Joined: Feb. 2007
||Posted: July 21 2008,21:37
Remember Linux' "free" isn't free in the sense of costs, but in freedom.
It only makes economic sense to OEMs and retailers if they can actually sell it. So far, OEMs haven't been able to lure enough customers to Linux PCs for it to make sense for them to even offer it, let alone support it. It's *not* cheaper to train tech support people to answer questions about Linux as well as Windows -- if they're even able to answer those sometimes. If you sell fewer than 5% of your consumer units with Linux, how many tech support people do you train to answer those specific questions? Or do you offer any support at all? Not exactly "cheap" propositions.
Dell has only a handful of consumer computers that they'll ship with Linux, and they restrict their Linux offering to Ubuntu. They offer three models with Ubuntu (two with FreeDOS). This is Dell's second time around the block offering Linux. The first "experiment" didn't last very long. Nor did it last when others like HP tried it. I don't know how long Acer's push will last.
It's still a Windows world, especially on the desktop and that's where the economic reality is for vendors. People are willing to pay a few dollars more for Windows because they know it and they have existing hardware and peripherals they know already work with it.
It also doesn't help when the existing Linux market for OEM computers has been lower-end hardware (e.g., Everex gos-based computers at Walmart). That's another conundrum faced by the OEMs -- people who want "free" software shun the kind of crap offered as "cheaper" hardware, if they even consider purchases from OEMs. Even Asus thinks the market for Windows on UMPCs will exceed the less costly Linux models and upset Linux fans at Computex with their eee poster announcing it's better with Windows.
It's better for them because it will mean even more sales with even higher margins (they do get a cut of the price for installing Windows). And if you're in business, that's all that counts.
"It felt kind of like having a pitbull terrier on my rear end."
-- meo (copyright(c)2008, all rights reserved)