Xandros has released the server version of its Linux distribution, shortly after the Desktop which was released last week.

This Debian-based OS includes a wide range of applications and is aimed at being a complete package for SMEs. The company aims to capture business from those who don't want to pay what marketing manager Pascal Lauria described as the high Microsoft licence fees for separate functionality such as Exchange and Backup Servers, in addition to the base server.

"Our key advantage over Windows is price where Exchange and Backup server licences all extra. We're unlimited in terms of licences and also run up on systems to four CPUs. We also help users get away from Microsoft as a single supplier.

"It's good for SMEs as they don't have skills set that they need to manage Windows, plus we have better security, and fewer interdependencies", said Lauria.

Lauria said that Xandros had "created a server that's a true alternative to Windows XP or Server 2003. Even the file manager is very Windows in its look and feel, due to our packaging of Versora's Progression Desktop."

Lauria cited Xandros Management Console (xMC), as a key feature. It's a console analogous to the MMC in Windows. He said: "Windows admins at our console will see it's very familiar. He added that Xandros also supplies an SDK so users can add services into the xMC.

xMC adds functionality too, said Lauria, with its managed community concept. This means, for instance, that it allows primary servers to delegate tasks such as serving ftp to any number of secondary servers. "Firewall management for those secondary servers can be done in the primary server too", he said. The system's graphical wizards also provide alerts when changes to one service affects others and suggests a new configuration.

Other features include a bundled version of Scalix - "a true Exchange server" with five premium users, plus easy integration into existing Windows networks: "our server can be the primary domain controller, and it integrates with Active Directory", said Lauria. The bundle also includes a backup server with six licences, the ability read and write to NTFS partitions, the CrossOver Office productivity suite, and security software.

On the applications front, the package includes a wide range of products including IBM DB2 and Websphere Server, JBoss Application Server, Oracle 10G and MySQL.

Xandros Server costs £299.