Another sub-$200 Linux PC?

With $100 rebate, Sears--a major national retailer that doesn't specialize in electronics--offers a Linux desktop PC from Linspire.

Shuttle turned a lot of heads with the announcement of its $199 Linux PC at the Consumer Electronics Show last week. Now Linspire is looking to tempt retail customers with its own version of the sub-$200 PC.

Starting Thursday, Linspire, maker of Linspire and Freespire desktop Linux configurations, and PC maker Mirus Innovations will sell its Mirus Linux PC on for $199. But there is a catch: a $100 mail-in rebate is required. Otherwise the full price as of this writing is $284.99. (Sears is offering a $15 discount through Saturday.)

In comparing Linspire's version of the low-cost PC with Shuttle's, they're quite similar. Both come with an Intel Celeron processor, 1GB of memory, and an 80GB hard drive. But the Mirus PC also has some helpful bonuses Shuttle doesn't offer: an optical drive, speakers, keyboard, mouse, and a 15-in-1 memory card reader. And, of course, it comes with the Freespire 2.0 operating system, an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution.

Formerly called Lindows, Linspire is based on the Debian distribution of Linux and accompanying software. It's never made much headway in the marketplace compared with rivals such as Red Hat, Novell's Suse, and more recently, Ubuntu.

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