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back to article HP UK pulls Linux from all new netbooks

HP has decided UK consumers don't want Linux-based netbooks. Actually, it appears to believe business buyers don't want the open-source OS either. It emerged today that the company will not now be bringing its Mini 1000 netbook to the UK - at least not with Linux on board. Nor will it release the more business-oriented Mini …

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Pirate

Dirty deals done dirt cheap

"Quit with the non-MS netbooks or you risk losing your $M/year 'goodwill' from Microsoft"

It's a shame IBM don't do PCs any more, maybe one of the reasons is they got fed up with MS trying to play bully boy, either way it's a shame the MS monopoly means none of the volume PC builders are financially able to tell MS where to stick their goodwill.

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Linux

HP drops Linux

And we dropped HP!!

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Unhappy

What the hell?

There go my plans of ordering one.

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Linux

So linux will find its way on like it usually does

By us users putting it on the system after the purchase, and giving microsoft their license money anyway.

It's sad that that's the way of the world right now, but if Linux isn't much of a money spinner in the netbook market then I guess this will continue to happen.

Us penguins will just have to take solace in the fact that large corporations and government departments are increasingly investigating, investing in and switching to FOSS.

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Just the UK or Europe too?

I was looking foreward to HP's rumoured Via Nano laptop, but if it comes with Microsoft tax I will look elsewhere.

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Linux

Gits

And there i was thinking these were quite nice machines.

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Anonymous Coward

Considering the 2133, lack of Linux is a good thing.

Given that everything I've seen regarding the Linux installation on the 2133 suggests it was a piss poor half arsed abomination that left built in stuff like the webcam non-functional and the wireless required ndiswrapper, then HP no longer offering Linux on their netbooks seems like a good thing. There are comments on retail site from people who've bought it and got their first impression of Linux from it saying how rubbish Linux is as a result. Better that the not offer Linux at all than further damaging it's image via their incompetence.

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Re: So linux will find its way on like it usually does

"By us users putting it on the system after the purchase, and giving microsoft their license money anyway."

Is it still true (was it ever) that one can return the Windows licence (to HP or Microsoft) and get the money back? Has anyone ever done this? It would be interesting to try it, simply to discover how much money was involved. One suspects that companies like HP aren't paying very much for their licences.

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Linux

(_o_) bandits...

And there was I, a seasoned SuSE user, thinking about getting one. Ah well...

Plenty of other competition out there and, happily, I'm not too fussy about which Linux I use.

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Anonymous Coward

I understand why they are doing this

This is not because of pressure from M$ but because of customer pressure.

Have a read through the comments on Ebuyer from all the people who purchased an HP 2133 with Linux and see how many of them wiped it and installed Windows (http://www.ebuyer.com/product/145008/show_product_reviews).

And before you start jumping up and down in your favourite nix T-shirt getting angry. 90% of the comments are from people who find the Linux distro installed to be a poor choice and not flexible enough for their needs. Some of them are even Linux users.

So, maybe HP should install a better flavour rather than ditching it completely.

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No crap tax! Can't pay! Won't pay! No crap tax!

So if I want one and want to install my own O/S I now have to pay the M$ tax to buy the machine? Can I simply buy the machine with any O/S installed or is that too much for HP to comprehend?

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Anonymous Coward

The trend continues

So much for 2009 being the year of Linux then! The public obviously do not want/understand this arcane OS, so there is no/poor demand for it, so OEMs stop using it.

I guess Linux distros will remain consigned to niche server spaces (and set-top boxes etc) where the average PC user doesn't need to go near it.

Which is bit of a shame as a few of the Linux distros have the odd interesting feature, but obviously not enough for the public to demand it.

Or will the MS conispracy tin-foil hat brigade murmur that MS have *forced* this change?

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Re: I understand why they are doing this

"Have a read through the comments on Ebuyer from all the people who purchased an HP 2133 with Linux and see how many of them wiped it and installed Windows"

Judging by the Inquirer article on this topic, many of them probably uninstalled an unlicensed, "warez edition" version of Windows.

"90% of the comments are from people who find the Linux distro installed to be a poor choice and not flexible enough for their needs. Some of them are even Linux users. So, maybe HP should install a better flavour rather than ditching it completely."

Agreed. I don't understand why the vendors are pushing obscure variants or arguably discredited distributions like Xandros (who paid their Microsoft protection money). There's substantial interest in installing Ubuntu on all this hardware, indicating that this is actually want the customer wants.

Perhaps HP can learn a lesson from Dell on this matter.

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Linux

MS Taxe$

Dell users have successfully claimed back Windows cost.

However the Windows may be subsidized by shovelware/Trailware. Linux then to compete needs similar rubbish pay SW trails you need to remove :( to compete :)

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Unhappy

@ lack of Linux is a good thing.

"Considering the 2133, lack of Linux is a good thing."

*ALL* forum that report Windows users' experience of notebooks/netbooks/whatever bought with Linux have plenty of reports saying Linux is crap.

Purely because they look on Linux as a replacement for Windows and don't recognise that it is a different O/S .

"I can't even install Norton on it".

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Linux

unfair pricing

I bought neither an HP nor a Dell Linux laptop, much as I wanted to. By the time you specc'd them to the same ram and hard disk as the Winjows version they cost 30% more.

No matter how determined I am not to give any more money to the empire of evil, I don't see why I should be ripped off for it. Instead I bought a second hand one from a backstreet shop and put ubuntu on it. OK, the camera doesn't work, but who cares? I have no use for it anyway.

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Coat

Customer

"HP has decided UK consumers don't want Linux-based netbooks"

Then as a UK customer, I have decided that I don't want an HP netbook.

On the other hand, if the install of Linux on those machines was piss-poor as commented above, I can understand. It's the same with the version of Xandros installed on the Eee: functional but very limited out of the box by the Asus software repositories. This is also why I am interested to see what Canonical will be able to do with their NBR Ubuntu as they're saying that they are talking to manufacturers. If they really engage with manufacturers with user experience in mind, as they've been doing with desktop Ubuntu over the past few years, we could see some interesting things coming to market.

Mine's the one with Ubuntu on a Stick in the pocket.

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Linux

Sorry HP this does not make sense

Clearly they have the wrong distro, they're going to lose out on this one. More market share to a forward thinking company. I don't believe people want to pay out another 25% on top of the hardware cost just for the OS and I think the market is reflecting that.

http://www.eeextra.com/news/netbook-sales-figures-for-q3-2008.html

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Linux

Shame

Nice looking machine. Shame I won't be buying one...

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Ah, good.

Saves me the trouble of comparing their kit then, no reason to buy now.

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Anonymous Coward

Linux doesn't cut the mustard

Linux will never take off. You fanboys just have to accept that.

No matter how good it is or how willing you are to learn how to do Linuxy stuff, normal people just want to point and click with the same ease of use as a washing machine.

Normal people are so stupid that they fill in contact forms on websites asking how to contact the website - I'm not joking, I actually see them. Phone numbers and land addresses are also printed on the contact form page, so it isn't just that they want to acquire a phone number or address instead of emailing.

Vista may have been a dropped bollock for MS, but all that's done is drive some people to Macs. Vista will pass and W7 will gain good publicity because it'll be compared to Vista and not XP, and people will resume buying Windows again and be happy as a pig in shite. Macs will lose market share and everyone will blame it on Apple themselves, saying that they're too busy larking about with iPods and have let their computer efforts slip. The truth will simply be that those people alienated by Vista will be returning to the fold.

The only threat to Windows isn't another operating system, it's all that cloud shite. When all you need to do computery stuff is "a computer" then people will forget about Windows and just buy a computer that looks cool, as long as it loads gMail & gOffice and lets them Twitter properly they'll show as much interest in their computer's OS as they do to their washing machine's OS or what kind of drive link or counter-balance system it uses.

It was the same with cars. Once, you used to need to know how to set the timing and change the spark plugs. These days loads of people don't even know where the oil and water goes, and some wives don't even know where to put the petrol, or if their car's petrol or diesel because their husband usually fills it up despite driving it half of the time. That is the future of computers, and you fanboys ain't going to like it, no more that greasers back in the 80s liked the new generation of motorists coming along who didn't even stop to consider back or front wheel drive before choosing a car.

The way people are so blindly using Google Chrome and saying "so what?" to warnings that it keeps tabs on you or came with a ToC that said Google owned everything you did online is an omen.

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Linux

Probably not HP saying goodbye to Linux

HP does support and sponsor OSS quite a lot and also I believe to have heard that a lot of Debian internal/dev/build machines are run or sponsored by HP. I don't think the message is "They gave up on Linux" maybe they just realized that the endusers (net|note)book is not the best target for Linux and that it does more bad than good to Linux in general when you equip endusers with poorly adapted distros that only support half of the hardware that is built into a notebook nowadays out of the box.

But OTOH nobody is saying that HP will stop selling blades, big iron and whatever for and with Linux, so maybe they just feel the effort not worth the gain when supporting end users with Linux on their netbooks (which I would find understandable at a certain point).

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M$ tax

OK, so I replaced the copy of Suse on my hp2133 with Ubuntu, but I love my 2133. I was about to order another for the Mrs so she doesn't have to keep pinching mine. Where ever I go people are really interested in it. Sitting here in a coffee bar the waiter was over a few minutes ago enquiring about it, second waiter this week. It looks far better than any of the other netbboks I've seen. It has enough resources to run Liinux happily, not needing to cripple it with loads of layer of anti virus and firewall stuff means that for lots of stuff it's faster than my WIndows desktop (3GHz CPU and 2GB of RAM).

I agree that HP messed up by choosing SUSE not Ubuntu.

I object to paying for an M$ license I won't use. I don't think this box would be good with Windows on, then it wounld be too slow.

Hopefully there will be some good deals on the outgoing 2133s.

I think they've screwed up on this one.

I bet this one is down to pressure from M$

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Linux

Not surprised - SLED10 is cr*p - but.................

I bought one of these because of: VERY nice Keyboard, Bluetooth and 120G harddrive.

However the Novel SuSE SLED10 OS is awful and makes a mockery of the progress made by Linux in the last few years. All that dependency and command line stuff you read about? - it's all true with SLED10 on the 2133 - and yet PCworld have the cheek to label it 'easy to use' - you cant even blinking well log in to have a look at the ones in their shops!!!!!!!!

Aaaanyway I didn't even consider XP, let alone Vista. I went straight to Ubuntu 8.10.

Brilliant! everything works - mobile 3g dongles, office , networking - even a bluetooth link to my mobile

So. HP screwed this nice device up royally with linux and are now using that to justify dropping it.

It's a great pity. XP seems to be the default for netbooks now and M$FT seems to have out manouvred Linux. Perhaps it will get another chance when XP finally bites the dust and Windows 7 is too expensive.

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Eat shit and die!

W@nkers! we all know HP sold their soul to the Devil years ago anyway!

They had the chance to make the best Enterprise version of UNIX ever by bringing together HP-UX with Tru64 and VMS when they took over Compaq.

What did they do instead? They mothballed the lot, (ignore whatever Matty boy will counter claim) abandoning their Legacy customers, while at the same time bending over nicely for Bill and Steve.

Well fuk em, last time I buy anything HP along with the Microshit now.

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@Chika

Is it really acceptable to call people 'arsebandits' just because you don't agree with their way of doing business? Would you suggest that they are part of any other minority with an insult? Maybe you'd like to try racism and sexism to add to your homophobia. It's not the 1970s any more, you should probably grow up.

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Nic
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I love the fanboys

Wow from reading these comments. That's almost 10 sales HP will have lost!

El Reg is hardly the best representation of netbook users. I personally use Vista for my development PC and Linux for my servers. I know there are plenty of good Linux OS's out there but I really don't care.

MS aren't evil, they are successful. I know that might be an alien concept you some of the commenter's here but thems the breaks.

Guess what, HP are pretty successful too. They got that way by making smart business led decisions. Not catering to a bunch of freetard whiners who seriously don't sound like they get anything done other than tweaking their Linux Distros and commenting on El Reg. In this case their decision was likely based on what sells.

(Insert your fav linux distro here) may be more powerful and cheaper but if it doesn't shift Netbooks in any numbers, no company in their right mind are going to go to the effort of stocking it just for the odd techie who might buy it.

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Done Their Market Research

Netbooks are targetted at low-tech users more than any other party. Most of these users, who only want to pay £200 for a netbook for email and porn, sorry, basic surfing, are not particularly tech-savvy. HP saw what happened when CPW etc were selling Linux-based netbooks, where the returns increased massively, and support costs went through the roof, because nobody understood what was happening. In most minds on the street, if it ain't Windows, they don't get it. Even more so for the less technical types who struggle to rip a CD.

They're not going to be concerned with losing a few dozen sales from techies who want Linux, when they know they're not going to have high support overheads from people looking for the Start button, followed by returns of the equipment.

It would be nice if they had the option of Linux / Windows XP / Vista, and pre-installed / costed based on your choice, and that way we could order what we wanted - but that would, most likely lead to everyone choosing the Linux option (because it's the cheapest) and ending up back at the start as soon as it gets switched on and there's no Clippy to "assist" them.

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Go

@@So linux will find its way on like it usually does

So do the pimples on my 63 year old ass. Just because something keeps popping up doesn't make it a success. It has to pop up, grow, spread, take over and become the primary whatever it is. Otherwise, well, it's just a pain in the ass.

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Just about the most awful thing imaginable.

I cannot believe that any sentient being would choose Windows over Linux - if they had a choice.

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Anonymous Coward

Not surprised

Their Via based netbooks were crap and over priced. Most sensible people (i.e. all the Linux users) steered clear of them. It is a shame that they finally seem to have got their hardware sorted out and they decided to drop Linux. Fair point about the Linux netbooks being no good for Windows users - I wonder how many people buy Mac Book Pro's and then end up using Windows on it the whole time (possibly about the same ratio?).

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Unhappy

Are you really surprised

I'm an IT consultalt and I really want to like Linux but it's a constant let down.

Every 12 months or so I fire up a distribution to see how it's come on and it certainly has over the last 5 years or so but it's still so far away from being mainstream.

Only yesterday I loaded Ubuntu on my PC and there's no driver for my printer, there's no napster client or tunebite equivalent, I've loaded Lord of The Rings on-line under Wine and it runs OK but not as good as under windows, my bluetooth adapter doesn't work, I've got no sync software for my phone or my road angel, etc, etc. I haven't even tried to see if my games console can interact with it.

So after a few hours of fiddling and searching, which I don't have to do under windows, it'll probably be getting wiped again soon.

IMHO for the desktop environment the MS tax is money well spent. Linux just doesn't cut it for the average home PC user.

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Linux

And Linux users drop HP

if only they'd had Mandriva on it

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IT Angle

Lazy

People are basically lazy and what the easiest option, the one of least resistance....unless there is big money to be made from something, then they make an effort.

Linux, much as I like it, only got a show on netbooks because of the initial cost differentials between the two 2 OSs plus a bit of curiosity is building up re Linux, especially since the vista disaster and its inability to tun on netbooks.

But unless someone can really provide a linux distribution that will not cause a massive % increase in returns and support costs and p!ssed off customers who expected to run some particular windows software on their machines, then linux ain't gonna take off in a big way (desite my personal preferences for it - I have "Ubuntu Studio", very nice, on the family PC plus XP for the kids games)

In this case I blame HP almost completely for not taking the time and effort to think this through properly, and implement it properly...plus the British public being so thick and bloody whinghing and suing that they deserve what they get.

And I don't think MS are evil, just bloody successful and protecting their business same as any other business of any size tries to protect its business interests.

Only if MS became a non-profit, or communist collective, would some people be happy, but then those same people want everything to be free whilst still having all the luxuries and tech available to support their high-carbon lives - kind of impossible unfortunately given human nature and the overwhelming capitalist system.

More to the point, why does anyone want a bloody netwook anyway when you can get a smartphone or ipod which is just as useful and far more portable. Life with a laptop (so no desktop needed), plus a smartphone keeps me nicely productive wherever I am, even when on the bog.

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Nic
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@Cavehomme

I agree with you in all but the lazy comment. Sometimes its just down to time. I want to be earning not tweaking.

I am 100% with you ref smartphones. The ONLY reason I don't yet have a netbook (serial tech buyer) is my iPhone does just about all I would ever need to use a netbook for. Namely email, web, rdp (albeit a bit small), SSH (albeit a bit slow to type, only used in an emergency anyway). Oh and make calls!

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Gold badge

Mis-sold

Many of these netbooks are mis-sold or given away with mobile broadband contracts. This is the main problem, clueless customers given something they won't understand.

If you had a clue you probably wouldn't sign up for a mobile broadband contract, the modems are cheap and the 3 PAYG options are good enough. A contract offers you nothing other than a bribe of a free netbook.

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Linux

M$ tax allright...

Well, I was already letting pass the new aspire until they arrive in the Linux version. I don't understand why people still use windows - I only use it when I am forced to (at work), but do most of my work on Linux (kubuntu 8.10/Mandriva 2009.0 running kde 4.2), as it is so much easier to use, so much more stable, so much faster than the windows crap. I'd guess that some paytards would cry and shout and demand windows on their netbooks so that they could be as slow as they are used to, but any informed consumer, that bought a netbook would surely choose the best OS for the job?

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Linux

Licence Agreement

So you either just choose not to buy one if Linux is important, of you buy one, refuse the M$ licence and return it unactivated for a full refund to HP. Then (or maybe before), download the Linux offering so you can install that in place of the M$ bloatware.

Had HP done a proper job on their Linux install, they'd not have so many problems. This is where Linux is failing - too many companies don't actually bother to put in the up-front work needed to make it go smoothly and provide a good user experience.

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Linux

@Doug Glass

Linux is already a multi-billion dollar success, regardless of whether or not Joe Arsewit uses it on his netbook.

"It has to pop up, grow, spread, take over and become the primary whatever it is."

Why? Are you saying that monoculture in Desktop OS's is actually a desirable thing?

We've seen where that path leads - to increasingly sophisticated attacks that are massively successful because they can exploit weaknesses found on so many identical machines. I'd love for more people to use linux on their machines, but I'm not foolish enough to be shouting about linux being the only OS. That's what got us into MS style trouble in the first place.

"Otherwise, well, it's just a pain in the ass."

Then I am gladly a pain in the arse or a thorn in the side of you and your ilk, and will continue to be so!

@Gazzak

I'm surprised about the printer. My experience with printers in Linux has been better than n windows. On vista I had to download and install over 100 MB of stuff (I'm really not kidding, though I later found out there's a 38MB version if you follow the "business" link) to get my HP network printer up and running. On Ubuntu I just hit "scan" and it found and configured it.

As for napster and tunebite - sorry, but you want to subscribe to a DRM'd music hire service like napster and then rip the results.... Isn't that somewhat immoral? And probably illegal? Avoid DRM and crap like napster in the first place matey. Or try it on wine...

Your games console will be able to interact fine, if you find a upnp serving program like mediatomb, geexbox, ushare or others. Available from repositories in ubuntu.

Personally, I find linux easier to set up and more functional than windows, for my needs. But I realise it doesn't work that way for everyone, and I don't tend to buy cheap-ass devices that can only be used with a PC speaking a proprietary protocol from windows-only software.

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@Kwac

You closing quote says it all.

It is for precisely that reason, that the bog standard consumer buying these things cannot use their familiar software, that Linux isn't taking off. It's not a criticism of Linux either, it is simply a fact that the majority of the sales are to people who crave the familiar, or at least something that gives them a quick and accessibly way to get to the familiar.

Linux doesn't, and Norton et al is their familiar. If the OS prevents them installing a copy of Norton etc and feeling safe using the internet why would people buy it en mass?

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Anonymous Coward

@Nic

"MS aren't evil, they are successful."

Don't try to make your argument with such utter nonsense. "Evil" and "successful" are not diametrically opposed. You can be both. As M$ proves, along with *many* other companies.

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If they'd only install _real_ Windows on those boxes

Unfortunately they only install the dumbed down versions of Windows which do not have propper network support (especially terminal server). If they'd go with a propper version I could understand going for Windows, but what use is that OS, if you can't log into your laptop or desktop from another machine to use your data on a larger screen?

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Re: Not surprised - SLED10 is cr*p - but.................

Exactly right - my Mini 2133 had SLED and it was replaced quickly by Ubuntu 8.x - it transformed the netbook and it now runs excellently. While I have used OpenSuse before successfully, SLED was quite un-good.

With Ubuntu, all power saving/suspend/hibernate features work, Wifi works even with WPA2, and it just runs great. I did have to update the BIOS and also manually run the steps documented on the Ubuntu twiki to get wifi working but it was easy.

So folks, please calm down - so what if HP doesn't sell netbooks with Linux. Consider it a $100 discount - sell your Win/XP license to a needful soul and install Ubuntu (or your fav Linux variant) and be happy. Golly!

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Anonymous Coward

@Win tax idiots

If there is not an increase in the price of the Mini 1000 netbook with windows, there is no "tax". Please pick something else to whine about.

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Linux

Open Source is the future

ZDNet UK asked for clarification, HP sent a statement in which it said it had "assessed the current EMEA market and believes that the Compaq 700 and HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition better address the market and consumer needs".

Pity they didn't ask any of us Reg readers.

I was looking forward to a Linux version, so waiting for a US trip or get something else.

As regards SLED on the older HP, a friend bought 2 and SLED didn't have all the hardware working, which is inexcusable. He installed Ubuntu & got it all working relatively quickly.

As regards not being good enough for the desktop, tell that to me and my customers who have been using for 4+ years. Here's a prime example:

http://www.geek.com/articles/chips/zdnet-asks-if-you-like-windows-7-2009026/

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Finally, sanity in the marketplace!

It is about time computer manufacturers realized Windows or Mac are the operating systems of choice and stop wasting money installing the Linux flavor of the month! Bravo for HP!!

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Ubuntu

"There's substantial interest in installing Ubuntu on all this hardware, indicating that this is actually want the customer wants."

In fact the new HP netbook in question does ship with Ubuntu, so perhaps HP have learnt something (well, outside of the UK that is)

http://www.downloadsquad.com/2009/02/04/hp-releases-netbook-interface-for-ubuntu/

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XP is too slow for netbooks

Let's face it - XP is slow as treacle on full powered desktops.

The reason for using Linux on netbooks is because the performance is really snappy. That's why people love their netbooks - really quick and easy access to web and email. If you're trying to use XP you're missing the point of netbooks.

My Dell Mini 9 is fantastic. Fast Ubuntu OS, great keyboard, 4 hours battery life - and at 1 kilo it can be in my rucksack all the time.

HP better watch out. They've always been incredibly supportive of Debian - but if it looks like they're being leant on we need to be careful that their kit will stop supporting Linux. That means we'll be getting our servers from elsewhere.

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