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Lindows.com Upgrades OS with 4.0

Continuing its efforts to win desktop share away from Microsoft , Lindows.com Wednesday launched a new version of its Linux-based operating system which attempts to compete with Windows on ease-of-use issues and new features.

LindowsOS 4.0 adds Plug & Play support, ad blocking, spam blocking and pornography blocking. The company said it also eases the install process with a sub-10 minute installation program that installs the operating system and configures all hardware -- including video cards, Ethernet, sound cars and devices -- without the need for intervention from the user.

Additionally, through the company's "Zero Maintenance" initiative, Lindows.com said users will be able to install or update more than 1,000 programs with a single mouse click.

"The argument from Microsoft against desktop Linux is that it may be affordable from the start, but the long term maintenance destroys those early savings," said Michael Robertson, CEO of Lindows.com. "For the first time, Lindows OS 4.0, with its Zero Maintenance goals, makes Linux far easier and lower cost to maintain that a comparable Microsoft Windows XP computer. In addition, we're leap-frogging Microsoft by unveiling a suite of operating system features to help users block spam, ads and pornography from their desktop."

LindowsOS 4.0 marks the first Lindows release with Plug & Play support, and the company said devices -- including flash memory devices, Smart Media, CDRs, hard disks and DVDs -- immediately appear on the desktop when plugged in via USB 1.0, USB 2.0 or firewire. The firm also noted that it has improved the platform's support for thousands of other peripheral devices, including printers, scanners and digital cameras from major manufacturers like Canon, Epson, HP, Kodak, Nikon, Olympus, Ricoh and Sony.

The company also introduced SpamSafe, a user-configurable spam blocking tool, with the 4.0 release. Lindows.com said the tool "learns" which messages are spam through auto-adaptive technology and dumps them in a spam folder. The release also includes AdSafe technology, built into the Web browser, giving users the ability to block pop-up ads from all sites, or to allow pop-ups from certain online banking and shopping sites at user discretion.

In addition, the new version of the operating system comes with a 14-day free trial of filtering software SurfSafe and a free 14-day trial of Linux virus protection program VirusSafe.

"LindowsOS 4.0 with SurfSafe is the first operating system to comply with the Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA), making it ideally suited for schools, libraries and other environments needing a safer computing experience," the company said.

The new version also boasts integrated multimedia tutorials, a graphic redesign, and improved Wi-Fi support, the company said.

Lindows.com said LindowsOS 4.0 is available immediately on preinstalled computers from the company's online retailer partners and as a $59.95 CD ($49.95 for U.S. digital download). The company also noted that users of LindowsOS 3.0 are eligible for a free upgrade to the new version.