RealTime IT News

Lindows Showcases Download Feature

Lindows, Inc., officials released Tuesday the "broadband operating system (OS)" feature of its Linux/Windows hybrid, letting customers buy and customize their applications entirely on the Internet, a vision of many software makers but one that's been largely unrealized.

This is the latest iteration of Lindows.com's "sneak preview" features, a move designed to build up interest (and get the Lindows brand name out) before LindowsOS goes live; a final version isn't expected until later this year. It's currently in its beta build.

LindowsOS SPX is a Linux-based OS compatible with both Microsoft Corp. Windows-based applications like Word, Excel and Outlook and Linux applications. For the past year, Microsoft has been trying to stick a monkey wrench in Lindows plans via a trademark lawsuit. The Redmond, WA, software giant lost its appeal last month with a Seattle judge.

Microsoft has been fighting Lindows on the grounds it confuses customers with an OS sounding very similar to its own Windows OS, which is installed in more than 90 percent of the world's PCs today.

But what makes Microsoft more worried is two-fold: Lindows costs $99 and gives customers access to a library of applications to download.

Windows XP, on the other hand, costs between $189 and $300 (depending on the version), and doesn't include any of its popular applications -- Word, Excel and Outlook. That comes in a separate disk, Windows Office XP, for approximately $479 ($239 if you're upgrading). Also, download support for Windows products is largely non-existent outside security patches and Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer upgrades

Michael Robertson, Lindows.com chief executive officer, said his OS is the perfect offering for a growing number of computer users today looking for a bargain

"There's a whole new class of computer users being cultivated by the combination of broadband and low-cost PCs," he said. "Unlike legacy operating systems, LindowsOS SPX includes a membership component which means for one affordable price the user receives a complete computing solution, including the OS, and an entire library of quality software which they can digitally access and tailor to their computing needs.

Microsoft, though it retains a dominant hold on the consumer market, is finding its corporate base eroding before its eyes. A series of much-publicized security vulnerabilities, as well as IBM's migration to a Linux server solution, has moved the software giant to treat the open-source OS as its biggest rival.