Wal-Mart stores drop cheap-as-chips Linux PC
A glimpse of restocking? Only online...
Wal-Mart has stopped selling cheap PCs pre-loaded with Linux at its stores because consumer just weren't interested enough, the retail colossus said yesterday.
"This really wasn't what our customers were looking for," a company spokeswoman told the Associated Press newsagency.
Wal-Mart's experiment started in October 2007. The retailer offered Everex's gPC, a unit running Linux derivative gOS. The latest version of gOS powers Everex's Eee PC rival, the CloudBook.
Everex's gPC: no longer available at Wal-Mart stores
The $199 (£99/€130) gPC was sent out to 600 stores. Wal-Mart didn't say how many it shipped in total, but they all sold. Even so, it's decided not to order any more.
Well, not for bricks'n'mortar locations, anyway - it will offer the budget desktop on its website, from which it's also selling the CloudBook.
The gPC - now out as the gPC2 - has a 1.5GHz VIA C7-D processor, 512MB of DDR 2 memory, an 80GB hard drive and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW optical unit.
Wal-Mart has been here before. Back in 2002, for instance, it launched a $199 Linux box made by US company Microtel. The machine was offered solely online, but later dropped from the retailer's catalogue.
The move highlights one of the key challenges for Linux: can it become relevant to ordinary users? The success of Asus' Linux-based Eee PC suggests it can, but there's no evidence yet that the Eee is being acquired by audiences beyond geeks. The Eee's find-it-if-you-can supply line doesn't help any.
No, really: why? Why buy a machine with a Linux OS? Before you mount your Torvalds horse, think about it: what in the world does Linux offer? Lower price? Hardly. This article shows exactly what $200 *doesn't* buy. Stability? Again, hardly. Linux machines crash, oh, just about as often as XP or Vista machines do; oh, and over-priced Apples machines, too. Ease of use? Get real.
Again: why Linux? No knee-jerk responses. Think and write clearly. What does Linux offer that Windows/Mac OSs don't?
'I run Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows XP Pro, Windows Server 2000 and 2003, Ubuntu and Kubuntu, and Debian Linux. I manage about two dozen servers, 75 desktops, and 40 notebooks,' along with 'Canon, Brother, HP, Xerox, Konica/Minolta and Epson'
I think that is your problem right there - you really don't know what you are doing. In any corporate enviroment the key to being successful is to keep it simple. Standarise where possible and have as few different configurations as you can.
I would love to know just what you are doing that requires 2 dozen servers to run 115 machines - seriously I would.
As I stated above, I run a dozen servers and work for quite a large 6th form college. As such, I need to provide pretty much every kind of service you can imagine, from simple word processing to the ability to produce full HD multimedia works. Far more is required to support all departments than in a standard office setup. From these 12 servers, myself and one other manage to provide services to 560 desktop PCs, 40 Macs, around 40 laptops and 20 thin clients.
My servers manage to provide firewall and web filtering, User authentication, file sharing, a web server, printer management, multimedia streaming, pxe boot the thin clients to a small linux package that just provides a web browser, we have our own internet radio station, a large database with all the info on our 1600+ students, email for all staff and students, a workstation imaging solution, network managment tools, backup facilities, DHCP, DNS, policy enforcement, roaming profiles, VPN facilities to allow the staff to work from home and more.
All of our desktops and laptops run XP pro, the thin clients run 1 version of linux and we have OSX. All of 60 of our printers are kyocera. We have 1 Vista PC which runs the business edition, which is my desktop as I evaluated it 12 months ago and have been quite happy with it so I kept it. Cannot recommend we buy it though as it provides nothing for us over XP.
The only problems we ever face on a day to day basis tend to be hardware related. A blue screen immediately makes us test the memory and hard disk as the culprit as 9.5 times out of ten it is one of these 2 things - NOT the OS. We manage to have so few problems by keeping everything as simple as possible. Our desktop image is rigorously tested before we deploy it, to ensure that everything works without any issues. We restrict our users to only being able to run software that has been verified by us as not causing problems with anything else and they only get what they need. The programmers get access to the compilers and the command line while the English students just get office and a browser. We have SNMP traps warn us when something is about to fail which allows us to sort it before it does. We VLAN everything off to reduce unnecessary network traffic and allow us to provide QoS guarantees for services like streaming media. In short, we try as much as possible to know absolutely everything that goes on in our network - the result as far as the end users are concerned 'Everything just works'
So, Over 600 clients, 1600 users and with just 2 of us to look after it, (we do also have a web developer and a database designer/administrator but they have nothing to do with the running of the network) with half the number of servers you have and I still have plenty of time to read El reg and post because everything works most of the time. So if you are having problems with XP,2000,2003 I would suggest it's because
a) too many different types of OS
b) you don't know enough about MS systems to make them work properly, but of course that's MS fault
I wholeheartedly agree with Morely Dotes points.
I don't expect my wife to install an OS. I install Ubuntu Linux only because it has been difficult to buy a PC pre-installed with a Linux distro. I wouldn't expect my wife to install any variant of Windows. However, when I've previously bought PCs with Windows pre-installed, I've always had to clear the HD & install again, due to the bloatware & poor configuration done by the PC 'manufacturer'. I don't know if the same applies to Dells pre-installed with Ubuntu.
I don't run servers. My wife uses a desktop with Ubuntu Gutsy and there have been very few problems with it. She also has a laptop with Windows XP (because I haven't got round to putting Ubuntu on it) and there are frequent problems with it. The latest was that it suddenly refused to print to a networked printer. I ended up 'removing' the printer & installing it. The Microsft knowledgebase was of no help.
Often, people make valid criticisms of the documentation in Linux distributions. However, the distribution companies need to make money. As the software is normally free, the usual way to do this is via selling training & manuals. However, people are often unwilling to buy these.
Users often say that a particular Windows application (e.g. Photoshop) is not available in Linux. However, they seem to be unwilling to learn a free of charge application (e.g. GIMP) or criticise it as not having some of the facilities of the Windows application.
Both the above characteristics really stem from many people wanting to have something for nothing without being willing to put in some extra effort themselves. I suspect that this is one of the main reasons why Linux distros will never wrest the mass market from Microsoft.