Xandros delivers Linux desktop

Hoping to help the cause of planting Linux more firmly on the desktop, Xandros on Wednesday unveiled an enhanced version of its Linux-compatible graphical environment with most improvements aimed at users.

Based on Debian Linux 4.0, a version of which is included with the product, the Xandros Desktop 2.0 is also better enabled to work with Windows-based applications, including Microsoft Office, and Windows-based networks. It also contains a number of new security features.

Company officials are hoping to cash in on the rash of security holes many Windows desktop users have been experiencing over the past couple of years through Version 2.0's improved security.

"Most users are fed up with viruses, worms, and the installation of patches. With this version we think we are presenting a better alternative on the desktop for the masses," said Andy Typaldos, CEO of Xandros.

One of the attractions of the product, company officials believe, is a four-click installation that includes with automatic disk partitioning as well as drag-and-drop CD-burning handled by the Xandros File Manager. The Deluxe Edition of Xandros Desktop gives users the option of running Office and a range of other Windows applications.

Using either the Deluxe or Standard Editions, users can also share data files and other resources over a network. Desktop users can also access an online collection of free Linux-based software with one mouse click, company officials said.

Version 2.0 contains a browser that lets users browse multiple Web sites in a single tabbed window. The product also comes with a mail reader that has an automatic spam filter and can turn off pop-up ads and an instant messenger compatible with a number of similar products from America Online Inc. MSN and Yahoo Inc.

The new environment ships with Version 1.1 of the OpenOffice.org applications suite, which can work with Microsoft Word and Excel documents. The presentations program within OpenOffice is capable of exporting dynamic Web-based shows to Macromedia Inc. Flash.

Available through retailers or at http://www.xandros.com starting Dec. 9, the Deluxe Edition will cost US$89 and will include a version of CrossOver Office 2.1 that allows user to run Microsoft Office. Users have the ability to allocate install space from a Windows XP partition and receive a 350-page user guide and 60 days of e-mail support. The Standard Edition will be priced at $39.00 and includes 30 days of e-mail support.

Users currently using Desktop OS 1.x can upgrade to the new Deluxe Version for $69 and to the Standard Edition for $24.

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