Skip to comments.Wal-Mart Sells $199 Linux Computer
Posted on 11/05/2007 12:19:20 PM PST by Red Badger
Linux, the free operating system that's a perpetual underdog in the desktop market, will get another chance this holiday season at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The chain was taking orders online Wednesday for a computer called the "Green gPC" that is made by Everex of Taiwan, costs $199 and runs Linux. It will be available in about 600 stores, as well as online, Wal-Mart said. A comparable Everex PC that comes with Windows Vista Home Basic and more memory costs $99 more, or $298, partly because the manufacturer has to pay Microsoft Corp. for a software license. Both computers come with keyboard, mouse, and speakers, but no monitor.
Linux is maintained and developed by individuals and companies around the world volunteering on an "open source" basis, meaning that everyone has access to the software's blueprints.
It is in widespread use in server computers, particularly servers that host Web sites. But it hasn't yet made a dent in the desktop market. Surveys usually put its share of that market around 1 percent, far behind Windows and Apple Inc.'s OS X.
Wal-Mart started selling Linux computers at its online store in 2002, at prices as low as $199. Computers from several manufacturers were available for several years, but are now gone from the inventory.
The variant of Linux on the gPC is called gOS and is derived from the popular Ubuntu variant. It's heavily oriented toward Google's Web sites and online applications, like YouTube, Gmail and the company's word processing program, all of which can be used only when the computer is connected to a broadband line. The PC comes with a dialup modem, but gOS doesn't support it. So most users likely will get online other ways.
Google's push into desktop applications is relatively new, and gOS, the Los Angeles-based startup behind the software, sees it as crucial in overcoming consumers' reluctance to leave the familiar Windows environment.
"We feel the timing is right for open source because of that," said gOS founder David Liu. The company has fewer than 10 people on it staff but gets help from volunteers in the Linux community.
Whether value-minded shoppers who would be enticed by a $199 PC will also be interested in making the jump to Linux remains to be seen. The operating system isn't known for ease of use and mainly attracts the tech-savvy.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien said it is stocking the computer in about one in eight stores to test the demand for an open-source product.
The gPC has a low-end processor from VIA Technologies, plus 512 megabytes of internal memory, an 80-gigabyte hard drive and a combination DVD drive and CD burner.
Everex says the processor is very energy efficient, meriting the "Green" part of the name.
Desktop Linux is and always will be a non-starter. Too many competing distros. No uniformity of UI. Besides, Linux is way too hard for most people and they wont want to deal with it. Install software on Windows? Double click an icon. Install Linux software? Find the correct repositories for your distro. Download it and try to install it with the command line. Oops. Wont work. Dependency failure. Missing libraries. Linux is best as a server OS and as a geek toy.
Info and specs:
At $199, I would buy one just for hobby purposes. It would be fun to mess around with Linux.
also people want the windows software, not linux software
Would it be worth it to buy the computer and install Windows XX on it instead?..............
That was my thought. Load XP on it.
Heh, careful there, them’s is fightin’ words for some folks! :)
I wonder if this machine can be slapped around to become a reasonable media center. Shove a high-end video card into it...
...oh wait, that’s right Linux. I’ll stop right there. The next step in that process is cruising usenet to find drivers for the video card, finding them, installing them, discovering they don’t work, finding the source code for the drivers, installing developer tools so I can rebuild it myself... All of this, of course, being done without a monitor. Gah.
My first computer was an Everex, about 20 years ago. Cost me a bundle, but it was a great unit. Upgrading from a 20MB to 30MB hard drive cost me twice as much as this complete machine.
I used to think this. However, I installed Ubuntu linux on a spare machine this summer, just to see where Linux was at, and was quite surprised. It was very user friendly and had a very windows-esque look and feel to the desktop. Installing programs (even those downloaded from the net) has become automated and is no longer the "geeks only need apply" hassel it used to be. If all I was using a computer for was office apps, internet and music I would switch in a second.
I remember buying a mail order HD, a whopping 40 MB $400, to put in my old Turbo XT. I wondered, “What in the world will I ever fill this up with?”.......
Buy a three year old surplus dell for $50 and get linux somewhere for free.
Exactly, who thought this one through? The reason people buy computers for the home is primarily to access the internet and to run some software for word processing, accounts, etc. Leaving out the most important and functional aspect of a product? That is no bargain/.
You get what you pay for.
You obviously have never heard of Synaptic or Aptitude. Installing software in Debian based/Ubuntu based distros is far, far easier than installing Windows software. The only exception is installing Windows software in Linux (which defeats the whole purpose).
You can download VMWare server for Linux (from VMWare) free of charge and run one of your old operating systems on it as well.
“You can download VMWare server for Linux (from VMWare) free of charge and run one of your old operating systems on it as well.”
You wanna try running VMWare on a machine with these specs? How about buying a real machine from the beginning. Its sad knowing that poor people who are ignorant about PCs will spend money on this kinda garbage. Walmart is taking advantage of folks with this.
I’ll agree that recent distibutions of linux are much easier to install. But thats where the easy part ends. Try getting it on the network and its not so easy. Guess with this wonder machine that wont be a concern since they didn’t make it internet capable.
Where can you find one?