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Wal-Mart Ships PCs with Lindows

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

By Applelinks Contributing Editor Charles W. Moore

Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer must be climbing the walls. In February, Wal-Mart, one of the few PC vendors big and powerful enough to defy Microsoft's market bully hegemony, began making its house brand Microtel PCs available without a pre-loaded operating system.

These computers ship completly assembled but without the operating system or any other software loaded on the hard drive.

Wal-Mart explained that this was the perfect solution for users who want to load alternative operating systems or have already purchased a licensed copy of Windows. And of course, it was also a great opportunity for Linux fans to purchase a computer without paying a flow through fee for a Windows license they don't need or want.

On PCs that sell for $600 or less, Windows is one of the most expensive components. Linux, can be had for free, or preferable for most people, at a fraction of the cost of Windows for one of the proprietary Linux distros.

Now, taking things a step further, Wal-Mart is offering eight different Microtel PCs selling for $299 to $599 with Michael Robertson's upstart LindowsOS pre-installed. http://www.lindows.com/LindowsOS is a new PC operating system that can run both Linux and Windows software.

"These computers do not ship with Microsoft Windows," says WalMart, "They ship with an exciting new UNIX based Operating System (OS) named Lindows. This exciting new OS delivers the stability of UNIX with the ease of Windows and the ability to run most Microsoft programs. These computer systems are a perfect low cost alternative to computers preloaded with Microsoft Windows." "The ability to run most Microsoft programs" is a bit of a stretch, but Lindows OS does offer a great deal of versatility, including such features as a ``Friendly-Install'' alongside an existing Microsoft Windows operating system and ``Click-N-Run,'' a feature that allows users to download and install software programs with one click.

LindowsOS also allows users the convenience of running LindowsOS on one or more systems, for personal use, without the hassle of serial code registrations. Users will receive the full version upon purchase, without having to call in their registration numbers.

Once installed, LindowsOS offers a full-powered graphical desktop experience familiar to any computer user, but with advanced underlying architecture to ensure greater reliability.  

PCs running LindowsOS have the unique ability to run Linux and Windows software. No additional software is required for owners of LindowsOS to run Windows or Linux programs. Because LindowsOS is built around a Linux core, it runs Linux software natively, giving consumers the best of both worlds.

Lindows.com says it respects all applicable licensing and is proud to be a strong supporter of Microsoft's bκte noir, the Open Source community, by helping to advance several Open Source initiatives.  Some of the LindowsOS code is be Open Source.

LindowsOS is designed to operate seamlessly in a diverse computing environment. By interoperating with existing printers, file servers, mail servers and other Internet resources, LindowsOS machines will fill the need for cost effective and stable computers, even in established organizations.

Microtel models available with Lindows include:

Microtel SYSMAR708 1.8 GHz P4 PC CD-RW
• 1.8GHz Intel Pentium 4
• 256MB 266MHz DDR Memory
• 40GB Ultra DMA Hard Drive

Microtel SYSMAR707 1.7 GHz P4 PC
• 1.7GHz Intel Pentium 4 Processor
• 128MB 266MHz DDR
• 20GB Ultra DMA Hard Drive

Microtel SYSMAR706 PC With 1.53 GHz Athlon
• AMD 1.53GHz Athlon XP 1800+
• 256MB 266MHz DDR Memory
• 40GB Ultra DMA Hard Drive

Microtel SYSMAR705 PC With 1.3 GHz Celeron PC and CD-RW
• Intel Celeron 1.3 GHz Processor
• 256 MB Memory
• 40 GB Hard Drive

Microtel SYSMAR704 PC With 1.3 GHz Duron and CD-RW
• AMD Duron 1.3 GHz Processor
• 256 MB Memory
• 40 GB Hard Drive

Microtel SYSMAR703 PC With 1.3 GHz Celeron
• Intel Celeron 1.3 GHz Processor
• 128 MB Memory
• 40 GB Hard Drive

Microtel SYSMAR702 PC With 1.3 GHz Duron
• AMD Duron 1.3 GHz Processor
• 128 MB Memory
• 40 GB Hard Drive

Microtel SYSMAR701 PC With 850 MHz Duron
• AMD Duron 850 MHz Processor
• 128 MB Memory
• 10 GB Hard Drive

That’s right, folks. A 1.8GHz Pentium 4 machine with a 40 GB HD, 256 MB of RAM and a copy of LindowsOS for $599.00.

You can check them out here.

In May, a Seattle Judge, who had been asked by Microsoft to shut down Lindows.com and block the 35 person company from advertising their competing program, issued a denial to Redmond.

Judge Coughenour wrote in a seven-page ruling (http://www.lindows.com/opposition) that after ``examining the evidence with a sharper focus'' news articles, advertisements, competitors and dictionary definitions demonstrated that the ``consuming public used the terms 'windows,' 'window' and 'windowing' to refer to a type of graphical user interface.'' The Western Washington District Judge also wrote that through ``its own use of the evidence'' Microsoft essentially admits that ``windows'' is a generic term. The Court bolstered that finding by citing Microsoft's own computer dictionary definition, as well as quotes from then Vice President of Marketing, Steve Ballmer, in discussing the introduction of Windows 1.0.

Microsoft had contended that the Court had a ``fundamental misapprehension'' and had ``reached an incorrect result'' in an earlier ruling in which the Court stated that Microsoft had raised ``serious questions'' about the validity of its windows trademark and refused to halt Lindows.com from using both Lindows.com and LindowsOS for its operating system name.

In the latest ruling, the Court found that it ``did not err in either its legal or factual analysis when it denied Microsoft's motion for a preliminary injunction'' against Lindows.com (http://www.lindows.com).

``Microsoft's attempt to intimidate Lindows.com through legal attacks is part of their ongoing war waged against any potential competitor,'' said Lindows.com, Inc., Chief Executive Officer Michael Robertson. ``This time their strategy has not only failed, but has completely backfired with their windows trademark now being put at risk and on trial. Our goal is to bring choice back to computers in spite of Microsoft's bullying tactics. If we have to go to trial where the word ''windows`` will be declared generic, we're prepared to do so.''

Michael Robertson founded MP3.com, Inc., the Internet’s premier Music Service Provider (MSP) in March 1998. MP3.com revolutionized both the way new artists distribute their music as well as the way music lovers acquire and enjoy music. Robertson and the rest of the MP3.com team built a unique and robust technology infrastructure that facilitated the storage, management, promotion and delivery of digital music. Robertson stepped down as CEO of MP3.com to start Lindows.com, but continues to serve in an advisory capacity to Vivendi Universal. MP3.com, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vivendi Universal, S. A.  

For more information, visit:

Charles W. Moore

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