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Lindows takes wraps off new version

Version 2.0 offers networking features for connecting with Windows-based PCs, support for more printers and a streamlined interface similar to the Windows desktop.

Lindows, the software start-up offering a consumer-friendly version of the Linux operating system, announced a new version of its software Wednesday.

of Lindows includes enhanced networking features for connecting with Windows-based PCs, support for more than 800 printer models and a streamlined interface similar to the Windows desktop. The new version also has enhanced support for laptop PCs, including power management features and tools for configuring wireless networking cards.

Lindows was started two years ago by Michael Robertson, former head of digital music pioneer MP3.com. The company, which quickly ran into with Microsoft, initially promised to offer a version of Linux that would run some of the most popular Windows applications.

Lindows has since on that pledge and now says the operating system will only work with Windows "bridge programs," specifically key elements of Microsoft Office.

Instead, Lindows is being touted as a low-cost alternative to Windows, with support for dozens of Linux applications that mirror Windows alternatives.

Early supporters include retailer Wal-Mart, which early this year began a line of budget PCs running Lindows, priced as low as $199.

Linux, a variation of the Unix operating system based on open-source programming principles that promote free sharing of software code, has made significant inroads in certain segments of the server market. But the software has yet to make much of a dent on desktop PCs, despite by several companies to create versions simple enough for average consumers to negotiate.