Netbooks reveal the greatest weaknesses of Linux

Users and Linux fans cheered in the recent past, thanks to netbooks with Linux finally extends to households. Unfortunately, Linux will handle your role as you wish. People call back to Windows.

Last week, when my colleague David Prochazka wrote an article on netbooks , it helped me a lot. When is the time for Asus Eee appeared two three four netbooks from other companies, I wanted them to do a comprehensive overview including upcoming news and future plans. But before you could put together the material and squeeze out information from manufacturers, appeared firm X, which launched its netbook, but then another company Y in response to the competition announced that it too will produce, and in the meantime he started talking about Asus Eee new ... The netbooks are just different brands have proliferated and make any comprehensive overview of the already present and does not even cost. But even today I would like to look at netbooks, albeit from a different angle: the topic will be hardships and pleasures of Linux, which appearing on the surface.

Linux lights green

The fact that Linux on personal computers used by far fewer people than Windows now has no price talk. Its share is now around 1% - 2%, and although every year is growing steadily in total (two years before it was somewhere around 0.5%), compared to Windows, this number is still small.

The difference in proportions of Windows and Linux PCs, and is often attributed to the fact that the vast majority of computers are installed Windows from production. The consequences are clear: not only to Linux users complain that they often can not get the laptop in the desired configuration without Windows, but also point out that Linux is practically not get to complete beginners.

But. OEM channel is now opened and Linux. The Linux and thus have access to absolute beginners. The result? Nothing much. The markets do not come much pleasing information. One of the most successful brands of the Wind netbook from MSI. It is sold with both Windows XP Home and Linux. And according to a study by MSI customers coming back more often than netbooks notebooks. A major reason is Linux.

"Our own research has shown that people are more likely to return than ordinary netbooks, laptops - and the main reason is Linux. People like the fact that the computer will pay 299 or $ 399, but have no idea what to go: What you bought, found only at home, they open the box. Runs Linux, a little play in it and suddenly find that it is not what they are accustomed. They do not want to waste time and learn new things, so be brought back into the netbook business. Return netbooks with Linux are at least four times higher than netbooks with Windows XP, "he said recently in an interview with Laptop Magazine, Andy Tung of MSI.

Increased rate of Return watching other companies - and in conjunction with low customer interest in the Linux equipped computers is the result of what it is: netbooks or laptops with Linux preinstalled are being withdrawn from sale. This measure has reached Apricot company, which decided that netbooks Picobook for Linux will continue to offer. The market will deliver a version with Windows XP, though that is the equivalent of 1 500 CZK more expensive.

Register for the magazine company representative said that "Apricot is so decided, therefore, that customers had problems with installing the operating system. Versions of Linux for Beginners proved to be too complicated. Apricot believes that the end customers will offer [Picobook with XP] much more attractive, because such a netbook is ready for use immediately after turning on. "

Direct sales of normal laptops with Linux Web repealed a Lenovo, which defends its move in the same words: low interest from end users. (ThinkPad Laptops with Linux but continue to be available for partners from the corporate sector). Lenovo with Linux games lasted almost one year.

What is wrong

I admit that in the light of this information, I thought one thing: Linux as such it simply failed to do. Excuses to the unavailability of Linux in the OEM channel just now stand. And I challenged various reasons: huge fragmentation of Linux systems (lots of "distribution" known under various names), delusions and myths about Linux specific hardware problems or a lack of market brand that would be a "Linux" challenge. Then I realized, first, that what I'm once wrote ( Can Google change the view to Linux? ), and also that ordinary users is actually not matter if the netbook is Linux or anything else - the hardware is netbooks with Linux installed perhaps with rare exceptions goes well. The main problem is elsewhere.

I intentionally revealed in the text above, what the Linux system in case of frequent disturbances and návratek sales went. ThinkPad, MSI Wind and Picobook to have had a common denominator: SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED). Personally Linux systems from Novell (SLED and openSUSE) I consider one of the best Linux distributions available on the market. As the user would actually have to say "best", but there are a few "buts". Although SLED is in many respects vyladěnější and more reliable than "community" openSUSE market laptops paid for one thing, he has been reading it in the past: that only comes with the GNOME desktop middle * .

SLED 10 with GNOME desktop environment
I do not want to discuss the differences between the two main graphical desktop environments, GNOME and KDE, but these differences not only in their appearance are essential. It is important to know that GNOME is in principle more different from Windows, but Windows because KDE reminds quite a lot.

GNOME desktop environment is the main also a very popular Linux distribution Ubuntu. And even through the first enthusiasm, for example, Acer has decided to sale my laptop with Ubuntu rather than venturing - the reason was the same as above: a small interest and confused users who are unable to bite zahnědlým difference between Ubuntu and Windows XP color. Same problem as reported in the case of Dell Inspiron Mini netbooks 9th.

On the other hand, Asus company claims that customers return Linux netbooks with the Eee in the same way as with Windows XP. The fundamental differences in návratkách depending on the OS can not see or Acer. These two producers but do not use Linux with GNOME (like Ubuntu or SLED) - Asus Eee Xandros Linux system contains the Acer Aspire One in its uses Linpus ** . Both systems were chosen for the KDE graphical environment, but has undergone several major changes and necessary adjustments. Both the environment in the Aspire One and Eee look a bit like systems on mobile phones: a lot barviček large icons and clearly say what it is. In addition, an environment reminiscent to some extent, and Windows (certainly more than a monotonous sequence and GNOME Ubutnu). Their environment is just very intuitive.

Appearance Systems in netbook Asus Eee (Xandros) and Acer Aspire One (Linpus)

The way to get Linux - although at first glance may not be at all clear that this is a Linux - as well as absolute beginners so it looks clear: sell laptops or netbooks with what nejintuitivnějším graphical environment. The choice of GNOME does not appear to be simply happy. The user is not care about what's under the graphic surface, if it's Linux or something else, but how the system operated, how easy it is to him after the first run sžije. Again, here offers a parallel with mobile phones: ordinary user is hardly at the purchase decision, depending on what platform the phone works. In addition, the percentage of order users never know the names of systems on which runs the phone?

Even the name "netbook" is based on its main functions: to connect to the Internet and on the big screen (meaning more than a mobile phone) to browse the web, handle e-mails to communicate with friends and make calls via VoIP (Skype, etc.) In addition, this facilities provide space for office work (writing, spreadsheets, presentations, ...), viewing and editing digital photos, watching videos, listening to music and much more. And since they are not directly available to play 3D games in Windows, there are no problems with it, if a game is going to run on Linux or not. Although some Linux developers (not core, but in all distributions) and the related software from Linux sometimes tries to do something that is unlike Windows, the path way for most users probably will not.

If you are thinking about getting a netbook and you too if you have any guesses about Linux a whole, perhaps text will serve as a small help, what type of cheaper netbook with Linux you choose. Notify So instead of the website or the dealer, which includes the computer system and how it looks. Prevent not only the cultural shock of neintuitivního system design, but also a possible delay in returning or trying to cram into it somehow own Windows.

What discourages you the most on netbooks with Linux?

* Is a graphical desktop environment "envelope" to the system was controlled from a command line. It is therefore a graphical interface and bundled with appropriate programs and services. Besides most popular KDE and GNOME, Xfce, there must be, among others, and Fluxbox. Those not directly related to Linux: they can be used on systems BSD family and others.

** Xandros is based on Corel Linux distribution, which in turn arose from Debian. Linpus is, however, based on Fedora from Red Hat. A note to the Linpus Acer sold and still sells traditional laptops with Linpus, which is missing a graphic coat. After the computer starts by looking at the command line, nothing more. Many have speculated, therefore, if not a surreptitious advertising on Windows, because this looks like a Linux system that can not be used without instructions. In addition, the name "Linpus" looks as if it consisted of the words Linux and Pus, Pus and English means "pus".


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