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Walmart Offers Sub-$500 laptop With Linspire 589

LehiNephi writes "Cnet reports that Walmart is offering a sub-$500 notebook running Linspire. The specs are less-than impressive: a 1GHz VIA C3 processor, 128 MB RAM, 30GB hard drive, and a plain vanilla CD-ROM. Seems overpriced for what you get, but cheap nonetheless. And yes, it does run Linux."
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Walmart Offers Sub-$500 laptop With Linspire

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  • by The UberDork ( 689979 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @07:18PM (#11141757) Homepage
    So, is this kinda thing gonna shoot us in the foot, and make Linux mean cheap in the public eye? And I mean cheap, NOT inexpensive.
  • hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lordkuri ( 514498 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @07:25PM (#11141827)
    Damn Small Linux, blackbox, and bluetooth, and I think I just found my next remote webserver admin tool. I can't justify $2k for a machine, but less than $600 (tax, etc) might make it really feasable.
  • by incom ( 570967 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @07:25PM (#11141830)
    What I'm looking for is a cheap as possible laptop that has an nvidia video chipset, and no windows tax. I want to atleast be able to play UT2k4 on it.
  • Re:Call me when... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 20, 2004 @07:28PM (#11141857)
    The company I work for, Linspire, is putting these together for Walmart. We are essentially taking over the desktop linux market. Don't feel sorry for us. We know what we are doing and the profits have been huge.
  • Overpriced? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @07:29PM (#11141865)
    a 1GHz VIA C3 processor, 128 MB RAM, 30GB hard drive, and a plain vanilla CD-ROM. Seems overpriced for what you get, but cheap nonetheless.

    I can't speak for the US market, but up here in Canada the cheapest new laptop runs you about $1,000, which is about $800 USD. Granted, this is with a 2+ ghz cpu, 256 MB RAM, 20-30GB drive and a dvd-rom.

    However, to pay anything less than this requires checking out the used laptop market. Here we see such gems as a P3-700, 64-96MB RAM, 8-10GB drive selling for $5-600 all the time. Say about $4-500 USD.

    I don't know about you folks, but this looks like a pretty nice deal for those folks who aren't planning on running Doom3 on their laptops. The ram's a bit scanty for any modern OS, but otherwise this is a perfectly good machine to do 99% of what people do with a laptop.
  • It runs Linspire (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dteichman2 ( 841599 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @07:29PM (#11141868) Homepage
    The problem with Linspire (Lindows) is that it isn't quite Linux (yes, I know it really is Linux) and it isn't quite Windows. So, end-users might find it difficult. Even a pro seemed to think it was hard to use.

    Can a Red Hat Guru Survive on a Lindows Laptop? [linuxjournal.com]
  • by MadAnthony02 ( 626886 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @07:44PM (#11142001) Homepage

    The previous Linux/Walmart boxes were never available at the walmart stores, only at walmart.com. While the CNET article doesn't say that it won't be sold in stores, it starts out with with "Walmart.com and Linspire revealed.." and ends with "the computer is available at walmart.com". No mention that it would be available at stores.

    My guess is people who buy computers online are somewhat more savy than those who buy at Wal-Mart stores.

  • by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @07:52PM (#11142065)
    Who do you bank with troll, "1st Bank of Joe and Billy-Bob"? My bank has worked properly with Mozilla-based browsers for nearly five years now, and before that only had visual rendering issues except for a brief time after a botched redesign. Tell 'em to get with the program and fix their website so that it conforms to real standards. If they are unresponsive, vote with your dollars and your feet and trot on over to...well...almost any other bank.

    Of course, you could explore other options:

    * shell out extra $ for a copy of WinXP or a machine with it pre-installed

    * break the law and put a cracked or pirated Windows on your machine

    * stick to physically visiting your branch, ATMs and telephone banking
  • Re:Call me when... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 20, 2004 @08:03PM (#11142147)
    Cool, we'll see how you feel next year after hellmart tells you you have to cut prices by 20% or they will drop you. This is right after you will have put a huge investment in scaling up production for your biggest customer. Then you can either lose money from each sale and go bankrupt, or go bankrupt because you can't pay for that huge scaleup you made since you just lost your biggest customer (typical hellmart scenario)
  • by l810c ( 551591 ) * on Monday December 20, 2004 @08:31PM (#11142399)
    I don't understand their pricing structure.

    For $499 you get:
    VIA C3 processor 1.0 GHz
    14.1" LCD panel
    Lindows/Linspire version 4.5
    128 MB memory
    30 GB hard drive
    CD-ROM drive

    For $549 you get:
    1.1 GHz Mobile AMD Athlon 4 processor
    14.1" XGA TFT LCD screen
    40 GB hard drive
    128 MB RAM
    DVD-ROM drive
    Integrated 802.11b wireless networking
    Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

    Notice the cheapo monitor doesn't say TFT. Besides that for the extra $50 you get Windows Xp Home(Ebay?), Althon & .1 GHz, DVD vs CD, 10GB Xtra HD, Wireless.

  • Re:Call me when... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 20, 2004 @08:57PM (#11142583)
    I'm sure that guy doesn't actually work for Linspire, since Linspire doesn't make computers - they sell a Linux distro. He's just yanking your chain.

    Even if Walmart asked Linspire to give away the OS for free to reduce the price of the laptop, they still make money off their CNR subscription thing. The one who'll get squeezed is the guy who makes the hardware.

  • by AstroDrabb ( 534369 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @09:11PM (#11142719)
    Informative? WinXP _sucks_ with 128 MB of memory. It is really, really bad. There is nothing fine about it. My brother-in-laws laptop came with Win2K and 128 MB and ran just OK. When I "upgraded" him to WinXP Home, it slowed to a crawl. Windows would take ages to redraw. When I upgraded his memory to 256 MB, WinXP Home ran fine. Anything less then 256 MB for Win XP, just isn't worth it. Win2K didn't even work very well with only 128 MB.

    To be fair, modern Linux distros don't do well with only 128 MB if your using the latest KDE or Gnome. If you switch to Fluxbox, IceWM or another low-mem desktop like XFCE, then it works fine. But switching desktops is not really a good option under MS Windows. There are only a few poorly done desktop replacements for explorer.exe IMO. Not that I think explorer.exe is anything great. It is the cause of _all_ my problems under WinXP, but is is better then the replacements I have tried.

  • by AragornSonOfArathorn ( 454526 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @09:40PM (#11142921)
    I have an old P233MMX touchscreen laptop with 128MB and W2K runs fine on it. I dual-boot, but run 2K because there are no *nix drivers for the touchscreen, and the NT4 drivers work in 2K. Also, note this a Pentium I, heh. It does actually start to slow down as the registry inflates, but it is pretty snappy after a fresh install, and turning off unnecessary services, etc.
  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @09:48PM (#11142970) Homepage Journal
    Much of healthcare's expense is welfare for lawyers. My ex, a general surgeon in rural Montana who had never been the subject of a lawsuit, was paying seven figures for her yearly liability insurance. Seven figures. That is frigging insane. She is an awesome, awesome surgeon, and she is not greedy by any means. At times, she took chickens in payment from the farmer folks. Sometimes pies - I liked the pies better, I have to say. Most - not some, but most - of her fees, when she got fees, went to the insurance companies. From there, they go to the lawyers, and their lawsuit-happy clients.

    The American people let the legislators pull the wool over their eyes by allowing absurd jury awards, shuffling personal responsibility off to the nearest set of (presumably) deep-pocket targets, and otherwise fostering the stupidity du jour. So mostly, I think they get what they deserve. Eventually, maybe they'll get up off their lazy asses and force the legislature to behave responsibly. I try, and I get a lot more done than you'd think since I can use $$$ as a lever, but it's not enough. The insurance companies and the lawyers have more.

    I'm a business owner. I pay for healthcare for all my employees. They get a full ride -- dental, eyes, health and life. You don't even want to know what it costs me. The only good news is I can still afford to do it. In about five years, if things keep going as they are, I'll be forced to raise our software prices, because there won't be any margin remaining to cover it. And that's for a product that technically has paid back our investment in it; originally, it was $499, and these days we sell the same thing, plus tons of upgrades done in the meantime, for $50 -- we're that far down the curve. It absolutely sickens me that the curve is reversing because of lawyers and other parasites.

    Gah. I hate this subject.

  • by iocat ( 572367 ) on Monday December 20, 2004 @11:44PM (#11143917) Homepage Journal
    Does it have a *battery*? When searching for cheap laptops I found a few at Walmart.com (this was a few months ago) that didn't actually have batteries. They were just basically all-in-one portable PCs.
  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @01:25AM (#11144571) Homepage Journal
    No, there's a lot more to it than the liability for surgery. There's also the liability for the office staff (nurses and nurse-practicioners and so on, unless the surgeon doesn't have their own office -- she does, though) and general liability for non-surgical stuff, out-patient stuff and so on. It's not about just the one policy. It's about her total insurance bill, which was absolutely insane.

    But it goes deeper than this for the medical care consumer. Liability is applied at many levels, when you're talking about surgery. All of these fine folks have to carry liability:

    • any specialists that get their toes into the act
    • the surgeon and their MD and/or FACS assistants -- many surgeries involve multiple docs with knives and other instruments of torture
    • the anesthesiologist
    • the radiologist
    • the hospital
    • the lab
    • the clinic that hosts the doctor
    ...and it all folds into the fee you pay, because they can all be sued if something happens to you that your lawyer likes. On top of this, all of these people are trying to make a living, the hospital has to support what is really an astonishing infrastructure and so on -- the resulting prices are fubar.

    Now, I don't know about you, but I don't mind paying for top notch healthcare, the tools to implement it, and the facilities to perform it in. But I sure as hell mind paying for for a zillion dollar award because someone left a sponge in, or because some dipstick handed out the wrong meds. And that's what insurance is. It is us, paying for them.

  • by wirelessbuzzers ( 552513 ) on Tuesday December 21, 2004 @05:38AM (#11145485)
    No. They aren't fast, and more importantly they have jack worth of cache and no hyperthreading, but they're respectable due to their very low power requirements and reasonable bus speeds. They're good for building small, low-power computers, which is nice because you want that in a laptop. The latest ones have AES acceleration and random number generation on them.

    The next version (due out... about... now, which means who knows when given VIA) will have additionally no-execute, SHA-1, and Montgomery multiply acceleration (i.e. multiply big numbers fast). Plus they're said to run at 2GHz at 10 Watts, and have a bigger cache. If this is actually true, it will be great for building a backup server, which would have to copy large amounts of data over SSH. Now if only they can build in bzip2...

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake