Canadian Linux firm buys e-mail provider

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Linux desktop and server vendor Xandros Wednesday acquired Scalix, which develops an open-source e-mail, calendar and groupware platform.

Ottawa-based Xandros, which develops a Linux desktop, server and set of management tools called BridgeWays, said the acquisition would help it build toward its goal of developing a complete Linux stack, including desktop, small and midsize business and advanced enterprise servers, cross-platform management tools, and IT infrastructure applications.

“Instead of being a point-solution player we can to be an end-to-end solutions provider with desktop, management, server, and applications,” said Andy Typaldos, CEO of Xandros and now president of Scalix. “If you package all the pieces together [users] don’t have to have a fragmented set.”

In March, Xandros announced that its Xandros Server 2 would come bundled with Scalix 11, which includes improved Web client access, support for mobile users, support for Microsoft Outlook and interoperability with Microsoft Exchange. The bundle was targeted at the SMB market.

Typaldos said close engineering and executive level collaboration with Scalix on that deal led to exploring the acquisition.

As part of the acquisition, Xandros said its BridgeWays management tools for administration, deployment/management, systems monitoring, and storage management would be adapted to manage Scalix on the platforms it supports. Those management capabilities are expected to be available later this year.

The company’s overall goal is to offer single-vendor, cross-platform support that spans Linux and Windows platforms.

Xandros made news earlier this year when it became the second Linux vendor to sign a cross-patent licensing deal with Microsoft. Part of that deal included ensuring interoperability between management tools from both vendors and Windows-based servers, and Typaldos said that part of the agreement would help fill out cross-platform support.

Scalix is an open source mail server, based on OpenMail, which runs on Linux servers, and uses e-mail standards such as POP, IMAP, SMTP, MIME and works with any standard Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directory.

Xandros says Scalix, whose software runs on the Xandros, Red Hat and Novell SuSE platforms, will continue to operate independently as a wholly owned subsidiary.

Xandros said it will continue to provide “full and equal” support for all the Scalix platforms. The company also said its server would continue to support other messaging platforms, most notably Zimbra and Open Exchange.

The company also said that the free Scalix Community Edition would remain available on all current platforms and that Xandros would continue to offer the source code to the Scalix platform via the upcoming ScalixForge Web site.

Terms of the deal were not announced.

Xandros said it will absorb all of the engineering, support, and most of the sales support staff of Scalix, pushing its employee total to more than 100. Scalix CEO Glenn Winokur and other Scalix managers won’t join Xandros, but Winokur will work on the Xandros Advisory Board.

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