Xandros released version 3 of its Linux distribution for consumers on Wednesday, which includes wireless support and improved security features.
The US-based Linux distributer sells versions of Linux that are tailored for the average desktop user. Xandros chief executive Andreas Typaldos said Xandros Desktop 3 makes it easier for users to set-up a firewall and VPN access.
"Our firewall wizard makes it a cinch to secure your laptop or PC from Internet intruders, and all it normally takes to set up a secure connection to a VPN account is a host name, user name, and password," said Typaldos in a statement.
Other features include wireless support, Crossover Office 4.1 to allow users to run Microsoft Office and other Windows programs, and an encrypted folder that allows laptop users to keep their data protected even if they lose their laptop.
Although the majority of malware sloshing around the Internet takes advantage of vulnerabilities in Microsoft software, security is important for users of all operating systems. A firewall is generally considered to be essential for any computer with a broadband connection to the Internet, to guard against hacking attacks.
The standard version of Xandros Desktop 3 is available from its Web site for $49.95. Version 3 of its distribution for business users will be released in the first quarter of 2005.
Its latest release comes comes only a week after it announced that US retail giant Wal-Mart is selling desktop computers pre-installed with Xandros via its Web site, Walmart.com. Wal-Mart already sells PCs pre-installed with Linspire and Sun's Java Desktop OS.