Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Linux Business Software Hardware Linux

Shuttle's $200 Linux PC Part of a Trend? 396

Posted by timothy
from the love-it-already dept.
eldavojohn writes "With $200 machines being all the rage these days, it's surprising that more coverage hasn't been given to Shuttle's KPC which is an Intel Celeron processor, a 945GC chipset, 512MB of memory and either a 60GB or 80GB HDD. With deals like these, will Linux become the dominant home operating system for the thrifty?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Shuttle's $200 Linux PC Part of a Trend?

Comments Filter:
  • Probably not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AVIDJockey (816640) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @04:50PM (#21989950)
    ...but it would certainly be a good inexpensive network storage option for many folks.
  • by east coast (590680) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @04:52PM (#21989984)
    Just for the record; I'm not proclaiming any great knowledge in this area.

    I just wonder if the business model won't be fruitful at first and slowly fade into non-existence.

    The allure of low priced PCs for the neophyte is a great one but one of two things are likely to happen: They'll either find out that they want more and end up willing to spend more and probably choose Windows for the software support or they'll find that the machine suits their purposes and latch onto them for a larger than normal span of time and repeat customers will be next to nil.

    I've found that people who pinch a penny when buying hardware are normally not good business for vendors. They'll make a machine last to their dying day.

    So while the initial repsonce is going to be great but don't expect to see lots of these people as return customers in the next few years.
  • by arivanov (12034) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @04:53PM (#21989996) Homepage
    If you do not want to play games and all you need is office, mail, some MP3-ed music and watching an odd DVD that is more than enough.
  • QUICKBOOKS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by copponex (13876) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @04:56PM (#21990058) Homepage
    Alright. I've said it OVER and OVER and OVER. And I still mean it. If you want to help Linux double it's presence in the small business sector, get a rock solid, customized, easy to use WINE installer for Quickbooks and make it compatible with new versions within 90 days.

    Businesses, once they see it in action, will scoop up $250 boxes and switch because: they don't have to pay for the VM and the Windows license, they don't have to pay for yearly anti-virus subscriptions, and they don't have to deal with windows update constantly breaking and changing things.

    But, I do look forward to the next version of whatever eye candy you guys are working on. Rotating xterms on a cube is really, really impressing the suits.
  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @04:56PM (#21990060)
    Well to a new computer user, Linux can be just as friendly as MacOS, or Windows. They all have equally steep learning curves.

    Considering what people would want out of a $200 machine, I would say that Linux can be even more user friendly. On a bare bones machine, people don't have the expectation of being able to do 'anything' give them their large icons for a preconfigured email/web/word/musicplayer interface and that is what they will stick to.

    For a $200 PC, I would prefer a linux distro. And this is coming from someone who prefers using XP for most of my computing needs.

    Obligatory car analogy:

    I love my pickup truck for its cargo capacity, not its gas mileage.
  • by paeanblack (191171) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:01PM (#21990148)
    Just for the record; I'm not proclaiming any great knowledge in this area.

    I just wonder if the business model won't be fruitful at first and slowly fade into non-existence.

    The allure of low priced PCs for the neophyte is a great one but one of two things are likely to happen: They'll either find out that they want more and end up willing to spend more and probably choose Windows for the software support or they'll find that the machine suits their purposes and latch onto them for a larger than normal span of time and repeat customers will be next to nil.

    I've found that people who pinch a penny when buying hardware are normally not good business for vendors. They'll make a machine last to their dying day.

    So while the initial repsonce is going to be great but don't expect to see lots of these people as return customers in the next few years.


    The above opinion brought to you by the IBM Corporation, circa 1975
  • by snarfies (115214) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:01PM (#21990156) Homepage
    Seriously, they couldn't spring the $20 for a simple DVD-R drive? What happens WHEN (not IF, WHEN) you bork your OS somehow and render it unbootable (or, at least unbootable without some herculean effort)? I gotta send it to Shuttle to reinstall the OS? I think not, varlet.
  • by urcreepyneighbor (1171755) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:01PM (#21990160)
    With specs like those, Linux may become known as a "low quality" operating system. To the masses, at least.

    I'll explain: Joe Consumer buys a system for $200. He realizes that he can't run his Windows apps easily/at all, that it's "different" and "difficult" from what he knows (Microsoft, again), and it's kind of slow. He'll associate Linux with incompatibility, difficulties, and piss poor performance. And he may tell his friends.

    I haven't even addressed the poor schmuck trying to bring home work from the office.

    The typical /.er can spend a couple hours reconfoobling a box, Joe Consumer doesn't have that luxury - he's got bills to pay, sleep to steal, and enough grief from the rest of his life. He doesn't want to know what a goddamn compiler is, he doesn't give a shit about GPL dogma, and he couldn't care less who Stallman is - he simply wants his box to do what he expects and wants it to do.

    Be careful what'cha ask for, ya know.

    Oh, yeah: save the argument about "educating the masses". They don't care and trying to shove propaganda, dogma and excuses down their throats will only drive them further away from Linux.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:01PM (#21990162) Homepage

    I can imagine that many here will have a hard time seeing the utility of a device like this because it doesn't have the horsepower for gaming or 3D rendering. But I think back to how many WebTV users were in my site logs and realize that most people can get by with relatively modest hardware requirements. A 75% solution would run basic productivity software, email, chat, view pictures, play movies and run Firefox.

    I'd get one for the times I don't feel like hauling a full size laptop. Many times 75% is plenty.

    I think the popularity of appliance type devices in Japan may signal the market is somewhat bigger than many at Microsoft are willing to accept.

  • by xgr3gx (1068984) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:02PM (#21990170) Homepage Journal
    How many people do you know that only use a computer for myspace and music that had to
    shell out $1000+ in order to get the hardware just to run Vista?
    I've seen plenty, and it pisses me off. All that hardware and money wasted for an OS
    that's overpriced to begin with.
    *** Steps off soapbox ***
  • by Drooling Iguana (61479) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:11PM (#21990314)
    Does it have a USB port? You can probably boot from a flash drive to install an OS.
  • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:18PM (#21990434) Homepage
    If you can ride the low-end down with lower prices over time, you don't need repeat customers. How many people in the world does not own a computer? And don't look around your middle-class western neighborhood. Remember, in many places of the world they live on what I'd call the "1/10th" economy, wages are a tenth and so are the prices so they're not poor or starving as such. But the prices on computers are within a few percent the same all over the world. What's a 200$ computer to you is a "2000$" computer to them. Anything you can shave off that unlocks new markets.
  • by east coast (590680) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:18PM (#21990444)
    why would they downgrade to Windows?

    As I said, for software support. Let's face facts, there is tons of software that is not on Linux that people want. How much longer is the Linux community going to ignore this fact? That's why I a main machine that runs Windows and a machine I play around with that has Linux.
  • The article is short on specs, but mentions there is no optical *drive*. There is no mention about the drive bay itself.

    To keep things cheap, Shuttle may have reused the chassis from another Shuttle model, which may have drive bays. The motherboard may have a drive connector. Perhaps we can install our own drive into the chassis, and ditch the bezel.

    Plus, there may be a USB port or two, so an external DVD drive may be possible.
  • by ArcherB (796902) * on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:23PM (#21990518) Journal

    I'll explain: Joe Consumer buys a system for $200. He realizes that he can't run his Windows apps easily/at all, that it's "different" and "difficult" from what he knows (Microsoft, again), and it's kind of slow. He'll associate Linux with incompatibility, difficulties, and piss poor performance. And he may tell his friends.
    Seeing as I have XUbuntu running at slightly better than acceptable speeds on a 400Mhz P2 with 256MB RAM, I'd say that performance won't be much of a problem on this system with its 1.5Ghz processor and 512MB RAM. Especially once you compare it to that $499 (software not included) PC trying to run Vista Premium on similar hardware.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:23PM (#21990520)

    The typical /.er can spend a couple hours reconfoobling a box, Joe Consumer doesn't have that luxury - he's got bills to pay, sleep to steal, and enough grief from the rest of his life. He doesn't want to know what a goddamn compiler is, he doesn't give a shit about GPL dogma, and he couldn't care less who Stallman is - he simply wants his box to do what he expects and wants it to do.

    So what you are saying is your average person wants a PC that is low maintenance, not much to go wrong and easy to use. Probably also wants it cheap like a toaster. Then I would say this $200-300 PC is getting quite close. They will not need as much patching, don't have the fancy clutter of too many things to go wrong and don't cost a lot in case you don't like it.

    But I don't know who moded you insightful. Your opening statement:

    With specs like those, Linux may become known as a "low quality" operating system. To the masses, at least.

    Sounds like Linux is high enough quality that it is being preferred by low end appliances for it's reliability, security and abilities to run on lean hardware. Unlike that other OS that needs dual core to boot, patches on a regular basis, and a general pain in the ass when it goes bad.

    --------------------

    If you need a good Linux server at work, regularly crash the MS-Windows box, pointing that it could be hardware. When they give up the box suggesting it is hardware, load Linux. Have gotten more than one good Linux server this way, including most that I didn't have to crash.

  • by damburger (981828) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:23PM (#21990526)

    I'm hoping that the introduction of very low cost PCs is going to open up computer usage, and more importantly the internet, for the developing world. Sometimes we like to think of the internet as a global community, but that really isn't the case. Most of the internet is still the anglophone countries and Europe.

    Of course, cheap PCs alone aren't going to do it - there is still the question of the infrastructure to provide home internet connections to the world. However, that is more likely to occur in a situation of widespread computer ownership.

  • by norminator (784674) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:29PM (#21990612)

    Let's face facts, there is tons of software that is not on Linux that people want. How much longer is the Linux community going to ignore this fact?

    If you think about it for a minute, I think you'll realize that the linux community is not ignoring the fact, just doing its best to carry on in spite of it, living without some apps, trying to create replacements where possible, or trying to encourage software companies to release linux versions of their programs. When it comes down to it, though, it's the software companies's fault that the software you want isn't available for linux. It's kind of a chicken and egg kind of thing... not much incentive to create software for a system that doesn't have a lot of users... and there's not a lot of users because some of the necessary software isn't available. Things like these low-cost PCs that allow people to do some useful computing without paying for the expensive hardware required for the latest Microsoft OS are a part of what the linux community needs to encourage people to try linux, so that software companies will have more motivation to produce software for linux, which will encourage more users to switch, and so on.
  • Re:QUICKBOOKS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:30PM (#21990626)

    they don't have to pay for yearly anti-virus subscriptions,
    The accounting department at my work place uses Windows machines for their accouting software, yet don't pay any anti-virus subscriptions. In fact, they don't even use anti-virus programs. I mean, they are accounting machines after all. Why the hell would we connect them to the internet? Or any network, for that matter? It's confidential information and kept completely physically separated from all other computers.
  • Re:Probably not (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:33PM (#21990668) Homepage
    Exactly what I thought. a high power massive storage Cobalt Qube for dirt cheap.

    I love the qube, but even used they are still expensive. This way a simple distro that makes it a NAS http://www.freenas.org/ [freenas.org] and easy to install, add a pair of cheapie 250gig hard drives and you are off with a terabyte.

    Advanced users get a router, web server, ftp server, UpNP media server, SMB server ,etc.... all for dirt.

  • by myz24 (256948) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:35PM (#21990706) Journal
    Hi, I don't have a computer at home to play games.
  • Re:Qemu (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Phillup (317168) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:44PM (#21990840)

    Virtual machines are stupid and difficult for normal users to comprehend and use.
    That does not seem much different from real machines then...

  • by fantomas (94850) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:46PM (#21990892)
    "With $200 machines being all the rage these days, it's surprising that more coverage hasn't been given to Shuttle's KPC..."


    It's not a laptop. Next!


    Not flamebait, but the truth. Cute little laptops have been either underpowered or the preserve of the rich till now, so Asus and everybody else knocking out workable, durable, cute machines is newsworthy. A desktop box that costs 200 dollars? where's the news in that? You can find those on every high street, and loads of people have brought out cute looking ones so nothing new there either. Plus it's not 200 dollars and press the on button, for Joe Public it's 200 dollars, spend some more on a monitor, then plug it into the wall. SO more like buying another desktop. Yawn.

  • by webmaster404 (1148909) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:58PM (#21991102)
    But, one of the main problems to Linux adoption is the install process. Have you even seen XP's install? Its much more complex then Ubuntu's install (albeit much easier then Gentoo's). The other problem is most people don't know any other OS other than Windows. While it is true that some of these machines will be running Windows, the most will be running Linux on them because people just go with what they have.
  • by PietjeJantje (917584) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @06:15PM (#21991488)
    The reason MS is very afraid is very simple. With prices of hardware dropping to a couple of hundred of dollars and below people nowadays get machines that do everything they need and it will probably be the most powerful computer they ever bought. With these tight margins, hardware makers proceed the next biggest cost factor they can cut and beat the competition again. That next element is Windows. Windows biggest enemy if falling hardware prices. When it was only a couple of percent of the whole price, no one noticed. Now it's in tens of percents.
  • by Orange Crush (934731) * on Thursday January 10, 2008 @06:20PM (#21991574)
    From the perspective of the average user, XP's install is the easiest by far. They take the computer out of the box it came in, plug it in, turn it on, and XP is right there.
  • by webmaster404 (1148909) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @06:25PM (#21991640)
    But this is about a Linux PC and putting Windows on it, therefore the argument with "the computer came with it" is null and void about this particual computer for Windows.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @06:28PM (#21991674) Homepage Journal
    im taking data backups. Doing *system* backups is a waste of energy.
  • by TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @06:45PM (#21991930) Homepage
    I thought that right up until 2 weeks after I bought my shiny new box, The damn thing blue screened on boot.
    1 hour to reinstall the OS.
    1.5 hours to reinstall the drivers and antivirus.
    2 hours to install the nessessary software (Acrobat, Flash, Quicktime, Google Desktop, Skype)
    30 minutes for Microsoft to patch itself up.

    I am quite good at such things, and none of the questions asked during the process caused me any grief. God help Joe Sixpack in the same state.

    To be fair, XP does give you a nice ride out of the showroom. It just gives you a bit more grief in the garage.

  • by A Jew (1176261) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @06:57PM (#21992078)

    you are comparing apples to oranges.

    when it comes to pre-installed machines, they are both pretty much the same when it come to ease of installation.

    when it comes to installing it yourself, Ubuntu is easier and faster.

    you are comparing a manual install of Ubuntu to a pre-installed Windows XP. since these machines are preinsatalled with Linux, this apples to oranges comparison of yours is even more ridiculous.

  • by Tribbin (565963) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @07:34PM (#21992606) Homepage
    I had a small silent Pentium III 800 Mhz with only XDM and IceWM preconfigured stocked somewhere, waiting for the day it would make somebody happy.

    Today was that day. My mother called that nobody could repair her expensive computer.

    I took the train, placed the computer, upgraded, created an account, installed firefox and gaim and added her printer.

    She was ready to do all she does with computers; browse, gmail, print, chat.

    If this old computer can make her happy, I'm sure these powerful 200$ boxes can make many others happy.
  • by Hucko (998827) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @07:35PM (#21992626)
    that was pp's point. That pre-installation is a hindrance to adoption of linux.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @07:41PM (#21992694) Homepage Journal
    Unless Apple plans on abandoning the Mac mini it's high time for a tech refresh and a price cut right now. Because for a few dollars MORE than $200 I WILL get a computer that runs all those apps the naysayers claim this one won't. $600-$800 today is too high a price for that unit even if it is an Apple.
  • by osu-neko (2604) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @07:43PM (#21992714)
    Yeah, unfortunately, as a desktop OS, Linux is still only 90% there. Which means it looks nice at first, you can even fall in love with it, but after you've been using it for ten hours, you reach a moment where you either go down to the command line and invoke the arcane incantation (e.g. "cp whatever /media/usb && sync"), or you bang your head on the monitor for a few hours, then reach for the XP reinstall disk.
  • by jimicus (737525) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @07:50PM (#21992820)
    People don't really know what they need. There is an entire market full of software catering to this set, and this software probably takes up 70-80% of shelf space on the high street.

    Example: There exists on the market software to "Migrate your old PC to the new one easily!!oneoneomgwtfbbq!". All of which is well and good, and people buy this software. Even if they don't, they somehow feel comforted by seeing it and 100 similar utilities all lined up in DVD cases in their local PC World (or insert local equivalent store if you're not in the UK).

    Except that XP already offers this as a feature. However, because it's not brought up by the operating system when you first turn it on ("Do you already have a PC? I can migrate your stuff if you like"), it seems that there remains a market for such crap.

    Example: There exists on the market software which is inferior to the Gimp, costs money and is closed source/commercial. A company called Serif specialises in such tat.

    Except every Linux distribution worth its salt already has a package for the Gimp.

    We don't see masses of software on the high street for Linux because a remarkable amount of what you see on the high street is basically shovelware - shovel out as much crap as possible and hope a few people buy it. That doesn't work when your target market has an application on their desktop to seek out more or less any software they might need, but at the same time it lends a remarkable amount of visibility to Windows. Almost none to the Mac (functionality not only built in but plainly obvious to even a retarded chimp) or to Linux (functionality probably not built in but so easy to find that the high street simply doesn't occur).
  • Re:Probably not (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DogDude (805747) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @09:02PM (#21993626) Homepage
    FreeNas doesn't need a box nearly this powerful. I've got FreeNas running on a Pentium 2 something with 256 MB RAM. If you want a FreeNas box, pick something out of the garbage or at the local thrift store.
  • by east coast (590680) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:09PM (#21994160)
    If you think I'm wrong, name one application area where you think Windows is ahead
     
    Anything productive by Adobe? MS Office? iTunes? Cakewalk? Fruity Loops? Starry Night? How about some software for my Garmin iQue M5? There are just a few of the software packages I run that aren't on Linux and I don't see any Linux equivalent of. And please, if you're going to mention VMing I may as well just have a Windows machine. It doesn't count.
  • by MrCopilot (871878) on Friday January 11, 2008 @07:47AM (#21997318) Homepage Journal
    Ok, one by one.

    You haven't told me how many units Walmart had to sell.

    gPC sales figures are unreleased from WalMart, but WalMart has re-upped their supply. If you imagine Walmart buying carloads and advertising it in their weekly flyers for Xmas you are severely deluded.

    Has you ever given her the chance?

    I think you mean, Have I ever given her the chance? Both of her older brothers run WinXP, Only one of them fulltime. She has plenty of opportunity to compare and contrast. There has been exactly one occasion that she has asked for an unsupported game, a game that is now supported.

    Openoffice and other Open Source apps available on Windows. You say this as if it is a detriment of Linux/FLOSS? I love the claim that FLOSS apps started as Native Windows apps. StarOffice is probably the only one you could make that claim about. The fact that Firefox, Gimp, and OpenOffice have windows ports is not a reason for using windows . It is a way to keep your apps when you are chained to Windows Box at work. It is also a great way to introduce new people to FLOSS, making the switch is easier if all your daily apps are available.

    Quoting sales figures of windows software is useless, What do you compare it to, # of downloads or hits at ftp.debian.com. Microsoft Office is popular, I never said it wasn't. I implied it was an unnecessary expense.

    How many of these games have native Linux clients and how many need WINE or Caldega?

    First off, it's Cedega and we don't use it. Most of the games I mentioned use Wine, but I fail to see the relevance. Wine is free, and makes those games run better than in native Windows in most cases. UT2k4, Doom3, Quake4 and a few others are Linux native. The 50 or so other games on her machine are native Linux apps.

    What do you have against emulating games of yesteryear? I paid for it and it won't run in VISTA or XP or even Linux natively. Enter DosBox, problem solved. Again I point to my Sig, There are a ton of very good games for Linux and Windows. The pace of development is staggering.

    My point is this: Linux is increasing in popularity, It's on your phone, your router, in your car, your digital camera, your internet tablet, digital picture frame, the fish finder on your boat, and even the controls of your hot tub.(You have me to thank for that last one.) The recent trend in PC manufacturers shipping Linux PCs is increasing and all your windows fanboyisms are not going to change that. Laptops from Asus, Everex, Lenova, Dell and OLPC sell like mad despite your perceived notion that not having windows will hurt their sales.

    By The way, according to my search for Games at Sourceforge [sourceforge.net] sorted by downloads, GlTron tops the list at 993,678 downloads. If you do it by category ZSNES tops it at 16,229,849 downloads, thats out of 22,681 or 14,583 projects (depending on which # you use). You are right that is significantly more than a truckload, sorry. Maybe you use a different Sourceforge though.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

Working...