Lindows has halved the price of its open-source operating system for those that use its new peer-to-peer system.

The company has reduced its normal $49.95 (£27.40) pricetag to $25 (£13.70) for anyone that downloads the software through the BitTorrent open-source software.

BitTorrent enables all active downloaders to exchange numbered chunks of the operating system, which speeds up download and cuts down on the bandwidth Lindows has to provide.

"Networking charges make up one of the largest fixed costs when digitally distributing content," explained a statement by the company. "By utilising a P2P architecture, bandwidth rates are greatly reduced. In addition to the bandwidth savings, hosting infrastructure (servers, firewalls, routers, etc.) can be postponed or even eliminated.

"Together," it explains, "these savings allow Lindows to serve 1,000 or more simultaneous users with no new costs added to a system that could previously serve approximately 125 simultaneous users. These savings are now being passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices."

The BitTorrent system works by breaking down the 500MB Lindows OS file into around 1,000 pieces of 500KB which can then be transferred, exchanged and reassembled at the end of the download. New software upgrades will create spikes in demand, but the number of people on the network will grow proportionately as people join the "download cooperative", the company said.

The current FTP system is capped at 200Kbit/s, so with up to 1,000 people downloading at the same time it can lead to delays of up to four hours. P-to-P will allow immediate download at a faster speed. The system uses cryptographic hashing, or document numbering, developed by a group called SHA1 to automatically verify that each piece is what it should be.

"Most content companies view P2P as evil, but there are phenomenal commercial applications." said Michael Robertson, Lindows CEO. "We started using P2P as a promotion tool and now we're taking the next step and deploying our own P2P servers to help us sell our commercial software. P2P allows us to serve more customers faster than previously possible and at a huge savings, which we're able to pass on in the form of lower prices."

Sounds like a good use of technology to us.