Mandriva, formerly MandrakeSoft, last week launched a public test version of its enterprise-dedicated desktop operating system, Corporate Desktop 4.0. The software offers enterprise-orientated features such as directory integration, secure mobility, new security features and a redesigned desktop.

The Paris-based company built its reputation on easy-to-use consumer desktop systems, as well as servers, but with this niche now largely dominated by Ubuntu, the company has increasingly tailored its desktops for use as corporate workstations.

For instance, the new desktop adds a directory integration tool that lets an administrator set user rights in the KDE desktop environment directly from an LDAP directory, complementing directory-based authentication.

The distribution includes the DrakVPN tool for simplifying secure remote access, as well as streamlined 3G data card configuration. Mandriva is planning to release the final version on a secured USB key, meaning users can set up a secure work environment on any computer.

Other security features include encryption, authentication through smart cards and fingerprint readers, and an interactive firewall.

The redesigned desktop uses X.org 7.1 window manager and is optimised for KDE 3.5.4, though GNOME 2.16 is also included. It includes 3D technologies such as Xgl, AIGLX and Metisse.

Hardware and ISV providers such as Intel, HP, Nvidia, Arkeia, BitDefender and VMware participated in development, which Mandriva said means a wide range of hardware compatibility. Mandriva Corporate Server 4.0, released in September, was the first to offer three of the most prominent virtualisation technologies - VMware, Xen and OpenVZ - in its standard version.

The test version is available for download via the Mandriva website.