Linspire's AOL Dialer, which is in beta, dials up any of the hundreds of local numbers for accessing America Online, then displays a small set of status lights in the PC's system tray to show online activity.
"We've expressed to AOL that America Online dial-up support is the number one request we get from users, but they have yet to release anything," Michael Robertson, the chief executive officer of Linspire, said in a statement. "We decided to build an open source dialer on our own."
The dialer can be downloaded free of charge by Linspire CNR Warehouse members and users of the Linspire Plus edition. It's not sanctioned by AOL, whose software for accessing its network is currently available only for Windows and Mac operating systems.
Linspire is perhaps best known for the long-running legal tiff with Microsoft over its former name -- Lindows. The two settled the dispute last month when Microsoft agreed to pay $20 million to Lindows; in return, the San Diego-based upstart changed its name to Linspire.