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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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  • Can't be serious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymusing ( 1450747 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:07PM (#31200976)

    "The biggest problem with Microsoft is badly-written software -- the operating system allows you to write software badly unlike Mac or Linux."

    It's very easy to write bad software on all three platforms. I've done it! Many of you probably have, too!

  • no training wheels (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tim4444 ( 1122173 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:10PM (#31201010)

    the operating system allows you to write software badly unlike Mac or Linux

    Linux has a lot of good features but I don't know that that it would prevent you from writing bad code...

  • by Ben4jammin ( 1233084 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:11PM (#31201014)
    As an infrastructure guy who manages many Windows servers, I always wondered about this as I am not a programmer. Is the problem the OS, or the programs that run on it? I guess there is a 3rd option: The OS allows for crappy software to run. I would be interested in a discussion (with people knowledgeable of such things) that compares the different OSes in that regard: How good are they at forcing good programming habits and standards?
  • Re:£39.95 a month? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:18PM (#31201122) Homepage

    For a slightly higher fee, can I just get someone who will use the computer for me whenever I need to do something on it?

    That's expensive. IBM used to have that for their top executives, in the 1970s. The executives got a 3270 display with a phone handset. When they picked up the phone handset, they were connected to an operator who could bring up IBM internal financial and sales data. Really.

  • Re:Can't be serious (Score:3, Interesting)

    by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <mils_orgen@hotmail.com> on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:21PM (#31201180) Homepage
    I'd wouldn't say the problem is badly written software. Especially in the context given, the fact that I can create software for the Windows operating system is one of the main reasons I continue to use it. My code may be what some consider bad, but a part of me still gets giddy with every successful compile.

    The root of the issue is people not understanding computers in general. They are machines with their own strengths and weaknesses and that must be understood to avoid being confused and frustrated at every turn. To say simply installing this or that software on this or that computer will alleviate technological ignorance trivialize the problem of vast swaths of the population being effectively illiterate with modern technology.

    It seems to me what these people are really after is an appliance like device.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2010 @01:50PM (#31201560)

    Windows will restart in 15s!
    Windows will restart in 14s!
    Windows will restart in 13s! ...

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard