Linux For Everyone: From Servers To Desktops

by Hinesh Jethwani    May 11, 2004

With a stream of Linux based desktop alternatives flooding the market, the battle against software giant Microsoft has reached higher ground. The latest entrant, a company called Everyone’s Linux (ELX), is all set to launch its product range in India, with a radically different mantra - “If you cant beat them with innovation, ape them.”

Interestingly, the Hyderabad based company has recently appointed ex-SCO employee Manojit Majumdar to spearhead its sales effort in the country.

In an exclusive with CXOtoday, Majumdar, head - sales & marketing, ELX India, confessed, “We believe that the success of any desktop will depend on how closely it can simulate the present working environment of MS Windows. You cannot expect the user to change his way of working on the computer. We have many products in the pipeline that shall be launched in a phased manner. This year is going to be a Linux year and we are surely going to take our fair piece of action.”

To flag its entry into the Linux segment, ELX plans to launch its low fee desktop operating system, known as Biz Desk 4.0, which will cater to both business and home users, and also its high end server called PowerISP, which is positioned as the primary Internet edge server for organizations, business houses, service providers and educational institutes.

Majumdar explained, “BizDesktop 4 is designed to suit the Mind-map of a typical Windows user. Users need not to change their habits to work on the Biz Desk. We believe that this is one of our strongest points, which will help us in not only getting new customers, but in also converting existing Windows customers to ELX Biz Desk.”

The OS has a ’Network Neighborhood’ functionality that enables ELX machines to view and participate in Windows based networks. Taking ’Windows emulation’ a step further, the users OS is treated as a Windows Client by other members on the domain, to eliminate the need for any new settings at the Windows end or ELX end.

“We have written custom code to enable multiple features to work exactly in the same way as they would using Microsoft Windows. You can right click on a file and make it a shared file. You can right click on a file and select to Zip and mail the file. There are many small touches like this, which will enable Windows users to seamlessly migrate to ELX,” added Majumdar.

ELX PowerISP is an Internet edge server, which comprises of an advanced bandwidth management system, firewall, content sniffer, rule & role based browsing, bandwidth aggregation, failover protection, application data prioritization and a telecom grade Mail server capable of doing over a million mail transactions a day.

“Besides the Biz Desk, we also offer specialized products like ELX RTOS (Real time operating system) suite, and a Driver Development tool kit which is next in the offing. There are few locations where our PowerISP Server with mail messaging Fire Wall and Security systems is being used and at the same time we are also getting the ELX RTOS product evaluated in one of the strategic Government organizations in India. We intend to maintain a low profile about these installations before we start calling these products as commercially launched products in the Indian and South East Asian market, ” disclosed Majumdar.

To take multi-app functionality to the next level, the Biz Desk is bundled with a host of end user features like DVD players, office suites, CD ROM burners, games, video teleconferencing, firewall and graphic tools, a project management software, and a virus scanner. Users can even run small Microsoft applications in Biz Desk 4.0, including the immensely popular MS Office suite.

Amazingly, the June 2002 Linux Desktop survey rated the ELX Desktop as the second most popular desktop solution in the global market, much ahead of leading competing brands.

“We shall offer products with more benefits to the customers at a lower price than the present Linux, Windows or Unix solution. Our products will be available through partners, and we have already started working in the direction of setting up partner network across the country,” said Majumdar.

Sounding extremely upbeat and ready for the immense challenge ahead, Majumdar concluded, “No Indian software product company has ever succeeded in fighting the might of international brands. We hope to change that, and plan to write a new chapter in the history of software business in India. So far ELX has demonstrated to the western world the superiority of our technology writing skills, with a particular technical journal review rating us higher than Red Hat.”

The company’s first launch is slated for the end of this month in Hyderabad, which will be closely followed by launches in other Indian cities as well. In the next three months time, the company plans to expand its presence to Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.

The company does have a small local user base, even though it hasn’t commercially launched its product range in India yet. ELX is in the process of setting up its marketing and support infrastructure across the country. The Indian launch will be followed by similar marketing activities in Singapore and Malaysia.

The Biz Desktop is priced at Rs 500; Power Desktop at Rs 2,200; Power ISP at Rs 35,000; Mail Server at Rs 20,000, and the LTSP is pegged at Rs 20,000 (Prices exclude service & support).

The products can also be purchased through the Internet, and ELX is currently offering free shipping throughout India.

Tags: Linux