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Lindows unveils DVD application

In its mission to bring Linux to the masses, the company introduces an application that can play commercial DVDs on computers running the Lindows operating system., which makes a consumer-oriented version of the Linux operating system, introduced on Tuesday an application that allows computers running the Lindows OS to play commercial DVDs.

The San Diego-based company said LindowsOS 4.0 can automatically detect and launch the DVD player application. In addition to DVDs, the application can play CDs, video CDs and multimedia files including MP3, WMV and AVI, the company said.

Lindows OS is based on Linux, an open-source variation of the Unix operating system. Although Linux has won widespread support on servers, many consider it to be too complex for consumer desktop PCs. Lindows, one of the best-known companies working to bring Linux to consumers, is trying to change that.

Earlier this month, the company introduced a version of its OS that runs directly from a CD-ROM, giving consumers the opportunity to try out its software without having to uninstall the operating system they are using. And last year, Lindows began bundling Netscape Communications' Web browsing and communication technology into its software.

Lindows is not the first to offer a DVD application for Linux. Other software includes Xine and Ogle.

According to the specifications on the Lindows site, the company's DVD application is a derivative of Xine, a player that has been available for many years for free. Both players appear to have the same functionality, according to information from the companies' respective sites, but Lindows spokeswoman Cheryl Schwarzman said her company's application is easier to use.

"Consumers who would be interested in free Xine would have to also be interested in compiling code and other things that make Linux applications so inaccessible to so many computer users," Schwarzman wrote in an e-mail. "Lindows DVD installs in one click."

The DVD application can be downloaded at Lindows' Web site. The application costs $4.95 for members of Lindows' Click-N-Run Warehouse, and $39.95 for nonmembers.