and SOA World Magazine. He is a recognized executive in the information technology fields of SOA, internet security, governance, and compliance. He has extensive experience with both start-ups and large companies, having been involved at the beginning of four IT industries: EDA, Open Systems, Computer Security and now SOA.
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applications - creating more engaging experiences for their customers and boosting collaboration and productiv...
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, representing a model of how to analyze rea...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - is now accepting submissions to demo smart cars on the Expo Floor. Smart car sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3–5, 2015 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from ...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Open Data Centers (ODC), a carrier-neutral colocation provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Open Data Centers is a carrier-neutral data center operator in New Jersey and New York City offering alternative connectivity options for carriers, service providers and enterprise customers.
The IoT market is projected to be $1.9 trillion tidal wave that’s bigger than the combined market for smartphones, tablets and PCs. While IoT is widely discussed, what not being talked about are the monetization opportunities that are created from ubiquitous connectivity and the ensuing avalanche of data. While we cannot foresee every service that the IoT will enable, we should future-proof operations by preparing to monetize them with extremely agile systems.
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. Learn about IoT, Big Data and deployments processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Intelligent Systems Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1994, Intelligent Systems Services Inc. is located near Washington, DC, with representatives and partners nationwide. ISS’s well-established track record is based on the continuous pursuit of excellence in designing, implementing and supporting nationwide clients’ mission-critical systems. ISS has completed many successful projects in Healthcare, Commercial, Manufacturing, ...