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HP Dumps Linux for Windows XP MCE in New Media Player

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the switching-it-up dept.

HP 225

An anonymous reader writes "There hasn't been much said about this, but HP's new z545 Digital Entertainment Center appears to be a Windows-based re-spin of an earlier Linux-based model that HP unveiled three years ago at the Tech X NY trade show in New York, and which was sold for some time as the de100c Digital Entertainment Center. Seems like the joint's gone downhill ever since Perens left."

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225 comments

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732647)

fp bitches

Too Bad (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732692)

It's too bad you didn't give us your username; we could all bow down to you.

Re:Too Bad (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733064)

im taco .thsi is my site. helo!

Bummer (-1, Offtopic)

BottleCup (691335) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732653)

I hope this isnt going to be the start of a new trend.

Re:Bummer (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733055)

His name is Balmer...

Not quite a backwards step (5, Insightful)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732661)

What seems to be most clear from the article is that HP is interested in developing these devices but not interested in actually doing a significant amount of the R&D for it. With Linux, though they had a large amount of control over the featureset as well as the functionality at a low level, they probably spent too much money performing the customizations. With Microsoft doing all the development, HP is free to focus on the look and feel of the device rather than the OS level driver tweaking.

In this day and age, the operating system is pretty much a commodity. It is the software features on top that give a device any sort of real value. Since a device like this never exposes the underlying operating system to users, it doesn't make sense to spend a lot of money developing something yourself, especially when someone else has already invested the development effort.

So blue screen jokes aside, this is probably a good business decision for HP. Maybe not so good for those embedded Linux engineers who don't have a job on that team anymore, but fiscally the best choice for the company.

Re:Not quite a backwards step (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732693)

It's a great decision. I mean you don't use a server os for playing your illegal mp3's right? Sounds like Windows has found it's appropriate market niche.. toys

Re:Not quite a backwards step (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732695)

Actually what I think is much more likely is the new generation of DRM products that will come out soon to lock in customers.

Microsoft is pushing DRM-enabled products and the mass media makers mostly agree. So since it would be easier to buy compatable products then try to recreate compatable ones in Linux while facing legal hurdles and patent problems.

Embedded Linux is very mature nowadays, their is nothing that is more expensive when it comes to developing linux platform then windows, it's all already been done by other companies.

The future or DRM media seems much more likely, considuring that this sort of thing is microsoft's and the mass media's baby and they are making a media player after all.

Don't worry. It'll be a flop. There is no advatage of this device over a Laptop towards the high-end, or a tablet pc towards the retarded end, or a pocket-pc type device on the low/small end. (after all a decent NEW laptop can be had for around 600 bucks nowadays, and it'll only get cheaper) They are aiming for a market niche that either doesn't exist or is so small they will fail even if they reach full market saturation.

Re:Not quite a backwards step (2, Informative)

blowdart (31458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732821)

So since it would be easier to buy compatable products then try to recreate compatable ones in Linux while facing legal hurdles and patent problems.

Except there is supposed to a version of Windows Media [intervideo.com] , with DRM support for embedded Linux.

Re:Not quite a backwards step (0, Flamebait)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733052)

>Actually what I think is much more likely is the new generation of DRM products that will come out soon to lock in customers.

Lock into what?
Paying for music?

>Embedded Linux is very mature nowadays, their is nothing that is more expensive when it comes to developing linux platform then windows

There's nothing more expensive when it comes to developing Linux platform then Windows?
What exactly is that supposed to mean?

>There is no advatage of this device over a Laptop towards the high-end,

Yes there is, look at the h/w specs.
You'd need $2K for a notebook with similar A-V h/w.

> Don't worry. It'll be a flop.

Only Linux zealots like you _worry_ about it - normal people will buy it if price and features are okay and if it's easy to use.
The same goes for Linux-based media centers - WhoTF cares what's inside as long as the music's trashing.

Re:Not quite a backwards step (4, Insightful)

Khazunga (176423) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733087)

Lock into what?
Paying for music?
Oh, so innocent, so cute. :-)
Renting music, paying per view, locking the item to the device... The sky is the limit.
There's nothing more expensive when it comes to developing Linux platform then Windows?
What exactly is that supposed to mean?
That Linux is more mature in the embedded market than windows. Windows here is a newcomer, and can't leverage office. It's (still) an inferior product, and it shows.

Re:Not quite a backwards step (1)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733118)

>Renting music, paying per view, locking the item to the device...

Renting music - what's wrong with that? Who wants to hoard GBs of MP3s (then you have to back them up, etc.) when you can get them played on-demand from any device (PDA, media center, mobile phone, etc.) any time you want.

More likely they'll soon have an all-you-can eat music service for US$14.90/month (like the new Napster service).
Pay-per-view is reasonable for movies as long as it's not expensive, locking items is reasonable (if pay-per-view is not enforced) as well.

Linux more mature in the embedded market?
Can you elaborate?

Interesting Link:
http://www.directionsonmicrosoft.com/sample /DOMIS/ update/2004/10oct/1004mpumsf.htm

Re:Not quite a backwards step (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733157)

Windows MCE is a customized Windows XP with many of the features of XP Pro. It does Office. It will run Half-Life 2.

DRM doesn't seem to have hurt sales of DirectTV, XM Radio, cable PPV, DVDs or the iPod.

Re:Not quite a backwards step (2, Interesting)

thoth (7907) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732698)

That makes sense. It boils down to whether HP can recoup the cost of their additional development by the savings of going with linux. For the volume that these entertainment pc's are going to sell... probably not.

Re:Not quite a backwards step (1, Insightful)

killjoe (766577) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732737)

"So blue screen jokes aside, this is probably a good business decision for HP"

I disagree. What differentiates a HP media center from a gateway or joe blow media center then? he color of the case?

Underpants Gnomes are running HP.

Make the same thing everybody else is making
Charge more for it
??
Profit!

I guess this explains the HP branded iPod too.

Re:Not quite a backwards step (5, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732897)

I guess this explains the HP branded iPod too.

Which is kinda sad, really.

HP was once a company that was innovative, creative and original. Now they've degenerated into yet another money-hungry company who're afraid to tread new grounds or create something from scratch.

I'm sure that if Hewlett and Packard were to see the company now, they'd cringe in sadness and shame.

Thanks to the eminent Carly, HP now does nothing more than rebrand and sell services - they've laid off so many people who were into core technology and research operations. It's really sad to see what they have become.

Re:Not quite a backwards step (4, Insightful)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733071)

The grandparent post sez:

>> "So blue screen jokes aside, this is probably a good business decision for HP"
>I disagree. What differentiates a HP media center from a gateway or joe blow media center then? he color of the case?

What differentiates them is that they sell this piece of shit at no profit and then, because they know that 50% of people who buy this box also buy a color printer, they will also sell them a printer and make money.

>HP was once a company that was innovative, creative and original. Now they've degenerated into yet another money-hungry company who're afraid to tread new grounds or create something from scratch.

Listen to yourself - "yet another money-hungry company" - it is a Slashdot-established truth that companies' exist to make money. Get over it.
"Create something from scratch" - for something like 5 thousand boxes a month - how much should they charge for their "from scratch" Linux code?
Let's see - 50 engineers * 10K (including overhead) a month = $500,000/month
Spread over 5,000 boxes a month, that's US$500 per box for the software alone, compared to (I guess) US$80 for the Windows version.
Good luck with that!

>Thanks to the eminent Carly, HP now does nothing more than rebrand and sell services.

That's actually untrue, but even if it wasn't, so what - that's what people like - cheap and mediocre shit - and that's what they can sell in volume.
Look how Dell's growing by leaps and bounds - and they're not exactly a bastion of product innovation. What is HP supposed to do?

>I'm sure that if Hewlett and Packard were to see the company now, they'd cringe in sadness and shame.

No, I think they'd smile and say "Holy shit, man, times are tough now - we were lucky that we had the luxury of doing things the way we did! I don't know if we could pull that off today".

Re:Not quite a backwards step (4, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733123)

No, you seem to have misinterpreted my points.

Listen to yourself - "yet another money-hungry company" - it is a Slashdot-established truth that companies' exist to make money. Get over it.

All companies are money-hungry - but they can be money-hungry and still do cool shit. Google is an example of that. IBM is an example of that. Even Microsoft is an example of that.

When your company's focus changes from creating new technologies to using technologies that others create, you're going down the wrong path.

TI and HP were innovators in their heyday. Look at HP now.

Your monetary thinking is short-term. Yes, creating new technologies is always expensive on the onset. So what are you suggesting? That we all use Windows forever and ever since creating new technologies and adopting them with overhead costs is anyway expensive?

However, tomorrow when HP comes out with something else, they would have the technology that they have developed inhouse. And that will save them future development costs. The initial investment is always high, however the returns in the longterm far outweigh the immediate losses.

That's actually untrue, but even if it wasn't, so what - that's what people like - cheap and mediocre shit - and that's what they can sell in volume.

That _is_ indeed true. Although HP's troubles started even when Perens was heading out, Carly's services-oriented outlook killed the principles the company was founded on.

Maybe you should read Losing the HP Way [salon.com] .

Look how Dell's growing by leaps and bounds - and they're not exactly a bastion of product innovation. What is HP supposed to do?

See? That's exactly what I meant. HP was not a company that followed what others created -- they were trendsetters of their day, who created new technologies that _others_ followed.

There is a _LOT_ that HP could have done, given their expertise in hardware. IBM is still a bastion of innovation -- and it's not like they are losing out to Dell. HP could equally have done just as well, instead they chose not to compete and rather follow.

No, I think they'd smile and say "Holy shit, man, times are tough now - we were lucky that we had the luxury of doing things the way we did! I don't know if we could pull that off today". .B U L L S H I T.

Who're you kidding? Good companies can always do cool things and still do well, if they are enterprising enough. HP had the financial muscle to make a change, companies 1/10th the size of HP are making new inroads with little to no financial muscle. Every other company had to go through the crucible, I do not see Microsoft cutting down MSR or IBM downsizing TJ Watson or Xerox closing PARC.

HP Labs has laid off _so_ many people (around 6k, if I remember) after the Compaq merger -- and most of these people once were part of the core technology and R&D groups.

I'm sorry, I don't buy your argument.

Re:Not quite a backwards step (4, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732790)

That is besides the fact that if it wants to sell any to "Joe Average Consumer" it will have to support some DRM. As apple does not want to license its own, the choice boils down to Microsoft and Microsoft.

The EU comission was bloody right to start investigating MSFT DRM ambitions. Unfortunately the next commissioner is almost as rabid in Bill-arse-licking as Tony Bliar so we may see this one going down the drain. Bummer...

Re:Not quite a backwards step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732850)

Re:Not quite a backwards step (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732923)

ROTFL!

That was _TOO_ funny, thanks for a good laugh!

~m

Re:Not quite a backwards step (1)

Ibn al-Hazardous (83553) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732946)

With Windows NT for alpha, Compaq had to do the development themselves.

In the documentation for Windows CE/PocketPC, it specifically says that it is the responsibility of the device manufacturers to implement the parts of the OS the tie into the hardware (ie "performing the customizations").

I'm not sure how it works with this specific version of Windows, but my dime is on a similar license. In that case, HP has not gotten away with less R&D, they have to do more (since they had already done the job for linux). This is probably a question of standardizing the interface, ie making it look like everything else.

Re:Not quite a backwards step (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732980)

You're very close to being correct. However, it's the last little bit that you're missing.

What you are talking about is the Windows CE OAL (OEM Adaptation Layer) which is written by the OEM and provides an intermediate layer between the Win32 calls up top to the device and kernel calls down below. Any normal OS has this kind of thing. Also, Windows CE comes with many device drivers built in, but for something custom designed it usually takes a little more coding and tweaking to get it working correctly. Up to this point, you have it exactly right.

However, this isn't Windows CE we're talking about. This is Windows XP embedded which does not have as many embedding options as CE does. It can only run on x86 (last time I checked), for example. It supports any peripherals that normal XP supports, and better yet can be stripped of those drivers it doesn't need. Yes, if you want to have your custom peripheral card you will need to develop a driver for it, but for the most part that is done. Also, since this is the MC edition of XP that they are using, MS has already put quite a bit of effort into getting non-standard things like NTSC ports and other TV goodies up to speed with drivers.

Now take a look at the device specs of this thing. If it weren't for the article telling you it wasn't, you'd almost think it was a normal computer. And yet you wouldn't be so far off. For all intents and purposes it is a standard computer running Windows XP Media Center.

To put Linux on there would require the debugging of those driver features again as the driver model may have changed since the last time they released. They would have to develop the software stack whereas the software stack is pretty much complete on Windows.

Linux is great and everything, but it is not the be all and end all of operating systems.

Re:Not quite a backwards step (1)

Ibn al-Hazardous (83553) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733072)

Yeah, I concede. Next time I'll RTFA before I reply to a comment. I was living in the delusion that embedded XP was actually embedded (which usually means some custom hardware).

As for Linux not being the be all and end all of operating systems - I know that. I'm perfectly happy running PocketPC 2002 on my iPAQ, developing for it on my Linux box. I would go out on a limb and say that Windows CE is a pretty nice OS compared to, say, XP. I wonder if they will ever port it to the x86? ;)

Re:Not quite a backwards step (2, Insightful)

Angostura (703910) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732960)

Indeed. HP's decision to rebadge the iPod can be seen in a similar context.

"Invent"

Sheeyeh, right,

Re:Not quite a backwards step (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732994)

This makes perfect sense if you understand the current management culture in the "new" HP. Bill and Dave (the deceased founders of HP for you youngsters) wanted HP products to "contribute to the state of the art" and often had potential products withheld from the market if they didn't meet that test (sometimes to the annoyance of potential customers; I was one). In those days, "Invent" wasn't part of the logo. It was part of the culture.

Under current management the only "Invent"ion going on is in finding new ways to reduce costs in everything. If that means becoming a commodity appliamce company and simply OEMing other folks stuff then so much the better since expensive R&D costs like engineers can be cut. How this will play in the end is hard to predict (except even more jobs will be dispensed with) since margins are about non-existent.

Re:Not quite a backwards step (1)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733001)

I agree with 'commodity' in the sense that MS have cut thier embedded prices to hook the market in and castrate them while they are naive.

However, now in long term, if MS have done what i think they have done, the development costs for moving away from winsucks might be a little wierd.

Then they will jack up thier prices and laugh a hearty fat bellied laugh.

Then quick as a flash HP says, oh Python runs on Linux as well, lets try this:

BOFH style *tap clickety click tap*

It runs linux! omg wooooo lets open up all our sources, and have huge jump in sales, and everyone will write little visualisation plugins asnd neat gadgets and stuff for our playthingy.

So if they do abstract the OS from development, then good.

I hope Dell, HP, IBM etal will really really push linux onto handhelds.

Dell, I have 4 of your PDAs, give me something I can work with!

Das ist alle.

BFD (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732662)

"There hasn't been much said about this, but HP's new z545 Digital Entertainment Center appears to be a Windows-based re-spin of an earlier Linux-based model... Seems like the joint's gone downhill ever since Perens left."

Or maybe not much is said about it because it's not such a big deal if a company launches one more Windows-powered device?

Seriously, it's not like this makes them all evil or something (although some would say they already are, what with them having killed Alpha in favor of Itanic etc).

Re:BFD (1, Funny)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732880)

Well if Microsoft can make the system tidy and appliance-like that's fine. There's nothing worse than the interface dying and the Windows desktop appearing. That and when you get an error and a dialog box appears that you can't cancel.

See ATMs for examples of these.

M$ Is Just Bullying (4, Interesting)

nukem996 (624036) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732674)

Microsoft has had this recent trend to push a stripped down version of Windows XP on all "Media Devices." I was at the National Youth Leadership Forum on Technology were M$ launched the Windows Media Center or what ever its called for devices like this. [creative.com] While linux might do it better M$ has done all the hard work for these companies and made it intigrated into Win XP so its "easier for users." Ive played with a few of these and found it anything but easy. This is just M$s way of competing with the iPod.

Re:M$ Is Just Bullying (1)

baker_tony (621742) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732806)

Um, what are you talking about? The article is about Windows XP MCE, not those Media Devices.

Re:M$ Is Just Bullying (1)

nukem996 (624036) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732826)

Im giving those media devices as an example. M$ is going to the hole media market, anything that plays video/audio they are going into. M$ is pushing its own wma/wmv formates onto everything.

Re:M$ Is Just Bullying (-1, Troll)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732822)

I think you mean the iP0d.. See how I cleverly replaced the 'o' in iPod with a '0'. Oh how clever am I. Let's not forget L1nu>.

Re:M$ Is Just Bullying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732959)

Your latent homosexuality is almost frightening -- One can almost hear your need to be approved at any cost(e.g. sucking cock, etc.).

They really let you around children?

Re:M$ Is Just Bullying (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733168)

Windows is anything but a stripped down version of XP.

Yes, but (0, Redundant)

stor (146442) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732677)

...does it run Lin... oh, right...

Cheers
Stor

Re:Yes, but (1)

Agret (752467) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732796)

I'm sure someone will hack it to run Linux :P Serves them right! I assume Linux is a lot better than MCE for Media Centers as it lets you run any format you want not just propietry codecs+formats. (WMA, WMV, etc.) Microsoft do not seem to support most of the open-source formats like OGG and OGV. I doubt they support MP4 either.

Re:Yes, but (1)

blowdart (31458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732858)

Microsoft do not seem to support most of the open-source formats like OGG and OGV.

Well of course not, that's like complaing because iTunes doesn't support WMA. Why should a manufacturer support 3rd party components?

The DirectShow filters specs are well known, and there are Ogg filters as well as DivX filters available. As for MP4 sound with Windows Media Player, again 3rd parties produce it and the MP4 video support is already there.

Re:Yes, but (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732941)

I assume Linux is a lot better than MCE for Media Centers as it lets you run any format you want not just propietry codecs+formats. (WMA, WMV, etc.)

Uh. I don't quite get your point. If it's running Linux, sure you can add support for OGG and the likes, but then again you can't play proprietary codecs such as WMA, WMV, QuickTime and others - unless you pay for the license. All this assuming that such a device would be aimed at the mainstream markets, of course.

we shall port linux to it. (5, Insightful)

has2k1 (787264) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732682)

Embedded inside the HP entertainment system are most of the functions of a desktop PC. In this case, that includes a 566 MHz Intel Celeron processor, 64MB of RAM, and a 40 Gigabyte hard disk.

./ers know that whatever has a processor HAS linux in it's genes. I know it will not take long to port the latest kernel to it.

what hurts me though are the $$ that finally get to naughty bill for the embedded windows. HP should consider bare-bones.

Re:we shall port linux to it. (2, Informative)

isometrick (817436) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732710)

Those specs were from the Linux based predecessor of this device. This device has a 3 GHz Pentium 4 processor and 200 GB internal hard drive. Also, I don't think linux needs to be "ported" ... it already supports the hardware. The question is whether the application software (not OS) functionality can be mimicked closely enough.

Re:we shall port linux to it. (3, Informative)

Zardus (464755) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732769)

MythTV [mythtv.org] would do the application part quite well. Comparisons between MythTV and MCE have made it to Slashdot [slashdot.org] before.

Re:we shall port linux to it. (3, Interesting)

Suchetha (609968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732861)

that's a lot of power. depending on the price point on this it may be cheaper to buy this and use it as an internal webserver/fileserver

suchetha

Re:we shall port linux to it. (3, Insightful)

dosius (230542) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732927)

./ers know that whatever has a processor HAS linux in it's genes.

Try porting Linux to the Apple IIgs sometime.

Moll.

Interesting opportunity (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732683)

I'm guessing we won't be privy to information surrounding this, but if by some coincidence someone with access to the information at HP is reading this..?

I'd like to see some data comparing the two devices in terms of reliability, customer satisfaction, rate of returns and junk like that.

I know why *I* would prefer one version of the product over another because if I know there's Linux inside, I want to play with it. But Joe consumer doesn't usually know one way or the other so I'm interested in a manufacturer's perspective on this. They care about whether a [version of a] product is widely accepted, MTBF (mean time between failure), rate of returns and junk like that.

If the main difference between the two devices is the OS underneath, it would be a terrific opportunity to see the impact that the OS choice makes in the creation of a consumer product is concerned.

Re:Interesting opportunity (1)

popeyethesailor (325796) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733108)

I'm not an HP exec, but here oges
Here's the new machine specs [windowsfordevices.com] .
And this [linuxdevices.com] is the Linux equivalent, circa 2001.
Now which one would you take?
It's just a nice x86 machine in a dvd-player form-factor, with manufacturer-supplied drivers for all the components.
I've been using Linux for years, but what value is linux going to add for a machine like this? the MTBF,cust satisfaction is all a load of bull.

Wait a minute... (5, Insightful)

Bill_Royle (639563) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732688)

HP's been at the top at some point technology-wise?

I'd argue that HP has been going downhill in terms of innovative products even *before* Perens headed out.

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733003)

Yep. They started outsourcing their scanning engines too, and now you can't get programming info anymore. HP has some severe issues, much like Sun, except HP has a profitable Compaq server line and Printers. Everything else is in trouble. By going with CE, they have ensured that their product is a "me-too" ho-hum product.

Competitive Advantage...? (5, Interesting)

DJ XpL0iT (828323) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732689)

Is it possible that HP used the earlier iteration of the device to push home it's economies of scale message with Microsoft?

There has been a few stories recently where local governments, schools and SMBs have used Linux as leverage to get MS to drop their prices.

HP is just as much a customer of MS in the OEM market as anybody else...They would have to negotiate what they pay for their OEM licenses that they include with their consumer PCs. Any drop in what they pay MS for the OEM licenses translates into pure profit for HP without changing the sticker price.

Granted that these media centre devices have a reasonable chance of providing market penetration where PCs will not go (I'm thinking the poorer end of the socioeconomic demographic), and the aforementioned "linux as leverage" strategy, MS may have been prepared to give up some percentage on their OEM license fees for ALL of HPs product range to get MS MCE onto these devices.

Re:Competitive Advantage...? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732715)

I doubt it.

It's the DRM media angle.

In the near future everybody is hoping that DRM-enabled digital media will make a big splash, and if you want to play that stuff you need Microsoft.

It would be stupid for HP to release a device now that would be incapable of playing most forms of protected media six to twelve months from now.

I hope that DRM crap won't take off, but I doubt HP is willing to take that risk. So they spend more money on MS's crap in the hope that it will keep their device relevent in the forseeable future.

It's not like it's going to cost them much, almost people who buy computers nowadays pays the MS tax, so worst case for HP is that they'd have to raise the price of their products by 40 dollars (at most).

My Guess (4, Insightful)

NotoriousQ (457789) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732702)

I think they did this to be able to use WMA format.

I would be surprised if Microsoft provides a linux compatable WMA codec, and I do not know if they license the algorithm or code. Is there any information whether WMA can be licensed to use on linux?

If not, then this is probably the reason.

Re:My Guess (1)

zbaron (649094) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732753)

yet HP is also selling an iPod which does not play WMA ... ?
seems like the left and right hands of HP have no idea what the other is doing

Re:My Guess (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732755)

WMA can be reverse engineered. Of course, this is probably illegal in the US, so a US-based company would most likely not sell products containing an RE'd WMA codec...

Re:My Guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732789)

> WMA can be reverse engineered. Of course, this is probably illegal in the US, so a US-based company would most likely not sell products containing an RE'd WMA codec... /. have really been going downhill for the last years...

Re:My Guess (4, Informative)

glMatrixMode (631669) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732763)

You know TurboLinux 10 F (http://www.turbolinux.com/products/10F/) ? A commercial distro that comes with legal-in-the-US, proprietary codecs like WMA (and also DVD decryption). From their website
Turbolinux is the first distribution to license the official Microsoft WMF codecs.


So the answer to your question is yes. Now I really didn't want to give it free advertising, as I think that it's wrong to encourage proprietary, closed formats like WMA.

Re:My Guess (2, Informative)

blowdart (31458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732831)

I posted the link earlier, but Intervideo [intervideo.com] have a license to produce WMA/WMV with DRM products for Linux.

HP are Microsoft's lackeys anyway... (5, Interesting)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732711)

My missus works at HP and they have always been totally run by the decisions that Microsoft enforces on them anyway, particularly since the Compaq merger.

Through my job it telecoms, I've been to a number of IBM sites in my travels and the Linux presence is openly on show at all of the sites I've visited whereas the missus says she's never heard Linux mentioned at HP, even though she's involved in their internal IT support.

This shouldn't really come as a great shock to anyone - having worked for Lucent in the good old Carly Fiorina days, that woman typifies the role of "corporate whore" and will name drop just about any cool and emerging technology she can just to make her empty speeches sound more impressive.

Digital is no more, Tru64 is dead and HP simply never were and never will be a true Linux player - they're basically just a hardware arm of Microsoft these days.

Re:HP are Microsoft's lackeys anyway... (1)

NecoX (750371) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732965)

And what about the HP-iPod?

Who would be stup[id enough.. (-1, Troll)

mauriceh (3721) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732719)

Who would be dumb enough to buy this?

Oh, wait, over half of you voted for Bush?

Never mind..

Re:Who would be stup[id enough.. (-1, Troll)

Erik Hollensbe (808) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732736)

I don't know, maybe someone who really could give a shit less about what religion^WOS is popular this week and just wants to play movies and music?

You've got a lot of balls calling the majority stupid. Don't you read history, do you know what happened to people like Socrates and Galileo? And heck, they were right.

Oh, wait, this is the internet, you are insignificant, and probably wrong.

Frankly, I'm just glad the voting process is generally being accepted as genuine this time. I'm glad the people got their wish, regardless if I agree or disagree with the views.

Of course, you're probably just sore because someone pissed on your expected celebration.

Re:Who would be stup[id enough.. (1, Offtopic)

coffin_birth (808593) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732752)

*cough*

List in descending Avg IQ by State, and who that state voted for:

State Avg. IQ Who they voted for
1.Connecticut 113 Kerry
2.Massachusetts 111 Kerry
3.New Jersey 111 Kerry
4.New York 109 Kerry
5.Rhode Island 107 Kerry
6.Hawaii 106 Kerry
7.Maryland 105 Kerry
8.New Hampshire 105 Kerry
9.Illinois 104 Kerry
10.Delaware 103 Kerry
11.Minnesota 102 Kerry
12.Vermont 102 Kerry
13.Washington 102 Kerry
14.California 101 Kerry
15.Pennsylvania 101 Kerry
16.Maine 100 Kerry
17.Virginia 100 Bush
18.Wisconsin 100 Kerry
19.Colorado 99 Bush
20.Iowa 99 Not determined
21.Michigan 99 Kerry
22.Nevada 99 Bush
23.Ohio 99 Bush
24.Oregon 99 Kerry
25.Alaska 98 Bush
26.Florida 98 Bush
27.Missouri 98 Bush
28.Kansas 96 Bush
29.Nebraska 95 Bush
30.Arizona 94 Bush
31.Indiana 94 Bush
32.Tennessee 94 Bush
33.North Carolina 93 Bush
34.West Virginia 93 Bush
35.Arkansas 92 Bush
36.Georgia 92 Bush
37.Kentucky 92 Bush
38.New Mexico 92 Not Determined
39.North Dakota 92 Bush
40.Texas 92 Bush
41.Alabama 90 Bush
42.Louisiana 90 Bush
43.Montana 90 Bush
44.Oklahoma 90 Bush
45.South Dakota 90 Bush
46.South Carolina 89 Bush
47.Wyoming 89 Bush
48.Idaho 87 Bush
49Utah 87 Bush
50.Mississippi 85 Bush

I suggest you reconsider! :D

Re:Who would be stup[id enough.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732758)

I suggest you get actual data.

Re:Who would be stup[id enough.. (1)

coffin_birth (808593) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732759)

I suggest you register and lose that "Anonymous Coward" idiocy. :)

Re:Who would be stup[id enough.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732976)

BUSH CHENEY IN '08

IF IT AIN'T BROKE

DON'T FIX IT


Out of curiosity, how many men would you let cum on your face to feel the rush that comes when outside=inside? Can't you take all your inadequacy and rub up against things somewhere else, preferably in silence ... ?

Re:Who would be stup[id enough.. (1)

ComaVN (325750) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732778)

That would be hilarious if true. Source please?

Oh wait, memes don't have to be true. I keep forgetting.

Re:Who would be stup[id enough.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733027)

Why did you choose the word "meme"?

I'm so fucking ashamed of my country. I've lost all hope. It seems like we're fighting a war against the blindly patriotic and evangelical christians, and we're hopelessly outnumbered.

My whole world has truly turned upside down - my own sister voted for Bush, for crying out loud. She just keeps parroting back the "flip flop" thing and the "Iraq violated UN blahblahblah Saddam was a threat blah blah blah". It's like she's joined some sort of cult or is in the grip of some hideous mind control.

It's a nightmare, and I can't wake up.

Re:Who would be stup[id enough.. (-1, Offtopic)

will_die (586523) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733162)

ROFLMAO
Someone pulled this liberal lie from the Bush/Gore election and changed it to this election. At least they could of included the false salary numbers also.
If you want some true numbers(also from Bush/Gore election check here [4mg.com]
Theses are the top ten, have not changed for Bush/kerry election.
IQ and states Income/ person 2000 vote
(alphabetically by IQ) in 2003* %Rep-Dem

New Hampshire 104IQ 34,702 Bush
Oregon 103IQ $29,340 Gore
Massachusetts 103IQ $39,815 Gore
Wisconsin 103IQ $30,898 Gore
Colorado 102IQ $34,238 Bush
Connecticut 102IQ 43,173 Gore
Illinois 102IQ $33,590 Gore
Iowa 102IQ $29,043 Gore

Re:Who would be stup[id enough.. (1)

spuzzzzzzz (807185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732918)

You've got a lot of balls calling the majority stupid. Don't you read history, do you know what happened to people like Socrates and Galileo? And heck, they were right.

I'm not sure I understand the logic here. IIRC, Socrates and Galileo were both in the minority at their time. They were persecuted for it and they turned out to be right. So how does this back up your point?

HARD DATA INDEED, QUEER (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733000)

When you hear someone say "Whiny Faggot" do you look up? Or just go on stuffing your throat with your new-hire's cock (and does the wife know? what about the kids? do you really think that even in CA you can just say "look, daddy isn't perfect" -- with lisp -- and it will be okay with them that you are a demented homosexual who spent a fair amount of time at work being dominated over and wearing a bit? do you think your children are really going to excuse golden showers and bring your grandchildren home to you -- letting your putrid hands rove all over thier newborn skin? Jesus Christ man, shake yourself out it! Isn't there anything important enough for you to surpress your disgusting desires?)?

Is all linux hipe devices about hacking ? (4, Insightful)

La Gris (531858) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732725)

I tend to think theses consumer devices sells mostly to users just willing to use them plain.

What is the proportion of hobby hackers, buying theses devices and choosing Linux based ones with stright intention to actualy hack them ?

Do average consumer care much about the nick names of the internal componants they don't even know about it to be there ?

This thing has an operating system ? (Oh great, and how do I enable this function ?)

And it even run Linux inside you know ?! (Well, I just need to watch and record video and music)

Well, it may look a squewed point here.

Who buy what and, what are the consumers IBM is looking at ?

Wouildn't hacker be more satisfyed with these nices open sources projects, like MythTv, Freevo or VDR loaded in a custum mini-itx home build media center ?

As of now, I'm not sure if selling stuffs for hackers is relevant for IBM.

Sorry HP not IBM (1)

La Gris (531858) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732765)

Hum :)

Please swap IBM/HP.

Re:Is all linux hipe devices about hacking ? (2, Insightful)

antiMStroll (664213) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732936)

The Linksys wireless routers, for example, run Linux and are appealing to geeks because of it, but also hide the nuts and bolts beneath a slick and intuitive interface and are therefore appealing to customers who don't care. You can have both.

Re:Is all linux hipe devices about hacking ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733019)

The Linksys wireless routers, for example, run Linux and are appealing to geeks because of it, but also hide the nuts and bolts beneath a slick and intuitive interface and are therefore appealing to customers who don't care. You can have both.
Precisely. And that is pretty much why I bought one. For now, I'm quite happy to use the standard firmware, but if and when I decide to e.g. add real VPN capabilities to the thing, or attach a disk and have it act as HTTP proxy as well as router, I know I can do that since it runs Linux and the sources for the firmware (or rather, several alternative firmwares besides the orginial) are readily avaliable.

Re:Is all linux hipe devices about hacking ? (1)

smurf1974 (463833) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733041)

There is another good reason for using linux in comsumer devices: royalties.

The profit margin is usually quite low on stuff like satellite recievers and other low end set-top boxes. Often the profit margin is lower than the price for putting windows on such a box.

More devices than you think is running linux (at least in europe where I live). They just don't brag about it because as you say it is not a major selling point unless to a few techies.

Carly Fiorina (3, Informative)

IvyMike (178408) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732741)

Seems like the joint's gone downhill ever since Perens left.

The joint started going downhill when Carly Fiorina [cgff.net] took over.

Re:Carly Fiorina (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732749)

Nothing like a little sexism to brighten up a dreary Friday morning!

Re:Carly Fiorina (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732764)

Sexism? Because she's a female? Then what is it when people flame Darl McBride, you bigot?

Re:Carly Fiorina (1, Insightful)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733090)

>The joint started going downhill when Carly Fiorina took over.

If things were going good, she'd never have taken over in the first place.

>>Seems like the joint's gone downhill ever since Perens left.

This (by the article author, not the parent post) is such a fucking dumb-ass comment... Spicing things up the /. way... Moron.

Smart Move (2, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732766)

I think it's a smart move. The Linux geeks will put Linux on it anyway. Those who want Windows get it for cheap. Everybody gets what they want, everybody happy.

Re:Smart Move (1)

aurb (674003) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732874)

But the linux geeks still have to pay for windows. HP could act like laptop sellers in my country: put DOS on these devices. So those who want windows, can install pirated windows, and those who want linux don't have to pay for windows. Thats even better: everyone but microsoft is happy.

Re:Smart Move (1)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733030)

But the linux geeks still have to pay for windows. HP could act like laptop sellers in my country: put DOS on these devices. So those who want windows, can install pirated windows, and those who want linux don't have to pay for windows. Thats even better: everyone but microsoft is happy.

That'd be really helpful, considering the device is designed to be hooked up to the TV in your living room. Grandma's going to have a fun time getting THAT to work.

I mourn for HP. (5, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732772)

HP is dead. It used to be a scientific/technical company on the cutting edge of science and technology. It has ceased to be anything of any importance. Instead of hardware that people will never part with (I'll give up my 48G when I'm *dead*), Carly Fiorina has turned that company into a "Brand" that markets a commodity. Brands are a dime a dozen. The HP brand trades on its history and when people realize that HP is not the HP of history, the Brand of HP will be worth exactly what Carly has turned it into:

Nothing.

HP symbolizes to me what happens when MBAs and Accountants run businesses. When your goal is merely meeting the numbers at the end of the quarter, you do not see the long view of the future. You simply go with the lowest common denominator, stagnate, and lose customers in the long run. The death of such a company does not take long. Witness the Race to the Bottom between Compaq and Packard Bell. Both are gone, and it only took a year or two to happen.

Thanks, Carly, for killing one of my favorite companies.

--
BMO

Re:I mourn for HP. (2, Funny)

random_rabbit (647072) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732945)

I agree with the parent. The moment HP stopped concentrating on brown sauce, I lost all respect. I'm switching to Daddie's.

Re:I mourn for HP. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733011)

Thanks, Carly, for killing one of my favorite companies.

I'm sure geek women everywhere secretly unite in hoping it is discovered that Carly has a penis.

HP computer quality declining as well (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732782)

The quality of HP computers has been declining significantly during the past three years while the prices did not in order to compensate for the increased marketing efforts. If HP wants to survive they better focus on improving their products, supporting Linux, and not pushing junk.

Why do we care? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732799)

Honestly, who gives a damn what OS it runs? As long as it works, let it go.

Re:Why do we care? (2, Insightful)

baker_tony (621742) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732811)

Um, are you new to Slashdot?! :-)

Personally, I'm more interested in what it can do, not if it simply works or not.

Re:Why do we care? (2, Interesting)

melonman (608440) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733025)

And could it be, shock horror, that they ditched the Linux version because, gasp, it didn't sell very well, and that maybe this was because, swoon, Linux in 2001 wasn't that great a choice for running a multimedia system? If they had axed a top-selling product, there might be a story here. As it is, the story appears to be "there are some arguments in favour of using other operating systems". Which I suppose might count as news to some people here, but probably not to the world at large.

Its not about HP or WMA, its about Microsoft. (4, Informative)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732852)

Microsoft stated they wanted to be the major company for home media, and following that trend of embrace, extended and buy out, you can expect more companies to choose microsoft due to cheap contracts with almost free support.

Microsoft is already trying to take the HDDVD consumer market with WM9, this is just another area for them to get a foothold.

It will be the same tactic they have used in the PC Vendor market for years. Microsoft will give the product away, vendors will bite, use the product, then get locked it.

And companies no longer look for the long term goals, just what makes money the next quarter. If HP was smart, they would stick with linux, develop the software they own, and pay no licensing fees. You think they would have learned from their past experiences with Microsoft.

Call me jaded, but I see the trend everywhere, sell/buy now, whatever makes my books look good this year. This is how CEO's dump and run companies, and why mergers are so common.

Now, think 5 years from now, HP's product will look like everyone elses, what will be the difference? Nothing, they use the same software, the hardware is off the shelf. The CEO's will sell HP, another merger. Meanwhile, another billion for Microsoft.

It's good to be the only vendor, the only one choice. Er, lack of choice I should say. I bet Microsoft's stock goes up again tomorrow from this news.

Re:Its not about HP or WMA, its about Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733016)

Current betting is that the current HP will spin off or sell everything that is not part of the current Imaging and Printing group. HP will then just be cameras, scanners, and printers. Maybe that's all top management can understand.

Then there's the other rumor that Carly is getting ready to jump ship as an appointee to head some US Federal government organization. She already sounds like a bureaucrat/politician and has had plenty of pictures taken with various heads of state. If this happens soon and a competent CEO takes her place then HP may yet be saved. More likey, it's too late :-(

HP Sauce (4, Interesting)

ralphclark (11346) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732935)

This company isn't really HP, it became something else when Carly Fiorina took over running the company. In any case, Carly Fiorina said at the beginning of this year, that she aimed to put rigorously enforced DRM on all HP's devices. Meanwhile MS is busting a gut trying to sell its new DRM technologies to everyone. It's easy to see how Linux just doesn't fit into that strategy particulary well, and Microsoft does.

Uh... (3, Insightful)

SinaSa (709393) | more than 9 years ago | (#10732953)

O.K so all of my bias, etc aside. I think this is a good idea for HP. Let's think about it.

1. Assuming a semi stable enviroment (which I class WinXP MCE as) the user will probably never see much of a difference between Linux or MS. They won't see the underlying difference.

2. There is no equivalent of MPlayer for linux that won't get HP in trouble. If they start selling off these things with linux on them they'll have to use MPlayer to get any sort of decent functionality and MS/Apple/everyone else will sue the pants off them.

3. Linux is inherently OSS. It isn't going to be as easy to build DRM checking into it as it is for Windows MCE. Now I'm not sure if HP is onto a good idea or not, but let's say it is. So this thing gets big, and without DRM they become a target for the RIAA. Now they aren't in a situation like Apple/iTunes, but things could still get ugly.

It isn't a dump, they have different functions (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10732978)

I find it hard to compare the functionality of these 2 systems.
The first one had:
- a cd rewriter.

It offered:
- playing of music.

The second one has
- 2(!) tuners
- a processor which can easily decode 3 dvd's parallel
- a video card which will be able to play doom3 (once the linux install is done)
- look at the I/O (which is the most important thing)

So, it is easy to see why the first one was a big miss: It didn't have/promise any functionality.

The big minuses about this system:
- a fan/harddisk. You don't want fans or harddisk hums in your living room. They are really anoying!
- $2000 for that?
- No DVB (digital tv), so it is already outdated before it is selling. (you can attach a DVB-USB device. Ah, and which software is going to support that? Just wait for the linux install guys).

how about mplayer ? (0, Offtopic)

siropel (802188) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733012)

didn`t hp heard of mplayer ? ...wich si the fastest player ever ... in other news: "We urge our visitors to boycott LINUXTODAY.COM. LINUXTODAY.COM is currently sponsored by Microsoft Corporation and displays sponsored anti-Linux content on its web site. We consider this practice immoral and hypocritical for a web site that acts as a Linux advocacy resource. PLEASE DO NOT VISIT LINUXTODAY.COM. Your DistroWatch Team"

hype's over ? (3, Interesting)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733028)

do this anouncement means the hype of "linux everywhere" is over ?

let's face it, guys. all products/technologies goes though an over-hype period during its life where it's sold as fix-all do-all solution for all mankind's problems. then people realize that it's not quite like that, the product/technology is loathed because it didn't deliver, the it gets to the point we all hope linux gets to: it becomes a mature technology.

maybe it's already mature enough for the server and some embeded appliances, it's maturing quickly in the handhelds and maybe now it's time to tackle the media-center maturing proccess. maybe not from greedy brands like HP, but maybe from some unexpected source. after the media center is taken, maybe the hype of "linux on desktop" will be already fading, which will means the start of the maturing proccess in this field too, but i'm digressing here.

let's give time for linux to mature as a media-player and wait. a breakthrough in this area will certainly come from a really inovative comapny. i'm just certain it wont be HP.

I have one windows machine and I am not happy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733034)

it is my internet radio which runs windows (ce?) and even with upgrades it is not able to play the latest windows media streams. go figure.
I buy a machine with windows embedded and they(hw company+ms) are not even able to keep it compatible within their own framework.

Why would people bother with HP? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10733061)

Maybe some of you guys have been unemployed a little too long, but the reason why people buy devices off companies like HP is not for their inovation, or price, but because they provide risk mitagation through affordable support services.

I would like to see the overheads of a support department of a company selling as many PC's as HP, but shipping with Linux instead.

The decision may have been Microsofts (1, Informative)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733144)

Whos to say that perhaps at a meeting not long ago an MS salesman dropped a none too subtle hint that if HP continued using Linux on a mass market system then licensing of various things on the PC side may become trickier or more expensive. We all know how MS operates and even a company the size of HP has to ask "how high?" when billy says jump when it comes down to usage of the OS that runs on the platform that brings in a large part of HPs profits.

I dumped Windows Mobile in SPV C500 Mobile Phone (2, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 9 years ago | (#10733175)

Just got handed a Windows Mobile powered phone by my company. It takes about two minutes to boot, it's slow to operate and has crashed a couple of times doing settings changes.

I've now gone back to my Nokia 6310i - it does all I need it to do alongside my Linux-powered Sharp Zaurus PDA so Microsoft can go figure...

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