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Shuttle's $200 Linux PC Part of a Trend?

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the love-it-already dept.

Linux Business 396

eldavojohn writes "With $200 machines being all the rage these days, it's surprising that more coverage hasn't been given to Shuttle's KPC which is an Intel Celeron processor, a 945GC chipset, 512MB of memory and either a 60GB or 80GB HDD. With deals like these, will Linux become the dominant home operating system for the thrifty?"

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And I though . . . (4, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21989898)

that NASA had actually put Linux on the Space Shuttle. Darn! What a disappointment! Figures, though. NASA could never spend as low as $200 on a computer; what, when they can gold-plate the sucker and buy a computer for $200 million?

Teh REAL Lunix customer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990834)

Your average user will love this computer: it lets them spend $200, and they can just throw a pirated copy of Windows on it.

And the FOSSies love it too, because while it doesn't help them... they think it hurts Microsoft. But it really doesn't, since that machine wouldn't be making MS money either way. At least on Windows. But then that user will stay using Windows (just like the customer wanted), and will probably end up buying Microsoft software at some point in the future.

So even when FOSSies win, they lose. The funniest thing is, their failures all seem to be by their own hand.

512 Ram, 60GB HD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21989910)

AND it comes in patriotic colors! Where could it go wrong?

Re:512 Ram, 60GB HD... (5, Funny)

tristian_was_here (865394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990670)

I want a red one with a yellow hammer and sickle on the side.

no CD/DVD drive bay? (3, Informative)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#21989934)

disapointing, i seen at NewEgg a few similar Shuttle BareBones kits had CD/DVD drive bays...

Re:no CD/DVD drive bay? (4, Interesting)

tknd (979052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990226)

I don't know about you but I am finding I use the optical drive less and less these days. It is much easier to just get a USB flash drive for portable storage and dump the remaining large files onto an external hard disk. New software tends to be downloaded rather than loaded from a disk. So CD/DVD media is only useful for movies and install disks for new OSes. If they start making faster bootable USB flash drives with downloadable image files then I probably will stop using optical drives all together.

Re:no CD/DVD drive bay? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990262)

and if the need to boot up from a CD or DVD install disk?

http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=414016&cid=21990156 [slashdot.org]

Re:no CD/DVD drive bay? (4, Interesting)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990542)

It's possible to boot up from a USB storage device.

An ISO image is just a filesystem which you can mount. All you need to do then is copy all the files and folder structure from a downloaded installation CD image onto a USB stick of 1GB or larger, and make the USB stick bootable using the bootloader configurator thoughtfully provided. You now have a rescue "disc", albeit a USB one.

Re:no CD/DVD drive bay? (4, Informative)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990870)

External USB2 DVD-/+RW drive. Ridiculously cheap nowadays. Problem solved. Thank me.

Re:no CD/DVD drive bay? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990902)

Network boot is extremely cool, fast and useful.
Once you have it set up that is. :)

Re:no CD/DVD drive bay? (3, Informative)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990308)

If they start making faster bootable USB flash drives
All USB drives are bootable... You just need to
  1. Format them that way
  2. Have a motherboard that supports booting from USB
That's it, really...

Re:no CD/DVD drive bay? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990384)

Not true. I tried booting a laptop (which had somehow borked the windows installation) from a USB CD drive and it just hung.

And yes, I did enable it in the bios and yes, I did set it as the first option.

Summary: you're a fucking asshat who should shut the fuck up.

Re:no CD/DVD drive bay? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990550)

And you're and idiot that doesn't know how to configure a bootable USB drive.

Re:no CD/DVD drive bay? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990680)

Optical drives are still valid for backups.

Probably not (5, Insightful)

AVIDJockey (816640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21989950)

...but it would certainly be a good inexpensive network storage option for many folks.

Re:Probably not (1)

Gareshra (1216996) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990114)

With only 60GB (for $200, no less) why not just install an extra hard drive in another computer and share that over a network?

Re:Probably not (1)

AVIDJockey (816640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990882)

I was actually thinking in terms of swapping out the stock drives with something beefier. You'd then have a cheap low-profile dedicated file server that could have additional functionality (e.g. web, etc.) beyond a run-of-the-mill NAS enclosure.

Why not? (1, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990482)

Shuttle is smart and will have a hard time losing money on this. GNU/Linux enthusiasts will buy machines for servers if the Windoze users don't migrate. It's all about Vista baby, thanks M$!

Windows users want to replace their aging XP rigs and represent a huge market. They have put off new hardware purchases for ever. Cheap GNU/Linux machines give them a relatively risk free alternative to the Vista dissaster. They can try it out and load it with XP if they don't like it. Most people will be happy as long as they get their email, chat and YouTube.

It does look tempting as a network device. Shuttle makes small, quite computers. I'll wait to see if ARM based machines become more common (even cheaper) and put a free OS on that to save even more power. As always, I can move my hard drives and have more than enough capacity. Everything I've got works well so I'm not in a rush.

Re:Probably not (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990668)

Exactly what I thought. a high power massive storage Cobalt Qube for dirt cheap.

I love the qube, but even used they are still expensive. This way a simple distro that makes it a NAS http://www.freenas.org/ [freenas.org] and easy to install, add a pair of cheapie 250gig hard drives and you are off with a terabyte.

Advanced users get a router, web server, ftp server, UpNP media server, SMB server ,etc.... all for dirt.

A potential buisness model problem... (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21989984)

Just for the record; I'm not proclaiming any great knowledge in this area.

I just wonder if the business model won't be fruitful at first and slowly fade into non-existence.

The allure of low priced PCs for the neophyte is a great one but one of two things are likely to happen: They'll either find out that they want more and end up willing to spend more and probably choose Windows for the software support or they'll find that the machine suits their purposes and latch onto them for a larger than normal span of time and repeat customers will be next to nil.

I've found that people who pinch a penny when buying hardware are normally not good business for vendors. They'll make a machine last to their dying day.

So while the initial repsonce is going to be great but don't expect to see lots of these people as return customers in the next few years.

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (5, Insightful)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990148)

Just for the record; I'm not proclaiming any great knowledge in this area.

I just wonder if the business model won't be fruitful at first and slowly fade into non-existence.

The allure of low priced PCs for the neophyte is a great one but one of two things are likely to happen: They'll either find out that they want more and end up willing to spend more and probably choose Windows for the software support or they'll find that the machine suits their purposes and latch onto them for a larger than normal span of time and repeat customers will be next to nil.

I've found that people who pinch a penny when buying hardware are normally not good business for vendors. They'll make a machine last to their dying day.

So while the initial repsonce is going to be great but don't expect to see lots of these people as return customers in the next few years.


The above opinion brought to you by the IBM Corporation, circa 1975

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990524)

And IBM was pretty much correct until the late 90s.

Home computing, while it may have been common to us, didn't hit hard until the internet became useful and affordable for Joe Sixpack. How many PC makers have come and gone in that time period?

Also, your analogy is bad since the PC market didn't have alternatives as they do today.

Oh well, time will tell, and I was offer up a scenario instead of a single flippant remark.

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (1)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990292)

The allure of low priced PCs for the neophyte is a great one but one of two things are likely to happen: They'll either find out that they want more and end up willing to spend more and probably choose Windows for the software support ...

If they find they like the security, the reliability, the wide availability of good software Linux offers, why would they downgrade to Windows?

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (3, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990444)

why would they downgrade to Windows?

As I said, for software support. Let's face facts, there is tons of software that is not on Linux that people want. How much longer is the Linux community going to ignore this fact? That's why I a main machine that runs Windows and a machine I play around with that has Linux.

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (4, Insightful)

norminator (784674) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990612)

Let's face facts, there is tons of software that is not on Linux that people want. How much longer is the Linux community going to ignore this fact?

If you think about it for a minute, I think you'll realize that the linux community is not ignoring the fact, just doing its best to carry on in spite of it, living without some apps, trying to create replacements where possible, or trying to encourage software companies to release linux versions of their programs. When it comes down to it, though, it's the software companies's fault that the software you want isn't available for linux. It's kind of a chicken and egg kind of thing... not much incentive to create software for a system that doesn't have a lot of users... and there's not a lot of users because some of the necessary software isn't available. Things like these low-cost PCs that allow people to do some useful computing without paying for the expensive hardware required for the latest Microsoft OS are a part of what the linux community needs to encourage people to try linux, so that software companies will have more motivation to produce software for linux, which will encourage more users to switch, and so on.

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990786)

When it comes down to it, though, it's the software companies's fault that the software you want isn't available for linux.

Fault? I'm just saying not to ignore it. I'm not looking to place blame on this.

Things like these low-cost PCs that allow people to do some useful computing without paying for the expensive hardware required for the latest Microsoft OS are a part of what the linux community needs to encourage people to try linux, so that software companies will have more motivation to produce software for linux, which will encourage more users to switch, and so on.

Unless you're new to the game Windows capable hardware really isn't that expensive anymore. I know of people with 500 USD Vista laptops who aren't dying an agonizing death like most proclaim around here. I'm sure that a 400 dollar desktop is probably pretty good. But yeah, 400 dollars isn't 200 dollars. Point taken.

I don't doubt this will get users. I never went in the face of this. But there are going to be problems and people are going to migrate. I don't think this venture is going to do much to bolster the Linux community. I'm sorry to say but I wouldn't buy this system for someone.

And the lack of an optical drive is going to hurt the effort too. I'd be more than willing to spend a bit of extra money to get a system with an optical drive.

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (4, Interesting)

Neil Hodges (960909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990900)

I do realize I'm in the minority, but there's a lot of software on Linux that I can't get at Windows, especially what comes with the OS. That's why my main machines run Linux and the gaming machine I rarely boot up runs Windows.

Some examples are basic shell utilities or their analogues, such as grep, tr, and dozens of others. Although possible to get on Windows, Perl, Python, and other interpreters don't run as smoothly and take more work to do on Windows. For my purposes, it's most efficient to use such tools in a shell prompt, which Windows somewhat lacks (don't get me started on their DOS emulator, which lacks decent tab completion, useful text selection support, and so on). I even have a friend who has SSHd running under Cygwin so he can SSH into his own computer and have a useful terminal emulator and shell (Bash in his case).

The same goes for the graphical applications I use, such as parts of KDE, which haven't run on Windows well yet (KDE4 will fix that). Other examples are good shell replacements. It's like having to use CDE during the days of proprietary Unix, without any good options. Sure, BB4Win derivatives provide options, but they're nowhere nearly as good as XFce, KDE, or even RatPoison for my purposes (I'm not even sure why it's not possible to have two different wallpapers in dual-head mode under Windows).

Sure, for the average consumer, Windows has what they want and the software they'll send their money in for, but for someone raised under GNU/Linux, Windows lacks the important software.

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (1)

Bloodoflethe (1058166) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990488)

I was going to say, "They probably won't know the difference."

And, although this is true, this crowd tends to stay with what they know, so if they get Linux, they'll probably stick with it.

Either way, the results are the same.

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990434)

If you can ride the low-end down with lower prices over time, you don't need repeat customers. How many people in the world does not own a computer? And don't look around your middle-class western neighborhood. Remember, in many places of the world they live on what I'd call the "1/10th" economy, wages are a tenth and so are the prices so they're not poor or starving as such. But the prices on computers are within a few percent the same all over the world. What's a 200$ computer to you is a "2000$" computer to them. Anything you can shave off that unlocks new markets.

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (1)

kemushi88 (1156073) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990456)

A situation similar to that described here happened in my family. My mother was looking for an inexpensive computer to just surf the web and check email. She purchased a super-cheap linux computer from Fry's. However, a couple of months later, the experience showed her that she needed a better computer with Windows.

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990558)

However, a couple of months later, the experience showed her that she needed a better computer with Windows.

I'm wondering, what exactly made her go to Windows?

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990498)

It's RESPONSE, you fucking idiot!!!

RESPONSE!!!

There is no 'C' in RESPONSE, you moron! (At least, I presume that by "repsonce" you meant to type "responce").

If I see this once more on the internet I think I'll scream.

ASSHOLE! Learn how to f-ing spell, or stop writing things in public.

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990576)

The allure of low priced PCs for the neophyte is a great one but one of two things are likely to happen: They'll either find out that they want more and end up willing to spend more and probably choose Windows for the software support or they'll find that the machine suits their purposes and latch onto them for a larger than normal span of time and repeat customers will be next to nil.

The thing is, the age of the forced upgrade cycle is for PCs are long gone. Nowadays, the computing power of even the lowest end computer is more than enough to do everything a normal user needs to do. No one needs teraflops or multiple processors to read emails, browse the web or watch videos. Heck, people were doing exactly that a few years ago and back then the regular desktop PC power was already more than enough. Moreover, there isn't a single killer application which forces any user to spend money on any new system beyond the low end. That includes games, where the dominating factor resides exclusively in the graphics card and the only difference between the low-end and the high end, both using the same graphics card, is less than 10% hit on the already smooth frame rate.

So why exactly do you believe anyone would want to "end up willing to spend more"? Because they want to top their neighbour? Because they want to burn money away? I don't think so.

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990824)

So why exactly do you believe anyone would want to "end up willing to spend more"? Because they want to top their neighbour? Because they want to burn money away? I don't think so.

I already said why: software support. And an optical drive doesn't hurt either.

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990752)

OR software companies might start to get a clue and write software for a new emerging market that doesn't include Microsoft.

You know the whole world doesn't revolve around Microsoft, guys.

Re:A potential buisness model problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990888)

You know the whole world doesn't revolve around Microsoft, guys


Yes it does...

Why the thrifty? More like the reasonable (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21989996)

If you do not want to play games and all you need is office, mail, some MP3-ed music and watching an odd DVD that is more than enough.

Re:Why the thrifty? More like the reasonable (1)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990030)

Well, as there's no DVD-ROM drive. I'm afraid you'll need to get your movies from the pirate bay...

Re:Why the thrifty? More like the reasonable (1)

Broken Toys (1198853) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990202)

The pics aren't very good but it does look like there's at least one USB port on the front. This thing has got to have at least one USB port, right?

You could use an external DVD/CD/HD, problem solved.

Re:Why the thrifty? More like the reasonable (3, Informative)

edwdig (47888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990046)

Actually, it's not. There's no optical drive bay in the system. So you can't watch a DVD or rip music.

Re:Why the thrifty? More like the reasonable (2, Insightful)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990450)

The article is short on specs, but mentions there is no optical *drive*. There is no mention about the drive bay itself.

To keep things cheap, Shuttle may have reused the chassis from another Shuttle model, which may have drive bays. The motherboard may have a drive connector. Perhaps we can install our own drive into the chassis, and ditch the bezel.

Plus, there may be a USB port or two, so an external DVD drive may be possible.

Re:Why the thrifty? More like the reasonable (1)

WaZiX (766733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990082)

If you do not want to play games and all you need is office, mail, some MP3-ed music and watching an odd DVD that is more than enough.
You won't be watching many DVDs on this one though...

Re:Why the thrifty? More like the reasonable (0)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990620)

The similar self-assembled P3 based PC in an Antec case behind my HDTV does not have a DVD drive either. It does not f*** need one. What are all those movies and audio on the server for?

So I do not quite see a problem in watching DVDs without a DVD drive in it.

The advantage of Linux is that you need to spend money on things like storage, memory, etc only once - on one machine in the house.

From there on regardless how many others do you have and what do they do a shuttle PC like this is actually a complete overkill.

Re:Why the thrifty? More like the reasonable (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990154)

Of course you are perfectly correct but the PC seems now to be getting like cars - sure you could buy a smart car if all you do is scoot around town but the fact is that some people just can't bring themseleves to drive a small car. Some people buy four by fours because they think that even though they haven't ever gone off road, they may some day want to - some people buy a PC with the same mentality.

The other point is that these machines are competing with shops like PC World and Tescos who seem to offer a lot more for only £100 more - like a monitor.

Re:Why the thrifty? More like the reasonable (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990372)

Some people buy four by fours because they think that even though they haven't ever gone off road,
Who says that 4x4 means offroad? I have one word for you: Quattro [wikipedia.org] . (Along with 4Motion [Same as Quattro], Subaru, BMW where in the model name there is an X without being an X3 or X5, or serveral Volvos.)

Re:Why the thrifty? More like the reasonable (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990412)

Thrifty, reasonable, what's the difference?

Thrift is not the issue (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990556)

it is what you want to do with the thing. If you want a web surfer/emailer: ok. Want a CD ripper/ DVD palyer/ music magager companion: nope (software & no optical drive). Want to play your Windows games: nope.

Most of my household uses Linux, but I doubt I'd buy this thing. For a bit more, OK quite a bit more, I could get a Mac mini which is smaller, cuter has DVD etc.

Re:Why the thrifty? More like the reasonable (1)

Pebble (99243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990702)

Other than "won't have: an optical drive" will make the dvd watching difficult, I agree. :)

Prefer a $200 laptop (2, Informative)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990008)

Hopefully soon the OLPC [laptop.org] will be available to buy here in the UK. It seems to fill a niche of being ultraportable (7 inch screen), good battery life (9-10 hours, 2-3W consumption, long life NiMH battery) and low cost ($200, dropping towards $100 in the future perhaps).

  I've already got several desktops and laptops, but would buy one of these in a second, given the chance.

Re:Prefer a $200 laptop (2, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990432)

Recently there was a 'buy one give one' scheme where you got an XO and one was given to some impoverished child somewhere, and I'd really like to see that in the UK. I'd get a near indestructible linux laptop that never needs plugging in, along with a vague sense of moral smugness :)

Here's hopin! (0)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990042)

With those spec's you could really have a nice looking interface with Linux. Vista equaling in fact. But looks (gui wise) aside I hope that if this PC doesn't break into the home market, the exposure generated in the news will get people asking around at least.

QUICKBOOKS (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990058)

Alright. I've said it OVER and OVER and OVER. And I still mean it. If you want to help Linux double it's presence in the small business sector, get a rock solid, customized, easy to use WINE installer for Quickbooks and make it compatible with new versions within 90 days.

Businesses, once they see it in action, will scoop up $250 boxes and switch because: they don't have to pay for the VM and the Windows license, they don't have to pay for yearly anti-virus subscriptions, and they don't have to deal with windows update constantly breaking and changing things.

But, I do look forward to the next version of whatever eye candy you guys are working on. Rotating xterms on a cube is really, really impressing the suits.

Re:QUICKBOOKS (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990138)

Uhmmm, it is called CxOffice. Older versions of Qiockbooks run perfectly fine on it. I have been running Quickbooks on Wine on Linux since 2000.

Re:QUICKBOOKS (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990708)

What part of "new versions" eluded you?

Also, Crossover != WINE.

Qemu (2, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990382)

I use wine to run an old version of quick-something at home and select kid-friendly games. It's not the impediment you think it is.

Qemu is the silver bullet. Let's say the company has legit Dell-sourced windows licenses. They can switch over to linux and run the windows partition through qemu in a window/fullscreen on the Linux desktop. Qemu is plenty fast enough to run quickbooks especially on recent hardware. There. Problem solved.

Except qemu has been around for a while and it's not the Linux killer app. Neither is wine. I'm not slagging qemu or wine, but merely pointing out that Linux will succeed on it's own merits. Smaller benefits include qemu and wine, but they aren't the killer app that drives adoption.

Re:Qemu (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990470)

Virtual machines are stupid and difficult for normal users to comprehend and use. This makes them decidedly sub-optimal--and you still need to buy a Windows license to do it.

QuickBooks via WINE - done deal.

Ha ha ha (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990768)

Virtual machines are stupid
What inspires such wanton disregard for a legitimately great tool?

and difficult for normal users to comprehend
I never tell my end users how anything works, so why would I even begin explaining their application is running in an emulator?

and use.
A clickable shortcut and the end-user is using their windows app just like the every other app. Let the productivity begin!

 

Re:Qemu (2, Insightful)

Phillup (317168) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990840)

Virtual machines are stupid and difficult for normal users to comprehend and use.
That does not seem much different from real machines then...

Re:QUICKBOOKS (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990466)

Why? My sister became a freelance last year. I set her up a Debian Box with postgesql and SQL Ledger. I did the technical side. Both my dad and my sister have quite extensive accounting experience and they set the business side up in no time. Works like a charm and her invoices look great.

Now she can do her accounting at home, while the server stays in my dads basement. SSH tunnels are lovely.

Re:QUICKBOOKS (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990850)

Why? My sister became a freelance last year. I set her up a Debian Box with postgesql and SQL Ledger. I did the technical side. Both my dad and my sister have quite extensive accounting experience and they set the business side up in no time.

That's great if you're an accountant. If you use an external accountant, they'll want you to provide data in a format they can work with, which probably means Quickbooks for a lot of people.

Re:QUICKBOOKS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990626)

they don't have to pay for yearly anti-virus subscriptions,
The accounting department at my work place uses Windows machines for their accouting software, yet don't pay any anti-virus subscriptions. In fact, they don't even use anti-virus programs. I mean, they are accounting machines after all. Why the hell would we connect them to the internet? Or any network, for that matter? It's confidential information and kept completely physically separated from all other computers.

To the new computer user (4, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990060)

Well to a new computer user, Linux can be just as friendly as MacOS, or Windows. They all have equally steep learning curves.

Considering what people would want out of a $200 machine, I would say that Linux can be even more user friendly. On a bare bones machine, people don't have the expectation of being able to do 'anything' give them their large icons for a preconfigured email/web/word/musicplayer interface and that is what they will stick to.

For a $200 PC, I would prefer a linux distro. And this is coming from someone who prefers using XP for most of my computing needs.

Obligatory car analogy:

I love my pickup truck for its cargo capacity, not its gas mileage.

Re:To the new computer user (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990564)

Where are these "new computer users" you speak of?

No Way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990074)

Linux become the dominant home operating system for the thrifty?
Thrift has got nothing to do with it. Every Linux user I know is technically savvy and I doubt thriftiness is a great selling point to any one of them. Performance is key.

Seven Minute Abs! (0, Offtopic)

vimh42 (981236) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990106)

Ditch that moldy 'ol eight minute abs routine! Seven minute abs is where its at! With a touch screen!

As far as more coverage (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990126)

As recently as a couple days ago I couldn't find a single source of information on this system beyond a picture and price point. TFA is dated yesterday. But even with that being the case I've seen this system on digg and reddit. So I'm not sure how more coverage could be possible.

Some of the Features.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990150)

It'll have an
  • Intel Celeron processor, a 945GC chipset, 512MB of memory and either a 60GB or 80GB hard drive
. What it won't have:
  • an optical drive or a PCI Express slot.
Despite that, it's a pretty good-looking box, and comes in
  • red, blue, white, and black
each with a different icon stamped on the front.

WOW, So I can get all of this for $200? For that price I think I could build one with a Linux distro and include an optical drive. And I could etch a design of a pretty butterfly on the side for my girl.

No optical drive = useless (2, Insightful)

snarfies (115214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990156)

Seriously, they couldn't spring the $20 for a simple DVD-R drive? What happens WHEN (not IF, WHEN) you bork your OS somehow and render it unbootable (or, at least unbootable without some herculean effort)? I gotta send it to Shuttle to reinstall the OS? I think not, varlet.

Re:No optical drive = useless (2, Insightful)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990314)

Does it have a USB port? You can probably boot from a flash drive to install an OS.

Re:No optical drive = useless (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990666)

The guy who spent 200 bucks on a PC is going to have another machine to get another distro from and put it on a USB drive? Don't forget that the target community for this is going to be a single PC household. This PC is mostly for the new PC owner with a handful of hobbyist thrown in.

Re:No optical drive = useless (1)

willfe (6537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990774)

He might *know* somebody ... or the machine may be purchased as a gift for somebody, *by* somebody who has the machine and knowledge.

Won't the target "community" be, you know, a *community*, that exchanges knowledge and tools as needed? I would most certainly help any friend or acquaintance who asked me about installing a new OS on a dirt-cheap computer they'd just gotten their paws on.

Doing stuff like this (i.e. helping each other out) would definitely help bring a return of the old "shareware" gatherings wherein people exchanged floppies full of stuff. Those install-fests might see a resurgence, too. They're fun, and they bring actual communities together.

Not a bad thing. :)

No optical drive = great (2, Interesting)

slackergod (37906) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990790)

It wasn't that they wouldn't spend $20 for a dvd drive.
It's that they wouldn't spend the extra 5.25 drive bay space
and cabling for something that's only needed once in a while for os-installation.
And when you're trying to make a small low power device, that's at a premium.

For that once-in-a-while need to reinstall the os,
there's certainly no need to go to the extreme of sending to the factory.
My company uses a lot of small linux appliances like these (esp for firewalls)
and I keep a external usb-cdrom on hand... use it to (re)install the os,
and thats the only time it's needed. Rest of the time it would be wasted space.
And I only had to pay for 1 drive, to use on ALL the systems.

So after 100 of these, that $20 would add up for me.

Don't start the party, yet. (5, Insightful)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990160)

With specs like those, Linux may become known as a "low quality" operating system. To the masses, at least.

I'll explain: Joe Consumer buys a system for $200. He realizes that he can't run his Windows apps easily/at all, that it's "different" and "difficult" from what he knows (Microsoft, again), and it's kind of slow. He'll associate Linux with incompatibility, difficulties, and piss poor performance. And he may tell his friends.

I haven't even addressed the poor schmuck trying to bring home work from the office.

The typical /.er can spend a couple hours reconfoobling a box, Joe Consumer doesn't have that luxury - he's got bills to pay, sleep to steal, and enough grief from the rest of his life. He doesn't want to know what a goddamn compiler is, he doesn't give a shit about GPL dogma, and he couldn't care less who Stallman is - he simply wants his box to do what he expects and wants it to do.

Be careful what'cha ask for, ya know.

Oh, yeah: save the argument about "educating the masses". They don't care and trying to shove propaganda, dogma and excuses down their throats will only drive them further away from Linux.

Re:Don't start the party, yet. (3, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990518)

I'll explain: Joe Consumer buys a system for $200. He realizes that he can't run his Windows apps easily/at all, that it's "different" and "difficult" from what he knows (Microsoft, again), and it's kind of slow. He'll associate Linux with incompatibility, difficulties, and piss poor performance. And he may tell his friends.
Seeing as I have XUbuntu running at slightly better than acceptable speeds on a 400Mhz P2 with 256MB RAM, I'd say that performance won't be much of a problem on this system with its 1.5Ghz processor and 512MB RAM. Especially once you compare it to that $499 (software not included) PC trying to run Vista Premium on similar hardware.

Re:Don't start the party, yet. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990520)

The typical /.er can spend a couple hours reconfoobling a box, Joe Consumer doesn't have that luxury - he's got bills to pay, sleep to steal, and enough grief from the rest of his life. He doesn't want to know what a goddamn compiler is, he doesn't give a shit about GPL dogma, and he couldn't care less who Stallman is - he simply wants his box to do what he expects and wants it to do.

So what you are saying is your average person wants a PC that is low maintenance, not much to go wrong and easy to use. Probably also wants it cheap like a toaster. Then I would say this $200-300 PC is getting quite close. They will not need as much patching, don't have the fancy clutter of too many things to go wrong and don't cost a lot in case you don't like it.

But I don't know who moded you insightful. Your opening statement:

With specs like those, Linux may become known as a "low quality" operating system. To the masses, at least.

Sounds like Linux is high enough quality that it is being preferred by low end appliances for it's reliability, security and abilities to run on lean hardware. Unlike that other OS that needs dual core to boot, patches on a regular basis, and a general pain in the ass when it goes bad.

--------------------

If you need a good Linux server at work, regularly crash the MS-Windows box, pointing that it could be hardware. When they give up the box suggesting it is hardware, load Linux. Have gotten more than one good Linux server this way, including most that I didn't have to crash.

This crowd can't relate to many users (3, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990162)

I can imagine that many here will have a hard time seeing the utility of a device like this because it doesn't have the horsepower for gaming or 3D rendering. But I think back to how many WebTV users were in my site logs and realize that most people can get by with relatively modest hardware requirements. A 75% solution would run basic productivity software, email, chat, view pictures, play movies and run Firefox.

I'd get one for the times I don't feel like hauling a full size laptop. Many times 75% is plenty.

I think the popularity of appliance type devices in Japan may signal the market is somewhat bigger than many at Microsoft are willing to accept.

Re:This crowd can't relate to many users (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990684)

I can imagine that many here will have a hard time seeing the utility of a device like this because it doesn't have the horsepower for gaming or 3D rendering.

Are you new here? Most of us see a use in such machines. Heck, I'm a notorious dumpster diver, and specs like this are a "gem find" for me. Consider this: it's a kickass small server for the price. Sure, it won't run a whole corporate network, but if it's relatively quiet, I could run a fileserver on it (replace the 60Gig with something bigger)... A nice firewall (not sure if one can add a second NIC), or simply a nice computer for the kids. After all it comes in cheery colours, and they can run an x-session to the home server for more heavy duty stuff.

People around here love things like Soekris boards [soekris.com] or Gumstix modules [gumstix.com] and you should have read the enthousiasm about the EEE PC. For 200$ (135€), I'd buy one without thinking. Heck, I'll take three!

Big hardware just to run Vista (2, Insightful)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990170)

How many people do you know that only use a computer for myspace and music that had to
shell out $1000+ in order to get the hardware just to run Vista?
I've seen plenty, and it pisses me off. All that hardware and money wasted for an OS
that's overpriced to begin with.
*** Steps off soapbox ***

Re:Big hardware just to run Vista (1)

whimmel (189969) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990568)

MySpace has greater hardware requirements than Vista. How many videos, songs, animated GIFs and java-ken-burns-photo-galleries can you run at once on a sub-$1000 PC?

Re:Big hardware just to run Vista (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990846)

How many people do you know that only use a computer for myspace and music that had to
shell out $1000+ in order to get the hardware just to run Vista?

Precisely none.
 
 

I've seen plenty, and it pisses me off. All that hardware and money wasted for an OS that's overpriced to begin with.

Ah yes. It must be entirely the fault of the Microsoft Conspiracy - after all, without the Conspiracies orbital mind control lasers nobody would replace perfectly functioning boxes. It can't possible be a problem in the brain/chair interface.

wait (0)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990174)

did someone say "year of the linux desktop"?

I'd be wary (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990192)

I used to love their hardware and I've got three setting in front of me now. The last case I bought was a lemon. I happen to have identical parts because I was building two machines at once so I was able to swap out the parts and it was definitely the case, it would reboot halfway through loading Windows. I even had an independent shop check it out and they said there was a problem with the motherboard. I shipped it back expecting a new case. They returned it in a week claiming it worked fine but they had reloaded the bios. I rebuilt the machine, same exact problem. I called them up and they said there was nothing they could do it wasn't their hardware. I explained about the fact I'd built eight of their systems to date and they were about to loose a customer. They weren't impressed. I wound up eating a $400 barebones and turned around and got a top of the line Alienware system which has been working like a champ ever since. I've been building my own systems for ten years now but that soured me on the whole deal. The Alienware wasn't that much more and it was turnkey. I just don't have the time and money anymore to fight with vendors. Few seem inclined to support hardware anymore. I just didn't like their attitude. They're pretty little cases and easy to work on but the quality is uneven from model to model and they don't seem inclined to back their own products. I'm sticking with Boxx and Alienware from here on out.

3 things are needed for the switch (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990206)

Application, Application, Application

Re:3 things are needed for the switch (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990328)

I can only think of three must have programs that Linux is lacking.
Quicken, TurboTax/TaxCut, and if you have a small business QuickBooks.

Linux has Email, web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, and digital pictures covered.
One place that you have issues is with codecs thanks to software patents but that can be fixed.

Quicken and a Tax program are the two killers for a lot of people.

Yeah... (1)

sltd (1182933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990274)

but does it run Linux?

Re:Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990430)

More importantly, will it blend?

Re:Yeah... (1)

Atti K. (1169503) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990522)

Who cares about Linux, imagine a Beowulf cluster of these!

_.._._ (1)

iMac Were (911261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990282)

Is it me, or are those front plates with the lame logo's the gayest thing ever?

Re:_.._._ (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990378)

Yes they are, WHATCHA GONNA DO BOUT IT!? Want some manly man pictures scratched in the side? Buy an etching gun and go crazy. Do That or get a bottle of glue, some penthouse, playboy and hustler centerfold pictures and glue them all over the thing. Yeah that'll fix them gay designs and schemes.

Re:_.._._ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21990536)

It's you. You are the gayest thing ever. HTH.

Multiple Children (2, Interesting)

pickapeppa (731249) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990346)

If you have six kids in school, this might be just the thing you need. I don't have any kids that I'm aware of, but friends do and their kids fight for PC time for papers and projects. I've donated old PCs from to to folks for just this reason. And your kid learns a Linux distro as well as Windows / Mac at school.

End of the digital divide? (2, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990526)

I'm hoping that the introduction of very low cost PCs is going to open up computer usage, and more importantly the internet, for the developing world. Sometimes we like to think of the internet as a global community, but that really isn't the case. Most of the internet is still the anglophone countries and Europe.

Of course, cheap PCs alone aren't going to do it - there is still the question of the infrastructure to provide home internet connections to the world. However, that is more likely to occur in a situation of widespread computer ownership.

another article; Ubuntu preinstalled (2, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990548)

The article linked to from the slashdot article was missing some info, such as what linux distro it will have preinstalled. This [techreport.com] one says it will be Ubuntu. All I could find on shuttle's own site was this [shuttle.com] press release.

Cheap machines... (-1, Troll)

fitten (521191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990638)

Cheap machines are one thing, but I don't know of anyone who has a computer at home who doesn't play games. Until Linux can get a stable of games as well as a few of those 'killer apps' (TurboTax, QuickBooks, etc.), people will just ask "Can it play GameBlah?" and when the answer is "No" or "Yes, but you have to do all this configuration work and edit config files as root and [whatever]" their eyes will just glaze over and they'll just walk over to the Windows displays because the answer is "Yes, just put the CD in and install it".

Re:Cheap machines... (5, Insightful)

myz24 (256948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990706)

Hi, I don't have a computer at home to play games.

Sign me up (1)

FuturePastNow (836765) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990704)

I'll take the $99 barebones version, please. Along with a dual-core Celeron and a gig of RAM. I've got a hard drive already, thanks.

Seriously, though, computers this cheap are impulse-buy territory. So it's not powerful; since it's not running Vista or 3D games, it doesn't have to be.

Keeping old machines running for $60 (3, Interesting)

athloi (1075845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990716)

Because I'm the neighborhood geek, people ask me about their problems. One problem is what to do with the old machine when they upgrade.

My advice for the past six months has been: buy it a new hard drive ($60) and install Ubuntu. The hard drive is what fails at 4-5 years, but the rest will keep on ticking and thanks to the thriftiness of Linux, doesn't slow them down.

They don't care that it's not Windows XP or Mac OS X. All GUIs look about the same for the tasks most people do.

With these newer cheap machines, I'm excited, but wary. Would I rather install $200 of junk or do a $60 upgrade to an older, but once more expensive machine with better hardware?

The Shuttle boxes I've worked with so far have been high quality but have tended to overheat. However, they were a good deal more expensive than $200. I wonder what corners got cut, and whether a five year old Dell that cost $900 when it was new would have these problems?

Either way, my compliments to the Ubuntu team. That's a convenient and reliable OS distro.

Not thrift, fatigue (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990816)

If you're thrifty, you don't buy brand new stuff. (I've never owned a new car, being temperamentally incapable of buying an item that loses thousands of dollars in value the moment you start using it.) You can get a decent used laptop for about $200 off eBay. Not as powerful as the latest models, but more than powerful enough for 90% of what people use home computers for.

That's not what the Linux-bundled PCs are about. They're about people being just plain tired of fighting with Windows. God knows I am — and I'm a bloody ubergeek, somebody who's been fiddling with computers since before most of you were born! I continue to use Windows because I have a lot of intellectual capital invested in it, and because too much software that I need is difficult/impossible to run without it. But if anybody showed me a good alternative that met my needs, I'd drop Windows in a heartbeat. Never mind saving money, I'd pay extra.

 

It's not a laptop... (4, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | more than 6 years ago | (#21990892)

"With $200 machines being all the rage these days, it's surprising that more coverage hasn't been given to Shuttle's KPC..."


It's not a laptop. Next!


Not flamebait, but the truth. Cute little laptops have been either underpowered or the preserve of the rich till now, so Asus and everybody else knocking out workable, durable, cute machines is newsworthy. A desktop box that costs 200 dollars? where's the news in that? You can find those on every high street, and loads of people have brought out cute looking ones so nothing new there either. Plus it's not 200 dollars and press the on button, for Joe Public it's 200 dollars, spend some more on a monitor, then plug it into the wall. SO more like buying another desktop. Yawn.

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