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Desktop Linux backer gets new CEO

Xandros, which bought the software from Corel's ill-fated foray into the desktop Linux market, names a new CEO and plans to release a new version of its product in November.

Xandros, inheritor of the software from Corel's ill-fated foray into the desktop Linux market, has named a new chief executive and plans to release a new version of its product in late November.

The Ottawa, Canada-based company's new CEO is Andreas "Andy" Typaldos, who through Linux Global Partners is an early investor in the company and in related Linux ventures and CodeWeavers, the company said Tuesday. He also is chairman of Enikia, a semiconductor company for distributing data over power lines.

Xandros sells a version of Linux geared for the average desktop user. The company plans to release version 2.0 of its software on Nov. 24, said Dave Finklestein, vice president of sales and marketing for the 35-person company.

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Xandros founder and former CEO Frederick Berenstein remains a full-time employee, but Xandros wanted a leader with more business experience, Finklestein said.

"This was a natural progression. It was time for a more professional CEO," Finklestein said.

Linux for the desktop has been a difficult market to crack, in large part because of Microsoft's overwhelming dominance and the technical requirements of Linux.

Desktop Linux has been a secondary priority for established Linux companies such as and SuSE Linux, though these companies are starting to push the idea harder for corporate buyers that have employees who don't need full-featured computers. Sun Microsystems, which has a partnership with SuSE for desktop Linux, is trying to penetrate that market as well.

Corel sold its Linux software to Xandros in August 2001, after ambitious plans to take on Microsoft failed. Xandros released version 1.0 of its product in 2002.

Corel's version of Linux, and now Xandros', is based on the Debian project's collection of Linux and higher-level software. Debian, a largely noncommercial project, shares many elements with the products from companies such as Red Hat, but some components are different, such as the "deb" tool for updating software. Red Hat, SuSE and most commercial Linux products use the Red Hat Package Manager (RPM) for software installation and updates.

Xandros' product includes CodeWeavers' Crossover Office software, which lets a Linux computer run some Windows programs on Intel computers.