Michael Robertson's last startup, MP3.com, helped ignite the digital music revolution, attracting a big buzz and lawsuits from major record labels. Robertson's latest gig is no less ambitious: an operating system called Lindows that aims to run programs designed for Microsoft's Windows.

The gist: No Microsoft purchase necessary. Lindows is being built to run on the open-source Linux platform, meaning it would be an attractive option for cash-strapped schools.

Lindows.com Inc. is attracting considerable attention—and skepticism—just months after it was announced. It is also fighting its first lawsuit, from Microsoft,

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