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Xandros Desktop Pro

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With an interface that is quite similar to classic Windows, along with utilities that target Windows migrations, Xandros Desktop Professional is a good choice for a productivity desktop and can rival more popular distributions, although bugged from design inconsistencies and a strict licensing structure.

If you have used other Linux distributions like Ubuntu or OpenSuSE, when booting up Xandros Desktop Professional for the first time, you can’t help but feel unimpressed by the overall packaging of the product - everything looks a bit dated, from the choice of the default wallpaper, up to the window decorations used within the K Desktop Environment. But don’t let this initial impression get to you. Once you tweak up the working environment, Xandros Desktop Professional can be an enjoyable OS to work on.

I’ve installed Xandros Desktop Professional on a BenQ Joybook laptop sporting an AMD Turion64 CPU along with 512MB of RAM, which is pretty much high above the requirements of Linux desktop distributions. The installation took around 1.4GB of hard drive space, which is pretty normal nowadays, but with Xandros, you get a mix of free software, open source software, and proprietary software in one installation. With a retail price of USD $99 (Boxed and Download editions), the package is ideal for people looking for a good transitional distribution and still have a requirement to run Windows applications via Codeweaver’s CrossOver Office. The boxed package contains 2 CDs, the Installation CD, which includes the Xandros Desktop core software, and the Applications CD, which is a collection of free and non-free software that you might require, along with the printed User Guide and a 30 minute SkypeOut coupon. The download package does not have the SkypeOut promotion (but I maybe wrong, but then, the software being reviewed was given for free, so I’m not complaining) and the User Guides can be downloaded as PDFs.

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Where Are the Snap-Ins?

The upcoming product release from Xandros helps Windows System Administrators feel more at home in an increasingly Linux-based infrastructure.

Called Xandros BridgeWays, the product runs on a Windows or Linux workstation and enables admins to manage multiple Linux/UNIX machines via an MMC-like console. The console additionally supports the integration of Windows components (including Active Directory), and the individual servers being managed--collectively called the Managed Community--can interact with one another (through a central server) in such a way that they are aware of one another's installed configurations and running services. So if Server A's configuration is changed and Server B is reliant on Server A, an alert will be generated asking the admin to address Server B as well. Watch for Xandros BridgeWays to become available in the late May/early June time frame, and follow the link below to our new product briefing with more details.

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