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Netbook Return Rates Much Higher For Linux Than Windows 663

Posted by Soulskill
from the old-dogs-new-tricks-etc. dept.
ivoras writes "An interview with MSI's director of US Sales, Andy Tung, contains this interesting snippet: "We have done a lot of studies on the return rates and haven't really talked about it much until now. Our internal research has shown that the return of netbooks is higher than regular notebooks, but the main cause of that is Linux. People would love to pay $299 or $399 but they don't know what they get until they open the box. They start playing around with Linux and start realizing that it's not what they are used to. They don't want to spend time to learn it so they bring it back to the store. The return rate is at least four times higher for Linux netbooks than Windows XP netbooks.'"
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Netbook Return Rates Much Higher For Linux Than Windows

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  • by lunarpaladin (869647) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:49AM (#25263345)

    RTFA, and unlike the submitter, you'll see that the interviewers point out that MSI offer a poorly configured version of Linux. I wonder what it would cost someone like Microsoft to have MSI spike the competition.

    I could have shared this observation months ago. It may have to do with the distro itself in this particular instance, but as a senior sales associate for a larger computer + electronics retailer, I can state for a fact that we get a substantially higher return rate of Linux-based Aspire One and EEE PC's compared to that of the Windows-based ones. The most common complaint when asked the reason for the return? "I can't install any of my programs on here. Office, Adobe, MSN, nothing works!" I try to take the time to assist them, showing them where they can find comparable programs and install them, such as GAIM/Pidgin and OpenOffice. Some are more than happy with that, others still want to return them. Lucky for them we have a pretty lax return policy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:51AM (#25263355)

    Windows 3.1 included such an app as well, i found it funny to see them explaning what a mouse is :)

  • ya, really (Score:2, Informative)

    by zogger (617870) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:51AM (#25263361) Homepage Journal

    Where are the half price (whatever) cheap refurb units being sold for these netbooks then?

  • by MadUndergrad (950779) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:57AM (#25263409)

    If you know anything about computers it's easy enough to just install a different distro. The returns are the clueless people who don't know about Linux and won't learn.

  • by kcbnac (854015) <kcbnac&gmail,com> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:21AM (#25263551)

    Actually, the first Ubuntu-loaded laptops worked (and still work) great - I bought and am typing this on an Inspiron E1505N - all the hardware worked out of the box, except for 3D video. (Intel still had a binary blob for the wireless, but was working on releasing an Open Source driver)

    There was one glitch with updating the kernel, though...but that was the only hiccup in the whole process.

  • by NeilTheStupidHead (963719) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:22AM (#25263555) Journal
    I find the same thing. Several of my friends recently acquired eeePCs through a promotion offered by Royal Bank. One or two of them were interested in learning how to use the built-in OS and the others came to me to 'just put XP on there so MSN will work'; a slight challenge on the 2G models the bank was giving away. To be fair, XP does perform pretty snappily for the hardware but still not quite as snappy as even the default Xandros, which I cart around for presentations instead of lugging my 'full-sized' notebook which is 2-3 times the weight and half the battery life.
  • by deniable (76198) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:32AM (#25263639)

    Have you ever run an apt-get dist-upgrade against the out-of-the-box ASUS repositories? They had some real blunders in those updates including tools stop working, icons disappearing, etc. I haven't bothered to patch for a while so hopefully they've got their not half-assed Linux install sorted out.

    I'll probably install Ubuntu on mine when I stop using it for a kitchen computer / photo viewer.

  • by Cougem (734635) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:55AM (#25263867)
    I bought a linux version of the Acer Aspire One, and I loved it at first. It was an RPM based distribution using XFCE, and although I'm used to aptitude-based package management, I've got no qualms with using yum.

    However, I bloody well couldn't, could I? The manufacturers had installed some of their own RPM packages before sending out the laptops, many of which had dependencies on other packages. I couldn't bloody update my system because these packages weren't on the central RPM repositories for fedora etc., and there were countless conflicts. Their proprietry RPMs required firefox, so I couldn't update firefox because that would require interfacing with these RPMs, which weren't there. I couldn't update ANY fucking packages, my distribution was useless, unless I forced removals and forced installs of new RPMs, but then all the conflicts had to be sorted out manually.

    I've ended up putting Xubuntu on it with XFCE, but it's far less responsive because you loose the intelligent optimisation that Acer etc, put into it, and installing it requires making bootable keydrives etc., and loads of optimisations to the SSD, swap etc.

    Why the hell the manufacturers don't just use Ubuntu (I've heard Dell have the sense too, at least), I do not know.
    Stupid.
  • Numbers? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:56AM (#25263881)

    Are you making up the 1% & 4% numbers?

    The average rate of returns for consumer electronics in the USA is 15-20%.

    Then assuming 20% return rates for Windows netbooks, it will translate
    to 80% return rate for Linux netbooks.

  • by will381796 (1219674) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:09AM (#25264013)
    My wife just purchased an HP mini-note. I've dabbled a bit with Ubuntu but Suse was new to me. The system comes completely uncustomized for easy use by the general consumer. For instance, it still has the OS set to search the optical drive for installable software...but there is NO OPTICAL drive in the computer. NONE of the online repositories for software are already added to the OS. There is absolutely NO documentation included with the system to help a new Windows XP -> Linux individual navigate their self around or teach them how to do something as simple as installing a piece of software or adding a software repository. Yeah, Google is there but to the Average Joe, you shouldn't have to search Google for every simple answer and then risk messing up your computer if you input a typo into one of your Terminal commands.
  • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker@gnu. o r g> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:18AM (#25264071) Homepage

    Just to straighten things out a bit, I recommend you try a few of these games:

    FPSes:

    • Nexuiz
    • OpenArena
    • Tremulous
    • Warsow
    • Sauerbraten
    • Alien Arena

    Strategy (mixing real-time and turn-based):

    • Battle for Wesnoth
    • FreeCiv
    • bos
    • boson

    Others:

    • xmoto
    • Frets on Fire
    • Supertux
    • Cowsay
    • mu-cade, noiz2sa and `apt-cache search kenta cho`

    Those are all packages I found with a quick `aptitude search "~i~sGames"; that is, these are games that are packaged and trivially easy to install straight out of the box.

    You can of course also install wine and create bottles for Starcraft, Warcraft and Diablo II if you have those games [or you can buy them at blizzard.com [isohunt.com]], among many others (so I hear).

    Or you can install DosBox and play your old dos games (One Must Fall is the win). Or you can install uae (Amiga), vice (Commodore: Pets, VIC-20, 64, 128, CBM-II, PLUS/4), pscx (PlayStation), xmess (Atari 400/800/2600, Lynx, NES, SNES, GameBoy, Sega Master System, Sega Megadrive) or mame. Apologies to all emulators that I left out.

    I'm not saying that Linux is just as great a gaming OS as windows. But claiming that there are next to no good games that are runnable on linux is simply being uninformed. And the cowsay bit, that was just making fun ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:39AM (#25264243)

    Actually, not so funny. I'm running the latest version of Ubuntu with Wine right now, and here are some games that have more or less worked out of the box:
    World of Warcraft
    Starcraft
    Warcraft 3
    Counter-Strike
    Team Fortress 2
    Neverwinter Nights

    I've been so pleasantly surprised at how effective Wine is these days. Because of this, I don't even have a windows partition on this box anymore.

    Wine solves.

  • by Risen888 (306092) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:40AM (#25264249)

    Ubuntu's pretty much got that one licked. You try to run something that isn't installed but is in the repository database, you get an error message along the lines of "$FOO is not installed. You can install it by typing sudo apt-get install $FOO."

  • by AndGodSed (968378) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @11:56AM (#25264427) Homepage Journal

    The OS may be no more difficult to learn (for everyday use; if you're a power user, though, XP -> Vista is still easier than XP -> Ubuntu),

    I call BS on that statement.

    I am a power user and in high level tech/server support, and one thing about power users is this: Interface is irrelevant.XP -> Ubuntu is equally as easy as XP-> Vista, Vista -> MacOS and MacOS -> Ubuntu.

    What you are forgetting is that XP -> Anything Linux you could have a choice of Gnome, KDE, XFCE or a tonne of more obscure ones like IceWM or Enlightenment.

    I have tried all of these above, I give tech support on all of these (OS'es and Environments) and once you teach a user where to click to do what they want they become drones again and to open mail click here, to edit a document click there and so on and so on endlessly. Users tend to "forget" the actual environment that they are in and learn an almost "muscle memory" type of sequence of mouse-gestures and keyboard clicks to get done what they want.

    I got my wife to use Ubuntu, and she uses it every-day. I could've gotten her to use anything else.

    The real pain comes in the "under the skin" things like adding your computer to a network, setting up your wireless and other essentially one-time housekeeping tasks that need to be done (setting up wireless on a laptop is more than a one-time task, but migrating around wireless networks with notebooks is an equal pain regardless of OS)

    Then we get to actually installing the software and getting it to work with the actual hardware.Now immediately both you and I can point to areas where Windows has greater driver support from vendors than Linux - but ask yourself this: How many users ever set up their own hardware? Being a tech manager with an IT team I get the very strong impression that regardless of OS a user will call on us to install a new screencard, PCI/USB wifi network card or whatever the case might be. Thus user-wise the hardware issue has largely been negated by user incompetence. Remember though that users need only worry about using the computer - IT geeks like those who's job it is to fix computers are supposed to worry about the actual hardware, and again for a power user/tech support it is less than an issue than you think.

    but then you also have the added learning curve of replacing every single application except possibly Firefox, if they weren't using IE before.

    Again I need to point to the error of your statement.

    1) Have you looked at the awesome cockup that is the Office 2007 interface?

    I have countless users who phone me regularly to ask "where is the file meny", "where do I name the file when I (eventually found how to) save as" and so on.

    2) Have you tried bringing an Office 2007 setup into an existing officespace?

    Try telling a user over the phone how to install the patch that allows him to open .docx documents in Office 2003 OR explain why the Office 2007 user suddenly needs to save his files in a different type every-time-he-saves-it, or why it says "compatibility mode" when he opens a .doc file. Or why he can no longer open his old e-mails since he started using Outlook 2007 and his .pst file is no longer supported. Older versions of .pst files are a pain to recover.

    3) A personal tale from first-hand experience.

    We use a custom in house program developed in MS Access. Me, being a Linux user cannot use this program since I cannot open the database in Linux. That goes for every Office 2007 user in our company. The database needs to be converted to an Office 2007 compatible format before they can use it - and when that is done the ones using office 2003 can no longer use it since now it is incompatible with their version of office. We will only be able to get Office 2003 licenses for a short time still before 2k3 goes the way of XP. Thus very soon we will be forced to up

  • by Toll_Free (1295136) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:03PM (#25264499)

    Having just installed Ubuntu on a computer that had previously been running an older version of Slackware, I can tell you your full of crap.

    Installing Vista on that hardware WORKED. WiFi worked, networking worked, etc. (that was my biggest bitch, the wifi part). It still DOESN'T reconnect if I reboot my access point, sometimes magically DISCONNECTS, etc.

    Ubuntu isn't ready for prime time. IT IS a great OS, as is the other Linux distros, but it ISN'T ready, as this article / whatever you want to call it points out.

    Wish it worked, but until the proprietary CRAP can be worked out (and it probably NEVER will be) (ie, getting madwifi to work OOBE, getting any wifi cards to work OOBE, etc).

    The article states fact. Opinions have no relevance when arguing fact.

    --Toll_Free

  • by hullabalucination (886901) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:29PM (#25264725) Journal

    Bingo.

    I found an online review of MSI's U90 unit, and the review found that neither the Webcam nor the wireless worked out of the box. They opined that you'd need to go buy and install a copy of XP Home to turn the unit into something usable.

    Seriously, is MSI a Microsoft front organization?

    * * * * *

    "Empty-handed I went to the widget library, empty-handed I renturned."
    —Binkei, 9th-century Japanese programmer-monk

  • by Draek (916851) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:49PM (#25265515)

    Dude... have you actually played any of those? I applaud the efforst of those teams, and I admit that many of them have potential, but they aren't even on par with a lot of the 3rd party hl (let alone hl2) mods in terms of graphics and playability... and that bar is pretty damned low.

    Have you tried the latest version of Warsow? it's style is pretty unique so it's hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison but visually I'd easily put it on par with UT2004, at least. Nexuiz and Tremulous may not look as good, but they're also above your average Q3A mod, and therefore way above anything ever made for HL.

    And that's without considering commercial FPSs, like the aforementioned UT2004, Wolf:ET and Q3A, and all mods made for them (particularly interesting are Tactical Ops, True Combat, and Urban Terror respectively). So no, I don't think that Linux's FPS offerigs are weak, it may not be as strong as Windows', but it's far from weak either.

  • by Jorophose (1062218) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @05:21PM (#25267199)

    Wine. Is not. A fucking. Emulator.

  • That's valid for the 1,000 people in America who actually need some obscure function, but no big deal for the rest of us who are completely supported by Open Office.

  • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @08:20PM (#25268337) Homepage Journal

    PCs sold as appliances, irrespective of the OS, will have Flash, Real Player, PDF reader , Java VM and any other necessary software.

    The EeePC is just like that, as are several other Linux appliances in the market.

    This scaremongering is frankly tiresome, bring on real issues to have a meaningful discussion, lack of basic software is no longer an issue in most situations.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:29AM (#25270531)

    I hate bashing KDE because I really do like it but if you want easy Use Gnome.

    In Ubuntu, which uses gnome, the calculator is called "calculator", the totem movie player is called "Movie player"

    Also the fonts look great on my machine, I am not sure what the issue is there.

    Games are a pain in the butt, but steam and Half life two run in wine so team fortress should too. This required more effort than I expect a regular user to put forth, but for someone with 25+ years of software experience, it would be cake (which is a not lie, and I played through portal on this machine too).

"Never give in. Never give in. Never. Never. Never." -- Winston Churchill

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