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Interview with Andreas Typaldos, Xandros CEO

November 21, 2003

This article was contributed by Ladislav Bodnar

Two weeks ago, Xandros Corporation announced the release of Xandros Desktop OS 2.0, which will be available for purchase beginning December 9. We have taken this opportunity to ask the recently appointed CEO of Xandros Corporation Andreas Typaldos about the product features, plans for the future and other topics of interest.

Mr. Typaldos, thank you very much for your time. You have been with Xandros Corporation for less than a month. What are your first impressions? What motivated you to take up the challenge?

It's really quite simple. The Linux desktop market is about to explode and Xandros has a clear vision, a great product and the best engineering team in the business. My challenge is to parlay engineering leadership into market leadership.

Let's talk about your upcoming 2.0 release. Your announcement has given us a preview of what to expect, such as your new drag and drop CD burning ability integrated into the Xandros File Manager and improved compatibility with Windows. Anything else we can look forward to?

Our engineers are continually refining usability features to keep up with user needs. In version 2 you can create zip and tar archives of selected files with a single click and easily hook up to hundreds of digital cameras. There's even a Boot Manager control panel that lets you set the default operating system and time-out for dual-boot machines. Stay tuned for further Windows compatibility announcements from Xandros.

Just as important as what Xandros is doing is what's happening with other open source projects: kernel development, Debian, KDE, Mozilla, OpenOffice.org and many others. Between their improvements and ours we now have one incredible desktop distribution. We've reached such a quality plateau that once a Windows user tries Xandros 2, I believe they'll never want to go back.

A question about Xandros Networks. If I understand it correctly, this will be a repository of software, free or otherwise, available for a single-click installation, similar to Lindows.com's Click-N-Run. Do you mind revealing what applications can we expect to find there? Anything unique or worth paying for?

We've offered free single-click updates for bug fixes and patches since the initial release of Xandros 1. That policy will not only continue with Xandros 2, but Xandros Desktop users will also have access to one of the world's largest inventories of free Linux software. Xandros Networks is an important sales channel, so expect to hear some interesting announcements about it in the near future. Rest assured that any subscriptions or direct sales will be for real value add, such as version enhancements or third-party software that's been QA'd by Xandros engineers.

I should also point out that Xandros provides everything most users need right out of the box and we don't charge for updates to otherwise free software such as OpenOffice.org or the Mozilla communications suite.

Besides the upcoming Xandros Desktop OS 2.0, will we see any other products in the near future? Just after your 1.0 release, there has been talk about Xandros Server, but this idea seems to have been dropped since. Or is it still on the cards?

No, it has not been dropped. We plan to be a complete solutions company. In fact, as early as January, we'll be announcing some exciting new Xandros Business Solutions that are designed to address critical deployment, management, and thin-client needs. As with all Xandros solutions, they'll be engineered to smoothly integrate with existing network environments. They'll save organizations a bundle, but even more important, they'll put control of critical systems and data back into customer hands.

It would appear that Xandros Desktop OS is a distribution designed predominantly for home users. Are there any plans to conquer the corporate desktop?

That's really a misperception since the Deluxe Edition of Xandros Desktop OS already has superior enterprise capabilities, most notably seamless integration with Windows applications and networks. Please come to LinuxWorld in January to hear the full story of how we plan to conquer the corporate desktop.

How is Xandros Corporation doing financially?

We have recently begun a new marketing strategy and we are on track based on our plan. We are progressing very well with our alliances and revenue generators. Our market presence continues to increase in part due to great product reviews. We expect 2004 to be a breakout year for Xandros and Desktop Linux.

Excellent as Xandros 1.x was, it hasn't reached its potential in terms of market penetration. We haven't seen much marketing and advertising from Xandros. Is this going to change or do you believe that the "word of mouth" strategy works well enough?

No, we are planning to go way beyond "word of mouth". Following on its product quality from our Corel legacy, Xandros is already well known for its engineering excellence, with a development team that's second to none. Now we are building it as a premier software company across-the-board; fully staffed with quality management, marketing, and support. In July, the company launched a concerted marketing effort to raise the profile of the great products we were turning out. We hired an experienced industry veteran David Finkelstein to head up Sales & Marketing and a quality PR firm. As a result, we are already working on a number of strategic deals that will increase Xandros' profile dramatically.

The xandros.com website has some brief information about OEM deals and high-profile industry partnerships. Can you tell us more?

We are close to announcing a number of significant partnerships. We have already signed up large distributors in Asia, Australia, South America and Europe. As a matter of fact our Latin American reseller sold over 7,000 units in only two months! Our Asia/Australia distributor plans a major marketing and ad campaign in conjunction with the version 2 release and has already signed up almost 100 resellers for Xandros.

This is a subject often brought up by users on public forums: does Xandros contribute back to the Linux community? After all, much of what constitutes Xandros Desktop OS is free software developed by enthusiasts and packaged by Debian developers, so it's only fair that some of Xandros' work go back to the community for the benefit of the rest of us. Does Xandros do that? Does your company sponsor any open source projects?

We have always contributed back to open source projects that we use. We report any bugs we find and send all our patches back to the maintainers. We are also working with the Debian project to ensure that the next version of Debian GNU/Linux will be LSB compliant. We have sponsored open source developers on various projects in the past and expect to do so again in the near future.

Do you personally use Xandros Desktop as your primary operating system?

Of Course! Xandros Desktop gives me everything I need right out of the box. The all-in-one Xandros File Manager makes transition to Linux a breeze. Everything on my Xandros Desktop works just as expected, including the Mozilla Internet suite and OpenOffice.org. I can read and edit Word docs in my daily business, and the party on the other end is never aware that I'm not using Microsoft Word.

How would you answer this question from a Windows user who has just walked up to you: "I use Windows on my computer. Why should I spend $40 or $90 to switch to Xandros Desktop?"

Stability, security, which is a big issue nowadays, and a great experience! Any Windows user interested in exploring the Xandros alternative will be able to go to our web site in December to download and install a 30-day trial version of the Standard Edition of Xandros Desktop OS. They can then create a dual boot machine with both Xandros and Windows and decide which OS is best suited to their present and future needs.

Mr. Typaldos, thank you very much for your answers and all the best with your new job!

Comments (18 posted)

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