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Lindows offers easier-to-install Linux

The company, which tries to make the Linux operating system more consumer-friendly, has introduced a version of the OS that runs directly from a CD-ROM.

Lindows.com, which tries to make the Linux operating system more consumer-friendly, has introduced a version of the OS that runs directly from a CD-ROM.

The San Diego-based company said Thursday that its new product, LindowsCD, is targeted at people who want to try Linux without altering or removing other operating systems running on their computers. The Linux OS CD is free for those who purchase or already own LindowsOS 4.0, the full-featured version of the company's software. The CD can also be purchased separately for $29.95.

The compressed version of LindowsOS 4.0 offers many of the standard features for the OS, including Microsoft-compatible business applications, multimedia support for MP3, Real Audio and Flash. It also allows people to access Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel files without additional software, according to Lindows.

"Computer users don't always have a spare computer to try (Linux) out," Lindows chief executive Michael Robertson said in a statement. "When (LindowsCD users) are done, they simply remove the CD, restart their computer and will find it in its original state."

The company is also aiming LindowsCD at training laboratories where Linux is needed only part of the time.

However, industry analysts remain unconvinced that Linux is ready for consumption by the masses. Ted Schadler, principal analyst at Forrester Research, said a recent survey of 65,000 households indicated that significantly less than 1 percent had deployed Linux.

"Maybe something like (LindowsCD) would appeal to a hobbyist or Linux enthusiast," Schadler said. "But consumers won't embrace Linux until they see games and popular applications widely available on the OS."