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More on Toronto's Linux-only Computer Store 145

Posted by michael
from the deluxe-wash-with-hot-penguin-wax dept.
bluethundr writes "The Register today is running a story about what we first thought (but thought incorrectly as it turns out) to be the world's first Linux-only computer store. Who knew that they were also running a Linux-powered car wash in the back? Heh."
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More on Toronto's Linux-only Computer Store

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:03AM (#9723592)
    I had several seizures during the slashdot blackout.... I actually went outside....there was all of this green stuff on the ground, first I thought they were sprites, but they were to photorealistic....It was scary......I am NEVER going back to that tepid land again!
    • by djcapelis (587616) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:05AM (#9723602) Homepage
      Reminds me of the time I looked at the moon and was surprised at how unpixelated the edges were.
      • Dude, it's been like that for a long time. Aren't you familiar with Quincunx and 4XAA settings on your video drivers?
      • by Epistax (544591) <epistax.gmail@com> on Saturday July 17, 2004 @10:08AM (#9724766) Journal
        There's one thing in reality that I find very unrealistic, and I don't like it when I see it in games either. If you walk by something like a white picket fence and the fence branches off at a 90 degree angle perpendicular to the direction you are walking, then if you look through the fence at the other fence you'll get this sickly effect: Every few steps the fence will appear to be a solid wall in places as the holes in the front fence will match the fence in the second. For a moment you'll see something that looks like a glitch
        This works with most kinds of fences. When you're head is in exactly the right place the fences overlap in the precise way to maximize obstruction. To the eye it looks just like a fence pixelating. It's especially bad when you're just the right distance from the fence such that the area when this happens is a couple inches. This makes it to bobbing your head back and forth will completely remove the effect, and completely introduce it-- looking completely like a glitch.

        I'm not alone, right? :-P
        • And while you were bobbing your head back and forth and looking to the right like if you were one of Jerry's kids, the girl of your dreams just passed you on the left wearing a skimpy tank-top and short shorts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:04AM (#9723595)
    Don't they have to give everyone free car washes under the terms of GPL?
    • by psyco484 (555249) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:06AM (#9723604)
      No, I think they only need to hand a sponge and a bucket of soapy water to anyone who asks for it.
    • No, but they have to give you the blueprints to the carwash so you can go home and build your own carwash and tweak it so it's optimized for your car.

      Of course, building your own carwash is a lot of work, and a lot of homeowner's associations seem to have a problem with people putting up noisy carwashes in the back yard for some reason, so most people just go to RedHat Car Wash because it's a lot easier.

      Before long, SCO will claim all car washes use their intellectual property and will start suing all the
    • Wonders (Score:1, Insightful)

      by vivekg (795441)
      Why we don't have BSD only shops? Don't start with BSD is dying
      • Re:Wonders (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        SLDT02004071000006(*BSD)

        Universal joke ID cataloging system info...

        Currently assigned universal joke IDs are as follows:
        SLDT02004070900001 - "no yuo"
        SLDT02004071000001 - "vlad farted"
        SLDT02004071000002(x) - "YOU FAIL IT (it is x)"
        SLDT02004071000003 - "omg ror"
        SLDT02004071000004(x, y) - "In Soviet Russia, x y YOU!"
        SLDT02004071000005 - "Imagine a Beowulf Cluster of these!"
        SLDT02004071000006(x) - "x is dying."
        SLDT02004071000007(x) - "Have you ever seen x? That's the kind of martial arts I pr

        • SLDT02004071000001

          gerroff my back.

          it wasn't me, there were no witnesses and you can't prove it
        • If you wish to tell these jokes in the future, you can simple refer to it by these UJID numbers and we'll all know what joke you're referring to.

          Can we extend it to cope with /. articles too? For example, the 5th character could be 'A' for articles[1], so
          SLDTA2004071700001 could be anything about wifi zeppelins.
          SLDTA2004071700002(x,y) could be something(x) that's powered by linux (except it's really powered by something else, y). Possible combinations being (motorbike,petrol) [slashdot.org] and (carwash,electricity [slashdot.org]

        • SLDT02004071000004(x, y) - "In Soviet Russia, x y YOU!"

          This should, of course, be "In Soviet Russia, y x YOU!"
    • No, but they must provide very detailed instructions on how they do it so you can perform it yourself and improve on it.
    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @05:43AM (#9724157)
      The upside is that its free, but takes 18 hours of tweaking to actually clean your specific model the first time. If you have an import or a rare car, it might not clean it at all.

      There's a slim chance your car wont start after the wash, leaving all your gauges at 16, 16, 16, 16, 16...

      Your "Save the Whales" bumper sticker might be replaced with a "Save the Pengiuns" sticker or a photo of a fat guy in front of a computer will be appended to your original bumper sticker.

      Pasty employees will snort at your aftermarket body effects and graphics, unless they are glowing then they will tell you how 'l33T they are.

      Conversely, the very same pasty employees will give you the weakest high-five you have ever experienced if you have made any modifications to your onboard computer or stereo system.

      After the wash your car will not be able to share a lane with any car registered in Washington state.

      Your mileage will increase but for some inexplicable reason you'll have to learn how to drive stick as your automatic will cease to exist.
    • No, they just have to release the source code. H20 is the source code for water. Go compile your own.
  • Rotating penguin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MoOsEb0y (2177) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:05AM (#9723603)
    Ohhhh, I so wanted to see pictures of the rotating penguin. Also, the idea of selling a hard drive with linux preinstalled is really cool. I like it. They should have one of these in my town! Especially if they had random linux gear ala thinkgeek. Oooh, and a wifi-enabled cafe-type-place.... mmmmmmmm. (Hey.. they have a linux-run carwash already)
  • its quites sad.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dncsky1530 (711564) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:11AM (#9723620) Homepage
    the sign for the car and van wash is more than twice the size of the sign for the linux computer store
  • by agwis (690872) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:12AM (#9723621)
    I can't believe how many times I've been getting my car washed and thought "boy, I sure wish I could buy a computer while I wait"!

    If this business model becomes successful, I'm going to start my own. Look for a 'Pats Donuts and Computer Repair Shop' coming soon :P

    -Pat
  • Some thoughts..... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thewldisntenuff (778302) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:15AM (#9723632) Homepage
    Wonder why the cost is higher....Can't be too hard to load up Linspire. Even states in TFA that it loads in only 10 mins. If anything, the costs should slightly lower (although TFA does not take into account for rebates, discounts, etc, so we can't be sure, eh?)

    The store remains focused on the Linspire (formerly Lindows) OS and office suite, says Silverman, with no immediate plans to start selling other distros from the store.
    For the regular user, Linspire is the most simple to work with," says Silverman. "It installs in less than ten minutes."

    I've been to their site before...They state on both Canadian and American sites the following -

    "Do you prefer a different Linux distro? We can accommodate most requests."

    Which does seem contradictory to TFA...Linspire seems hokey to me to be the primary distro. One would think that they would use a popular distro (ie-Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE, etc) While Linspire is easy to use, I threw my younger sister into SuSE and Yast and she had a decent handle on things (Mind you, she's no geek but quite trendy, so a shock indeed :) ) I think they might be better off offering better/more distro options...

    Ditto on the hard disks preloaded with Linspire. A neat idea, although I bet it takes a bit for the distro to auto-detect the hardware, etc. For the non-Linux, this might troublesome.But a good idea nonetheless...Like Knoppix on steriods or something....

    Gotta love the rotating pengiun though....

    -thewldisntenough
    • by spacefrog (313816) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:49AM (#9723752)
      I threw my younger sister into SuSE and Yast and she had a decent handle on things (Mind you, she's no geek but quite trendy, so a shock indeed :)

      Sooooooooo......Being slashdot....Tell us more about this Linux-using sister of yours??!?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Wonder why the cost is higher....Can't be too hard to load up Linspire. Even states in TFA that it loads in only 10 mins. If anything, the costs should slightly lower (although TFA does not take into account for rebates, discounts, etc, so we can't be sure, eh?)

      I'm no businessman, but I would imagine that the demand for Linux-based PCs is less than that for Windows PCs, or even Macs. So if you can't move huge quantities of stock, simple supply and demand theory tells us that the price will be higher.

      I
      • Demand is low, so price is high? How is that "simple supply and demand theory", especially when the supply of Linux is infinite (because of no per-copy license charge, your only expense is labor to install it, which is no different from installing Windows)?

        Adam Smith is so misunderstood.

      • So if you can't move huge quantities of stock, simple supply and demand theory tells us that the price will be higher.
        Interesting. Conventional theory suggests that it's the higher price that causes demand to be lower, not the other way round.

        However there is an explanation for the observed facts: economies of scale.

    • Sub500.com (also known as Sub300.com in the US) has been selling LindowsOS PCs since around the time that the Lindows Mobile PC (laptop) came out. Further, Linspire provides driver, etc. support as part of its $500 per month OEM program. I don't know that Suse, Red Hat, etc. are interested in doing that, as they are more focused on servers (more expensive licenses and easier to sell support). Linspire only sells desktop machines.
  • Linux and Booze (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:16AM (#9723635)
    Those MegaTouch games in many bars run Linux. Check out the credits, they thank the Linux community, and say sources available on request. Toggle the power to see lilo on boot.

    http://www.moneymachines.com/touch.html
    • Re:Linux and Booze (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sydsavage (453743) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @03:11AM (#9723827)
      Those MegaTouch games in many bars run Linux.

      I was quite amazed to learn this fact while sipping suds at my local watering hole. There was a technician working on the machine, and had it open. Seeing the guts, it was pretty obviously just a pc inside. It even had a cd-rom drive, mounted sideways. When he was finished, and started it up, it looked (from across the room) to be Linux starting up.

      I asked the (extremely grumpy) repairman what OS was running on the box, and he grumped, "ly-nucks", with a frown. I asked him how he liked it, and he gave me a thumbs down.

      Then I quipped, "So you're more of a BSD guy, then?" He gave me a long stare, turned his back, and walked out. My drinking buddy thought it was pretty funny.

      Five minutes later, it was into it's endless reboot cycle that he'd been called in to fix. Freakin' genius.

      Seeing linux, as well as the technician's incompetence and rude manner, made me consider applying for a job with the vending company. I may yet, but I doubt my credentials would impress them.

    • the older ones run dos.....
      atleast the one in my livingroom does
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So what? I'm sure DOS could run a carwash.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, but you couldn't fix the bugs yourself after it "tunes" your car's body and "themes" your paint job.
  • by Blaede (266638) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:22AM (#9723657)
    You mean these people have somehow found a way of not having to use electricity to operate electrical-mechanical devices? Is there some hidden potential energy in a disk of Red Hat? Should AnandTech be doing a review to see which distro has the best energy loss ratio?
    • Is there some hidden potential energy in a disk of Red Hat? Should AnandTech be doing a review to see which distro has the best energy loss ratio?

      Sure. There's an absolutely incredible amount of potential energy in a Red Hat disc. To harness this energy, you will require:

      one Red Hat CD;

      a large industrial boiler unit;

      one steam turbine;

      a very long pair of tongs;

      one lead apron; and

      one antimatter Red Hat CD.

      All Linux distros seem to store roughly the same amount of energy--probably due to the commo

  • Interesting (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sivar (316343) <charlesnburns[.]gmail@com> on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:25AM (#9723668)
    Ironic that www.sub300.com and www.sub500.com, the Linux desktop resellers associated with this new store, Run Microsoft Windows 2000 [netcraft.com] webservers.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

      by tomblackwell (6196) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:30AM (#9723695) Homepage
      It's not ironic at all. Generally speaking, people who run stores, even computer stores, will lease web hosting from another company. Sometimes it will be Linux-based, sometimes it won't. Even if the store sells Linux computers.

      The people who are running this store probably have other fish to fry (and cars to wash).
      • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Sivar (316343) <charlesnburns[.]gmail@com> on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:58AM (#9723785)
        I know that's the normal line, but it seems that a company that is so flagrantly linux-based that they would open a Linux-only computer shop (and a carwash with a Tux logo no less!) would make it a point to eat their own dog food and use a Linux server. It isn't as if it is difficult to find Linux hosting online. Many hosting providers specifically ask what operating system you would like to run, and there are far fewer Windows-only hosts than mixed OS hosts.
      • Heh! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Shturmovik (632314)
        My observatory used to have its site hosted by a slick corporate-image-type company which runs Win2k/Win Server 2003. The downtime was terrible, and the management (all MCSEs, or working their way towards it...) were utterly hopeless.

        So we transferred hosting to a personal friend's two-bit, barely-break-even-if-we're-lucky-but-who-gives-a- s hit, nerdtoy hosting outfit running Debian, and we've never seen an outage since.

        This may sound like just another apocryphal *nix fanboy story, but it's true.
      • It is odd, though.

        Generally, with Virtual Hosting services, they run on Solaris, BSD or Linux (There are very few on Windows, AFAIK).

        Even if it was a co-lo server/managed hosting, Windows costs more for either solution..

    • by Radar|TGS (60772)
      Maybe they feel that while it's fine for the desktop, Linux just isn't ready for production servers?
  • Well at least its another step to get the public more aware or linux. Linux Carwash ay?
  • first linux shop? (Score:5, Informative)

    by POds (241854) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:33AM (#9723699) Homepage Journal
    http://www.everythinglinux.com.au/

    check it out, its great.

    Also, one of my other fav sites

    http://linuxjewellery.com/

    not realted
  • the carwash receives instructions from the control computer via XML.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Who knew that they were also running a Linux-powered car wash in the back?

    Anyone who read about this last time it was on slashdot [slashdot.org]

    Can it only be a dupe if the "editor" doesn't know its a dupe?

    Does anyone else suspect michael may have some kind of financial interest in this store, because he posted the last story on it (and even included a link to it!) yet this new story includes no new information.
  • by demonhold (735615) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @02:54AM (#9723767) Journal
    ... a store where assistants KNOW what they are talking about, KNOW what they are selling and actually give a shit about getting your computer to work more efficiently and without a glitch....

    Hmmmm sounds like bloody heaven to me....
  • World First? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Biogenesis (670772)
    They obviously haven't been doing enough research [everythinglinux.com.au].
  • And I am definitely going to check out this store.
    Just too bad its isn't on the College St. computer store ghetto.
  • World's first? (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by rinkjustice (24156)
    With so many idiot business ventures out there (ie: we have several thriving pet grooming outfits in my small home town), why can't there be a Linux-only computer store?

    People invest their life savings in much dumber ideas than that.
    • pet grooming pays (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! (70830) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @06:36AM (#9724257)
      Whats wrong with pet grooming? Seriously, have you ever owned a dog? They can get pretty filthy quickly and unless you like bathing 30-80lbs animals who don't want to take a bath, well that's you're only route.

      Toss in work, kids, etc and that 30+ bucks to groom your dog doesn't seem like a big deal.

      Simply put, the economics of the situation tend to work out.

      I would be pretty skeptical about investing in Linux retail. What are they making money off of? Pure hardware sales? The margins on hardware aren't too hot. I'm sure labor is pretty good, but the buyers probably already know how to do most things and paying seventy bucks an hour for someone to remount your CD-ROM or whatever is pretty excessive.

      Not to mention he's not only competing with the local electronics stores full of wintel machines, but web-based businesses with much less overhead. (is he selling on the web also?)

      Good luck and all, but there's more money to be made in dog grooming, if you want to be technical about it. At the end of the day the "idiot" business is the one which can't pay the bills.

      This does tug at my nostalgia strings as I remember the local computer stores I dragged my parents to in the late 80s. None of which are still in business. Even then I found that it was cheaper to order stuff through the macwarehouse or the computershopper magazine than the brick and morter stores. I must have been around 10 years old, most adults already know how to scour for deals and its a lot easier with the web.

      I'm assuming he doesnt have that much overhead and the carwash subsidizes the actual store. It looks like he bought a carwash and thought it would be fun to build a Linux store on the property. So that space was already going to waste and the Linux store is really just a hobby business built on top of his real business.

      Another positive aspect is that people can just walk in and play with Linux to see what its like. I'm sure many people are curious, but not curious enough to partition their drive or get a second machine. Kinda how the Apple store is full of people who will never own Apples.
    • Re:World's first? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by globalar (669767)
      Dogs, as your example includes, are given better care than many children in the world. They appeal to women as well, which make up a significant consumer market.

      Linux however, lacks the obvious charm and commonality of a dog and doesn't necessarily appeal to women. Ironic how a geek and Linux seem perfect for one another.

    • With so many idiot business ventures out there (ie: we have several thriving pet grooming outfits in my small home town), why can't there be a Linux-only computer store?

      I thought about doing a linux only store in my town. When you start to look at the numbers, you will see why it is a bad idea. Linux has a tiny market share. Current Linux users are do-it-yourself types who won't spend more to buy a pre-loaded computer. Most people who would buy a pre-loaded computer would do it at the suggestion of an ex

  • by Coupons (793098) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @03:37AM (#9723896) Homepage

    "...also running a Linux-powered car wash..."

    Fine, but they don't do windows.

  • Just thought I'd make the obligatory post to inform that we're not all Linux freaks here in TO.

    I run a WinXP machine, and recommend Mac to most people I know. :p
  • I can imagine wat it is like if it was a microsoft & carwash instead of linux.

    First there is a big sign outside : Please close all windows before using carrwash.

    - or -

    A customer ask to wash his windows.Service men response: Wich version you have? Windows 98 or XP?

    nahh i don't have a car nor a drivers license...
  • ...beacuse everythings free!


    That would be a damn fun store to shop at... just grab something and run out the door... if caught just tell them it's Linux!

  • What is Linspire? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    www.linspire.com seems to imply Linspire is not linux, it's a separate OS. It does not seem to be open source or even "free as in beer". The licensing terms appear to be far worse than bill gates has wet dreams about doing with XP. There is very invasive product activation and you have to keep paying a "mempership fee" or you lose access to all the software you've already bought, unless you paid extra for a lifetime license.

    For access to their forums, you also have to pay a membership fee, and to get a
    • Re:What is Linspire? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thephotoman (791574)
      That's usually what most of the Linux fans say about Linspire (formerly Lindows). However, it does run on the Linux kernel, so it does qualify as being "Linux". It isn't free (as in beer). That's part of why I'm so hostile to it. That, and it does recommend that you log in as root, which is a disaster waiting to happen.
  • About that car wash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thephotoman (791574) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @09:26AM (#9724605) Journal
    I seem to recall this article, which mentioned the fact that this was in the back of a car wash. Might just be me.

    But hey, Toronto is lucky. They have a store where they can prevent having to do the maintenence that I'm doing to my dad's computer (installing Firefox, Ad-Aware, and Spybot). Can you believe that he's been running that computer for three years without running Ad-Aware or Spybot? It's just a normal Winblows box, too!
  • It probably uses less water to get your car clean than a car wash powered by Windows, and it still gets your car cleaner!
  • Old Linux store (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I remember this small store in Paris 10 years ago.
    It was Linux only, this is where I used to buy all my Linux CDs (bandwidth was so expensive back then).
    Anyway, this store doesn't exist anymore, it lasted few years though.
    It was in the Bastille area, just behind the Opera.
  • by hajo (74449) on Saturday July 17, 2004 @10:27AM (#9724826) Homepage
    we had the Linux general store in Atlanta which opened in the late nineties (98-99). It was opened by a great guy; but the only people that visited were the local pierced freaks from GA tech and me. And like me we'd get one Suse (redhat whatever...) CD and put it on a bunch of discarded PCs. Guess what: The store didn't make it!
    In todays environment as a small business I don't think you can compete with $200 PCs at wallmart with Lindows pre-loaded or on the side of the equation with the IBMs of the world.
    The one niche I do see for significant growth in the Linux marketspace is as a consulting firm for small businesses. You do NOT need to spend $30 a square foot on retail space to do that! (Or whatever you pay for retail in Canada; but I can assure you professional looking retail is more expensive than professional looking mixed warehouse/office space.
    And for you entrpeneurs out there: you can start such a business really cheap!
    • Sub500.com already sells CAN$499 and US$299 (through the sub300.com site) computers over the internet. The only news about this is that they decided to open an actual store as well. I suspect that they plan on keeping the internet side as their main source of revenue.

      Also there is no professional here. Their retail space is in the back of a car wash.
  • I was thinking that there might be some interesting info about the hardware/software used to set up the carwash.

    Did he use RTAI?

    How did he interface with the hardware?

    What language was the software coded in?

    In fact, I see no mention at all about the carwash being Linux powered... Arguably in the title?

    Can anyone point the way to more info about the carwash?

    If he did manage to do this, it would IMO be a better pursuit [linuxcnc.org] than the store.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Bangalore has a Linux store (http://www.gtcdrom.com/ [gtcdrom.com])running from 1995. You get anything and everything related to Linux. For the past 5 years I have been doing all my Linux buying from there.
  • Why not Xandros? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by haruchai (17472)
    If he wanted to give an easy-to-use Linux to clients, can someone explain what are the main advantages of Linspire over Xandros?
    I found Xandros to be quite simple ( although I'm sticking with Mandrake) and Lin[dows|spire] wants your first-born and bank account.

    If Linspire were the only choice for desktop Linux on x86, I'd stick with Windows XP.
  • in june the newthinking store [newthinking.de] startet in berlin , selling linux-stuff like home entertainment-products running on linux, t-shirts, books, software and several hardware. several events around linux and information society take place in the store rooms.
  • Hi everyone. Marc From Sub300/Sub500 here. Again I thank the supporters for the support. So far our first couple weeks in business have been quite good. To point out a couple things though: 1) The article was incorrect. We are not concentrating solely on Linspire. We already have several other free distros available, and will start bring in the pay distros soon enough (hopefully by the end of this week). We will also be expanding our hardware and system selection. 2) Although some of the carwash joke

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