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Hardware Software Linux

More Cheap Linux PCs 326

Posted by michael
from the bottom-fishing dept.
prostoalex writes "The low-cost Linux PC market so far dominated by Lindows got a new entrant. According to News.com, Linare plans to sell a $199 no-monitor model with 1GHz VIA CPU, 128MB RAM, 20GB HDD, KDE, OpenOffice. An extra $50 would get the user upgraded to a 2GHz Athlon. Company is located in beautiful Bellevue, WA, which, as News.com noted, is quite close to another Seattle suburb - Redmond, WA."
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More Cheap Linux PCs

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  • by Thinkit3 (671998) * on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @05:49PM (#6289313)
    It's only right that if they make money off linux, they should donate to those who work on it. If they would advertise it, I'd be more likely to buy from them.
    • by Dogtanian (588974) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:34PM (#6289727) Homepage
      It's only right that if they make money off linux, they should donate to those who work on it. If they would advertise it, I'd be more likely to buy from them.

      'Right' or 'wrong', we both know that's not going to happen with a $199 PC.

      The PC market isn't known for its huge margins to begin with; I'll bet that in that particular sector *every* cent counts, and someone else would leap in and release a $5-cheaper machine without the donation.

      Like it or not, that's what would happen.
      • by Bilbo (7015) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @09:59PM (#6291056) Homepage
        At this kind of margin, I agree that they will probably have little or no extra cash to donate back to the community.

        However, don't count out the value of getting more "desktops" out there in the hands of ordinary users! Every system sold (assuning these boxes are reasonably well built, and configured with software that works well together so the whole thing doesn't just backfire) is another new Linux user. Every new Linux user is another step towards the kind of market share that will get the attention of real, honest, money making businesses. And, if you get their attention, they are going to start looking for Linux developers to build things for these boxes.

        It might not be money in my pocket now, but it's more likely I'll have a fun job developing real stuff for Linux and OSS in the future...

    • If you release software under the GPL then you are letting people have it for free, with (very few strings).

      Why is it that so many people release stuff under the GPL and therefore give it away for free, and then want paying for it? If you want paying for your product DON'T GIVE YOU PRODUCT AWAY FOR FREE! You can still give the source code away, but just don't let people give away / sell their own copies of the product.
  • sounds cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by adamruck (638131) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @05:50PM (#6289321)
    lindows still has the market on cheap linux laptops though
  • you can get your "Linare" upholstered with fine Corinthian leather.
  • by pigscanfly.ca (664381) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @05:52PM (#6289347) Homepage
    I dont see how they can offer twenty four hour support for $19.95 (price of OS if purchased with support option sepearate from computer) .
    • by stoolpigeon (454276) <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @05:58PM (#6289388) Homepage Journal
      to quote the article

      Linare will try to offer better technical support than do current $200 PC makers by outsourcing technical support to employees in India who don't cost as much to hire. It will also sell its products in India, not just to countries such as the United States, where Microsoft holds more sway, Sundaram said.

      "Because we are going to keep the operating expenses low, it gives us a good profit margin,"
    • by ePhil_One (634771) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:00PM (#6289402) Journal
      I dont see how they can offer twenty four hour support for $19.95

      Sure, they only support it for twenty four hours after you purchase it.

    • Easy!

      - 1 GHz VIA Processor with Motherboard (built in everything) - $50 US
      - 20 GB JTS (heh... probably not that bad) HDD - $40 US
      - Keyboard + Speakers + Mouse - $2
      - Case with 100 watt power supply - $15
      - 128 MB RAM - $15

      (wholesale prices, of course)

      Total: $122.

      Lots of room for profit.
      • Keyboard, speakers and mouse with a wholesale cost of 66 cents each?

        You point is valid, but that part is a little hard to swallow.

        A very cheap wholesale mouse might be $1-2, a cheap keyboard maybe $3, and incredibly crappy unamplified speakers maybe $2.

        Even that is getting very close to the raw materials cost of the plastic case, the semis and connectors.

        On the other hand, you may have overestimated the cost of the case and power supply, I've bought cases and power supplies retail for about $12 that cam
  • Contact them =) (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andorion (526481) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @05:54PM (#6289356)
    I just called the number, 1-877-77-LINUX, and apparently there's one person who knows the technical specs on the PC, and he was away from his desk!! I was curious what (if any) dvd/cd drive it had, what graphics card it had, if it came with a floppy drive, and if there was any ethernet option.

    I'm about to leave work, so someone else try calling and finding out =)

    ~Berj
  • by dh003i (203189) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (i300hd)> on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @05:54PM (#6289359) Homepage Journal
    Add $70 or $134 for a 17 or 19" monitor, respectively. So, it's really $270 to $370 dollars for a full system (of course, people need not buy monitors if they already have one).
  • by Aardpig (622459) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @05:56PM (#6289373)

    I'm currently looking for a cheap computer to use as a router/firewall/internet gateway for my home network. This looks like a good solution; just bang in the spare wireless & ethernet cards sitting in my bits box, bridge them together, and then hook in my USB ADSL modem. Stuff on some iptables rules and some intrusion detection, and I've got just the setup I need. Best bit is, I won't be paying for the two expensive things I don't need: MS Windows and a monitor.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      How about just buying a fucking router?
      • by Aardpig (622459) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:29PM (#6289683)

        How about just buying a fucking router?

        Because most routers I have come across have broken functionality, broken security, and don't have much scope for expandability. What if I want to use my router as a proxy web server too? Or as a DNS caching server? Or to host a website for my home network? Or as an NTP server so all my machines have their clocks in sync?

        • If you are that versed in how computers work, why not head over to NewEgg [newegg.com] and build your own router box?

          I would do that any day rather than trust a retailer to assemble a system for me.

          Then you could make use of that inventory of spare computer components of varying degrees of use and obsoleteness any sensible geek keeps handy.
        • I hope someone sets up one of these machines and posts the software for everyone to use. Yes, I could do it myself, but it would take much less time starting with a tested foundation.
    • by Cyno (85911) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:26PM (#6289656) Journal
      Hell at 2 Ghz you could throw on a database, web server and some cgi scripts, caching web proxy, mail server, internal and external DNS, samba and NFS file servers and still have spare cycles for your fav network game server.

      Slap in a firewire card you could serve several hundred gigs of movies, music, content and porn to your whole neighborhood.

      Computers like that are simply too powerful to put in the hands of anyone who can afford $250.
    • Yeah... but the likes of Netgear, Linksys, SMC, and D-link all already provide SOHO solutions to those ends (WiFi NAT Switch), and sell for considerably less (especially when considering TCO -- ie. electricity and noise).

      Don't get me wrong... I realize a full fledged *nix NAT box would be considerably more flexible, not to mention more fun. :)
    • SolarPC [solarpc.com]
    • by sootman (158191) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @08:30PM (#6290506) Homepage Journal
      Then look no further:
      http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie wItem&item =2738025507
      do an ebay search for 'compaq deskpro en sff', my personal favorite machine. That one is a PII/400 and can be had for $90. It has 128 MB RAM, CD (optional, worth $40 on its own; bootable), floppy, and two PCI slots (one shared ISA) *plus* onboard PS/2, serial, parallel, and Intel 10/100. It's about 1/2 the volume of a typical desktop--20-30% shorter on each side. Few things have a longer lifespan than a corporate Compaq.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @05:56PM (#6289374)
    Linare provides home users a more user friendly and a reliable operating system

    I love statements like that, More friendly and reliable than what?? A TRS-80?? Mac?? Silly marketing
    • by Otter (3800) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:21PM (#6289602) Journal
      Some other quotes from the Linare site:
      • Linare helps companies to deliver against the challenge by Linux/ Open Source technology.
      • Linare benefits users by providing One Stop Solution for migrating to Linux.
      • This is the operating system home users have been looking for which makes the home users life easier with desktop and many other open source application.
      I suspect this is more a case of extremely poor English than misleading marketing. I'm amazed that it's a US-based company -- most Taiwanese companies have better English on their sites.
    • More than previous version of the same Linux. It's more and more, every day. And there is no any end to it...
  • Mini-ITX (Score:5, Informative)

    by aking137 (266199) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:00PM (#6289405)
    The so-called Mini-ITX servers, which have possibly already been mentioned on Slashdot, are one way to go if this is what you're looking for.

    They're like a regular PC, but in a much smaller box (perhaps the size of two 5.25" CD-ROM drives stacked on top of each other), and are often fanless (no, that doesn't mean they overheat, it means they're designed not to need one...), resulting in much less noise and much less power consumption. Many are cheap, and they make ideal Linux/BSD boxes for all kinds of things - web/mail/dns/anything server, backing up your data (or each other), monitoring security cameras for movement, etc. Here's a few examples for more information:

    Here [ramms.co.uk], here [linitx.com], here [mini-itx.com], here [openbrick.org], here [ultim8pc.co.uk].

    Some of them do actually officially support Linux/BSD AFAIK, such as the OpenBrick and LinITX.com.

    -Andrew
  • RAM? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tunabomber (259585) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:00PM (#6289407) Homepage
    Is anyone else tired of low end machines that have an excessively fast processor with way too little RAM? Sure, you can always upgrade, but since this machine is destined for non-techies, it should work well out of the box.
    I'd rather have a 600 Mhz machine with twice as much RAM so that KDE doesn't run like a slug.
    Maybe 128 MB would be excusable if they turn the anti-aliasing and other shiny eye-candy off by default.
    • Re:RAM? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by canadiangoose (606308) <djgraham@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:19PM (#6289585)
      Yeah, that drives me nuts too. Some of my less technical friends have asked me why their computers are so slow, and when I tell them they need more memory, most of them don't believe me. The usual arguement is "the store would never sell a computer that doesn't have enough memory, the problem must be elsewhere."

      I usually pull a stick of RAM out of one of my own boxes and lend it too them for a week or so. They usually end up buying more RAM.

      It's really amazing how much trust people put in companies. It's even more amazing that companies get away with all the crap they pull.

    • Re:RAM? (Score:2, Informative)

      by TCM (130219)
      I wouldn't call a VIA 1GHz processor excessively fast. I have a VIA C3/800 in my server. It runs at 28ÂC when idle, fanless with a big copper heatsink on top. That's the main reason why I have it. The speed? It's enough for an all-purpose home server (DNS/Mail/SMB/HTTP/Routing). File transfers via FTP go at 11.5MB/s with 10-20% load (using Intel 82550 chips though). A PII/400 is faster for floating-point stuff. AFAIK the older C3s had a FP unit running at half the clock speed. The newer Nehemiah type p
      • by thynk (653762)
        I KDE with 128 Megs of RAM on a P3 733 and it seems to run just fine, until you start opening VNC sessions, but that's to be expected. For "Normal" use I see that 128 seems to be enough. Course, now once I start running a web server, database and Mr. House on it, probably want to push it up to 256.

        On my windows box I run 512 and an XP1800 and there are many times that it seems like twice that is needed. Go figure.

        Kind of excited, I've decided to port all the machines on my network to Linux and run Wine o
    • Yeah, maybe they shouldn't put KDE (or GNOME) on these "low end" 1 GHz 128 MB RAM desktop machines. My computer works great without them. If it weren't for bloatware like KDE, GNOME, and Billy Gates put out, we could have $100 desktop computers.

      • Re:RAM? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by SN74S181 (581549)
        What 'Billy Gates puts out' isn't that bloated compared to KDE and GNOME these days. That is, what Billy Gates put out a few years ago. My wife needed a faster machine because she's a Diablo II fanatic, so I gave her the Pentium III 450 machine. That meant my main desktop machine had to be scaled back to a Pentium II 233. I run Windows 2000, Office 2000, and various graphics programs to edit pix and whatnot. It works fine.

        The fastest machine in the house, the Pentium III 800, is dedicated to video edi
  • Once again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:00PM (#6289408) Homepage
    You get what you pay for. Literally.

    The more of these dime companies release crap boxes, the more Linux will be thought of as a crap OS, the kind of thing your redneck friends buy at Wal-Mart because they can't afford a real PC from Dell or Gateway with the "good" OS.

    Sounds crappy, but that's where I see this going. Keep it up.

    • I tend to agree that Linux name may be somewhat tarnished by its bundling with bargain bin hardware.

      real PC from Dell or Gateway with the "good" OS

      Regardless, if people buy the product, this is a good thing, as the quality will improve with time.

      Compare this with the changing views on Japanse electronics 20-30 years ago, for example. A bit later, non-american cars in the US. I'm sure there are other and better examples of this type of 'evolution' of brand names.

    • Re:Once again (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @07:05PM (#6289956)
      You get what you pay for. Literally.

      Yeah, right.

      The more of these dime companies release crap boxes, the more Linux will be thought of as a crap OS, the kind of thing your redneck friends buy at Wal-Mart because they can't afford a real PC from Dell or Gateway with the "good" OS.

      I walked into a store and saw one of these special offer white boxes for 300 Euros (about $360) and grabbed it immediately, for a test box. It's a K7 2400+, with 40 GB disk and a 256 MB memory stick, which I doubled just on basic principle. I could have done even better pricewise online, but nothing beats being able to walk out of the store with a new machine in less than 5 minutes. It's a fantastic machine, no real speed daemon, but that's mainly because of the IDE disk, not the processor. It compiles a 2.4 kernel in about 5 minutes, that is kickass.

      I'm posting with it now, by the way. Totally solid, I haven't got a single complaint. Oh wait, the mouse was too cheap, I returned it for a 3 EU credit and got a logitech.
    • by roesti (531884) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @07:36PM (#6290152)
      The more of these dime companies release crap boxes, the more Linux will be thought of as a crap OS, the kind of thing your redneck friends buy at Wal-Mart ...

      But what if, for $200, you get a computer that you can take out of the box, plug in and start surfing the Web within a couple of minutes? In short, what if the computer works as advertised and gets you doing what you want without any fuss?

      I'd imagine that if Joe Public wanted a machine that could send email, and if that's what he got for his $200, he'd be happy enough. By and large, the operating system would be transparent and irrelevant to what he was doing.

      • Exactly! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by iq in binary (305246)
        The thing that irks me the most about discussing such technical topics around the technically literate is that they don't see the one factor that makes the product. Usability.

        I personally could give a shit less about 128 megs of ram here, 500 Mhz here, 5 FPS there. The one thing I care about is getting things done. If a computer is capable of doing such, then it is good. Anything actually capable of getting things done is worth the price in my mind. If that price is $200, then hell yeah!.

        Notice that this
    • the kind of thing your redneck friends buy at Wal-Mart because they can't afford a real PC from Dell or Gateway with the "good" OS.

      wow you dont know much. almost EVERYONE in IT warns people away from DELL and Gateway... ESPICALLY Gateway... they are crap pc's....always have been. and the "tech support" for both companies sucks Huge donky turds. i'm sorry, but "insert the restore CD and reboot" is NOT A FRICKING ANSWER!

      If you want the absolute best computer for your money... go to a good local computer
      • The problem is, if you're not in IT and don't have a guru, you don't know which shops are good and which ones will sell you crap. You see a list of specs which might as well be written in Klingon. I bought a few lemons that way (one wasn't even put together write - the screws don't align with the holes). Dell and Gateway will give good enough performance for someone who can afford to waste the money.

    • I agree with you. But I have to remind you that years ago there was at that time not so big company [microsoft.com] that actually pulled stunt like that (crappy OS on not so hot hardware) and did pretty well. Unlike others [apple.com].

  • by haut (678547) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:00PM (#6289409)
    Last time I looked at Walmart's site at the Lindows PCs I noticed they had inexpensive computers [walmart.com] preloaded with SuSE 8.2. I don't know if the sales are competitive with Lindows, but its good to hear that another Linux desktop option is out there.
    • I checked out the suse computers on the Wal-mart site. At the bottom was this little disclaimer:

      "Note: Linux operating systems may not be compatible with some dial-up Internet services, such as AOL or Wal-Mart Connect."

      Not that I care in the least about making use of Wal-Mart Connect, but it is a delicious little piece of irony.
  • by donutello (88309) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:01PM (#6289419) Homepage
    Obviously you haven't been there. It's suburban hell with blonde soccer moms in SUVs.

    This sounds really sweet for a low-end computer user. I know a couple of people I'm going to recommend this to. They will probably blow away the OS and use Windows on it, though.
    • by dlb (17444) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:28PM (#6289670)
      Bellevue isn't suburban hell. It's generally a nice place to live.

      Renton is suburban hell. Des Moines is suburban hell. Kent (and pretty much anything near 167) is total suburban hell. I'll take the blonde soccer moms in Bellevue to the 80's haired, cameltoed proles in that shithole area south of I90.
      • Bellevue isn't suburban hell. It's generally a nice place to live.

        The lack of a true downtown is what upsets me about Bellevue. I mean, even Kirkland has a downtown (with a biker bar, or at least it used to be a biker bar). Redmond has a downtown (kind of). Bellevue has a mall. Right at its heart. A mall. Like Lynnwood with a higher per-capita income and Nordstrom's instead of Mervyn's.

        80's haired, cameltoed proles in that shithole area south of I90.

        You are giving way too much credit to the Southend

    • ..and Redmond is the 'strip mall' version.

      Seriously, I don't understand why being based in Bellevue is an issue. There are plenty [real.com] of other [click2learn.com] companies in the Eastside area who've competed with Microsoft, and some [nwsource.com] that have even hauled them into court.

      The reality is that, largely because of Microsoft, the greater Seattle area is a software development corridor, much like Mountain View, CA, or Boston, and it would be surprising if there weren't competitors to Microsoft there.
    • It's suburban hell with blonde soccer moms in SUVs.

      And the problem here is......what?

  • Who among us buys the cheapest ??, always and expect quality

    Its the quality that counts for most people. The after sales service had better be spectacular
  • by beavis88 (25983) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:02PM (#6289433)
    Hell, the OS alone will cost more than the hardware required to run it soon, at this rate. That's certainly the case with the Windows Server versions (although frankly if you spend more on licensing than hardware, you're going to be unhappy...).
  • by Idou (572394) * on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:02PM (#6289438) Journal
    http://www.linare.com/linos.htm

    Is it just me, or did someone in Marketing get mixed up?
  • by mikeophile (647318) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:03PM (#6289446)
    Do I buy a $3000 G5, or a dozen 2Ghz Athlons loaded with ClusterKnoppix? [bofh.be]
  • Well worth the $$ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bc8o8 (683988) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:04PM (#6289453)
    These types of systems will be great for many people who are trying to get invlolved in the Linux community who are either a) afraid of attempting an install (afraid of losing any other OS's on the system) or b) just want a second system to play around with Linux on Also, even if you ARE going to use M$ why not just spend the $250 and install a pirated copy of win2k?! The same system with winXP installed would probably cost you a few hundred dollars more!!!
  • I'll be interested to see what this segment of the market looks like in a couple of years.

    I picked up one of the cheep $200 Lindows PCs mentioned in an article here last monday to play with. When it arrived on Friday the modem card wasn't installed correctly (it was screwed into the case but not actually in the PCI slot) and the HD was dead. I'm waiting on a replacement HD. (I'm still hoping it will make an ok toy.)

    Based on the photocopied sheets in the box I assume the DOA percentage of these machines
  • by jjohnson (62583) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:15PM (#6289545) Homepage
    I have a suspician based on the successful sale of these low-cost, Linux based PCs. The PC market has been stable for a few years now, since the failure to drop prices below $500-700 means that a large segment of the population effectively can't own new home PCs. With $200 PCs available that are relatively useful, the market is expanding downwards to include a new class of computer users: the working poor.

    What this means, I think, is that we're starting a new generation on cheap PCs that will be more maintenance heavy than Dells and Apples. This will have the same effect that cars have had over the last forty years: since new cars are so expensive, and the only option for the poor to own one is to get a used one or an extremely cheap one. There's a pool of talent/skill that gets built in the lower classes around practical maintenance.

    In other words, the same way that my brother's Lexus is worked on by someone with a high school education who tinkered a lot with cars, the sysadmins of tomorrow will generally come from blue collar backgrounds, while the white collar users will move further out of the ability to generally maintain computers. In a business, the IT department will become less educated overall, while having a much stronger base of practical skills.

    I'm already seeing this at my workplace, a manufacturer of household commodities. Lots of the factory workers ask if they can buy/have old PCs that we're getting rid of; several have built their own from old pieces they scrounged. We have a developing pool of computer knowledge that comes from nothing but the tinkering of people who can't afford to do otherwise.

    While I dislike the possibility of computer expertise segmenting along economic lines (for social reasons), I do see some benefits: clearer cut job descriptions and areas of expertise, and increased adoption of open source software simply because of the price. To get to that $200 price point, you need Linux (or BSD...)
    • by frdmfghtr (603968) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:28PM (#6289678)
      I agree that computer expertise segmented along economic boundaries is a bad thing; the following thought came to mind while I thought about it:

      If the working poor are using the cheap PCs and Linux as opposed to the Wintel machines out there, all that practical experience could conceivably serve a grander purpose: "street smart" computer users who with a little more formal training could be sysadmins and jump into the IT sector with the corresponding higher wages.

      Being "less educated" with the greater set of "practical skills" is not necessarily a bad thing. When Microsoft advertises its MCSE program, encouraging people with (and I nearly quote) "no computer experience needed!" to apply, I put people with practical skills above those with a zero pervious experience and a nicely framed certification certificate.

      It's a simple case of "book smarts" versus "street smarts." "Book smarts" can get you the honors at graduation; "street smarts" get the job done.

      My $b10 for the day.
      • "street smart" computer users who with a little more formal training could be sysadmins and jump into the IT sector with the corresponding higher wages.

        Except that if the blue collar moves into the IT positions, there will be corresponding drop in wages because businesses will get skilled workers cheaper. I don't see this as a path up the ladder for those "street smart" users, and that's the social angle I dislike: education with computers, practical or formal, should be reflected by higher wages.

        • In a world where everyone is knowledgeable about computers, expecting more money for that knowledge is like expecting your boss to pay you more because you walk upright, can speak, are literate, use tools, etc. New technologies eventually become ubiquitous. I don't think we're there yet.
        • I don't see this as a path up the ladder for those "street smart" users, and that's the social angle I dislike: education with computers, practical or formal, should be reflected by higher wages.

          I don't see it as a path up the ladder either but I don't understand why it should mean higher wages. Especially if the skill-set spreads and is no longer a scarce commodity, as will surely happen, the average basepay will certainly fall - as it should. The high-end wages for experts will probably stay the same

    • This sounds a lot like where the article in HBR [harvard.edu] was heading and the counterpoint in Forbes [fortune.com] discussed. This concept, though, is a lot more novel than the approach that HBR took in that the functions of IT are not marginalized but, rather, those working in that field are. As IT systems, computers, the Internet, etc. are looked at more as the tools they are and not the end itself, those working on them will be seperated from those working with them. Just like your mechanic example. Very interesting.
    • by StRex (32430) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @07:07PM (#6289974)

      This is an interesting insight, and it's sad to think of things being drawn along economic lines like this.

      However, on the brighter side, there's another group of pessimists that have believed we'd have a technocracy, where techies rule the world (scary thought with plenty of jokes), and the non-technical ignorant masses left to collect minimum wage by flipping burgers. I've always considered this view to be too extreme. There are many fields that have technical aspects to them. Ever listen to the gibberish that car mechanics spout? They may not be nerds, and may not have college degrees, but I'd argue that they're extremely technical. Those same skills - especially troubleshooting and understanding how little details make a bigger thing work - are the exact skills that everyone needs, from programmers to network administrators.

      I know a car mechanic who's picked up on the computer stuff to the point that he asks questions about trade-offs and disadvantages of PPPOE, DHCP and static IP addressing, and understands the difference between bandwidth and latency. I know many IT professionals that don't have that kind of knowledge. Of course, I know many IT professionals that became so because it was the cool career field, not because of an interest in computers.

      In that sense, I think it's a very positive thing: the world now knows you don't need to be a wiry, pasty-faced, greasy dork to be good with computers. The thing that might be scary to those of us (you know who you are) who really just want to hide out in a glass room until we vest in our 401(k), this could be scary, and certainly should be taken as a wake-up call. Most of what we do with computers in the business world is inherently practical. We can draw all the cute diagrams and use the latest buzz words, but the core value we add is primarily through practical construction of some simple, maintainable systems. Fancy Visio diagrams don't change that.

      As another aside, a couple years ago I was amazed to overhear conversation between two gentlemen behind me in line at Best Buy. They were the standard fare burly rednecks, with unkempt beards, in camoflage coveralls, but what they were discussing was rather different from the stereotype. With missing teeth and bad grammar, one was educating the other on why he should upgrade his video card, discussing details about how the amount of RAM as well as the RAMDAC spped and features such as T&L affect frame rate. And the other redneck dude gave all impressions of understanding the conversation.

      In conclusion: the world is changing, computers aren't only in the hands of the "have"s, and in my opinion this isn't a completely horrible thing.

      Thanks for listening. ;-)

      • >>They may not be nerds, and may not have college degrees, but I'd argue that they're extremely technical. Those same skills - especially troubleshooting and understanding how little details make a bigger thing work - are the exact skills that everyone needs, from programmers to network administrators.

        Most car mechanics I know are nerds in some way. It just is not generally with computers, but they know all kinds of factoids about their love--cars.

        Have you ever watched Monster Garage? I think Jess
    • by zogger (617870) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @07:18PM (#6290033) Homepage Journal
      Most people I know got a computer sometime within the past 5 or 6 years, and they still have it. It costed them plenty 0 bux, it still does what they want it to do. I know quite a few people still running win95, let alone 98, it's patched, updated whatever, they live with any other inefficiencies, because it still surfs, does email, plays audio whatever and that's it. Most folks don't build their own or run out every 6 months to a year and buy a new computer, not when the old one is working and they got tons of other bills. Lot of folks are feeling that pinch now, a new computer falls into the unnecessary toy category whern they already have one they paid 1500$ for or something and it ain't broke. That's one of the reasons for flat sales. I'd like a new one,but not even gonna pay 200$ for one though, What I have works just fine and it's 6 years old now. If I had a need, for a tool, of course, but I don't do photoshop editing or anything like that, this old box still does what it needs to do, and with modern OS like linux on it, it will probably keep doing what it needs to do for awhile. I ain't askeered of it or being "left behind", and I still only got half the ram loaded that it will take, so if I *need* an upgrade, I'm one stick away-cheap in other words.. I figure I can hold out with this one for another one to two years, by then, 100$ will get ya something spiffy(er). I've had computers since the late 80s, not like I haven't spent some cash on them, just a plateau of sorts was reached a few years ago with computers in general terms, the *need* is falling now for the latest and greatest or even the cheapest. It's like some other toys, I've been through a few cell phones, I still don't know, care or use 3/4ths of the stuff the phone is capable of, and don't seem to miss it. I don't own a PDA yet, don't seem to miss it. When they get to under 100$, or even down to 50$, I might buy one, but not today and not for 500$. I like gadgets and tools, just have a different set of priorities, like right now I need a new chainsaw more than a new computer, I'd rather drop 2 to 500 clams on one of them-if I had the "spare" cash, heh. I'd rather get a new bumper winch for the jeep rather than the newest PDA. I'd rather get a half dozen more solar panels than a new "game" machine. Shoot, I'd rather pop for a couple of gold eagles before I popped for a 6-700$ new pretty specced decent whitebox. Different strokes. A lot of people are that way, I don't think it's all that unusual either. I guess people with really a lot of cash like to always upgrade every year or every other year, but nowadays there isn't that much more oomph - need to justiofy it unless it's top to your main hobby or it's required for your business, then it's swell, seems like some good deals out there. Like the new G5, heck ya I'd like to order one, ain't happening though. When you do physical labor for a living, you think of what stuff costs in terms of pain and sweat and bill paying priorities, 3 grand is a chunk o change, and a lot of sweat. 200$ for a very basic semi new machine is more like it though, I'm glad to see more reasonableness and wider choices in the market. Now if it gets to laptops that cheap....THEN you're talking, you'll get my attention then. I'll find the scratch qucikly.

      I guess it's funny, there's such a widely diverse market, and it's happened so quickly. Nearest I can recall is how fast portable "transistor" radios caught on, one year, nada, next year a few, at 50 to 100$, which was serious money then, within a few more years, everyone had one, cheap as all get out. What are they now, a dollar a piece in small quantity wholesale lots? computers now are the same deal, so many out there that work well and only run 50$ used, I think that's where a lot of the sales are going. Or people get them given to them. I have a stack of older pentiums I fool with, I bought a whole pallet of them for really cheap, with a ton of other doo dads thrown in, like another stack of ibm clickers, heh. PCs are cheap now, that's why the flat new sales, there's no absolute "need" for millions of people anymore.

      Hmm, I have YET to make a "cluster" hmmmm.....

    • You're fine with the high-school dropout who taught himself how to fix cars working on your car. However, you don't hire him to run your high-end plan machinery.

      The same is the case here. You might hire some of these people to maintain the desktops in your enterprise but you sure as hell won't have one of them being sysadmin on your mission-critical mainframe servers.
    • 7 years ago, I was working at a networking and systems integration firm where the only graduates were in sales.

      Us techies were just boys that knew what we were doing - in fact it was only when we got a couple of grads that we ran into problems (no common sense, no problem solving skills, inability to RTFM, etc.).

      There's no need for degrees to install and fix computers - just a lively mind, which is better found outside the graduate corps rather than inside.

    • To get to that $200 price point, you need Linux (or BSD...)

      Are you sure? Microsoft's already written the software; additional copies cost them pennies, so if they can figure out a way to charge $20 to the people with $20 without losing the chance to continue charging $200 to the people willing to spend $200, they will. I don't know exactly how they'd do it (more handicapped versions at low price points? Set the price of a license to be a fraction of the systme price?), but there must be a way....

      --Br

  • is it me or dont they even have pictures of their own product?

    This picture [linare.com] is of a friggin MAC. This picture [linare.com] is of a what appears to be a dell

    I dont trust companies that cant even get pictures of their own product. And as someone said before, cant quote product specs when asked.

  • by MarkWatson (189759) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @06:22PM (#6289618) Homepage
    Maybe I was lucky, but the box I bought has been very relible for the few weeks that I have had it :-)

    Seriously, the hardware seems OK - the salesman said that they had sold a lot of this model (totally made in China, with a Chineese Linux that immediately got replaced with a fresh SuSE install) - and no returns so far.

    Anyway, I love cheap commodity hardware! That said, I wouldn't mind a dual G5 system.

    -Mark

  • Why is the pic on the Linare PC page a Mac?

    http://www.linare.com/linpc.htm
  • The PaperRoute Box (Score:3, Insightful)

    by trolman (648780) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @07:00PM (#6289923) Journal
    This is the box to be bought on newspaper route delivery money. Back in the day I was able to buy and solder together a 'computer' and then add the options like address display LEDs. I cannot even remember the name of the company that pushed these out via small adds in the back of magazines but I learned the basics and it was the total package available from one company. This is a great idea and with just a few kids getting this machine for and on their own we will get the next generation off to a good solid start in the basics. Two 1802's up.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    http://www.linare.com/alliance.htm

    is a word-for-word ripoff of:

    http://www.suse.de/en/partner/become_partner/
  • by Ex-MislTech (557759) on Tuesday June 24, 2003 @11:54PM (#6291624)
    http://www.linare.com/consulting.htm

    Excerpt:

    "Linare is the worldâ(TM)s premier technology system integrator for Linux solutions in the enterprise."

    I wish them all the luck in the world though .

    Peace,
    Ex-MislTech

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