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Lindows tackles spam, pop-up ads

The software maker releases a new version of the Linux operating system that includes features capable of blocking spam.

Software maker Lindows released a new version of the Linux operating system Wednesday, touting new features that block unwanted e-mail and Web advertising.

Version 4.0 of Lindows also promises dramatically improved support for PC hardware. The company said the average user is able to install the software, complete with supporting files for common PC hardware, in less than 10 minutes.

Lindows is one of the most prominent players in a growing movement to establish Linux as a viable option for mainstream consumers. The open-source operating system has won widespread support on servers--heavy-duty PCs used for demanding corporate tasks--but many see it as too difficult to install and maintain for most regular PC owners.

Lindows has addressed such concerns with a user interface that mimics familiar conventions in Microsoft's Windows and features intended to make the software more stable and less time consuming. Lindows CEO Michael Robertson touted version 4.0's new "Zero Maintenance" feature, which installs and updates most applications with one mouse click.

"The argument from Microsoft against desktop Linux is that it may be affordable from the start, but the long-term maintenance destroys those early savings," Robertson said in a statement. "Lindows 4.0, with its Zero Maintenance goals, makes Linux far easier and lower cost to maintain then a comparable Microsoft Windows XP computer."

Robertson also touted new additions to the operating system, including SpamSafe, a "smart" spam filter that screens out unwanted e-mail, and AdSafe, which blocks pop-up advertising pages on Web sites.

Lindows 4.0 is available from the company, at retailers, and pre-installed on budget PCs such as those sold by early Lindows supporter Wal-Mart.