February 4, 2003, 12:00 AM

Open Source goes mainstream at Walmart.com

On Walmart.com, shoppers get Microsoft Windows alternative LindowsOS bundled into new computers or as a stand-alone, with 1,700 downloadable applications.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Open Source tools are going more mainstream – mass merchant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is now offering its first stand-alone operating system not made by Microsoft, the Linux-based LindowsOS, on Walmart.com, the product’s maker, Lindows.com, announced this week.

A special edition of the operating system, the LindowsOS membership edition, includes a year of online access to the Lindows.com warehouse, a collection of more than 1,700 software products. The membership edition allows users to download the applications online at no additional cost.

Lindows.com says the applications, developed on the Open Source Linux platform, can save consumers “thousands of dollars” over the cost of similar, proprietary Microsoft Windows products. Open Source components typically are priced lower because they are developed without the licensing fees attached to proprietary systems and software.

Consumers can install the LindowsOS, available on disc, in a new computer as the only operating system, or as an operating system alternative by installing it on its own hard drive or partition. Lindows OS supports several popular Microsoft file types, the company adds.

Walmart.com also will sell a new line of computers from Microtel Computer Systems in which the LindowsOS is pre-installed. The Lindows MP3 edition of the computers is pre-loaded with music files which consumers can use to create CDs or load onto portable MP3 players.

Demand for lower-cost Open Source-based computer systems and components continues to grow, according to Rich Hindman, vice president of Microtel. “So many customers have been asking for LindowsOS that Walmart.com is now selling it by itself, in addition to being pre-installed on Microtel computers,” he says.

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