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Linux start-up furthers Windows plan

Start-up SWsoft creates a working prototype of a Windows version of its software that makes a single operating system appear to be several.

Start-up SWsoft has created a working prototype of a Windows version of its software that makes a single operating system appear to be several.

SWsoft, based in South San Francisco, Calif., currently sells a version of its Virtuozzo software for Linux. Executives first revealed their plan to expand to windows in October.

Now that plan is starting to bear fruit, with the company announcing it can run, in effect, 100 versions of Windows on a server with a single Intel processor and 4GB of memory, the company said. In a separate test, a single Virtuozzo environment could use 8GB of memory and four processors, the company said.

Virtuozzo creates several "virtual environments," partitions that have their own computing resources but that actually share a single underlying copy of the operating system. Each environment can be separately started, rebooted, or shut down.

The biggest competition is from relatively well established VMware. But Microsoft last week bought another competitor, Connectix.

Unlike competing products from VMware and Connectix, which can run several different operating systems, SWsoft's can run only Linux or only Windows.

SWsoft's chief market thus far has been companies that host large numbers of Web sites. The Virtuozzo software makes it cheaper for hosting companies to give separate customers control over their own Web servers.