Feeds

Will the first Linux carwash clean up?

Inside Toronto’s pioneering computer outlet

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Trading has started slowly at the world’s first Linux-only computer shop and carwash.

The pioneering retail concept has only been open a week, and is selling “a few systems a day”, says co-founder David Silverman. Plus lots of carwashes.

Sub500.com is the brainchild of Marc (32) and David Silverman (37), carwash owners, computer parts brokers and online retailers.

sub500.com retail outlet frontageThey have opened a small Linux-only computer store in a room at the front of their carwash on Dufferin Street, in the northern suburbs of Toronto, a neighbourhood of large malls and offices cheered only by a few friendly Italian restaurants and cafes.

It has been hailed as the world’s first Linux store, though some posters on Slashdot mentioned a store in Australia and defunct outlets in Georgia and Texas.

The new Toronto shop is a spin-off from their online Linux shops, Canada-focused Sub500.com and Sub300.com, a US-focused site that accounts for 90 per cent of their trade.

At the store, desktop systems start at a very reasonable CAN$299. The store sells two varieties of laptop, a smaller eNote with a 1GHz Via processor for CAN$1111, and a larger system with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 for CAN$1511.

Though users save the cost of an XP licence, it’s not necessarily the cheapest deal in town. A store round the corner sells a 2.4GHz laptop with Windows XP for CAN$1139.

“It’s not necessarily for Microsoft haters, it’s for Linux lovers,” says Silverman.

“We have all kinds of people come in here. A few geeks who come out of their basements for an hour, and even a few tech savvy older people.”

The store’s biggest seller so far has been a 40 GB hard disk with the Linspire (formerly Lindows) OS, selling for CAN$ 80 – marketed at Windows PC owners looking to switch OSes without buying a new system.

David Silverman inside Sub500.com shopThe store remains focused on the Linspire (formerly Lindows) OS and office suite, says Silverman, with no immediate plans to start selling other distros from the store.

For the regular user, Linspire is the most simple to work with,” says Silverman. “It installs in less than ten minutes.”

The store is still a work in progress. The rotating penguin was only delivered a few days ago, and flashing signs and an LED display are expected later this month.

But Silverman has big hopes for the next few months. “We’re gearing up for the back to school period,” he says.

If the store is a success, the brothers are hoping to repeat it elsewhere. “We could expand to Montreal, and the States as well.” There’s a long way to go yet, though, if it’s not to go the way of Georgia and Texas. ®

Related stories

Dell denounces desktop Linux dealer
Open source miracle horse stuns MS Japan
Lindows wins some in the Netherlands
Sun's Java Desktop gets tooled up

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.