Lindows.com adds option to software store

Lindows.com Inc. now gives users of its Linux-based PC operating system the option to buy individual software programs from its download warehouse without having to pay an annual access fee, a company executive said Thursday.

Previously, Lindows.com gave access to the approximately 1,700 programs in the warehouse only through an annual US$99 fee. With the exception of about a dozen, the rest of the warehouse programs are free of charge. The membership fee gives users the right to download any of the programs in the warehouse -- be they free or fee-based -- and keep them for life at no additional cost. There are currently about US$300-worth of fee-based programs in the warehouse, giving members savings of up to US$200, said John Bromhead, Lindows.com's marketing vice president.

This annual membership option is called Click-N-Run. The software programs in the Click-N-Run warehouse are configured for simple downloading to a LindowsOS PC.

The new "a la carte option" announced Thursday, called Click-N-Buy, complements the existing Click-N-Run program by offering simple downloads tailored for LindowsOS users while letting users skip the annual fee and pay only for the programs they want.

However, this new "a la carte" Click-N-Buy option applies only to the warehouse's fee-based programs. The free programs in the Click-N-Run warehouse are available only with the annual membership. These programs can be obtained individually from their developers as well.

In the coming months, the nature of the Click-N-Run warehouse will begin to change as Lindows.com adds more fee-based programs to the warehouse. Increasingly, the fee-based programs will be available to members at a discount, whereas so far they have been available at no additional cost.

In fact, there is already one program in the Click-N-Run warehouse offered under this arrangement: the GarageGames Corp.'s Marble Blast adventure game, which costs US$9.95 for Click-N-Run members and US$14.95 for those who buy it individually with the new "a la carte option."

Other programs that Lindows.com previously made available only via the annual Click-N-Run membership but that it now sells individually via Click-N-Buy include the following:

-- Sun Microsystems Inc.'s StarOffice suite, which is available at no additional cost to Click-N-Run members and at a price of US$75 individually through Click-N-Buy

-- Idruna Software Inc.'s Photogenics graphics editing program, which is available at no additional cost to Click-N-Run members and at a price of US$79 individually through Click-N-Buy

-- A collection of Bistream Inc. TrueType fonts, which is available at no additional cost to Click-N-Run members and at a price of US$99 individually through Click-N-Buy

Lindows.com, in San Diego, California, also sells other software that isn't part of the Click-N-Run warehouse, such as the VirusSafe for LindowsOS antivirus software, which is based on Central Command Inc.'s Vexira Antivirus for Linux Workstation product.

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