DesktopLinux.com discovers what Hilton hotels recently learned — Xandros delivers the corporate desktop. Emphasizing solutions that offer a smooth transition for companies migrating from Microsoft Windows and a significant cost savings (reportedly millions for Hilton alone), Xandros is paving the way for Desktop Linux. This in-depth interview with Xandros’ Chairman Frank Berenstein and VP of software development, Ming Poon walks us through the global corporate transition to Linux, Xandros’ corporate strategy, open source philosophy, and much, much more.
Xandros: Delivering the Corporate Desktop
2003-02-12 Oracle and SUN 30 Comments
I must say that for non-techies Xandros is a GREAT distrobution. While it looks too ‘windows-ish’ for me I found it to be a solid and easy to use distrobution. The Install was the easiest install of any Linux Distro I’ve used and the hardware detection was excelent. I think Xandros is a good edition to the Linux world.
p.s. All of you who are going to say it sucks because it isn’t like Distro X or you have to pay for it can piss off. That’s WHY Linux has more than one distrobution. Linux isn’t an one size fits all solution… This is for CORPORATE DESKTOPS.. and it’s good for that….
Decent point, but did you forget to install ispell with your copy of Xandros?
Go fuc yourself.
I don’t understand the whole idea behind the “coporate desktop” really. More often managers and employees only really need a word processor, spreadsheet a web browser, e-mail and a few proprietary apps – stock tracking/purcahsing software, client database/loggin application etc.
Rather than focusing all the effort on developing KDE, GNOME etc for the “corporate desktop”. Why not make a default, simple inteface. 1 Button to launch browser, 1 to laucn e-mail etc all of which could be done with say WindowMaker very easily. Reduces the needed code base for the desktop significantly which would lower system requirements == saving money.
I like your ‘Out-of-the-box’ thinking.
I don’t think system requirements are the issue. The cheapest new hardware will suffice for the basic business apps.
Making it as simple as possible is definately the goal though. Also since most business users spend a lot of time in front of the screen it may as well be pleasing to the eye, not obtrusive though.
Good points it does look windowish but Im glad that Xandros is succeeding, anything but Red Hat and Lindows, But as a corporate desktop I much prefer SuSE Linux. I dont even know but does Xandros even distribute Developer tools with their distro ? But yes at least we have another distro thats hitting big time corporate use.
I hope you are not incharge of a marketing department. the problem is that businesses are very very very conservative when it comes to their computer networks. Xandros provides the access to MS Office that SOOOOOOOOO many corperations need or think they need and they also offer a familiar experience to windows for the employees
(though that is a stupid idea as most people who use a cokputer in a office are so illiterate they would not notice a diffrence of interface unless it did not use point ‘n’ click)
Xandros has tapped a market that was asking for a good replacement for windows and the other distro’s were not providing one…RH is focused on all Linux offices/replacing Solaris workstations, Suse…umm well they have not been able to bring it all together in a way that appeals to US companies.
you cannot force a consumer to buy your product, you must make your product in such a way that the consumer wants to buy it. so your idea will not float in the market.
Recently gave Xandros a try, wanted to see how apt worked with it, as I’d never used it before.
First thing I noticed is that unless I went into /etc/sources.list and uncommented all of the Debian apt sources, my selection was very limited (even after updating the package list).
Once I had a fully loaded package list, I tried apt-get install mozilla – it told me I was running the newest version, but I was running 1.0.1. This was just a few days ago, so WTF?
Then I tried apt-get install galeon, and there was some kind of weird conflict where it expected to find package mozilla1.0 and what it found was mozilla1.0.xandros (or something like that). So apparently, from my best guess (being a newbie at it), xandros mucking with the package names causes apt some problems.
I tried the same thing in Lindows (apt-get install galeon) and it worked like a charm. Of course, I was still several versions behind (I guess that’s just the nature of apt/Debian), but it was better than the results I got in Xandros
Something else about Xandros – unless you install it on a hard drive with a Windows partition, you kinda have to jump through hoops to get your truetype fonts install. (The fonts in OpenOffice are terrible by default).
Yes. Xandros ships dev tools with their system….realy Xandros is much better integrated than Suse….and when the next 3 releases come out we will see how consistent thay are in terms of stability…SUSE and Mandrake have always suffered from problems like that….they release a good stable system after 3 attempts then they start all over!!! waht the heck..get it workign and then keeping working.Xandros seems to be a reletivly conservative company so I expect once it works well it will stay working well.
well you can not blaim Xandros for Debian’s slow development….and what is wrong with having to eddit a config file to get to the debian servers? Xandros wants you to use their system to keep things cohesive, if you know about apt-get and sources.list then you are perfectly capable to edit the list and install stuff from debian…but it is in no way Xandros’ fault that debian has older packages than Xandros.
well you can not blaim Xandros for Debian’s slow development
My intent was not to point the finger at anybody.
….and what is wrong with having to eddit a config file to get to the debian servers? Xandros wants you to use their system to keep things cohesive
In which case you’re going to be limited to whatever apps/games that Xandros thinks you want/need. And for this reason, these kind of ‘easy as pie’ distros have an even smaller sandbox than do the others.
if you know about apt-get and sources.list then you are perfectly capable to edit the list and install stuff from debian…
Actually, I didn’t know. I learned by reading the apt how-to, which is certainly a hell of a lot more than Joe User would ever do.
but it is in no way Xandros’ fault that debian has older packages than Xandros.
Actually (and I’m not sure about this), I think they’re using the same packages as in Woody (Debian 3.0).
Well, having used Xandros for a few weeks, I find it to be excellent out-of-the-box. That’s where Redhat and others had problems. Everything you need (except WineX – still in development) is installed: Compatibility, watching Apple’s switch ads, Java, you name it.
However, as an end-user I found big problems, as someone said earlier, due to Debian’s extremely slow development. Xandros only apts to some archaic version of Gnomemeeting for instance, and ships with an old-mozilla. Fiddling around to get mozilla-1.2.1 installed itself is quite the chore.
My second complaint would be that the UI (especially icons) just suck, and uses the horrible redmond style. Even something resembling XP would be better. LindowsOS seems better in this regard.
Not forgetting other quirks here and there, (eg. extremely slow bootup) Xandros just has to provide a lot more packages via Xandros Networks, and get everything really a lot more polished and integrated. Finally, there has to be a beautiful interface to make people switch.
Linux : the OS is good, but now we need apps.
As a corporate or home desktop OS, Xandos is already the most user-friendly distro out there. I don’t think it’s perfect yet, but you don’t have to be a geek or a tecchie to install it on your machine, whether or not you already have another OS installed. Easiest install you’ll find anywhere. Someone else hit on the point that to appeal to corporate America, you have create a product that will appeal to them. Something that will make them see the advantages of switching – lower costs and familiarity; easy to learn and use for a non-tecchie. And that’s exactly what Xandros has done. It’s not your grandmother’s Linux.
One of the nice things about Xandros is that in addition to the Xandros Desktop 1.0, you also get a “Technolgy Preview” CD, which is basically Xandros OS with KDE 3.0.3. It does not have the Xandros File Manager or the other Xandros tweaks to it, but what’s really cool is that if you install the Technology Preview CD, you basically get full-fledged Debian, with the easy Xandros installation, plus the nvidia drivers, java, flash, realplayer etc. included and automatically enabled. It’s like Debian Plus.
Then, you can edit your /etc/apt/sources.list file to include:
deb http://download.kde.org/stable/3.1/Debian stable main
type “apt-get update” then “apt-get dist upgrade” and voila you have kde 3.1 easy as pie.
Then, to top it all off, pop in the Xandros Desktop 1.0 CD to install the Crossover Plugin and Crossover Office .deb files and *bam* you have one kick ass distro: Debian plus Xandros installation and hardware routines, web plugins like java, nvidia drivers installed and configured, KDE 3.1, and all the Crossover stuff.
I’ve done all this and it works great!
For all of those people who tried using apt to get Debian packages, a suggestion would be to try putting “unstable” instead of stable in sources.list. Those packages are usually quite recent, and although I’m running unstable Debian proper, I haven’t had any problems.
Leave security.debian.org as stable, though. There is no unstable tree for that.
Debian stable and testing have Mozilla 1.0.x. You can point apt to Debian unstable if you want a more recent Mozilla (1.2) or you can look for unofficial Debian/Mozilla sources which perhaps will install Mozilla 1.2 without upgrading your entire system (if Mozilla 1.2 requires a lot of stuff not in stable/testing).
To be fair to Debian, Redhat 8.0 Psyche also ships with Mozilla 1.0.x. If you want Mozilla 1.2 you need to get it from mozilla.org. Maybe the latest Redhat (beta?) upgraded Mozilla to 1.2 — I don’t know.
GREAT point.. I think that is what Xandros did. That is part of the reason they are at KDE version 2 rather than a new version.
Part of the reason they should use a ‘standard’ desktop is that applications will be more integrated into it than if they used something more simple. I don’t see why they couldn’t use a custom version of IceWM or something…
Xandros isn’t scrambling to get the lastest version of Mozilla or application X. What they focused on is filling the basic requirement (Email, MS Office, Internet Browser, Samba Sharing, Easy Printing) and put it into an easy to install package.
Since they are targeting corprate people they charge a little more and offer support. Personally I hope they do wel…
I type 70 wpm, but my spelling suffers some… :pPp
even tho it is no open source 😮
on people who have tried to update their systems with apt.
Apt-get.org is a repository of unofficial packages.
they have a nice search engine:
Here you will find Mozilla 1.1, 1.2.1, as well as kde 3.1
../ for stable.
anyone running a debian based system should have synaptic. the sid version which I run on Sarge is the
latest and pretty sweet.
Libranet 2.8 should be out soon and will be as usual Debian stable integrated with the latest and greatest.
Oh and speaking of the latest and greatest.. we are getting closer where just like in the winders world
you won’t need to get the latest version.
That’s a good link, thanks pnghd!
apt-get.org is ok only for well-known apps. But nobody can beat rpmfind.net!
From the link above ..
Xandros aims to not only match the features in Windows Explorer, but also to exceed them wherever they see the chance.
Maybe, but it still can’t hold a candle next to Directory Opus. Of course, Dopus doesn’t have a built-in web browser, but then again .. it’s a FILE manager
BTW, you can use apt-get on RPMS based distros such as redhat with any rpms you download. It’s pretty sweet, though it’s a sort-of-tweakey.
I just managed to set it up, and now installing stuff on my RH8 box even rivals debian. I just download any rpms I want into a directory on my harddisk, run my update-scripts, and then seamlessly install with synaptic.
Now, I’m figuring out how to make it work with RPMS on rpmfind.net, ala urpmi…
“BTW, you can use apt-get on RPMS based distros such as redhat with any rpms you download. It’s pretty sweet, though it’s a sort-of-tweakey.
I just managed to set it up, and now installing stuff on my RH8 box even rivals debian.”
Sure, but all these commendable efforts to salvage the
millstone that _was_ rpm just prove what the Debiants
were saying all along: Debian Package management was and is better. Rpm is basically sequeing into something
very debian like.
It would have been just similar to clone Debian Package
management in the first place.
oh well, everyone is using apt in one form or the other
any way now.
I installed Redhat 8 Psyche a few weeks ago and immediately installed apt-get. I used apt-get to install a couple of packages (transcode, xmms-mp3). I was very happy.
I used up2date whenever there was an alert that an upgrade was available. I probably used apt-get a couple more times without any issues.
At some point I wanted to install some package with apt-get but it errored out because my system had 2 versions of the samba package. Apt-get said that it cannot handle this sort of situation very well and it gave me 2 options:
– Remove one of the samba packages.
– Read about some RPM:: option (don’t remember the name) which I believe would allow the system to have multiple versions of a package.
I went with the easier approach so I used rpm -q and rpm -e to find and get rid of both samba packages I had in my system (samba-2.5.x.x and samba-2.7.x.x). Not sure why I had 2 samba packages, I didn’t do that on purpose. I assume both were installed by up2date.
I then tried apt-get again and it worked. So I think that apt-get would work on an RPM system just like on debian provided that you only use apt-get to install packages. If you also use plain vanilla rpm then you may temporarily disable apt-get.
Not trolling, but there are a LOT more apps in RPM format than deb.
“Not trolling, but there are a LOT more apps in RPM format than deb.”
True, but that is an advantage of rpm’s greater prevelance ( more rpm distros) rather than of whether
it deserved that prevalence.
There are however 13 Distros that are Debian Based among
them Xandros,Libranet,Knoppix, <cough> Lindows <cough>
and even an entire region of Spain,Extremadura , which
has it’s own Debian Distro.
These days rpm is actually pretty good because of its new “aptness”.
Yet, I have always found the .debs I needed certainly for
the major programs.If not Alien will convert rpms to debs. I have only had to use it once and worked fine.
This is not surprizing because Debian is LSB compliant.
So any rpm that is lsb compliant ( and they all should be) can be installed on a debian system.
Not to worry, I am not in charge of a network. I am a ex-Comp Sci student who’s converted to social science – I am not a network admin . That should be conforting to you. And I still love using Linux.
I was making an observation from where I’ve worked previously. Many employees only needed limited access to various office and Internet applications – something Star/Open Office would surely cover which is the case in many small and large businesses so I still don’t see why my example wouldn’t work not. I don’t discount that default inteface across the corporation as you suggest is a good idea but the “corporate desktop” is too much of an all-encompasing term.
I haven’t tried xandros yet, but if it’s anything like Lycoris then it has inherited the chief windows flaw for the corperate desktop…Users can change things!
I’ve been playing with Knoppix and I love it. The real need for a “corperate” desktop, from a sys admin view, is LOCKDOWN! I don’t want my users to have any rights what-so-ever!
Let me choose the network setup and user folders and LOCK IT DOWN!
I’d like to see a Knoppix-style system builder. You would select your application (desktop, server, firewall,…) select your software, and it would auto-smurf-o-magically burn a full clone of the system to CD or hard drive pre-configured and ready to go.
From a sys admin view, choice is bad…very bad. It’s why we all fear the BSA, why viruses run rampant, why we have to worry about filtering websites. My job’s not to babysit PC users. It is to improve the company! Look at it another way–If you can’t download and store stuff at work, I don’t have to see what it is–your privacy dosen’t suffer because you can’t do anything to worry aabout!