Linux desktop vendor Xandros has launched its new Xandros Desktop Management Server (xDMS) application. This will give IT administrators the tools to roll out, configure and maintain mass deployments of Linux-equipped PCs.

The product is aimed at networks from small business workgroups to large enterprises, providing administrators with a graphical user interface instead of a command line to oversee their network. Point-and-click tools allow departmental desktop administrators to maintain systems with minimal training and technical expertise, according to the New York-based company.

XDMS allows IT administrators to set up software repositories from multiple sources, manage software inventories from the xDMS console and establish managed groups of networked PCs. The software also allows them to create custom configurations for individual departments and oversee remote, unattended operating system installs and updates. System configurations can be managed and changed from a central location using xDMS, which also allows the scheduling of remote program execution and the viewing of task schedules and task progress.

XDMS operates behind a corporate firewall, not on a remote server, to ensure high security. Secure Sockets Layer encryption is employed for all transmissions over the local network.

XDMS is a key part of the company's goal of expanding phased rollouts of its Xandros Desktop OS for corporate users. "The deployment of secure, stable and virus-free Linux desktops is expected to quadruple in the next 12 months," Xandros CEO Andreas Typaldos said. "We've made the decision to migrate a no-brainer with intuitive xDMS deployment and management tools that even eliminate command line complexities."

"The savings in downtime, staffing and licensing fees add up," he added.

Initially, xDMS will be offered for free with the purchase of five or more licences of the Xandros Desktop OS Business Edition, which starts at US$129 per user, with quantity discounts available.

One beta user of xDMS, the Kerr Group, a plastic container vendor, is now deploying the release version to its plants across the country, according to network administrator Troy Backus. "Now that xDMS is released, we'll begin a major rollout to plants throughout the US of full 24-by-7 production monitoring machines," he said in a statement. "The simplicity of xDMS deployment, together with the security and stability of the Xandros Desktop OS, will drastically reduce our administrative overhead and licensing costs."

Rick Berenstein, chairman and chief technology officer of Xandros, said that his company's desktop product, formerly Corel Linux, has come a long way since Xandros bought it in 2001. Ottawa-based Corel, which still markets its Corel WordPerfect office suite and core graphics applications, sold $12 million of Corel Linux products when it was released in 2000, but was hindered by a lack of Linux applications and other factors, he said.

"We think that they had the right direction, and we took that direction and put more millions of dollars into it," Berenstein said.