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PC Magazine: The Lindows Conundrum

Oct 30, 2001, 10:54 (26 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John C. Dvorak)
"Look at the recent release of Mac OS X 10.1, at this week's Windows XP extravaganza, at the recent upgrade for the Pocket PC OS, and at the out-of-the-blue announcement of the vaporware called Lindows, and you'd begin to think things are getting pretty exciting in the computing business. At least that's what you'd think if you were an anthropologist from Mars. Things are heating up more out of desperation than anything else. But there is hope for at least some excitement, thanks to Lindows.

Lindows, (www.lindows.com ) has a name that in itself is genius. It's software that combines Linux and Windows without violating any trademark or copyright--although I bet Microsoft will sue at some point. The concept is to make a cheap OS that runs both Linux and Windows code, but that looks and runs like Windows. The Lindows concept was dreamed up by MP3.com entrepreneur Michael Robertson, and is encountering skepticism. Nobody is taking it too seriously except me. I think Lindows might fly if it can conquer one simple roadblock, and that's running Microsoft Office 97, 2000, and XP. If Lindows can run these versions of Office, then look out below. Bombs away.

One reason I have high hopes for the Lindows OS is that there is a 20-person team working on it, not a 20,000-person team. Starting with the base Linux OS gave the Lindows team a nice head start, after which all the team had to do was translate Windows app-to-OS hooks. The open-source WINE project helped out there. But the Lindows team still must make its OS run the key versions of Microsoft Office. Once the Lindows team starts talking about running StarOffice applications, then you'll know the developers have failed."

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