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For all you car aficionados out there, how's this for an operating system analogy from PC World? Installing Linux onto a laptop sold by the computer retail behemoth is like putting a Ford engine into a BMW, apparently. Earlier this week a mysterious PC World customer, known only by the name of Tikka, posted a story to Slashdot …

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Windows Marketing At It's Best

How's this for search results:

Search results for: "linux"

PC World Recommends Windows Vista® Home Premium

Followed by the actual results, which don't include any Linux products. I wonder how much MS paid for that little *ahem* slip-up? Or is it irony at a base level?

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I'd reverse the analogy myself.

Actually, my experience is that installing Linux is like installing a Porche engine into an old VW Bug. Anything I can do to significantly decrease response time and increase my control over a machine is good news to me.

Then again, I don't shop at PC World or shops of that ilk anymore. It's definitely a truism that their staff wouldn't know squat about computers even if you rammed one up their arrogant behinds. All they know is how to sell extended warranties and unsuitable toys.

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Putting Linux on an PC world laptop is like...

...putting a Ford (GT) engine into a BMW (316i).

It might go faster, but why would you bother?

John

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apart from anything else...

Leaving aside the inaccuracy of that ludicrous analogy, surely it depends on which BMW and which Ford engine. I'd quite like an E30 3 series with a stonking great pushrod Ford V8 under the bonnet for instance.

I'm sure Ford aren't particularly happy with the comparison either.

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Silver badge

But the disk..

Most service places if it is not 110% obvious a HW problem (i.e. no pickaxe stuck in screen) will format the disk and re-install. Or even fit a new disk and not even install.

So really backup before leaving anything in for repair and make sure you have re-install disks & licence keys for everything, Linux is the least of the problems.

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Hmm, what's that in the corner of the software racks?

Looks like a copy of SuSE Linux to me, for a mere £80.

And I wouldn't called Windows Vista Home a BMW engine, more like a Ford Ka, with no user serviceable parts inside.

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Tom
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So they want to tell me what software I can run?

Surely the point of a computer is to run software.

I dont see how you can sell someone a computer and then say - 'you can only run these programs on it'.

And what happens to your Windows box when an online update wipes it out?

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Anonymous Coward

and

and putting vista on your laptop is like taking a shit in your sandwich and then eating it.

stick with XP people, don't take a shit in your sandwich.

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And since they sell Windows-infested boxes...

expect nothing else.

And the correct analogy is this: http://www.choppingblock.org/d/20070829.html

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Anonymous Coward

Analogies

Analogies:-

Here's another one for you:-

"Expecting a decent computer from DSGi is like expecting haute cuisine from Pizza Hut".

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This post has been deleted by its author

60 Million Customers?

Isn't that roughly every single person in the UK?

They might need to re-think that as I know at least 5 people who have never been into one of their stores or indeed probably ever will.

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Anonymous Coward

What BMW, and what Ford?

A 3-series could do for a good engine at some point. Most anything in Ford's entire worldwide lineup, but in particular that stuff they sell the Australians as 'cars' but are actually 'Satan's chariots' would be an appropriate engine donor.

Now, buying an M5 and putting in a base Focus North American motor would be a bad idea all around.

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Anonymous Coward

Ford vs BMW

Being a fan of BMW, Ford and Linux, I had to make a comment. I was upset at first but realized this was a compliment not an insult. For instance, drop a Ford 427 SOHC (Single Over Head Cam) in a 7 Series BMW and see what you get. It will be rude and crude but with 600+ reliable horsepower, who cares.

Linux is like Ford in this example. It can be rude and crude but when tuned correctly for your needs, it runs fast and reliable, so who cares.

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PC World support

I'll beleive that when I see it, having been a few times to visit PC world, to explain to staff that the 486DX4/100 they had sold to one single mother was not a actually the Pentium she had payed for (they replaced it with a P75) and that an on-motherboard game port did not constitute the working MIDI interface.that had been the point of relevance of a specific machine to to another, elderly, customer, who only wanted a computer to use with his MIDI-equipped home organ. (they eventually provided the relevant adaptor, but tried for ages to screw an extra fifteen quid out of the aged customer.)

Offline, the "Tech guys" portray themselves as a good lot, but bound by the rules of what seems to be a rabidly anti-customer-support management.

As I'm shopping for a high-end laptop myself at the mo, I'll be sure to give PC-world a miss!

No change then.

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This is why I'd never buy a computer from PC World

Happily, here in Cambridge, we have an excellent company called World of Computers, which is staffed by real IT professionals who don't bat an eyelid when you take one of their machines in for a hardware upgrade and tell them: "By the way, it runs Fedora Core 6, not Windows." Not only are they happy to install new hardware in the machine, but they will boot it up and check that the new hardware works correctly under Linux before handing the machine back to you.

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Pizza Hut

Hey, don't insult Pizza Hut. I've been there many times, and had many enjoyable experiences by competent staff. This doesn't compare in the slightest to any visit to Pc-World.

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Search Results

Just to clarify, the Maxtor external hard drive and Home & Student edition of Microsoft Office 2007 are just a generic bit of promotional advertising that are returned at the top of all search results, no matter the term. If you search for anything else, they'll still come up at the top of the page.

The actual results for the search time "Linux" are a ZOOM 3049 56k V.92 External Modem. Hell knows why.

The general rule here is don't buy anything from PC World. Ever.

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The PCW sudden change of heart is the interesting bit

The tread on Slashdot contains multiple instances of detailed instructions on how to use Trading Standards to fight with a rogue trader who tries to revoke your rights as a consumer. I suspect this is the primary reason behind their sudden 180 degrees turn. All the rest is just PR dross.

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Gold badge

They sell Linux

PC World sell boxed Linux, I even (stupidly) bought Mandrake there once.

So if they think it's good enough to sell, why do they treat it like it is some second rate OS which breaks stuff?

Even www.pcworld.co.uk is running on Apache, so they don't mind open source so long as it's making them a buck or two.

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As a former Tech Guys (then known as "PC ServiceCall") employee...

... I have to say *I* used to be baffled by this "we can't support your machine if you've replaced the operating system" policy. Sure, I could understand that the student I spoke with who had replaced his pre-installed version of XP Home (which worked fine) with a *pirated* copy of XP Professional (because his student friends told him to), would have a slight problem. However, what on earth does a different operating system have to do with a broken hinge?!?!

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@ But the disk...

I agree, all they do is reformat! We had a PC in recently which had been taken to PC World with a system32/config hive error (easily fixable, and with other data still on the disk!) and the guys had just whacked an XP disc in and started to reformat and reinstall. Our customer had already told them not to do anything until he had given the go ahead, and just as they had started the setup he called them to say he was taking it for a second opinion (us). They obviously just turned the machine off mid-format as we could only *just* recover some of the data that was left, but with no filenames (MFT gone).

I did press our customer to complain/sue but he was just happy he got a few documents back...

Worst thing is they give independent computer outlets like ourselves a bad rep!

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Legally tricky

I'm no lawyer but would have thought this puts them on tricky ground. By making the use of Windows a condition of their warranty they could possibly find themselves having to warranty software that the original manufacturer doesn't. It would take a court to decide but most courts don't like product vendors who try to take advantage of both sides of a situation and would take a dim view of a warranty that's dependant on a component that itself has no warranty.

If I were a hardware vendor the last thing I would want to be doing is associating Windows with any kind of warranty as you're warrantying product as "free from defects" which is suicidal as it's always going to be possible to find it unfit for purpose.

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Anonymous Coward

Shameless plug

My company will work on any laptop, bought anywhere, running any software. Give me a lookup if you're ever in Colorado, mate. ;-)

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Anything to avoid warranty expenses

Some shops have a tendency to use any excuse to avoid expenses related to warranty. A very common approach is persuading the customer to pay for an insurance that doesn't provide (much) more coverage than warranty would do for free. Another is using ridiculous excuses to void warranty, hoping the customer will fall for it and pay for a repair or replacement they should have had for free. Or sending the item to a repair shop that doesn't really solve the problem, and then refusing to replace it with a new item, but instead insisting on keeping sending it to repairs that don't help.

This story sounds like one of these bad excuses to avoid expenses, so it doesn't really say anything about PC World being clueless, but more about dodgy business practices.

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Sam
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True Story

Whilst at the check out at PC world buying some DVD R's the (old) lady was having some problems getting the product to scan and complete my purchase for me.

She looked at me and said:

"I hate computers I do"

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Who?

PCWorld...service?

What is...PCWorld...service?

Honestly, are you lot trying to con me into believing that everytime I walk into a PCWorld cavern there are actually people there to serve you??!?!?

Honestly, you'll tell me the junk they sell also has (accurate) prices on them next...

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Anonymous Coward

Of course if you buy a jaguar

You have probably got a Ford engine in it anyway (or even worse a Ford/PSA collaboration engine)

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Anonymous Coward

You are the weakest link

Ok, wiping PC World off my list of intelligent life, er, knowledgeable IT professionals.

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... The experts at PC World

Bit of a crazy story really, but glad its all sorted now.

How can they justify telling a customer that because he/she changed the software, that they will not fix a crack/breakage - maybe if the damage was customer induced/neglect, then the store has the right to not fix the fault under warranty (it still wouldn't make the warranty void....

Maybe if the wireless card wasn't working then the work wouldn't have been carried out under warranty, but being told that the warranty is _void_ is just bizarre.

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Pizza preferences

I gave up on PH when they said "we don't have any deep-pan bases in" - erm, don't you just roll them out ?! Obviously not. Get 'em from the lorry.

And then comparing the floury pizza base I was given with my recollection of pizzas in Italy.

Why does no-one in the UK use thinly sliced ham like in Italy instead of that chopped up spam ?

Sorry, no Linux angle there ...

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Not Only Linux

What a crock. Every machine I've dual booted XP/Ubuntu has run twice as fast in Ubuntu.

It's not only Linux they don't like though. I recently purchased a MacBook in PC World (it was the only place with them in stock - honest!) and the salesman spent all his time trying to persuade me that I really wanted a Vista laptop.

He explained how unreliable and prone to problems the Apple was, that the software was difficult to maintain and if anything went wrong with the OS I'd be stuck. He basically said that PC World would wash their hands of any support responsibility once I'd left the store.

I then explained that even if I did buy a Vista machine it would be reformatted to Linux within half an hour and that as I've managed perfectly well to run Linux on home built machines for the last 7 years, I could probably cope with the BSD core of OSX.

At this point he raised an eyebrow, passed me off to the nearest Saturday lad and walked away... Nice.

There's service for you!

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As has been pointed out...

...there's bugger-all wrong with Ford engines. ESPECIALLY a 427 cammer. I dunno about the Porsche engine/VW analogy though, whilst it would increase response times, I am inclined to think control issues would rear their ugly heads...

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Anonymous Coward

@John Latham

Why? Probably for exactly the same reason I have Linux on mine... Fast, stable, secure, oh and the wep key sniffing programs run so much better under linux!

The big question must be, why is a linux geek buying hardware from PC World!

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Surely its just less hassel to reinstall?

Laptop would of come with a recovery disk, so just ghost an image of drive, insert cd and stick xp on and take back to get fixed. Sure can become some consumer hero looking for 15 minutes of fame but doesnt get your laptop fixed any quicker does it?

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Anonymous Coward

Windows > Linux

I don't see the bug fuss about PC World avoiding Linux. Their 'newbie' customers will have a much better and easier time with Windows than ANY Linux distro.

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Anonymous Coward

Linux

At one point PC World actually stocked a computer that came preinstalled with Linux. It was one of the worst computers they sold, not because it had Linux, a small desktop cased Patriot. They also sold the same model with Windows (ME I think) but it was so under specified that to reinstall some of the software that came on the windows model you actually had to add more memory.

I seem to remember it was something like a 400Mhz CPU with 32 or 64MB of RAM.

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Personal Computer World.

Can't be very personal if one can't switch O.S.'s. I reckon the guy in the shop made an honest mistake..however this indicates a culture in which warranty turndowns are the norm. From my experience of PC World in Glasgow I found their repairs to be good..even on several occasions repairing things that would normally be chargable for free. Turning on the charm does help slightly & trying to find staff at the service counter is another hurdle but hey. Thats another story. :D

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Taking your PC to PC World for repair is like........

.....taking your car to the monkey enclosure at the zoo to get a new exhaust and tyres fitted.

Except that if there were enough monkeys, they might at least stand a chance at getting part-way through the job.

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Who said the analogy?

The opening paragraph makes it sound like the analogy is a quote from someone at PC World:

"how's this for an operating system analogy from PC World? Installing Linux onto a laptop sold by the computer retail behemoth is like putting a Ford engine into a BMW, apparently."

However, the quote is not mentioned in the story that you link to -- the words Ford and BMW do not appear anywhere on the page -- so where did it come from? Did PC World actually say it? If they did why isn't there a link to some kind of evidence?

As far as the rest of the story goes, I agree that it sucks for them to refuse to repair a hardware error because Linux was installed although I don't see the relevance of mentioning that they don't sell Linux on their website (so what? it doesn't make their stance better or worse).

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engines

Stick a GT40 engine in a chassis without the gearbox and the rest of the goodies and see where it gets you.

A better analogy would be:

Its like putting a ford GT40 engine ina BMW, but then having to make your own gearbox, grow your own trees for the tyre rubber, mine your own metal for the alloy wheels, etc.

"Linux is like Ford in this example. It can be rude and crude but when tuned correctly for your needs, it runs fast and reliable, so who cares."

Not a bad analogy. Basically to get what you need out of it, you need to be a bit of mechanic. No good for anyone who does not want to piss about under the hood and spend hours tweaking it, and buying lots of Snap-on tools, etc.

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Windows < Linux

If the newbies were on Linux, OSX, *BSD they wouldn't learn those bad M$ habits, and would learn what a f*up m$ is.

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Ford Engine into a BMW great Idea!

What an analogy!

Yes I would like a nice old ford engine in a BMW too. Forget all the modern crap on a Beamer engine that limits what you can do to it, take a stock pinto/crossflow/kent/CVH and tune it to where you want it.

A Ford engine may not be open source but they are certainly massivley modifiable

Loads of companies around that will tune your Ford engine for you as well a bit like all those different Distros.

All the comfort of and performance of a Beamer M5 without all the arsing around with the computer to get it into super quick mode :-)

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Windows > Linux

Yes yes, Windows is easier to use for those who can't be arsed learning about computers than Linux is yada-blah.

Here's some news for all those that persist in this argument..

An electric wheelchair is easier to use for those who can't be arsed learning to drive than a Range-Rover is - but that does not make it 'better' for driving down the highway.

The result of the ignorant using inadequate equipment because it's 'easier' is likely to be the same in both cases - a nasty and painful crash.

How's that for an analogy?

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While buying a printer at PC World...

"Would you like to sign up for our PC repair service?"

"I don't think your guys would have a clue what to do with my PC."

"They're pretty good!"

"No really..."

I so wish I'd taken that conversation further. XD

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@You are the weakest link

They were on it in the first place??

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Anonymous Coward

You shouldn't be surprised

This is PC World you're talking about. I went there to buy parts to build a computer (I know stupid me) and the "proud" member of staff boasts that they don't have all the compatible components at the component store.

Have you noticed how long their complaints / returns queue always is? And their stores seem to be mostly empty.

And to add Linux to it all...sheesh don't ask them, ask your tech savvy neighbour who probably knows more than PC World and their management put together.

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Not an Isolated incident.

No surprise, PCWorld don't like admitting anything and replacing their faulty goods even less.

I had the same response when I tried to get a replacement on a 2 month old laptop that had gone faulty (Dead pixels, Intermittent Power failure, Mains adapter socket not always registering it had been connected to charge, fscked keyboard..... i.e all hardware related)

Initially as I had linux on I was told that they don't deal with "Alien Software". Asked them if it was really made by aliens as that would be worth a fortune. And got told that ANY SOFTWARE INSTALLED invalidates their warranty.

One Arguement in store and a visit to Trading Standards made no difference whatsoever...... PCWorld refused to budge. A quick call to Head office for their legal department and a half hour arguement over the Sales Of Goods Act and I managed to get a replacement the next day. After resetting it with the VISTA CD of course.

It shouldn't be this hard to get faulty hardware replaced, it should be checked INSTORE and sorted within a day or two.

Strangely they have now put up signs saying 28 day refund or it gets repaired, which is still against SOGA.

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I find it a bit strange....

....that some one who understands PC's enough to be able/want to use Linux would ever step foot in PCWorld.

Its just a re-branded Currys/Dixons, and I have yet to see anything in there that is better value than any online store.

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Silver badge

Nice insult all the way round

So let me get this straight. Just how many BMWs have their doors fall off in the first place? I would think BMW would be rather insulted at the comparison to an unhinged laptop.

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