MSI rate of return higher on Linux machines

Discussion in 'Linux' started by scottro, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. scottro

    scottro

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    Interesting story on slashdot.

    http://linux.slashdot.org/linux/08/10/05/123253.shtml

    I found many of the comments interesting, since they basically agree with my own feelings. Most of the manufacturers, apparently, including Acer, are shipping a Linux version that doesn't work very well.

    Additionally, for example--the 6 cell battery version right now is only available in the US (when you can find it, which is difficult) in Windows. The 3 cell version has the one gig of RAM and 120 gig hard drive in Windows.
    Though there is now a Linux version with a gig of RAM, it is using an SSD drive vs. the 120 gig hard drive, and anyone doing a little research before buying will be reluctant, since the general consensus is that Acer is putting in an extremely slow SSD.

    I suspect that Acer (and the others) will eventually say, despite their tough talking about standing up to MS, that the Linux version didn't sell.

    It will be interesting to see how Toshiba's NB100 which has Ubuntu (though I have no idea what they've done to it) and Dell's mini with Ubuntu have similar results.

    As it is slashdot, there is the theory that MS is paying them to sell poor Linux versions. (Although that did seem tongue in cheek--for non-native English speakers, that means it did seem as if it were a joke.)

    Anyway, interesting. I've thought the same thing. As it is, I'll probably buy the 6 cell. I'll be wiping it immediately and putting in Linux (probably Fedora, Ubuntu and CentOS), but after my experience with the first generation Linpus Lite, I wouldn't buy a Linux version from them again. They've also made the price difference (between the 8 gig Linux and 120 gig XP) small enough to make it worthwhile simply for a hard drive and an extra 512MB of RAM. (Again, in the US--the difference is probably $30-50 USD).
     
    scottro, Oct 5, 2008
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  2. scottro

    dattaway

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    I remember when Windows came out with major releases of NT4.0, 95, 98, Vista etc. Every one had MAJOR show stopping bugs. Same with the major Linux distribution at the time, Redhat. Every major company through the years in an attempt to release the latest must have features, rushed QA with some amazing gaffs. Laptop hardware has changed a lot in the last year. It takes time for the system to mature. The Atheros drivers have been made open source and are now in the snapshot kernels and seem to be doing well, but are still under development. And things like the memory card readers are starting to settle down too. So many chipsets, so many IO addresses, interrupts, and methodologies to increase performance while reducing power are being implimented.

    Give it one more year and most of the missing things we see today should be resolved.
     
    dattaway, Oct 5, 2008
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  3. scottro

    ka5s

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    In the US, Computer City was one of the early sellers. I think people may have bought these because they are small, convenient and cheap, without considering the limitations, and were disappointed enough to return them. My local Computer City store had three marked down to $299US, so I now have one and will have to learn enough Linux/Linpus to install hamlib and fldigi on it for radio use.

    As of "Day Two of the One" (grin) I am not unhappy.

    Cortland
     
    ka5s, Oct 6, 2008
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  4. scottro

    kevin

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    Well, I reckon that Acer should just called their Linux variety `AcerOS' and played down its resemblance to Linux. As Archos do, Acer could have said that the OS is Linux-derived but not intended to be user-expandable. So long as the unit does what I says on the box, my gut feeling is that customers would be happy, whatever the underlying software.

    Acer (and MSI, and Archos) are between a rock and a hard place with Linux. The `rock' is that group of potential customers who don't give a stuff about software, and just want something that can surf the web and edit documents. Those people need the user interface to be complete stable and predictable, and as easy to navigate as possible. The `hard place' is all the Linux geeks who bitch and whine because Linpus isn't the same as Ubuntu or Fedora or whatever the flavour of the month it.

    But you can't satisfy both those groups of people with one Linux configuration. For most part Acer is trying to satisfy the non-technical users who just want a low-cost computer. But there's still this spectre of Linux-ness hauting the unit. Even non-tecchies know what Linux is, and know that there is software out there for Linux. So why doesn't it work on the AA1? And how do you install it on the AA1 in the first place? At least Archos has been unequivcal on this matter with its Internet media tablets: you can't install new software, you can't customize anything beyond the screen colours, and if you don't like that, buy something else. Archos has learned to its cost that `Linux geeks with money' is a very small market segment.

    So, in my view, in the end with the Linpus AA1 will sell to ordinary, non-geeky end users, depends on two things: whether it is substantially cheaper than the Windows variety, and whether it actually performs better (faster, more reliably, better battery life) at doing the things it says on the box.

    Acer _could_ plug their products like this: we offer a Windows version, which runs Windows and does all the usual Windows things, and we offer an `AcerOS' version that is optimised for speed, lightness, and low power consumption, but intended for doing specific tasks like web browsing and word processing.

    In the UK, at least, the Linpus AA0 represents a signficant cost saving over the Windows version -- it's 50% cheaper. Whether it outperforms the Windows version at basic tasks I really don't know (since I haven't used a Windows model). I suspect you'd find it hard to beat the 15 second start-up time on Windows, but I don't know how important that is.

    Persoanlly I bought the Linpus versions because I wanted a model without a hard disk. I wasn't particular fussed about what operating system it had -- I wouldn't have paid extra to have Windows, but I'm sure plenty of people would.
     
    kevin, Oct 6, 2008
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  5. scottro

    scottro

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    Thank you Kevin. I hadn't realized there was such a massive cost savings elsewhere. In the US, as I said, the price difference is now so small that few people would buy the Linpus version just to save money. However, if there is such a big difference in the UK, I imagine they're getting more buyers who are choosing Linpus to save money, which changes matters. Then perhaps it might be useful to such people, since it is so newcomer friendly.

    I wonder if the new 16 gig SSD Linpus version has done what Asus did with their 20 gig (and possibly their 16 as well) and put 4 gigs on a faster SSD while having the remainder on a slower drive.
     
    scottro, Oct 6, 2008
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  6. scottro

    OneHead

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    I think it's obvious what's happening here. Manufacturers are using Linux to send a warning shot to Micro$oft to lower licensing costs. It's amazing how many $300 Linux machines have appeared in the last year, only to then morph into $500 Linux machines as soon as a Windoze version hits the streets. It's also obviously in Micro$oft's interest to see Linux fail, and thus get a bad reputation.

    On the other hand, it's fantastic for people who "get" Linux ... I imagine there will be all sorts of great bargains on eBay shortly!
     
    OneHead, Oct 6, 2008
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  7. scottro

    kevin

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    It's hard for me to see how US vendors can price the Linux and Windows versions so closely, unless they are inflating the price of the Linux one, or have some sort of deal with MS to get Windows for peanuts. Odd, really.

    As for the UK, the Linux AA1s and EEEs all seem to be selling pretty well. It's not just the price -- although £100 different is not to be sniffed at -- but the fact that the Linux version (unless tweaked) is maintenance-free. This is a huge big deal if you're buying these things for your kids, as I am. My kids don't give two hoots about Linux (or anything else), but I don't want to be mending their broken laptops all day (as I do with my wife's Windows XP laptop). And, on the whole, the Linpus version is invulnerable to the Windows-centered Internet dross -- spyware and all that nonsense.

    In my view, Acer isn't making enough of this. In their ads their still hinting the the Linpus AA1 is a general-purpose laptop, when what they ought to be doing is selling it as an Internet tablet/word processor on steriods that is kid-proof.
     
    kevin, Oct 6, 2008
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  8. scottro

    dattaway

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    This is exactly why I bought my entire family Linux loaded laptops. 100% maintenance free. They love the laptops and I love how they just work and don't take a minute of my time. They replaced the Windows nightmare.
     
    dattaway, Oct 6, 2008
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  9. scottro

    Shad0wguy

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    I bought the linux system knowing full well what I was getting into. I admit I wasn't aware of how they tried to lock the system down, but after a day here I knew the OS in and out. People buy these things expecting Windows-like operation out of them and when they don't get that they return them. They want the quick and easy method, and don't want to have to research how to do something as simple as installing a program.
     
    Shad0wguy, Oct 6, 2008
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  10. scottro

    kevin

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    Well, that's true, but I think consumers can't entirely be held to blame for this. Acer make a biggie out of how the AA1 runs Linux, but doesn't say that it's a rather specialised Linux version that won't easily be extended or customized by non-expert users. Everybody who has a computer at least knows somebody who knows something about Linux. So of course people are going to get the idea that what they're buying into is `Linux made easy and profitable with illustrations for the novice''. But what they're actually getting (unless they're Linux geeks) is a dedicated Acer user environment losely based on Linux and XFCE.

    Their are bound to be people who wouldn't dream of installing Linux on a PC but who are aware of the advantages that Linux notionally offers (albeit to people who are prepared to put in the effort). These people might by the AA1 hoping to a good dose of Linux benefits without any of the costs.

    Acer really ought to do more to deter this kind of purchaser, in my view.
     
    kevin, Oct 6, 2008
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  11. scottro

    jamesb72

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    As said above, in the UK the 8Gb SSD Linpus version is 2/3 price of the 120Gb windows version, I chose it specifically because it doesn't have a hard disk (benefits of battery life/robustness), and that Linux would be usably fast on SSD (Windows as others have spent days discovering isn't).

    I am delighted with the One, I've spent a few evenings tinkering about, tweaking bits and bobs from well tried commands from forums etc, my main gripe about the One is the manual is a bit brief, and there is no single tips site which is reliable, a lot of forums with postings varying from experts tips which work to people guessing and causing grief, a few choice blogs such as Jorge and Macles but just finding a few simple tweaks (right click menu, installing gimp/gthumb, ntfs, reclaiming disk space from foreign language files, and tweaking SDHC config to use left slot first for home stuff) has taken me quite a few hours, when it should have taken about 20 minutes.

    I've probably tweaked as much as I will now, so will just use my One for surfing the web, and checking/tweaking photos from digital camera, as well as the odd bit of openoffice stuff.

    Linux geeks make a lot of noise but the fact is as a % of market spending they are tiny, the big market and money is normal people wanting a neat simple laptop which runs fast, and is suitable for kids etc and has a reliable OS which doesn't need patching every 2 minutes - so far for me Linpus hits this market perfectly - and the linux fans can reinstall whatever distro they prefer to their hearts content.

    I have another Acer laptop with Vista on, as I guess will 90% of One buyers will also have a Windows PC/laptop, so I think they have got their product and marketing 100% correct, if they included a recovery usb drive with the One (which would cost a few pence), and improved the manual a bit it would be perfect!
     
    jamesb72, Oct 7, 2008
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  12. scottro

    mykl99

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    My first two cents here....

    I love my little Acer netbook - but having a Nokia N800 I do see some lacks at times....

    I specifically bought the A1 to surf the net - quick, easy and fast - and have a keyboard for doing a bit of chat - better than on the the N800.

    The biggest thing I could see any company doing is emulating Nokia when it comes to their tablets - maemo is great for being able to quickly and efficiently install some little app or game to do something....not sure why some of the netbooks are avoiding this type of system. Maybe once Moblin is off the ground and running?
     
    mykl99, Oct 7, 2008
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  13. scottro

    PoV

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    Hey, they do call it "Linpus Linux Lite", so it's not like they were being deceptive. I can get to my terminal with ease, and install the stuff I care about (GCC, etc), so I'm happy.
     
    PoV, Oct 8, 2008
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  14. scottro

    wess2

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    Well, MS windows is the best known, most widely used operating system in the world.
    It is expected and perfectly normal that there will be lots of unhappy people when you offer them something else than the norm.
     
    wess2, Oct 9, 2008
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  15. scottro

    Grim Squeaker

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    Even if they are told in advance ?
    Seriously - many people are for instance used to speaking English. Then they move to e.g. Greece. Why are they so surprised things work differently there ?
     
    Grim Squeaker, Oct 9, 2008
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