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Which Linux Desktop Packs The Most Punch?

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Posted: 22 Nov 2006

Which Linux Desktop Packs The Most Punch?
By Frank J. Ohlhorst, CRN
November 22, 2006


System builders considering a Linux desktop are faced with a dizzying array of choices. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of Linux distributions to choose from. Narrowing the field of contenders basically comes down to what works best for both the system builder and its customers.

Finding that fit often leads system builders to pursue a commercial distribution over an open-source one. Today's commercial desktop Linux distributions make a lot of sense for system builders, mostly because of three factors: recurring revenue, licensing and support.

With that in mind, the CRN Test Center set out to compare commercial versions of Linux that are aimed at the channel, specifically the custom-system channel. After considering several commercial distributions, the Test Center narrowed the field to three channel-friendly players: Linspire, San Diego; Novell, Waltham, Mass.; and Xandros, Ottawa, and their respective products: Linspire Five-0, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (SLED 10) and Xandros Business Desktop Linux.

While comparing these three very different distributions proves to be difficult, all have one thing in common—a desire to be the Linux of choice on desktop computers, and that requires a commitment to system builders.

Comparing these products head to head requires breaking down the category into the areas that matter most to system builders. For our criteria, we focused on ease of installation, features, support, compatibility, value, user experience and channel programs.

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