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Software Businesses Hardware Linux

Hardware Vendors Will Follow Money To Open Source 194

Posted by Zonk
from the penguins-on-the-move dept.
Stony Stevenson writes "Dirk Hohndel, Intel's chief technologist for open source, believes the installed base of Linux-based desktops could potentially double this year, based just on Eee PC sales. Speaking at open source conference Linux.conf.au in Melbourne, Hohndel said commercial pressure will be the incentive for traditionally Windows-centric hardware vendors to begin offering open source drivers and Linux-based systems to their customers. 'Open source has made the most inroads in the server market, where Linux-based servers represent roughly a quarter of the total market. But in other segments, such as mobile phones and desktops where open source hasn't had as much of an impact, vendors were less interested, Hohndel said. Linux penetration of the desktop environment is currently at around 0.8 percent, but Hohndel said consumer behavior is changing this.'"
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Hardware Vendors Will Follow Money To Open Source

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  • could potentially double this year
    This statement doesn't mean a whole lot. What could potentially happen and what's likely to happen have never exactly been the same thing. I, myself, do believe that this is likely to happen, but saying that it could potentially happen is a cop-out. I could say that an asteroid could potentially hit the Earth this year. I'd be right, but I wouldn't be saying much.
    • by Asic Eng (193332) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @11:56AM (#22247244)
      saying that it could potentially happen is a cop-out

      He said something different though: "The Eee PC is expected to hit 3 and a half million in 2008. There's a single computer that's going to double this figure this year". It seems the cop-out is in the summary rather than in Hohndel's statement.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @12:02PM (#22247340)
      I am always a bit wary when people talk about usage of some particular system "doubling." Linux usage will undoubtedly increase on the desktop, but doubling? That's a very generous estimate of the situation. I would be happy if it doubled, if only because people would slowly stop assuming that everybody in the world is either a Windows or Mac user. Let's be serious though: it will not double, unless someone big like Dell or HP actually tries marketing their Linux systems. Dell's Linux systems go un-advertised, and therefore unnoticed by anyone who doesn't know what Linux is or why it is worth their time.
      • but in this case, eeePC has a really small base, distinct enough to count as it's own non-laptop niche. It's a case where a really cheap OS combine with low-end hardware is something nobody else is selling, and Asus has proven people WANT to buy their combinations...it's not just "cheap".
        • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:58PM (#22248962) Homepage
          If they offered the EXACT SAME device running Embedded XP it would be far less capable of a machine. I'm a Embedded XP developer and hardware guy, I know it's limitations very well.

          asus is winning because they are competing where Microsoft CANT. They cant fit a fully functional OS and app suite in that small of a place that runs that swiftly.
          This is where Linux is shining. it's kicking the crap out of the big guys because it's far more scalable. Everyone else is interested in bigger and badder, while Linux and BSD both have sat there making sure it runs fine on tiny spaces.
      • "it will not double, unless someone big like Dell or HP actually tries marketing their Linux systems."

        Is Asus ok, or does it need to be Dell or HP? TFA and TF summary are talking about Eee.

      • by Hatta (162192)
        I am always a bit wary when people talk about usage of some particular system "doubling." Linux usage will undoubtedly increase on the desktop, but doubling?

        Yeah, now TWO people will use it!
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      I could say that an asteroid could potentially hit the Earth this year

      So lomg as an assteroid [wikipedia.org] doesn't hit me I guess it's ok.
  • And a new "Linux on the desktop is set to explode this year" comments from various people.

    Though they're a little late on this aren't they? It's the end of January...they usually start this talk in the first 1 or 2 weeks of the year. But it's good to see they're consistent.

    Also, not trolling here, I really hope Linux does explode and gain market share...it's just I've heard this year after year after year. But I suppose that one year it's actually going to happen.
    • Re:Cool! A new year! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Compholio (770966) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @11:54AM (#22247212)

      Also, not trolling here, I really hope Linux does explode and gain market share...it's just I've heard this year after year after year. But I suppose that one year it's actually going to happen.
      Personally, I think we're getting really close to a tipping point. The past couple months have been the first time I've had people notice I'm not running Windows on my laptop and look interested rather than disgusted. I then try to remain as calm as possible (getting too excited puts people off) and explain that they can get Ubuntu for free, and even buy computers with it pre-loaded, and all the benefits of using a system built around free software.
      • by dave420 (699308)
        Not being rude, but that doesn't mean a thing. Firstly, those are just your experiences, and secondly, it's going to take more than a few people thinking "oh" to actually tip the status-quo of desktoppery we see every day. At most, if what you experienced was repeated en masse, it's a start of the change, not the middle of it.
      • by Culture20 (968837)
        That's why I carry around extra "official" (silkscreened from Canonical https://shipit.ubuntu.com/ [ubuntu.com] ) Ubuntu CDs in both my coat and laptop bag. Never lose an opportunity to evangelize.
      • by jcnnghm (538570)
        I would switch to Linux today if I could install on the NVRaid array I use for windows, and configure tri-monitor support using two different graphics cards running three different resolutions in under 3 or 4 hours. The problem I have with trying to use Linux on the desktop is that doing fairly ordinary things requires a substantial time investment, like, for instance, installing a wireless card.
        • by MrNemesis (587188)
          Achilles' weakness was his heel, but it wasn't his fault.

          Similarly, Linux's supposed lack of support for hardware (in reality, it's hardware's lack of support for Linux) is frequently what makes the tasks of which you speak difficult. I'm not saying that Linux couldn't do with alot of polish in regard to making some of the things that are supported easier, but the point of TFA is that there are still some hardware hurdles to overcome with certain manufacturers.

          Incidentally, the latest ubuntu made switching
          • by jcnnghm (538570)
            That's good to hear. I haven't tried in a little over a year, but this is definitely a big deal to me, as previously this configuration was most definitely non-trivial.
            • by MrNemesis (587188)
              Yup, I remember spending DAYS on getting my much beloved dual-monitor setup working in Gentoo several years ago, and was dreading my shift to Kubuntu for having to go through the process all over again. Thankfully, the nVidia drivers have been rock solid for me and most others for some years now, and the new developments with X.org and xrandr (X.org has positively shot along since the fork from XF86) rendered the whole process quick and painless (easier than windows in fact, IMHO). Fire up nVidia config uti
        • I would switch to Linux today if I could install on the NVRaid array I use for windows

          NVRAID is just software RAID with assistance from the BIOS so it'll work under Windows.

          Linux doesn't need the BIOS hack to do software RAID, so you can ignore that option and just use a distro that natively installs to soft RAID. The performance will be the same.

      • by Flammon (4726)
        Linux is estimated to be on 1%-3% of desktops. There is only one tipping point so where do you think it is? 5%? That would be a very low tipping point and with leverage like that, Microsoft is in for a very bumpy ride. I hope you're right because for the first time in 10 years, my employer has forced me to use Windows XP on my Desktop (was Debian for the first 7 years, then Ubuntu came along), not for any other reason than the "It's the corporate standard". I'm doing it because they pay me but all it has do
    • by secPM_MS (1081961)
      I am doubtful. The driving force for the extreme feature richness of Vista is almost certainly the hardware vendor's search for new features that will let them sell hardware to customers who already have adequate computers. Those customers who are happy with basic functionality will be happy with their Win 2K and XP boxes. For many people, the Win 98 boxes would remain adequate for browsing, light duty editing, and the like. Providing simple functionality only requires on sale, typically one that was made y
      • by jedidiah (1196)
        The obvious use is a cheap media convergence device.

        Make a general purpose PC at about the same pricepoint
        as the AppleTV and let the customer load whatever
        software they want on it. It will beat the crap out of
        network DVD players, be more flexible than the iTV and
        be cheaper than the mini.

        Make it cheap (like a walmart DVD) so that the consumers
        end up spending more on computers than they would if
        they had to spend the same money all at once.

        An EEE hooked up to every TV and stereo in America and Europe.
    • What kind of battery does the Eee use?
    • by somersault (912633) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @12:20PM (#22247558) Homepage Journal
      IMO it's already been happening, even without the Eee PC. Dell and other large vendors (dont Walmart do cheap Linux desktops?) are taking notice and getting on board. Vista is making people aware that they don't have to just use XP, and the fact that it has a lot of incompatibilities, and plain sucks, makes it a better time for people to try out alternatives (or 'evangelise' to their friends, but I cba these days, I'm happy even with little things like Firefox taking off and showing the possibilities of opensource software on the desktop.. in fact I have to point out Firefox next time someone looks incredulously at me when I suggest that they can get a free piece of software like the GIMP to perform a function that they usually pay for..)
    • by WK2 (1072560)
      Imagine how bad they would feel if Linux took off on the desktop on the exact same year that the yay-sayers stopped saying "???? is the year of the Linux desktop!"? Come to think of it, that might actually happen. A self-negating prophecy.
  • Integration is key (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheMeuge (645043) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @11:46AM (#22247084)
    While I think he makes sense, I think something else will be a far more important factor in driving Linux and open-source into the mainstream - the integration of technological products based on linux, across multiple platforms. The Google phone concept, if it is realized successfully by multiple companies, will certainly provide much of the impulse needed to push Linux into the consumer mainstream.

    Just the ability to sync your mobile phone with a Linux platform (which I assume it will provide) will be a huge boost for Linux on the desktop, when it comes to small and medium business.

    Actually, the slashdot "does it run linux" meme is very much appropriate here. If the devices you want run Linux and are compatible with other Linux devices, it only makes sense to adopt an all-Linux home/shop/business, etc...
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @12:01PM (#22247322) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, this might sound wacky to some, but it's actually right on the money. Integration is a key selling point for the desktop leaders, Microsoft's Windows and Apple's OS X. If I walk into CompUSA, Best Buy, or buy something off of NewEgg or whatever, it's pretty much a given that it's going to work with Windows. In addition, if I walk into an Apple store, it's pretty much a given that anything I walk out with will work with the latest version of OS X.

      On Linux, we get a bad rap for poor hardware support. It's not really the case. We have good or, in many cases, excellent hardware support for a wide swath of popular hardware. But you have to do the necessary research to know what to buy and what not to buy when it comes to buying hardware for your Linux machine. In the Windows world, you stick with the big names -- they're guaranteed to work. In the Linux world, one scanner model from a vendor might be supported by SANE and another from the same vendor might not be.

      A bright, enterprising individual would do well to come up with an online and -- even better -- a brick and mortar store that specializes in selling hardware that works well on Linux. Sure, it's been tried before and failed -- but that was then and this now and Linux has gotten much better support for hardware in recent years.
      • by joe 155 (937621)
        "A bright, enterprising individual would do well to come up with an online and -- even better -- a brick and mortar store that specializes in selling hardware that works well on Linux"

        I completely agree, although I would prefer something a bit more like what apple have done, so I can buy a computer or laptop which looks nice (hell, even looking OK would do), comes with linux and works flawlessly (I know everything has problems but it should work as good as Apples). I'd pledge to buy one from someone lik
    • by Culture20 (968837)
      Nokia's purchase of Trolltech makes me think Qpe might be seen on a few more devices from Finland too.
  • by splante (187185) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @11:51AM (#22247154)
    That's only if you call the Eee pc a desktop. Don't they even refer to it as a "mobile internet device" or something like that?
  • Lets trot out all the old cliches why don't we?

    "Linux just needs some popular commercial games. Then we will see it take off on the home desktop."

    Linux is set to take off this year for real this time!

    I'm not trying to troll, but honestly, how often do we have to here these same soundbites?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mabhatter654 (561290)
      Actually reality is that NOBODY has commercial games anymore.. Windows has games, but they're not in the numbers XBox or even PS3 as far as sales. Mac gets crumby games and they're growing... why?

      The opportunity is open to move laterally into Vista territory. Vista is "better" than XP, but not better "enough" to throw away XP and spend twice as much money on a Vista compatible computer.... since Microsoft spent the entire XP era shooting PC gaming in the foot (with XBOX) the number of people that care abo
  • by hawks5999 (588198) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @11:59AM (#22247300)
    The Year of Linux on the Desktop.
    • Most organizations of any size are whores to Outlook. Just sayin'. And if you write a big enough check and have fat enough tubes Exchange's massive clustering capabilities more or less work. Just sayin', like that's where the Linux desktop should be concentrating its resources. I'd be glad to be shown the error of my ways

    • by AceJohnny (253840)

      The Year of Linux on the Desktop.
      Desktop's outdated. What we want now is Linux on the smartphone... ...and you know? with Android, that could even happen. Some colleagues are actually working on getting it to work on our chip. Of course, it's just another new contender against Symbian and Windows CE...
  • by westlake (615356) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @12:01PM (#22247332)
    Linux penetration of the desktop environment is currently at around 0.8 percent,

    Twice nothing is still nothing.

  • by tripmine (1160123) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @12:04PM (#22247366)

    He believes the install base of Linux-based desktops could potentially double this year, based just on Eee PC sales..
    Double of a small number is still a small number.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BlueParrot (965239)

      Double of a small number is still a small number.

      Let X be a small number greater than 0.

      A: Under the assumption that double of a small number is a small number we have: Y is small => 2Y is small

      B: Thus for all n > 0 we have (2^(n-1)) * X is small => (2^n)X is small

      C: Thus by the principle of mathematical induction we have that (2^n) * X is small for all n > 0 and X > 0.

      D: However, if X > 0 , then the sequence a(n) = (2^n) * X has no upper bound and is strictly increasing. Hence it diverges

      • Let X be a small number greater than 0.

        A: Under the assumption that double of a small number is a small number we have: Y is small => 2Y is small

        B: Thus for all n > 0 we have (2^(n-1)) * X is small => (2^n)X is small

        C: Thus by the principle of mathematical induction we have that (2^n) * X is small for all n > 0 and X > 0.

        D: However, if X > 0 , then the sequence a(n) = (2^n) * X has no upper bound and is strictly increasing. Hence it diverges towards infinity.

        E: So either double of a small

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by paeanblack (191171)
        Let X be a small number greater than 0.
        A: Under the assumption that double of a small number is a small number we have: Y is small => 2Y is small
        B: Thus for all n > 0 we have (2^(n-1)) * X is small => (2^n)X is small
        C: Thus by the principle of mathematical induction we have that (2^n) * X is small for all n > 0 and X > 0.
        D: However, if X > 0 , then the sequence a(n) = (2^n) * X has no upper bound and is strictly increasing. Hence it diverges towards infinity.
        E: So either double of a small
        • True, I need another step to show that any positive number can be written as X * 2^n , where n is in N and X is arbitrarily close to 0.
    • by Hugonz (20064)
      Double of a small number is still a small number.
      Nah, in base 2, it's an order of magnitude higher!
    • Two times two is only four, right? And two times that is only 8... Geez, we're getting nowhere fast.

      Freaking slow-ass geometric growth rates. Good thing you got modded insightful - clearly you have a point.
  • 2008 will be the year of desktop Linux.
  • FTW: Why is this a surprise? BASF followed the money straight into a Holocaust.
  • Let's face it, not a lot of people are going to wipe out their Windows and install Linux. But something like the 'eee' is a good platform to put a wedge in the door. Even if it's just a tiny wedge. People will use it without even knowing it's Linux. They will understand that part of the low price is because Windows isn't on the machine.

    All they'll know is they can surf and do email, and maybe listen to some music. Next they'll want to know if they can open a spreadsheet or write a document. Eventually
  • by ilovegeorgebush (923173) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @12:29PM (#22247698) Homepage
    I've always thought that phrase was just something lame and idiotic bloggers who want traffic and respect, would say. I mean afterall, it's been said for the last decade or whatever, so I've never taken it seriously.
    Now, though, I'm starting to think it might actually have some weight. You've got Dell, Asus and other vendors shipping hardware with Linux on it. Hell, even Tesco here in the UK sell Ubuntu PCs [tesco.com].

    Anything that wipes that smug look off Ballmer's face is good enough for me :)
  • 0.8 percent? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @12:31PM (#22247726) Journal
    How do they come up with this figure? Microsoft can count every PC sold with Windows installed plus other licenses sold, Apple can count computers sold, but GNU can be freely given away.

    I gave copies of Mandriva to several people last year. None of these copies of that OS is counted as a desktop OS; they are counted as Windows, since they were either added to Windows machines as dual boot or replaced Windows completely.

    A lot of GNU desktops MUST be being counted as Windows. Nobody asked ME how many copies of Linux I gave away!

    Someone (Clemons?) once said there are three kinds of lies - lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    -mcgrew
    (don't bother with today's journal)
    • by johannesg (664142)
      Simple: they count the number of licenses sold by SCO. Otherwise it wouldn't be legal...
    • by Weedlekin (836313)
      "How do they come up with this figure?"

      The key is "market share", which is a percentage of units sold over a particular period of time. Note the "sold" part, which all those Slashdotters who get into long arguments about the market share for X being really much higher than the market share of Y should take note of, because they're actually talking about usage figures, which market share doesn't claim to measure.
      • by zotz (3951)
        "The key is "market share", which is a percentage of units sold over a particular period of time."

        Sure, so I sell you a license for 100,000 units of drew's custom distro. This gives you the right to use my brand icons and super special colour schemes on up to 100,000 copies of the distro of your choice.

        And for an unlimited time, this special bonus offer. You can receive absolutely gratis (free for those wondering) the right to make another 100,000 and so on simply by sending me an email telling me you will
        • by Weedlekin (836313)
          "Sure, so I sell you a license for 100,000 units of drew's custom distro"

          That counts as one license, i.e. one sale, so you get a market share of one unit, not 100,000 of them. The only way for it to count as 100,000 sales would be if I then sold a license to each individual copy for a nominal sum, e.g. 1 cent. Ever wonder why Microsoft are so strict about big companies auditing exactly how many copies of various items they actually install with those expensive corporate "all you can eat" site licenses despi
          • by zotz (3951)
            "It would certainly be fun to try, but unfortunately those sort of tricks have been attempted in the past by companies trying to present false market share figures to raise their share price or attract other forms of investment, so the people who gather market share statistics won't count them as either shipped or sold units."

            So why do they count the forced bundled XP that came on my notebook and never even booted, being replaced by linux from the break as a windows sale? (I grant it was in fact a sale of a
            • by Weedlekin (836313)
              "So why do they count the forced bundled XP that came on my notebook and never even booted, being replaced by linux from the break as a windows sale? (I grant it was in fact a sale of a sorts but one that certainly deserves an asterisk at the very least. And if they had any sane return policy, should go down as a sale and a refund.)"

              You're missing the fact that Microsoft's sale wasn't to you, but to the OEM who bundled it with your computer, just like many other things in that computer will have been made b
              • by zotz (3951)
                "You're missing the fact that Microsoft's sale wasn't to you"

                I don't think I am missing that fact. Check my first post in this thread and the response to it which I then answered. I am asking the follow up question in context.

                You are telling me that MS sells to those OEMs one copy at a time? How is what they are doing different than my suggestion to sell 100,000 units at once for a reasonable price?

                Aldo, re the thought that for "market share" numbers to be valid, a sale must be made, what's up with all of t
            • by SL Baur (19540)

              So why do they count the forced bundled XP that came on my notebook and never even booted, being replaced by linux from the break as a windows sale?
              Microsoft got paid for it. Not counting it as a sale would constitute shady accounting practice.
              • by zotz (3951)
                "Microsoft got paid for it. Not counting it as a sale would constitute shady accounting practice."

                I know, but in a properly functioning market, I would have returned it for a refund as I indicated.

                Then it would not have been counted.

                all the best,

                drew
        • by sm62704 (957197)
          In that case Linux should account for about 99% of the market share!
    • by Bill Dimm (463823)
      I don't know where they get their stats from, but if I check the webserver logs for magportal.com [magportal.com] (a fairly generic audience), I see 0.77% of unique IP addresses having "Linux" in the user-agent string over the past week.
      • by sm62704 (957197)
        Still meaningless. It doesn't count the half dozen or so copies I gave away.
        • by Bill Dimm (463823)
          Still meaningless. It doesn't count the half dozen or so copies I gave away.

          That depends -- do the people using those half dozen copies surf the web? My point is that the 0.8% number is very similar to what I am seeing as "percentage of website users that are running Linux." If that is the measurement they are talking about, how the people got their copies has nothing to do with it. They are measuring how many people are using Linux to surf the web, not how many obtained it in any particular way.
    • by westlake (615356)
      I gave copies of Mandriva to several people last year. Nobody asked ME how many copies of Linux I gave away!

      Because nobody cares.

      The DIY system install is for the enthusiast.

      For thirty years the home PC has been sold as an appliance. Unpack the box, connect the cables and you are good to go.

      Dual boot is for the enthusiast.

      File systems that can be read by Linux but not by Windows. Full-featured hardware drivers for Windows but not for Linux. Two software libraries to maintain. Two operating systems to ma

  • Is it "This is the year of Linux on the desktop"-time of year already? How time flies ...
  • by cdrguru (88047) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @02:19PM (#22249296) Homepage
    Linux hardware support might very well come. Open-source drivers aren't going to be the way it happens.

    The problem is today most computer gear is commodity chips with the software/firmware/driver making it a unique product with a value proposition for the consumer. The hardware is easy to replicate - China has built a large part of their enconomy doing just that. The software is more difficult - so much more difficult that successful companies in the hardware space may be taking advantage of Far East production of the hardware device but keeping the firmware and drivers close to the vest. Failure to do that invites theft and results in a cheap knock-off with the R&D provided for them.

    What this means is a printer where the driver does most of the work is cheap to design and cheap to produce. Anyone can copy the printer. Copying the driver - unless the hardware is 100% identical - isn't going to work. But if the source were available, it could easily be adapted to slightly different hardware by a junior programmer. Instant windfall for someone.

    Same goes for a next-generation gigabit network card that has firmware downloaded into it or just about any software-based device you can think of.

    Patent protection is meaningless in a global environment where one party doesn't respect any patents. Look at the DVD player situation today - $29 retail DVD players are not paying the $6 DVD Forum licensing fee. There isn't enough room in there for $6 to anyone. But the US Customs folks allow these in all day long even though they are violating US patents. To block them would uselessly create trade problems and would prevent US consumers from getting cheap DVD players. This happens with every other sort of device you can imagine.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by azgard (461476)
      I think you underestimate the Chinese. They have literally millions of smart people. And reverse engineering software is much easier than reverse engineering hardware. Just FYI - I from Czech Republic, and currently work as a developer for one American company, and people here in the development center are just smart as Americans are. Chinese will catch up in software in 5-10 years, if that haven't already happened (it may not be so visible, because they ignore English and work in Chinese - which has much l
  • by sethstorm (512897) * on Thursday January 31, 2008 @03:03PM (#22249944) Homepage
    Never mind the EEE, how about the laptops that have some actual quality in them? It's one thing to shortchange the laptop and use lower quality/knockoff components all around(and get support out of desperation); it's another thing with laptops that are actually worth their expense in proven design and quality components(and get support).

    As for the China Problem, once there is someone brave enough to say "no" to them(and to those who step in their place) and enforce patent controls to where we can control quality with our borders.
  • STOP PIRATING WINDOWS [articles.tlug.jp] if you want linux to grow.

    This means refusing to hand your cd's over to your friends, refusing to visit usenet or x/y torrent site and download it, etc.

    If you present them with the actual cost of windows, rather than the ubiquitous perception of "free", they will be compelled to see the real value...

    200 bucks for MS operating system, or free for one that works 99% as well for 99% of users.
  • Education (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MadMacSkillz (648319) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @05:09PM (#22252410) Homepage
    In the education world, we are drooling over this concept. Instead of buying $1,200 laptops, we can buy $299 "mobile internet devices" that run Open Office and Firefox...

    Let me back up. The majority of educational software is now web-based. 90% of middle and high school computer usage is either web based or using a dedicated word processor. It's not the Asus specifically that has us interested, but the concept. If you've seen the Asus, it's really more like a web appliance. The average person would look at it the same way they look at the iPhone or an ATM machine... they don't know or care what the OS is underneath.

    So for education, this could be huge. As competition increases and these devices get down to $199, the previously expensive idea of "one laptop per child" does not seem so expensive any more. There are three groups of people who need to be paying close attention to this: Microsoft, Apple, and Textbook makers.

    Put this together with education's interest in "Web 2.0," aka "The Read/Write Web" where all your school books and files are available to you online anywhere, and you're brewing up the perfect storm. Apple should be working on a device of their own right now, if they're smart, and Microsoft.... Microsoft should be praying.

  • by svunt (916464) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @07:52PM (#22255252) Homepage Journal
    I've been a Windows user for years, as much as it pains me. I've experimented with linux distros before, but the learning curve combined with my need for efficiently running all sorts of apps all day have stopped me making a real effort - inevitably I'd come across the need for software that I couldn't find, or just didn't have the time to learn again on a new system, so my desktop always ends up rebooting to Windows and staying there.
    With devices like the XO laptop and the eeePC, I have the low-cost option for a second machine to run linux. Now I feel like I can outlay a relatively small amount, keep using my mission-critical windows apps, and learn to use linux properly without a down side. The option of adding an OS to my routine, rather than switching completely, makes linux a lot more inviting.

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