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12/3/2008
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Good OS Unveils Linux-Based Cloud Browser

The Vista challenger is designed to fully integrate desktop and Web-based apps.

Good OS, the company that provides the operating system for Wal-Mart's low-cost Linux PCs, has introduced a new offering that allows users to access desktop and cloud-based apps from within a Web browser.

Good OS's Cloud system integrates a compressed version of the Linux operating system with the company's homegrown Web browser. From within the browser, users can launch desktop applications such as spreadsheets or games, or access lighter Web services -- like Google Apps or Yahoo mail.

The system also features a tab that will launch Microsoft's Windows XP operating system.

At the Netbook World Summit in Paris this week, Good OS showed off Cloud riding on its new Gigabyte Touch-Screen Netbook. "With Cloud, Gigabyte Netbooks will power on to the Internet in seconds while still supporting killer applications together with Windows XP," said a company spokesman.

Though new on the scene, Good OS captured some buzz earlier this year when its Ubuntu-based operating system debuted aboard a sub-$200 Everex brand PC sold through discount retailer Wal-Mart.

The most current version, the Everex TC2512 gPC, features a 1.5-GHz Via C7-D processor. There's no monitor included, but buyers get stereo speakers and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive. The gPC also comes with the free OpenOffice.org productivity suite.

The emergence of low-cost, Linux-based systems is having an impact on sales of Microsoft Windows.

Revenue from Microsoft's Client division, which derives mostly from Vista now that Windows XP has been formally retired, edged up just 2%, year over year, to $4.21 billion in Microsoft's fiscal first quarter, despite the fact that the overall PC market grew 10% to 12% during the same period.

Redmond's problem: An increasing number of computer buyers, mostly in high-growth, price-sensitive emerging markets, are realizing that they can get by with so-called netbooks for most of their online requirements. It's a fact that's leaving Windows Vista out in the cold in some of the world's fastest growing tech markets.

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