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Lindows offers software for free over P2P

The Linux software seller plans to distribute its LindowsLive operating system, which retails for $29.95, for free via peer-to-peer networks.

Linux software seller announced it plans to distribute its LindowsLive operating system for free via peer-to-peer networks.

LindowsLive allows people to run a Linux-based operating system from a CD, without installing it on their computer. The product previously retailed for $29.95 and was also sold over the Internet in a form that could be burned to a CD.

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"No, we haven't lost our minds," Lindows CEO and founder Michael Robertson stated in a newsletter. "What we're doing is figuring out how we can take advantage of P2P to advance our own business." Robertson said would spend more than $100,000 in bandwidth charges to deliver software used to create installation CDs for LindowsOS.

"By allowing people to download LindowsLive from P2P networks instead of from our servers, we hope to reduce those costs," Robertson said. "At the same time, we'll be exposing millions of users on file-sharing networks to LindowsOS, all at a minimal cost. Hopefully, those users will purchase other products and services from, such as CNR (click and run), Web filtering, virus software or one of the many Click-N-Buy games or programs."

The company's move could help the fledgling peer-to-peer industry, which is trying to legitimize itself as an effective and profitable way of distributing legal content to consumers.

Lindows has a running legal battle with Microsoft over the name of the company, which the software behemoth claimed infringes on a Microsoft trademark. The two companies also have sparred over, a Web site set up by Lindows that offered to process customer claims from the settlement of a California class-action suit against the software giant. Earlier this month, a judge ruled against the Web site, forcing it to be shuttered.

James Pearce of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.