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Lindows license offer targets schools

The software maker launches a program to let educational institutions install its namesake operating system on an unlimited number of computers for $500 per year.

Software maker Lindows has launched a licensing program that will allow educational institutions to install its namesake operating system on an unlimited number of computers for $500 per year.

The San Diego company only recently began selling the software as an independent product. Until recently, the Linux-based operating system was available bundled with low-cost computers from Wal-Mart and other stores.

Unlike Linux itself, which requires a certain level of technical mastery, the Lindows software is intended to let the average PC user easily install and run a variety of open-source applications.

The education package comes with the operating system, Web browsing, e-mail and other basic applications, Lindows said.

IT spending in education is expected to grow to $9.5 billion annually by 2005, according to market researcher IDC. Many companies offer free or discounted software to education-related users, in an effort to build loyalty. The market, once dominated by Apple Computer, has gotten more competitive, with Dell Computer and Microsoft making strong showings.

Schools in California could get even more Microsoft products under the terms of an agreement the software company recently reached to settle a class-action lawsuit.