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back to article Microsoft cries netbook victory against Linux

Microsoft may be on its way to vanquishing Linux in the war to dominate netbook operating systems, but the ground could be shifting against Windows. An NPD Retail Tracking Service report states the Windows installation rate on netbooks has grown from 10 per cent in the first half of 2008 to 96 per cent in February 2009. With …

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Unhappy

Linux is hard to get

I bought an Eee901 last year. I ordered a Linux one, got 'your item is not in stock so here's a substitute'. It was XP.

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Gates Horns

Netbooks are dead

When the first eee pc was released it was small and cheap, a perfect device for accessing the internet while on the move.

Then MS, who had spent the last 2 years demanding that people give up on XP and move to Vista, woke up and realised a new kid was on the block. The problem was that the new kid was lean and mean and there was no way that their flagship bloatware product could be crammed in.

What to do?

All of a sudden XP is no longer something to be shunned and it is quickly resurrected. But there is still a problem. XP wont play nice with SSD flash drives. Also, XP requires more screen real estate to be even minimally usable. More RAM too.

What to do?

Of course, let's bribe all our OEMs into upgrading the basic specs of netbooks. make them add spinning disk drives, bigger screens, bigger processors and more RAM. All the stuff that is required for a minimal install of XP SP3 with all the mandatory "security products" installed .

No matter that netbooks will become bigger, heavier, more expensive and use power faster. At least they won't have that dirty Linux on them

There, problem fixed!

RIP Netbooks

Born 2007

Died 2008

Killed by MS greed

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Coat

Guilty as charged

Yes, I bought an Acer AspireOne. Yes, it was bundled with their flavour of Linux. Yes, I upgraded the RAM and loaded Win7 beta on it and for the most part it has behaved wonderfully.

When Win7 (free) beta expires though I'll return to some flavour of Linux as, hopefully by then, there will be the driver I wanted for my 3G dongle available.

Mines the one with the 8.2" pocket ...

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Silver badge

Windows fears limit netbooks

So far all the netbooks (except the One True Psion Netbook) have had x86 because the manufacturers wanted to back both horses.

Doing an x86 Netbook completely misses the point.

To really appreciate what a netbook **can** be, needs the manufacturers to drop x86 and go with ARM. Getting rid of the x86 has numerous advantages:

* Cheaper. ARM parts are cheaper than x86 parts.

* Smaller. They are smaller too on an individual basis, but also on a system basis.

* Lighter.

* Less power consumption. Therefore less heat therefore less heatsinking and a smaller power supply circuit (which feeds back into the smaller/lighter/cheaper) thing again.

* Longer battery life and/or smaller battery. Smaller, cheaper,lighter again.

When these netbooks emerge, the Windows ones will die out.

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Happy

I wiped Linux too

My EeePC's original XandrASUS OS didn't deliver what was expected, so I wiped it and…

… installed Debian lenny. Now it works very nicely, very much like its larger brethren.

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Linux

Perversely, this is good news for Linux

No-one could have expected Microsoft to roll over. Of course they were going to have to do something. This is stage three in "ignore, laugh, fight, lose"

But it's a little more difficult to promote computing=microsoft=computing when GNU/Linux with its (name your figure between 0-10)% of the desktop market is causing Microsoft to react to it.

They must be praying that it all goes away so they can stop discounting their products so heavily.

If ARM are half as good as they are talked up it's a problem for Intel too.

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Jobs Halo

Yeah right. Notice its SOLD not used.

At the local Geek Mart "Microcenter" I talked to a lot of people buying netbooks, the overwhelming majority of them buying were planning to run Leopard on them. Enough that the salesman just assumed thats what I wanted it for. The salespeople even had the Leopard hardware compatibility chart available to help the deciders!

Double the ram, swap out the wireless card, and its easy. All my geek friends are running OS X on "Windows" netbooks that Microsoft chalked up as sales. They could at least put XP PRO on the things if they wanted us to use them for Windows. My WOW addict pals love them. With OSX they are great for the MMORPG addict on the go. I like that I don't need to put my MacBook Pro in danger if I just want to go for coffee or do a tech call where I need to let my machine out of sight.

Notice on all the second gen netbooks "the new ASUS machines being a good example" the upgrade parts are easily accessible. Modding and Osing them with either OSX or Linux are as common as not. I'd like to know how many "Windows" netbooks aren't Windows after the first couple days. Best of all, Microsoft has LOST money on giving the OS to vendors to get the market share! And they still have to support it! And it does not get much better than that. lets see if this keeps up with Windows 7. I've run Seven. Its NOT a netbook OS. And all the advertising in the world can't change that

"Posted from a "Windows license" Netbook Running Leopard 10.5.6."

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And another one

I bought an Eeepc 701 last week as an emergency desktop replacement (it's surprisingly good with a sensible monitor and external keyboard). Of course, as I needed one there and then, I had to pay the Windows tax, though I deleted XP immediately in favour of Ubuntu.

Two things surprise me:

- why is it still so hard to get a refund on the "Microsoft tax"?

- why can't netbook manufacturers ship a decent version of Linux by default

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Black Helicopters

Ah but...

Do these figures represent the fact that people like me just take the netbook as is, then install linux anyway either entirely or as a dual boot? I do so love my NC-10 though, shame linux wasn't an option at purchase.

Anon because I expect Redmonds "competition keeper" squadron due any second.

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rob
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Linux and windows return rates

I'm really getting annoyed by the FUD now.. Authors are continually saying how so many more Linux netbooks are being returned than Windows.. It's absolute rubbish!

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/10/22/asus_ceo_shen_speaks_out/

A quote:

"I believe the Linux and Windows have similar return rates," he said, adding that the Linux option was particularly popular in Europe.

How many Netbooks are purchased with XP and then reformatted to Linux?

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@Quirkafleeg

Yup, so did I... man, when I tried to use Xandros, I was shocked at the horrible user interface and the fact it was more locked-down than my Windows system at work. I thought "how can someone make UNIX so difficult to use? Is this a SUN product?"

The lack of useful manual didn't help either. That is NOT the way to increase Linux sales. On the good side, a 4G was only US$300 at the local store.

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Pocket sized netbook

If you have an iPod touch or iPhone you already have a pocket sized device to check email, web browse and with the newer models you can do voice dictation too.

Typing large amounts of text on an iPod/ iPhone is not something I would want to do, I would use a laptop for that anyway.

With all the applications available on the Itunes store you can customise to get the feature you want. As long as it is not a bluetooth keyboard. :)

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Netbook? Dead--perish the thought!

I'm not too sure where that one poster is coming from, my Dell Mini 9 has XP on it, with a 16GB SSD drive, and about the only thing smaller is one of the early Asus 700-whatevers. I love the little thing to death, performance isn't fantastic but it'll play Hulu videos and run Quake III pretty well, although the little screen and keyboard makes playing a bit awkward.

That said I'm agnostic about my OS, it's the apps I care about, eventually XP will be dead one way or another. Which means eventually my Mini will have Ubuntu on it. However, I'm curious what Microsoft will do to try and keep the Netbook market when Windows 7 ships. I see three scenarios:

1. They try to "evolve" the Netbooks into something the poster above mentions so they will run 7.

2. There's a secret uber-slim Windows 7 install just for Netbooks, which is unlikely.

3. Microsoft slaps a new face on XP, changes a few things around, and markets it as a "new" minimal OS.

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Gates Horns

Linux netbooks, where???

Here in Australia there is a choice of an ASUS with a tiny screen running Linux or windows netbooks. Obviously we bought a windows netbook and wiped the crap off the drive and installed UNR on it. Sucks that its classed as a windows sale when we had no choice but to buy it with windows installed. I also see they have changed the EULA so we couldnt even get a refund for the crud we didnt want.

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Linux

windows for ARM ?

Is MS going to recompile windows for ARM processors ? I doubt it, windows is much too crufty for an architecture port. So how is it going to run on the next crop of netbooks ? Android will. Bye-Bye.

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Anonymous Coward

Statistics

What I learn from the article and comments is that MicroSoft's OEM arrangement lets them get credit for most x86 laptops sold. So their numbers are not reliable and the article's comments actually contain more useful information than the article itself.

One very interesting comment about loading OS X on netbooks.

One interesting comment highlighting the incredibly poor choice of Linux distribution chosen by netbook sellers.

Linux needs a highly publicized list of good Linux distros for netbooks and they need to bombard netbook sellers with it. WIndows users I know that have thought about using linux are unaware that there is more than one Linux.

Amazingly, one of IBM's old objections to Unix was what they termed the "balkanization" of the Unix distribution --- more than one Unix. This proved to be groundless in the central server arena. However, it seems to me to be a factor with regard to desktops currently.

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Well Windows simply fits the definition of Netbook better

I mean a Netbook is supposed to be a locked down limited functionality device which is not supposed to be able to do serious data processing. That's just what Windows gets you. Your stock installation of Windows doesn't even include network support. You cannot even log into other computers via ssh! You cannot even connect an USB-Ethernet adapter to it and expect it to work. (such adapters are defined in the USB standard)

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There's a VERY good reason WHY, too...

Check the specs for a Windows versus Linux model.

The Linux model may be slightly less expensive (if you're lucky), but you're getting a lower-spec machine.

When the price difference is that close, then no one wants the lower-spec machine, and thus they skip Linux.

Give me the *exact same hardware* no matter which OS I choose to have installed, and make the Linux machine less expensive, THEN you might have a valid argument for people choosing Windows over Linux.

But at this point, you're comparing two *different* machines, two different speed CPU's, different amounts of RAM, different size HD's (or offering SSD's on only ONE version), with a price difference that doesn't reflect the difference in software, but the difference in *hardware*.

Of COURSE people are "choosing Windows over Linux", they're opting for the machine with the better specs that you ONLY offer with Windows.

That's like saying people prefer Lamborghini's versus Tricycles when you're only charging less-than-the-MSRP for the Lambo & 3000% more than the MSRP on the tricycle.

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Sales people to blame

It's not the fault of the OS on the netbooks if the sales people were flogging off as cheap full laptops. The specs were so low the OS didn't really matter.... It wasn't going to run MS Office anyway.

If you want a device that does more than browse the net, etc, then buy a notebook. For netbooks the OS doesn't really matter that much.

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MS PR Flaks need to manufacture good news

Windows installation rate on netbooks has grown from 10% [...] to 96%" does not imply "customers really DO want netbook PCs to work like their larger brethren". It means the OEM's get a discount on all Microsoft licenses if they do not ship Linux. The cost of XP is effectively negative - subsidised by Microsoft's other products. If Microsoft want to prove that the value of Windows is not negative, then why don't they let people buy blank computers and the OS of their choice separately?

"those that try Linux are often returning it" has been debunked before. Why are Microsoft's PR flaks repeating such an obvious lie?

http://ostatic.com/blog/asus-ceo-says-linux-netbook-returns-on-par-with-windows

I think the "sheer number of applications" claim for XP needs a little thought too. Sheer number of commercial applications on sale beside computers is believable. That is a hefty incentive for retailers to bad mouth Linux. For XP, you have to buy an extra license for each piece of software you want to use on a desktop and on a portable PC. With Linux, everything most people want is already installed and the sheer number of free/open source programs available for download for free shows XP/Vista are not the best supported operating systems.

http://blogs.koolwal.net/2008/12/19/counting-number-of-packages-under-debian-linux/

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Linux

I also wiped Xandros from my Eepc

Xandros has the right idea, shielding the user from the internals and providing an appliance-like feel to it. All the right apps were installed. I was impressed. However, a number of annoyances like the ancient software versions and problems getting the HSDPA USB modem to work reliably (would not work after standby) made me replace it after a few weeks.

The Easy Peasy respin of Ubuntu just works. 3G and wireless work flawlessly. I almost fell off my seat when it told me the battery on my wireless mouse was running out of juice. And all the Linux goodness is there along with a fantastic netbook-friendly UI. Love it to bits.

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Gold badge

Car equivalent..

So, you have a device that is "under"powered by desktop (and even laptop) standards, it's thus small, portable, and has a decent battery life.

It's a bit like the old 2CV from Citroen - lightweight but did (and still does) the job with an amazing amount of tenacity.

Now you install Windows, which is a bit like adding a foot worth of concrete to the 2CV. Still works, but becomes barely useful. It's really the most pointless thing you can do IMHO.

Q: was that XP installed or "XP supplied because we otherwise don't get MS discounts on totally unrelated products?" via the generous Microsoft "install or we'll charge you triple" licencing fee approach we ALL know?

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Microsoft should be worried...

84% running Windows means that there's 16% that have found that Linux is OK...

What's the usage numbers on portables and desktop machines?

Anyone want to bet that some of those 16% are Windows users who tried Linux on their netBook and found that 'it wasn't as bad as the FUD made it sound' and may actually consider jumping ship the next time they get a new PC or reinstall the old one?

Or that some of them actually bought it to TRY OUT Linux?

(Cheap machine with Linux preinstalled... )

I know of several windows users who have never looked at other OSes before but are happy with how Linux works on their Eee.

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Coat

I think you missed the point...

People aren't replacing the default Linux on these devices because XP is better, it's because the default linux us... CRAP! I am writing this from my Eee 901, with SSD and Mint Linux. these companies making these things have to realise that you can't just stick any linux on and be done, that linux has to work, stop adding a stupid front end to it, and put a real linux on it, then we might find these results change a little.... actually, it's too late now, thay had a great opportunity to show the world what linux can do, and they blew it

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@Goat Jam

Don't entirely agree, I've got a EeePC running Linux but at work we are trialling A Dell Mini 9 and a Dell Vostro A90 both with XP on SSD and they are nearly as quick as mine. And unlike mine they can access our portal which is rather important....

As far as XP's death is concerned when Win7 comes out, wasn't there a leak that there will also be a 7 to XP downgrade option till 30/4/10?

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Gates Horns

I Agree with Charles Manning

Once the ARM based notebooks start to go on sale (hopefully by the end of the year!) You'll see Microsoft scrambling to either release a trimmed down XP (or Win 7) to try and compete, (Hope they don't port Windows Mobile up to ARM Netbook!).....

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Coat

Owning >90% of desktops is not enough

In Australia I could not buy a Linux based Eee 901 in the retail stores. I had to order it online and wait weeks for delivery.

Why?

Because OEMS have a business relationship to maintain with Microsoft - which means keeping Linux out the major retailer's stores.

and

Because owning >90% of desktops is not enough for Microsoft. Witness the latest MS Apple-bashing ads in the US. Apple have 8% of desktops at most. Wow - what a threat! Linux has perhaps 2% although its hard to tell. Wow - what a threat!

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Microsoft vs Bush?

Microsoft crowing victory in the netbook arena reminds me of Bush Jr. claiming victory in Iraq. The parallels are striking, especially the lack of ethics and cherry-picking of data.

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Bronze badge

XP won't die

MS can't kill XP for a long time yet. Number 7 may be magic, but it will take a while to establish. I just got 2 new desktop machines at work - both XP, dual-core, 2GB RAM, off the shelf units, <£250 each, perfect for standard office use in a small business i.e. no learning curve required. I fully expect to be able to buy the same next year.

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Up 400%

Linux gained 400% of its previous marketshare... And MS had to cut profits, reducing their warchest in the future. This is victory, just not a big one.

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Linux?

Was this really a comparison of Windows and Linux? I use Ubuntu and if asked to choose between some mangled version of Xandros (or some other incomplete and difficult_to_customise Linux distribution) and Ubuntu I'd stick with the latter. Looking around the net seems even Linux lovers were looking to load up their fave distro on their netbooks.

So it isn't really much of a surprise that buyers, when asked to choose between a full version of one familiar operating system and a heavily customised and unfamiliar 'lite' version of another bought the way they did.

Microsoft may be crowing, but let's face it, netbook users running XP have Linux to thank for the knockdown price that their Windows licence cost them.

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Alien

Linux can't succeed without a Powerpoint alternative

Bought my daughter an EEE PC 701, Linux OS. She loves it because it's small. light and responsive (fast on, fast off etc.). I like it because I don't need to worry too much about malware (her desktop PC became infected with the AV360 and it was a "nuke and pave" to fix it).

But as a credible road warrior platform, the netbook with Linux has to run somethng that can compete with Powerpoint. While I applaud the efforts of the OOO Impress team to get something that opens Powerpoint files, when it comes to displaying those presentations I'm afraid Impress is simply unusable.

To Dana W - OSX and KeyNote - now THAT'S a presentation platform!!!

Incidentally I put my points on the OOO message board about the poor animation support in Impress and a person who appears to be a lead developer of Impress commented "I never use animation, so you shouldn't either". I'm sure he's a nice chap, but he's a developer. No concept of "know your market". Shame.

Alien icon - because OOO developers are on another planet :-) But let's be thankful they exist, because it goes some way to making Microsoft try harder.

Kev.

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Gates Horns

Re: Linux is hard to get

Agree, I just bought a Lenovo S10e and had to buy it with Winhoze. I went to install Debian on it straight away, but as far as the stats Balmer uses it still runs XP.

I will look at this however from a different perspective.

Linux or not the netbooks are a victory for the consumer. The real story is the loss for Vista. The consumer refused to be force-fed a sucky product with reqs sucked out of a finger which had nothing to do with what they wanted. As a result they took their money elsewhere. There is a lesson here somewhere for all those management people who think they know better and think that they can throw out customer requirements because "they know better".

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Gates Horns

Licences

How many of these netbooks counted are 'sold with licence' and how many actually use the windows license?

Some people get the netbook - and 'hey my xxx.exe will no longer work' look. Unfortunately they need the Windoze experience... how many linux engineers see the heavily discounted hardware with the Windoze License tax... and say - excellent machine to reinstall.

What would be much more informative is how many netbooks are actually running windoze? How many a flavour of linux, and how many a flavour of OSX. Of course, Microsoft will only ever report the numbers they like.

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Alert

The meaning of retail sales?

I would like to know what exactly is the meaning of "retail sales" following NPD?

Here in Belgium and France the Linux version of most netbooks is sold almost exclusively online instead of "Brick and mortar" shops, so if NPD doesn't count online sales (and I think they don't) this means that much more than 4% of the netbooks ship with Linux.

I think that part of the problem with "brick and mortar" is that a lot of consumer didn't know about Linux and thought they bought a windows machine, leading to disapointment as they did actually expect a mini "windows notebook" and not a linux netbook. Consumer who shop online are better informed about Linux and there is actually quite a lot of demand for Linux netbooks online.

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Gates Halo

"limited functionality device"

XP isn't dead, or even dying, for a little while yet. Look up "Windows XP Embedded".

The "limited functionality device" description used earlier only needs minor tweaking before MS can magically redefine a netbook as an appliance and thus make it eligible to legitimately run XPe.

The real challenge soon is going to be ARM vs Atom. And just like Linux vs Windows, ARM vs Atom is going to be as much about monopolist business practices ("we ship an ARM netbook and we may find that our access to early Intel design info or to unrelated Intel CPU chips at times of shortage is not what it used to be") as it is about the technically superior product.

Bring back the HP Jornada 720 (but with today's technology and no Microsoft).

Where's the dinosaur icon? Oh well, this one will do.

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Paris Hilton

Re:Guilty as charged

I have not read all the comments so apologies if this has been replied to already.

I have the aspire one running Linpus (modded though to get a desktop rather than the 4 windows thing)

They have some software now called mobile partner that handles 3g dongles,you can get it by doing the live update.

I have a '3' 3g usb dongle and it seems to work ok.

The only real annoying thing for me at the moment is that Linpus does not remember my WPA key unless my SSID is broadcasting.

I have also tried other distro's (I was running ubuntu for a long while but decided to return to the original linpus install)

Paris : Because my dongle seems to work ok when I look at her videos.

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Anonymous Coward

Netbooks are dead

Seconded. The current 10" crop are too big to throw in my bag. The battery life sucks, hard disks too delicate and the price is way up. 350 euros, 399 euros... these are laptop prices.

Pity.

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linux missed the boat

of course it did. It's developers are still arguing what kind of boat it should be, whagt color they are going to paint it. how to control the helm from a command line and wheteher it will run kde or gnome or if it will come preloaded with vi or emacs.

As usual it has become a twit race. As long as the linux communicty can not pull together and make 1 system that supports all possible hardware the ship will never sail.

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Alert

How much...

...is Microsoft charging for an OEM XP license on a netbook these days? Is it by any chance less than the usual £50?

Methinks that this sudden switch to XP didn't come about because "customers want it". I'm sure there was panic in Redmond when they realised that 90% of these things were shipping with Linux...

A solution? Why not use your OS monopoly to cross subsidise the XP license down to a couple of dollars? Easy!

Though of course that would be illegal so Microsoft wouldn't do that.

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Define "netbook", define "running"

What's the proportion of sub-£300 machines with Windows installed three months after purchase?

As long as "Windows" means "XP" and Microsoft are charging a negative amount of money for the vendor to pre-install the latter, and "netbook" is allowed to mean some massive brick costing nearly £400 quid, I don't see any reason to trust these figures. In fact, in the context of MS's historic monopoly, the fact that they only have 84% of the lower end of the desktop market is surely something they should be shit scared about.

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Another Easy Peasy user here.

I agree with previous comments about the crapness of the Xandross install -- it makes the Eee seem a lot less versatile. On the other hand, most people who see Easy Peasy or Linux Mint installs are impressed.

Please wake up Asus et al and use a decent distro!

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Anonymous Coward

so..

"People aren't replacing the default Linux on these devices because XP is better, it's because the default linux us... CRAP!"

So XP is better then by your own definition, good to see you understand what you typed!

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Linux

Reg get your facts right

That's 96% "CLAIMED" in the US not the whole world. Go to China/Asia and I bet the numbers are very different.

Ask yourself this folks, who paid for the study ?

It's just more corporate FUD and manure going to show just how scared they are of competition and will use their monopoly and billions of dollars to unfairly beat the opposition out of the market.

Take the Red Pill and free yourself from MatrixSoft.

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Unhappy

Linux is for Geeks

I bought a EEE 900 specifically with Linux. I loved the big icons, and it did almost everything I wanted .... except I could not connect to my laser printer (Epson C900) because there is no Linux printer driver without jumping through several complex hoops and also my mapped network drives would be deleted after start up because the wireless had not configured. These were annoyances that XP does not have so I changed.

Now a Linux geek will reply and say that you can do this and that and alter this config file - but that is exactly the problem; I want it to work (near enough) out of the box without having to go locating stuff via web forums, configuring text files etc. This is the 21st Century and parts of LInux have not got out of the 1970's.

Don't get me wrong but I so wanted to have Linux but it just didn't work for me

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Jobs Halo

@Dana W

Quite right - I bought my netbook with Windows installed, because that was the only way to get the configuration I wanted. Then, the day after it arrived, I installed Leopard on it and have been using that ever since.

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Gates Horns

Typical users are drones

Fact is that most users just want what's familiar to them. Punters have been brainwashed over the years that PC = Intel = Windows by clever FUD marketing. "Linux" is alien to them and they don't want to take the risk.

Only techies know how rotten-to-the-core Windows is. Microsoft have managed to brainwash people into thinking that the way their software works is "normal" - "to be expected". I have managed to convert a few friends of mine to try ubuntu, and they are generally astounded by what a modest PC can do.

"What do you mean you don't need a virus checker?"

"Wow, starting up takes less than a week!".

"Oh look, my hard disk light isn't constantly flashing!"

It's a strange state of affairs that the success of the "commodity" PC has been coupled with a "monopoly" OS.

Perhaps Google will have enough brand clout to make their Android based thingy a success. ARMs are everywhere already - there's probably one in your ADSL router. There's a reason routers don't have intel processors ... they work better and, unlike a PC, nobody cares whether there's and intel in there!

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Ru
Silver badge
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XP vs Windows 7

Isn't the netbook edition of Windows 7 (called limited or basic or started edition, or something equally ominous) basically a crippled version of the full OS so it will run on low-spec hardware?

I wonder how that will go over in the long term, compared to a fully functional and entirely adequate OS like XP.

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Linux

Pre-install a proper distro.

I'm writing this on an eee 901 which I installed Ubuntu onto. (Rhyme intended.) The bundled Xandros is dreadful, even using fake C: style windows drive assignments. UI-wise it was terrible too. People want a real desktop experience which Windows XP will give them out of the box. Netbooks are just small laptops - what's the need for a simplified UI? There would be no difference if a full Linux was on there pre-installed, desktop and all.

Getting Ubuntu on here was a bit of a chore, but it works beautifully now. I'm probably the only person on here who uses OS X primarily too, and I love using both. I simply can't face battling with that plasticy Windows rubbish.

Netbook makers would do well to bite the bullet, not retard the Linux experience and pre-install a full distro. That would get the Linux share up and prove more economic in manufacture too.

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Off with the buggy linux, on with a stable XP

It goes the other way as well. I bought a linux Aspire one, got it home and put XP straight on. It's all a matter of personal preference really. Mind you the sales person said if I wanted to run linux on it with the wireless I needed to hack around with the wireless drivers a bit or buy myself a usb wireless stick as the built in wireless has a knack for turning itself off after an hour and refusing to come back. People can b*tch about how linux is better all they like, but if the netbook companies can't supply a decent working distro installed out of the box with a stable driver base for the hardware and common external hardware then quite frankly the linux is more useless than vista. At least XP just works as it has had so long to mature, personally I would like to see them drop the win 7 extra basic version, drop vista , and have win 7 for laptops, desktops etc and a £30 version of XP Pro available for people who want that instead.

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