January 28, 2003 2:02 PM PST

Lindows tackles DVD, music

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Linux software maker Lindows took another crack at Microsoft on Tuesday with a package intended to mimic the software giant's Windows XP Media Center.

Idot, a small PC maker specializing in direct online sales, will sell a Lindows Media Computer model that incorporates some home entertainment functions such as DVD and digital music playback. The company plans to begin selling the PCs early next month, with prices starting at $330 without a monitor.

The goal is to offer a low-cost PC that can take the place of several home entertainment appliances, Lindows CEO Michael Robertson said in a statement. "For under $350 retail, consumers can have a DVD player, CD player and personal computer in every room of the house or office," he said.

The media PCs appear to be a scaled-back response to Microsoft's heavily touted Windows XP Media Center, a version of the operating system that focuses on digital entertainment functions. The Lindows PCs lack several basic functions found in the Windows version, such as the ability to record TV programs and a remote control.

The Idot PCs are based on budget processors from Via Technologies and are similar to low-cost Lindows PCs sold by Wal-Mart, with the addition of a DVD drive and accompanying software. Lindows uses software maker Elegent's etDVD program to enable DVD playback.

Linux has had a contentious history with DVDs. The lawsuit-plagued DeCSS software, which government and movie-industry figures have attacked as a tool for illegally copying DVDs, originally was created as a way for Linux users to be able to play DVDs on their PCs.

Robertson, founder of MP3.com, started Lindows two years ago with the aim of offering a simplified, consumer-oriented version of the open-source Linux operating system. The company was promptly sued by Microsoft for allegedly misappropriating the Windows trademark.


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