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Mandrake Expands its Enterprise Linux Zone

The enterprise Linux space got a bit more crowded Tuesday with a pair of new releases from Mandrakesoft. The France-based Linux distribution vendor announced a new version of its Corporate Server and a new Corporate Desktop.

MandrakeLinux Corporate Server 3.0 is actually the third official Mandrake enterprise server entry. Mandrake first introduced a corporate server product in 2000 and released version two in 2003.

Corporate Server 3.0 is based on the Linux 2.6 kernel and includes a number of enhancements that are intended to improve enterprise deployment and management.

Among the new features in Corporate Server 3.0 is a tool for software updates called "DrakPark," which is intended to facilitate easier enterprise-wide software maintenance. Thin Client deployment is also enabled with the included NoMachine NX Server that allows for the deployment of server centralized applications over a network connection. Mandrakesoft has also included CrossOver Office Server edition from CodeWeavers, which enables Microsoft Office application compatibility in a thin client environment.

Mandrakesoft included a list of configuration wizards that help set a server for a variety of operations, including a Samba Tool to help users migrate from Samba 2 to Samba 3.

MandrakeLinux's Corporate Desktop is Mandrakesoft's first official foray into the Linux enterprise desktop market and follows desktop releases made in 2004 by competitors Red Hat and Novell .

With the latest releases, Mandrakesoft is positioning itself next to the major enterprise Linux distributors Red Hat and SUSE.

"Although both Red Hat and Novell have very nice products, we believe that Mandrakesoft's Corporate Server and Corporate Desktop have a lot to offer to a company," Mandrakesoft spokesperson Simon Barthelmé told internetnews.com. "Those products (from Mandrakesoft)are competitively priced, especially compared with Red Hat's somewhat controversial pricing model."

Barthelmé said the release put a lot of time into selecting software that was both stable, functional and needed. "The bloat a lot of Linux systems suffer from is not only inelegant, it is also a potential source of instability and vulnerabilities, not to mention confusion."

Mandrakesoft's Corporate Desktop offering is based on KDE 3.2 and utilizes KDE Kopete as its IM client.

OpenOffice.org (office suite), Evolution (groupware) and Mozilla (Web browser) are also part of the desktop. The release also includes tools that help its desktop access and authenticate with enterprise servers. The Drakremote tool enables remote access VNC (Virtual Network Computing); plus, an included ICA client provides for Citrix Server connectivity and the NX Clients permits NX server connections.

Drakauth is Mandrakesoft's authentication tool and provides the options of a number of directory authentication systems, including LDAP and Active Directory. CodeWeavers CrossOver Office Profession Version allows Corporate Desktop users to run Microsoft Office applications without having to purchase a Windows operating system license.

Both Corporate Server 3.0 and Corporate Desktop are originally based on MandrakeLinux 10.0, which was released in May, 2004, and not the newer MandrakeLinux 10.1 which was released at the end of October.

"A long test period was part of the requirements," he added. "Future versions of Corporate Server will be based on the LSB implementation we're developing together with the LCC consortium. Corporate Desktop will be based on Mandrakelinux 'official' releases, with a new release every 18 months."

At the end of November, Mandrakesoft helped launch a group called the Linux Core Consortium (LCC) with the goal of implementing the specifications of a standardized Linux based on the Linux Standards Base (LSB) initiative.

Both Corporate Server and Corporate Desktop are expected to follow a 12-18 month release cycle and both products offer five years of product maintenance.