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Linux Business

Walmart Ships PCs with Lindows OS 962

Posted by michael
from the penguins-in-the-heartland dept.
Tonetheman writes "Walmart is now shipping low cost PC's with Lindows pre-installed. And yes I know there was a review earlier on Slashdot about installing Linux on one of these bad boys. This is different and much more exciting. To think of the legions of rednecks who could now possibly be running Lindows instead of Windows..." There's a Newsforge story too. Hopefully Lindows makes a good impression.
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Walmart Ships PCs with Lindows OS

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  • Trolling in the name of
    Some of those that boot Suse
    Are the same that bought XP
    Some of those that boot Suse
    Are the same that bought XP
    Trolling in the name of
    And now you run what they told you
    And now you run what they told you
    And now you run what they told you

    95 is justified for running the games that you didn't buy
    95 is justified for running the games that you didn't buy
    Some of those that boot Suse
    Are the same that bought XP
    Some of those that boot Suse
    Are the same that bought XP

    And you run what they told you
    Now your under control
    And you run what they told you
    Now your under control
    And you run what they told you
    Come on!

    Fuck you I wont run what you tell me
    Fuck you I wont run what you tell me
    Fuck you I wont run what you tell me
    Fuck you I wont run what you tell me
    Motherfucker
  • Haha..... (Score:3, Funny)

    by cp4 (250029) on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:32AM (#3701336)
    Legions of rednecks killed me!

    You know you're a redneck if: you run Lindows on a WalMart PC.
    • by CleverNickName (129189) <wil&wilwheaton,net> on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:03AM (#3701675) Homepage Journal
      The only way Lindows is going to catch on with the 'necks is if you can run one of the Big Game Hunter or Super Bass Fishing games on it.

      Mark my words.

      Go on, mark 'em! I dare you!
  • Why would people want to use a kludged together OS with loads of confusing legacy included for backwards compatibility and a cryptic API anyway?
  • L/Windows (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:32AM (#3701341)
    Damn, that's gonna cause confusion with tech support.

    "What OS are you using?"
    "Lindows"
    "Windows?"
    "Yeah, Lindows"
  • by ematic (217513) on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:33AM (#3701344)
    Seems like the wal-mart grade rednecks will be the frontrunners of the linux desktop revolution. Bet you didn't see that coming!
    • To think of the legions of rednecks who could now possibly be running Lindows instead of Windows...

      they'd better put the 'Redneck' language option back into their distro's, ever since RH rm'd it things just haven't been the same around here *sigh*..

      -tid242

      damn i need a better sig :(

    • by itsjpr (16533) on Friday June 14, 2002 @02:29PM (#3703475) Homepage

      Actually, this is not a surprise. Think of stock car racing. It grew out of average folks with limited budgets buying commodity hardware and making it scream with a little tinkering. Today, NASCAR racing is big buisness and very popular with the Wal-Mart crowd. They are gifted with the hacker mentality.

      Wal-Mart is just making it possible for the next generation of gear heads to soup up the next generation of hardware.

      Think of this. So what if the hardware isn't on the high end. So what if all their Windows games aren't supported. I'd like to see people out there (eg. high school/trade school shop teachers/LUGs) showing people how to combine the power of their systems or tweak the shit out of them. Heck at $300 some folks would be willing risk gluing a refrigerator to their CPU!

      The fun will come from racing the tweaked-out systems, bringing them together to render awesome graphics, or participating in multi-player games.

      This is a HUGE opportunity to foster LUGs in places other than the "big city".

      Good Luck.

    • According to this story [one.net], it is indeed true that a large motorcycle gang uses Linux, and is infact willing to beat people up to protect Linux developers. From the story:

      "I was running from the gun nuts and the police, and was running down the middle of the street in a panic. I thought it couldn't possibly get worse. I look up and it's a freakin million bikers wearing gang colors, coming right at me. The guy asks me why I'm runnin' and I tell him that they're trying to kill us because we're into Linux. This dude, the meanest, most evil-looking dude I ever saw in my life looks at me and says 'sheeeit, Linux? I run Red Hat on my linux box" and nods to the dude next to him. Turns out that the chief enforcer for the gang had met Linus Torvalds at Sturgis way back years ago. Linus turned him on to Red Hat, and he's been writing GNU software ever since."
  • hm.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by daf00masta (581247)
    Now I wonder how long it'll take for M$ to launch OE for Lindows, and carry all the virii along...FUN FUN FUN Or better yet, they try to sue Walmart for trying to bully out Microsoft products off the shelves by using anti-competitive tactics....
  • by Elledan (582730)
    I'm of the opinion that people (this includes everyone) should be made aware of the fact that there are different OSs, of which only a few can run the software written for another OS. With this rudimentary knowledge, the world would become a much more pleasant place to live in if you happen to work at a helldesk. Note: the typo was intentional.
  • by dlur (518696) <dlur&iw,net> on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:37AM (#3701386) Homepage Journal

    A company as large as Walmart might be just big enough and have enough bargain-basement customers to make this fly. And at $299 for the Duron 850mhz model, who can't afford one of these.

    One problem I can see is that the hardware in these systems might(and probably is) of sub-par level. Instability issues caused by poor hardware quality may undermine the "frugal" consumer's viewpoint of the *nix OS enviroment. Not to mention that they'll have a hard time finding tech support locally considering that most tech shops are generally geared towards MS products and not Linux.

    • by lynx_user_abroad (323975) on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:52AM (#3701555) Homepage Journal
      This is a major step up from the "os-less" PC they were selling before, but still a step in the right direction.

      The hardware may be crud, but if it is, drag it down the block to WalMart and get a replacement box. And now that it has an OS included, you can prove that the hardware is broke.

      This is not to say "Behold WalMart, our savior", but rather to say "Now that Microsoft has some serious threat to worry about, we may be able to catch our breath before heading back into the arena..."

      And at $300 bucks, assembled, with warranty, it practically meets my definition for "buy it for the parts".

    • In every comparison I've seen Linux has proven to be more tollerant of hardware faults that Windows. My personal experience is that I can take a stick of RAM with a bad address that crashes Win2k about every hour, and use it without issue under Linux thanks to memtest86 and badram. Granted, that's fairly annecdotal, but certainly something to think about.

    • $300 Duron...no FDD (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MsGeek (162936) on Friday June 14, 2002 @12:22PM (#3702401) Homepage Journal
      And at $299 for the Duron 850mhz model, who can't afford one of these.

      One little detail about that Duron (although it's probably not a big detail) is that they left out the floppy drive on that model.

      With bootable CD-ROMs and networks not having a floppy is not a big problem, but for the first-timer this could be a big problem.

      Oh yeah, Fry's is entering the $300 market soon...actually sub-$300. They will be putting out a Celeron 1GHz machine, preloaded with ThizLinux, whatever the fsck that is. They're just waiting on the shipment at this point. And this one *has* a floppy drive.

      Actually it would be better if they all did preloads with Lycoris Linux [lycoris.com] but still, it is a good thing that Walmart has the guts to do this. So far, Microsoft hasn't complained. I think they realize that even an 800lb. Gorilla like MS has to pick their battles.

    • One problem I can see is that the hardware in these systems might(and probably is) of sub-par level. Instability issues caused by poor hardware quality may undermine the "frugal" consumer's viewpoint of the *nix OS enviroment.

      You may be right. However, I would argue that people buying this PC are either first timers (and thus don't know the difference) or they're ex-Windows users who want to replace their aging PC. In either case, a Linux-based solution will knock the socks off of em.

      If they're new to computers, someone they know probably has one and that's why they bought one for themselves. But their pals probably don't have the latest MS OS, and even if they did, it's probably running on the same hardware as these Walmart PCs. I have to give the advantage to the Lindows-based PC (with regards to dealing with cheapo hardware).

      If they're replacing an old computer, they probably have a very old PC, perhaps early Pentium, and thus they probably run Windows 95 and crash 3 times an hour. Again, I have to give the advantage to the Lindows-based PC.

      What no one's seemed to mention yet is that AMD has gotten a good deal out of this too, especially if this takes off. I also wonder who makes the various chipsets on the board (if it was SIS that'd be great).
    • by nehril (115874) on Friday June 14, 2002 @01:25PM (#3702956)
      there are potentially bad consequences to this. consider:

      - lUser buys a Lindows PC from walmart

      - lUser cannot figure out how to cut and paste from the Mozilla web browser to Abiword (a harsh welcome to Xwindows indeed). Worse, he never did figure out that to print he had to type "ghostview - | lpr -Pepson277 /dev/usb0" into every single app's preferences.

      - lUser realizes that the "screen is ugly" (i.e. fonts suck)

      - lUser cannot get onto The AOL.

      - of 100,000 units sold, 70,000 get returned.

      - walmart takes a bath. "Linux Sucks" is now "proven" to all the business execs with buying power. Nothing scares the CFO like "losing money."

      - Linux returns to it's ashes, the supergeek community.

      linux may not be ready for this, folks.
      • by FeeDBaCK (42286) on Friday June 14, 2002 @04:19PM (#3704062) Homepage
        Actually... Lindows has some proprietary components that take care of all of your listed "problems". It only uses KDE, so there is no worry about KDE/Gnome compatability problems. Printing is done via CUPS and a proprietary printer setup to make it more like Windows. Fonts are TrueType (same as Windows). AOL is a supported application. MS Office works.

        So what was your arguement? Maybe you should *try* Lindows before bashing it.
  • by bluGill (862) on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:38AM (#3701393)

    AFAIK, Lindows is based on wine. Wal-Mart customers will tend to buy a lot of games for their computer. Sounds to me like manufactures will soon find it a requirement to test their games with Lindows, and thus they will be wine compatable too.

    Not as good as native linux games, but a close second. If nothing else this could drive some real compitition to microsoft!

    If only it works... I'm not holding my breath yet.

  • by Rinisari (521266) on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:38AM (#3701394) Homepage Journal
    Redneck just got a computer...
    1997: I got Winders Ninedy Eight!
    2000: I got Winders Doodousand!
    2001: I got Winders EckPee!
    2002: I got Linders? What da hell is Linders?
  • by macsox (236590)
    so, first of all, nice stereotype. i guess all the fat, dateless, acne-scarred men on this site need something to chuckle about between visiting sites analyzing spock's deepest thoughts and pron.

    and second of all, why would you be so excited about these legions of rednecks using lindows? does nobody here see that computers today are the same as automobiles in the 50s and 60s -- that, back then, it was an elite group of youngsters that really got into the maintenance of and differences between various machines. now mechanics are a dime a dozen, and near the bottom rung of the social ladder, in most places. indeed, they are rednecks. santayana [brainyquote.com] would know what warning to give.
    • fat, dateless, acne-scarred men

      I resent that!...I don't have acne scars, ha!

      Don't think the 'mechanic' analogy holds up though.

      The types of people who where Engineers who designed cars in the 50's are still designing cars and getting good paychecks of it (not as good as management, but still significantly above the national average).

      The types of young kids who simply goofed around with the cars were never on much money, they are akin to script kiddies and warez doodz who don't make any money now.

      Real Engineers are still Engineers and are as such worth money no matter what industry they are in (Automotive, Aerospace, Telecomunications, Computing).

      There is a difference between being able to fix or tinker with a car (or computer) and knowing how to design a car (or a computer). 'Mechanics' and 'Engineers' are not the same thing.

      People who write software, or maintain corporate networks or computing faclilites are in a whole different world for a guy who can mearly 'build his own PC' or 'install Linux'.

      When red necks and trailer trash start writing their own software at home, and parking rusty PC's out side their front door I'll get worried.

    • by gimpboy (34912) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {dlorrah.m.nhoj}> on Friday June 14, 2002 @12:21PM (#3702390) Homepage
      for those of you who dont know walmart is a company that spawned from arkansas. the same place who brought you bill clinton. while i'm sure many of you are enjoying yourselves making fun of the ``rednecks'', consider the following:

      many of you shop there.

      currently the waltons (son's and daughters of sam so to speak) have more money than gates and ellison combined.

      all this was made by a redneck without a college education. hell i dont even think he had a highschool education.

      it's nice to see that by getting educated and growing up in a civilized society you all (y'all if you like) have become tolerant understanding people forgoing prejudice towards your fellow human beings.
    • by brad3378 (155304) on Friday June 14, 2002 @12:25PM (#3702424)
      &gt now mechanics are a dime a dozen, and near the bottom rung of the social ladder, in most places.

      This is not true.
      One of my best friends in college made $50k right out of school, and was making a six figure salary at age 22

      Though this is not the norm, it isn't bad for a two year degree. Mechanics earn a lot more money than the old days, partly because now you need to know what you're doing, but mostly because there is a shortage of mechanics to fill positions. Not exactly a dime a dozen.

      Bullshit attitudes like yours towards mechanics are among the reasons why I am no longer a mechanic myself. Yes, there are some weasels out there, but saying that mechanics are rednecks, is like saying that all programmers are pizza faced, mountain dew drinking, slobs who don't shower. Take a moment to step off your elite pedestal and try becoming informed.
  • Is there any kind of polling or feedback - especially any whos results are public - to see what customers think about this? I'm certain if there is both sides it will spin it to their hearts content, it would be interesting to take a look at the raw numbers (so many customer support calls per unit sold, so many returns) and how they compare with both bare systems and windows pre-installed systems.

    It'll never happen of course, but it would be nice.

  • Cousin Cletus is gona blow a gasket if Deer Hunter wont run on these things.
  • Not easy enough... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bilbobuggins (535860) <bilbobugginsNO@SPAMjuntjunt.com> on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:39AM (#3701409)
    after I first read about Lindows here I downloaded the ISO and gave it shot.
    To me, it didn't seem to be much more than KDE2 default with a pretty picture for the background. This is a problem. KDE default is NOT intuitive to Windows users.
    I am currently helping a co-worker who is curious about Linux learn her way around on one of the spare machines here. Her first question (w/ RH 7.3 default) was that even after 10 minutes of poking at stuff she could not find the taskbar buried in with all that other stuff. That was just the beginning.

    If you are going to cater to the Windows crowd you have to _really_ cater to them, not just change the icon theme.

    • by uigrad_2000 (398500) on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:37AM (#3702015) Homepage Journal
      I am currently helping a co-worker who is curious about Linux learn her way around on one of the spare machines here. Her first question (w/ RH 7.3 default) was that even after 10 minutes of poking at stuff she could not find the taskbar buried in with all that other stuff. That was just the beginning.

      <persuasionspeech option=prolinux>
      Of course, that's user experience of someone who has probably been brought up using Windows. Of course, it won't be as easy to use for her.

      I just built a dual-boot system for my Aunt, Uncle, and three cousins. None of them have ever touched a computer for more than an hour in their life.

      I showed my cousins (girls ages 8, 10, and 12) how to use Windows, and then how to use linux. When I showed them how to browse from their home directory up two levels, and into the mounted windows partition, their first question was why they couldn't do the same thing from Windows! Youngsters are bright, and pick up these things very quickly!

      Before long, they had found ways to change their background (in KDE), to a background from the /dos1/windows directory, on their own! They never hit the "taskbar hiccup" you're referring to.

      The ten year old quickly decided that she was going to use gnome. Her reason? She liked using the "Cool: sunglasses" icon overlay for her documents, available with about 7 others by right clicking, and choosing properties on any icon. I didn't even know such stuff was in there!

      When newbies grab onto linux over windows because of eye candy, you can tell that the balance is getting ready to shift. Will it be far enough for us to feel it? I think I can finally answer that with a "likely".
      </persuasionspeech>

  • Good for Walmart. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ekephart (256467) on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:40AM (#3701414) Homepage
    Walmart is about the only US company I can think of that can actually take on MS. Walmart isn't really rooted in the technology industry so they don't stand to lose as much as say, Dell, from taking a stab at selling Lindows computers. I think most of us who know anything about MS know that the reason that Dell, HP, etc. etc... don't sell machines without Windows or even dual-boot machines with something other than two versions of Windows is because MS would revoke their license to sell Windows.

    Screw the "legions of rednecks" idea, I believe there are many people who are curious enough about other OSes to get an extra computer, especially since they are supposed to be cheap, from Walmart just to poke around. Who knows once the average Joe realized that their are other options maybe he'll download some Debian images and never use Windows again.

    Cheers to Walmart, good job guys.
    • by Tadghe (18215) on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:20AM (#3701839) Homepage
      alright damnit, enough is enough.

      > Walmart isn't really rooted in the technology industry

      utter bullshit.
      Guess who has the largest *private* database in the world. (and is the SOLE reason that NCR Teradata is still alive) Wal-Mart (with somewhere around 130TB in thier Topend system)
      Guess who has the largest single IMAP install in the world? Wal-Mart Guess who is (or was) Dell's Largest customer...Wal-Mart
      Guess who employees over 1400 in house (not contractors) programmers (in a single location (ok, you can split hairs with SMWDC/DMGTC being seperate)...Wal-Mart
      Guess which retail chain bet the bank on EDI before the next 6 largest guys even thought of it...Wal-Mart

      With over 2500 stores and a sub 2 second transaction time to *all of them* , how the heck did you think they were *NOT* a technology based company!?

      That crap about Wally world not being a technology company is baloney. Sam Walton bet the bank on computer technology when his rivals were still using paper invoices.
      I would note that the decision to sell Lindows prob has nothing to do with Wal-Mart as a company, but a lot to do with what it's Buyers and Marketing dept think will sell. (To those who have never worked in the corporate side of retail, Buyers are the guys/gals who buy the things the company then sells to it's customers, they typically work out the deals, many retail firms use independant buyers, but Wally world (and a few, very few) other companies do it all in house)).

      If someone really wants to know why they are selling Lindows, then ship off a message to president@wal-mart.com, The are quite good about responding, though I'm not sure what their answer will be.

      About the crack about rednecks buying Lindows...what do you think the average demographic of a Wally world online customer is? I'm willing to bet it's not ma and pa kettle in podunk Arkansas.

      --Tadghe, former WalMartian.

    • by Pollux (102520) <speter.tedata@net@eg> on Friday June 14, 2002 @04:51PM (#3704247) Journal
      I just cannot believe that you feel Walmart is doing this to "take a stab at selling Lindows computers." I'll tell you what this is about:

      The almighty dollar.

      Walmart does not care about Linux geeks clutching their little stuffed penguins and waving their "Open Source" flags. They do not care about someone who walks into a store to tell the tech department that they should sell machines with Linux on it. They care about money. They have always cared about money, and they always will care about money. They are the most efficient corporation in the whole world, and they are efficient because it makes money. Anyone who thinks that Walmart's #1 priority is not about money needs to take some courses in Economics, wake up, and smell the capitalism.

      I've been working in the backstock rooms of Walmarts for three years now, and I've overheard the managers on quite a few occasions. Walmart demands cheap prices from their distributors. They're the #1 retailer in the US, so they have the power to do so. They lure distributors into their system by offering to sell thier product, then stab them in the back a year or two later and demand the product be cheaper, or they'll find someone else. This leads product manufacturers to use overseas labor and/or lower the quality of the product, all to stay buddies with Walmart. When you see the adds of Walmart lowering their prices, they can do so because its not their company that takes a hit in profits...it's the manufacturers that do.

      I'm sure Walmart did the same thing with this Microtel company when they asked for computers. When Microtel was put under the gun to make a cheaper computer, I'm sure they cut every single corner. Just look at it from a $$$ perspective..."Hey Walmart, we got this OS that looks like Windows, runs like Windows, and can run %90 of Windows software, but we can put it on every machine for absolutely no charge!"...Walmart will say yes, because they now have a "Windows-ish" computer that sells for $100 less than the competition.

      And for those of you who say that there might be a high-return rate? Walmart doesn't care. If people return their computers, all Walmart has to do is box it up and ship it back to Microtel. The only loss that they take is paying some 16-year old $2 to take the time to box it back up and stick it on a pallet. It's certainly worth their time, considering that these computers are %10-%20 cheaper than the competition. If it fails, Walmart returns the computers, Walmart dumps Microtel and finds another manufacturer, and Microtel goes belly-up, and Walmart leaves unscathed. If it's a success, Walmart gets the credit.

      Wake up and smell the dollar bills.
  • heh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jglow (525234) on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:41AM (#3701425) Homepage Journal
    I think some of you are expressing concern because you don't want the mass public using anything but Windows. When everyone starts moving in on your elite OS, it no longer is the cool thing to use, so you must find something else to move on to....
    • Re:heh.. (Score:3, Funny)

      by Unknown Lamer (78415)

      I think some of you are expressing concern because you don't want the mass public using anything but Windows. When everyone starts moving in on your elite OS, it no longer is the cool thing to use, so you must find something else to move on to....

      Maybe now people will start using the Hurd [gnu.org] :)

    • Re:heh.. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hollinger (16202)
      That's where MacOS X comes in. You know you want it.
  • by Idaho (12907) on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:42AM (#3701440)
    Maybe I missed something...but last time I checked Lindows was still in beta stage, and with good reason too!

    From my experience, they might be combining MS-like stability and security (running everything as root etc.) with Linux-like usability*, resulting in a horribly unusable OS - for which Linux will most probably get the blame by mainstream reporters. Ah well, we'll see.

    Walmarts idea is probably something like this: they can save money on the computers this way, and they probably don't really care about what their customers use it for (do they have a reason to? Do they have to offer support etc.?), so that would explain things....

    * usability for Joe Avg. User, e.g. consistent GUI's and stuff, you know what I mean...combining Wine and KDE and X will not get you a very consistent UI experience probably....
    • by ocbwilg (259828) on Friday June 14, 2002 @01:07PM (#3702792)
      Walmarts idea is probably something like this: they can save money on the computers this way, and they probably don't really care about what their customers use it for (do they have a reason to? Do they have to offer support etc.?), so that would explain things....

      I think that this is the real reason. They don't want to catch 10 kinds of hell from MS about selling "naked" PCs, so they throw Lindows on it instead. Net cost to them? Nothing. Bitching from MS about selling naked PCs? None. Net loss to a consumer who wants a naked PC in order to install a pirated copy of Windows? None. Bitching from MS about selling PCs with a competitor's product? None, if MS doesn't want to put a neon sign over their collective heads that reads "illegal use of monopoly power".

      Besides, what likely is going to happen is that a user will get it home with Lindows, find out that it isn't Windows and it won't run whatever game they want to play, and then they'll come back to WallyWorld to buy a full copy of Windows XP. That's a bigger sale to WalMart and a bigger sale for MS. The only people who really have anything to lose from it are the Lindows folks who stand to gain a fair amount of negative press if they piss off consumers. Instead of looking like a company that is trying to bring Linux to the mainstream user with an easy-to-use compatible Windows-like interface they run the risk of looking like someone peddling a cheap knock-off that is trying to trade on Microsoft's name.
  • by Irvu (248207) on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:42AM (#3701444)
    I can just imagine millions of these things selling widely. Then every single one being hacked by one group with the same root exploit. Think of the headlines "Wal-Mart facilitates domestic terrorism" "Internet Weakened by Linux manchines" etc. In some ways it's kind of what the ADTI [slashdot.org] people want.

    The sum of all Lindows fears.
    • I can just imagine millions of these things selling widely. Then every single one being hacked by one group with the same root exploit. Think of the headlines "Wal- Mart facilitates domestic terrorism" "Internet Weakened by Linux manchines" etc.[...]
      Now just imagine the PR nightmare for Microsoft if they sold millions of machines that were routinely vulnerable to exploits. Oh, nevermind.
  • "To think of the legions of rednecks who could now possibly be running Lindows instead of Windows..."

    It sounds funny, but just wait till they buy and try to install something made for Windows. Much to their surprise, it won't work, and they'll be calling up Wal-Mart asking them what kind of shinanigans they were trying to pull.

    Now I haven't seen the packaging for these Lindows PCs, but I'd be willing to bet that some people COULD be confused into believing they're in fact buying a Windows PC. When they do discover their error, they'll think they were suckered into buying some kind of like a cheap knock-off (don't have the exact appropriate Simpsons quote).

    If that happens, it's probably not the kind of PR that Lindows is looking for. Both Lindows and Wal-Mart have to be very careful to make sure the differences between Windows and Lindows are clearly explained.
    • You mean like running [lindows.com] IE or Office or something?
    • Sorny?
      Panaphonix?
      Magnetbox?
    • The site quite clearly at the top in the first paragraph says it does *not* come with Windows.
      Microtel PCs with Lindows OS These computers do not ship with Microsoft Windows. They ship with an exciting new UNIX based Operating System (OS) named Lindows. This exciting new OS delivers the stability of UNIX with the ease of Windows and the ability to run most Microsoft programs. These computer systems are a perfect low cost alternative to computers preloaded with Microsoft Windows.
    • by DeadSea (69598) on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:22AM (#3701871) Homepage Journal
      Homer: Look at these low, low prices on famous brand-name electronics!

      Bart: Don't be a sap dad. These are just crappy knock-offs.

      Homer: I know a genuine 'Panaphonics' when I see one. And look, there's 'Magnet Box' and 'Sorny'!

      Salesman: [walking up] Listen, I'm not going to lie to you. Those are all superior machines. But if you like to watch your TV, and I mean _really_ watch it, you want the Carnivale'. [shows Homer and Bart a TV very similar to their old one] It features two-pronged wall plug, pre-molded hand grip well, durable outer casing to prevent fallapart...]

      Homer: Sold. You wrap it up, I'll start bringing in the pennies.

      [3F11] Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield

    • by Tim Macinta (1052) <twm@alum.mit.edu> on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:57AM (#3702187) Homepage
      It sounds funny, but just wait till they buy and try to install something made for Windows. Much to their surprise, it won't work, and they'll be calling up Wal-Mart asking them what kind of shinanigans they were trying to pull.

      Why would they assume it's a problem with Lindows and not with the program they are trying to install? Think about it this way - if they were running Windows, bought a copy of Photoshop, and unsuccessfully tried to install it, would they call Microsoft or Adobe? They would call Adobe, of course. Let's just hope they use the same logic with Lindows. If enough people do this with software that breaks under Wine, the companies publishing that software will eventually figure out that it's worth the extra day or two to debug their software under Wine before shipping it.

  • Linux doesn't win. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Telastyn (206146) on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:44AM (#3701453)
    Selling people Linux machines with Wine isn't a win for Linux. You still have to shell out probably more cash for Office than for the machines themselves, and it's probably not going to work very well, turning even more people away from "things that are different".

    Sure this might be a loss for Microsoft, but it's certainly not a win for Linux.
    • I doubt the target audience for these machines is shelling out $$$ for Office. I'm sure they'd love to have a cheap computer that will run a "borrowed" copy, though.
  • Windows Compatible (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:44AM (#3701461)

    The ad says:
    This exciting new OS delivers the stability of UNIX

    with the ease of Windows and the ability to run most
    Microsoft programs
    .
    (Emphasis in bold not added) When you say this to the general public (which is pretty much the Wal-Mart crowd), you're saying that most programs will work exactly as they do under Windows, and not just run for a few *seconds* and crashing most of the time (like many do under Wine). Is theirs a reasonable claim? If not, it could make Linux look bad in general.
  • OS X (Score:3, Insightful)

    by !splut (512711) <sput@al[ ]rpi.edu ['um.' in gap]> on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:45AM (#3701464) Journal
    Looks like windows, kinda feels like windows, stable, UNIX based, runs most of the big important Windows programs...

    We're talking Mac's with OS X, right?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:46AM (#3701477)
    about the uptake of Linux to the desktop you wouldn't think there would be so much negativity about this. Walmart is a huge retailer who is willing to preinstall a version of Linux that is actually usable to most people and still you complain. I hope this gets modded up because this negativity is quite disturbing. What a great way to get application/game devs to port their stuff. Do you people know how many people actually shop at Walmart. And suffice to say they are not all rednecks.
  • Impression? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:46AM (#3701481)
    Hopefully Lindows makes a good impression.

    Of course it will. They'll think it's fantastic, right up to the point when they try to install their favourite Windows applications and it all goes horribly wrong.

    Then they'll mutter "crock of shit" and take it back to Walmart to complain.

    Not that I blame them, Walmart is advertising it as having the ability to run most Microsoft software, which (unless it's changed drastically) isn't quite the case.

    I'm all for getting Linux to the masses, but if they oversell what it can do, then they'll end up putting off people rather than attracting them.

    • On the other hand. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Andy Dodd (701)
      I wonder how many customers will try the "Click and run" apps (Many popular opensource packages there) and decide that they are extremely happy with them, minimizing the need to install Winblows software.

      Gamecompatibility scares me, though.
    • by i_am_nitrogen (524475) on Friday June 14, 2002 @12:27PM (#3702442) Homepage Journal
      I live in a redneck/hick town. I don't think of myself as better than my neighbors. I have sold computers to several of them, though. All of them want nothing more than to run an old version of Quicken to manage the books for the dairy, Word Perfect 6.0 to type letters to their grand kids, and Printshop to make birthday cards. There were a few exceptions: some of them had kids who wanted to play Star Craft and Half-Life, and one person needed to run the latest QuickBooks to handle payroll for his construction business. Most people can do anything they already do in Windows, with Linux.

      The problem for me, however, was that I was 16/17 at the time I was selling these computers, living at home. I got all my referrals from my mom, since she knew the people. She has seen me coding in a Linux console, and after seeing that, started spreading anti-Linux FUD to all the people she was referring to me ("He'll build you a great computer, but he'll try to put Linux on it -- don't let him do that."). I found this out when people started specifically asking NOT to have Linux on their machines (though I've never sold a Linux machine to anyone). Star Craft and Half-Life both run under WineX.

      What's the point of this rambling? If you are young and live at home, make sure your parents don't spread Linux FUD, and if you are older, make sure your wife doesn't spread Linux FUD, and if you're old and single, well, get out more. But the real moral of the story is: most people don't need Windows, or even the apps they're used to. Give them a few of their staple apps, such as Star Craft, Quicken, Word, and then fill in the rest with Open Source software, and slowly convert them away from their staple apps (and convert game programmers away from their staple OS). This is exactly what Lindows is doing.

      Some people think Lindows will take over Linux and become a Linux monopoly, others think Lindows will just act as the gateway into a new world of software. Whatever. See above for the point of this disjointed, redundant rambling.
  • by Quarters (18322) on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:57AM (#3701598)
    As far as I can tell this new promotion is like the OS-less PC promotion. It is being offered online only. You can not go into a Wal*Mart store and buy and OS-less PC. I doubt you will be able to go into a Wal*Mart store and buy a Lindows PC.

    So, who has access to the Wal*Mart website? Those people who already have a computer. Who goes to Wal*Mart.com to buy a PC? Outside of those people that want an OS-less PC to install Linux on, probably not a large number of people.

    This isn't going to convert unsuspecting people to Linux users (a dangerous thing to wish for at any rate). It isn't going to spread Linux to the mass market. It isn't going to steal any appreciable market share away from Microsoft.

    It's noteworthy for the fact that a major retailer has thumbed their nose at Microsoft. But, that same major retailer is only thumbing their nose while behind a box in a locked room with the shades drawn so that the world can not really see that they are doing it.

    If other major computer resellers follow suit (which I doubt they will), then this will become interesting. Now, though, it's nothing more than YALPOS (Yet Another Linux Post On Slashdot)
  • by ch-chuck (9622) on Friday June 14, 2002 @10:58AM (#3701614) Homepage
    If it was darn easy to plug into a phone, subscribe to an ISP and get browsing and email, it may have a chance, then the genuinely interested users can start up the learning curve and enjoy a crash & virus free existance.

    Personally, I've avoided helping out home users with all their GD windows problems for years, as I'm not about to waste my time working free tech support for multi-billionaires, but if I meet someone with one of these it'd be fun to talk shop with them.

  • by jeffn7 (574648) on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:01AM (#3701652)
    what kills me about the Linux crowd, please excuse the generalization, is that there is absolute belief in the superiority of the platform, and absolute obsession with the lack of respect it gets in the mainstream.

    But what makes this observation interesting is that their is also an undercurrent of clubiness (sic?) about the whole thing. The idea that the masses could actually start using Linux is troubling to this group, as it would dilute the cachet of the club. This is bizarre to say the least, as mainstream adoption of Linux would only serve to achieve the first point, respect, and of course the other obsession, deflation of microsoft.

    I don't take particular offense to the redneck comments, but you would really have to be an idiot to think that only rednecks shop at Walmart. I mean, christ, they have over $200b in sales. I guess the only thing that would make you a bigger idiot is to not understand how many personal computers are sold in the US annually, and how many of them go through channels like walmart.
  • by WEFUNK (471506) on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:09AM (#3701739) Homepage
    For Wal-Mart to be using their power and credibility to position Lindows like this - as a direct alternative to a "commoditized" Windows OS - should be making MS shake in their boots. This is really big. I hope that this is more than just an experiment but a whole-hearted effort to introduce and market these systems to the average shopper.

    Previously, Linux and other alternatives have been positioned as being too disimilar to Windows for the average consumer to take notice. While early adopters and niche users may see the differences as the key selling points, the average consumer is looking for compatibility and familiarity FIRST, then other advantages SECOND (price, stability, and misc. features).

    Wal-Mart's actions not only position alternative operating systems in a different light, they also serve to re-position Windows itself by making the Windows Operating System appear to be a commodity like the PC has long been. When advertising the compatibility of Lindows, their enormous market power allow them to be more liberal with their use of the Microsoft and Windows brandnames than your average software developer or computer retailer could ever chance.

    This is may be very analogous to what happened to the IBM PC vs. the clones as well as the situation with generic drugs. Many continue to buy the "genuine" branded article, but others will take personal pride in buying the "same" product for less - and maybe even with some different or better features thrown in for free.

    This might be a first step in fragmenting the market around a common Windows compatible "standard" offered by multiple vendors at competitive prices. Also, it could result in opening more people's eyes to the advantages of using non-Windows based systems to meet their individual needs. I imagine that the reality will be somewhere in the middle, and that this will be a good thing for both consumers and business.
    • by owlmeat (197799)
      I think that Wal-Mart just wanted a throwaway OS to mount on these machines. I predict that 80 percent of them will be running a pirated copy of Win within 48 hours of purchase.
  • by jeffehobbs (419930) on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:14AM (#3701770) Homepage

    To think of the legions of rednecks who could now possibly be running Lindows instead of Windows

    Could you be more condescending?

    ~jeff
    • by Silas (35023)
      Yeah, hey, watch it with the redneck jokes. I've been pretty happy living on a small farm in rural Indiana for the past few years, but that doesn't mean I can't kick your ass when it comes to administering a FreeBSD cluster, desigining a network, writing Perl, or other mad skillz. And that's between feeding the sheep, planting the garlic, driving big trucks around, and whatever else it is you think we do. Just watch out - one day a "redneck"'s might just 0wN jo0. :)
  • by n6mod (17734) on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:15AM (#3701781) Homepage
    Wrong distro.

    Everyone knows it's RedHat that has the Redneck language option. (Even if it's just for the installer.)

    -Z
  • by awptic (211411) <infinite AT complex DOT com> on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:22AM (#3701873)
    I think the most interesting part of this is that now other stores selling computers will have to find ways of competing with these insanely low priced computers, and I think the first thing they'll do is throw out Windows. Although alot of people will disagree, I think ESR had a good point [zdnet.co.uk] when he said that microsoft would be doomed when the cost of PC hardware dropped below that of Windows, and we're almost at that point already.
  • by Sesq (575751) on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:34AM (#3701984)
    What makes so many of you think this is a good thing? Walmart isn't making this move in order to support OSS or promote Linux. They're doing it to sell cheap computers. They couldn't care less about Linux.

    What I see happening is a bunch of people buying these Lindows boxes believing that they can run any Windows software on it. When they find out this is not the case, they'll blame Linux/Lindows. Then they will have a (albeit misguided) distaste for Linux and be convinced that MS is the only way to go.

    I don't see this as any kind of victory. I see it as a disaster waiting to happen.
  • by Bravo_Two_Zero (516479) on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:36AM (#3702002)
    Hey, I'm not going all "PC" on y'all (pun intended), but instead of "redneck", think "your grandmother and/or your mother". I know Walmart is a popular hangout for the bumbles of the world, but they have a really long reach in terms of mass-market retail access. They are, for all intents, the Sears Roebuck of this generation. Everyone goes to Walmart at some point. If you want our favorite GPL operating system going to the masses, this is the way to make it happen.

    Now, if Target would just do the same thing with a slightly upscale ($50 increase), neatly-designed case in the fashion of most of their homegrown goods, we'd really be in business.
  • This is big (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lelitsch (31136) on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:37AM (#3702016)
    And not for the legions of rednecks. But if I were a redneck parent or teacher at a school with a small IT budget, I'd be over at Walmart for the 850MHz Duron in a New York minute and get the truck [rednex.se] loaded. At $299 and no Microsoft tax, one could even get a few extras for trash-on-break tech support. Hell, I might even buy a few and spread them around the house as email/web stations, MP3 players and use up all the old monitors I was thinking about throwing away for five years. Another good thing about Walmart is that they are far less annoying about returns replacements than the BestBuys of this world.
  • by bstadil (7110) on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:49AM (#3702119) Homepage
    I am wondering why nobody has mentioned AOL. The ability to run the AOL client is the killer app. for this type of machine. The issue is not a $200+ office suite for a $266 machine, the issue is for the whole family to be able to get onto the internet "safely" and send Pic's to Grand-Ma.

  • by aquarian (134728) on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:49AM (#3702121)
    I wonder how long it will take for Microsoft to start using code that foils Wine...
  • Support? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mignon (34109) <satan@programmer.net> on Friday June 14, 2002 @11:50AM (#3702130)
    Not that I'm thinking of buying one of these (got enough computers these days) but this is exciting.

    What I'm curious about is the tech support issue. It seems to me that by offering a Lindows pre-installed PC, it's now in Wal*Mart's interest to see Lindows be as stable as possible and as compatable with Windows applications as possible.

    Does anyone suppose they plan to help out Lindows development if, say, the next version of some popular Windows software doesn't work with Lindows? Now that would really impress me. (And then I'd think about buying one of these boxes.)

  • by surfimp (446809) on Friday June 14, 2002 @01:31PM (#3703021)
    It's sort of depressing to see just how elitist/bourgeois/classist many of these comments are, especially those concerning these so-called "rednecks" who shop at Wal-Mart. I mean, isn't one of the "great things" about Linux, and GNU in general, the ideal that operating systems, software and information in general "want to be free"? Or that people shouldn't have to pay $100-400+ for a modern operating system? Or that Linux and Open Source software is revolutionary, capable of breaking the grasp that Microsoft holds over the CONSUMER market? So now you have Wal-Mart, a major retailer, offering complete machines with an OS and a number of useful applications at a price that is lower than the MSRP for the full version of Windows XP Pro. And rather than cheering about how this could potentially be a major opportunity for a Linux distribution to make signficant inroads with the CONSUMER market (remember the revolution?), many respondents have sought to portray the people who will purchase these systems as ignorant, foolish, uneducated, and/or intellectually inferior. Wow, what happened to all the populist ideals above?
    • Am I only one wondering why the parent post was moderated "flame bait" for pointing out much of the class bigotry present in this thread?

      I mean sure it's easy to dismiss buyers in rural areas as just a bunch of ignorant yokels unable to RTFM or even the description on the box to realize that they are not getting a pre-packaged Windows system with Microsoft Works. I think this is ignoring the fact that cottage industries and agricultural producers are increasingly relying on information technology in order just to survive in the marketplace. This is a sector that is pioneering GIS and GPS applications for agriculture [precisionfarming.com] while universities are dicking around with tracking students. There is a huge market out there of farmers and craftspeople who do everything on a shoestring staff (or even solo) and a shoestring budget from finding the cheapest supplier, to tracking inventory, accounting, quality control, marketing, and shipping. This is a group of potential users that strongly values performance, reliability, and value. Perhaps more importantly they are a group of users quite capable of fixing their own problems.

      So certainly, I can see a huge market for not only Linux but also mysql, Apache, and openoffice in the rural areas served by Wal-Mart.
  • This will backfire (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phpdeb (563275) on Friday June 14, 2002 @01:39PM (#3703094)
    Remember when Mexico was supposed to switch over to Linux, or something like that, and they screwed it up. Now MS uses this as a reason to not use Open Source Software, it fails implementation. Of course, all software that is poorly implemented will fail, but that's not the software's fault.

    Now that Walmart is selling these Lindows machines I see a similar problem. Joe User buys a computer, but he can't run half the apps his friend can run, like games. He takes the computer back to Walmart, gets his money back and swears the Lindows sucks. So now in his mind Lindows sucks and anything that sounds like Lindows (i.e. Linux) sucks too. After a couple of months Walmart will get tired of giving people their money back and stop selling computers with Lindows installed. Now it's not just a failure on Walmart, but on Lindows which in turn is a failure for Linux and the Open Source community.

    Hence MS now has more fuel for their fud campaigns. I don't see this as a winning situation for Linux or OSS.

    Most Americans shop at Walmart and they will sell a lot of these computers. This really looks bad to me, really bad.

    On the other hand, I don't really care if Linux "beats" MS. I like my Debian whether Joe Shmoe does or not.
  • Cheap cluster? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by macemoneta (154740) on Friday June 14, 2002 @02:27PM (#3703463) Homepage
    Heck, at $299 each, It might be fun to pick a few of these up to play with (or even actually do work).
  • by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Friday June 14, 2002 @03:29PM (#3703797) Homepage
    I'm in the market for a couple of cheap web-serving boxes, and strongly considered buying these machines. The price is certainly right, they're pre-built (I'm lazy and hate building from scratch), and I'd be certain drivers for Linux would already be available for all the hardware. Hell, they'd already be installed and configured! A little security work, install Apache, and voila! It's not NetBSD, but it'd be workable.

    The only thing that stopped me was that these machines were slightly too low-end for me. The $500 unit with the Athlon XP1800+ would've worked nicely. The main problem is the default hard drive, a 40GB, 5400 RPM clunker. If I'd had the option to upgrade to a faster drive, I'd've grabbed 'em.

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