$300 Linux PC has Windows adapter

CPUBuilders, a unit of Stratitec Inc. of Wichita, Kan., is selling $300 PCs with a home-grown Linux operating system.

The CBS122L has a 1.1-GHz processor, 256M of RAM, 20G hard drive and CD- ROM drive. Its operating system is similar to Red Hat Linux 9 except for the embedded Cognitio Control Panel.

The embedded control panel makes the environment compatible with Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP, so that devices such as Universal Serial Bus storage storage systems, scanners and hard drives don't have to be user-initiated.

Cognitio's plug-and-play convenience also extends to the CD drive for audio CDs. Like XP, Cognitio incorporates an automatic update tool.

It also has a system monitoring tool with a built-in firewall.

Perhaps most important to Windows users, Cognitio tutors migration novices in how to use Linux Office programs, the e-mail client and browser. The company claims they are compatible with Microsoft versions.

Stay tuned to an upcoming GCN Lab review. We'll take apart CPUBuilders' PC and Cognitio to look for any possible kinks as well as how the PC plays with networked Windows systems.

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