Xandros Desktop 2 is based on the "Sarge" version of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution and an enhanced KDE GUI. Xandros' software features a speedy four-click installation process that includes disk partitioning, hardware detection and configuration, and drag-and-drop CD burning from the company's file manager. The standard edition is priced at $39.95.
The $89 Deluxe version includes a custom edition of CrossOver Office 2.1 for running Microsoft Office along with a CrossOver Plug-In to expand Linux Web-browsing capabilities.
Xandros is among several Linux desktop companies vying for market share against Microsoft, which controls more than 95 percent of desktops worldwide.
The New York Linux company as well as SUSE Linux are among a handful of Linux companies that back KDE, an alternative Linux GUI that competes against GNOME. The new release employs a Xandros-enhanced KDE 3.1.4 and an underlying 2.4.22 Linux kernel.
The GNOME GUI, used in Sun Microsystems' Enterprise Java Desktop and Novell's Ximian Desktop 2, has gained steam with Sun's recent Linux desktop wins with the Republic of China and the United Kingdom. Despite these gains, many Linux desktop backers -- including Novell -- say KDE will continue to be supported and developed because open-source customers want choice.
Novell, for instance, maintains that it will support KDE after it completes its acquisition of SUSE. The SUSE Linux Desktop supports KDE. Other company insiders, however, indicated to CRN that GNOME will become Novell's preferred GUI.