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Wal-Mart's $200 Linux PC Sells Out 619

Posted by kdawson
from the ok-there's-a-market-for-it dept.
hankmt writes "About a week ago Wal-Mart began selling a $200 Linux machine running on a 1.5 ghz VIA C7 processor and 512 MB of RAM. While the specs are useless for Vista, it works blazingly fast on Ubuntu with the Enlightenment Window Manager. The machine is now officially sold out of their online warehouses (it may still be available in some stores). And the product sales page at wal-mart.com is full of glowing reviews from new and old Linux users alike."
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Wal-Mart's $200 Linux PC Sells Out

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  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday November 12, 2007 @10:57PM (#21331615) Journal
    How many bogomips are we talking here...
  • It's been like this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eddi3 (1046882) on Monday November 12, 2007 @10:58PM (#21331621) Homepage Journal
    It sold out much faster then this; It's been out of stock for at least 2 days.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @12:37AM (#21332477)
      Manager at a local Wall Mart said he had 80 to go on sale at 8:00AM and they were all sold at 8:01. People began lining up at 6 in the morning, and they gave slips to the first 80 in line. I went in at 5PM and people were still trying to buy them.
    • Aargh! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by symbolset (646467) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @02:01AM (#21333027) Journal

      I had it in my cart this morning. Didn't close the deal. Maybe I can catch the next round. I also would like to know how many they sold and how fast. If any come available open box maybe I can get one of those.

      I have the 1.3GHz via, and I like it. With Vista any kind of video is a slide show, even with the XP drivers loaded. Runs XP decently well with 1GB of memory. With Ubuntu it's just a regular PC. Power efficient, there are kits to scale it down for your car. It's not a toy -- you can do real stuff with it.

      If anybody bought one of these and aren't happy with its linuxy wierdness, try selling it on ebay. I think you'll do better than taking it back to the store. :-)

      I'm not buying the $299 one with Vista and twice the RAM. They can keep that. You can get a 2GB stick of DDR2-800 at newegg for $50 so if they wanted $250 for the box with 2GB in it I could go there.

      WalMart does not like to run out of stuff. I wonder if they'll take this as a sign that Everex isn't ready to be a WalMart supplier, or as a sign that we're all ready for the smokin cheap environmentally friendly linux pc. Can Via even make the motherboards to meet the demand? I hear their output is rather limited.

      • Re:Aargh! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @09:59AM (#21335323) Journal
        It's not a toy -- you can do real stuff with it.

        You put me straight into geezer mode with that statement - This blows my mind. The IBM XP is a quarter of a century old, had a 5mhz clock speed (this box has a 1300mhz clock speed), had 64K of memory and a ten mb hard drive, and guess what? you could still do real work on it! Spreadsheets, word processors, statistics, databases; I used these things at work in 1987 (we also had a couple of 286s and the blindingly fast 386 at the time).

        I bought one used, the one I bought for my home had a Hercules card so was capable of graphics. I bought some extra memory and a joystick port, installed them, and had a gaming machine.

        Real work? Pshaw, when the 486 (capable of internet A/V, could sample and play CD quality WAV files) came out a computer like the Wal Mart Ubantu box was a supercomputer.

        -mcgrew [kuro5hin.org]
    • by onefriedrice (1171917) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @02:32AM (#21333159)
      Wait... does this mean that we like Walmart now?

      Just wondering...
      • by d3ac0n (715594) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @09:58AM (#21335321)

        Wait... does this mean that we like Walmart now?

        Just wondering...


        I never disliked Walmart. Although I am aware of the reasons many people do not like Walmart. (No, I don't need them reiterated here, thank you.)

        One thing I've suspected for awhile, is that the "Linux Revolution" (Linux taking off as a desktop alternative) would NOT happen at businesses or with high-end users. It will happen much like the "Windows Revolution" happened back in the 90's. It will start with the "Walmart buyer". Ordinary people making ordinary FINANCIAL decisions to buy a cheap PC.

        This is the regular, ordinary, joe-sixpack, "what's a right-click?" kind of person. The kind of people scorned by many of the elitists in the OS and PC fields. The people looked down upon by many many many here at Slashdot as backward, ignorant rubes living in "flyover country". The kind of people that voted for GW Bush, that fly American flags from their porches, that have communities with 4th of July parties that everyone in town attends. Small-town middle American traditional people.

        THEY are the ones that will start the Linux revolution. Not because they "did the research" or "grok FOSS" or any of that elitist crap. But because it makes financial sense to buy a $200 US PC that can do everything they need it to do. They will get introduced to Linux for the first time, perhaps as their first PC EVER, and will love it. They will stick with this machine for at least 5 years, as it will be able to handle all the basic tasks they need it for, and when it dies or they need another, they will look for another LINUX PC to replace it with.

        The Linux revolution begins... In Iowa, at Walmart.

  • by r_jensen11 (598210) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:00PM (#21331639)
    Remember, these are typical Walmart customers here. How many of them are going to return these things when that AOL CD they have doesn't work automagically? How many of these people are expected to have DSL or Cable instead of dial-up? How many are going to be returned because they don't have MS Office pre-installed on them?
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:06PM (#21331705)
      It seems the people buying it know that it isn't Windows or they're buying it for friends/family and they'll be providing the support.

      And for home users it's all about knowing someone who can fix it when it breaks. With Windows there's usually some neighbor's kid who "knows computers".

      So don't expect too many returns on this.
    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:12PM (#21331769) Journal
      how many AOL users bother to change their OS to linux? how many people use the features in MS office that OpenOffice doesn't support? how many would even notice the difference?
    • by Erris (531066) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:19PM (#21331845) Homepage Journal

      Remember, these are typical Walmart customers here.

      That is important, they are not like Slasdot readers. Unlike business users or college students, M$ has done no favors for these people and they have zero loyalty.

      How many of them are going to return these things when that AOL CD they have doesn't work automagically?

      I don't know. The EEE has an AOL button, no CD is required. I know it's hard to believe but AOL would be happy to spam users of other OS.

      How many of these people are expected to have DSL or Cable instead of dial-up?

      None. Why should they?

      How many are going to be returned because they don't have MS Office pre-installed on them?

      None. Open Office is more than enough for the average school paper. Very few people actually NEED M$ Office for work and even they hate it. The rest of the world considers M$'s ever changing, secret file formats an expensive ass pain. They are right.

      Anyone who actually needs M$ Office will have their boss pay for it or pirate the junk. If M$ makes the second option impossible, the first option will have to happen or the boss will learn to use free software. M$ is not going to be able to get everyone to pony up $400 every couple of years for a text editor and that's where they system breaks down. Sooner or later, all of those smart business users and college graduates will figure out that they don't need M$ either.

      • by lordofthechia (598872) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:48PM (#21332109)
        What I wanna know is 2 things, how effective are the 3D drivers for the onboard Via Video chip. And what repositories is this thing using (How compltete / Up to date are they)? Best thing about Ubuntu are the kickass up to date repositories and snappy package manager (Thanks Debian!). This has Synaptic but not much else is mentioned.

        Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] is sparse at the moment. On the Graphics side, the Via Arena site I just saw:

        "XVidtune Tool". "2D", "MPEG2/4 Hardware Acceleration", "Hardware Video Overlay", and "TV Out" including HDTV, DuoView
        So... can I play Neverball, Warcraft III, etc, on this thing?
        • Via chipsets (Score:3, Informative)

          by phorm (591458)
          Take this with a grain of salt, as I last actually played with 3d graphics on a VIA board sometime ago. Years back, the drivers were a royal PAIN in the butt to get working, but nowadays there's acceleration built into the kernel if I remember correctly. In either case, the 3d acceleration is decent enough to play neverball, and I've never had any issues playing DVD's, DivX movies, and using TV out etc on my 1GHZ Epia M10000 (that is, until it blew a capacitor).

          As to Warcraft III, I couldn't comment. Back
    • by schnikies79 (788746) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:51PM (#21332143)
      I don't believe a lot of buyers were typical wal-mart customers. These PC's have been blasted all over every tech site for the last several days and each site has been covered in comments about people who want to get one. There are comments on this slashdot article by people who have bought them.

      I think a load of these were bought by linux fans wanting to support linux on a retail box. for a low price.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      Remember, these are typical Walmart customers here.

      I resent that incredibly racist and elitist statement. I may not be the "typical" WalMart customer, but I do shop there. I would be a fool to spend fifty dollars for a pair of jeans elsewhere when I can get a pair of Wranglers at Wal Mart for $12. I would be a fool to pay $8 for a big bottle of Listerine at Osco's ehen I can get the same bottle for half the price at Wal Mart.

      Is Wal Mart evil? Sure they are. ALL big corporations are evil. I'd rather spend te
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:00PM (#21331647)
    Not quite what you'd think!, 10/31/2007
    By NWAshopper, AR Read all reviews by this reviewer

    Value for price paid: 1 out of 5
    Meets Expectations: 1 out of 5

    Buyers beware! Don't let the low cost of this computer sway your credit card. This computer doesn't have the power to run Windows XP!!! This is a decent buy for the tech smart who are looking for ITX Hardware on the cheap. DO NOT BUY. You will be very dissapointed!

    Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

    Great Value for Money, 11/06/2007
    By CompuShopr Read all reviews by this reviewer

    Value for price paid: 5 out of 5
    Meets Expectations: 5 out of 5

    This is a Linux machine that's capable of XP or Vista. It runs quick, and upgrades easily. Major con is no monitor. Tried XP and Vista and it runs like a champ. Definitely recommend this product.
    • by Bo'Bob'O (95398) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @03:56AM (#21333547)
      Not fast enough for XP? I know the C7 isn't the fastest machine, but, I don't buy it. I ran XP on my PII-350 laptop with 300 some MB of ram for years without problem. I only upgraded for the luxury, really. If I'd just put in a flash blocker, I could still be happily browsing Slashdot and doing work on it. I suppose it's possible that a PII-350 could out preform a 1.7 ghz chip of a different architecture, but it dosn't seem likely, could anyone enlighten me here?
  • by patio11 (857072) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:01PM (#21331667)
    ... the Slashdot equivalent of strapping buttered toast to the back of a kitten and pushing it off a table. You could power a perpetual motion machine with the flames generated by this combo...
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:05PM (#21331689) Homepage
    Wal*Mart = Bad
    Linux = Good

    *whimper*
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by arth1 (260657)
      It's like your mother-in-law driving your new Porsche off a cliff, you mean?

      Seriously, though, you don't have to buy a sub-$200 PC from Wal-Mart if you don't want to.
      At Pricewatch, there's quite a few bring-your-own-OS deals, including Core 2 Duo or athlon 64 x2 systems for ~$200 including shipping.
  • An 15" LCD monitor will cost you about $200.. so, what, $30 for a keyboard and mouse.. $430 for a computer, not bad.

    • $200 for a 15"? Where are you buying your monitors? I just bought a nice 19" flat panel (1280x1024) from NewEgg for $168.
  • I ordered one online for my kid. It's supposed to arrive at the local walmart by about Nov. 26. My wife was convinced my brain had been taken over by aliens, since I normally don't like walmart. I was like, "Honey, this is Linux! It's not evil, it's good!"

    Walmart has had other linux PCs for sale online. What was supposed to be different about this one was that it was supposed to be on the shelves in the stores. AFAICT that never actually happened. The local walmart was one of the ones on the list that was

    • I hope these machines are good. I used to buy the $200 Fry's Great Quality machines, but Fry's is no longer selling those.

      That's probably because they weren't making any money on them, as I imagine Wal-Mart isn't making on these $200 Linux things.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ozmanjusri (601766)
        I imagine Wal-Mart isn't making on these $200 Linux things.

        Retail component prices:

        • VIA pc2500 ATX Mainboard & 1.5GHz C7-D CPU Bundle $65
        • 5-Bay 20+4-Pin mATX Case w/250-Watt PS (Beige) $14.99
        • 80gb Seagate hd $49
        • 512 DDRII ram $24
        • Logitech NASCAR Keyboard and Optical Wheel Mouse $7.99
        • Samsung 52x32x52 CDRW & 16x DVD-ROM IDE Drive $21.99

        That makes a total component retail cost of $182.97 if you built one yourself. I'd estimate then that Walmart would get them wholesale for about $160, which would

    • by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:36AM (#21332843) Homepage

      I hope these machines are good. I used to buy the $200 Fry's Great Quality machines, but Fry's is no longer selling those

      Me too. Well the architecture is pretty similar (cyrix CPU) but it looks like the software is a factor better, many of those GQ machines didn't have adequate drivers to support the on-board video so you were stuck at 640x480 or whatever. Though installing Mandrake (back then) usually took care of that.

      The thing that really burns me is all the "Good for Light Word Processing"crap these power-system zealots keep spewing - and I ma not discriminating here, all of the platforms, Windows, Mac and Linux are full of em. I can tell you that machine (512MB RAM/80GB HDD) is probably capable of some great DTP (Scribus) could be great for illustration (Inkscape) and really serious office work (OOo). It may not be fast at doing such things, but we should never say it is not capable.

      As a Classic computerist I know of authors who write books and other published works still on Commodore 64s, (heck some have never left their typewriter behind). To them they get familiar with something and stick to it they don't upgrade because they are to busy being productive with what they have (the hard part is finding replacement parts for their daisy wheel printers). Same reason why the XO will be a hit with kids, they will not see those laptops as underpowered or slow, but the draw is they have access and the speed isn't really a factor when you are starting out (as they get better and outgrow it, then that's another matter; it took me years to outgrow the VIC-20).

  • by compumike (454538) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:10PM (#21331745) Homepage
    In the community around me, I've seen a lot of growth in the use of Linux on the desktop just in the last year. But probably the most interesting trend is that I've seen a bunch of new Ubuntu users among the mechanical engineering students, who in general aren't particularly computer-nerdy, and even more amazingly, are actually dependent on Windows-only software for some of their CAD tools (i.e. Solidworks).

    I think the Walmart results might be indicative of a growing trend where people are just about ready to make the leap themselves... particularly when it comes preinstalled like it does here. Another step in the right direction.

    What I'd love to see, though, is how much previous computer experience all of those Walmart reviewers had -- for some, it seems like quite a bit.

    --
    Electronics kits for the digital generation. [nerdkits.com]
  • But, (Score:5, Funny)

    by bedwards09 (1024881) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:10PM (#21331747)
    Does it run Windows?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by flyingfsck (986395)
      Actually yes. I have three 1GHz Via machines. Two runs Linux (NFS servers stuffed full of disk drives), one runs ExPee.
  • by reporter (666905) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:11PM (#21331759) Homepage
    Walmart is not the sort of place where you find geeks, techies, and various assorted dweebs. This store is where America shops and is patronized by people who know little about calculus or physics.

    That a Linux machine is sold out at Walmart suggests that plain folks -- not like you and me -- know and respect Linux. The lesson is that there is a ready market, in middle America, for Linux-based applications. Will software developers heed this lesson?

    For most people, the monster computer (with globs of memory and a gazillion hertz of processor speed) running Windows XP is already more machine than most Americans need. Now, Microsoft will kill off Windows XP in order to sell Vista to us. We will need a super-monster computer to run Vista. This whole process of bloated operating systems (OSes) driving purchases of even more excessive amounts of hardware is a damned waste of money.

    The simple machine that runs Linux is good enough for most people. The number one application in America, after all, is e-mail.

    Software developers should tune into middle America and sell Linux-based applications so that we can put an end to this never-ending cycle of bigger, badder OS needing bigger, badder computer.

    • From what I, and others (Like this guy [slashdot.org]) can tell, a vast majority of the machines were sold online.
    • So who said geeks didn't buy them out? I almost bought one myself since before this you could even hardly get a C7 motherboard for $200. Average price on newegg is like ~180 now.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The biggest vote of confidence in Linux is that Walmart even sells it. Walmart doesn't put stuff on the shelves if it isn't going to sell. That it sold out just shows that Walmart was right.
    • That a Linux machine is sold out at Walmart suggests that plain folks -- not like you and me -- know and respect Linux. The lesson is that there is a ready market, in middle America, for Linux-based applications.

      Of course with this being Wal-Mart, the more likely scenario is Joe Sixpack reads "Ayy Beth-Ann-Bobbi-Jo-Ruthie-May! They got dem compyooturz at thu walmart for $200!"

      With the absence of "them thar geek peopullz" that talk about "virusin' and spahhhwurin' the box", they can pick one up on their

    • by xebra (140155) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @12:08AM (#21332275)
      Wow, are you ever an elitist prick. I guarantee you almost everyone on Slashdot shops at Wal-Mart, because almost everyone on Slashdot is "plain" and normal in almost every respect. If the PC is sold out, 85% of it is because of dorks like you and me. The other 15% is people that didn't know what they were buying.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Frogbert (589961)
        Wow are you ever an ethnocentric prick. I guarantee you there is a significant percentage of Slashdot users who aren't even in a country that has Wal-mart stores.
  • by Itninja (937614) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:13PM (#21331785) Homepage
    ...urge to support the Wal Mart beast. But Linux is good right? But wait...Wal Mart is not good. Unless, they throw me a open-source bone. Then they're good right? Damn, I hate moral dilemmas. Why can't everything Wal Mart sells, just be something I either do not want or do not need? It's almost as if they are pandering to....hey look! They have for $1.99/dozen!
  • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:13PM (#21331787)
    There is something very wrong with the reviewers, I keep clicking "Read all reviews by this reviewer", and the reviewer only did this single review on a product. Which is unusual for people who write their reviews on products (usually they'll have a few others they've written reviews for). They all write excellent English, no grammar mistakes, punctuation mistakes or anything.

    I suspect manipulation of reviews.

  • Dubious (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Paul_Hindt (1129979)
    This sounds good and all, getting Linux to the teeming masses...but at the same time the people that might buy a computer at Wal-Mart are probably people that don't even know what Linux is or even what Windows is and that there is even any difference. Some people may have just bought these because, Hey!, $200 for A WHOLE COMPUTER is a steal, right?!
  • by Tracy Reed (3563) <treed&ultraviolet,org> on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:23PM (#21331903) Homepage
    I am very happy to hear this news and pointed a number of people at this machine. But it would be a lot more meaningful if we knew how many they sold out of. 10? Big whoop. 10,000? More impressive.
  • look out! (Score:2, Funny)

    by pak9rabid (1011935)
    if this isn't chair-throwing worthy, I don't know what is.
  • Unfortunately Wal-Mart have made a huge oversight, and they're gonna have quite a few disgruntled customers because of it. I mean, they forgot the "not good for pr0n" disclaimer!!!
  • by localman (111171) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:59PM (#21332217) Homepage
    Amazing what a decade of hardware progress can do :)
  • Wal-Mart has been experimenting with Linux PCs for a long, long time. Here are just a few examples:

    2002 Walmart sells Lindows PCs:

    http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/general-10/wal-mart-ships-linux-pcs-23619/ [linuxquestions.org]

    2003 Microtel computers with SUSE Linux:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,111557-page,1/article.html [pcworld.com]

    2004 Linspire computers on sale at Wal-Mart for $498.00

    http://www.news.com/Wal-Mart-debuts-498-Linux-laptop/2100-1044_3-5498006.html [news.com]

    May of 2007, Dell computers on sale at Wal-Mart:

    http://www.networkworld.com/community/?q=node/15701 [networkworld.com]

    Wal-Mart is not stupid. They know that as the price of PCs falls, their sales volume rises. They have a vested interested in commoditizing PCs. With Microsoft, Wal-Mart gets a limited mark-up. With Linux PCs made by small vendors, Wal-Mart gets to call the shots. Wal-Mart has dollars signs in their eyes, and those dollars signs are dancing with Tux.
  • Ha! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:41AM (#21332877) Homepage
    I knew it! I knew Linux is going to sell out some day! I told you Linux is just as evil M$FT! Sold out to Walmart of all people.

    *RTFA*

    Oh. Good job, carry on.
  • by Scoldog (875927) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:46AM (#21332917)
    Customer - "Hi, I have a problem with my computer, it won't boot"

    Walmart - "What operating system do you have installed"

    Customer - "Windows Vista"

    Walmart - "I'm sorry, that PC shipped with Linux. You'll have to reinstall that before we can help you!".

    Next thing you know, they'll blame faulty hinges on Windows!

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