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Linux Business

Best Buy Is Selling Ubuntu 656

SirLurksAlot writes "It appears that Best Buy is now selling Ubuntu, both through its Web site and in its brick-and-mortar locations. Going by the release on the product page, Ubuntu has actually been available for the low, low price of $19.99 since May 6th of this year. It is being packaged as the 'Complete Edition.' While they don't specify on the site what version is being offered, a quick call to a local store revealed it to be Hardy Heron, the latest Long Term Support version. How did this development fly under the radar for over two months without anybody noticing?"
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Best Buy Is Selling Ubuntu

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  • Desktop marketshare (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hotsauce ( 514237 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:06AM (#24114823)
    Because, frankly, no one cares?
  • Not going to fly... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fprintf ( 82740 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:09AM (#24114847) Journal

    I used to buy Linux... specifically SuSE 5.x an 6.x editions. I didn't have high speed internet at the time, so it was cheaper to buy the CDs and download any new patches/software via dialup. At the time Linux was both a hobby diversion and the only alternative I could see to putting an OS on my computer since Windows 95/98 was rather expensive to buy.

    While I think BestBuy should be congratulated for putting Ubuntu in stores, even if they are charging $20 for it (wayyyy cheap compared to Windows Vista or XP). I predict it will not go well for them, however, mostly because high speed internet is so widespread and as usual people will buy it and bring it back when they can't run The Sims or whatever Windows game they run.

  • Great news! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Daryen ( 1138567 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:09AM (#24114849)
    If you have friends or family with an older PC that aren't very technically skilled, chances are it's a Windows PC and it's infested with malware. More than likely, they have a CD burner but don't know how to use it, or their computer is so slow it won't even burn CDs. Sometimes the PC will be running Windows 98, which is a bit of a security risk these days.

    Why not have them get Ubuntu for $20 at Best Buy? The fact that you can buy it at a brick and mortar store increases it's apparent validity as an operating system, and it has open office and firefox right out of the box, so the functionality they're used to is still there.

    Another point: Why not buy a copy of Ubuntu yourself to drive up support for Linux? If sales analysts see that X number of Ubuntu boxes were sold from Best Buys than it's likely we'll see more and more vendor support for linux coming out.

  • Best Buy review (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:11AM (#24114873)

    Customer Rating: 5.0

    Worth every penny and then some 07/08/2008
    By StarReviewer from Moronville, KY Read all my reviews

    Pros: Cheap, includes office software, robust
    Cons: Doesn't come in Ultimate and Premier editions

    "I could go on and on, but Ubuntu Linux is the way to go. I have been using Windows XP for at least 3 years and when Vista was released, I went and upgraded to Vista Ultimate.
    Even though Vista Ultimate has some really good features, I had to purchase Office software separately. Total cost of software: ~$1000.00!
    That is when I said enough is enough I need to look for a new Operating System. A friend of mine pointed me to Best Buy's site and send me a link to Ubuntu. I purchased the OS and also Installation by Geek Squad for only $150.00. Even though I paid $170, I can tell you the included software was worth it. It includes office productivity software similar to Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Not only that, updates are free. Which means when they come out with a new version of Ubuntu, I don't have to pay more money - which I gladly will if I had to!
    I would highly recommend this product. My only question is why doesn't it come in different flavors? I would be willing to pay for features like Media Center and stuff like that.
    --Grateful computer user."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:30AM (#24115085)

    Why wouldn't they? If someone actually buys it from them and demands the source, they can just download from Ubuntu and burn it on the spot, and they'll still be very much ahead.

  • Hey, I need this! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vrmlguy ( 120854 ) <samwyse@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:31AM (#24115089) Homepage Journal

    This past weekend, I decided to try to rehabilitate an old (1996 BIOS) laptop into an externally facing home web server. Hey, guess what? My hardware doesn't support home-burned CDs! I was just starting to look for a distro available in a pressed CD format. I'm glad to find out I can run down to Best Buy on my way home from work and just pick one up.

  • Re:Great news! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RalphSleigh ( 899929 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:40AM (#24115195) Homepage
    Ubuntu don't need your money, they have millions already. They need someone at best buy to notice demand for it, so best buy continue to put it on shelves, and ask their suppliers for more ubuntu software they can sell you along with the OS. At this stage best buy making $20 on Linux is better than you donating $20 to development.
  • by srussia ( 884021 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:45AM (#24115291)

    5. [pure personal intuition] Nowadays, mouth-to-mouth is still the best way to spread Ubuntu, or any Linux distro, and hey, the initial mouths know where to get it, and that won't be Best Buy. And that relates to your comment.

    Emphasis is mine.

    Either this guy is only telling women about Ubuntu, or I'm glad he didn't tell me about Ubuntu!

    I would guess that fgaliegue is a native Spanish speaker. "Word-of-mouth" is "boca a boca" in Spanish, literally "mouth to mouth".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @08:56AM (#24115451)

    Everyone seems to be forgetting that people generally believe they didn't pay anything for Windows. To advance the usage of Linux it will have to be done the same way as DOS/Windows. It needs to come pre-installed and used at school and in the workplace, areas we are already seeing improvements in.

    Users for the most part only purchased upgrades to DOS/Windows in the stores. Those using Linux at work or at school may well be the prime targets here when they decide they want it on their home computers.

  • by rampant poodle ( 258173 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @09:11AM (#24115721) Homepage

    Yep. Curiosity caused me to buy a 6-CD set of something called Slackware in 1996 or so. I think the set cost DM29.95 at Media Markt, (sort of a German version of Best Buy). Have been using Linux in one form or another ever since. (Cue hazy flashback scene of distraught nerd trying to create an XF86Config file that would do better than 640x480x4 on a Matrox Mystique...)

  • Re:Bottled Water (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @09:14AM (#24115769)
    It's funny how people will tell you that their municipality's tap water is "undrinkable". Little do they realize that their "undrinkable" tap water at least passes the EPA's drinking water requirements, while many bottled waters don't.
  • by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @09:14AM (#24115775) Journal
    Ubuntu may be free, but MP3, CD, WMA, and MPEG playback aren't. The $20 is likely used to appease the "owners" of those formats. This is probably what they mean by "Complete Edition." We have been spoiled by how easy it is to install restricted software in Ubuntu. Some people may care about having all of their software legit.
  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @09:19AM (#24115883)

    True. Given that most Linux distro's come on DVD's or multiple CD's now, dial up users would catch hell trying it out. Though, back when I was on dial up (this was circa '98-'99) I actually remember downloading Mandrake once, and Slackware at least twice over dial up. I'd just get it from FTP sites rather than HTTP. Each night before I went to bed I'd connect and start the transfer, then stop it the next morning. It took a couple weeks of doing that before I'd get the ISO, but it did work.

    Of course, these days, there IS Damn Small Linux available which I think comes in at around 150MB, and you can even install it to hard drive if you like. Still a bit download for dialup, but it could be done. Matter of fact you could probably do that download in a single day if you didn't mind leaving the thing running for 12 hours or so. Or split it between 2 nights worth of downloading and you're good.

  • Deja vu (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cro Magnon ( 467622 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @09:27AM (#24116023) Homepage Journal

    Waaay back in prehistoric times (mid to late 90s), Comp USA sold Linux in its stores. It had all the main distros (RH, SuSe, Mandrake), and some of the lesser ones (Slackware). After awhile they cut it to the Big 2 (RH, SuSe), and then dropped it completely.

    Frankly, I'm glad to see a B&M store carrying Linux again. It won't make any difference to the /. crowd, but it gives it some extra exposure.

  • by ILongForDarkness ( 1134931 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @09:34AM (#24116143)
    True, though at one point I paid for a copy of Mandrake in a store. At the time CD burners were just starting to be available (I think I paid 400 for a 4X) so it was a pain to find someone with the means to copy it for you. Kind of hard to download an OS from a computer without an OS :)

    I seem to recall it came with Open Office and a decent hardcopy manual to help you install. Roughly $30 not bad (though turned out not to be my favorite distro).

  • by doomicon ( 5310 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @09:40AM (#24116257) Homepage Journal

    This reminds me of something that happened this very week at work. Local Windows Admin came by my desk and asked me for a copy of Linux, he's never tried it, wants to start learning it and playing around. I give him a copy of my Ubuntu CD and he's off an running.

    He comes to me the next day disappointed. He continues to explain, "This sucks... I installed on my laptop with zero problems. First thing to tackle was an AIM client.. but it was already installed. So then I decided I need VNC for work, but it was already installed to, along with a terminal services client. Finally, I realized I needed a VPN client.. DAMMIT! It was there too! I heard all these stories about tinkering around and getting stuff to work.. I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT! "

    He then asks me if I have another version of "Unix" that is more difficult.

    Linux has come a loooooong way since I was playing with 1.0.xx kernels on Slackware.

  • The bad news is... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iwein ( 561027 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @09:56AM (#24116541)
    ..we'll still end up giving them free support.
  • Re:Wait... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara@hudson.barbara-hudson@com> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:01AM (#24116625) Journal

    One of the reviews reveals the *real* reason they're selling it:

    I purchased the OS and also Installation by Geek Squad for only $150.00. Even though I paid $170, I can tell you the included software was worth it.

    This is the same gang that wants to charge you $150 to "set up" your brand new Vista laptop - when all that means is booting it, burning the 2 backup dvds, and rebooting.

    1. Offer Linux, setup and new hard disk for same price as Geek Squad ($170) charges for just the OS and installation.
    2. There is no second step
    3. You know the 3rd step ...

    The newbie gets a new hard disk, all their old data and os remains intact, it's easier to install on a secondary drive anyway, and you make a few bucks.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:17AM (#24116945) Homepage Journal

    Now if they can start selling computers without the Windows tax, we'd be all set.

    Many national-brand home PCs come with what amounts to unregistered shareware already installed on the HDD. For example, there might be a Paint Shop Pro trial instead of GIMP, a Norton Antivirus trial instead of ClamWin, etc. There is evidence that such "trialware" subsidizes most if not all of the price of a Windows Home Basic OEM license: see Sony's attempt to charge for "Fresh Start" on its PCs.

  • by SeePage87 ( 923251 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:27AM (#24117179)
    To be fair, making a distribution that small isn't so hard, it's making one that's also so damn full featured that blows my mind. It's really a pleasure to use, even if you have the hardware to run something bigger.
  • Re:Bottled Water (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tatsu69 ( 59184 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:30AM (#24117251) Homepage

    Even if you don't trust the EPA, at least you can get a report on exactly what is in the water coming out of your tap. Just try getting that information for a bottle of water.

  • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @10:56AM (#24117789) Homepage
    Yes, because CDs/DVDs, cardboard, shipping and handling, manual printing, etc. are all free these days.
  • Compare specs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Temujin_12 ( 832986 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @11:12AM (#24118083)
    It's fun to compare specs...

    Ubuntu [bestbuy.com]:
    • PC Processor Speed: 500MHz
    • PC System Memory: 256MB RAM
    • PC Hard Drive Space: 4GB
    • PC Video: 1024 x 768 video card

    Vista Home Premium SP1 [bestbuy.com]:

    • PC Processor Speed: 1GHz
    • PC System Memory: 1GB RAM
    • PC Hard Drive Space: 15GB (40GB total hard drive capacity)
    • PC Video: 128MB graphics memory
  • by Magada ( 741361 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @11:53AM (#24118773) Journal

    No, s/he won't. The Puppy is retarded, what with running everything as root and all.

  • by coren2000 ( 788204 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @01:46PM (#24120555) Journal

    Money can also buy services.

  • Re:Marketing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by el americano ( 799629 ) on Wednesday July 09, 2008 @04:04PM (#24123201) Homepage

    Let's see how long these last before we conclude that the nerds are wrong about how marketable these are. I think Best Buy will soon figure out they're not worth the shelf space.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"