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

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 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.
  • Re:Support??? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:03PM (#21331685)
    Probably the same as a Windows user... None.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:24PM (#21331927)
    Wal*Mart's badness (and their success) comes from doing everything possible to drive the price down. With a Linux system, they can't pay the developers less than nothing and even they can't affect the price of low-end mass market PC components much. So I'd say you can buy these with a relatively clear conscience.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:32PM (#21331993)
    It was a joke. Let me explain:

    See there is a sort of running joke, referred to as a meme, that is to ask "Yeah, but can it run Linux?" to pretty much any new hardware of system discussion. I could ignore this but I figure there will be others who see it and think that the gp was serious. Still, it I'm embarrassed for you so I'm posting anonymously, so maybe nobody sees this either.

    Posting anonymously is sort of like super stealth technology, I can say anything I want and nobody will ever read it.
  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:34PM (#21332015) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • ...called Zareason:

    http://www.zareason.com/shop/product.php?productid=16160&cat=0&page=1 [zareason.com]

    So you can buy it there with a clean conscience. heh.

    BTW, I have no business relation with the family that runs Zareason, but I did buy about $8,400.00 worth of products from them, and Zareason did a fine job of shipping the products to the public middle school that I ordered on behalf of. More details on that purchase here:

    http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/11/1446254 [slashdot.org]
  • Re:Support??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cyko_01 ( 1092499 ) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:48PM (#21332119) Homepage
    There's free phone support and a regularly updated app called "Faqly" that contains the latest tech support info for folks stuck offline.
  • by Eddi3 ( 1046882 ) on Monday November 12, 2007 @11:50PM (#21332139) Homepage Journal
    According to the article [wired.com] the original /. story linked to, the number to be sold was around 10,000.
  • Re:laughable (Score:3, Informative)

    by Chemicalscum ( 525689 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @12:04AM (#21332263) Journal
    Wow I am intrigued. You must tell me where you got a Mac Mini for under 200 bucks. I'll run out and buy one to install Linux on.
  • by turing_m ( 1030530 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @12:10AM (#21332287)
    This seems to be the main thread, there are a couple hundred posts now.

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=599025 [ubuntuforums.org]
  • Re:But, (Score:3, Informative)

    by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @12:11AM (#21332297)
    Actually yes. I have three 1GHz Via machines. Two runs Linux (NFS servers stuffed full of disk drives), one runs ExPee.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Re:lol dollars (Score:2, Informative)

    by sqrt(2) ( 786011 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @12:46AM (#21332525) Journal
    The GP is actually a well known (some would say infamous) slashdotter called twitter [slashdot.org]. His posts are usually full of elaborately woven and completely unfalsifiable conspiracy theories about Microsoft that he always refers to as M$. He's sort of a village idiot type around here, ranting and raving to anyone who'll listen. Ignore him, laugh at him, just don't take him seriously. And please remember that not all advocates of open source are as crazy as he is.
  • Re:Oh get real (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:46AM (#21332919)
    I got one a couple of days ago. Great little machine. Dead quiet except for a small fan on the CPU heatsink which seems to run all the time. Truth be told, I doubt that it even needs that fan as everything on the board remains cool to the touch even after a couple of hours of running. I've never heard the fan in the power supply run. It has two PCI slots (one taken by a modem that I don't need), two IDE connectors and two SATA connectors plus all the stuff you'd expect to find. The case has room for another four drives beyond the DVD drive and 80Gb disk it comes with. I bumped it up to 1.5Gb memory (1Gb stick for $40 at Fry's because they were out of the $30 sticks), installed a 200Gb disk from my spare parts bin and loaded WinXP to test performance. Zero complaints - except that I'm going to have to buy a quieter disk drive because it's the loudest part of the system.
  • Re:I ordered one. (Score:3, Informative)

    by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @03:20AM (#21333409) Journal
    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 give $40/unit to play with for shop costs/profits
  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @03:29AM (#21333437) Journal
    Approximately 11.1 [link to wikipedia deleted]

    No, that's the index. But thinks for the link.

    Looks like it would be about 3,000 bogomips. Not cutting edge, but not too shabby either.
  • by littlefoo ( 704485 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @05:35AM (#21333931)

    If you want to roll your own, the motherboard/CPU + gOS bundle is still available from http://www.clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=A4842001 [clubit.com] for $60 incl. free ground shipping (and, I guess, whatever tax thing gets applied.. as a Brit that still sometimes confuses)

    Stick of RAM, flash drive, pico PSU & power brick - and you'd have quite a nice, and silent box..

  • Via chipsets (Score:3, Informative)

    by phorm ( 591458 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @05:54AM (#21334011) Journal
    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 when it first came it, I had little luck getting it to work in Cedega and Wine didn't do the copy-protection thing very well. This may be due to lack of nice support between Cedega and the VIA chipsets, though, rather than a lack of power in the chip itself.

    Don't expect it to play any newer games, but the simple 3d stuff works just fine.
  • by voss ( 52565 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @08:05AM (#21334503)
    The last time I checked Taiwan is a multiparty democratic capitalist country with a
    GDP per capita of $29,600. The only people who claim Taiwan is part of PRC is the PRC
    and people who dont know geography

    They do have factories in China just like every american manufacturer but the
    corporation and the chips are from Taiwan.
  • Re:lol dollars (Score:3, Informative)

    by Weedlekin ( 836313 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @08:51AM (#21334761)
    "I had a homework assignment that required me to use a Star. I was not impressed by Smalltalk and object oriented programming then, neither am I impressed now."

    The Star's software was written in Mesa rather than Smalltalk, and it didn't originally ship with Smalltalk (or any other programming language for that matter). Smalltalk was added later as an option, but then so were several other languages, including Lisp.

    "Too complex and bug-ridden compared to simpler things like functional programming"

    Smalltalk itself was a small VM with about seventy low-level functions -- everything else, including the byte-code compilers were written in that, and source to them was traditionally supplied (at least in early versions), so anybody competent enough to program in Smalltalk could fix any bugs that weren't in the VMs themselves. It's also unfair to say that Smalltalk's version of OO was more complex than functional programming, because the entire system, including the language itself, only had two types of entity: objects and messages.

    "The Star was cool though."

    Unfortunately, the initial version was also an entirely closed system which had no development tools at all (the supplied applications were supposed to do everything that an office would need). This situation was rectified at a later date, but the fact that these weren't Star-specific (and didn't even need a Star to run on) meant that they ended up being used to write software for other systems rather than the Star itself.

    "I never used Lisa, but I was impressed by it. I first saw the Lisa as an intern at JPL. Nice machine and it could also run Unix."

    The Lisa system that ran Unix probably wasn't a standard Lisa. Apple supplied a UNIX-based computer with the same hardware that was used a development system for the Lisa itself, which had no "native" development tools of its own. Those who wanted to write software for it required both a standard Lisa to act as a target / test rig, and a development Lisa, which was a pretty expensive setup for software houses, especially when the potential market for their products was very small, so there was very little interest in developing third party software products for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @09:07AM (#21334869)
    It was obviously a typo. What he meant to say was: "It runs like a chimp."
  • by MrNiceguy_KS ( 800771 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @12:11PM (#21336973)
    What?? Any machine not good enough for Vista isn't good enough for XP? Whatever you're smoking, keep it away from me - I need to be able to think straight.

    One of the biggest complaints about Vista I see is that machines that run XP fine are dog slow with Vista.

  • by Mister Kay ( 1119377 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:21PM (#21338103)
    I'm pretty sure it's named after the epic poem that's been around for almost 2000 years.... which the movie is based on.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming