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PC Mag Slams Cheap Wal-Mart Linux Desktop

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the not-all-that-the-penguin-could-be dept.

671

An anonymous reader writes "PC Magazine reviews the $200 Linux desktop wonder sold by Wal-Mart. This desktop sold out quickly and has been cited as proof that consumers are tired of the Windows tax and ready for Linux. Not so according to PC Magazine, which gave the gPC a 1.5 star rating." Previous discussions we've had about system reviews were realistic but not quite so harsh; is this just nitpicking or is the 'shiny' starting to wear off of the cheap Linux PC concept?

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671 comments

Accurate, considering the caveats (4, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21838926)

I'd say a 1.5 star rating is actually quite generous, considering the amount of money Linux spends in PC Magazine. It probably wouldn't get a mention at all if not for the huge sums of money Microsoft spends.

In other words: move along, nothing to see here.

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (4, Insightful)

bchernicoff (788760) | more than 6 years ago | (#21838994)

The review actually recommends someone spend a little extra and get a Vista system. That's when you know something is wrong.

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839072)

To be fair, in the same article he also recommends just installing Ubuntu on a cheap PC.

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (4, Interesting)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839174)

To be fair, in the same article he also recommends just installing Ubuntu on a cheap PC.
However it does so with strong undertones of "you could always install Linux (but it's complicated and not really good for anything except displaying a few web pages and doing basic stuff) if you're *that* cheap".

Doesn't really qualify as unbiased reporting. :-/

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (4, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839230)

I only got the "It's not something most beginners would want to do" undertones, not quite what you got from it...

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839098)

If you don't expect a strong money bias on a PC Mag article, you haven't been paying attention. There are a lot of whores out there, and PC Mag is one of the worst.

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (0, Troll)

tritonman (998572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839216)

look, I'm not trying to flame, but what you do expect? You are selling these things to walmart shoppers, some of the dumbest people on the planet in general. They need to make it perfectly clear that this computer will not run all the software that they sell at walmart or best buy, they can't just pick any PC game off the shelf and expect it to run on this computer as it is not a windows computer. I'm no microsoft advocate, but I'm sure that these walmart customers are buying a PC for more reasons than just surfing the net and they will probably expect that they can buy something like Age of Empires or Civ II or whatever and be able to run it on their computer.

They're different systems, just like the consoles (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839284)

I'm sure that these walmart customers are buying a PC for more reasons than just surfing the net and they will probably expect that they can buy something like Age of Empires or Civ II or whatever and be able to run it on their computer.
If a box has a picture of a flag on it with "Games for Windows", but your computer has a case with a penguin sticker on it, why would an end user expect the game to run any more than one would expect a Wii game to run on an Xbox 360?

Re:They're different systems, just like the consol (4, Insightful)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839380)

Actually, they probably see the large PC-CDROM or PC-DVDROM icon in the corner, and assume it can play on their brand new PC...

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (3, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839324)

"they can't just pick any PC game off the shelf and expect it to run on this computer as it is not a windows computer"

Of course, were it a 'windows computer' you still couldnt pick any game off the shelf and expect it to run.

"they will probably expect that they can buy something like Age of Empires or Civ II or whatever and be able to run it on their computer."

Of course, for those who want to run Civ II that PC is perfectly qualified to run Freeciv (which the cheap walmarter doesnt even have to buy!). In fact, in the range of games that hardware can be expected to support there is a selection of free Linux games that could easily have the walmart customer wasting a year or three.

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (1)

joeytmann (664434) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839370)

While the parent is sort of inflammatory in his remarks and possible overly generalizes the intelligence of walmart shoppers, how is his post flamebait? Everything stated is basically true. Mods need to read the entire post, not just the nasty bits.

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (3, Insightful)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839332)

Agreed. There are some serious questions about journalistic independence you have to ask when a potentially market-shifting product (cheap linux PCs in general, not necessarily this particular model) gets bashed by a magazine that makes a living selling ads for companies directly threatened by the product being reviewed.

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21839348)

From the article:


My advice to these people? Save up for just a little longer and buy something for at least $450 that runs Windows Vista, or get the ASUS Eee PC 4G laptop.


Or, maybe with that $450 you could buy two linux desktops, and give one to a friend after taking him to a $50 lunch. What kind of suggestion is this???

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839390)

Anything I would say would be redundant...

Hmmm...

Purple Chicken.

No..

Hmm.

Okay-- the linux PC SOLD OUT. How can you argue with a product selling out? It may be a 1.5 rating compared to a new whizbang box (that sells for $1800) but at $200, a lot of people felt it was a 4.0 rating.

This is like when the PS3 people were saying Wii sucked-- while PS3's were sitting unsold and Wii's were rare as hen's teeth. Oh wait... that's still true after 14 months.

Microsoft gives tons of money to these magazines- a magazine recently fired a reviewer for giving a bad review to a paying advertiser (like 40 days ago-- big scandal).

Hmm.

The key is this... Microsoft's "network effect" is fading. Vista sucks so developers can't count on it being installed and more and more linux boxes are out there creating an increasingly large market for hardware and software that works with linux. And the more "consumers" who buy linux (and do not install it and are not gear heads) the friendlier developers of hardware and software are going to make their linux products.

For the first time since 2000- I'd say we are really approaching a tipping point. Microsoft will always be big in the market but very soon there will not be an assumption that it is the market.

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (4, Insightful)

moshennik (826059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839018)

My favorite was the comment about "Save up for just a little longer and buy something for at least $450 that runs Windows Vista, ". I would like to add, that for $450 you can also buy a gun and a few bullets to shoot yourself in a foot. Vista Basic by itself costs $199.. which would leave you with just enough money to buy enough memory to run it and one would have to sell his kidney to buy the rest of the Vista compatible junk required to run Vista. To me $200 with PC with OS does not seem like a bad deal, granted some kinks probably need to be worked out.

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (2, Funny)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839092)

I think they are assuming that you will pirate your copy of Vista. I got it on my new laptop and wish I had said gun with which to shoot myself.

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (1)

moshennik (826059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839364)

Uhmm.. that's a novel idea.. a free gun with one bullet with every copy of Vista sold.. :).

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839350)

Stop spreading FUD. You can get a very nice laptop, with Vista Home Premium pre-installed, for $449. It will have a dual core CPU, 1GB of memory, 120GB or larger HD, and a 15" widescreen LCD, and a DVD dual layer burner. Your silly "Vista Basic itself costs $199" is deliberately misleading, and you know it. OEMs pay *significantly* less than that for Vista Home Premium. The so-called "Microsoft tax" is in reality well south of $50 (proof: see laptop price above).

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (2, Informative)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839064)

I was reading the article then I spotted this little gem:

The gPC was slapped together to sell to Web-savvy people who have very little pocket money. My advice to these people? Save up for just a little longer and buy something for at least $450 that runs Windows Vista,...


All stop! This is the point where "follow the money" entered my head.

This isn't a review. It's an attack on a competing OS where PC Mag can affect the mind of their readers. Put linux in a negative light to thier readership and the readership won't move to it (and, thusly, continue to pay for PC Magazine). "Reviews" like this one serve to keep the people in doubt about switching to linux in the Microsoft world.

Re:Accurate, considering the caveats (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839136)

If you keep going, he doesn't have *that* much of a complaint on the OS, mostly the hardware.

He even suggested getting an old comp out of the closet, and putting Ubuntu on it later. The quirks he mentioned regarding the system are valid - some are hardare, some are software. Overall, aside from getting Flash working, all of his problems that he complains about are either minor and cosmetic or fixable by getting hardware that isn't completely sucky.

Inaccurate (1)

pogson (856666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839300)

People! Do the maths. You get most of the functionality of a $400 PC for $200. That is an instant return on investment ot 200%. Not bad. The rating in TFA should have been 4 - 4.5 stars.

Besides value for money, the product has important value to society: many people who cannot afford a more expensive PC will be able to buy this product. Of course, it might be better to recycle an older PC for such purposes, but that would take more tech-savvy. Look at it this way. If schools used this machine, they could have machines in the lab, library, home-ec/industrial arts and classrooms for the same price as machines in the lab only using the more expensive machines. That really opens opportunities to use IT in a school and get more done faster. This machine deserves more respect just for the price. Running GNU/Linux is a bonus.

I predict that 2008 will see a large increase in production and sale of low-end boxes and laptops to satisfy a need in emerging IT markets, BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China), for instance. If OEMs can ramp up production, this technology could rapidly displace that other OS, globally. Vista, with its obscene bloat and MIPS-eating ways has no future in that market.

Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21839356)

So you are saying the magazine that voted VISTA as one of the worst products of 2007 has a Microsoft bias?

Is this just nitpicking? Yes. (4, Insightful)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21838928)

Look who the biggest advertiser is in PC Mag ... you know ... follow the money ...

The box does everything most people want - safe browsing on the web, email, and word processing. Throw in an extra stick of ram, and its a decent second box for a developer.

Re:Is this just nitpicking? Yes. (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839106)

Or maybe this isn't that great of a Linux box.
Take an honest look at it.
1. The modem doesn't work... Yes it is a Winmodem but should you build a box and put a none functioning modem in it?
2. They didn't install Flash and don't seem to have a super easy way to install Flash.
3. gOS? Yet another flavor of Ubuntu but not really Ubuntu.
I would love to see this box compared to one of Dell's Ubuntu PCs.
Maybe it is just not that great of a Linux Box.
I am tempted to buy the motherboard from it and put it in one of the extra cases I have sitting at home. Maybe toss on Openfiler and see what if I could create a little Home server to replace my old PIII server.

Re:Is this just nitpicking? Yes. (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839244)

They are going to come out with a modem driver for it, I guess that was their rationale for putting it in the box. I don't see why they did, because using it would be defeating the entire point of the machine.
 
They didn't install flash - but doing so is super easy. The review says so but spins it in a way to make it seem like it isn't.
 
Yes another distro. So?
 
Compare it to a Dell Ubuntu PC? Does Dell have a $199 ubuntu PC? Because if they don't, I'd like to compare a Dell Ubuntu PC to one of my IBM P550s.

Re:Is this just nitpicking? Yes. (1)

wwahammy (765566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839308)

Giving people three choices, all three of which would be meaningless to someone who doesn't understand software distribution on Linux, is not "super easy."

"PC" Magazine--How Are They A Neutral Reviewer (5, Insightful)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 6 years ago | (#21838932)

Think of the source, dudes. PC magazine does not write about linux or Macs. They write about PCs--which are implicitly Windows-based. If they did not do this, they would be pissing in their own soup and Microsoft would never talk to them again.

Re:"PC" Magazine--How Are They A Neutral Reviewer (2, Insightful)

thekm (622569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839176)

maybe "PC" should go back to meaning "Personal Computer" and cover any device that does computing for personal use regardless of the plumbing it uses...

Re:"PC" Magazine--How Are They A Neutral Reviewer (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839368)

If they did not do this, they would be pissing in their own soup and Microsoft would never talk to them again.
Well considering how difficult Linux is for the average user who has been using Windows all their life if they started endorsing Linux they might have something to write about. I remember that I had a subscription to them for a year and the only thing I ever would read was the latest Dvorak rant.

What did they expect? (5, Insightful)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 6 years ago | (#21838934)

It's a $200 computer. Dell doesn't even sell anything that cheap, and their cheap stuff is pretty crappy. But, for $200 any computer at all is pretty good. The iPhone costs twice that much and it doesn't even come with a mouse!

Re:What did they expect? (4, Funny)

matt me (850665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839126)

The iPhone costs twice that much and it doesn't even come with a mouse!
Even if it did, that mouse wouldn't have two buttons :p

Re:What did they expect? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839242)

Dell does have a $400 stand alone box. My Dad ordered that with Windows XP since I told him it wasn't powerful enough to run Windows Vista. He usually buys a new computer when the old one slows down to crawl. It didn't help that Dell shipped the same order twice and charged his credit card twice. Now Dell is getting some senior citizen's hell.

Re:What did they expect? (2, Interesting)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839262)

I beg to differ. I have seen PCs go for sub $200 on dell outlet before. Hell of a PC to throw Cent or Ubuntu on if you can catch them. However you have to beat the E-Bay junkies staring at the list all day long.

Heck right now pulling up the dell outlet I see a PC for $209 with 1GB memory, 250GB Hard Drive, X2 proc, CDRW/DVD and a year warranty, and yes windows vista.

Re:What did they expect? (1)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839290)

Yup, this is why, in my mind, regardless of the obvious bias, it is a BAD REVIEW. You do not review a product based on what it's NOT, you review a product based on what it IS. It's supposed to be very cheap and basic, it's not trying to be a full-on PC, so slamming it just for not being a full-on PC is idiotic, and useless to the end-user. A review is supposed to tell you how good something is *for its advertised purpose*, not as compared to a different product in a different market, that isn't even *useful* to the readers (who are, it seems, presumed to have lots of extra $$$ lying around AND have PIII's in their closets, WTF, I've never heard anything so idiotic).

Also, on another note, call me old-fashioned but 512MB of RAM and 80GB of HD space still sound comparatively huge to me, in terms of computing potential ... how low have our expectations become of software not to be bloated? I've seen what programmers used to be able to do with e.g. 16KB of RAM on a Z80, or 512KB RAM on an '84 Macintosh, what the first x86 computers had etc..

Coincidence? (3, Insightful)

quaketripp (621850) | more than 6 years ago | (#21838950)

So, they nitpick and trash this PC while advertising every other (windows) PC on their page. I'm sure their sponsor's have no influence, I mean, it's America, lobbyists, er, sponsors don't control anything.

For PC magazine's target audience, sure (4, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21838964)

For the target audience of the magazine, the rating is mostly correct. Its not a very good system for those people.

But for grandma? Do you really trust PC Magazine to be *capable* of reviewing something the way your grandmother would see it, rather then how a full time PC user would? Its a similar problem when someone like 1up does a review of a "casual" focused game. The review is meaningless because who the game is aimed at and who the review is aimed at are completely different markets.

The only way to review this thing properly is to give it to someone in the Walmart crowd who doesn't use a PC very much now, and see how they do with it. Unfortunately, I don't know of a magazine that does that sort of review.

Re:For PC magazine's target audience, sure (1, Insightful)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839028)

But for grandma? Do you really trust PC Magazine to be *capable* of reviewing something the way your grandmother would see it, rather then how a full time PC user would?
I'm really tired of hearing this argument. Grandma isn't stupid, she just wants things to be easy to use and not take a lot of time to do. I install software for Grandma on her Windows PC, show her how to start it and how to use it, and she's quite capable of working by herself. Guess what? It's the same on a Linux PC. Have you used Ubuntu lately? Do you know how to use it effectively? I rarely drop into a command prompt, because I can do everything, including most admin tasks, from the GUI. I agree, there's some Linux stuff that takes some CLI hacking and loads of research, but that's not the type of thing Grandma is likely to be doing. Besides, Windows has it's share of difficult tasks to accomplish -- same thing.

Re:For PC magazine's target audience, sure (0)

neomunk (913773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839134)

I think you're reading something into your PP that isn't there....

I didn't get any kind of impression that the GP meant Linux wasn't ready for grandma, in fact, the GP didn't opine at all on the subject, but if my 'between-the-lines-reader' is working correctly, I'd say GP thinks GNU/Linux may very well BE ready for grandma.

The meat of what GP said is (AFAIK) very true, there isn't a magazine out there that will give you an informative review of what's good for grandma, because they aren't out there picking up grandmas and plopping them in computer chairs. The GPs analogy was also good and to the point, you can't have a power-gamer review a game for intro-level gamers and expect to get a clear outlook.

Re:For PC magazine's target audience, sure (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839054)

I thought this was a pretty good review. While some of it may not matter, I think their points about installing Flash and the inconsistencies in the OS (like the Google search on the desktop) are very insightful, and the kind of thing that would drive Grandma mad. Same think with the broadband/modem bit (where the modem doesn't even work).

It sounds like a weak piece of hardware (mostly the CPU, a used P3 or P4 would do you better, probably) with a sad OS. If you bought the thing and then immediately put Ubuntu or Debian on, it sounds like it might make 2.5 or 3 stars. Their point of saving up an extra $100 to get a much better box seems like quite sound advice to me.

Re:For PC magazine's target audience, sure (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839154)

Umm, I think you mean an extra $250, and you'll get a box that's still underpowered for the OS it's expected to run (in this case, Vista).

I agree, the complaints about the OS are legitimate, and will hopefully be fixed in later revs of the product. But the argument that you can just pay twice as much to get a functional Vista box is a) bullshit, and b) missing the point entirely (that this is an ultra-cheap PC for those who need such a thing).

Re:For PC magazine's target audience, sure (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839252)

That's what he said. For the amount of hassles, it might be worth it if you can afford it. I agree that doubling the price is high. He should have pointed out a $300 box from somewhere, that would have been more fair.

So many people are jumping all over this as if PC Mac is just knocking something because it's not Windows. I'm not a big fan, I do think they are biased (read their Mac reviews, they say nice things then seem to try to find reasons to knock the score down). But based on what he encountered, the score seems fair.

Genius Reviewers (0, Redundant)

pryoplasm (809342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21838966)

FTFA

"programs written for Mac OS X or Windows that you can buy online or in a retail store won't work on the Linux-based gPC--it's mainly a Web-based PC."

Amazing concept. Absolutely brilliant. There must be some kind of prize or medal to get this reviewer...

Re:Genius Reviewers (1)

Sen.NullProcPntr (855073) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839022)

FTFA
"programs written for Mac OS X or Windows that you can buy online or in a retail store won't work on the Linux-based gPC--it's mainly a Web-based PC."
Amazing concept. Absolutely brilliant. There must be some kind of prize or medal to get this reviewer...
Yes as opposed to programs written for Linux that you can get for free online and usually have a port that will work on Mac OS X or Windows as well.

Re:Genius Reviewers (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839320)

FTFA
"programs written for Mac OS X or Windows that you can buy online or in a retail store won't work on the Linux-based gPC--it's mainly a Web-based PC."
Amazing concept. Absolutely brilliant. There must be some kind of prize or medal to get this reviewer...
Yes as opposed to programs written for Linux that you can get for free online and usually have a port that will work on Mac OS X or Windows as well.

Not to mention the fact that some Windows programs can be made to work under Linux.

Re:Genius Reviewers (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839330)

Yes as opposed to programs written for Linux that you can get for free online and usually have a port that will work on Mac OS X or Windows as well.
How many of these are high-production-value games? Or are people who want to play games expected to buy and make space for a PS3 too?

Re:Genius Reviewers (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839108)

other news.. iPhone doesn't run Blackberry or Windows mobile apps either.. the humanity!!!

Re:Genius Reviewers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21839354)

Okay...two big questions here.

1. WHY is this coming up as a BIG news story of the day? Is it really so slow of a news day that the media decided to bring the IT world to a screeching halt by exploiting a review written by an intern for PC Magazine? Come on fellow geeks and nerds, rise above the "media" influence!!

2. When is the last time any of you turned to PC Magazine to look for advise on something you were going to purchase. Think hard.....(waiting....)....that's what I thought!

crap review is what it is (5, Interesting)

whitroth (9367) | more than 6 years ago | (#21838982)

I went and skimmed. Half a gig of RAM, 80G h/d... and it runs "Ubuntu, but not speedily"?

Pardon me, I'm typing this running on an AMD Sempron 2600, 512M RAM, and running SuSE 10.3, and it runs quite nicely, thankyouverymuch. In fact, it seems faster than the SuSE 10.0 I was running till earlier this week.

And I was running SuSE 10.0 on an old 900 MHZ machine in the first part of '06, and it ran just fine.

I'd say that evidence shows PC Mag's review for what it is: bs.

              mark

Re:crap review is what it is (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839052)

To be honest, those C7s lack in the horsepower department, but are still quite a good (for their price and power) chip.

Admittedly I prefer to throw a gig of ram at them, but combined with m0n0wall and a USB stick these make one of the most powerful and versatile routers for under $200AU (the C7 boards that is), thing doesn't even break a sweat when I throw 5000+ open ports at it, even with the shaper running :)

Re:crap review is what it is (2, Informative)

sweede (563231) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839090)

The 200$ PC is a via C7 processor. I have one, it can barely run a desktop in linux. the C7 processor is best suited for very thin client applications or non-display terminal type services such as a firewall or a slow file server.

Re:crap review is what it is (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839094)

Go actually read the review. It's perfectly worthwhile. The machine is not going to be fast (Via CPUs can't compete clock for clock), and it doesn't run Ubuntu, it runs gOS, which is some little custom distro that sounds full of "fun" quirks.

Re:crap review is what it is (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839198)

Apparently it is you that needs to read the article. To quote:

"The gPC runs the "gOS" operating system, an implementation of Ubuntu Linux with an Enlightenment environment (a Google-oriented theme and graphical user interface on top of Linux)."

Re:crap review is what it is (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839280)

What I meant is that it's not Ubuntu with green wallpaper, they changed the desktop environment so it doesn't work as well. It wasn't stock. You're right it's Ubuntu based, that I didn't remember. But it doesn't sound like the setup improved Ubuntu by any stretch, it went the other way.

What did they expect? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21839004)

Less the $200 in hardware, and an OS that never saw light before. A couple of things about the OS are less then optimal, and it runs slower then the Alienware desktop running XP they reveiwed last week. Gee, isn't that the same as saying it is just like any computer running Vista?

The old rule of thumb is true.... (3, Insightful)

framauro13 (1148721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839010)

...you get what you pay for. This was a good attempt to break out to the average consumer; live and learn.

Wal-Mart's business model (3, Insightful)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839020)

Last I heard, Wal-Mart's business model was to restock their stores based on demand, not based on whether some magazine recommends their products. I don't think people who shop at Wal-Mart are all that concerned about quality or performance, so much as price and 'does it work'.

The last batch sold out, so chances are they'll sell it again, and again, until demand starts to falter or until they can no longer profit from them.

- RG>

I'm shocked! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21839034)

Linux, WalMart, and Everex are such big sponsors of PC Mag, I figured it'd get the maximum number of stars for sure.

How serious can you take this when more than half the page is filled with advertisements for HP, Lenovo, Sony and anti-virus software? Just a little conflict of interest there, maybe?

Not a troll but seriously... (3, Insightful)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839038)

This desktop sold out quickly and has been cited as proof that consumers are tired of the Windows tax and ready for Linux
Tired of Windows tax? Common this has got to be the dumbest troll I have seen yet.

Look at the general population at wal-mart. Most of the people there want something with a cheaper price tag over quality. Do you honestly think that these consumers are purchasing this PC with the mind set that "Oh I'm sticking it to Microsoft by not buying a Windows PC!" Hell no. They buy it because it's $200 bucks. You could load any operating system on it and people would STILL buy it.

This has nothing to do with the operating system, it's simple, it's cheap, and the consumers at wal-mart will buy it.

The majority of your PC buyers just want something cheap.

My Review of the Stupid Review (5, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839042)

This review isn't just nitpicky - it completely misses the point on a number of fronts. Here are a couple:

Save up for just a little longer and buy something for at least $450 that runs Windows Vista, or get the ASUS Eee PC 4G laptop.

A major selling point of this is that it is cheap and his first recommendation is buying something more than twice as expensive. Not only that, but he recommends buying a $450 system with Vista. Are there companies selling systems at that price with hardware even capable of running Vista? If so, sight unseen, I can gaurantee you that they suck. The Eee PC is a sweet little machine, in my estimation, but it is no replacement for a desktop. Whenever I see someone griping about the Eee PC it is because they are expecting it to act like a desktop and it isn't one. Also - the Eee PC doesn't answer his critique of this system not running windows and mac apps. So he is just fishing for things to pile up against the system even if they aren't consistent with one another.

The upside is that the processor consumes only 20W peak by itself, and during use, the PC did keep its overall power usage to the 20W-to-50W range.
Another nit to pick about gPC's green claims: While the VIA processor is low-power-consuming and Everex claims the gPC is fully RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) compliant, it has no Energy Star rating or EPEAT certification.

That's not a nitpick. It's stupid. The thing uses less energy than most other systems, he says so himself, so he complains that this fact is not certified. Apparently certified and using more energy is more environmentally friendly than not certified and using less energy.

You could buy this PC to use for a hardware project, such as for installing Windows Home Server or another flavor of Linux. For those purposes, however, I would recommend you just use that old Pentium III box in your closet,...
Windows home server? So now you are better off buying an underpowered Vista machine at twice the price or taking Linux off this box and replacing it with a buggy windows product. Nice. But dig up an old PIII because for some reason that's better. No explanation of how or why but the mind boggles.

The setup sheet rightly notes that, for the PC to fully function, you need a broadband Internet connection with an Ethernet cable. The picture on the setup sheet, however, points to the included modem...
The words are right, the picture is wrong. In other words the documentation doesn't exactly match with reality. I have to say that this has been true of more products that I've bought than has not been true. Anyone wanting to run a PC that is advertised as relying on the internet for full functionality over dial up, is going to be frustrated by anything they buy, no matter how powerful because dialup sucks.

He had to change the monitor resolution. That's rough. He had to install Flash and had choices that confused him. That's a curious oversight on the part of the manufacturer but hardly a show stopper.

Needless to say, programs written for Mac OS X or Windows that you can buy online or in a retail store won't work on the Linux-based gPC it's mainly a Web-based PC.
Wow - that's almost like investigative reporting. It's a web-based PC? I'd have never guessed that from all the advertising. I shouldn't get snarky I guess, but come on. He's upset because this isn't a high end desktop that can run mad and windows apps. He wants it to be a G5 but it isn't so it gets a low rating. If he rated cars only high-end sports cars would get a chance. Anything else would be under powered and without the luxuries he expects on every vehicle regardless of price.

He is right about getting what you pay for. And more is quite often better. But the slightly more difficult question is "How much is enough?" And for many people, in my experience, this cheap little machine is enough. Why should it be punished because he wants more?

Re:My Review of the Stupid Review (0)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839178)

A major selling point of this is that it is cheap and his first recommendation is buying something more than twice as expensive.

Because the thing that he is reviewing doesn't work well. He is suggesting spending a little more for something better. The Vista bit is because there isn't much that has Linux pre-installed, and because Vista software is available at your local store, unlike Linux stuff.

The thing uses less energy than most other systems, he says so himself, so he complains that this fact is not certified.

Their "look at us we're green" thing strikes me a shady, and I think that's what he was getting at. It's like something that they noticed it technically qualified as so they started trumpeting it as a design decision to appeal to morons who only want to buy "green" stuff.

So now you are better off buying an underpowered Vista machine at twice the price or taking Linux off this box and replacing it with a buggy windows product.

The Vista machine will have software at your local store, and be supportable by many people. That's not going to be true with this box. Vista sounds much more thought-out than this (sad), there are books on how use Vista, but not gOS. The one thing I'll give you on this is I think he should have mentioned something along the line of "If you buy this and replace the OS with Ubuntu, it would be a 3."

He had to change the monitor resolution. That's rough. He had to install Flash and had choices that confused him

Yes, because grandma will love everything looking funny and stretchy. The fact that the change wouldn't even stick over reboots is problematic. Flash is just about required to use the 'net these days for basic things many users want (YouTube, MySpace, many companies sites) and the trouble he had installing it is what your non-computer savvy buyer will have tons of trouble with.

Wow - that's almost like investigative reporting. It's a web-based PC?

That's an important point. Many people aren't going to know that they can't buy this thing then walk down to Office Max and buy a copy of program X and expect to have it work. Most people have the "a computer is a computer" attitude, except for Macs (which they seem to have learned can't talk to PCs at all, ignoring the errors there). "If it's not a Mac, it should work with everything out there" seems to be the theory that novice computer users will have, and that attitude will cause them problems with this computer.

I got the feeling that he would have given it a much higher rating if the OS didn't have so many problems. I don't think he's ragging on the computer as much as the poorly thought out OS setup.

Re:My Review of the Stupid Review (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839188)

Anyone wanting to run a PC that is advertised as relying on the internet for full functionality over dial up, is going to be frustrated by anything they buy, no matter how powerful because dialup sucks.
I was gonna ask, "who uses dial-up anymore?", then I realized this was an article about Wal-mart and $200 computers.

Re:My Review of the Stupid Review (1)

o'reor (581921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839206)

Apparently certified and using more energy is more environmentally friendly than not certified and using less energy.
It certainly sounds so :-)

That being said, I'm pretty sure Everex skipped the certification just in order to keep their prices down. Certification of such a product is not cheap, and would certainly have added to the price.

Re:My Review of the Stupid Review (5, Interesting)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839226)

To be fair to the reviewer, he is actually fairly spot-on, if not a little jumpy in his recommendations.

To clear it up, he says if you want a new computer, save up a bit more. If you want something that performs as good as this computer of better, go dig up an old PIII. If you bought this computer and are looking for something to do with it, set it up as a file server or something (by putting Windows Home Server on it). He also recommended that if you want Linux, to just install the regular Ubuntu instead of this weird gOS.

He had a lot of recommendations, and it takes actually reading the article, and not just skimming it to see that all of his recommendations make sense. Sadly, this is Slashdot and you'll get modded to +5.

Yes, the oversight of a flash player is curious. Very curious since the computer touts itself about allowing you to watch YouTube. But it doesn't out of the box, and the installer doesn't really go to the right location! It goes to the generic macromedia flash page instead of popping up something else. It is really inexcusable to not have a "big feature" that you tout not working out of the box.

The fact that lots of companies get the documentation wrong doesn't mean that it's ok to get the documentation wrong....something as simple as plugging in an ethernet cable should be right. Period. End of story.

ok, so he put in a disclaimer that you can't run Windows programs. Given the ultra-cheap nature of this computer, it's something that any competent reviewer would put in the article "hey guys, just in case you didn't know, this Linux thing can't run Windows or Mac programs." Anyone who does their diligence would put that in their review. It's not a knock, just a fact that quite a few people might not know.

Yea, so he recommends a more expensive option. That's because his review concludes, that spending $200 and getting this PC is not a good value. But, for $150 more you could get something that is a good value. Maybe not helpful for someone who only has $200, but it lets you know where he stands.


Now to be fair to the guy, he spends most of his time complaining about how the gOS is just a messed up version of Ubuntu with all this random marketing crap to make it sound like a google computer, and to put all this weird, crazy marketing stuff on it. Basically, he complains that you get Ubuntu as designed by marketing-droids. A very useful point of knowledge -- that the first Linux PC offering was bastardized by marketing people, and that gOS is not a good representation of what Linux can do!

Re:My Review of the Stupid Review (2)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839392)

and it takes actually reading the article
 
I read the entire thing more than once. I did not choose to reproduce the entire thing in my post. Is this what would have been necessary to convince you that I did so?
 
  Given the ultra-cheap nature of this computer, it's something that any competent reviewer would put in the article
 
Really? Is that why every time I read a review of a low end windows machine they point out repeatedly that I wont be able to run apple or linux software on it?
 
  But, for $150 more you could get something that is a good value.
 
No - for $250 more. Did you read the whole review?
 
  Now to be fair to the guy, he spends most of his time complaining about how the gOS is just a messed up version of Ubuntu with all this random marketing crap to make it sound like a google computer, and to put all this weird, crazy marketing stuff on it.
 
No he doesn't. Once again, did you read the whole thing? This is slashdot so I guess not. (sorry but that little snide remark of yours bothered me more than the rest of this.) That is one of his points but certainly not the bulk of his review. He spends equal time on the other issues that I brought up. The marketing over substance is just one part. It is probably the most accurate - the other stuff is either self-contradictory or completely insignificant.
 
No $199 PC will show everything Linux can do. No $199 pc will show everything any OS can do - except maybe some variant of dos. So why judge it on a standard it can't and isn't meant to meet? Why lie and say that a viable option is a $450 Vista machine? Why knock limited Linux functionality and then recommend the Eee PC at twice the price but less processor and storage? This review is inconsistent with itself and looks like it was written by someone who had a score in mind and then needed to make up a list to justify that score.

Re:My Review of the Stupid Review (2, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839256)

He's upset because this isn't a high end desktop that can run mad and windows apps. He wants it to be a G5 but it isn't so it gets a low rating. If he rated cars only high-end sports cars would get a chance. Anything else would be under powered and without the luxuries he expects on every vehicle regardless of price.

Welcome to the entire raison d' etre of PC Magazine. Take a peek at their 'best' rated stuff sometime... none of it costs less than four figures, and often you can buy a dual-quad PowerMac for what some of these systems cost (yet strangely enough, I bet half the mag's fanboys would whine about Macs being too pricey...)

/P

Asumes too much. (4, Insightful)

strredwolf (532) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839060)

I think PC Magazine was assuming this was going to be a general purpose PC. It's not. It's a web terminal -- a PC that's sole purpose is to go online and let the user surf the net in relative safety.

From their site:

BOTTOM LINE: The Everex gPC is ostensibly either a "green PC" or the "Google PC." While it mostly fills the first description (without all the certification), the second is held up in legal wrangling and lackluster implementation. The gPC is not the alternative to Windows or Mac OS X it's cracked up to be; it's very frustrating to use.
It's a "green PC," but if you're expecting to do more than the basics (aka go online, chat, email, office stuff) then this isn't a PC for you -- you'll need something edging $1K because the graphics won't cut it.

PROS:It's cheap. You don't have to worry about Windows viruses and malware. Available at over 600 Wal-Mart stores and online.

CONS:Ethernet "Internet Connection Required." Modem is nonfunctional (for now). 1,280-by-800 resolution forced by internal graphics. Adobe Flash installation can be confusing for a novice. Google search window goes to WebRunner, not the expected Firefox. Programs written for Mac or Windows will not run.
It's very cheap, because it's a Mini-ITX. It runs Linux, so forget 99% of all the problems with Windows. And if you got low-end broadband you're running through the Ethernet port anyway, so why install a modem? Plus, you got Firefox, OpenOffice, and Thunderbird. You're good to go if you're an old geezer who wants to keep in touch with the kids and don't want to pay too much (since you got that low-end DSL that's just fast enough).

The market for the gPC isn't for everyone, just folks who want to get online and not worry about getting in trouble. PC Magazine missed the point, and the 1.5 review can just be tossed out the window.

Re:Asumes too much. (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839204)

How many people went to Walmart the week before Christmas and bought one of these for someone else, thinking "wow, that's a cheap computer! Walmart has EVERYTHING these days." And then bought the latest fishing game and deer hunter game, and wrapped it up. Then, after Christmas the nephew or the kid next door comes over to fix the thing because bubba can't "download the huntin' game to the hard drive" (the only two computer-ish words he knows) and finds out his shiny new PC won't work with his huntin game.

Then, the PC mostly collects dust until late in the evenings until used to browse porn when everyone else goes to bed.

I'm sure it's been said before, but it's quite a delicate balancing act for the marketing department to sell a LINUX PC at WALMART. You really gotta make some assumptions that the people who would buy that really won't ever want to install a windows program and ONLY want it as an internet appliance. How many of these things have been returned?

Is it backwards pants day? (3, Funny)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839074)

Is the grass blue today? Is the sky green today? If I didn't know better, I would almost say that--instead of being excoriated--Walmart is being defended on slashdot. Mark the date. Oh well, common enemy, strange bedfellows and all that.

Re:Is it backwards pants day? (1)

tom_evil (1121495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839398)

...it's also sold on newegg, tiger direct, circuit city, best buy, officemax and sam's club. in all likelihood, everex's marketing team pegged these as the outlets most likely to attract the consumers of the greenPC. newegg and tiger direct for the people who want a second box to screw around on, circuit city and best buy for the moderately technical, officemax for people like my dad who putter around looking for hardware/software compatible with their win98 machines, sam's club for people like my mom who like buying annie's organic macaroni in bulk, and wal-mart for the rest.

wal-mart still sucks, but not for selling a $200 low-power consumption Linux box.

It actually does suck (3, Interesting)

77Punker (673758) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839078)

It comes with a modem that doesn't work in Linux. Flash isn't installed by default.

Of course, the reviewer is also a moron for complaining that it doesn't support programs written for other operating systems. It certainly does support Windows apps much better than Windows supports Linux apps.

Re:It actually does suck (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21839310)

I don't think windows comes with flash installed by default either.

I'm surprised.... (1)

TW Atwater (1145245) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839080)

...that anyone is surprised that PC magazine slammed it. PC magazine is one of the oldest Windows knee-padders around. Maybe they should install Vista on it so they can test the hardware with something they know how to operate.

Stopped reading (4, Funny)

tomz16 (992375) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839082)

Stopped reading after this sentence...

"My advice to these people? Save up for just a little longer and buy something for at least $450 that runs Windows Vista..."

Re:Stopped reading (1)

roblarky (1103715) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839268)

Just an FYI to PCMag: While I'm not an avid reader, I will make sure to never read anything from you; this is the most biased, ridiculous review I have ever seen. It's obvious that you're slaves to M$, but you should be ashamed of yourselves.

target audience (0, Redundant)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839084)

Good thing anyone that matters probably doesn't read PC Magazine, with the exception of maybe the Windows fanbois..in which case they're just preaching to the choir.

Might Agree (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839112)

As a normal computer, this thing might not come up to snuff with what's expected.

I'm not sure that Enlightenment was a good choice over Xfce or any of the others. The Via C7 CPU really probably underpowers it for the average person who wants to watch some flash videos, etc. I have one in my house running MythTV, but only after I realized that it was very sluggish for trying to do my day to day work on.

The fact that it didn't ship with a flash plugin is pretty inexcusable. At least put in a quick script or something that would install it for the user if you couldn't ship with it installed. I've had one hell of a time keeping my flash plugin working over multiple upgrades of flash/firefox, etc. on my regular Ubuntu (64-bit though, so that makes it tougher).

I would've appreciated a little more polish on a good linux PC. I especially loathe all their gThis and gThat, and "Google-powered!" stuff, when in reality it's not a google product. Pretty low. Low RAM, and others too.

It just really seems that you can get a good computer with much better specs for not much more, and not have to deal with all the marketing BS of this company.

I know that we all creamed ourselves when a major retail store started carrying a linux computer, and that we creamed ourselves again when it sold out, but let's call this what it is: an anemic offering at best.

MythTV (1)

cadeon (977561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839376)

I've been thinking about getting one of these (or maybe a zonbu) specifically to be a MythTV frontend, however I can't find any information on whether or not these things can play back 1080p HDTV streams. Obviously the C7 processor can't do it on it's own, but the unichrome is supposed to help a lot.

Anyone with some experience or pointers on where I could find out?

Biased... (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839124)

First, without justification he says the computer is "slapped together." Well, at least he showed his true colors right out of the gate.

Next, and without justification, he recommends buying a Windows Vista. Which is bizarre because most people are avoiding Vista like the plague. It's hard to believe this guy is objective when he makes that sort of recommendation. (And I can only imagine how excruciating Vista would run on a sub-basement system.)

Next he calls the system "relatively low-performing" and "enough to run Ubuntu Linux," but in the next paragraph he says the hardware would be good for "installing Windows Home Server or another flavor of Linux." That doesn't make any sense to me. Why dump a working version of Ubuntu for another version of Linux. He never explains the problems he has with Ubuntu.

Next he bizarrely criticizes it because "programs written for Mac OS X or Windows that you can buy online or in a retail store won't work on the Linux-based gPC." Well duh! That's just a cheap shot to confuse the ignorant.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

No surprise here (1)

rudegeek (966948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839138)

I have quit reading computer-related magazines after Polish edition of Amiga Mag went down. When I sometimes browse a PC magazines on a display I wonder how anyone can even try to read it. It's filled with ads, has poorly written articles that reads like adverts, lame "Ten Things About Whatever" and interviews with people who are unintresting but have ties and a CEO business cards.

When I want to get some opinions on new hardware I'd rather to browse Internet, it's quicker and there's more different stories. When I want computer related news or reviews, there's /., Ars.

So, they gave poor rating to cheap Linux computer. No story here. I wouldn't expect them rate it any different. No Vista, no cash for publishers.

I read the article (1)

NathanWoodruff (966362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839142)

AND the first thing that stuck out in my mind was the length of the review of the gPC. It is three times as long as the other Compaq, Dell and eMachine reviews.

Wouldn't an unbiased review spend about the same amount of time on all machines reviewed?

The article writer went out of his way to embellish all the bad things about this one computer. To me that means a bias against this computer, and a bias in the review. He focuses on the bad to drive people away from a purchase of this computer. Why??

I say follow the advertising dollars.

Again, nothing to see here.

Nathan

Bias? (3, Informative)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839144)

Did you notice how they listed that it doesn't run Mac or Windows software as a drawback? Vista doesn't run Mac, Linux, and some XP software, but you never see that listed in the reviews. To take a $200 computer and review it compared to one costing twice as much (or more), it should be obvious which one is superior.

Linux not the problem (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839160)

This thing is crap because it is crap hardware, not because it runs Linux. If you put another OS on it, the hardware would still be crap. That would be expected from a $200 computer. Hell, I'd expect any computer under $1000 to be pretty dodgy when it comes to quality and performance. You get what you pay for.

An honest rating for the purpose of the device (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839180)

Seriously...something like this should probably get either top marks or bottom marks - there is no in between. This is a computer for people who want to get on the internet, type a letter, or do other simple operations on their computer. These folks would never use Photoshop even if it was preloaded. They just want (and need) it to work. It didn't. The search bar problem (not opening firefox), and the lack of simple flash support is, imho, a serious flaw. There is too much on the net which requires flash not to include it (and it truly pains me to make that statement). And to not have a driver for the installed modem? That's pretty damned bad.

This computer needs to just work. First time. Out of the box. It's not going to get bought by anyone who knows squat about computers, and you just know that if there is any tech support available its going to suck royally (at $200, what did you expect?).

Sadly, the software matters more than the hardware in this sector, and it appears there just wasn't enough development and testing done on it.

Wake up people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21839184)

This is a very sensible article. The PC you get from walmart for 200 bucks is a PoS. It runs slowly even for a linux box. The fact that I could go to a dump and build a better computer for free is pretty funny. All the fanboys here are liek OMG ITS A GREAT PUTER IT RUNZ TEH LINUX. Well guess what just because it runs the OS of your choice doesn't mean shat. It runs crapply. People that shop at walmart are misinformed anyways. The only reason they buy it is because its cheap. Think about it. Anyone that wanted a cheap system and knew of linux would just build their own. However people are stupid and don't realize they arnt getting M$ and then they all get mad. Then people start to realize that they can't use their computer for work related things because their work supports microsoft. WAKE UP PEOPLE WAKE UP.

Heh - PC Magazine... (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839194)

Having had the displeasure of reading a few of their issues recently, I can say right now that they aren't qualified to rate bupkis.

This is the same magazine that happily rates the 'best' laptops and desktops among those starting in the 4-figure price range, and apparently wouldn't dare dirty itself with cheaper gear. It cheerleads Windows to the hilt, with only occasional nods given to OSX - so as to drop hints as to what Redmond should be paying attention to for ideas.

Meh - PC Mag's audience are those who aren't geeks, but can afford to toss money around on stuff they barely understand. They're what most people think of when they think of a Mac Fanboy stereotype, but minus the Mac:

All glitz, no substance.

Trying to give them credibility is like trying to give the "Fast and Furious" wannabe ricer-car types credibility.... they suck down the industrial propaganda without understanding it, but will furiously defend it as some sort of lifestyle. It's all plastic and bubblegum, but for some odd reason there's no shortage of dumbasses out there who will happily devote themselves to it.

/P

Basic conclusion: (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839202)

Its not a Windows PC so it wont run windows apps. Well go figure, it would not be a low cost PC if the specs had been enough to satisfy Vista and the Microsoft OEM-tax was added to the price.

The gPC is more than suitable for what most people use their computer for theese days. Almost anything people do is done inside a browser.

The PC market is more than enough matured to divest itself into niche markets like the gPC where you only aim for a specific application and not everything and the kitchen sink.

When i recently bought a new computer i cought myself thinking "-I dont in any way need this horsepower for what i do". The gPC would have been more than enough for my needs as it would to most peoples needs.

The thing is that the writer assumes that a computer should cater every possible need in existance while most people just want something that does their specific need, and cheaply.

A cheap do-it-yourselfer is great (2, Insightful)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839210)

I'm actually glad to see this getting any attention at all. A cheap do-it-yourselfer is the perfect box for a hobbyist or a beginner to get their feet wet with. Since it's not too expensive you don't have that "I don't want to ruin it" nervousness that keeps people from getting their hands dirty mucking around with a machine ten times this price.

Linux also requires users to have a little more familiarity with your hardware, so you're not just learning about how to use the system -- you're learning about what's inside, too.

On the downside, 512MB of RAM is barely enough these days; I'm sure they could have left out the speakers and gone with a full gig, unless part of their plan is to make money on these kinds of aftermarket options.

It's also very cool how they integrated the Google apps into the system, albeit without the official blessing of the big G. I guess the real question is, when are they going to put out a similar product on their own?

I was gonna say (0, Offtopic)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839212)

this and that but, what's the point when the review is "over there" and its readers won't see what I right over here...

bad human interface (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839224)

People here seem to be convinced from the start that this review is biased, but when what the review actually says is true, this box indeed does suck. Incoherent interface, lack of UI feedback while waiting for an application to start, non-intuitive way of installing things (flash in this case)..
Those are some of the things that get people confused when using computers, and shouldn't happen - there's been enough work and research done on human interface guidelines, about time they actually get implemented.

Some Valid Points (2, Informative)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839238)

Before yet another post dismissing the review in its entirety is posted, there are some totally valid claims.

1. Lack of flash plugin. Yes, they totally side-stepped the legal problems, but how about a script to do the job on startup??
2. Lack of polish. I backported everex's e17 gui onto an older kubuntu and I found the same issues the reviewer did. Plug a flash drive in and watch what doesn't happen. No system tray and none was ever planned. I discovered pulseaudio though and that was worth the effort.
3. It's under-powered. Until Microsoft sells PC Magazine's editors on a "new low-power market" PC Mag will call low-power anything bad.

It should go without saying that a $299 PC is the worst possible thing to happen to PC Magazine. Everex certainly isn't going to spend money on PC Magazine's editors or buy adverts with the tiny profit margins.

As an FYI: Everex's one or two of the e17 source packages are very broken. They aren't even ubuntu quality and they would never make it into a Debian repo. I took careful notes during the whole build and I'll forward them to anyone who is interested in building the desktop.

Attention KDE developers! Add native pulseaudio support to the kde desktop ASAP!

target audience (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839254)

I can think of at least two groups that would buy this machine. First are people who have a computer buy want an extra to web or mail. Second, people who want a computer for thier kids for school. The kids already have 1 or more game consoles, so gaming is not an issue. The kid need to surf and do school work. The kid can use google apps or OO.org. I have seen very average kids pick up very complex programs very quickly, so don't say that retraining is an issue. For kids, teaching them only one way to do things is the issue. makes them myopic.

For either group the OS makes no difference. if the machine runs and can do these simple things, that is ok. I know that this computer does not have the advanced MS features of one click changing of the background image, or one click changing of the orientation, or other critical one click hourly tasks, but for $200 I think many people can live without those luxuries.

Of course, if one needs a second computer that runs specific MS Windows only applications, then buy an MS Windows machine. But in most cases to run such applications, one will not be able to buy the cheapest machine on the market.

Re:target audience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21839372)

How about the luxury of a working modem?

Let's be honest, the PC is flawed out of the box. Why is it that people feel the need to defend it? Oh, that's right, it's because it's Linux and only because it's Linux.

Had this been a review of a cheap Apple or Windows PC that didn't work out of the box people would have glanced over it, chuckled and said "Those fucks can't even get a working product out of the door" and just kept on moving along.

Modem doesn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21839288)

Anyplace where this rig might be popular, it's hampered by the fact that the modem doesn't work out of the box. In the rather broad nation of WalMartia, there is no broadband, there is only dial-up. I think that's what really drives the final nail in the coffin of this product.

Which is a shame, as it fills an otherwise not-well-filled niche: a cheap PC for people who just do email and websurfing.

I am SO tired of Linux always being cheapified! (3, Informative)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839292)

Its so stupid to always look for the cheapest solutions and then say ...lets go with "Linux". If you want a GOOD functional PC with the good stuff in it - running nicely and doing what you want - you'd want a STRONG PC with the good stuff in it, it doesn't really matter if you run Linux or Vista... I can't believe they always tout the cheap pcs with Linux...like Linux where the cheap alternative, it's not the price - its what you want to do with your system, silly! A hardcore PC config will most likely kick major B*TT with Linux (I know it does with mine, and I never went for the cheap stuff as I know what the outcome will be anyway)...even if you ran windows on it. The point is - dont tout Linux with a small system - give it the major system you'd sell as a top notch windows machine - then compare - you do the math, the Linux systems have come a LONG way now - and they're as serious for the Desktop as any Windows (even better on security) would ever be, I know because I've been running both systems for over 10 years now (ok...not vista for 10 years...but windows) side by side, today I'm like using Linux 95 percent of the time...windows for the essential games only, but really...its all about c choice - not the price!

Well... (2, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839306)

He does make some valid points however I think it's fundamentally flawed to think any Windows user can adequately review a Linux-based system. Invariably they will try to compare it to things they already know. They will talk about how limited it is because subconsciously they miss all of the Windows apps they know and love. Nothing is in the same place they are used to. A basic frustration sets in and bias ensues. I know this is a generalization but to some degree or another its true in most every review like this you see.

What's more important to me are reviews where a PC like this is put in front of youngsters or novices. People who don't have preconceived ideas about where things should be and how they should work.

Cheap, not inexpensive. (2, Interesting)

mnslinky (1105103) | more than 6 years ago | (#21839360)

I think the big problem with these Linux machines being sold by the likes of Walmart and others is that they're cheap. They put the cheapest hardware they can find to barely run Linux, and throw it on a shelf. It's great from their perspective because they're going to sell to the people that don't know any better. They can get away with the cheap hardware because Linux is generally more efficient and is able to run on hardware with lower specs than what Windows is going to require.

I think that, in the long run, this is only going to hurt the credibility of Linux. Many people are going to start to use this great thing called Linux, and they're going to hate it. They'll compare their brand-new laptop from the Walmart clearance isle with the brand-new laptop their brother or cousin or dad or son bought from Dell or Apple. Their systems run Windows or Mac OS X, and they're FAST. Very FAST. And easier to use (seemingly).

Their next purchase will be something they can't necessarily afford so they'll pay Dell or Apple an additional 29.875% interest on it for the next 7 years.

Don't Jump to Conclusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21839406)

Yep, a sell out on a $200 Linux desktop is proof that consumers are sick of Windows. Just like a sell out on a $250 Wii is proof that consumers are sick of XBox and PS3.

Point: There isn't enough data in "$200 desktop sold out" to justify *any* broad conclusions. About the broadest you're going to get out of this data set is "people like inexpensive computers"; and that might be pushing it! :-)

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