Xandros Out, Ubuntu In

I’ve used Xandros Linux at work (dual booting with Windows XP Pro) for several years now but am testing Ubuntu as a replacement. Here’s why.

Since the version of Xandros Desktop 4 that I use is based on the stable version of Debian, I couldn’t expect much in the way of updates to the underlying operating system nor applications. But I could and do expect timely bug or security fixes. But very few have been released for Xandros. In fact, the last Xandros Desktop update was about a year ago. Given that bugs and security flaws are fixed on an ongoing basis and given that many of these bug and security fixes mitigate problems that include bad guys having the ability to gain root access, any distribution that ignores these updates is asking a lot of its customers.

In addition, the lack of updates to the underlying operating system means, in some cases, that updated applications will not install due to unmet dependencies. For example, I’ve talked about how Firefox 3 will not install due to unmet dependencies regarding the GTK+ package. There is presently no way to install the required version of GTK+ because of unmet dependencies. Hence, Firefox 3 cannot be installed. There are other examples, the number of which grow by the day.

So if I were to switch to something else, what process did I use to choose the distribution I eventually chose? First, I wanted something that I was at least a little familiar with. That means Linux Mint, Kubuntu, or Ubuntu because that’s what I have at home. All three of these are Debian based so that is also a consideration.

Secondly, it would need to be something that has security and bug fixes updated on an ongoing basis. All three distributions are pretty good at doing that with almost daily updates. But since Ubuntu seems to be the base system that the other two work off of, it has been my experience that Ubuntu tends to gets updated first with the other two following (usually in a matter of a few days).

There were other considerations but these tended to cross all distributions. Namely, I needed something that would integrate with our Novell Netware 4.x servers, log into our Windows-based web servers, and access our Lotus Notes mail server.

Access to Netware servers is covered via the NCPFS package. I’ve posted before on the installation and use of this package so I won’t re-do that here (follow the link here)(Note: there is one correction to the instructions on that page. It should read ipx_configure –auto_interface=on –auto_primary=on where the correction is the addition of “=on” to the auto_interface switch).

Accessing our web server is relatively easy on Ubuntu via the already installed /Places /Connect to Server utility so I won’t go into here. I would guess, but do not know for sure, that the other distributions would probably have a way of logging in.

Accessing Lotus Notes is a little harder. You would think that since Novell is involved in the development of the Evolution email application that they might include acess to Lotus Notes. But as far as I know, that isn’t true. Although there was (is?) a Linux-based Notes client, I’m not sure how hard it is to install on a non-Red Hat distribution. If you want to give that a try, you could start here or here.

What I did was buy Codeweavers CrossOver for Linux. This is a superset of Wine and emulates a Windows environment. With this installed, I just ran the Windows Notes 6.5.1 client install and I had access to our Notes server.

The only problem I’ve had with CrossOver is that I can’t yet get Microsoft Office Professional 2000 to install. I don’t know what the problem is but I hope to have it done Real Soon Now.

Other than that, I seem to be up and running and am not missing Xandros, at all.


3 responses to “Xandros Out, Ubuntu In

  1. I just made the switch as well to Kubuntu 8.04, and am using Codeweavers Linux 7.02 on my desktop. I’m running MS Office 2000 and 2007, flawlessly, so far at least.

    I too got frustrated with the lack of Xandros updates and especially the lack of news about a new desktop product. The company could have made an announcement at the time of their purchase of Linspire. I suspect that any new desktop will be built on Ubuntu and use Linspire’s CNR.

    I have an Asus Eee and just switched that over to Ubuntu-eee. Minor install headaches, well worth it.

  2. Xandros is like Microsoft from the look and feel right down to the frequency – or should I say infrequency – of official updates. I loved Xandros when I first discovered Xandros 3 Deluxe, but I’ve moved on and am now running Xubuntu 7.10 on a desktop and Xubuntu 8.04.1 on another desktop and a laptop.

  3. Things changed when the compandy did a hyped deal with Microsoft last year. But in practice, Xandros Desktop died in the spring of 2007, only the server versions being in any way supported. I noted something in the wind in 2006 http://leuf.net/XandrosLinux but had given up on it earlier http://leuf.net/WhyWeAreRetiringXandros

    LinuxMint or plain Debian are the current distros running here.

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