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Operating Systems Software Windows Linux

Windows Interoperability in A Linux Distro 355

Posted by Hemos
from the kicking-the-tires-folks dept.
Magenta writes "There is a review of the Desktop OS Version 3 Business Edition from Xandros. This operating system is meant to allow users to easily move from Windows XP to Linux without the problems that can arise. Xandros not only can use Window's file system but it is able to run a great number of Windows programs using its CrossOver Office tool from CodeWeavers. This is one of the most accessible distros to come along in awhile and it marks a big step forward in the progress on Linux on the desktop."
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Windows Interoperability in A Linux Distro

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  • A must (Score:2, Insightful)

    by omar_armas (633987)
    This is a must for real end users(mom and dad) change to Linux.

    Omar
    • Re:A must (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gvc (167165)
      I dunno. My dad (78 yrs old) converted to Linux. He uses Linux stuff: Mozilla, OpenOffice, The Gimp, K3B, and so on.

      I installed wine and all the apps he was used to -- MS Office, Photoshop, IE (actually he dumped IE for Mozilla on Windows a couple of years ago.) -- but he didn't really use them. He found it easy to switch. In the case of K3B he said it was "much easier to use than that Roxy-whatever thing on Windows." His slide scanner worked perfectly without the installation of any extra software,
    • My mom uses Gentoo and KDE. She's actually a grandmother now, thanks to my sister's kid. Granted, I do some system administration for her (usually when something goes wrong), but she's quite proficient with Gentoo. If you try to sit her down in front of a Windows or Mac system, you'll never hear the end of it. She genuinely does prefer Gentoo and KDE. She comes from the old school CP/M and BASIC days (she's got a working Commodore 64 in her kitchen), so maybe that has something to do with it, too.

      Remem
  • No wayyy. (Score:3, Funny)

    by peculiarmethod (301094) on Monday August 01, 2005 @11:19AM (#13214136) Journal
    You can FORGET IT until I get my minesweeper and solitaire.

    oh, and calc. I so love calc.
  • Just for fun... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Xandros' Windows functionality is OK for a demonstration. But its speed sucks for production environment.

    BTW, Xandros isn't a pretty looking dektop. And, it is not FREE as in FREE BEER
    • It's mostly not free due to the Crossover [codeweavers.com] app that is included

      $39.95 - $74.95 depending on which version you buy

      And speed can always be better, and it continues to get better
    • Re:Just for fun... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hacker (14635)

      BTW, Xandros isn't a pretty looking dektop. And, it is not FREE as in FREE BEER

      Nor should it be free as in free beer. It includes proprietary (well, for-pay) software in the install... CrossOver Office.

      Free Software is not free [puzzling.org], and it probably never will be until our core society changes dramatically at the community and economic level.

      Power costs money, bandwidth for hosting the project cost money, domains cost money, developer time costs money, hardware and backups cost money, distribution cost

    • Free version (Score:5, Informative)

      by genericacct (692294) on Monday August 01, 2005 @11:31AM (#13214250)
      On their downloads [xandros.com] page, there is a link for the Open Circulation edition. Completely gratis if you use bittorrent. I'm considering trying it here at work.
      • Re:Free version (Score:3, Informative)

        by isolationism (782170)
        Also completely gratis is the trial edition of CodeWeavers' Crossover Office [codeweavers.com] that you can download [codeweavers.com] for free and install on whatever distribution you want, because according to the Xandros Desktop Matrix [xandros.com], only the Deluxe and Business editions of Xandros come with a full version of CXO.

        There's no shortage of other crippled features in the free version either, such as a maximum of 4x for burning CDs.

    • I have run many Windows apps under Wine on Linux.

      Those that I could actually measure any difference actually ran FASTER under Linux.
      This may not be a fair test, because I have finer grained control over resources on Linux, others may not have optimized their systems as I have.

  • by lilrowdy18 (870767) on Monday August 01, 2005 @11:20AM (#13214144)

    The only question that comes to mind is:

    When do these Windows compatibilites start to become security issues in Linux? I mean I am all for having some Windows apps run in Linux. The main reason I use Linux at home was because things like IE and other security ridden problems in Windows arent available in Linux.

    Just my $.02

  • 30 Great Number (Score:5, Insightful)

    by magarity (164372) on Monday August 01, 2005 @11:21AM (#13214157)
    From Crossover's website:
      CrossOver Office currently supports more than 30 of the most popular windows productivity applications
     
    Well, that's quite an acheivement but 30 productivity apps isn't "a vast number of Windows programs".
    • Re:30 Great Number (Score:5, Informative)

      by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Monday August 01, 2005 @11:23AM (#13214179) Homepage
      "Supported" means that if it doesn't run, you get tech support. It also means they will continue to run properly in future versions. There are plenty of other apps that are unsupported which work fine though.
    • Yes, and Microsoft's Remote Desktop Viewer for MacOS X doesn't "support" entering an IP in the address field, but it stills works just fine.

      When did people start getting "supported" and "working" confused with each other? Did you seriously expect CrossOver Office to bend over backwards for you when your $10 1994 shareware app doesn't work right?
    • The things that don't work are DirectX and some kinds of USB devices. While that takes out a distressingly large number of programs, the average person can live with it through dual booting or Win4Lin, which will work as well as Winblows ever did. Win4Lin can be bought right off the Xandros Networks and runs Winblows in an Xwindow easily enough for any new user.

      More importantly, the kinds of applications that people "need" to run do work. Office, Outlook, IE and in house software will work. As in house

  • by gilesjuk (604902) <.giles.jones. .at. .zen.co.uk.> on Monday August 01, 2005 @11:22AM (#13214158)
    The original posting overstates the abilities of Xandros.

    Crossover office is a product you can buy and install on most Linux distros. It's a nicely patched up and packaged version of Wine.

    As for being able to access Windows filesystems, the Linux kernel contains drivers for FAT, FAT32 and NTFS. I would be very suprised if this distro can write to NTFS safely as this is something that is still being worked on.
  • by Osrin (599427) * on Monday August 01, 2005 @11:25AM (#13214187) Homepage
    Lets say that it succeeds and you get a few hundred thousand moms and pops pulled over to Linux to run their Windows apps on this distro.

    That is a few hundred thousand people who will eventually run into application support issues, driver issues, printing issues etc that they won't be able to turn to friends for help with.

    That is a few hundred thousand people who will tell their friends that they tried Linux and it sucked.

    The Linux community needs to concentrate on driver support, end user support and encouraging developers to migrate native applications to the platform. Anything else is just inviting failure.
    • Actually, driver support for desktops is getting a lot easier these days, because there's a really common motherboard chipset with all the necessary capabilities for someone who doesn't install any extra hardware.

      Of course, having a program to configure the kernel for the hardware that's in it, as well as hotplug support for figuring out what unsupported device you've plugged in and building the module would be really nice, but it's a lot less necessary with the current state of the hardware world.
    • I have been using Xandros Desktop 2.0 on my second PC at home for a few years. It is our home server, but I also use it as a secondary machine while World of Warcraft is up on my main computer.

      Let's just say that, while I use OpenOffice's writer, its spreadsheet program was lacking features I required. So I popped in my Excel CD and installed it. Woo. I never have to reboot that machine into Windows. Actually, I need to recover the Windows partition to add more space for Linux.

      Win win for Linux. Succe
    • by jhoger (519683)
      "Concentrate on driver support..." are you kidding? As far as the "catch up" game of creating drivers AFTER hardware shows up on the market, often with no public chip docs, the kernel devs do a really good job. But by definition of "catch up" we can never be as good as other platforms until 3rd parties support us out of the box.

      The reason we don't have supported 3rd party drivers is because Linux doesn't have the market share (yet) to warrant the OEMs supporting us.

      The more people use Linux the more support
    • That is a few hundred thousand people who will eventually run into application support issues, driver issues, printing issues etc that they won't be able to turn to friends for help with.

      How do I get my Mom to do it? I just spent four hours yesterday trying to get her HP scanner working in WinME. If she moves to Xandros it'll free up my afternoons!
    • That is a few hundred thousand people who will eventually run into application support issues, driver issues, printing issues etc that they won't be able to turn to friends for help with.

      Nonsense. Those people know the limitations and also know they can dual boot for whatever they think they still need. They also know that their old Winblows partition sucked to begin with, that's why they are taking the time and trouble to use something else. More importantly, they know that the root of their problems u

  • by FidelCatsro (861135) <fidelcatsroNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday August 01, 2005 @11:25AM (#13214190) Journal
    First off , This is great that they have had the fore sight to include the drivers to read and write NTFS .It is also very nice that they have included code weavers cross over office.This is great for getting some people to switch to linux , shame they didn't include cedega as well , which could of really completed the package , though this is a business edition.

    But credit where credit is due , the article summary makes it seem like Xandros was responsible for these things.http://www.codeweavers.com/ [codeweavers.com] code weaver site , responsible of Crossover office and naturally a link to wine on which Cross over office is based http://www.winehq.com/ [winehq.com].
    A link to the linux NTFS project http://linux-ntfs.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] (I assume this is the driver they are using , correct me if I'm wrong)
    (Cross over office is a great product , It also has a rather pleasant installer in my experience.So you don't need to switch distros .)

  • Cool (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ArchAngel21x (678202)
    It sounds like Xandros, with the help of Linspire, could really give Microsoft a run for its money. As Linux becomes more easy to use, I think it is more likely that Linux will take market share away from Windows than Mac. Why buy a new computer for a new OS when you can install a new OS on the computer you already have?
  • Windows software... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FinchWorld (845331)
    ...really isn't a problem, especially if you're targetting you're average desktop user (excluding gamers, as ever). Word can be replaced with Open office writer with few problems, how many people use word because it has mail merge which you can link to an access database or because it has spellcheck?

    The real problem is hardware thats not compatable out the box, most people will give up. I've run Mandrake for 2 months no problems (However took a year to get hardware sorted) until a couple weeks back when t

    • Why? when you use OSX you make sure you buy hardware that works with it, why must linux support every obscure and low end card that exists (Yes wifi cards based on broadcom are LOW END junk. use cards based on the prism chipset and you get working 802.11b/g without nightmares.)

      I built my GF/fiancee's new pc specific for Linux use. it took me 15 minutes to uy everything that was 100% linux workable and get a machine ordered to install mandrake.

      When you look at linux you can not look at it as a windows re
    • Untill hardware is supportted (And by no means is the *nix developers fault), it'll fail to get a foot hold.

      I don't see the problem: if you buy supported hardware, then Linux runs on it. If you buy it preinstalled, you don't even have to install it.

      On the other hand, if you install Windows on unsupported hardware, you will run into problems, too. In fact, you'll run into problems with Windows even on supported hardware, since many drivers are highly Windows version specific.
  • Order in Chaos (Score:2, Interesting)

    by markpapadakis (115698)
    "This is one of the most accessible distros to come along in awhile and it marks a big step forward in the progress on Linux on the desktop"

    The majority of users have simple, finite needs. They want to be able to browse the net, check Email, chat with friends on IM networks, play music and view pictures, and write documents using Word. Occasionally, they want to play games.

    Let's assume there is a Desktop Environment / Operation System that allows them to do all that:

    o easily
    o virus/trojan/spyware free
    o thro
  • Time for Microsoft to implement a new "innovative" filesystem type that is 'unfortunately' not compatible with previous Windows XP filesystem types.

    Embrace.
    Enhance.
    Exterminate.
  • by GauteL (29207) on Monday August 01, 2005 @11:41AM (#13214331)
    Xandros is meant to be a typical business os where things Just Work [tm], are simple and user friendly.

    These distributions are much better off supporting only ONE desktop solution. The prime target of Xandros doesn't know what GNOME or KDE is, they just want to get their work done. Xandros chose KDE, which is not a bad choice, and did a good job integrating it.

    Confusing the issue with two very different ways of using your computer is just not a good idea. It is better to completely integrate one solution.

    This is also why Ubuntu should stick to one user interface with their official distribution, and leave KDE to the more unofficial Kubuntu.

    For the more technical users / companies, there is always Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake, Slackware, Gentoo, Debian, etc.
  • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smvp6459 (896580) on Monday August 01, 2005 @11:42AM (#13214343)
    I can't really see what's different between this and major distribution from a commercial entity. I run SUSE 9.3 and it's got everything but crossover office (and Wine is fine for most tasks).

    So:
    - Four-click install with automatic disk partitioning [SUSE's just about got it]
    - Industry-leading hardware detection & configuration [SUSE's got it]
    - A single control center for all your settings [SUSE and many distros have got it]
    - Shield your files from prying eyes with automatic home folder encryption [ok, it's not automatic in SUSE or most distros, but do you really want your mom and dad to encrypt their files?]
    - Acquire images through the USB scanner support [sounds like most distros]
    - Support for new nVidia and ATI PCI-Express video cards [sounds like nVidia and ATI]
    - Recursively change properties of files in selected sub-directories [Sounds like Konqueror]
    - New! Synchronize your system clock with a network time server [Holy shit, computers do this...wow what a novel idea]
    - Xandros File Manager [ie konqueror]
    - Xandros Disc Burner [ie k3b]
    - Full server-accessed Windows networking [ie samba]
    - StarOffice 7 with full commercial support [too cool for open office]
    - Special Xandros edition of CodeWeavers CrossOver Office 3.0.1 [don't see the major advantages over a well setup version of wine]
    - Xandros Networks updates [sounds like most distros]
    - Get notified of updates immediately with the Xandros Networks panel applet [sounds like many distros]
    - Startup and Trouble-shooting Guide [weee!]
    - 380 page User Guide (PDF with download version) [sounds like they cheaped out...SUSE still gives you two solid books in addition to the PDFs].
    - Access to a huge inventory of free Linux software [ie the Internet]
    - 90 days e-mail installation technical support [ie we don't want you to call and talk to us, oh yeah and screw you that you may have hosed your system when ntfsresize failed and now you can't get online]
  • by frodwith (904084) on Monday August 01, 2005 @11:43AM (#13214356)
    The idea that making Linux more compatible with Windows will make it "more ready for the desktop" is just plain wrongheaded. Linux as it stands is more than ready for the desktop. I use Debian on my desktop at home, and have never needed to boot into Windows to get anything done. Neither has my far-from-technophile wife. I actually find Debian to be much more user friendly than Windows and have been able to show several nontechnical people how to use it without problems (once it is set up and installed). Sure, people might miss the ability to play their favorite first-person-shooter, and openoffice.org or the gnome office tools might take a little getting used to for a Windows user, but this is a minor (and passing) inconvenience. The general feeling I get that making Linux act like Windows will make it ready for the desktop just makes me scratch my head in wonder. Are you all idiots? Linux is better than Windows. That's the whole point. Why try to make it act like an inferior system? Why even bother switching to Linux at all if you're just going to turn it into a poorly behaving Windows wannabe?
    • Linux as it stands is nowhere near ready for the desktop. You have to remember that 99% of all pc users only care about being able to USE their computer. If they can't figure something out they start asking the people around them, who also happen to be windows users. Eventually they get an answer and keep moving along.
      The second you tell someone that they have to do ANYTHING on a command prompt then you have lost them. When Linux's options and setups are GUI only and just as easy to understand and use as wi
    • Distortions (Score:3, Insightful)

      by twilight30 (84644)
      Sure, but you are missing is that the computer-using world has been distorted by Windows' dominance. Windows is what the majority of desktop users uses, so 'using computers' means 'using Windows'.

      You may have found it better to use Linux, and better to train others without the albatross of Microsoft. But for those users without the benefit of a local Linux-experienced geek to help them out, a Windows-alike may be an easier way of exploring alternative OSes.

      I actually agree with you in principle, but I meet
      • Re:Distortions (Score:3, Interesting)

        by frodwith (904084)

        The lack of savvy Linux users out there to help people get set up and give them some minimal training is indeed an issue in furthering the spread of Linux and other open-source operating systems. Also, there is no proof, per se, that mimicking Windows is a mistake. You are also correct in saying that I would argue that is is, though.

        My first set of experiences with Linux were with "user friendly" distributions. Mandrake 9.2 comes to mind. Not only did the (albeit minimal) Windows-mimicking not impress

    • I kind of find it interesting that using Wine to support Windows apps under Linux violates a kind of moral purity.

      The original idea behind GNU and then Linux was to imitate UNIX with a free version. UNIX was considered a powerful and useful operating system, but it was proprietary as all anything and required expensive software licenses.

      So Windows is proprietary and bound up in licenses, and people think it is useful to have a free work-alike, and they just happen to layer that work-alike on top of Lin

    • Why make a compatability layer for Windows on Linux? Because that's one of the greatest things about Open Source. It's extendable and interoperable. The reason for Wine is not to make Linux "more ready for the desktop" but to extend and enhance the power of Linux.

      Not only this, but lets say that noone does anything to create Windows compatability and Linux does overthrow the Windows monopoly. If nothing is done then there will be 15 years of Windows and Dos compatible programs that are lost. All of
  • Windows Filesystem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Perl-Pusher (555592) on Monday August 01, 2005 @11:45AM (#13214373)
    Xandros not only can use Window's file system

    I have never used Xandros, but are you implying installing linux on a Fat32 filesystem? Why would I want to use a filesystem that does not provide for permissions? If your just talking about mounting and accessing it, what distro doesn't? Every single dual boot system I have ever installed (Suse, Mandrake, RedHat, Fedora etc.) has detected and mounted the existing windows partition. My USB thumbrive mounts automatically in Fedora Core 4, it uses windows format. The only thing I really see different about Xandros is Codeweavers which I already have. I really don't see anything truly revolutionary here. Don't get me wrong I like linux but if you have seen one KDE/Gnome desktop you've seen them all. Every week a new screenshot gallery showing the same tired pictures of KDE, Gnome, OpenOffice etc makes it's rounds on all the linux sites. The only thing to me that has really made things easier recently is the move to Synaptic, APT, Yum, URPMI, Click & Run etc. But again they all do basically the same thing, some better than others but nothing earth shattering. What is so much better about Xandros that would make me want to dump PCLinuxOS? If your just trying to attract windows users, your going to have a hard time. Until Linux is pre-installed on Dell Desktops as a dual boot or cheaper option, your never going to get a windows user to switch.

    • Fat32 is DOS's file system. Window's file system is NTFS, which does support many (but not all) permissions features. I don't know if something like softlinks could be done. NTFS does support hard links I think.
      • I don't know if something like softlinks could be done.

        That'd be junction points [elsdoerfer.info].

      • According to this review of Xandros 3.0 [pcworld.com] it can read but not write to NTFS. That is exactly the same level of compatibilty I have with Fedora Core 4 and others. Read only is a far cry from "support". I just don't see where they are doing anything that different from other distros. The only thing I see is pay extra to get Codeweavers included. I can buy Codeweavers and download Fedora for $10 less.
  • My.. that sounds awfully like what SUSE Linux Office Desktop [itweek.co.uk] did over 2 years ago.

    Do keep up.
  • by Mr. BS (788514)
    A quote from the Xandros website...Get full-featured Xandros for a fraction of the cost of Windows XP.

    At $129 dollars per license...that's one helluva fraction!!!

    Save your money! Use your fav linux distro and buy Crossover Pro for $75 bucks [codeweavers.com] if you need that functionallity!
  • I used Xandros a while ago. While not the most recent version, even back then I was amazed at how quickly I was able to get a very functional KDE Linux system.

    While I applaud the community's efforts to continue making Linux more user friendly, something we need to realise is that regardless of how much work we do, there are always going to be the "ready for the desktop" idiots churning out one article after another about how Linux isn't acceptable purely because it isn't 100% identical to Windows. Because
  • Acts like Windows....but can you setup a Printer and actually have it WORK? If so, I will spend the fraction (um....129/100?) of the cost to purchase if it allows me to use my Printer.

    In my many trials of setting up Linux systems, printing is the one area that seems to never function "straight out of the box".

    What is the issue with being able to print from ANY of these distro's ? Is it a lack of drivers? A lack of manufacturers? What printer do I have to purchase to allow me to setup a network print

  • I use it at home, along with one token copy of XP Pro. The way my setup works is the Xandros machines are the only ones that can see the internet. Any surfing, email or chatting is done on them. The only time Windows gets to see the internet is for updates and patches.

    The CrossOver inclusion is why I orginally purchased Xandros, but that's not what kept me as a customer. I stayed with it because it's easy and it works. Used CrossOver a few times early on mainly for the wife's stuff, but as she got mor

  • Xandros is actually developped in Ottawa, where I've lived for a few years. I goto the University of Waterloo and they've come to us looking for co-op students. A couple friends of mine got a job interview and pretty much all Xandros is is a 'commercialization' of linux, they take stuff like crossover, skype, cedega, etc and package it into their own distro, as well as make graphical frontends for linux stuff that already exists (that's pretty much what the co-op job was for). This means that pretty much an
  • Every time a see a new Linux "desktop" that's better than before, it's the same old thing:

    1. A pretty run of the mill Linux distro
    2. With KDE preferred over GNOME
    3. WINE (usually CrossOver) is included

    I could build something just as nice as Xandros using Gentoo. But, of course the point to Xandros is that it's all ready to go. Sort of. The real truth is that NO Linux distro will ever be "ready to go" out of the box for regular users because all Linux distros are made of multiple projects that have varyin

  • Probably not. Who is going to switch?

    1. People using XP aren't going to replace XP with this. After all, they already paid for XP so why pay for Xandros Desktop OS 3 Business Edition? At $129, it's not that cheap.

    2. People comfortable with XP who are in the market for a new computer aren't going to go through the effort to find a great deal on a computer, buy the OS, install and configure the OS.

    Think what you may, but Windows XP is now pretty secure. Use Firefox and Thunderbird, keep your AV up
  • How come it is a big step forward to copy Windows? that's a step backwards for me. Open source was supposed to be a leader in innovation, not blindly copy commercial software. And the Windows GUI leaves a lot to be desired.
  • by B11 (894359)
    I tried Xandros (came in a Linux mag), it was OK, but I didn't need the interoperatability that it came with, especially considering it came with FOSS alternatives that worked just as well.

    I'm currently on Mandriva, and I must say, if my parents need an OS when their Windows machine craps out (again), that will be what I'm installing. Everything works out of the box, and my parents are good enough web searchers that they'll be able to find what they need help on in a google search and on forums.

    Even t

  • I really like that we have Xandros. It's a distro you can show and give those Windows people around you. But thinking of it as a real step forward for Linux in general on the desktop, just doesn't feel right. I dont' think a real step forward for Linux is being more and more Windows-like and Windows-mimicking and Windows-compatible and Windows-... you go on. It's nice to have distros ('cause Xandros isn't the only one you know) which can make Windows 6packs' transition easier, but it would be nice to think
  • What's the point? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jleq (766550) * <jleq96NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:19PM (#13215285)
    Why would I want to pay $129 for a Linux distro that tries to emulate Windows when I can buy the current top-of-the-line version of Windows for $11 more [newegg.com]?
  • What are the problems they are avoiding with this distribution?

    Moving from windows to linux takes some home work to find out what the user does on a system and identify an equivalent package under linux to do that job. Keeping a user with feet in both OSes does not do them any good. I recently moved a user from a Windows ME system to Linux. Their needs were modest. Took a few hours to build the system on a new harddrive and then save some files from the old system. They were up and running on linux t

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