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United Kingdom Portables Linux Hardware Technology

New Linux-Based Laptop For Computer Newbies 198

Smivs writes "The BBC is carrying a report on how people confused and frustrated by computers can now turn to a laptop called Alex built just for them. Based on Linux, the laptop comes with simplified e-mail, web browsing, image editing and office software. Those who sign up for Alex pay £39.95 a month for telephone support, software updates and broadband access. The Newcastle-Based Broadband Computer Company who developed Alex has been working on this project for three years, and didn't immediately adopt a Linux solution — in fact, the first big trial was based on Windows. The company's Chief Technology Officer Barney Morrison-Lyons says that was never going to be the right route: 'The biggest problem with Microsoft is badly-written software — the operating system allows you to write software badly unlike Mac or Linux.' Mr. Hudson, one of the company's founders, said the company also intends to launch an application store for Alex for customers who want to add more features and functions to their computer. 'People who love Linux will be keen to develop for this,' he said."
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New Linux-Based Laptop For Computer Newbies

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  • Re:I'm happy (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jorl17 ( 1716772 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:14PM (#31201846)
    "I can't even mount non ntfs or fat filesystems in Windows. One could argue that Cygwin is to Windows as Wine is to Linux"

    One can argue, but that "one" would be terribly wrong. Wine is much more than Cygwin. Just try to get a simple app such as cat running natively, without recompiling it, like we do with Windows' apps. That's what's so good about wine, it's basically just a reimplementation, not a port of anything -- and that, my friend(s), is incredible.
  • by Ephemeriis ( 315124 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:40PM (#31202094)

    but it's much more unix-like today.

    Yes it is.

    Though to be honest, there's just as much fragmentation on the *nix side. System 7 style vs. BSD style structures. /usr/local/ vs /opt/

    True, but generally speaking things are stored in human-readable text files. So I could do a fulltext search for a string and be reasonably sure of finding what I'm looking for. Under Windows things are frequently stored in some odd binary file with a bizarre name that can be much harder to locate.

    In terms of backing up your settings, you should be able to copy/backup your user folder.

    This is true... But I'm not necessarily worried about my personal settings.

    Under Linux pretty much everything, including driver settings and whatnot, is stored in a text config file somewhere. I can make a copy of that config file, tweak it, and see what happens. Under Windows, many driver and operating system settings are stored solely in the registry - which is more difficult (though not impossible) to backup/tweak/test/restore.

    The problem is the number of developers who make/made assumptions in their software that should have been using standards that have been set for over 10 years now, at least the software that's less than 10 years old for windows (since NT4 in '96 and Win98 a couple years later).

    I've seen more than a handful of apps meant to run on *nix platforms that make the same horrible assumptions as well.

    Bad code and bad assumptions have nothing to do with the operating system. You can write crap software and cause problems on any platform.

    Also, it's not much less confusing in *nix.

    Again, generally speaking, Linux uses human-readable text config files.

    You can frequently read a config file and make changes to it even if the software itself won't run.

    You can usually locate that config file by searching for a string - even if that config file is stored in a completely wacky location.

    I personally find these human-readable text files to be easier to locate, troubleshoot, and work with than some of the binary-only config files found under Windows.

  • by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:16PM (#31203304)

    Actually, the law of averages would apply just as much to *nix as it would to Windows. Windows would have more bad programmers by raw numbers but Linux would have the same percentage.

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