June 2, 2003 10:40 AM PDT

Ximian updates desktop Linux

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Linux software maker Ximian on Monday announced a new version of its main software package for desktop PCs.

Ximian Desktop 2 includes a customized version of the OpenOffice productivity suite and new features intended to let Ximian-based PCs easily share a network with PCs running Microsoft's Windows operating system.

While Linux has made significant strides on servers, computers that run Web sites and other heavy-duty tasks, the operating system is just beginning to make significant inroads on desktop PCs.

Ximian is one of several companies hoping to accelerate the pace of Linux desktop adoption by producing versions of the operating system that mimic the look and feel of Windows.

Ximian has gone several steps further by building its own e-mail and PIM (personal information manager) program to replace Microsoft's Outlook. Ximian's Evolution software has won support from Sun Microsystems and others.

Ximian Desktop 2 includes enhanced tools for burning CDs, new tools for easy setup of printers, and a navigation system that mimics Windows "My Computer" format.

"Our goal with Ximian Desktop 2 has been to enable enterprise customers to cost-effectively adopt and support Linux desktops," Nat Friedman, co-founder and vice president of product development at Ximian, said in a statement. "The result is an enterprise-ready Linux desktop that is easy to use, supports existing Windows infrastructure, and is affordable to manage."

Ximian Desktop 2 will be available for download next week from Ximian. The software will be available as a free version, with no support or third-party software, or in a $99 "Professional Edition" that includes installation support, high-speed download service for updates, and numerous third-party add-ons.


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