RealTime IT News

Linux + Windows = Lindows.com?

So, what do you do after you've created the leading digital music service provider and sold it off to the largest record company in the world? If you're Michael Robertson, founder and former chief executive officer of what has become a Vivendi Universal subsidiary, MP3.com., you apparently focus your energy on a startup the specializes in nouveau operating systems.

Since stepping down in August to cede the skipper reigns to Robin Richards at MP3.com, Robertson has poured his energy into Lindows.com, which this week unveiled an operating system that runs primarily Linux software while supporting several Windows applications as well.

The news this week was that the LinuxOS preview edition was launched, and for $100 a pop, users can buy it for their PCs. The rap is that it's easy to install, and this makes sense; as it was with MP3.com when Robertson created it in 1998, Lindows.com is being billed as a consumer-oriented firm.

Crafted with a Linux kernel, the OS runs Linux programs run natively, while the firm said Windows software may be installed via CDs or downloads. Once installed, users click on a desktop icon or selection from a menu to launch the program per usual. Lindows.com assures that menus, dialog boxes and features operate as expected and at a comparable speed.

Robertson said the idea behind Lindows.com, which is based in San Diego, was simply to give consumers a choice about what software to use on their PCs.

"For too long there's been little competition in the operating system arena and consumers have paid the price with buggy and expensive software," Robertson said. "LindowsOS, with its ability to run many popular Windows software programs and Linux programs, gives computer owners a migration path to a new operating system which promises to be full featured and consumer friendly."

Robertson further said his firm's strategy was to put the preview release out in the hopes of getting feedback from users about things they liked or disliked. Ironically, (or perhaps not), the preview is debuting the same week as Microsoft Corp.'s new Windows XP OS.

The LindowsOS preview release will be available for purchase or download from the Lindows.com Web site. It will run on computer systems with a Pentium or AMD processor, 64MB RAM and 1GB of disk space. Inquiries concerning OEM or site licenses should be sent to licenses@lindows.com and Robertson himself has invited users to weigh in on LindowsOS at MichaelR@Lindows.com.