Xi Graphics maXimum cde/OS v1.2.3, Executive Edition

The target market for maXimum cde/OS is enterprises wishing to run a commercially supported Linux distribution and the well-known CDE on their desktop workstations.
  • Manufacturer: Xi Graphics

  • E-mail: info@xig.com

  • URL: http://www.xig.com/

  • Price: $199.95 US; $349.95 US, Developer's Edition

  • Reviewer: Jeff Alami

On July 10, 1998, Xi Graphics announced their decision to develop and sell their own distribution of Linux. Xi Graphics' maXimum cde/OS incorporates Red Hat Linux 4.2, Xi Graphics' Accelerated-X Display Server, and the Common Desktop Environment (CDE) used in many commercial UNIX installations. The target market for maXimum cde/OS is enterprises wishing to run a commercially supported Linux distribution and the well-known CDE on their desktop workstations.

I did not receive a boxed set from Xi Graphics, but simply a CD in a jewel case. My assumption is that they would most likely provide the same box and documentation as their CDE product, maXimum cde. I installed the distribution on a Pentium 166 with 24MB RAM, a 4.3GB hard drive and an S3 Trio64 video card.


After creating the installation floppies, I booted from the floppies, which launched the installer program. The installer for maXimum cde/OS is practically the same as Red Hat Linux 4.2. I used fdisk for partitioning, which can be difficult for a beginning user, but a competent UNIX system administrator should not encounter any difficulties. No choices were offered as to which packages were to be installed; the program simply installed 133MB worth of software. After installing the necessary packages, the installer ran the Accelerated-X registration and configuration program. The program did not autodetect my video hardware; I had to select the video card from a supplied list.

All things considered, the installation is not difficult for the experienced user. Given that the target market is not the consumer, this may be warranted, much like the installation for Caldera OpenLinux. In contrast, the latest version of Red Hat Linux has an easier installation, with automatic disk partitioning setups, easy package choices and video autodetection.

The Common Desktop Environment


The Accelerated-X configuration program allows the user to choose which video card, input device and monitor are to be used. If you prefer editing text files, the configuration information is available in the file /etc/Xaccel.ini. Configuration for CDE is generally quite difficult compared to other desktop environments available for Linux. Reading through the CDE manual is recommended to understand how applications are added and how the environment can be configured.

Most of the other configuration features are inherited from Red Hat Linux 4.2. The control panel allows for user configuration, time and date, printer, network, modem and package configuration.


Xi Graphics maXimum cde/OS features the Accelerated-X Display Server and maXimum cde, Xi Graphics' CDE implementation. Other featured software included in the package are Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.0, ImageMagick, Netscape Communicator 4.05, the Xanim movie viewer and the xmcd CD player. These applications are integrated into the CDE desktop.

Documentation and Support

I didn't receive any documentation, so I cannot comment on its quality. However, good sources of documentation would include the maXimum cde manual (for learning how to use CDE) and the Red Hat Linux 4.2 User's Guide, available at Red Hat Software's web site.

Technical support for installation of maXimum cde/OS is included at no charge for 30 days after registration. Corporations can purchase additional support packages from Xi Graphics. Of course, you can always go to traditional channels of Linux support, including newsgroups and mailing lists. Since it is so similar to Red Hat 4.2, many Linux users will be able to provide support.


White Paper
Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI

Linux has become a key foundation for supporting today's rapidly growing IT environments. Linux is being used to deploy business applications and databases, trading on its reputation as a low-cost operating environment. For many IT organizations, Linux is a mainstay for deploying Web servers and has evolved from handling basic file, print, and utility workloads to running mission-critical applications and databases, physically, virtually, and in the cloud. As Linux grows in importance in terms of value to the business, managing Linux environments to high standards of service quality — availability, security, and performance — becomes an essential requirement for business success.

Learn More

Sponsored by Red Hat

White Paper
Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

Learn More

Sponsored by ActiveState