Two articles from Beta News caught my attention this morning. First, LinuxWorld has been underway in San Francisco this week. BN’s Michael Hatamoto found that there was more “talking the talk” than “walking the walk” among attendees.
The representatives I spoke with at the Ubuntu booth were fairly optimistic that its users are interested in taking Ubuntu off the desktop and using it on their laptops. But after randomly selecting 50 people who were laptop users, eight of them admitted to having a Linux distribution installed on their notebooks. Twenty of the people admitted they have tested a version of Linux on their laptop, but simply were not happy with the performance of the OS.
Second, Microsoft have announced that they’re developing “basic” versions of their products that can be targeted at lower price points. One of the niches where this would be welcomed is in the UMPC market, which is already a low-margin market. (No, Linux fanboys, the costs to modify/customize and ship a Linux flavor on such a device is NOT “free.” And don’t call scaled down versions of Windows “cripple ware” or other nonsense unless you’re prepared for the Linux distros used on such devices to be called the same thing.)
Although Microsoft had nothing more to say today on the subject of low-price software, it’s interesting that the statements in its annual report come just at a time when a number of OEMs are readying new PCs in “mini” form factors. Some existing “minis,” such as Asus’ Eee, already run Linux. If OEMs want to keep costs down on Windows editions of “mini PCs,” conceivably, they could be looking to Microsoft for lower cost application software to help them do just that.
See my post about the UMPC market and how it’s not making inroads — and probably won’t — for wider use of Linux on desktops.