Linux distributor Xandros has made a bid for the desktop just before Microsoft ships Vista.

It's announced Xandros Desktop Professional, aimed at enterprises and which features 3D desktop graphics effects, Bluetooth wireless support, desktop search and ISV support, along with Windows domain authentication, plus support for logon scripts, group policy profiles and Microsoft Exchange.

The system is aimed at the window of opportunity created by the release of Vista, with Xandros claiming that its product provides "a secure, stable alternative to costly Windows desktop upgrades".

According to the company, enterprise-class features include:

  • Seamless access to shared Windows folders and printers

  • The ability to write to Windows NTFS partitions

  • Seamless Microsoft Exchange connectivity

  • Support for third-generation HSDPA UMTS (3GSM) and mobile telecommunications

  • Xandros Network Connection System for wired, wireless, mobile and VPN network connections and security profiles

  • Thin clients and terminal emulation

  • Dual-Core, SMP and Hyper-Threading support

  • Ready for mass deployment in enterprise settings via xDMS, Xandros Deployment and Management Server
Benefits include lower cost of purchase, and bundled software including Skype the latest version of CrossOver Linux, which enables users to run Microsoft Office 2003 and many other Windows programs on Xandros. Security is catered for by home folder encryptions and secure VPN connections. Usability features include an optional 3D desktop, drag-and-drop data DVD burning, and rapid search of documents and other files, with the aim of allowing users to switch easily from Windows to Linux.

According to Xandros, the product incorporates the latest industry standards including the Linux Standards Base (LSB) 3.1 and the OASIS OpenDocument format for global file compatibility. Integrated Portland 1.0 tools address the diverse needs of business clients by enabling third party software developers to integrate their applications.

Xandros Desktop - Professional is available for immediate purchase and download from the Xandros Web site for a list price of US$99.99.

"Adding a Xandros Desktop Pro PC to a Windows or Linux network was a breeze -- we were up and running in the blink of an eye," said Erwin Zijleman, IT specialist with the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis. "I tried using Xandros as a thin client with Citrix-servers -- and it works. Even taking over other PCs in the Windows network works."

"As Linux solutions such as Xandros Desktop Professional continue to make inroads in the enterprise as Windows replacements, organisations face increased complexity of managing disparate systems in mixed Windows and Linux networks," said Xandros CEO Andreas Typaldos. "Today most companies utilise a silo-based approach by managing Windows and various Linux versions separately, each with their own administrators and toolsets.

"Xandros' vision is to empower organisations to manage their mixed environments holistically by providing tools that deliver seamless integration and simplify the day to day management of the mixed network environment as if it were actually homogeneous. Our new desktop release does just that with its enhanced network integration, Windows application and file compatibility and mass-deployment capabilities using the Xandros Deployment Server."

Xandros Desktop Professional costs US$99.99.