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Lindows routes OS over file-sharing networks

The company takes a peer-to-peer approach with its open-source operating system, and marks down the price to boot.

Linux company Lindows is continuing its experiment of offering software via peer-to-peer networks.

The company said Thursday that it is set to distribute its LindowsOS through P2P networks for $25,

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half the normal price, from its Web site. Lindows has been targeting consumers with its packaged version of the open-source Linux operating system, which has a reputation of being geared more for technically savvy individuals.

The file-sharing setup means lower networking costs for Lindows and faster downloads for users, the company said. By cutting back on bandwidth rates and on hosting infrastructure such as servers and firewalls, Lindows said it can serve 1,000 or more simultaneous customers rather than the 125 its earlier system could handle.

The company is using a P2P system based on BitTorrent technology, which it expects eventually to become the primary download mechanism for large files. The BitTorrent system breaks a typical 500MB LindowsOS file into about 1,000 pieces to be transported independently for reassembly at the customer's computer and is significantly faster than traditional FTP-based downloads, Lindows said.

Earlier this year, the company--which is in the midst of a long-running legal battle with Microsoft regarding trademark rights--made a similar promotional offer using a file-sharing network.

"Most content companies view P2P as evil, but there are phenomenal commercial applications," Michael Robertson, Lindows' CEO, said in a statement. "We started using P2P as a promotion tool, and now we're taking the next step and deploying our own P2P servers to help us sell our commercial software."