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278 comments

Once again... (-1)

Stormscape (998750) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712600)

the secret Microsoft committee has prevailed. You didn't know of them? Of course you didn't, they don't exist. shhhh.

Re:Once again... (5, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712884)

No. That would be the Walmart management that prevailed. Walmart don't care if those Linux systems sell out all the time, because selling these systems in preference to a Windows PC ends up costing them money.

While the Linux users are off using apt-get to download all their packages, Windows users have to return to the store to buy their Anti-virus software, Office packages, games etc. Windows users will continue to generate income long after they have got their neighbor's kid to setup the PC for them.

Sure, there are some Windows users who know about all the free software available for that platform. These people won't generate any extra income for the retailer, but they would not have anyway, so they are out of the equation.

Finally, I have always wondered how many returns they get from people who thought that the computer was faulty because it would not run all their software they already owned. It is possible that Walmart wants to avoid losing good will of their less technically inclined customers who think that they are selling broken PCs

Re:Once again... (2, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712972)

Exactly. This is business. Kudos to Walmart for even trying to sell Linux PCs. They realized it was not a viable business decision and moved on.

Re:Once again... (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713128)

I sell 'em. Make a good bit of money doing so. Care to explain why my business is, in defiance of all evidence to the contrary, not viable?

Re:Once again... (0)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713216)

Possibly because it doesnt scale up?...

I would assume that you are more of a specialty shop right?... computers (or electronics) only... those 3 Linux based PC's you sold last month probably made you around $1,000... but you probably only had 4 of them... WalMart on the other hand probably ordered in 50 of them... and still only sold 3... whereas WalMart may have ordered in 200 Windows based PC's and sold 125 of them...

Re:Once again... (1)

Andrzej Sawicki (921100) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713414)

I sell 'em. Make a good bit of money doing so. Care to explain why my business is, in defiance of all evidence to the contrary, not viable?
It's ok, but it would improve if you sold Windows-based PCs instead (see the grandparent post for the explanation.) At the Wal-Mart scale, it's millions more to make by axing the Linux PC in favor of cheap, Windows-based machines, so it becomes a simple business decision.

Re:Once again... (5, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713486)

Exactly. This is business. Kudos to Walmart for even trying to sell Linux PCs. They realized it was not a viable business decision and moved on.

They only stopped selling them in stores, which sounds to me they will still offer them online.

It seems it was not that much of a non-viable business decision; it merely suffered from anomalies.
Low-end Linux PCs are a rather non-standard item, and my best guess is that most people who'd bought them were geeks who'd wanted a cheap Linux toy. Or to give a computer-illiterate family member a low-end computer.
And they bought them online.

Thus there was a significant disproportion in the numbers of sales — most units were sold online, so of course the execs deemed the online market more profitable for this kind of article. That may prove to be a misguided long-term decision, but it makes perfect sense in short term.

Re:Once again... (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713764)

They realized it was not a viable business decision and moved on.
That doesn't sound like what happened at all.

Since when is "selling out a product" not a viable business decision? Was their profit margin too small? Well, the answer to that might have been adding 20 bucks to the price.

There's more here than meets the eye.

Re:Once again... (1)

Riktov (632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713266)

Finally, I have always wondered how many returns they get from people who thought that the computer was faulty because it would not run all their software they already owned. It is possible that Walmart wants to avoid losing good will of their less technically inclined customers who think that they are selling broken PCs

I really think that any user who has, in this day and age, actually bought and installed software from external media, understands the concept of "this software runs on Windows" well enough not to confuse OS incompatibility with faulty hardware, and the be aware of it when buying the PC.

And conversely, any user without that level of comprehension (who would try to return the PC) probably doesn't even understand that the software they already own on CD-ROM can be installed in a different machine and would never even think of trying it ; new computer means all new software -- I mean, isn't software part of the computer? Or more likely, the only software they "own" is stuff that was pre-installed on their previous computer with no source media and thus couldn't be reinstalled on a new machine even if they wanted to.

To the "less technically inclined customer" that might buy this PC without understanding that it doesn't run Windows, it doesn't even matter because all he needs is a web browser and mail client, both of which are available and installed (with the Linux version automatically selected) from the internet.

No worries, mate (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712602)

There's no reason you need to buy a "Linux PC". It's not like there's some logo organization that is in charge of approving "Linux-capable" PCs like there is for Vista.

Just go get the cheapest Windows PC you can find (they have a sticker that says "Vista Capable" or "Vista Ready") and install Linux. It's cheaper than buying a dedicated Linux machine.

Re:No worries, mate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22712626)

Cheaper than $200?

Re:No worries, mate (3, Informative)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712634)

but if you're going for the cheapest machine you can find, I'm sure the manufacturer factored in what like $30-50 for the windows license on it. As for me, I don't want Linux running as slow as Vista so I'd buy a midrange PC instead of the cheapest. It's not like you're going to spend hundreds on software afterwards like a PC so why not spend some $ on a dual core system with some ram and give that penguin some caffeine :D

Re:No worries, mate (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22712636)

It's cheaper than buying a dedicated Linux machine.
Uhh, no it's not. Similar computers at Dell have a difference of $50-$90 in price between the Vista and Ubuntu versions.

More importantly though, part of the money you're paying to replace Vista with Ubuntu goes to Microsoft, which allows them to further their monopoly. Do you really feel good about doing that?

Re:No worries, mate (5, Informative)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712662)

Just go get the cheapest Windows PC you can find (they have a sticker that says "Vista Capable" or "Vista Ready") and install Linux. It's cheaper than buying a dedicated Linux machine.
Actually the cheapest PC available on Walmar is $278. Exactly the same as the Linux model but comes with Vista Home Basic.

Re:No worries, mate (3, Interesting)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712736)

From the article..

Walmart.com now carries an updated version, the gPC2, also for $199
I assume you meant their site because you said "on walmart" not "in walmart".

Re:No worries, mate (1)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712762)

I did mean on the website, but the parent post was stating that low end Windows machines are cheaper than the gPC. Which is not the case.

Re:No worries, mate (2, Funny)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712862)

Actually he said "on Walmart". He was obviously referring to the small town in South Wales.

Re:No worries, mate (5, Funny)

shellbeach (610559) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712912)

Actually he said "on Walmart". He was obviously referring to the small town in South Wales.
Actually, he said "on Walmar" (no 't'). http://www.walmar.net/ [walmar.net] doesn't seem to sell many PCs, but they do feature a zero-flush waterless urinal [walmar.net] which sounds pretty similar to Vista basic if you ask me ...

Re:No worries, mate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22712936)

Actually, he said "on Walmar"

Hmm. I thought he was talking about the Weimar Republic [wikipedia.org] .

Re:No worries, mate (3, Funny)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712946)

I meant to say "On Walmar" myself...which is the name of the town in _new_ Southern Wales.

But typo'ing a complaint against a typo is...well I fail.

Re:No worries, mate (3, Insightful)

dhavleak (912889) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712728)

You're right about that being the cheapest way to get a linux machine. I think the objection to that would be on principle more than anything else -- people won't want to pay the Vista license fee if they're not gonna actually use Vista. In fact, if you're trying to get value for money its a little annoying to know that your PC could have been cheaper if you didn't have to pay for s/w you're not going to use.

It's important to note though, that users do have a choice in the matter (buying the gPC in the store/online - and now just online). If Walmart decided to discontinue it because of the lack of demand, that's fair game. If Walmart decides they would rather install Vista on everything rather than the hassle of having seperate SKUs (with Vista/without Vista) - that's fair game as well.

Re:No worries, mate (2, Informative)

DKlineburg (1074921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713024)

You're right about that being the cheapest way to get a linux machine. I think the objection to that would be on principle more than anything else -- people won't want to pay the Vista license fee if they're not gonna actually use Vista. In fact, if you're trying to get value for money its a little annoying to know that your PC could have been cheaper if you didn't have to pay for s/w you're not going to use.


If you are going to be running Linux anyway, one might assume that you are above average PC user. That being said, why don't you build your own? There are a lot of places you can get a custom built one with no software installed. I live in WA State, and there is a local shop a few cities away, but they also ship. They will put in exactly what you want, or make suggestions if you don't know. They give a warranty on the hardware, and do offer software if you want it. I think they might even offer a Linux distro (Redhat?). Either way, you buy exactly the parts you want, minimal build fee, and no Vista license fee. Just a thought, if you like Linux, look around for a "build your own" store.

Re:No worries, mate (1)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712772)

Unless I'm mistaken, I thought part of the appeal here was the idea of a mass-market, easy-to-use Linux computer. Average Joe can go out and buy a cheap desktop, sure, but given how messy some of the Linux distros are to install and use I don't seem him going out of his way to put Linux on the computer...especially since he'd have to figure out which of the multiple distros he wants to use in the first place.

Re:No worries, mate (1, Insightful)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712922)

I prefer to put my own pc together.
That way , there's no license costs , i know what i'm buying , and it's a lot cheaper in total .

Re:No worries, mate (4, Insightful)

jejones (115979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712926)

"Just go get the cheapest Windows PC you can find (they have a sticker that says "Vista Capable" or "Vista Ready") and install Linux."

Are you willing to buy it back from me for the price I gave if one or more of its peripherals has no good Linux device driver, where by good I mean having speed and feature parity with the Windows driver? Are you willing to send me the cost of Windows, so I don't have to pay for something I don't want?

Actually, never mind--even if you're willing to do that, some of my money would be going to MS, and I will not do anything that benefits MS.

Re:No worries, mate (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713360)

You live up to your alias at least.

You are still paying for a Microsoft license that will never be used and you have no guarantee that there's driver coverage for that particular model.

There's no particular guarantee that *any* other O/S besides the one preinstalled will run on any given PC (particularly notebooks), including different versions of the same O/S, like Microsoft Windows XP and Vista.

Microsoft Bribe? (-1, Troll)

bughouse26 (975570) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712606)

I wonder how much Microsoft paid Walmart to stop selling these?

Re:Microsoft Bribe? (1)

jzhos (1043516) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712628)

right, must be evil Microsoft. Let's what else can people figure out on slashdot.

Re:Microsoft Bribe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22712630)

Ya, MS is paying everyone in the world not to download and use linux, secretly behind your back. That's why web statistics put linux market share at 1%, it absolutely couldn't be that nobody wants linux..

Re:Microsoft Bribe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22713094)

since over 50% of hosts are running apache, i suspect your stats might be a bit off.

Re:Microsoft Bribe? (2, Funny)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713662)

Obviously they confused "market share" with "desktop share" and might not know what a server even is...(queue joke regarding the newbie who thought MS made a server OS).

Re:Microsoft Bribe? (2, Insightful)

jt2377 (933506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712632)

why bribe? when your average user take that shiny Linux PC home and can't find Microsoft Word or paly any games on it or do anything that he/she did on Windows. Don't see the point of MS bribing anyone. Linux still have a long way to go before replacing Windows.

Transportation Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22712612)

So essentially, it's more efficient (cheaper) to save on the transportation to the stores since they don't stay there very long. :)

Normal (5, Informative)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712620)

Don't Walmart bring products in and out all the time, I fail to see the "omg linux failure" here..

Re:Normal (4, Informative)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712692)

Don't Walmart bring products in and out all the time
That is very true. In addition, the point of the article is that on-site sales were poor, but on the other hand online sales were successful enough for Wal-Mart to continue selling Linux PCs, currently the gPC 2 and the CloudBook.

Bottom line, walk-in customers at Wal-Mart weren't into these products, but more tech-savvy people that buy online form a sufficient market for Wal-Mart to serve. What is important about the latter fact is that it means Wal-Mart will be ready to supply demand should desktop Linux become more mainstream.

Re:Normal (2)

Excelsior (164338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712786)

Where did you get that information? I'm guessing you made it up, because in store models were reportedly selling out.

Re:Normal (4, Interesting)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712834)

Despite your hostile tone, I'll answer you in a civil manner: TFA says

Paul Kim, brand manager for Everex, said selling the gPC online was "significantly more effective" than selling it in stores.
They indeed sold out nicely online, but offline, they didn't do as well. Note that perhaps they did sell, we don't have figures, but not well enough to justify keeping them on shelves. So Wal-Mart discontinued retail sales.

However online sales were a success, which is nice.

Re:Normal (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712860)

Umm, dude, you're still not getting it. They sold out both online and in stores. The most likely reason that Wal-Mart is pulling these from the store is that they are getting too much interest and tying up staff. Customer service is suffering as a result. If Wal-Mart hires more staff that will increase the cost of the product and may decrease the demand, resulting in an elastic effect on sales.. so it is easier to pull the product from stores and require customers to buy it online where they won't be tying up customer service agents.

Re:Normal (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712874)

You make a good point, I didn't think about that. Yeah, that might be the case here.

I wonder if we can find out somehow what Wal-Mart's reasons were (probably not, sadly).

Re:Normal (-1, Troll)

teh moges (875080) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712892)

I can't get a reference, but I read somewhere (may have been on linuxtoday) that said that sales of Linux PCs are typically brought back to the shop, with users complaining about either the lack of windows, or lack of windows-related compatibility. My guess is that in stores were brought back more then online sales (for whatever reason). In this case, while the PCs would of sold out (no suprises, at $200) having them brought back reduces the overall profit.

Re:Normal (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712930)

you can't find a reference because it is FUD and you know it.

Re:Normal (1)

TheSeer2 (949925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713522)

So thinking the average user won't be interested in Linux is FUD now? I don't think so.

Re:Normal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22713636)

No, inventing a reason from thin air and presenting it as a fact is FUD.

Re:Normal (1)

dn15 (735502) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713534)

The parent may have fabricated figures. Yet personally it wouldn't surprise me if the gist of it were correct, though I have no information to back it up either.

This is not to say Linux is lacking somehow, but but rather it's about the (lack of) tech savvy of the average consumer. To most people the computer world is made up of "PC" and Mac -- and usually PC is synonymous to Windows. And as a result I suspect that the average WalMart shopper has no clue what Linux is, and would just assume the computer is broken when they can't install the software they bought off the shelf.

Re:Normal (0, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713558)

I suppose EEPC's are not flying off the shelf and are being returned in record numbers too.

It's pretty simple, if you have no evidence, STFU.

Its called shelf space (4, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713520)

It isn't about customer service. The most valuable asset in the physical store is shelf space. The profit margin on these cannot be that much, let alone to the profits to be made filling shelves with more game cartridges.

Remember back to the stories about Wal-Mart's push into CFLs and how the person at Wal-Mart pushing these had to make a case to get shelf space. They had to present a case and prove themselves.

Re:Normal (4, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712870)

A computer takes up a lot more shelf space than, say, an mp3 player or mobile phone. Indeed, it's price density is lower than most of the items in the store, save maybe housewares. Pillows and comforters do take up a large volume.

More importantly, at $200 for a PC, it's profit margin had to be quite a bit lower than any of those things. I'd bet that even selling like hotcakes it would be one of the least efficient items in the store, in terms of profit per square foot.

Re:Normal (2)

Excelsior (164338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712944)

The article cleary states they sold out of in store stock. You have stated otherwise more than once. Sorry if I sound hostile.

Re:Normal (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712974)

First, apologies if I misunderstood your tone before.

Well, I am no retailer, but even if stock is sold, it depends how fast it sells and so forth. Online it sold quite briskly we are told. Perhaps it took much much longer to sell out in retail, so much so that it doesn't make sense to continue. That is the gist of TFA as I read it, but I could be wrong.

Re:Normal (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713310)

In walmart terms selling out probably means the store going out of stock, considering how fast the supply chain works for Walmart that probably means fairly brisk or at least better than expected sales.

Re:Normal (2, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712966)

On top of that I would guess that for on-line sales one doesn't need that much sales volume to make it profitable than for off-line sales. On-line a product doesn't take up shelf space, and the stock is much easier managed over say five warehouses than say five thousand shops.
It sounds like they sold OK but not good enough to dedicate shelf space in the shops, but selling good enough online to keep selling that way.

Re:Normal (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713678)

Makes you wonder. I heard that Walmart stores were selling out of them in about 3 days. If so, and if they really do sell faster online, then they must be moving a *lot* of them online!

Re:Normal (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713292)

why is this marked "troll"? The post he is replying to might sound good but is questionable in its accuracy, and there should be more people questioning accuracy than marking questionable information "informative".

Re:Normal (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712848)

What percentage of their Windows machine lines have they cut? Compare with the percentage of their Linux machine lines they've cut (100%). There's the failure of Linux.

In fact, the mere fact that there are far more Windows machines than Linux machines shows that Linux is failing (as a mainstream desktop OS), but this is another nail in its coffin.

Re:Normal (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713170)

If you RTFA you'd realise they've introduced one new Linux desktop gOS v2 and a Linux laptop.. How is that "cut (100%)" ?

More interesting from the article.. (3, Interesting)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712640)

I find this more interesting..

Walmart.com now carries an updated version, the gPC2, also for $199, without a monitor. The site also sells a tiny Linux-driven laptop, the Everex CloudBook, for $399.
I think it would sell better with a monitor but, whatever..

Re:More interesting from the article.. (1)

Stormscape (998750) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712652)

Well they figure them Linux nerds don't need no fancy high-tech moniotry devices.

Re:More interesting from the article.. (5, Funny)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712684)

I don't know about you, but I just keep reusing the same oscilloscope from system to system...

Re:More interesting from the article.. (4, Funny)

Stormscape (998750) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712702)

I don't know about you, but I just keep reusing the same oscilloscope from system to system...
Real men use binary printouts to figure out what their computer is telling them.

Re:More interesting from the article.. (4, Funny)

gsn (989808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712808)

Excuse me but real men use butterflies. You see the change in system state as the output is calculated creates temperature differences which in turn create pockets of higher pressure air to form near the computer. Such a small change in the distribution of heat near the earth's surface creates minute, immeasurable, changes in atmospheric circulation. Fortunately it also annoys butterflies which come around flapping their wings outside my window and I've learnt how to read the output from the number of butterflies and the individual and group flapping patterns. I even use the reverse technique to program on occasion but its faster to use a vi shortcut -> :dwit for do what I think. Emacs is useless and has no such feature but you can still use the butterflies.

http://www.xkcd.com/378/ [xkcd.com]

   

Re:More interesting from the article.. (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713090)

Until I saw the xkcd link I was kind of freaked out that you had already got to +4 Interesting.

Thanks for the link, that one is terrific. The "title" text on the image is quite philosophical and interesting in its own right. For those unfamiliar with xkcd, if you hover the mouse cursor over the comic, the tooltips popup (or whatever it's called) is an integral part of the comic (when I browse with Firefox, it often isn't displayed in its entirety, so to see it all, I have to select the image and use the "View Selection Source" option in the context menu which pops up on the right mouse button).

that should be marked 'funny' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22713238)

that should be marked 'funny', not interesting

it's the best way to avoid the Microsoft tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22712660)

If you want to avoid the microsoft tax then you either have to find an ultra small white box builder or you can buy a "linux box". Getting the Linux box means that at least most of the software was supported on some distribution. I mean it's not like most of us wouldn't reinstall anyway.

mmm yes (5, Interesting)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712674)

I see were you are going with that now, replace the word "effective" with "profitable"

Re:mmm yes (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712812)

As in, customers are not pestering the staff to explain to them why this computer is so cheap.. they have to do their own research.

Dor Mart and Mikro$loth (-1, Flamebait)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712744)

They were selling out and making Dor Mart $201 in profit for each $200 machine sold, but Mikro$loth offered to pay Dor Mart $201.01 per machine that would otherwise be sold in order to prevent their sale and the further distribution of Linux, so Dor Mart went for it. Another penny per unit is significant, since it stands to increase their billion dollar profits by about five bucks in the next quarter. Hey, five bucks could be the difference between making your earnings target and getting that fat promotion, and missing it by $4.99 and, well, not.

A thought (4, Insightful)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712754)

Paul Kim, brand manager for Everex, said selling the gPC online was "significantly more effective" than selling it in stores.
From my experiences online, it seems like there's a higher percentage of geeks with significant problems with Wal-Mart than there is in the rest of the population. Is it possible that that had an effect?

In any case, I think part of the problem is that most people I know wouldn't envision Wal-Mart as a PC retailer. Be it my computer-illiterate neighbor whose spyware I'm constantly removing or my grandparents who only use their computer for occasional e-mail, I'd bet the majority would go to an electronics store like Best Buy or Circuit City over a general retailer like Wal-Mart for a purchase that big. Wal-Mart may not be a bad place for cheap groceries or clothing, but the employees there won't know jack about the computers they're selling...and even if that's also true at the local electronics chain store, the perception that they know at least something about computers can make all the difference.

Re:A thought (4, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713100)

For the risk of really running off-topic, a small anecdote regarding Linux for the user.
I'm running a small business: I have only one staff who is not a technophobe, but all but geeky either. My computers come with Linux as I can manage that well, I just don't know Windows and don't want to learn it as Linux is working fine for me.

So now how is she coping with Linux on the computer? No problems. She didn't realise we're not using Word but using OpenOffice.org until I mentioned it. E-mail using Evolution is also easy; I set up the accounts of course but with a little coaching setting up mail folders and the like is now also done by herself. After a few days I noticed she changed the background of the desktop, found it out herself.
No problems with it. Not at all. I got the request from her today to set up MSN Messenger, for contact with a customer, and then told her it's there already, called GAIM. The reaction she gave when seeing all the supported protocols was "wow that's convenient, saves downloading and installing a lot of programs!"

Linux is getting there, and is doing so quickly. I think really the main reason most people still buy Windows is mindshare. Linux is different, is scary. But for most of the users, what they do does not require ANY knowledge of the underlying system at all: they now already ask their friends to maintain their Windows. They will just have to call less frequently.

Oh yeah and I'm also a proud owner of an EEE PC. That one I don't recommend to the casual user as it has way too many rough edges. This is not a complaint towards Linux as such but towards the UI makers that do not think of anything smaller than 1024x768 pixels. It all is just a little too much hacking.

Re:A thought (1)

kklein (900361) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713610)

Okay, so your point is that, with the help of a very knowledgeable system administrator, anyone can use Linux comfortably?

I'm not really trying to be a jerk, but... Yes, that's exactly what you're saying, whether you realize it or not.

Re:A thought (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713634)

The exact same accounts for anyone using Windows or whatever O/S as well. Many administer their computers themselves, but even more (partners, children of the owner; people who ask a friend/relative) need someone else to do that for them.

Re:A thought (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713702)

Okay, so your point is that, with the help of a very knowledgeable system administrator, anyone can use Linux comfortably?

While it's not his point (his point is: that using is possible for the non-technical, even though it needs a bit coaching from time to time) However, I'd like to add to that "With the help of a very knowledgeable system administrator, anyone can use WINDOWS comfortably.".

Why do I say this? Because I haven't met a single non-technical person that doesn't have big bad nasty problems with Windows. Most of those problems are caused by shoddy software, malware, and of course running Admin by default. When I take a computer and reinstall it and secure it, (no, they don't get Admin), those installs go on for ages troublefree.

The big problem is that Windows is sold as "no administrator required". I dare to say, that's a lie. Just as it is a lie that Linux doesn't require a system administrator either.

Re:A thought (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713680)

I think She was using a GNOME on desktop because there was GAIM (Pidgin) installed.
There is big difference still in Linux when talking about usability against other OS's and it's about what desktop enviroment or window manager is used.

Normal users dont ever use Linux OS, they use GNOME or KDE and only when they are referring to Linux is for hardware support or how stable/fast OS is. But there is no desktop on Linux and it's good and bad because just like your case, GNOME was easy but what happends when she moves to PC where is KDE installed? Even that she is using still Linux as OS, she has different GUI in front of her.

That's why it is always good to tell what desktop user has used if user did or didn't like it. And if possible, suggest other if first one didn't please.

From what I saw... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22712756)

They sold out quickly, and in fact I never saw one in a store (I'm not at Walmart often, but I called about the computers on multiple occasions). Hardly sounds like failure.

I did tech support for Everex... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22712872)

I can tell you that if Wal*Mart pulled the product, it was because of very frequent returns. (And ANGRY ones at that) The people that bought these computers were going for price alone. I believe that some folks look at a computer as nothing more than an appliance, as hard as that may be to grasp for some techies. They have some sense that they are probably not getting the best computer in the world for that price, but simply that there is a box labeled 'multimedia pc' and is within their price range is reason enough to turn off their critical thinking and make an impluse buy.

Some people that called had 'discovered' that the computer was not running windows, and when informed of the difference, they were willing learn. Others 'discovered' that they had been 'duped' (even though the box is clearly labeled) and were calling to confirm their mistake with the intention of returning it if we could not give them a copy of windows (fat chance).

I for one inferred due to various facts that Wal*Mart employees at many locations were upset in general about the amount of returns on our gPC. Also, inre other comments, it is laughable that a W*Mart employee would know or care about any products there. The computers, gPC or not, were tossed onto a display by overworked/underpaid people and left there. If they made their way out the door even missing parts, W*Mart pretty much expected Everex to replace them. Returned products, gPC and otherwise, were almost without fail (from our perspective) not processed in any way and put on the shelf without even a system restore being done. All employees I dealt with were no more aware of even how they would wipe a system if they cared to... (The inevitable call when it was resold was very common.) Who could blame them? Have you read how Wal*Mart does business/treats employees?

I can tell you that although cheap, it was not the Everex product. This failure was entirely on Wal*Mart. It was their fault because they are not a value-added retailer! Even the apalling service at Best Buy or some other place (where they train employees to be manipulative, at least they TRAIN them!) would lead to fewer returns and more success.

This would be GREAT news if i still answered the phone for these folks.

Re:I did tech support for Everex... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22713456)

read parent and then read all the other idiotic comments in this thread. somone tag parent troll just so we are all finally sure that the mod system is broken.

solution? more points. higher limit.

otherwise, we may as well carve the rules in stone tablets and accept that they aren't perfect. oh wait, we have.

"Repeatedly sold out" doesn't get cancelled. (2, Insightful)

captnitro (160231) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712894)

The summary makes it sound kinda squishy, though Wal-Mart was pretty clear:

Computers that run the Linux operating system instead of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows didn't attract enough attention from Wal-Mart customers, and the chain has stopped selling them in stores, a spokeswoman said Monday.
"This really wasn't what our customers were looking for," said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien.

The "repeatedly sold out" link is a little misleading, too. It isn't exactly a solid list of endorsements -- well, it seems a lot of people bought it and then promptly returned to the website to bitch it didn't come with Windows. In short: it flopped.

I do have to wonder -- and this will certainly invite some livid replies -- solid engineering is great, but I always seem to get the sense that solid marketing and solid sales practices aren't valued in the same way by the F/OSS community, and if it doesn't fail to gain them any ground, it might actually hurt them, as well. I mean, that stuff doesn't have value because people like wasting money. Packaging and naming and charm and all of that has value. WTF is a gOS?

Re:"Repeatedly sold out" doesn't get cancelled. (2, Interesting)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713552)

it seems a lot of people bought it and then promptly returned to the website to bitch it didn't come with Windows. In short: it flopped.

That isn't in TFA. Where did you get that fact from?

Communism (Linux) 0 : Captialism (Apple) 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22712914)

This just goes to show that communism doesn't work. Money talks. Bullshit walks.

How much of it was support / training costs (4, Interesting)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#22712954)

It may be because they don't want the average Walmart employee having to sell / support Linux. We don't have any Walmarts here, but what are they like with Windows? Could they handle Linux and the type of people who buy the 'cheap' computer and then can't install their 'borrowed' copy of Office / Madden / Whatever.

As an aside, I went and bought myself an eee PC. The sales guy was clumsily trying to explain that it didn't run Windows. He seemed relieved when I told him I knew it ran Linux and it wasn't a problem.

Re:How much of it was support / training costs (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713150)

I think if you asked a Walmart employee for help with your system you'd get laughed out of the store. (okay, so they'd probably saay to call HP or Everex or whoever) Returns were probably a bitch though.

Re:How much of it was support / training costs (2, Funny)

raehl (609729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713248)

We don't have any Walmarts here, but what are they like with Windows?

I don't think any Wal-Marts have windows. Just brick all around, glass doors in the front, and some loading docks.

Anyone who buys a $200 PC is C-H-E-A-P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22713342)



Anyone who buys a $200 PC is C-H-E-A-P, and of course uses Linux. It goes hand in hand. Cheap. Linux. 3rd world. Linux. Dirt road. Linux. Shoes optional. Linux. Clothing optional. Linux.

Re:Anyone who buys a $200 PC is C-H-E-A-P (1)

OneManCongaLine (901777) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713468)

Clothing optional. Linux.
Oh noes! I need to wash my eyeballs now :|
(I should link to that naked, bearded fat guy sitting in front of a computer...) But can't be bothered.

To take this post slightly on topic, I see no conspiracy here. The decision process for a huge retailer like Wal-mart is likely quite complex, not to mention unsentimental so if the business-case changes they will re-appear in the physical stores.

Does anyone btw own one of these machines? Are $200 good value for money?

Why isn't anyone asking the question... (4, Interesting)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713356)

Did microsoft have anything to do with this?

In am not a fan of conspiracy theories, but have we forgotten how Microsoft became a monopoly in the first place? It bullied all its retailers to drop alternatives. On the surface this is exactly the type of press that the consumers were fed. Yet at the end of the day, no one was left standing but Microsoft, and only then did we start asking the right questions and figured out how it happened. By then it was too late.

There are many "possible" reasons why the Linux box was dropped, and some are more convincing than others. But the bottomline is, they simply aren't telling us the sales figures, aren't revealing that there were any increases in support costs, that returns were a problem, or that Microsoft had nothing to do with it.

All we know is that they dropped Linux, that they are a huge Windows retailer, and that some MS rep near Walmart headquarters has them on speed dial.

Re:Why isn't anyone asking the question... (1)

Arimus (198136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713684)

Err???

They've not dropped linux they've just stopped selling it in their stores. Oh and not letting facts get in the way of a good /. story they've also stopped selling all others in their stores as well.

Didn't the gPC just suck? (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713408)

Everyone seems to be blaming Walmart's management or Microsoft for the decision that the gPC isn't worth selling in stores.
A while back, there was a slashdot-linked PC Magazin review [slashdot.org] of that box - and it didn't do so well. Granted, the review might have been a little biased, but not enough to dismiss it entirely.
I imagine that might be a big part of why they're not sold in stores anymore.

Well... (1)

GNUPublicLicense (1242094) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713434)

Of course, to be fair with all OSes, they do not sell computers anymore in stores... Of course, they sell *all* their computers online... And indeed, GNU/Linux OSes exposure in store was not "efficient", let them be sold only online. I hope I'm right... but, I really don't know why, something tells me it's not that simple...

lousy computer + linux == lousy computer (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713640)

From the specs, and the reviews I've read, it was a lousy computer. When you put Linux on a lousy computer, you have...a lousy computer with Linux it.

I don't understand why so many in the Linux community were pleased by this. Having Linux associated with low-end machines that people buy because they can't afford what the really want does not help Linux. We shouldn't be promoting Linux as the OS for those who have to settle for less.

Anyone heard of the MiTY BOOK once sold at WalMart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22713694)

It has Linux and was sold as a toy for $199:
http://www.aware.com.tw/about.php [aware.com.tw]

Specs [icpowerhouse.com] are pretty low and I have the feeling there is no battery..

The only place where I can find it being mentioned by someone who really saw it is in an IRC log of #kubuntu [ubuntu.com]

I found it while I was searching for the manufacturer of the recently announced Elonex notebook.
The domain of Aware Electronics is registered to the manufacturer of the CPU in the Elonex one.
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