Xandros to Enter the Linux Server Fray on May Day
Published: April 18, 2006
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
At LinuxWorld two weeks ago, Xandros gave me a demo of its upcoming Xandros Server Standard Edition, which will begin shipping on May 1. New York-based Xandros was formed out of the Debian distribution that office software maker Corel spun out in May 2001.
While Xandros has had a desktop Linux with a Windows look and feel for years, it has been trying to get a server version out the door for quite some time. At LinuxWorld, the company announced Beta 3 of the server software and said it would have the product ready by May 1. While the company would not be specific about pricing, Pascal Lauria, director of sales for Xandros in Europe, gave some hints. "We are going to be more affordable than other Linuxes, and we are going to offer one-stop shopping," said Lauria, hinting that Xandros was working with a provider of Linux-based groupware software to offer a complete, bundled solution for messaging and groupware on top of its new server. Xandros Server will be priced to compete with Microsoft's Small Business Server edition of Windows Server 2003, and will be priced to compete aggressively against entry offerings from Red Hat and Novell. Xandros is obviously interested in getting the support of server hardware makers and appliance makers, but as Lauria put it, Xandros will have to wait and see if the Windows-like management that it has been working on for so long gives these players enough reason to adopt yet another Linux distro officially.
The key feature of Xandros Server is something called the Xandros Management Console, which the company says is more akin to the management programs used in the Windows environment. For Unix shops, Linux is very familiar in that the same file structures and management tools are often used; if you know Unix, Linux is a relative snap. But if you don't know Unix--as many Windows shops do not--then Linux is a pain in the neck. The differences between Windows and Unix/Linux are a barrier to Linux adoption, and Xandros Server is about breaking through that barrier by making Linux look more like Windows as far as management of servers is concerned. And, as a plus, it plugs right into existing Unix and Windows networks and starts speaking their own DNS and DHCP language. Equally importantly, Xandros Server speaks Active Directory, the file and directory management software used in Windows 2000 and Windows 2003. "Co-existence is the secret," said Lauria.
Xandros Server will support 32-bit X86 and 64-bit X64 processors from Intel and AMD. Lauria said that Xandros was focused on the volume market, but that the company had examined the possibility of supporting IBM's mainframe and Power servers as well as Sun Microsystems' Sparc processors.