Xandros, better known for its desktop Linux OS, is planning to launch an enterprise server.

The product, currently in beta, will be launched first in the US in May before hitting European markets, said Erich Forler, senior product development manager for Xandros.

While most of current Xandros desktop customers are consumers or SMBs, the forthcoming server product should allow the company to expand further into the enterprise, Forler said. In fact, he said it was demand from business customers currently using the Xandros Business desktop product that spurred the company to develop a server OS.

"Customers wanted the wanted the ease of dealing with one vendor for both their desktop and server Linux products," Forler said.

He added that if Xandros can entice companies to purchase Xandros Server, it might also help the company sell its desktop OS for broader enterprise deployments because enterprise deployments of desktop Linux had been extremely limited.

According to Forler, the server has been designed for usability. For example, for its management console, Xandros Server will include a windowed graphic user interface that is similar to the ones used in Windows 2000 and 2003 Server. This will provide a familiar environment for system administrators so it will be easier for them to install and manage Xandros Server, Forler said.

Forler acknowledged that Xandros already bumps into competitor Novell when courting enterprise desktop customers, and expects the same will be true when it makes its push into the server market. He declined to comment specifically on Novell's new entry in the desktop Linux market, but said he welcomed the increased competition because it gives enterprise customers more choice for their desktop OS.

"The more Linux desktops in the market to replace Windows, the better," he said.