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This discussion has been archived.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:
  • by cashman73 (855518) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @04:47PM (#21989898) Journal
    that NASA had actually put Linux on the Space Shuttle. Darn! What a disappointment! Figures, though. NASA could never spend as low as $200 on a computer; what, when they can gold-plate the sucker and buy a computer for $200 million?
  • no CD/DVD drive bay? (Score:4, Informative)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @04:49PM (#21989934)
    disapointing, i seen at NewEgg a few similar Shuttle BareBones kits had CD/DVD drive bays...
    • by tknd (979052) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:05PM (#21990226)

      I don't know about you but I am finding I use the optical drive less and less these days. It is much easier to just get a USB flash drive for portable storage and dump the remaining large files onto an external hard disk. New software tends to be downloaded rather than loaded from a disk. So CD/DVD media is only useful for movies and install disks for new OSes. If they start making faster bootable USB flash drives with downloadable image files then I probably will stop using optical drives all together.

      • by FudRucker (866063)
        and if the need to boot up from a CD or DVD install disk?

        http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=414016&cid=21990156 [slashdot.org]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jawtheshark (198669) *

        If they start making faster bootable USB flash drives
        All USB drives are bootable... You just need to
        1. Format them that way
        2. Have a motherboard that supports booting from USB
        That's it, really...
        • by Skapare (16644)

          That would be great if all motherboards were indeed able to boot from USB. The sad fact is, not all are. We need to do something about that. Booting from a USB key or an SD card in a USB connected would be a whole lot more convenient.

          I showed by father a 4 GB SDHC memory card the other day. He asked what it was. I told him it was 2700 floppies squished into a handy package. This thing has the capacity of 6 CDs or nearly a single layer DVD. CDs or DVDs just get in the way now days. Who needs them.

      • by nurb432 (527695)
        Optical drives are still valid for backups.
        • by ncc74656 (45571) *

          Optical drives are still valid for backups.

          At only 4.7GB each (8.5GB if you have money to burn), DVD-R isn't really a practical system-backup medium, except maybe for the limited case of making an image of a freshly-installed system that can be restored. It'd take at least a couple of 100-disc cakeboxes to back up the largest hard drives when full...not to mention the time it'd take to shuffle all of those discs through the burner.

  • 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DogDude (805747)
        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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bcrowell (177657)
      A lot of people, including me, are using an NSLU2 [nslu2-linux.org] for that. Cisco officially says it's OK with them if people modify the firmware, install Debian on it, etc. The price is under $100, and it only draws 4 watts, so it's a much better choice than a general-purpose computer for an always-on machine.
  • 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 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
      • And IBM was pretty much correct until the late 90s.

        Home computing, while it may have been common to us, didn't hit hard until the internet became useful and affordable for Joe Sixpack. How many PC makers have come and gone in that time period?

        Also, your analogy is bad since the PC market didn't have alternatives as they do today.

        Oh well, time will tell, and I was offer up a scenario instead of a single flippant remark.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ChrisA90278 (905188)
        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.

        same is true for children's clothing. Buy one pair of size 1 shoes and you will likely not be buying another. So if these guys can sell just one PC to each person when they turn 13 thell will sell enough and every year there is a new bacth of customers. The trick is to offer a line of PCs, one at every price point. Then as yur customers upgrade you can keep them. Add
    • 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 ...

      If they find they like the security, the reliability, the wide availability of good software Linux offers, why would they downgrade to Windows?

      • 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.
        • 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.
          • When it comes down to it, though, it's the software companies's fault that the software you want isn't available for linux.

            Fault? I'm just saying not to ignore it. I'm not looking to place blame on this.

            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 softwa
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jimicus (737525)
            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
        • by Neil Hodges (960909) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:46PM (#21990900)

          I do realize I'm in the minority, but there's a lot of software on Linux that I can't get at Windows, especially what comes with the OS. That's why my main machines run Linux and the gaming machine I rarely boot up runs Windows.

          Some examples are basic shell utilities or their analogues, such as grep, tr, and dozens of others. Although possible to get on Windows, Perl, Python, and other interpreters don't run as smoothly and take more work to do on Windows. For my purposes, it's most efficient to use such tools in a shell prompt, which Windows somewhat lacks (don't get me started on their DOS emulator, which lacks decent tab completion, useful text selection support, and so on). I even have a friend who has SSHd running under Cygwin so he can SSH into his own computer and have a useful terminal emulator and shell (Bash in his case).

          The same goes for the graphical applications I use, such as parts of KDE, which haven't run on Windows well yet (KDE4 will fix that). Other examples are good shell replacements. It's like having to use CDE during the days of proprietary Unix, without any good options. Sure, BB4Win derivatives provide options, but they're nowhere nearly as good as XFce, KDE, or even RatPoison for my purposes (I'm not even sure why it's not possible to have two different wallpapers in dual-head mode under Windows).

          Sure, for the average consumer, Windows has what they want and the software they'll send their money in for, but for someone raised under GNU/Linux, Windows lacks the important software.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)
      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
    • 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.

      The thing is, the age of the forced upgrade cycle is for PCs are long gone. Nowadays, the computing power of even the lo

      • So why exactly do you believe anyone would want to "end up willing to spend more"? Because they want to top their neighbour? Because they want to burn money away? I don't think so.

        I already said why: software support. And an optical drive doesn't hurt either.
  • 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.
    • by edwdig (47888) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @04:55PM (#21990046)
      Actually, it's not. There's no optical drive bay in the system. So you can't watch a DVD or rip music.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        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 WaZiX (766733)

      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.
      You won't be watching many DVDs on this one though...
    • Of course you are perfectly correct but the PC seems now to be getting like cars - sure you could buy a smart car if all you do is scoot around town but the fact is that some people just can't bring themseleves to drive a small car. Some people buy four by fours because they think that even though they haven't ever gone off road, they may some day want to - some people buy a PC with the same mentality.

      The other point is that these machines are competing with shops like PC World and Tescos who seem to offer

    • by Hatta (162192)
      Thrifty, reasonable, what's the difference?
    • it is what you want to do with the thing. If you want a web surfer/emailer: ok. Want a CD ripper/ DVD palyer/ music magager companion: nope (software & no optical drive). Want to play your Windows games: nope.

      Most of my household uses Linux, but I doubt I'd buy this thing. For a bit more, OK quite a bit more, I could get a Mac mini which is smaller, cuter has DVD etc.

    • I, for one, cannot wait to deploy machines with a smiley face or flower decal on the front panel in my Linux HPC envionment.

      Colo NOC: "Now, which server do I need to reboot?"
      Me: "The one with Barbie on the front panel!"
  • Prefer a $200 laptop (Score:3, Informative)

    by lobiusmoop (305328) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @04:53PM (#21990008) Homepage
    Hopefully soon the OLPC [laptop.org] will be available to buy here in the UK. It seems to fill a niche of being ultraportable (7 inch screen), good battery life (9-10 hours, 2-3W consumption, long life NiMH battery) and low cost ($200, dropping towards $100 in the future perhaps).

      I've already got several desktops and laptops, but would buy one of these in a second, given the chance.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by damburger (981828)
      Recently there was a 'buy one give one' scheme where you got an XO and one was given to some impoverished child somewhere, and I'd really like to see that in the UK. I'd get a near indestructible linux laptop that never needs plugging in, along with a vague sense of moral smugness :)
    • by grcumb (781340)

      Hopefully soon the OLPC [laptop.org] will be available to buy here in the UK. It seems to fill a niche of being ultraportable (7 inch screen), good battery life (9-10 hours, 2-3W consumption, long life NiMH battery) and low cost ($200, dropping towards $100 in the future perhaps).

      They're lovely machines, to be sure. I was given a late prototype to test back in August, and when my normal laptop ceased to function, I started using the OLPC exclusively. I found it was dead easy to learn the interface, and for casual purposes the beta interface was slow but useable.

      The keyboard, however, is designed to by suitable for children - or, more to the point unsuitable for adults. The idea is to make it less likely that dad (or big brother) will come home, crack open a beer and say, "C'mere

  • 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.
    • Uhmmm, it is called CxOffice. Older versions of Qiockbooks run perfectly fine on it. I have been running Quickbooks on Wine on Linux since 2000.
    • Qemu (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mpapet (761907)
      I use wine to run an old version of quick-something at home and select kid-friendly games. It's not the impediment you think it is.

      Qemu is the silver bullet. Let's say the company has legit Dell-sourced windows licenses. They can switch over to linux and run the windows partition through qemu in a window/fullscreen on the Linux desktop. Qemu is plenty fast enough to run quickbooks especially on recent hardware. There. Problem solved.

      Except qemu has been around for a while and it's not the Linux killer a
      • Virtual machines are stupid and difficult for normal users to comprehend and use. This makes them decidedly sub-optimal--and you still need to buy a Windows license to do it.

        QuickBooks via WINE - done deal.
        • Virtual machines are stupid
          What inspires such wanton disregard for a legitimately great tool?

          and difficult for normal users to comprehend
          I never tell my end users how anything works, so why would I even begin explaining their application is running in an emulator?

          and use.
          A clickable shortcut and the end-user is using their windows app just like the every other app. Let the productivity begin!

           
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Phillup (317168)

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      • This is one reason now would be a good time to get the desktop side of things working properly. The suits say, "Is Linux really ready?" and you can hand them that press release, and reply, "Yes. All I'm trying to do is save you money."
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.
      • by copponex (13876)
        Yes, why would we want to:

        1. Update Quickbooks to fix (sometimes show-stopping) bugs automatically.
        2. Download financial information to reconcile our accounts instead of doing it by hand.
        3. Download tax forms.
        4. Send and receive e-mail.
        5. Automatically update payroll information.

        Really. If you're weren't trolling, you either need a nap or you're retarded.
    • by rickb928 (945187)
      Without looking at the responses so far, here's the clinker.

      If you get Linux/WINE on enough desktops running Quickbooks, three things will happen:

      - Intuit and the current Linux AV makers realize there is a market out there, businesses will pay for support.

      - Intuit makes Linux version, bypassing WINE.

      - Linux AV makers (ClamAV for instance) realize this too, and change their licensing to make commercial users pay for updates.

      - ???

      - Profit!

      Not a bad thing, but the ClamAV gang should finally enjoy some renumera
  • 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.
    • Where are these "new computer users" you speak of?
    • by hackstraw (262471)
      Well to a new computer user, Linux can be just as friendly as MacOS, or Windows. They all have equally steep learning curves.

      I'll never forget when my girlfriend taught me how to "double click" on a Mac.

      She said, double click on that icon. I said, "What?" I clicked twice slowly. She said faster. I clicked faster, and the program opened.

      Never heard of a double click before. WTF?

      Now I'm a computer geek, and the gf is gone.

  • As recently as a couple days ago I couldn't find a single source of information on this system beyond a picture and price point. TFA is dated yesterday. But even with that being the case I've seen this system on digg and reddit. So I'm not sure how more coverage could be possible.
  • 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Does it have a USB port? You can probably boot from a flash drive to install an OS.
      • The guy who spent 200 bucks on a PC is going to have another machine to get another distro from and put it on a USB drive? Don't forget that the target community for this is going to be a single PC household. This PC is mostly for the new PC owner with a handful of hobbyist thrown in.
        • by willfe (6537)
          He might *know* somebody ... or the machine may be purchased as a gift for somebody, *by* somebody who has the machine and knowledge.

          Won't the target "community" be, you know, a *community*, that exchanges knowledge and tools as needed? I would most certainly help any friend or acquaintance who asked me about installing a new OS on a dirt-cheap computer they'd just gotten their paws on.

          Doing stuff like this (i.e. helping each other out) would definitely help bring a return of the old "shareware" gatherings
        • by Phillup (317168)

          The guy who spent 200 bucks on a PC is going to have another machine to get another distro from and put it on a USB drive? Don't forget that the target community for this is going to be a single PC household. This PC is mostly for the new PC owner with a handful of hobbyist thrown in.

          OK, show of hands... how many people here would consider buying one?

          I would, and I definitely don't fit the profile of the "target market" you are describing.

          Hell, I almost have enough computers to put one computer in every room in my house... and at these prices would most likely reach the point of one in each room. (minus bathrooms and utility rooms... tho I do carry a nokia 770 into some of those rooms)

          That is what you do with a COMMODITY... you buy them by the shit load...

          I think there is a market for

    • It wasn't that they wouldn't spend $20 for a dvd drive.
      It's that they wouldn't spend the extra 5.25 drive bay space
      and cabling for something that's only needed once in a while for os-installation.
      And when you're trying to make a small low power device, that's at a premium.

      For that once-in-a-while need to reinstall the os,
      there's certainly no need to go to the extreme of sending to the factory.
      My company uses a lot of small linux appliances like these (esp for firewalls)
      and I keep a external usb-cdrom on han
  • 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 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 hey! (33014)
      Having watched technology develop for nigh on thirty years, there is one thing that is eternally true: the most disruptive changes come from the high end of the low end.

      The last thing you want if you have a business built around something that costs a fair amount of money is an alternative that is good enough for a subset of your customers but a lot cheaper. Even people who need more end up buying a few because what the hell, they're cheap, and maybe they can use it for something. The next thing you kno
  • 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.

  • 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 ***
    • 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?

      Precisely none.

      I've seen plenty, and it pisses me off. All that hardware and money wasted for an OS that's overpriced to begin with.

      Ah yes. It must be entirely the fault of the Microsoft Conspiracy - after all, without the Conspiracies orbital mind control lasers nobody would replace perfectly functioning boxes. It can't possible be a probl

  • I used to love their hardware and I've got three setting in front of me now. The last case I bought was a lemon. I happen to have identical parts because I was building two machines at once so I was able to swap out the parts and it was definitely the case, it would reboot halfway through loading Windows. I even had an independent shop check it out and they said there was a problem with the motherboard. I shipped it back expecting a new case. They returned it in a week claiming it worked fine but they had r
  • Application, Application, Application
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      I can only think of three must have programs that Linux is lacking.
      Quicken, TurboTax/TaxCut, and if you have a small business QuickBooks.

      Linux has Email, web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, and digital pictures covered.
      One place that you have issues is with codecs thanks to software patents but that can be fixed.

      Quicken and a Tax program are the two killers for a lot of people.

      • by sethg (15187)
        For personal/small-business accounting, there's GnuCash [gnucash.org], although I don't know how easy it would be for a Quicken users to adopt.

        Taxes (in the US, at least) are a little tricky because you have to file paperwork with the IRS for permission to submit tax returns electronically; an end-user can't just upload their return directly to the IRS. So an open-source tax package all by itself couldn't substitute for TurboTax.
        • by LWATCDR (28044)
          "For personal/small-business accounting, there's GnuCash, although I don't know how easy it would be for a Quicken users to adopt."
          It isn't and it isn't as good according to my wife. It also doesn't integrate as well with banks as Quicken does. Could it? Maybe but right now it doesn't.
          I trust my wife on this one. She is a big Firefox, Gimp, OO.org user so she doesn't mind learning new software.
          Tax prep software is just a must have and I don't mind paying for it. I just want it for Linux.
          I am not a FOSS zeal
  • Multiple Children (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pickapeppa (731249)
    If you have six kids in school, this might be just the thing you need. I don't have any kids that I'm aware of, but friends do and their kids fight for PC time for papers and projects. I've donated old PCs from to to folks for just this reason. And your kid learns a Linux distro as well as Windows / Mac at school.
  • 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 bcrowell (177657) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:25PM (#21990548) Homepage
    The article linked to from the slashdot article was missing some info, such as what linux distro it will have preinstalled. This [techreport.com] one says it will be Ubuntu. All I could find on shuttle's own site was this [shuttle.com] press release.
  • I'll take the $99 barebones version, please. Along with a dual-core Celeron and a gig of RAM. I've got a hard drive already, thanks.

    Seriously, though, computers this cheap are impulse-buy territory. So it's not powerful; since it's not running Vista or 3D games, it doesn't have to be.
  • by athloi (1075845) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @05:36PM (#21990716) Homepage Journal
    Because I'm the neighborhood geek, people ask me about their problems. One problem is what to do with the old machine when they upgrade.

    My advice for the past six months has been: buy it a new hard drive ($60) and install Ubuntu. The hard drive is what fails at 4-5 years, but the rest will keep on ticking and thanks to the thriftiness of Linux, doesn't slow them down.

    They don't care that it's not Windows XP or Mac OS X. All GUIs look about the same for the tasks most people do.

    With these newer cheap machines, I'm excited, but wary. Would I rather install $200 of junk or do a $60 upgrade to an older, but once more expensive machine with better hardware?

    The Shuttle boxes I've worked with so far have been high quality but have tended to overheat. However, they were a good deal more expensive than $200. I wonder what corners got cut, and whether a five year old Dell that cost $900 when it was new would have these problems?

    Either way, my compliments to the Ubuntu team. That's a convenient and reliable OS distro.
  • If you're thrifty, you don't buy brand new stuff. (I've never owned a new car, being temperamentally incapable of buying an item that loses thousands of dollars in value the moment you start using it.) You can get a decent used laptop for about $200 off eBay. Not as powerful as the latest models, but more than powerful enough for 90% of what people use home computers for.

    That's not what the Linux-bundled PCs are about. They're about people being just plain tired of fighting with Windows. God knows I am
  • 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 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 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 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.

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.

Working...