When Asus first announced the Eee PC, the company explained that one of the ways it would keep the price down on its tiny laptops would be by shipping machines that run Linux instead of Windows. But Asus rose some eyebrows with its choice of Linux distributions. While Ubuntu, Fedora, and several other distros have gotten a lot of attention over the last few years for being consumer-friendly versions of Linux, Asus went with Xandros, a less popular distro.
There are a few advantages to Xandros. First, the distro is extremely conservtive, which means beta software doesn’t make it into the main repositories very often and if you install something that is in the repositories, there’s a good chance that it’s going to work. But on the down side, you’ll often have a hard time finding the newest versions of popular applications like OpenOffice.org or Firefox. There are other, more technical reasons some folks have a love/hate relationship with Xandros, but honestly I never paid much attention to the relationship between Xandros and Microsoft and all that other stuff.
Even though Asus is now giving Eee PC customers a choice between Windows and Linux, the initial decision to use Xandros has given the distribution a lot of attention. And it looks like the Xandros team wants to leverage that attention to market its software towards other netbook/ultraportable device makers.
It doesn’t sound like Xandros has signed any new partners just yet. But I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more from this company in the future.