Lindows.com this week released a second "Sneak Preview" of its Linux-based operating system, adding features for streamlining the process for installing new software and for viewing and printing non-Linux file formats.
Lindows OS is ultimately aimed at providing an inexpensive non-Microsoft platform that can run popular Microsoft applications, such as the Office suite. However, the second preview version doesn't yet include this feature. Lindows.com is embroiled in a lawsuit over its name, which Microsoft says infringes on the Windows trademark.
Lindows.com founder Michael Robertson, who also founded MP3.com, believes that consumers should not be tied to a single company's product, as long as it does what they want and is easy to use. "Nobody needs an operating system, they need a solution which will help them communicate, entertain, educate or get their work done," he said in a statement.
The two features added with the new Lindows software are "Click-N-Run", an automated process for downloading and installing software, and a set of file viewers designed to handle formats like Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
Click-N-Run centres on a section of the Lindows Web site which will ultimately contain a "warehouse of software titles", Robertson said, including Windows software with Lindows compatibility. Clicking a button will download and install the software automatically, according to Lindows.com. The site currently lists applications like a word processor, spreadsheet creator and presentation manager, based on applications from KOffice, a Linux productivity suite. AOL 7.0 is listed as "coming soon".
The new edition comes with a Web browser, Konqueror, that is pre-installed with a number of plugins, including Flash, a digital music player and software for viewing and printing Office documents. A beta tester at open-source developer site Newsforge.com said the Office plugins did not work properly.
Lindows.com says the next preview will include better support for Windows applications, which still do not work with the software. Lindows OS will rely on a version of Wine, a Windows emulator, for this functionality.
The company expects to release the first full version of Lindows OS later this year.