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Falling Hardware Prices Favor Linux 459

Posted by kdawson
from the days-when-vista-walked-the-earth dept.
An anonymous reader sends us to a blog posting arguing that, as hardware prices fall below $250 for laptops and desktops, Linux should gain as the Microsoft tax stands out in sharper relief. "In previous years, if you were spending US$1500 and up on a laptop, the Microsoft tax you were paying didn't seem like such a big deal. XP or Vista was pre-installed, fairly convenient... But as the price of hardware for small basic machines comes down, (think under US$250 by the end of next year), then software price starts to become a big issue. Why would you pay the price of your new laptop again just for the software, when all you want to do is really basic things?"
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Falling Hardware Prices Favor Linux

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  • please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by liquidpele (663430) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @02:53PM (#20795433) Journal
    Can we PLEASE stop trying to sell Linux as the cheap knock-off?
    With proper configuration and support, it stands on it's own. Not to mention Linux *will* cost at least some money for retailers if they want customers to really take it seriously since they'll need to pay royalties to the owners of formats like mp3 etc, since having it not be able to do those types of things out of the box is retarded when you just payed for the damn thing to be pre-configured.
  • Re:MS Tax? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JonJ (907502) <jon.jahren@gmail.com> on Saturday September 29, 2007 @02:53PM (#20795443)
    But for everyone that doesn't want Windows, it is indeed a tax.
  • by dokebi (624663) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @03:00PM (#20795493)
    MS isn't stupid. If linux begins to seriously cannibalizing their market, they will simply reduce Windows OS price to 50-100USD, with even bigger academic discounts. That would cut into their profits, but it'll keep people happy and maintain their OS dominance.
  • by eck011219 (851729) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @03:01PM (#20795497)
    ... but for now a $400 computer with Windows sounds pretty good to most people, too. And the learning process (particularly if they choose XP over Vista, as they can for now) will be significantly less arduous for the average joe user with some previous Windows experience. Not that the friendlier Linux distros (Ubuntu and its ilk) are hard to use, but they're more intimidating than what people already know backwards and forwards.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 29, 2007 @03:01PM (#20795499)
    This makes the assumption that Microsoft cannot drop the price of Windows. They have lots of side products and the cash to drive a price war for a long time. I think Microsoft charges oems maybe $30 for installing windows. That may sound like a lot but then then people spend $5 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks
  • Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by noewun (591275) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @03:01PM (#20795501) Journal

    Add this to the list of things which should make Linux gain marketshare. Off the top of my head, the list includes: Microsoft's problems with XP/Vista, Apple's problems with 10.4/10.5, Apple's switch to Intel, the latest Windows virus, the introduction of the iPhone, the introduction of the iTMS, the fact that Balmer is a sweaty ape, and on and on.

    The reason that Linux is, and will remain a niche player in the OS desktop market have almost next to nothing to do with technology. I think many posters here have at least a minimum familiarity with Linux, at least enough to know that a well-maintained Linux system can easily do all of the things more normal computer buyers need. It can check email, surf the web, handle digital pictures, play music, load music onto iPods, balance checkbook and find porn. The problem for Linux is that Windows and OS X can do all these things as well. Given this, there's no reason for an average consumer to switch.

    What about hardware lock in? What about free, as in speech and beer?

    No one cares.

    I will repeat that: the average consumer doesn't care about either one. Most consumers already hold themselves in a sort of vendor lock in. If they've had a good experience buying from Dell, odds are they will continue to buy from Dell. If they've had good luck with Macs their entire computing lives, odds are they will stay there. And it's not just with computers. We all know people who will only by Hondas, or Fords, or Black & Decker or Bose. This isn't a technology issue, it's a marketing and consumer loyalty issue, and no amount of fancy kernel engineering will change that. It's the same for free speech and beer: your average consumer doesn't see the cost of the OS, because s/he buys one with the computer. My brother ran the OS his Powerbook came with (10.2.8) for years. He only accidently upgraded to 10.4 because he brought his machine to me to fix an unrelated problem, and I said something like, "Holy shit, you're still running 10.2.8." It was all the same to him, and I'm not sure he noticed the difference between 10.2 and 10.4. I'm sure he will be running whatever version of 10.4 his MacBook Pro came with until the next time he sees me.

  • A timely subject! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rindeee (530084) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @03:04PM (#20795527)
    I was just having a conversation with a buddy of mine about this subject this afternoon. Rather than desktop/laptop prices though, our talk centered around servers. I was pricing Dell blade servers today. Do you know you can get a blade chassis with 10 blades 'loaded to the gills' for around $60K? Now granted, that may not be small potatoes, but for the horsepower involved (each blade has dual 3GHz Quad cores with 16GB RAM and dual 146GB drives) it's peanuts. My use revolves around one use and one use only...Xen on CentOS. That $60k is a lot of jack to the average /.er, but compared to what I would have had to (and did) settle for a couple of years ago, it's practically free. Man, what a great time to be in this industry. The more commoditized (yeah, I realize that probably isn't even a slang term) hardware becomes, the better for me/us/anyone using FOSS solutions. Love it! Love it! Love it!!!
  • Obvious for years (Score:1, Insightful)

    by dotancohen (1015143) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @03:14PM (#20795593) Homepage
    I've been saying this for years. Microsoft helps the hardware manufacturers by ensuring that three year old hardware is outdated and new software won't run on it. But that strategy backfires when it promotes the development new hardware that is cheaper to produce, and therefore cheaper to sell. The price of the software (OS, office suite, image editing software) becomes a larger and larger percentage of the total cost of the system (hardware, software, ISP, etc).
  • Re:please (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tgatliff (311583) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @03:22PM (#20795641)
    I certainly do not see Linux as a cheap knock off, but OSS in general is free, so it is kind of hard to push it as anything else other than cheap. Cost in OSS has no relation on quality, however, which actually is OSS's biggest business problem... Love it or hate it, but people associate low cost with cheap quality. That is just the way it is...

    From my perspective, I hope we stop calling always calling it Linux, and rather just focus on the distro, such as "Ubuntu" or maybe "Dell OS"... The beauty of Linux is that it excels when it is in the background designed for specific tasks, such as in Tivo's, or even embedded devices.... For example, do we call Apple's OS "OSX NextStep/BSD"??? :-)
  • City Tax? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xtifr (1323) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @03:24PM (#20795651) Homepage
    This is one of thos cliche phrases that are, oh boy, so stupid, it's not funny anymore. i don't pay any city tax! I GLADLY pay to use their services. Road repair, fire and police are all great things that I appreciate, so it's obvious that this is not really a tax. Even if it's mandatory for people who don't use those services. Oh, wait...

    I've got no problems with your use and enjoyment of MS software (I used to know a lot of perfectly reasonable people who agreed with you, although that number definitely seems to be shrinking), but why the hell am I forced to subsidize it? The fact is that "MS tax" is a perfectly reasonable way to describe the mandatory, non-negotiable bundling that's usually offered even if you do want the bundle.
  • Not so fast...! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @03:25PM (#20795661)

    But as the price of hardware for small basic machines comes down, (think under US$250 by the end of next year), then software price starts to become a big issue. Why would you pay the price of your new laptop again just for the software, when all you want to do is really basic things?"


    Unless Linux vendors produce what people want, there will not be that much anticipated uptake at all.

    If one has to download and configure not less that 4 pieces of software just to get a basic mail-server functional, using the command line and editing text files which can be prone to errors...

    If one has to put up with slow loading software (read OpenOffice.org) running on ugly interfaces that sometimes look incomplete (read KDE and GNOME), then we in the Linux world will wait a long time to get noticed especially on the desktop.

    But it's getting better on the server front. The Apache web server for example does not require that many add ons [if any], to get it fully functional, and the upcoming release of KDE looks very promising.

    On the GNOME front, I am not impressed by its inability to do basic file operations in the file dialog.

    Those that argue that this functionality should be restricted to the file manager have never explained why one can still create a directory/folder within this same file dialog. With their argument, it should be removed. Period.

  • Mods: I suggest (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 29, 2007 @03:28PM (#20795685)
    I firkin hate it when people do this, riding the top post even if it's trolling rubbish just to get their post seen.

    It's a shame there's no mod option: '-1 Comment System Abuse'. Suppose '-1 Overrated' fits quite well in its absence.
  • matter that much either.

    The fact is-- many businesses going the open source route save money, but many pay more. Those that pay more understand that the money they save on software license fees can go towards making their entire operations more efficient, and they usually will send significantly more on consulting labor in this regard than they saved on software license costs.

    Open source software is not the low-cost cheap solution. It is actually the high-end, more expensive solution which provides a great deal more power and flexibility than the truly cheap alternatives.
  • by HexaByte (817350) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @03:40PM (#20795757)
    Linspire and Xandros are 2 of the most user-friendly Linux's available, and Linspire comes w/ all the codecs built in. They also have OEMs w/ preconfigured computers. However both cost.

    If you want a free-as-in-beer OS, you have to put up with it not having the licensed crap already installed. This cuts into the price advantage.

    The real big problem is still app computability: "I have $250K invested in business apps that don't run on Linux, and you want me to switch to what? IS there a Linux app for me? Even if we abandon all the Windows licenses and apps we have, why should I put out $75K in employee retraining and 50K in lost productivity (until we're all ramped up on the new systems) to chance that something else is as good as what I have? To save $2500 in MS tax?"

    No, until there are the apps needed at significant savings, most businesses won't switch, and most office workers have to be compatible at home w/ the office. Servers are an entirely different beast.

    Now, getting Granny and you sister to switch because all they do is swap photos, email and play games, that I can do.

  • by UbuntuDupe (970646) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @04:01PM (#20795893) Journal
    Actually, not even Ubuntu understands that. (Why does Firefox have Ubuntu in its spellcheck dictionary, but not spellcheck?) Ubuntu would never tell you to "go into the kitchen and cook it yourself". It would, however, based on my experience, say:

    -"Oh your food's not hot enough? Just give us your microwave real quick and we'll heat it right up!" "I don't carry a microwave with me to restaurants, especially ones that have signs outside advertising freedom from carrying around a microwave." "Oh, well, we don't really help thieves." [1]
    -me: "I tasted my food and it's too cold. Please correct it." Ubuntu: "Okay, problem with your food? First, let's do a little diagnostic. Taste it and see if it's too cold." [2]
    -"Okay, you can't get your food packaging open? First, tell us what's inside the package and every dietary disorder you have." "Um, what does that have to do with being able to open the container? Look, I explained that it's just a problem with the tabs not separating." "OH WELL GEEZ, IF YOUR GONNA BE LIKE THAT, you can just go fuck yourself." [3]
    -"Okay, if you were choking to death on our food, why didn't you just ask one of us for help? I mean, that doesn't make sense -- somehow, you're capable of ordering food, but not requesting a Heimlich?"[4]

    [1] Ubuntu flaunts its philosophy of freedom from proprietary software, and the forum told me that if I want to access my computer after Ubuntu near-bricked it, I would need my Windows CD, then accused me of pirating it when I didn't instantly know where it was.
    [2] When I explained what was wrong and what I had tried, the first, and several other posters completely ignored that and suggested things I had tried several times over.
    [3] An Ubuntu forum poster demanded to know what version of Windows I had installed, in order to diagnose a well-defined error with the bootloader, which happens before it has any chance to load any OS, and then claimed it would be impossible to help me unless he knew this.
    [4] Several Ubuntu forum posters claimed that, as a logical consequence of me having burned the Ubuntu install CD, I must be able to burn new CDs they listed, forgetting that it was using the install CD in the first place that disabled my CD burner from being used!
  • Re:Please RTFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @04:03PM (#20795913) Journal
    I take a certain amount of pride in the market adoption of linux. Granted I haven't written a single line of code on the whole of my computer, but I have helped many a new user on the forum of my preferred (yet not current) distro, fedora. I think that this is a nice way of helping out within the community, and it is the whole community who builds the system, packages it, ships it, distributes it, and gets others to consider adopting it. When I have more money I'll probably donate as well, and I feel that what I've done - and what everyone else in that system does - makes us all a kind of "we". And that leads to a certain pride.
  • by Macthorpe (960048) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @04:21PM (#20796029) Journal
    Thanks for bothering to click the link.

    Do you want to do that and try commenting again?
  • by ESR (3702) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @04:36PM (#20796145) Homepage
    That's right, I did make this claim.

    And I know why the effect didn't bite. It's because the big OEMs get their cost of Windows installation offset by the fees that crapware manufacturers play to get their demo versions and adware and spyware bundled into the distro. For an outfit like Dell, those fees are probably large enough to make installing Windows a net profit generator.

    This would also explain why Linux configurations generally cost more that Windows configurations with identical hardware. It's not conspiracy, they're just trying to maintain margin in the absence of the crapware fees.
  • by acidrain (35064) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @04:36PM (#20796147)

    The whole "people don't care about what technology they are using" argument fails the moment users realize they can get free stuff. For example the mainstream adoption of bittorent to download movies. All of a sudden everyone knows how it works and where to look for torrents etc.

    And when Linux means that their laptop costs 1/2 as much, all of a sudden everyone will be recommending packages out of Ubuntu.

    The one flaw with this whole thing is that it is absurd to think that Microsoft would blindly price themselves out of the market. Microsoft will sell XP for the next 10 years at $15 a pop if that is what they have to do to stay dominant. They charge $100/machine only because the market will bear it.

  • Vista feels free (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 29, 2007 @05:22PM (#20796429)
    Since a $500 dual core laptop (pretty sweet deal) comes with Vista home pro, it feels like Vista is free.
    It might be different, if you saw the price tag for $350 for the same laptop without Vista - but until then you think that you got a decent laptop and it comes with free Vista.
  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by noewun (591275) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @05:27PM (#20796489) Journal

    No. No.

    And no.

    I know there's a general bias against marketing on Slashdot. Hell, even I think it's bullshit 50% of the time. But marketing--real, well done marketing, like Apple does--is a very difficult thing, and it's something which very few companies in any industry do well. Some companies do it well and poorly at the same time. Most of Microsoft's market is for shit, but their XBox division does it very well (at least in the U.S. They suck at it in Japan.)

    Fr'example, let's look at the iPod versus the Zune. Apple's iPod marketing is very focused and seemingly very simple. It has one, overriding message: the iPod is music. Not 'the iPod can help you manage your music collection'. Not 'the iPod makes your music sound better'. Not even 'you can share your music with your friends with the iPod'. Simply, 'the iPod is music'. And because the iPod's product design backs this up, it's an enormously successful product because the whole thing is designed to make managing your music collection and using the device as simple as possible. There are no extraneous features, and none advertised. You aren't told what you can do with your music, or how to handle it, or how many in formats you can listen to it. You are simpye told, 'this is music.' You plug it into your machine. It grabs your playlists. You press play.

    Now, let's look at the Zune, if you can find one. It wasn't sold as an mp3 player: it was sold as some weird cross between a music player and a social networking device. The message wasn't 'this thing is music'. The message was. . .

    . . .well, there was no message. There wasn't a coherent narrative, or a center of focus. There was just 'here's this thing which will do stuff. With music. Buy it. . .'

    Linux has no narrative an average computer user will care about.

  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Saturday September 29, 2007 @05:58PM (#20796729) Journal

    > "The article really has it wrong. Falling HW prices make paying the "MS tax" more palatable."

    The article has it right. Microsoft got their start playing Monopoly by selling a $50 DOS package for $2000 - $6000 computers. Just the retail sales taxes were more than DOS.

    Then the price of computers started to fall ... not much, because the hardware requirements went up, for running Windows. Still, $1500 - $3000 for a decent computer, and $100 for an OS - the sales taxes were still more of a consideration than the price of the OS.

    Now they have a problem - the cost of the OS is more than any single other component in most systems ... so you can either continue to buy Microsoft, or you can get double your money's worth buying naked boxes and slapping linux on them.

    For most people, that naked box does everything they need. The money they save can buy a Wii, and STILL come out ahead.

    Now if you also add the cost of Microsoft Office, the equation is even worse ...

    No wonder Balmer throws chairs - his competition is Economics 101.

  • Re:Frist! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitig (1056110) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @05:59PM (#20796735)

    As someone seriously considering buying Asus's eeepc (awful name), I have to agree with the main point of this article with regard to costs.
    Well, sort of. Unfortunately, the lowest priced hardware tends to be the hardest to get working with Linux. Sure, I know the RA points out that most of the machines can run some sort of Linux, but there's a difference between running Linux and having all peripherals supported. I've spent a few weeks trying to get WiFi working under Feisty Faun on my desktop, with no success: native support doesn't work and I can't get ndiswrapper to recognise it. No, I'm not a Linux guru, nor a networking guru, but nor are 99.9% of the customers for that cheap hardware (the gurus are going to want some serious metal, after all!) so the pain of getting Linux working properly is likely to outweigh the Microsoft tax. To get FF working on my desktop I'd probably have to buy paid support (I've already tried asking in the forums), which would likely cost more than an OEM copy of Vista (which I could now upgrade to XP, it seems). Sorry, I wish it were otherwise, but Linux is still experts only, and I can't see cheap hardware changing that.
  • Re:Not so fast...! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by uglyduckling (103926) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @06:08PM (#20796807) Homepage
    *sigh*... all major linux distros come with tools, graphical or otherwise, that will help you configure a server for whatever you want. Look at Debian: completely free, it's Debconf system asks you simple questions to set up an MTA, Web server, File server, etc. etc.. Debconf will use command line 'Y/N' prompts, a text-based menu interface or a dialog-box interface depending on what you select.


    Apart from anything, the idea that a graphical interface is an easier option than text files for configuration of a non-trivial system like a mailserver or web server is absolute nonsense. If it were that easy MS wouldn't need hundreds of pages of detailed examples for MCSE. I have a little archive of config scripts for various server setups that I can drop into /etc and with a little minor editing have something up and running in a few minutes. Setting up a Windows server takes far longer, and I usually end up missing some obscure option in a dialog somewhere. If I go through a text file I know I've seen and considered every option and made my selection, if I'm unsure of anything I can make a note of it and easily find the option again with my text editor's search function.

  • The cost of installing linux at this point is non-zero, because its an "out of the ordinary" thing for most PC manufacturers - they're simply not geared for it.

    Now add the revenues from crapware - even if its only $20, that's $20 more that "has" to be added to the price of the linux box, for the simple reason that most linux users don't need what the crapware sellers are selling. Antivirus? Nope. AOL? Puh-lease. Ghost? We've got dd for free, and it even backs up Windows partitions ... so until someone comes up with crapware that can be installed big-time on linux boxes ...

  • Double-edged Sword (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DJ_Perl (648258) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @06:23PM (#20796913) Homepage
    Not so fast! When hardware prices are high, it makes sense to use GNU/Linux or BSD on barebones legacy hardware. Falling hardware prices means that it is cheaper to feed Vista's gluttonous hardware requirements.
  • by Mansing (42708) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @07:30PM (#20797411)
    "Unfortunately, the lowest priced hardware tends to be the hardest to get working with Linux."

    This is also true of Windows. For those who have tried to get a Toshiba laptop functioning properly using a boxed version of Windows XP, they'll see no difference with Linux.

    Most OEMs bundle "their" Windows with their hardware. Toshiba, for example, images a version of Windows XP with all the drivers for their hardware installed. If you were packaging Linux with as an OEM, you would do the same thing.

    When using a boxed Windows XP, the Toshiba laptop here needed video card drivers, WiFi drivers, and audio card drivers downloaded and installed. I would expect the same to be true with a comparable Linux distribution. I'm sure that before HP ships a Linux machine, they have installed all the drivers for the hardware in the machine. Additionally, the lower end hardware has probably more "customized" Windows images on it.

    Ask anyone who has rebuilt a laptop from an original Windows XP installation. Then ask them how many drivers were need to bring the machine to the OEM bundle performance. The same would be true of a Linux distribution.
  • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000 AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday September 29, 2007 @07:42PM (#20797503)

    ... but for now a $400 computer with Windows sounds pretty good to most people, too. And the learning process (particularly if they choose XP over Vista, as they can for now) will be significantly less arduous for the average joe user with some previous Windows experience. Not that the friendlier Linux distros (Ubuntu and its ilk) are hard to use, but they're more intimidating than what people already know backwards and forwards.

    While this is true for users of Windows many don't even have a computer. For some the difference in price between a $400 PC and a $200 means they can afford the $200 one. While many in the world can't afford $200 many more can afford it than can afford $400. As prices come down more and more people in the third world will be able to get a PC. I think you'll see the same thing happen with computers as what's happening with cellphones. Even in places with landlines, which many places don't have, more and more people area able to buy cellphones. Even some homeless people can afford one, and trying to get a job without a phone is difficult. And if low cost PCs are built locally, this will create employment there which improves the economy.

    Falcon
  • by JohnBailey (1092697) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @07:54PM (#20797597)
    I remember going to the Ubuntu forum and checking out the thread of the problem you refer to. It should be set as a sticky thread to act as a how-to on the wrong way to ask for help. The whole thread can be enjoyed here. http://preview.tinyurl.com/2324sq [tinyurl.com] Read the thread before being sympathetic towards UbuntuDupe.

    After skimming through it again, I'm still impressed with how friendly and helpful the Ubuntu users were to such an obvious pratt. Please stick with Windows.

    [1] Ubuntu flaunts its philosophy of freedom from proprietary software, and the forum told me that if I want to access my computer after Ubuntu near-bricked it, I would need my Windows CD, then accused me of pirating it when I didn't instantly know where it was.
    Truth:- After you rendered your computer unable to boot, and didn't see fit to download any bootable operating system, someone suggested you use the Windows boot features to get one OS up and running so you could try to diagnose what the problem was on your computer with three different hard drives. Kinda tricky fixing a problem with no operating system available. And the computer was at no time bricked. stop being a drama queen.

    [2] When I explained what was wrong and what I had tried, the first, and several other posters completely ignored that and suggested things I had tried several times over.
    Truth:- When you vaguely mentioned some of the things you had tried, which included putting the boot loader on all three hard drives and typing something into the install options on the Ubuntu disk, you ignored any advice and ranted.

    [3] An Ubuntu forum poster demanded to know what version of Windows I had installed, in order to diagnose a well-defined error with the bootloader, which happens before it has any chance to load any OS, and then claimed it would be impossible to help me unless he knew this.
    Truth:- They asked for any information including which version of Windows you had, and you ranted. and got surprisingly defensive.

    [4] Several Ubuntu forum posters claimed that, as a logical consequence of me having burned the Ubuntu install CD, I must be able to burn new CDs they listed, forgetting that it was using the install CD in the first place that disabled my CD burner from being used!
    Truth:-The Ubuntu guys asked you to download another copy on a different computer and use the checksum to confirm that there had not been any errors with the download, and to use the disk verification feature to make sure that the disk had not got corrupted while burning. A common problem as it happens. And to download the bootable CD so you would have an operating system to help you figure out what the problem was. they had no way of knowing if you had the ability to burn another CD on the computer you were using to whine at them or not, but as you had access to at least one computer with a burner, you could have taken the drive from one computer and put it in the other working one easily enough.

    I'm sure there are cases of people being obnoxious to someone looking for help on some forums, and there are no doubt many who will be dismissive of something they see as a trivial problem, but this was not the case here.
  • by digitig (1056110) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @08:02PM (#20797643)

    "Unfortunately, the lowest priced hardware tends to be the hardest to get working with Linux."

    This is also true of Windows. For those who have tried to get a Toshiba laptop functioning properly using a boxed version of Windows XP, they'll see no difference with Linux.

    The particular difference that I saw is that my cheap WiFi card came with a Windows driver in the box, but I have been unable to find a working Linux driver for it and I've been unable to get a wrapper around the Windows driver to work under Linux. When I start seeing cheap hardware shipping with Linux drivers I'll believe that Windows and Linux users see no difference. Can anyone point me to a WiFi card for my desktop that does ship with a Linux driver?
  • Re:please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evilviper (135110) on Saturday September 29, 2007 @10:30PM (#20798429) Journal

    Linux *will* cost at least some money for retailers if they want customers to really take it seriously since they'll need to pay royalties to the owners of formats like mp3 etc,

    Really? Until perhaps 2000, Windows didn't come with MP3 support. To this day, it still doesn't come with AAC support, and WMA is a joke.

    Windows doesn't include popular video codecs, either. Divx/MPEG-4 is everywhere, but NOT included with Windows... Everyone's still forced to download the codec from Divx.com... And, you guessed it, they provide a Linux version as well.

    So, nobody is going to take Linux seriously, because it requires a couple clicks in Synaptic to install every audio and video codec you could ever want (MPlayer/libavcodec). But everyone takes Windows seriously, because it forces you to trawl the web to find every single individual video and audio codec you want to use...

    I can see you're right. Linux* is going in the wrong direction... It should be MORE Windows-like, and make multimedia encoding and playback infinitely more difficult.

    And as for MP3s... The patent expires in a couple years, and the point becomes moot (see: GIFs).

    * (Disclaimer: I'm actually a FreeBSDer... Long live Slackware)

  • by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @12:02AM (#20798945) Journal
    ... cheap hardware means cheap Vista-capable computers. Don't forget the swing goes both ways.
  • by cloakable (885764) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @10:26AM (#20801641)
    1) Easy enough to do. Most of the major distributions will do this on install. Hell, if you're installing on identical boxes, save time and dd a image directly onto the disk - no installer needed, no setup, no anything. 2) Why the hell would you need to do that? Just take a preexisting distro (Ubuntu, SuSE, Debian, whatever) and use that. This way you get 3) The support structure of the previously mentioned distro. Hell, if you don't want to outhouse support (unlikely, this seems to be an increasingly popular option), it's hardly expensive to train support people to support Linux rather than MS. Have you seen how much getting a MSCE is? They'd save money on that end.

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