What Is Lindows?
On the surface, Lindows is Red Hat Linux 8 (RH8) with a facelift. RH8 is one of the most popular free versions of Linux that has helped to bridge the gap between the simple world of Windows and the sometimes complex world of Linux. While RH8 is often touted as one of the best Linux-based operating systems for the professional desktop, it's still complicated at times and can be bit too much for the typical computer user. Although RH8 is free up front, hidden support costs can run about $60/year for just the basic support.
Lindows uses many of the same features that have helped to make Red Hat popular among new Linux users. However, it has enhanced the entire operating system to make it very easy to use, even for a complete novice. Installing new software, obtaining help, and getting online is absolutely painless. This is what separates Lindows from the rest of the Linux distributions.
Lindows is more than just packaged software. With a purchased license ($119129), the buyer gets an operating system that hides all the details and provides a simple point-and-click environment. Included in that cost is support from Lindows for their software, and permission to install the OS on as many of your computers as you want, as opposed to Microsoft's "one computer" policy. In short, Lindows attempts to eliminate all the difficulties and annoyances of operating a computer. No more tricky configuration, no difficult installations, no confusing licensing schemes, and no long hold times on the phone when you get stuck. In other words, Lindows is trying to be exactly what its CEO states: a solution for a user that provides entertainment, education, and a productive work environment.
The rest of this article will discuss my experiences with Lindows, and we'll see if it's truly the environment it's advertised to be.