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Wal-Mart Sells $199 Linux Computer

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Source: Associated Press

Linux, the free operating system that's a perpetual underdog in the desktop market, is showing up in computers in Wal-Mart stores this week for the first time.

About 600 Wal-Mart stores will carry the $199 Linux-powered "Green gPC" made by Everex of Taiwan, Wal-Mart said. It was available online on Wednesday.

A comparable Everex PC that comes with Windows Vista Home Basic and more memory costs $99 more, or $298, partly because the manufacturer has to pay Microsoft Corp. for a software license. Both computers come with keyboard, mouse, and speakers, but no monitor.

Linux is maintained and developed by individuals and companies around the world volunteering on an "open source" basis, meaning that everyone has access to the software's blueprints.

Linux is in widespread use in server computers, particularly servers that host Web sites. But it hasn't yet made a dent in the desktop market. Surveys usually put its share of that market around 1 percent, far behind Windows and Apple Inc.'s OS X.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien said it is stocking the gPC in about one in eight stores to test the demand for an open-source product.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. sold Linux computers online

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