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Dell's Digital Jukebox plays open-source

To use the digital music player with Linux, customers need Lsongs, a product from San Diego-based Lindows.

Dell's portable MP3 music player is now compatible with computers running Linux, the company said Wednesday.

The company says its Dell Digital Jukebox music player, or Dell DJ, is now Linux-compatible for customers who install Lsongs software, a product from San Diego-based Lindows. Dell launched the digital music player in October 2003.

The Lsongs application is designed to let users import and convert songs, organize music collections, play MP3s and audio CDs, and create music CDs.

The field for digital music players is increasingly crowded and, according to Lindows, sellers of the devices are starting to tap into the growing open-source desktop market.

"We talked with Apple Computer about supporting the iPod, but they want to keep that a closed system," Michael Robertson, Lindows CEO, said in a statement. "Linux users should seriously consider the Dell DJ if they're looking for an affordable MP3 player."

Apple declined to comment.

But Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research, said that while the news is good for Lindows users, it's not that important to anyone else.

"It's going to have near zero impact on the marketplace because Lindows has near zero impact on the marketplace," he said.

Lindows is known in some markets as "Linspire" because of recent legal rulings in its battle with Microsoft over its trademark.