Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Linux dead on netbooks?

I saw some flame bait over on some website about Windows 7 'killing linux on "netbooks"' and based on the article and some of the comments I decided I had to say a few things:

1) It is often the case people claim there are too many distributions of linux which causes the problem. This is true and false. There are too many, but the problem is just that- it makes things seem confusing. When they are installed they are identical except some extremely minor differences. 2) People say 'windows is beating linux on 'netbook' (not to mention the term 'netbook' is copywrite of psion, which runs neither windows nor linux). This is also true- because most people want windows. This would not be true if Microsoft decided to give XP away for next to nothing (actually, I think it cost $0 in china now) in which case it is at least in a $ case, on equal footing. If this is always going to be the case, good. But if these manufacturers actually pay for windows- then theres a problem. At least offering a 'no operating system' version should be customizable, but since they often package everything at assembly time this actually adds costs as well. I think the ideal solution would be for XP to come on a SD card- and it can be sold separately. 3) People not only say (obviously this article was flame bait) but also think that this is the 'final nail in the coffin.' This has been said every day of every month of every year since before 1.0 was in the early 90's, so it doesn't surprise me. "Linux" is not a company, which many people forget about. It's like thinking that since Henry Ford is dead there will be no new and improved cars.

So- in conclusion: Manufacturers were handed nearly free  (or absolutely free) versions of XP- on the condition that they also increase the minimum specs of the processor, memory, and hard disk space. Since this made all the XP only machines look like the more powerfull ones, people no longer cared that it may cost them an extra $50 - 100 to have something they are familiar with. And guess what- it worked. People look at the Linux only versions as the low end model (which of course no one wants to have low end) and it only cost a few dollars more to upgrade. For people saving hundreds (or even thousands) on a subnotebook - they may as well have the 'best'.

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