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Xandros Desktop--Not Your Father's Linux Distribution
From Corel to Xandros
November 11, 2002
With the last year or two of Linux press describing the financial woes of various Linux distributions, it's refreshing to see a new Linux distribution launched with some fanfare. "New" is something of a misnomer--the Xandros Desktop is a descendant of Corel Linux, but with a new purpose and sharper focus than ever before.
Xandros purchased an exclusive license to Corel's Linux distribution in the summer of 2001, with the goal of producing a true desktop Linux distribution. Though well-known for the quality of its installer and the general user-friendliness of the distribution, Corel's Linux wasn't unique enough to truly differentiate itself in the market. Caught up in the post-coital depression of the Linux market, the collapse of hundreds of dot bomb companies, and financial problems brought on by failed hardware experiments such as the NetWinder, Corel decided that it couldn't afford to promote and support an independent Linux distribution. For a few million dollars, Xandros took up the torch--and is now crossing the finish line with a well thought-out, differentiated product that has great potential for success.
The Xandros Linux distribution, known as Xandros Desktop, is based on the Debian Linux distribution, which is a relative rarity for a large-scale commercial Linux distribution. Debian Linux has much to recommend it, most importantly the power and flexibility of its underlying update utility, apt. Debian is largely perceived as a hacker's distribution, primarily because the Debian Project itself has no commercial face. Xandros Linux may just be Debian's break-through opportunity--especially due to Xandros' obvious commitment to the desktop and the end-user's needs and satisfaction.