VectorLinux

The Vectorian Lounge => The Lounge => Topic started by: Kocil on November 04, 2007, 01:03:36 am

Title: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: Kocil on November 04, 2007, 01:03:36 am
Linux market share is below 1%.
http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=2

Our only hope, this is only a damn statistic :)
 
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: BlueMage on November 04, 2007, 02:02:37 am
I'm more interested in the trend history - it indicates that the only one really showing an upsurge in market share is Vista, and the downsurge in XP is most cases folks upgrading.  The closest other competitor would be the Intel Mac range, and even then they hold a piss-poor market share, even in comparison to the "dismal" portion Vista holds.

Frankly though, I'm amazed Win98 holds as much a share as it does.  I'd think most people would rather just run an emulator rather than maintain a whole system just so they can use legacy programs (businesses have no excuse - any business which still clings to legacy programs in this age is just begging to be raped by the competition using flexible, extensible modern software)

Hmm, XP actually saw a small rise on Vista's release ... probably folks moving from Win2000 actually.

Yeah, that Win98 share still weirds me out.
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: easuter on November 04, 2007, 02:20:00 am
Hmmm...I've seen statistics on other sites indicating that Linux's market share ranges between 1 and 3%.
Anyway, even though that site shows a low percentage for Linux, just look at the growth trend:

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=5&qpcustom=Linux

Where will it be next year, eh?
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: saulgoode on November 04, 2007, 02:50:09 am
Am I understanding correctly that 1% of the visitors to websites which care enough enough about market share to become a customer of NetApplications, Inc. (http://www.netapplications.com/) use Linux? I am surprised the statistic is that high.
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: tomh38 on November 04, 2007, 04:03:34 am
Hey, it may only be 1%, but it's the top 1%!
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: bigpaws on November 04, 2007, 07:17:36 am
Browsers can be identified as something other
than what it actually is.

The trend shows that there has been a growth of
.5 percent in the last year, not too bad. If the trend
continues then next year will be above 1%.

The real picture for Linux is good. Think of this all of the
major Motherboard manufacturers are supporting Linux.
According to the stats on the referred site we are getting
recognition at less than 1% market share. That is a powerful
respect for Linux.

Bigpaws





Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: The Headacher on November 04, 2007, 11:43:02 am
I don't think 1 % is too bad... how many computer users are out there? I'm not sure what the answer is, but I know it's a lot... 1% times a lot is still quite a lot :).
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: GrannyGeek on November 04, 2007, 02:28:03 pm
My problem with the statistics is that the site doesn't explain what they're measuring and how they do it. Is it the OS that's identified when a browser visits a Web site? Is it some sales thing? I suppose if I were familiar with netapplications.com I'd understand what the statistics are supposed to show, but with no explanation on the marketshare pages, whatever I think I understand is likely to be wrong.

As for BlueMage's surprise at Win 98's persistence, if these statistics are based on general users, not just businesses, there are lots of general users who haven't upgraded their computers because they don't feel the need. Computers of the Win 98 era are not likely to run XP well--or at all--and for Vista, forget it! Also, very few "regular users" upgrade their operating system. That's a geek thing. They use what came on their computer until they get a new computer.

It's true that 1% of computers is a large number, but the percentage is too small to make it worthwhile for hardware and software makers to take account of Linux if it's going to cost them money.

I see a real opportunity for us to go more mainstream if the new low-cost computers like the Acer eee and Everex gPC sold at Walmart, which run on Linux, take off. So far they're getting noticed and getting favorable press. If they actually sell well, I'd expect demand for more hardware support for Linux to go up.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: caitlyn on November 05, 2007, 04:55:55 pm
Browser statistics tend to be all over the map and are variable based on website content.  I've seen sales figures that claim Linux holds 4-6% of desktop sales, about the same as Mac.  Windows numbers tend to be 88-91% depending on whose numbers you look at.

Another problem with browser stats is that they don't tend to count servers.  Even numbers skewed towards Microsoft (i.e.: IDC) show Linux with at least 20% of the server market.
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: Freston on November 06, 2007, 02:10:16 am
IMHO Linux is still a geek thing. Although it doesn't need to be. As GrannyGeek points out, people will use what's on their computer when they bought it.

Having said that, cheap low-end computers running Linux do have a market I should think. But that audience buys their stuff in a physical store, not in an online one. And therein lies a problem....

I'm wondering: Is Linux (any flavor) ready for those people? The computer illiterate, elderly, the people who don't really want a computer but feel they need one. Hmmm.... interesting thought. What do you think??
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: tomh38 on November 06, 2007, 02:47:25 am
Freston:  I think a decently configured GNU/Linux system is ready enough for the groups you mentioned.  Just put icons on the desktop for the intertubes, word processing, camera, email, etc., and they'll be able to do the stuff they do on one of those other operating systems.  They'll just be calling their computer nerd friends and asking them "how do I ...?" instead of "how do I ...?" and "oh no my computer is filled with viruses and spyware should I throw it away and buy a new one?"

I know a guy who's had a Windows machine for 3 years and still doesn't know how to get to the Control Panel.  He gets me every time.  I say, "Okay, click on the Start menu," he says "Right click or left click?"  This man is a retired manager.  He used to have his secretary print out his email for him.

So ... yeah, I think Linux is ready for these folks ... though they might be better off with a Commodore 64.
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: Joe1962 on November 06, 2007, 03:45:06 am
he says "Right click or left click?"
At least he's got as far as knowing what a right-click is. You wouldn't believe how many don't... ::)
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: tomh38 on November 06, 2007, 04:22:23 am
That's a good point, Joe1962.  I guess you also know about the people who can't seem to master the double-click.
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: Joe1962 on November 06, 2007, 05:16:16 am
And let's not even get started on trying to tell them to "middle-click"... ;D
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: Freston on November 06, 2007, 05:39:20 am
Haha!!  ;D And once they master double-click they double-click _everything_

Hence my question :-p

Would you entrust a complete novice with very little computer experience with a Linux system? It depends I guess, if it's the type of person that doesn't change the default desktop theme and only uses browser|email|solitaire|wordprocessor it'll be alright. I don't think they would notice the difference.
But once someone more adventurous finds the getfreeringtones.exe self extracting archive on the net, trouble ahoy... Not because of the obvious malware involved, but because of the desperation of being unable to install it may lead to 'unexpected behavior' and the invocation of the root account. Who knows what may go wrong...

On the other hand, other OS vendors have the same problems. And no-one is wondering if a novice is able to break a fresh install of NT. While the answer is: definetly. A double-click (not right-click) on freetoolbar.exe is all it takes....  ::)

Still, I'm a bit cautious. (Not really helping to raise that 1%)
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: uelsk8s on November 06, 2007, 06:39:24 am
I average 1 convert a week of exactly this type of computer user. after I "fix" there computer they are amazed at the speed from the same hardware and once I have the icons of the programs they use setup they dont need anything else.
Why would you be more cautious turning them loose on linux?
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: tomh38 on November 06, 2007, 07:21:05 am
I've been amazed over the years at what people can do to bj0rk their systems without even really trying.  I used to work with a woman who used to like to play around with various fonts.  One day she decided that she wanted to look at the fonts more easily, so she moved (didn't copy, moved) the fonts folder to the desktop.  Instant unbootable system (I think this was Windows 98 ...).  I imagine you can guess who had to fix it.

I don't install Linux for people unless they have an idea of what it is, that it won't run most of the programs they're used to (and I usually discourage the use of Wine for things that have Linux equivalents) ... you get the idea.  Live CDs are great for this kind of thing.
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: Freston on November 06, 2007, 08:35:05 am
Quote from: uelsk8s
Why would you be more cautious turning them loose on linux?
So you have good experience? That is good to hear. I'm on a grand total of 2 converts (one of which has a dual boot), and ~4 interested in a demo. Handing the latter a LiveCD has not done anything, it seems they are waiting for my witty personal presentation  ;D

The trouble starts when my protégés start adding to the install; outside the scope of the repo :o
You know, you can train a monkey to compile from source. But once you start explaining it to someone all they hear is 'Freston knows how to do it'. It's not the first time I'm greeted with the words "I've downloaded something, can you install it?" *sigh* I may be a geek, but I'd rather be greeted differently (and with that, I don't mean "my package fails to build, can you find out if I have the right verion of gcc?" or anything that combines the words 'broken' and 'dependency')

I guess the reason I wake up screaming is that I suspect someone I 'helped' with his/her computer will call me up casually some day and ask:"I've bought this webcam, can you plug it in" :o I dunno how to do that either. You know, nobody calls me up and ask how to build a ftp server. Or how to edit .Xmodmap. Or change a bootscript.

Quote from: tomh38
I've been amazed over the years at what people can do to bj0rk their systems without even really trying.  I used to work with a woman who used to like to play around with various fonts.  One day she decided that she wanted to look at the fonts more easily, so she moved (didn't copy, moved) the fonts folder to the desktop.  Instant unbootable system (I think this was Windows 98 ...).  I imagine you can guess who had to fix it.
True story: A friend of mine deleted everything off his computer that wasn't  a user file or obviously related to an application he used. He was right though... who needs the system files of a ! *nix OS. (I don't know the exact scope of the damage he'd done, by the time I learned of this the system was unusable.)
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: uelsk8s on November 06, 2007, 09:19:16 am
most of the users I move to linux dont ever change anything on a computer.
they just click on the programs (Browser mostly).
In fact most of them I dont even give the root password to.
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: GrannyGeek on November 06, 2007, 05:59:48 pm
At this time there is a lot of buzz over inexpensive computers running--Linux! Examples: the Acer eee ultralight laptop computer ($399) and the Everex gPC desktop, being sold at Walmart for $199 not including monitor. The Linux these computers are running is customized to be easy for children and new users.

These computers have been getting favorable reviews in the online computer press. And these reviews always mention how easy they are to use--as if this is something new for Linux. As we know, you can make Linux as easy as you want if you're setting up a computer for, say, children or your proverbial grandmother (that one always gets to me<g>). The computers are geared to Web access, e-mail, IMing, listening to music, looking at photos, doing word processing with OOo--the things ordinary users do and that Linux can do very easily and very well.

My own opinion is that the gPC computer is not as big a bargain as it seems because it doesn't come with a monitor, so right off the bat you'd better add in $100 or more for a usable system (they're not intended for people with a garageful of old computer parts). And its specs are pretty minimal. Walmart sells a very similar model with Vista Home Basic for $299 that comes with a 17" CRT monitor, a card reader, and a DVD writer, not just a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive. Due to the added hardware, the Windows PC is a better value than the gPC. As for the Acer eee, its chief "value" is its 2-pound weight. Ultralight laptops usually cost much more. For very close to $399 you can buy a traditional laptop with much better specs, but it'll weigh more. I'd love to have a little ultralight laptop, but I wouldn't buy an Acer eee until it has some sort of track record. If it's cheap because it's CHEAP, it's no bargain if it falls apart the day the warranty runs out.

Whether they're good values or not, the low prices of these computers have the potential to appeal to the low end of the market and introduce the masses to a Linux-powered system. If people find that they do well those everyday jobs average users want to do and they are easy to use, this may be the breakthrough into the mainstream that has so far eluded desktop Linux. Our window of opportunity may be small, however. The Acer eee is supposed to be available with Windows XP by the end of the year.

I am following this with great interest. I don't think desktop Linux has ever had such an opportunity to break into the mainstream. Walmart is test marketing the gPC at 600 stores....
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: BlueMage on November 06, 2007, 06:30:19 pm
400USD for a bloody laptop ... my Lord, that is cheap even if the specs are crap.

... Do I want a Wii or do I want to try out an ultralight laptop... ah, choices, choices.
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: GrannyGeek on November 06, 2007, 07:42:12 pm
Every week at US big-box stores (large computer and electronics retailers), you can find laptops for under $500. And I just checked newegg.com and they're selling a Lenovo Celeron M 520 with 15" XGA 1024x768 screen, 80 gig hard drive, 512 megs RAM, Dual-layer DVD burner, LAN, WLAN (b/g), Cardbus slot, Vista Home Basic, etc.,etc. for $450. It weighs 6.4 pounds.

The Acer eee at $400 has a 7" 800x480 screen, Intel Mobile processor, 512 megs DDR2, no hard drive but a 4-gig solid-state disk, LAN and WLAN (b/g), MMC/SD card slot, 40 built-in apps on a custom Linux OS. The keyboard is said to be uncomfortably small. The eee weighs under 2 lbs.

There is quite a difference in specs, but which one is a better buy would depend on what you wanted to do with it. The eee is a very attractive choice if you carry a laptop around for traveling or to hot spots or maybe to classes.

I think I'd prefer a PDA with wireless. It can do the Web and e-mail, play music, view pictures, play movies, and do word processing and spreadsheets, just for a beginning. Plus it weighs a few ounces and fits in my purse. My current PDA can do all those things except connect to the Internet because it doesn't have wireless.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: BlueMage on November 07, 2007, 03:43:47 am
To be honest, I'd likely be getting the Acer eee for the same reason I'd be getting the Wii - for the fun of it :(  My PDA (which I don't use too often now due to battery issues) doesn't have wireless, but it does have GPS.

Uncomfortably small though ... that could be the deal-killer - I have large hands, yet they fit my current Acer perfectly.
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: Freston on November 07, 2007, 03:45:13 am
Very interesting points. There _is_ a window of opportunity.... one should think (IMHO that is).

Now I was being a bit conservative in how I expressed my opinion, not to pull anyones leg but because I have had this vague idea (I have lots of vague ideas). Please don't pin me down on anything, as I have no concrete actions planned as of yet. But I have been thinking. I run a small business (part time) that gets funded by a form of government subsidiary. Regulations change, and I know my contract will not get renewed. Now I have been lucky, the last round of contracting I got a contract all the way up to the mid of 2009. But after that, I'll be out of business. I may be able to stall until the end of 2009. But that's a 'delay of execution' as the expression goes. So I'm looking for a plan B.

One of my plans is this:
To go back to the OP, Linux may be insignificant in terms of market share. What is lacking in the wonderful world of Linux is a physical place to buy Linux powered machines. There is a big audience who only trust computers bought in a store. And those people don't get any exposure to Linux, ever.

People want laptops. And with good right. You don't need to dedicate a corner of the living room to your computer. A desktop takes up space. A laptop you throw in a drawer when you're not using it. You can sit on the couch with a laptop. But a laptop is more expensive.
Now the latest and greatest OS of a well known software house needs a machine on steroids to run properly. Whereas what most people do on a machine could easily be done on lesser specs. Heck, most people don't even _need_ all the functionality of OOo. Lighter programs suffice for many purposes.

So, if someone would be able to buy cheap low powered laptops without OS, and configure them properly with a befitting Linux distro, and if that someone opened up a store in a location that gets lots of traffic, making it very easy and inviting to walk in and look around and play with the machines... you catch my drift. I smell market.

There is actually quite a lot of people who don't have a computer, who know nothing about computers, who really don't want a computer, but who feel that one of these days they cannot do without one. One of the things keeping them from buying a computer is fear, the other is money. I think if you can provide these people with a cheap laptop that is easy to operate, they just might be persuaded.

Now there are many difficulties to be overcome. And I don't think I'll be able to tackle them all, especially on my own. Sure, I can write a business plan. I know a suitable location. The political wind in my country is blowing in the right direction. But can I get funding? Can I get suppliers to deliver low end (and high end, 'cuz there is market there as well) hardware without OS? Will I be able to deliver the service required? Can I navigate the legal issues? Will I be able to make a living _and_ have a life (working <50 hrs/week).

I dunno. Probably not. It would be good if what I described above existed though. And I don't think anyone else is trying...

Food for thought, to me anyway. And hence my question... would something go dramatically wrong when inexperienced users operate a properly configured Linux box?
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: tomh38 on November 07, 2007, 06:25:37 am
Freston:  To answer your final question:  Would something go dramatically wrong when inexperienced users operate a properly configured Linux box?  My answer is ... I don't think any more so than with Windows.  But, when something does go wrong, people want tech support.  They want if from the person from whom they bought the computer.  Despite the Best Buy television commercials, the Dork Squad can't fix anything and everything.  Would you be able to provide tech support for the machines that you sell?

Concerning laptops ... there are still people like me who prefer a desktop computer, with a nice big keyboard and no worrying about the battery or having to send the thing back to the manufacturer when something goes wrong with the hardware.  I know that the market is moving towards mobile devices in general, but there might be a bigger market for desktop machines than you're thinking.  Then again, if we're talking about some time in 2010, things could be a lot different by then.
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: nubcnubdo on November 07, 2007, 07:20:26 am
small computers
http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum2/index.php?topic=3000.0


amazing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnsz8Uc3enE
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: Freston on November 07, 2007, 08:24:33 am
tomh38:
Thanks for your reply  ;D

Tech support is IMO a bigger issue even than funding. Even with hardware failure left aside, I expect the target audience to be more dependent than average on support. Without a good detailed plan on this, the  plan as a whole is set to self-destruct. Customer trust and satisfaction are very important in this line of business. And, different from vendors of other OS's, I don't have the luxury to say: "A billion other people are using this OS, and they are _not_ complaining". ::)

On the other hand, support will probably be the main source of income in a business like this. Will I be able to provide it? Not now, not on my own, and not without a good and detailed assessment of what the audience needs, what is serviceable, and how to yield proper benefits (<= Not really sure about the usage of 'yield')

Sure! I can set up a desktop or laptop in a nice and sensible configuration. And if nobody does anything to it that is outside the scope of what it was set up for, all will be alright. And helping someone set up a new mail account can be done digitally, if need be. So the audience that is not really demanding on a machine will be alright; browser/email/solitaire/word_processor type of users.
What else have you? More demanding users with webcams and VoIP. Frontpage, anyone? Seriously... is there a good alternative? Nvu maybe, but it doesn't automagically include javascript. Would I need to be able to provide an alternative? How about all the beautiful Peripherals like winprinters that pose a financial benefit to the buyer over a proper hardware driven printer that does work out of the box?

Maybe introducing the wonderfully complicated world of Service Level Agreements is something to consider (plan pending). But I fear it may still be more weight than I can carry.

nubcnubdo
Yeah... good links. You kept me busy for a long time ;-) There are quite a lot of them small boxes out there. Attractive. I knew some of them, saw some new ones, and found many more following my nose. Via had some interesting ones (a laptop among them), although they didn't list a price :-(

But, as mentioned above, many if not all are headless. Which means that unless someone already has a monitor, the price falls out a lot higher (may double in some cases). Also, the thin clients among them may not be a preferable solution in many cases. The support deals on the other hand, as far I could tell where not at all bad. Power consumption is also an issue these small devices address. 5~6 watts in some cases, but that is not counting the monitor. Still... impressive.

----

Well, as I said. What I think is lacking in the world of Linux is a good amount of exposure to the people. A place where you can see Linux, work with Linux, check it out without fear of ruining your system. I've had this plan I was thinking about, to change this and make a living. What is wise? Maybe wisdom is staying silent about your silly plans (default)... Maybe wisdom is speaking out and doing something innovative; filling a perceived hole in the market. But, as far is it's now... tech support is wanting wisdom. And I'll be needing a business partner. Hmmm. At least I've got something to break my head over, keeps ya sharp :-D
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: exeterdad on November 07, 2007, 08:27:28 am
Quote
Can I get suppliers to deliver low end (and high end, 'cuz there is market there as well) hardware without OS?

Buying power is going to be your biggest enemy.  You have to promise these suppliers volume to get prices low enough to be able to compete and grab the attention of the customers.  :-\
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: lagagnon on November 07, 2007, 12:37:37 pm
Concerning laptops ... there are still people like me who prefer a desktop computer, with a nice big keyboard and no worrying about the battery or having to send the thing back to the manufacturer when something goes wrong with the hardware. 

I agree wholeheartedly - laptops are highly overrated unless portability is a must. We dissuade our clients from laptop purchases unless portability tops the needs list because laptops are:
1) more expensive for the same computing power
2) more prone to breakdowns and much less reliable
3) not upgradeable except for RAM and hard drive
4) much more expensive to repair and usually require shipment to the manufacturer
5) more prone to theft
6) less ergonomic for long periods at the keyboard

Just my humble opinions as always  ;)
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: tomh38 on November 07, 2007, 12:52:45 pm
lagagnon:
Holy sh ... shucks!  I thought I was the last person on Earth who preferred a desktop computer, and here you make a list with all my reasons and a few more.  Of course when it comes to mobility laptops are a must if that's what the person needs.  For me, even if I needed the mobility for work (I don't - fortunately I can leave my work at work) I would still want a desktop machine at home.

Part of it for me is that I've been building (assembling, whatever) my own machines since the mid-late 90s, and I love it.  You can't do that with a laptop.  And if you put the box together yourself, you know know exactly what's in it (e.g. you don't skimp on the power supply), and you can do your own quality control.

Just my .002 of a barrel of oil.
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: GrannyGeek on November 07, 2007, 07:17:19 pm
Since you're talking 2010 before you'd seriously embark on your plan, you'll have some real-world experience on which to base your decision. By that I mean you'll have seen whether the Acer eee is successful in the market place, and specifically whether the *Linux* version of the Acer eee is successful. The eee will be available with Windows XP soon. That should give you some idea of whether the public is interested in a low-cost Linux machine. If the Acer eee is a flop, well, there's your answer. The niche you think you see may not exist.

Also, the Everex gPC desktop will also have a track record by then. With 600 Walmarts planning to tesk-market these machines, this will be a pretty good test of whether the computer-illiterate public is enticed by a low-cost Linux computer being sold at a retail store.

My own opinion is that you'll never compete with the big boys on price. They can cut deals with hardware and software suppliers; you, or whoever supplies you, cannot. To give you an example--
Today I was in Walmart and took a brief look at the computer section. They were selling an Acer laptop with 14" screen, 80 gig drive, 512 megs RAM, the usual other hardware, and Vista Home Basic for $400. This was the everyday price, not a sale price. So the price was the same as the Acer eee. The average buyer will prefer Windows to Linux simply because they've heard of Windows. And don't discount that people want to play games their friends may have, want to use software they see advertised or that their friends have or they use at work. In my opinion, with competition like that, the Acer eee's selling point is not the price, it's the weight. The price of laptops goes up as the weight goes down. So a 2-pound $400 laptop is very attractive to anyone who has to carry around a laptop, whether for traveling or sipping coffee at a wifi cafe or taking to class or the library.

I'm trying to emphasize that regardless of what Linux promoters say, Linux computers do NOT cost less than Windows computers. You can always find a Windows computer at the same price point, and often with better specs. That's true with the $400 laptop and the $200 desktop. I have a cyber friend who is shopping for a high-end Linux laptop. He was surprised to find that what I just said is true for the high end, too.

Indeed, you have to be prepared to support the machines you sell. Don't expect the buyers to go to a class or read a manual. They're going to point and click and if it doesn't work, you'll get a call. Also, you'd have to provide some of that support for free. That's what the big boys do, and no buyer is going to want to pay extra for support from the get-go. It would be great if you could have something like the Genius Bar Apple has in its stores.

Can they mess up their machines? Sure. Any computer can be messed up, and if they know the root password, they can totally wreck their Linux installation. But you can't very well sell a computer that the buyer can't administer.

Everything has to "just work." Sound, networking, wifi, printing, Flash, PDFs, playing DVDs, playing MP3s and Windows Media files, QuickTime. It's a tall order.

By 2010, all this may be automatic with Linux. It's so much easier now than it was a few years ago, and progress will continue. If things go the way we hope and the Acer eee and gPC are the start of a trend, your dream should be achievable.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: GrannyGeek on November 07, 2007, 07:44:32 pm
I have two desktops and one laptop. I'd hate to be without a desktop, but if I could have only one, it would be a laptop.

You guys are missing one very important point--with a laptop you can use the computer anywhere in the house. Maybe this is covered under "portability," but people think of portability in relation to business use, especially travel. But how on earth could anyone not see the importance of being able to use your computer *anywhere*--living room, bedroom, kitchen, patio, Starbucks? I never take my laptop on business travel. I rarely take it from the house. But I use it for many hours every day as I sit in my upholstered rocking chair in the living room with my feet up while I do my browsing, e-mail, and forums and watch TV. NO WAY would I want to be isolated and tied to my home office desk.

Another point about laptops--
I can take it to my mother's and show her digital photos stored on my computer. The days of printed photos are coming to an end. It makes no sense to print out ordinary snapshots and a lot of sense to view photos on your computer. We all have family members without a computer, so taking your laptop to their house enables you to share photos with them.

The price difference between a desktop and a laptop with comparable hardware is shrinking fast. It's true that laptops are less upgradeable and more expensive to repair. I doubt that they are *much* less reliable. If you have a lot of keyboarding to do and don't like the laptop keyboard, just put the laptop on a table or desk and attach a USB keyboard. Problem solved. As for battery life, just plug the darn thing into an outlet when you use it! Who says you have to use it on battery?

I certainly don't see the desktop/laptop question as either/or. But if you use a computer for work and for fun, how can you do without portability???

When my 4-1/2-year-old Toshiba developed a fatal illness in August, I bought a new laptop the very next day. A laptop is indispensable to me. I'd live on bread and water for a month before I'd do without a laptop.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: The Headacher on November 07, 2007, 11:49:28 pm
I'd just like to point out it's the ASUS eee, not Acer. A friend of mine often confuses these 2 brands as well. I suppose it's because both have 4 letters and start with an A...
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: tomh38 on November 08, 2007, 01:52:10 am
GrannyGeek
Quote
But if you use a computer for work and for fun, how can you do without portability???

It's easy.  I walk to where my computer is, I sit down, I use it.

Also, with a laptop, if I have to plug it into the wall, plug in a USB keyboard (and a separate mouse since I hate those touchpad things), then there I am sitting in my easy chair tangled in wires.  Might as well go to my computer when I want to use my computer, and take a nice unpowered wireless book to my easy chair.

Living room, bedroom, kitchen, patio ... no thanks, don't want or need it in any of those places.  As for Starbucks ... don't even get me started.

I'd rather go without a computer completely than just eat bread and only drink water, whether for a week, a month, or the rest of my life.  I really like using my computer, but good food is more important to me.

I know lots of  people who prefer laptops to desktops; that's fine for them, I have no problem with it.  They're just not for me.
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: Freston on November 08, 2007, 11:35:01 am
Sorry, long post

The whole 'competing on price' thing doesn't really strike me as a working strategy for laptops anymore. I've found a couple of brands that can be shipped without an OEM version of an alternative OS, but these tend to be high end machines. Starting to talk at ~ €800 they are not really price fighters. And even the cheapest ones ship for +€600.
That is reasonably priced perhaps, but even converting the low end OEM machines to Linux without bothering about refunds and such will end up with cheaper machines. By the way, I found that is how many of those Internet stores selling Linux machines do it. Just peal away the sticker with the license code.

This may change, perhaps in the foreseeable future even. After the Nelie Kroes EU commission on bundling soft- and hardware and the initiatives of some (eh.. whatchacallid) parliamentarians?? in the Netherlands it may become law that machines can be bought without OS. That may affect pre-installed Linux machines as well, but that's neither here nor there... and not a fact yet. They are now in the stage of planning to ask questions about it :-S

The trouble is of course, as was rightfully pointed out above, that the Big Boys can negotiate much better deals and thus sell a lot cheaper. Whereas a small store may need to join some 'collective acquisition initiative' of small stores just to be able to buy machines.

I think the best bet is to watch and wait what happens at Walmart. Or! Take a really different route all together. Those mini PC's _are_ interesting. It's a different audience than I had in mind, and perhaps a bigger risk. But it may be easier to negotiate attractive deals, because these manufacturers tend to be smaller and are still striving to establish their name in a crowded and highly competitive market (I've been reading, can you tell? :-p). Also, some are sympathetic to FOSS. Gives ya something in common ;-)

But on the other hand they'll have small margins on their product, so there is probably not a lot of room to negotiate price.



Recapitulating:
Low end lappies tend to be crap. And even without an OEM version and with Linux installed it's very difficult to compete on price with the Big Boys.
Desktops are another matter, as they can be home made... as cheap or expensive  as one might desire. There is more margin there.
Mini PC's are interesting, but are they interesting enough to be competitive?
Tech support still unsorted. I saw some good examples of how others do it though.
Rent. The location I have in mind has rents at ~ €17,000 to €22,000 per year. That's a years gross income for a teacher. But it's a very good location :-p

Well, in order to reach something resembling a conclusion after this (to long) post, I know all sorts of reasons why an initiative like this shouldn't work. But I'm not ready to let it go just yet. Thanks for the input guys and galls. It's really good to hear from people with a different perspective on the matter. I appreciate it!

Quote from: GrannyGeek
Today I was in Walmart and took a brief look at the computer section. They were selling an Acer laptop with 14" screen, 80 gig drive, 512 megs RAM, the usual other hardware, and Vista Home Basic for $400.
Machines like that they sometimes give out for free when you take a 2 year deal with a phone network or Internet provider. Source (in Dutch, but the main parts are readable (http://www.breedbandwinkel.nl/tele2) 1.6Ghz Celeron processor. Running that OS on those specs should be a crime.... I've got a machine like that (1.5Ghz Celeron, 512MB, 40GB drive) and the only thing (other than Slack) that gets good performance out of it is .... *drumroll* .... Vector!


*sigh*


Those machines should be shipping with Vector. Not that state_of _the_art and we'll_get_it_right_in_the_third_release other OS. You see? Now we're back in the beginning. Those lappies can be converted into preforming pieces of machinery. Someone should sell those things, in a physical store, and with a stable, fast and secure OS. If that catches on, Linux is no longer insignificant (and just when you thought I was derailing, I came back to the OP :-p). Granted, it's difficult and involves a lot of risk. It may even be a Bad Idea(TM). But the thought is luring...
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: bigpaws on November 08, 2007, 03:37:46 pm
There is alot of risk involved. I have my own computer support business
which is support based, not hardware. The reasons are stated already. I will only
build a high end machine for special needs, be it a gaming machine, server
or CAD system. This area price is not thought of but performance is.

When a current or potential customer contacts me I refer them to another
vendor due to price, not service. They come to me for service for the simple
fact I keep them running in the fashion that they want, in their environment.

My thoughts are if you can get market penetration it may then be a good thing.

If this is what you wish to do stick with, and minimize your potential loses where
you can.

Good Luck,

Bigpaws
Title: Re: Face it folks, Linux is insignificant
Post by: GrannyGeek on November 08, 2007, 08:37:09 pm
I'd just like to point out it's the ASUS eee, not Acer. A friend of mine often confuses these 2 brands as well. I suppose it's because both have 4 letters and start with an A...

You're right! I know ASUS and Acer aren't the same. I guess I just had Acer in my mind (now the No. 3 computer maker) and never noticed the eee is from ASUS, not Acer.

I was hoping this low-cost laptop would be Linux's vehicle into the masses, but today I saw this:
ASUS Unites the Breakthrough Eee PC with Microsoft Windows
( http://eeepc.asus.com/en/news10192007.htm )

I was hoping Linux would have a longer window of opportunity with this.
--GrannyGeek