Xandros debuts free Linux version

Xandros, a start-up focused on desktop Linux, has begun offering a stripped-down but free version of its product. The New York City-based company released the Open Circulation Edition Wednesday, a product that resembles the company's regular products but is free, is restricted to personal use and is missing some features.

The version doesn't have e-mail support, an instruction manual, the highest possible CD writing speeds or the CodeWeavers software for running Windows programs on a Linux machine, Xandros said. It also comes with a version of Opera's Web browser that's advertising supported. Xandros' moves are a new chapter in the private sector's continuing efforts to capitalize on the popularity of Linux and open-source software. Those products by definition can be obtained for free--though not necessarily in a conveniently packaged form. Many Linux sellers have argued that the act of selecting, certifying and supporting the host of software that comes with Linux is a service worth paying for.

But there can be an incentive for companies to package and give away open-source software: It can lead to popularity, developer support and opportunities to lure users to paid products. That strategy can only go so far, though. The most successful Linux seller, Red Hat, decided in 2002 that plan didn't provide sufficient revenue.

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News source: news.com

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