RealTime IT News

Hosted Windows Apps Coming Online with Linux

Fresh from the release of its CrossOver Office, Codeweavers, with a little help from application access software provider Tarantella , is looking to up the ante by aiming that product at Citrix and Microsoft Terminal Server.

CrossOver Officer allows users to run Microsoft Office natively on Linux desktops. Based on the WINE Project (of which Codeweavers is a major backer), CrossOver Office is intended to allow users to run Lotus Notes, Office 2000, Office XP, Quicken and Visio 2000 inside Linux. CrossOver Office Server Edition allows organizations to host their Windows applications on Linux servers.

That's just fine for clients sitting on Local Area Networks (LANs), Guy Churchward, director of marketing and business development for Tarantella, told internetnews.com. That's because LANs generally have enough bandwidth to handle Windows' feature rich protocols and push them out to clients. But Churchward said delivering those apps over the Internet to remote or mobile users who deal with low or varying bandwidth is a different story entirely.

That's where Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Tarantella comes in. Tarantella adds its Tarantella Enterprise 3 software to the mix, providing a non-intrusive, three tier modular architecture to provide universal access to applications. It requires no modification of the clients, networks, applications or servers; users simply access their applications through a unified web-based interface.

"It allows you to deliver an application in the same way as you deliver a Web page," Churchward said. "Any application to any client, anywhere."

The Tarantella software supports industry standard application platform protocols RDP, X11, VT, 3270 and 5250, translates on the fly and then delivers the applications without modification, using its patented Adaptive Internet Protocol (AIP) to deliver consistent LAN performance over a varying WAN connection.

Tarantella's software will allow CrossOver Office Server Edition to deliver Microsoft Office apps to just about any client. At it's base, Tarantella's freely available client software only requires Java to run, but even devices that don't have a browser or are incapable of running Java applets can be supported, according to Churchward, with a custom binary for native client implementation. In some cases, Tarantella has even added features, like its native client implementation for Windows CE .NET devices, which adds screen re-sizing capabilities to give users a better browsing experience.

Tarantella also adds security features to the mix. Tarantella Enterprise 3 supports secure access using SSL v3, X.509 Server Certificates to prove server identity and prevent main-in-the-middle attacks, secure firewall traversal support using SSL tunneling, status and logging capabilities interface with corporate reporting and analysis tools, support for web proxy servers, including authenticating proxies, built-in authentication against RSA SecurID, LDAP, Microsoft Windows Domains and UNIX, support for basic HTTP authentication or strong authentication such as Client Certificates, SafeWord PremierAccess and Netegrity SiteMinder, support for external SSL accelerators, secure connections to application servers using SSH, and support for X authorization (Xauth).

"Citrix and Microsoft Terminal Server licenses typically cost hundreds of dollars per user," Churchward said. "The CrossOver Officer Server Edition, optimized for the Internet, allows cost savings and convenience while eliminating the challenge of CAL [client access license] licensing procedures and providing freedom from managing Microsoft Terminal Server."

Codeweavers said it will deliver the Internet-optimized version of CrossOver Office Server Edition, including a free single user license, to Tarantella Enterprise 3 customers. Tarantella is also making free single user licenses available.

CrossOver Office Server Edition 1.3.1 goes for $1,195 for the software. A 25 concurrent user license costs $1,185, with $4,000 for a 100 concurrent user license.