Following court orders barring the Lindows name, Linux vendor Lindows.com has changed its name in several European countries to Lin---s, pronounced Lindash.

By changing its name, Lindows.com can continue to offer its desktop Linux product to citizens of those countries where Microsoft won injunctions banning the Lindows name, the company said in a statement.

A new www.lin---s.com website has been created especially for people in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Sweden, featuring an amusing hangman drawing with the missing "d", "o" and "w" highlighted. (It also has www.lin-s.com and www.lin--s.com.)

"This was in direct response to the court order barring us from the Benelux regions," Lindows spokeswoman Cheryl Schwarzman said.

An Amsterdam District Court judge ruled in late January that Lindows.com's use of the terms Lindows, LindowsOS and Lindows.com violated the branding law for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Lindows looks too much like Microsoft's Windows, the judge decided.

Microsoft had earlier won preliminary injunctions barring Lindows.com from using its name in Sweden andFinland. However, according to Schwarzman, there currently is no legal barrier preventing Finnish citizens from buying from Lindows.com.

After several legal setbacks in Europe, Lindows.com last week claimed a victory in its US battle with Microsoft. A district court in Washington said that if the case came to trial, it would instruct the jury to consider whether "windows" was a generic term before Microsoft introduced software with that name in 1985.

Microsoft has insisted several times that its pursuit of Lindows is only about the Lindows name, and not about its competing operating system.