Linux distributor Xandros has made a bid for the desktop just before Microsoft ships Vista.It has announced Xandros Desktop Professional, which is aimed at enterprises and features 3-D desktop graphics effects, Bluetooth wireless support, desktop search and ISV support, along with Windows domain authentication, plus support for log-on scripts, group policy profiles and Microsoft Exchange.The system is aimed at the window of opportunity created by the release of Vista, with Xandros claiming that its product provides "a secure, stable alternative to costly Windows desktop upgrades."According to the company, enterprise-class features include: \n\nseamless access to shared Windows folders and printers \n\nthe ability to write to Windows NTFS partitions \n\nseamless Microsoft Exchange connectivity support for third-generation HSDPA UMTS (3GSM) and mobile telecommunications \n\nXandros Network Connection System for wired, wireless, mobile and VPN network connections and security profiles \n\nthin clients and terminal emulation \n\ndual-core, SMP and hyper-threading support \n\nready for mass deployment in enterprise settings via xDMS, Xandros Deployment and Management ServerBenefits include lower cost of purchase, and bundled software including Skype and\u00a0the latest version of CrossOver Linux, which enables users to run Microsoft Office 2003 and many other Windows programs on Xandros. Security is catered for by home folder encryptions and secure VPN connections. Usability features include an optional 3-D desktop, drag-and-drop data DVD burning, and rapid search of documents and other files, with the aim of allowing users to switch easily from Windows to Linux. According to Xandros, the product incorporates the latest industry standards including the Linux Standards Base (LSB) 3.1 and the OASIS OpenDocument format for global file compatibility. Integrated Portland 1.0 tools address the diverse needs of business clients by enabling third-party software developers to integrate their applications. Xandros Desktop - Professional is available for immediate purchase and download from the Xandros website for a list price of US$99.99. "Adding a Xandros Desktop Pro PC to a Windows or Linux network was a breeze. We were up and running in the blink of an eye," said Erwin Zijleman, IT specialist with the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis. "I tried using Xandros as a thin client with Citrix-servers\u2014and it works. Even taking over other PCs in the Windows network works." "As Linux solutions such as Xandros Desktop Professional continue to make inroads in the enterprise as Windows replacements, organizations face increased complexity of managing disparate systems in mixed Windows and Linux networks," said Xandros CEO Andreas Typaldos. "Today most companies utilize a silo-based approach by managing Windows and various Linux versions separately, each with their own administrators and toolsets. "Xandros\u2019 vision is to empower organizations to manage their mixed environments holistically by providing tools that deliver seamless integration and simplify the day-to-day management of the mixed network environment as if it were actually homogeneous. Our new desktop release does just that with its enhanced network integration, Windows application and file compatibility and mass-deployment capabilities using the Xandros Deployment Server."-Manek Dubash, Techworld.com (London)Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.