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Lenovo On the Future of the Netbook

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the can-you-say-windows dept.

Portables 400

thefickler touts an interview in tech.blorge with Lenovo's Worldwide Competitive Analyst, Matt Kohut, who spoke about his vision of the future of netbooks, which involves Windows 7, bigger screens, built-in 3G, touch integration, and lower prices. Linux fans will be disappointed to hear that Kohut thinks Windows 7 will dominate future generations of netbooks because it offers a better, more familiar solution, with the benefits of touch. Quoting Kohut: "The other challenge has been, in order to keep the price points down, a lot of people thought that Linux would be the savior of all of these netbooks. You know, there were a lot of netbooks loaded with Linux, which saves $50 or $100 or whatever it happens to be, based on Microsoft's pricing and, again, from an industry standpoint, there were a lot of returns because people didn't know what to do with it. Linux, even if you've got a great distribution and you can argue which one is better or not, still requires a lot more hands-on than somebody who is using Windows. So, we've seen overwhelmingly people wanting to stay with Windows because it just makes more sense: you just take it out of the box and it's ready to go."

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So basically ... (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900759)

Everything you see today, only larger, faster and cheaper.

Nice "vision". Where can I get a job like that?

He has a point about linux (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900913)

I think the printer driver issue alone is a problem for most people. My grandmother could not deal with getting going the printer I just had to deal with setting up on Linux. So fine, Linux for me, Windows for grandma.

Re:He has a point about linux (4, Interesting)

guisar (69737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901097)

My ma, my kids grandma runs Ubuntu- no problems whatsoever. She loves it. As far as the bigger screens nonsense Lenovo is spouting- sounds like he doesn't like the low margin netbook market and wants it to go away. My 7" ASUS was fine but the screen IS too small for regular use. The form factor though is perfect. My new 10" ASUS is about perfect esp with about 11hr (extended battery) run-time. If the screen were bigger I wouldn't get it, it would be too tough to carry around and bring on planes. If a notebook/netbook isn't EXTREMELY portable with a long run time I'll just stick to a much cheaper, more reliable and usable desktop.

Re:He has a point about linux (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27901155)

> I think the printer driver issue alone is a problem for most people.

Excuse me? Most printer drivers for Windows XP come on a CD with the printer. Netbooks don't have CD drives.

Printer drivers on Linux are pre-installed. On Ubuntu, all you have to do is plug the printer in and turn it on while Ubuntu is running.

On netbooks the printer driver issue is a Windows issue, not a Linux issue. Methinks you have gotten yourself very confused.

Re:So basically ... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27901087)

Everything you see today, only larger, faster and cheaper.

Nice "vision". Where can I get a job like that?

1. Forget about faster
2. Forget about cheaper
3. Move to Redmond
4 ...
5. Profit!

I'm confused. (4, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900763)

You know, I thought the whole point of a netbook was to be cheap and portable. Why would you throw a bigger screen on it? I've got a 17" laptop. It's great for long-term use, since it has a full-sized keyboard. Great use in class, when I was taking notes. And yet I'm *still* considering grabbing a netbook and an aircard so that I'd have something tiny to carry around for if I need to look up something quickly (bus schedules, addresses, etc). Something with a larger screen would just be relegated to laptop uses, especially with an increased battery drain from the larger screen. Seriously, what's the point?

Re:I'm confused. (0, Flamebait)

sponga (739683) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901061)

Uhhh because screens never become more power efficent and battery technology becomes weaker over time?

Seriously though, your post doesn't make any sense because new materials which are stronger/lighter/cheaper, screens are consuming less power(LCDs) and batteries are becoming more powerful and longer lasting (6+cells).

Also bigger screens for touchpads is an obvious 'duhhhh', doesn't mean everyone is going to get a big screen.

Re:I'm confused. (3, Interesting)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901151)

Yeah, but a larger screen will always consume more power than a smaller one of the same age. And that still doesn't address the portability issues. Seeing a future of "larger" netbooks just strikes me as, well, stupid. We have larger netbooks. They're called _laptops_. That would make it "the past." My post makes sense. You just can't get over your own cleverness.

Re:I'm confused. (2)

jeffbax (905041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901283)

Not to be pessimistic, but I just don't get the whole netbook fad. I can basically say everything you did about a larger netbook to regular netbooks compared to say an iPhone or Android or Blackberry. These are pocket sized, often have highly optimized apps for a given task (such as a bus schedule) and only require carrying around one device that chances are I'd have in my pocket anyway.

I'm guessing I'm not the only one who thinks this way either... http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2009/01/the-iphone-and-ipod-touch-apples-netbook.ars [arstechnica.com]

"Seriously, what's the point?" :)

I mean, sure you could say "what if I have to code bla bla bla on the go..." well, to that I'd say I'd just rather have my real 15" laptop if I have to do serious work. Sure, maybe heavy usage on an iPhone will diminish the battery much faster but phone batteries will surely advance to the point this no longer is much advantage in light of access to a regular recharge.

I see netbooks sticking around, and like their somewhat successful effort at bringing Linux mainstream, but as smartphones advance I can't see them being much more than a niche market. Although I'm not an analyst, my iPhone already does more than enough tricks for my on-the-go computing needs.

Goodbye Lenovo (5, Interesting)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900765)

What with their ridiculous SL series and their lack of Linux support (and flagrant linux dismissal) since IBM spun them off, I say goodbye to you. I shall miss the trackpoint, but as you are trying to phase it out anyways, c'est la vie.

Why is there no major Linux vendor, anyways? Aside from repackaging Windows machines with Linux? Why can't somebody do for Linux what Apple does for OSX?

Kohut is a disappointment (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900849)

I will keep an eye on Thinkpad hardware to run Linux as I have for years, but I will have to remain paranoid and assume the worst until some testing and validation has occurred, whether by me or others in the Linux world.

It is sad to see people like Kohut gaining prominence. He has blogged more than once indicating his belief that the Thinkpad value is in that gimmicky crap software they add on top of Windows (whether the wireless manager, or power manager, or hybrid graphics driver), which truly shows that he has no respect for the robust hardware platform they used to provide. If they had any remaining pride in their hardware, they wouldn't need gimmicky software to differentiate.

Re:Goodbye Lenovo (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900953)

http://www.system76.com/ [system76.com]

Re:Goodbye Lenovo (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900973)

Why is there no major Linux vendor, anyways? Aside from repackaging Windows machines with Linux? Why can't somebody do for Linux what Apple does for OSX?

Because most Linux users are geeks, and us geeks enjoy customization. For example, even though I might enjoy using Ubuntu, a KDE user might be appalled that KDE (and all the KDE applications) aren't installed by default. Gentoo users would find it wasn't fast enough, Fedora users would complain at the lack of Yum and it being Debian based, people who use lighter WMs would find GNOME too bulky, users of paid distros wouldn't like the hand installing of certain patented codecs, etc.

Basically, its impossible to find a distro or tactic that works for everyone. For example, I have an EEE PC that had Xandros installed, it seemed like a crippled version of Debian, so I just installed Xubuntu with a custom kernel which I could have done if it came with Windows.

Apple has basically said no to customization throughout their existence, so Apple users aren't used to customization, they like it one consistent way and will stick with it till the day they die. Windows, while it has a lot of GUI customization available via themes, there isn't really a supported way of customizing Windows the way you can Linux. It doesn't take too much work to make a distro of Linux that can fit in 10 MB and have a functional server, userland, etc. Within 50 MB you can have a full desktop distro. When you take Windows to fit in that size you remove some needed parts of the OS.

Re:Goodbye Lenovo (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901489)

Apple has basically said no to customization throughout their existence, so Apple users aren't used to customization, they like it one consistent way and will stick with it till the day they die.

That might be more true about Finder in the OS X era, but back in the day there was a whole lot of customization going on with System 7. I ran a ton of extensions that customized the Finder UI, and gave it a lot of useful functionality that was lacking from the stock Finder. Things like Windowshade (minimize window to just a title bar) and improved scrollbar controls, pop-up folders and better menus, etc.

Apple took many of these ideas and integrated them into later versions. It was nice that you didn't have to pay $10 here and $15 there for all the different shareware extensions that made the OS easier to use, but it didn't feel right to me that Apple was basically stealing all those innovations from the 3rd party and hobby developers who came up with the ideas and wrote them.

I have no idea whether Apple ever properly credited those people or compensated them for their stuff, but I hope they did.

Re:Goodbye Lenovo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27901011)

G! might be the savior you are looking for ...

Apple and I hope G! will release their mobile OSes onto a netbook sometime by the end of this year.
I'd kinda lean towards Apple though --
<my2cents alt="That's gonna get me killed on /.">thanks to the bsd fanboi in me</my2cents>

Though in all fairness, I think HP tried -- at least from a netbook perspective - their Mini Mi [hp.com] is based on Ubuntu. Its not bad, a bit rough, will get better w/ time but I think the biggest problem is the lack of apps -- read something similar to the Apps on G1/iPhone. Add that and throw in touch screen support, and you have a viable alternative.

Re:Goodbye Lenovo (0, Troll)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901051)

Why do you think it's someone else's responsibility? If you think there's a business in being a linux vendor, start one. Put your money where your whining mouth is.

Re:Goodbye Lenovo (5, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901153)

There was once a company "VA Software,"
They sold Linux on custom hardware,
Their stocks took a dive,
Yet SourceForge did thrive,
And now they own Slashdot, you're aware?

Ready to go (4, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900769)

Linux, even if you've got a great distribution and you can argue which one is better or not, still requires a lot more hands-on than somebody who is using Windows. So, we've seen overwhelmingly people wanting to stay with Windows because it just makes more sense: you just take it out of the box and it's ready to go."

If Linux netbooks aren't ready to go out of the box, the vendors are doing a poor job.

If people are trying to install non-bundled apps, they might run into trouble. Otherwise, everything should just work. If it doesn't, something's wrong.

Re:Ready to go (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900813)

Unfortunately, "doing a poor job" has been surprisingly popular. There have been a variety of embarrassing configuration errors.

Now, based on the number of requests for help I get after people learn that I "know computers", I submit that Windows machines aren't really ready to go out of the box in a surprising number of cases.

And Apple, of course, doesn't condescend to make netbooks. Decisions decisions...

Re:Ready to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900855)

Even with Windows it is not you just take it out of the box and it's ready to go'.

I bought one recently 4 freeking HOURS of updates. The were 0 patches from the last service pack (3). WTF...

That is a seriously awesome way to pick up an internet worm... Since many are using stuff patched last october....

The HP software was up to date but the MS stuff was way out of date. Nice.

Re:Ready to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900867)

Otherwise, everything should just work. If it doesn't, something's wrong.

Wow, thanks for the insight...

Linux eeePC is ready to go (4, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900917)

If Linux netbooks aren't ready to go out of the box, the vendors are doing a poor job.

What the TFA mentions that "Linux, even if you've got a great distribution and you can argue which one is better or not, still requires a lot more hands-on than somebody who is using Windows" is blatantly false. I unpacked my Linux eeePC, plugged it in, turned it on, and started working, something I never managed to do with any Microsoft computer.

In windows you always need to get and install all the software you need to actually do something with the computer.

In my case, I do a lot of Python programming, and that was there. I also found Kate, my favorite editor for programming. Plus OpenOffice, a media player for music and video, a bunch of icons for starting Firefox in several different modes, which means 99% of what I need for work and play was already there. Let me see a windows netbook that comes with all that pre-installed.

The only complaint I have about the eeePC is that the keyboard should be just a little bit bigger, other than that it's an excellent machine. But, of course, one can always have a thinner, lighter netbook, with longer lasting batteries. That would be my choice of directions for evolution.

Re:Linux eeePC is ready to go (2, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901459)

People like you are a tiny minority in the market, though, that's the issue here. You already use open source software, you know how to adapt to a different desktop environment, you know in advance what your preferred programs are, and so on. Perhaps more importantly, you don't immediately blind yourself to what's written on the screen in front of you just because the box it's written in looks a bit different.

Most users are scared by what they don't recognise, and an awful lot of them still insist on learning to do things by rote, memorising a set of steps rather than taking the (short) time needed to get an understanding of what they're doing. One of the things that always gets me is when someone asks (for example) how to print something - I don't blame them for not knowing how to perform a certain task, but nine times out of ten they could have worked it out for themselves simply by bringing up each menu in turn and reading them until they saw 'Print'. Not only that, they'd then remember for next time, no help needed. As it is though, they'll ask and more often than not someone will just tell them rather than gently directing them to think about it; subsequently they remember "Click the menu at the top left then hit 'Print' near the bottom", which is OK in itself. Then when they come to the next task, say making a new document, they ask someone else, and remember the rough location on the menu...

To them, Linux is not ready to go - I'm surprised how many people seem to be misinterpreting that comment. It's not ready to go because it doesn't look familiar enough, because things aren't in the same place, because things are labelled differently. I find it unfortunate that so many intelligent people still see computers as something that they don't understand, and therefore never make the effort to try to get the basics, but for now that's how things are and that's why Linux is more work than Windows for the average user.

Re:Linux eeePC is ready to go (2, Insightful)

zamfield (1346305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901501)

Basically the reason no one wanted to keep a Linux netbook is because the support friends and relatives all drank the Microsoft kool-aid and can't fix the netbook when it stops working or make their favorite website work again. It isn't that the Linux required more hands on, it's that the grandson, neice, or geeky neighbor had never seen Linux or knew how to make it work, so the existing support network for most cheapskates wasn't compatible.

Re:Linux eeePC is ready to go (5, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901505)

Professional programmer with extensive experience using open source software finds Linux easy to use out of the box; Can't understand why other people have trouble. News at 11.

Bingo... (5, Informative)

schon (31600) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901017)

If Linux netbooks aren't ready to go out of the box, the vendors are doing a poor job.

And this is exactly what we saw.

Acer said they got lots of Linux returns, but ASUS says the opposite [laptopmag.com]

Re:Bingo... (1)

guisar (69737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901069)

Basically, nobody will sell a netbook with Linux on it despite it operating flawlessly on nearly all of them. Only Dell and on unobtainium ASUS model are available so we end up buying one with Windows on it and replacing it. For instance, I just bought a ASUS 1000HA. Guess what- a sale chocked up for Windows despite the fact that I'd just going to rm -rf * it as soon as the netbook arrives. Same thing for my daughter's netbook. She loves Ubuntu on it and has never had a problem. Lenovo is a MS whore.

Re:Bingo... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27901145)

No, your daughter is a whore. Stop calling a company a 'whore' because they don't bend over backwards for you.

Face it, Linux desktop showed up late to the game and their audience are acting like little kids in a candy shop now.

Re:Bingo... (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901435)

Thats because acer put a retarded linux distro on their netbooks that no one knew anything about and there was no documentation at all about it. Asus put a distro that at least some people know about and there is some documentation for.

Re:Ready to go (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901071)

If Linux netbooks aren't ready to go out of the box, the vendors are doing a poor job.

The vendors are doing a poor job. I bought an Asus eeePC. The wifi was misconfigured, and their tech support said they couldn't fix it. I returned it.

Agreed (4, Interesting)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901171)

If Linux netbooks aren't ready to go out of the box, the vendors are doing a poor job.

Yep. And they are doing a piss poor job.

I was in a shop the other day and had a good look at whatever the latest Linux EeePC thing is. I use Linux exclusively for my personal computing and I found the desktop really confusing. And it looks so bland - as if they have spent several years and multiple design cycles iteratively increasing it's blandness until it makes a plain brown paper bag look absolutely fascinating in comparison. "Hey, that browser icon looks a little interesting, I'd better file a bug report."

What do Windows users do with one of these? They stuff around, find they can't figure out how to use it (I could barely figure it out) and take it back. What do Linux users do? Most put Ubuntu on it rather than the crap it comes with.

I wonder how long it will be before a manufacturer to realise that if they stop sabotaging Linux user interfaces and start using distros that everyone is using, e.g. Ubuntu for the EeePC, then they will actually have a market. I reckon they are deliberately screwing with the user experience to make windows look more favourable, and I think they are being stupid in doing that.

Re:Ready to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27901293)

I have trouble with Linux on my EeePC netbook.

For some reason, I can't seem to get a virus installed. I even tried reformatting the hard drive and re-installing the OS, which, if you follow the manufacturer's instructions, takes a good minute and a half. Still no virus.

Maybe I first need to install some antivirus software, some antimalware software, and a bunch of paid utilities.

I don't know how manufacturers expect people to put up with these da** devices! This is clear evidence they are just too hard to use for ordinary folks. Although I did hear that the early sales success of the EeePC was largely due to numerous housewives using the things.

One other problem I've had with it has been consistent. I've been unable to get a BSOD, or get it to crash in any way. I'd imagine more experienced users might have had success with that, but my efforts have been fruitless in the year I've had it.

This is not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900771)

the year of Linux on the Netbook. I've had more than a few people complain that Dell didn't tell them they weren't getting Windows, but that darn Winux thing!

Re:This is not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27901241)

> I've had more than a few people complain that Dell didn't tell them they weren't getting Windows, but that darn Winux thing!

Yet Dell themselves apparently say that they sell about 30% of their netbooks with Ubuntu instead of Windows, and that the return rate is about the same for each variant.

http://blogs.computerworld.com/ubuntu_accuses_microsoft_of_linux_netbook_fud [computerworld.com]

Attention j.delanoy is a fucking bastard (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900777)

Ah non sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900781)

Most Linux Distros would work on a netbook well enough to surf the web and check email. Besides they are not made for High end gaming.

Linux vs. XP (1)

zifr (1467429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900789)

People are choosing Windows because they don't know any better. Xandros which came on one of my netbooks was quite intuitive and anyone who can figure out XP can figure out that particular distro. If being limited to 3 apps and no external display is was drives the masses (windows 7) then so be it. I had the opportunity to demo gnome for a customer who has had significant problems with other setups. In few minutes, firefox was up, open office was up and they were using the computer. Only time and anti-competitive practices will tell.

Re:Linux vs. XP (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900827)

Xandros on my eee 901 was intuitive and easy to use.

However it was also very difficult to customise in any way at all, and it was broken. Updates routinely failed amongst other problems. It now runs debian and behaves like a small low powered sub-notebook, which is good.

But someone at Xandros and/or asus fscked up bad. This has to be a major contributor to the linux netbook return thing, and then the removal of linux from the shelves. Well, that and some stern words and free money from Microsoft.

Re:Linux vs. XP (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900873)

Yeah, I've heard a lot against Xandros. Is there another GNU/Linux distro which works well on them? My only experience is running Ubuntu part-time on my desktop, and I really am considering a netbook purchase.

Re:Linux vs. XP (4, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900895)

It's worth checking out Ubuntu Netbook Remix, an official ubuntu thing. Myself, I use debian and have no complaints. But then I use it on nearly every computer I own or have access to :)

Guidance/instructions for the eee range are here:

http://wiki.debian.org/DebianEeePC [debian.org]

I don't know how well it works on other netbooks, but I'm sure it's just a quick google away.

Re:Linux vs. XP (1)

zifr (1467429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900933)

Same Xandros install for a year now (tried some other distros and reverted). I use open office and firefox and that's about it on there. I use advanced mode FWIW. People who are screwing it up I imagine would have the same issues if they poked around the Windows registry. I tried a few other distros but prefer 100% over 99.5% functionality. But then again I ordered my 701 the day it came out. Takes less than 20 seconds to restore system to factory which was kind of nice when I was tinkering. But whatever...different strokes for different folks. I wouldn't assume that nix works for most. Most people want a computer to do what they think they want it to do, not to do what they tell it to do. I need a computer to do what I say ...... rm -rf /.

Re:Linux vs. XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900999)

If you go Ubuntu on a netbook you either need to look up the tweaks or use something like eebuntu if you have a solid state drive on board. This is because vanilla ubuntu periodically writes to the drive which will lead to premature wear and tear. Having said that, if you go with Ubuntu I recommend using Netbook Remix as it has a very nice looking intuitive main screen that fits well for netbooks. I think more netbook makers should pick up Ubuntu with netbook-remix because it seems like one of the most put together integrated working Linux out there.

Re:Linux vs. XP (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901037)

Some forms of Xubuntu work great for that, just whatever you do with customized distros Do not update them unless you know what you are doing . Xandros just... sucks. It feels like a crippled version of Ubuntu when I ran it on my EEE 701 (I wiped it and put in eeeXubuntu and after some tweaking worked fine), was actually slower feeling then Xubuntu was (which is odd, because IceWM should be a ton lighter than XFCE), and had little software choice.

But if you aren't much of a Linux person yet and don't want to spend an hour or two configuring, make sure to get one for your specific machine, I tried installing eeeXubuntu onto a friends 901 and it worked great.... Save for the lack of sound (we eventually put Debian on it and did all the driver and stuff manually), but to avoid hassle make sure it is built for your netbook. And above all, do not update unless you want to reboot to find you have no Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and your sound is funky.

Re:Linux vs. XP (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901085)

Ubuntu 9.04 runs fine on my eeepc.

Re:Linux vs. XP (1)

guisar (69737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901131)

Ubuntu (Hardy, Intrepid, Jaunty) all run fine and there are specialized distros like easy-peasy and eeeUbuntu which just add a customized kernel and extra utilities for managing power, etc. Ubuntu should install with no problems using Unetbootin or the equivalent. There's a good site with hits, etc. http://www.eeeuser.com/ [eeeuser.com] . Just check out the forums and distribution discussions.

Re:Linux vs. XP (1)

bschorr (1316501) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901197)

Here's the thing - if the Slashdot crowd is arguing about what distro to use on their Netbook what chance does the average user have?

THAT'S why they opt for Windows. Because the average user just wants to know what time it is, they don't want to have to select their own wheel train or debate which is a better oscillator. They just want to turn it on, click some pretty pictures, and do what they need to do.

For us geeks we can enjoy the nuances of this distro or that. My mom doesn't know what a "distro" is and doesn't care. She just wants to send e-mail to her sister and surf the web from time to time.

Re:Linux vs. XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27901331)

In my opinion, people don't like Xandros because they're used to another distribution, set in their ways and, frankly, a bit anal about how they like the OS to behave.

Case in point: myself. I got a 901, booted it, everything worked but it just didn't feel like what I like (Suse). I went to Novell's website, and they have a long list of more or less obscure commands and tweaks to be made post-install, but not everything is supported. One down. So I went and installed Mandrake instead, which has a Netbook special edition. Alas, not everything is supported either. Two down. Then I tried the Ubuntu netbook remix thing, same story. Three down.

In the end, I just reinstalled Xandros. And you know what? If you get past the first 10 minutes of frustration due to the lack of "Desktop" and "Start menu", it's actually very cool. Reminded me of my first ten minutes on my Mac... Having the whole screen taken as an app launcher would be stupid on a laptop, never mind a desktop, but it's really good on such a small screen. Most importantly: video? Works. Plug in your digital camera? Picasa starts up. Music? Works. Wifi? No problem.

You can add your own apps (e.g. eclipse, in my case) to the launcher, or change the ones you don't like (e.g. the shell) by editing a simple XML file.

The only complaint I would have, mirroring the GP, is that upgrades sometimes fail. Make sure you install them one at a time, and in increasing date order. That did the trick for me (you'd think they'd do that automagically if it's that simple).

Re:Linux vs. XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27901099)

I use Windows because it gets more battery life. Not being tangled up in power cords is the point of a netbook, so battery life is pretty important to me. I find Linux easier to install, particularly on a netbook without an optical drive, but I only have to do that once - the reduced battery life affects me all the time.

Re:Linux vs. XP (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901111)

People might be choosing XP because it is a product by a somewhat reputable company, a business entity. They can sue Microsoft, call support, buy a share, point a finger at Redmond etc. Most businesses trust other businesses, especially well positioned businesses, it is like peerage of sorts.

You can't do it with Linux (with most of the free distributions), the perception is that Linux is a bunch of unknown software from unknown sources, at least what people are thinking here (I giving up the fight to educate them). Also, I see that about 90% of people don't get the 'open source' thing, or can't really benefit from it. So the advocacy of open source is only applicable to hight level users. The arguing with non-tech people can be really daunting sometimes.

Re:Linux vs. XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27901305)

I dont think that its the fact that its just as easy to figure out, its just everyone has had windows shoved down their throat they arent willing to try a linux distro.

I used to have Suse and XP on seperate partitions on my home PC. I loved linux back then but i kept windows for gaming. Other then games Linux i found superior.

God help us all if MS manages to get netbooks...! (2, Interesting)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900791)

Linux *is* awesome, but not ready for the masses who don't have an IT staff to tweak their image. Linux is vexing to those who support the idea of open source, but don't have the time or skill to navigate the endless FAQs needed to complete simple tasks (play DVD's, etc..). The key points of a netbook is ease, portability and its "appliance: nature. If there were a way to develop an instant on environment and purpose optimize the device a la kindle, then that's great. However, windows will rule until an easy GUI is developed that does not require a background in technology to use. The first poster is right, there is definitely some intellectual laziness out there, but I'd also argue that there are people without time to learn an OS during late night camel lights/sierra nevada fueled geek sessions. The iLife suite is a POS, but it's easy to learn and use, and that's one reason why apple has been so successful. If pcs were marketed solely to technology-inclined people, it would be a different story. Do you really think Joe the Plumber would be able to burn ubuntu isos and learn to use linux without getting frustrated?

There are several varieties of "wild boar" (at least in N. America). Some are viscous.

Jesus....really?

=Smidge=

*Sigh* (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900833)

This is the brick wall that OSS keeps running into

The OSS community probably has a larger more passionate base of developers documentation writers and advocates and so on but it is also torn in 17,000 different directions the fiasco with glib is a perfect example not to mention the thousands of failed distro "pet projects"

Another downfall is the poor naming convention OSS uses I can imagine what a window is i dont know what-the-fsck a debian or a ubuntu is

stop it with the nonfuctional hippy-hippy names scrolling through a fresh installs applications menu is like taking the helm of a romulan cargoship

mod me as flamebait

Re:*Sigh* (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901307)

Whereas Windows is so intuitive and easy to use.

Which of these makes more sense to you?

e:\Documents and Settings\MrEricSir\My Documents /home/MrEricSir

Re:*Sigh* (1)

mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901337)

I won't mod you flamebait; I'll just be pedantic. glib is a component of the Gtk+ stack. glibc is the c library from the gnu project. Please try again...

First of all (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900837)

First of all, this guy looks like a goof. [blorge.com] Alright, that's a cheap thing to say, but he's unfairly insulting my OS!

All the reviews of the Linux netbooks I've read so far say that the distro they use is garbage. Let someone put a good distro, say Ubuntu, on a netbook and see how people like it. Linux IS as usable as Windows (not because it doesn't have problems, but because Windows has just as many problems).

Looking into the future, PCs are getting cheaper and cheaper. Right now the cheapest is around $250. Already, being able to save $50-$100 off that price by not using Windows is going to make a huge difference. As they get cheaper, that discount is going to be bigger and bigger. Either Linux will become more popular, or Microsoft is going to start taking revenue cuts.

Re:First of all (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900951)

Linux is a problem for users that fall between "Uses the internets to twitter their facebook" and "Has an interest in *how* their computer works, rather than just that it does" - that is, those who want to do more than the basics but don't have the knowledge, time and/or wherewithal to figure out anything that's too complex or time consuming.

Personal example; I recently battled to get Civ 4 + Expansions working on my Ubuntu Laptop. Even with a rough guide from someone's blog it was still a pain in the arse to do; finding out how to mount non-ISO disk images (Straightforward but not obvious), using Winetricks to "install" directx & msxml, waiting for ages with my fingers crossed because a graphical glitch made it look like the installer for Beyond The Sword had just hung. Now in the end I got it all working, but it took me over an hour (Including the actual install time) and I can easily see how somebody who didn't want to spend that time and/or learn the ins and outs of WINE would have given up after 5 minutes and gone back to playing Civ on XP where it just works.

Now some of you might say that playing games under WINE is a bad example, but it's *exactly* the sort of thing that mid-range users want to do with their machines and will usually struggle.

Now netbooks are a slightly better bet because they're less likely to be used for overly sophisticated tasks due to their hardware limitations, but doubtless that will change as the specs improve. Sadly, people are willing to pay that extra $50-$100 if it means getting something that a) They're used to and b) Works with their games and apps without fiddling.

Re:First of all (1)

woodrad (1091201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901031)

All the reviews of the Linux netbooks I've read so far say that the distro they use is garbage. Let someone put a good distro, say Ubuntu, on a netbook and see how people like it.

Dell gives Ubuntu as an option on all their netbooks, maybe you should have read more reviews. Have a look. http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/laptop-inspiron-9?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=mn [dell.com] http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/laptop-inspiron-10?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=mn [dell.com] http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/laptop-inspiron-12?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=mn [dell.com]

Varies by country (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901349)

Dell gives Ubuntu as an option on all their netbooks

Dell offers Ubuntu on the Mini 9 in the United States, but reportedly not in the Netherlands. I'd post a link to the previous discussion, but I can't figure out how to search comment titles in Slashdot's new interface.

Re:First of all (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901297)

Either Linux will become more popular, or Microsoft is going to start taking revenue cuts.

Microsoft has announced the latter: a cut-rate version of Windows 7 that can't run more than 3 apps at once.

Netbooks are Meeting Market Demands (1)

reporter (666905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900839)

Netbooks are increasing in popularity because they meet an often overlooked need: merely access to the Internet without being forced to pay for a lot of features that most people do not need. Technology has advanced so fast and so much that the hardware at a price point of $1000 provides features that most customers do not need. Most customers just want to exchange e-mail notes, surf the Web, and do some simple word processing. These tasks do not require a 3 gigahertz 64-bit x86 chip, 320 gigabytes of hard drive, etc. 95% of the functionality in Windows Vista -- and later, Windows 7 -- will likely be unused and un-noticed by most customers. The typical computer laptop nowadays is complete overkill for the simple things for which most customers use computers.

Note that millions of Americans are still using dialup.

Re:Netbooks are Meeting Market Demands (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901319)

Note that millions of Americans are still using dialup.

How well does dial-up work on netbooks?

Netbooks "Cheap" portable etc. (1, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900851)

What is just so wrong about windows being the future is it breaks the the very first claim about the future of netbooks, 'cheap'. The M$ solution represents licence fees for the OS, licence fees for the office suits, licence fees for the servers to connect them, licence fees for communications both email and web server. In fact a whole range of licence fees that far exceed the value of a netbook and, not just by a bit, but in total by a factor of at least 10.

So the very first claim is an out and out marketing lie, windows 7 and it's accomplices is a hugely expensive solution. This really egregious especially coming from a company out of China, where the majority of people can barely afford a $100 netbook and greater than $1000 dollars worth of licence fees is beyond their annual income.

The future of the netbook is cheap and semi-disposable, as it it's loss or destruction is not to financially painful. Having a netbook with bound software licences that disappear with the netbbook and require r-ebuying is just nuts and, just as pointless is having to reinstall all those, what a really basic applications, again and again.

The reality is that the netbook running FOSS will become the default education device and all the lies coming out of M$ or it's cronies are doomed to failure.

License money for office *suits* (not suites?) (2, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900935)

The Microsoft solution represents license fees for the office suits

Coming to a clothing store near you: Tuxedo 2009, with more bling; where does your inner Gentleman want to go today?

But with Microsoft's stance on DRM, does this mean that when I bring home a girl and we're both hot and bothered by each other, helped by our champagne buzz, I have to pay extortion money to the IFPI* before we can get naked?

(*International Federation of the Pornographic Industry)

Re:Netbooks "Cheap" portable etc. (1)

deboli (199358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901223)

"...What is just so wrong about windows being the future is it breaks the the very first claim about the future of netbooks, 'cheap'. The M$ solution represents licence fees for the OS, licence fees for the office suits, licence fees for the servers to connect them, licence fees for communications both email and web server."...

These license fees may not be relevant for home users. However, the costs for anti virus, spyware and additional software necessary to run Windows safely will have to be included. Your $250 netbook soon costs the same annually even if you run free office software. The Lenovo statement is not in line with current trends where users replace their desktops with large-screen laptops and buy netbooks for portability.

Re:Netbooks "Cheap" portable etc. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901431)

AVG and Avast both provide reasonable antivirus at no cost. Spyware is also generally free (huck huck huck). More seriously, no one is paying for 3 layers of protection; maybe a suite from one of the bigger vendors, but not 3 different packages (and anyone advising that a third party software firewall is necessary is giving bad advice).

If the user doesn't want to pirate Office (people don't care), they can make do with OpenOffice.org running on Windows just as well as they would running it on Linux.

The software costs you are talking about are not there.

Re:Netbooks "Cheap" portable etc. (1)

bschorr (1316501) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901235)

How "hugely expensive" can it be? I just got two brand new ASUS netbooks with Windows XP on them (granted, I reformatted and cleaned it off) for under $400 each.

Where are the "$1000 worth of license fees" in a $350 machine?

Re:Netbooks "Cheap" portable etc. (3, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901313)

You can argue all you want that Linux is the preferable OS of choice for netbooks, but making claims like "the reality is that the netbook running FOSS will become the default" anything doesn't help much, when, for the moment, these claims are blatantly false:

People aren't buying as many Linux-based netbooks. And the ones that do get bought get returned in higher volumes. That is a fact, with data to back it up. So rather than denying the reality of the situation (Microsoft is laughing at your post all the way to the bank, by the way), why not be helpful and contribute some suggestions on how to reverse this decline?

Re:Netbooks "Cheap" portable etc. (1)

Toveling (834894) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901323)

I agree. And while Microsoft might be able to throw copies of WinXP for very low prices, they can't do this forever. They might try to offer Win7 for very cheap, but eventually profit will win out over market share, and they'll have to raise the price. Meanwhile, Linux will still be around, no matter what MS does. Open Source isn't something that microsoft can marginalize long-term: MS might be able to keep linux out of the low-price sector temporarily, but they will not be able to sustain it.

Re:Netbooks "Cheap" portable etc. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901445)

Unless driver support (from oems) on Linux continues to be a mixed bag and hassle.

It is often a mixed bag and hassle, but it is getting better and tends to be the place where the hardware companies start (I would guess mostly because that is where they perceive the sales to be coming from).

Re:Netbooks "Cheap" portable etc. (1)

Jaime2 (824950) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901325)

The M$ solution represents licence fees for the OS, licence fees for the office suits, licence fees for the servers to connect them, licence fees for communications both email and web server.

I'm with you on the OS licensing issue, but not on any of the others. You don't have to buy MS Office if you run Windows, just run OpenOffice. You don't need to buy licenses for Microsoft server operating systems or client access licenses if you don't manage one of those. For a typical home user, they will never need to pay a dime for a server. For a typical office user, they will only pay for a server if they choose to run a Windows server. I don't know what you are even talking about with the email and web thing. A web server comes with many editions of Windows Vista and Windows 7, and if your edition does not, just download Apache and go. Same with email services. No sane private user would ever consider running Microsoft Exchange for themselves, it is a product aimed at businesses. There is no need for a non-geek to run a mail server and a geek knows where to get an open source mail server if he/she wants one. Most mail clients are free, including Outlook Express from Microsoft. Thunderbird and a billion other free alternatives run just fine on Windows if you don't like Outlook Express.

At the end of the day, the MS tax is about 50 bucks. MS has been creating special reduced cost versions for countries where $50 is too much, I'm sure they will continue. Much credit goes to the open source community for putting the pressure on Microsoft to do this.

Windows 7? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900869)

I am sure that for most average users if you shipped Ubuntu and just branded it as Windows 7 most people would just accept it. Sure some people would be pissed off that their XP apps wouldn't work but they would just accept it as a fact of computers just like how Windows had given them belief that computers just break often. It's only because it doesn't say Windows that people feel scared and the issue of their favorite desktop malware.

NETBook, not NoteBook (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900883)

Windows 7, bigger screens, built-in 3G, touch integration

So his vision for the Netbook is that they get bigger, heavier, clunkier but more capable yet somehow cheaper. I think he's a couple of decades late in inventing the full blown Notebook/Laptop. The reason Netbooks have become so popular is that they're small, light, cheap and good enough for the tasks that people want to buy them for - mostly word processing, email and web browsing.

Personally, because I like the flexibility of being able to do more, I've always preferred a full featured laptop with a decent GPU and a 17" screen. I'm not about to start calling it a Netbook, though.

Re:NETBook, not NoteBook (1)

carlzum (832868) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901205)

I thought the same thing, a bigger screen, runs Windows? Lenovo's vision of the netbook is a Thinkpad with 3G and a lower price. I would be very worried if I was an investor. People like netbooks because they aren't tethered to power and network cords, it's not a big investment, and they're really portable.

The future, IMO, is an instant-on OS, even lower prices, battery life measured in days, and single-purpose applications tailored for the device, not web sites and desktop applications (more like the Facebook app on the iPhone). Bigger displays and desktop/tablet versions of Windows are contrary to where I think the market is going.

bad naming... (1)

middlemen (765373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900897)

there were a lot of returns because people didn't know what to do with it.

As opposed to "Windows" which they can open ?

Re:bad naming... (1)

bschorr (1316501) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901245)

As opposed to Windows which they've probably been using at work/school/home for a decade.

In a way, I agree... (2, Interesting)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900899)

I honestly can't blame consumers from returning netbooks loaded with Linux, and exchanging them for the Windows versions. I don't think it's a fault of Linux, though, but rather with OEMs who haven't even *tried* to polish it up before sticking it in their low-cost machines.

Here, now, how many of you have bought a Linux-equipped netbook? and how many of you *weren't* tempted to replace it with Ubuntu as soon as you first booted it up? fact is, most OEMs are treating Linux as they used to treat FreeDOS: something to stick in the machine until the user goes home and installs their pirated version of Windows in it.

Missing drivers, non-working features, ugly non-standard interfaces and practically no apps out-of-the-box, it's a pity OEMs are giving Linux such a bad image just to save themselves the effort of giving their users a quality, distinctive experience.

Guess Linux' world domination will have to come from business after all, pity...

Re:In a way, I agree... (1)

criptic08 (1255326) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901113)

Where is the Canonical of linux OEM!?

Linux Desktop Sucks (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27900903)

It's true (2, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900907)

A friend of mine works part time at BestBuy. He more or less has told me the same thing. All brands of Netbooks (Asus, MSI, HP, and Dell) have had a very high return rate on models that were preloaded with Linux. It's not that people don't like Linux, it's that they want it to work the "Windows" way. So far, only Microsoft and provide that for obvious reasons.

If people really wanted something to work other than Windows, I'm sure they would have chosen Mac instead.

Re:It's true (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27901133)

So where are all these traded-in Linux netbooks?

If they're being re-furbished and re-sold, that should make the price difference even greater.

Not all bad news (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900927)

While I would like to see Linux do well on these devices it isn't all bad news if they don't. At the end of the day Microsoft still gets deprived of the mountains of money they would be making on a full blown OS. That is money they won't have to perform sleazy and questionably legal things with.

I still think Linux will come out as the hot OS on these devices eventually as better support is generated in the open source world. We just need the platforms to stabilize a little more first.

Re:Not all bad news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27901007)

i've heard this song and dance of 'we just need' on linux for over a decade and every time linux gets what 'we just need' it flops and a new line of excuses comes out. linux just needed a major manufactures support. fail. linux just needed mainstream outlets. fail. linux just needed corporate support. fail.

linux is a wasteland of endless excuses. linux just needs to get out of the way and let the serious developers do the work.

Re:Not all bad news (1)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901185)

Should I feed the trolls children?

"Yeeees Mr. Socceroos.". Ok then.

There isn't much in the way of Linux any more.

Someone should tell the whole of Russia's schools. Oh, and the French Gendarmerie Nationale. Oh, also, you should tell the Vietnamese government.

Ah, stuff it, go read page 12 onwards of the PDF on this page: http://boycottnovell.com/2009/01/10/edgi-continued-dumping-vs-gnu/ [boycottnovell.com]

Lenovo won't be in my future (1)

crivens (112213) | more than 5 years ago | (#27900943)

Lenovo won't be in my future! We bought a T500 less than a year ago and they keyboard is failing already. They also far too much crap on their laptops - Vista is unusable from boot for several minutes.

Re:Lenovo won't be in my future (1)

kzieli (1355557) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901067)

It wasn't in mine anyway. Reason 1 being that I haven't ever seen a Lenovo system that wasn't butt ugly.

That's fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27901001)

I already gave up on netbooks when I heard about the Beagleboard and the Pandora.

So as netbooks evolve into small notebooks and stick with Windows for the sake of tradition, I'll be over on ARM / Linux enjoying literal 8-hour battery life [which is 15 hours in marketing terms] with full Firefox 3, on a pocket-sized computer.

Pandora Nukem Forever? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901373)

I already gave up on netbooks when I heard about the Beagleboard and the Pandora.

That is, if the Pandora ever gets mass produced. It's already over a year late.

It sounds like he means 'flatter' (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901027)

It looks like all he means is the same form factor as today's laptops but much flatter. Maybe no more than the thickness of a legal pad.

Because Windows just works? (2, Insightful)

brassmaster (950537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901039)

I want someone from Lenovo to tell me honestly that they believe that a Lenovo computer I buy from them will be ready for me to use in the way most people expect to use their computers when it comes out of the box. I want them to tell me that it will be secure, that it will be free of garbage-ware, and that it will have the most commonly used programs pre-installed. They can't do that. When Dell sells me a computer preloaded with Ubuntu, they can.

Exp Problem (2, Insightful)

timpdx (1473923) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901053)

It really isn't the fault of Linux, rather the expectations of customers changed the nature of the netbook from the start. The netbook could have been a small appliance to surf the web, do email and such. Instead, the netbook just became a small PC, with all the expectations of a PC. The general layman knows that he/she isn't going to install Office on a Palm or iphone. Those are whole different machines, after all. But the netbook simply became a small laptop PC. From a Linux standpoint, THAT became the problem. Nothing wrong with Linux, just the expectations of the customer changed to expect Windows.

Not going to buy Lenovo again (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901083)

I'd rather not go through the hassle of Lenovo technical support again.

http://interface.org.nz/ExchangeSaga [interface.org.nz]

Then again, I don't seem to have a good track record with Acer support either (bulk orders of replacement parts taking >1 month, "courier" pick-ups taking >3 weeks).

Oh, the stupidity... (2, Interesting)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901109)

From the article: "You can just take it (Windows 7) out of the box, and its ready to go."

I'm getting really sick of these stupid people saying how their manufacturer configured, tweaked and driver loaded version of Windows 7 works with their laptop 'out-of-the-box'.

Surely, I'm not the only one who finds this stupid. OF COURSE your manufacturer configured OS is going to work out of the box!!!!!!!!111one1

From the article: "Linux, even if you've got a great distribution and you can argue which one is better or not, still requires a lot more hands-on than somebody who is using Windows."

Error, should be: "Linux, even if you've got a great distribution and you can argue which one is better or not, still requires a lot more hands-on than somebody who is used to only using Windows."

I'm going to sit down - my hands are shaking with.......wage.

Yeah, thats right, I got so indignant I typed this reply standing up and pounding on my keyboard.

once I finished installing Kubuntu-Jaunty to my (1)

alizard (107678) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901143)

Eee PC900, it was ready to go, too. Getting it to connect to my wireless LAN was less work than getting XP computers on my LAN running. However, it's moderately stupid for Asus not to have provided my computer with a real Linux distro instead of a Xandros deliberately dumbed down to provide a net appliance.

A netbook looks enough like a conventional computer that people expect to see a conventional desktop, with menus and icons. And any halfway workable arrangement of these will work for experienced computer non-geek end users whether it's from M$, Apple, Linux, or OpenSolaris.

A net appliance UI is a bad idea that never worked out for anyone who tried selling one. And a computer that the user can't install applications from anyone with is a non-starter. People who bought the Linux version of netbooks to get a Linux experience have replaced the OEM OS en masse.

People don't have the same kind of fixed expectation of smartphone UIs, so OEMs can experiment here and pepple can generally live with anything workable.

I doubt the author of the original article has ever seen a "Linux" netbook in operation, basing his comments on Linux stereotypes based on the Linux of days gone by. Otherwise his comment about Linux netbooks would have been about net appliances.

I doubt anyone would buy XP Home repackaged as a net appliance UI, either.

Ready To Go Out the Box? Yeah. Right. (1)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901159)

Windows is a huge hassle out of the box. It takes ages to set up and get your programs installed and if something goes wrong it takes ages to diagnose and fix - else the solution is a re-install. With Linux - drivers are in the OS and software is in the repositories ready to roll. Problems are solved by looking at the useful errors that occur when things go wrong. Simple.

Paradigm Fail (1)

snookums (48954) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901219)

You're going to get returns on Linux-based netbooks as long as you market them as general-purpose computing devices. The true purpose of a netbook is as a portable Internet-access appliance, like a large smart-phone with a keyboard. If manufacturers position them that way then they'll have a lot more satisfied customers.

How many people do you think returned their iPhone or iPod because it didn't run Windows? Not a lot, I'd say.

Put your netbook out there with Ubuntu on it and a unique, professionally designed theme. Build your own apt repository, add screenshot capabilities to Synaptic, and put "Free App Store" on the icon. Then you win.

Windows 7 - Cripple Version (2, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901327)

The version for netbooks only runs three programs at a time. So the price point difference will be even higher if you account for a version of Windows 7 that actually works right. Early reports are that Windows 7 isn't that much faster than Vista on low end hardware. The only win I see here is in Steve Ballmer's mind.

And, isn't oddly ironic, that just when MSFT is losing market share and needs a win, suddenly there are articles future tripping on Windows 7. What a coincidence! Trying to make Windows 7 look inevitable just weeks before Android netbooks roll out on to the market. Wow, is that bizarre, or what? Almost like it was...planned.

Not sure how much of an advantage touch is on 9 in screen. A 17 in screen on a netbook makes it a laptop and wipes out all the advantages of a netbook. What's it say about MSFT when they're in such a desperate race to the bottom?

Three Classifications of Users (1)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901375)

As far as I'm concerned there's three classifications of users, and this can be measured by the users' tech-savviness level.

1) User - this includes most people. Including self-proclaimed "gamers". Yes, your grandma. And the janitor. And probably everyone in sales and accounting.

2) SysAdmin - These guys run the show. Usually power users. Sometimes they game too, but they know how things work and how to get things done and keep them running. I fall in this category for example.

3) Developers - Top of the ladder. Some piss poor devs are probably #1s or #2s, but these coders are the real problem solvers who probably know a bit of everything. Linus falls here, as well as every other kernel dev, or anyone who's done more than simple web development (ok, they're probably 2.5's).

This article was strictly geared towards the #1's of the world...

Biggest problem (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901481)

"Now, people are asking for more functions, so as we move into the next generation, we are starting to see things like integrated 3G and bigger screens.

Current 1st and 2nd generation netbooks are too small and 'underpowered' for the 'average user'. 'Average user'(AU) wants an inexpensive laptop/portable with a big screen and decent computing power -and AU wants it to run something familiar, like MS Windows. Unfortunately, AU doesn't realize that it can only choose two of the three, bigger and faster, cheap, comes with Windows. Personally, -for the work I do- I would prefer small and cheap that runs anything that gives me a shell prompt over big, fast, and runs MS Windows.

Digital Ink? (2, Interesting)

acheron12 (1268924) | more than 5 years ago | (#27901485)

How long will it take for someone to combine a netbook with a digital ink screen (ala e-book readers)?
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