Archive for the ‘Ubuntu’ Category

November

08

by Kaj Kandler

While Everex started selling its low cost PC for <$200 at WalMart, it now offers the motherboard, CPU and OS bundled for $60. Add some memory and a hard drive ($40) and salvage an old computer case, power supply, keyboard and mouse ($0) and your are up and running for $100 and a little sweat equity. LinuxDevices.com has an in depth report about Everex’s plans for its Linux and Google applications based $200 PC. LinuxDevices reports that Everex hopes to sell 50,000 to 60,000 PC’s through WalMart. The main concern for profitability are the support costs, which Everex hopes to keep under $30 per sale.

The developer board comes with the CPU and a DVD containing the ready to install gOS Operating System. According to the article, gOS is an Ubuntu based Linux distribution with the Enlightenment Window manager for the low cost PC is called gOS like in Google OS for its inclusion of all Google online tools available and pre installed. The vision is to use online Google tools for Search, E-Mail, Calendar, Bookmarks, Text Documents, Spreadsheets, and more. If needed local applications, such as the office suite OpenOffice.org are included as well. gOS is also open source and available for download, but it appears the version delivered with the board or the PC is pre configured to the hardware and adds programs for multimedia (playing mp3, DVD, etc.). You can’t expect an abundance of performance from the Via C7 processor, however, it does a good job with web browsing and running basic applications and multi media playback.

June

22

by Kaj Kandler

Dell Computers is further responding to its customer’s public request. After offering some of their PCs pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux, they now offer an increasing number of PCs with only a minimal set of pre-installed software packages. Gone are the AOL installers, the music players, the DVD player programs, if the customer wishes and specifies so at the time of order.

However three programs remain:

  • Google Tools – for correcting misspelled URL’s
  • PDF Reader – To read documentation delivered in this format
  • Anti Virus Software (trial versions) – “Because customers expect their computers to be protected at first boot”

To me only the Acrobat Reader makes sense, as not being able to read the documentation is not very helpful. Although one could offer the documentation either in MS Help format or in HTML, both being universally accessible with the plain operating system. Although HTML could be debatable, once IE is stripped. but in most cases some kind of browser would be installed.

The utility of Google Tools just for mis typed URL’s strikes me as odd. I don’t like this kind of technology, because it tries to guess what I want and the guesses are more often than not correct.

Last, but not least, trial version of Anti Virus Software, because customers expect it to be installed? You must be kidding me! Doesn’t the current versions of MS already include such protective software? So why need another trial version installed? I don’t like and use any of these resource killers. But this argument does not hold water for me.

So I guess Dell simply has long running contracts with these vendors and it can’t easily bail out of them. With Dell’s responses to its customers wishes, I’m hopeful, sooner or later these things will be gone as well.

It will be interesting to see how this will change the landscape. Removing such programs from PC’s will certainly be not too good for Dell’s bottom line in the short run, as the vendors of these pay a hardware manufacturer to install them. It also should have impact on the companies that use these methods to market their products. One option we might see, is that Microsoft, the still predominant player in this market either needs to lower its prices to make up for the lost revenue or it will integrate these into the OS upfront and make up for its shrinking share of business. However, Microsoft is expanding the OS functionality into anything that has successfully be developed by others. MS included web-browser, anti virus, firewall, multi media player, video creation, and much more and bundled it as part of the OS. We all know what followed.

I’m still waiting for OpenOffice.org as optional install.

June

08

by Kaj Kandler

I just read that Full circle a new Ubuntu magazine is out with its first issue.

The first issue contains:

  • Install Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, step by step
  • Howtos:
    • Linux Directory Structure
    • MythTV Intro
    • Scribus (desktop publishing) Part I
    • Add/Remove Software
  • Review: GRAMPS geneaology software
  • Interview: Deluge BitTorrent Client developer
  • Standard Categories:
    • News
    • “Top 5”
    • Letters
    • Desktops
    • and much more

This magazine is 42 pages long, delivered only online as a PDF and meant to be printed. The layout should make a solid printed magazine, if you have that much color ink to spare. I guess if you mix it in to the stacks at a doctor’s waiting room, not many would notice its an online magazine. However that is also its downside. I find it hard to read online, because the pages are laid out two at a time and that makes either the font illegible on my old 19″ monitor or it does require a lot of dragging left to right (as opposed to scrolling with the wheel). I’d love if they could format a version for linear reading formats.

What peeked my curiosity is the tools it is produced with, Scribus, OpenOffice.org and Gimp. I’d like to hear more about how it is produced and what the role of each application is. Well that topic might come up in the next parts about Scribus. I look forward to it.

April

20

by Kaj Kandler

Looks like Michael Dell, the iconic oner of Dell Computers, is looking deeper into Linux on Dell computers. According to the corporate Biography Michael uses a Laptop with OpenOffice.org on Ubuntu Linux.

I guess Michael did receive the letter from the OpenOffice.org community offering to satisfy the apparent demand for OpenOffice.org on Dell Computers. May be this prompted him to check it out himself.

Dear Michael,
if you need a help with OpenOffice.org, you are very welcome to join Plan-B for OpenOffice.org where we answer questions and demonstrate the features of OpenOffice.org with screencasts.

Truly Yours,
Kaj