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Lenovo On the Future of the Netbook 400

Posted by kdawson
from the can-you-say-windows dept.
thefickler touts an interview in tech.blorge with Lenovo's Worldwide Competitive Analyst, Matt Kohut, who spoke about his vision of the future of netbooks, which involves Windows 7, bigger screens, built-in 3G, touch integration, and lower prices. Linux fans will be disappointed to hear that Kohut thinks Windows 7 will dominate future generations of netbooks because it offers a better, more familiar solution, with the benefits of touch. Quoting Kohut: "The other challenge has been, in order to keep the price points down, a lot of people thought that Linux would be the savior of all of these netbooks. You know, there were a lot of netbooks loaded with Linux, which saves $50 or $100 or whatever it happens to be, based on Microsoft's pricing and, again, from an industry standpoint, there were a lot of returns because people didn't know what to do with it. Linux, even if you've got a great distribution and you can argue which one is better or not, still requires a lot more hands-on than somebody who is using Windows. So, we've seen overwhelmingly people wanting to stay with Windows because it just makes more sense: you just take it out of the box and it's ready to go."
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Lenovo On the Future of the Netbook

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  • So basically ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday May 10, 2009 @08:31PM (#27900759)

    Everything you see today, only larger, faster and cheaper.

    Nice "vision". Where can I get a job like that?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Everything you see today, only larger, faster and cheaper.

      Nice "vision". Where can I get a job like that?

      1. Forget about faster
      2. Forget about cheaper
      3. Move to Redmond
      4 ...
      5. Profit!

    • Kohut: Notebooks aren't going to go away, because again, one of the things that is helping us as an industry is that Intel is trying very hard to limit what netbooks can do.

      Hmmm... intentionally crippling their low-end stuff, eh? That explains why we've got no 64-bit or VT on the mobile Atom processors, I guess, among other things...

      This sounds like a loophole big enough for VIA to drive through with the Nano.

      I hope they succeed. And I hope AMD wakes up and makes netbook processors. You wouldn't even know it from their terrible marketing and sales, but the Turion 64 X2 is quite a nice dual-core mobile processor from AMD. And dirt cheap too.

      Bottom line, more competition is

  • I'm confused. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twidarkling (1537077) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @08:31PM (#27900763)

    You know, I thought the whole point of a netbook was to be cheap and portable. Why would you throw a bigger screen on it? I've got a 17" laptop. It's great for long-term use, since it has a full-sized keyboard. Great use in class, when I was taking notes. And yet I'm *still* considering grabbing a netbook and an aircard so that I'd have something tiny to carry around for if I need to look up something quickly (bus schedules, addresses, etc). Something with a larger screen would just be relegated to laptop uses, especially with an increased battery drain from the larger screen. Seriously, what's the point?

    • by jeffbax (905041)

      Not to be pessimistic, but I just don't get the whole netbook fad. I can basically say everything you did about a larger netbook to regular netbooks compared to say an iPhone or Android or Blackberry. These are pocket sized, often have highly optimized apps for a given task (such as a bus schedule) and only require carrying around one device that chances are I'd have in my pocket anyway.

      I'm guessing I'm not the only one who thinks this way either... http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2009/01/the-iphone-and [arstechnica.com]

    • Wow. That's either impressive or insane :-)

      I can't even stand to carry around my 15" laptop on a daily basis. It's not so much the weight as the annoying "bulk" of it. It's awkward thick and wide. The power brick is big and needed far too often. The laptop is too big to fit on most lecture hall desks, and it's not at all unobtrusive... whenever I have it I'm instantly "that jerk with the giant laptop."

      So 17"... way too big :-p

  • Goodbye Lenovo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Reed Solomon (897367) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @08:32PM (#27900765) Homepage

    What with their ridiculous SL series and their lack of Linux support (and flagrant linux dismissal) since IBM spun them off, I say goodbye to you. I shall miss the trackpoint, but as you are trying to phase it out anyways, c'est la vie.

    Why is there no major Linux vendor, anyways? Aside from repackaging Windows machines with Linux? Why can't somebody do for Linux what Apple does for OSX?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I will keep an eye on Thinkpad hardware to run Linux as I have for years, but I will have to remain paranoid and assume the worst until some testing and validation has occurred, whether by me or others in the Linux world.

      It is sad to see people like Kohut gaining prominence. He has blogged more than once indicating his belief that the Thinkpad value is in that gimmicky crap software they add on top of Windows (whether the wireless manager, or power manager, or hybrid graphics driver), which truly shows that

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
    • Re:Goodbye Lenovo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @08:56PM (#27900973)

      Why is there no major Linux vendor, anyways? Aside from repackaging Windows machines with Linux? Why can't somebody do for Linux what Apple does for OSX?

      Because most Linux users are geeks, and us geeks enjoy customization. For example, even though I might enjoy using Ubuntu, a KDE user might be appalled that KDE (and all the KDE applications) aren't installed by default. Gentoo users would find it wasn't fast enough, Fedora users would complain at the lack of Yum and it being Debian based, people who use lighter WMs would find GNOME too bulky, users of paid distros wouldn't like the hand installing of certain patented codecs, etc.

      Basically, its impossible to find a distro or tactic that works for everyone. For example, I have an EEE PC that had Xandros installed, it seemed like a crippled version of Debian, so I just installed Xubuntu with a custom kernel which I could have done if it came with Windows.

      Apple has basically said no to customization throughout their existence, so Apple users aren't used to customization, they like it one consistent way and will stick with it till the day they die. Windows, while it has a lot of GUI customization available via themes, there isn't really a supported way of customizing Windows the way you can Linux. It doesn't take too much work to make a distro of Linux that can fit in 10 MB and have a functional server, userland, etc. Within 50 MB you can have a full desktop distro. When you take Windows to fit in that size you remove some needed parts of the OS.

      • Apple has basically said no to customization throughout their existence, so Apple users aren't used to customization, they like it one consistent way and will stick with it till the day they die.

        That might be more true about Finder in the OS X era, but back in the day there was a whole lot of customization going on with System 7. I ran a ton of extensions that customized the Finder UI, and gave it a lot of useful functionality that was lacking from the stock Finder. Things like Windowshade (minimize window to just a title bar) and improved scrollbar controls, pop-up folders and better menus, etc.

        Apple took many of these ideas and integrated them into later versions. It was nice that you didn't h

    • Re:Goodbye Lenovo (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted @ s l a s h d ot.org> on Sunday May 10, 2009 @10:58PM (#27901829)

      Why can't somebody do for Linux what Apple does for OSX?

      Indeed. I mean we can certainly outperform OSX, when we do it right.
      The problem is, that it feels somehow nasty, to do it that way.

      Here is how we should play it:
      0. Warning: Do not change Linux. It already is what we want. Make a separate OS, to allow for things that would not be OK to do with Linux.
      1. Dreams, dreams, dreams! What matters is what dream you sell. Since the day of the Hoover dam. This is a marketing job. So we need marketing geeks, imagining what the greatest dream of every person in the target group is. And making it seem possible.
      2. Looks, looks, looks! Yes, it has to be good below. Of course. But it will never come that far, if it does not look good. As with people, the first 10 (or 30) seconds count the most (exponentially falling curve). The Microsoft people understood this. But they did not have the base below the looks. We can easily fire up Compiz, and make them have their eyes fall out. Hell, every girl who looks at my desktop wants me to install that on her computer. (They are talking about the looks.) And on the basis, we are way more stable too.
      3. Integrate with closed-source stuff, like driver makers. Define simple interfaces and make them happy. Go call them, and make them have wet dreams of their card working in our new system.
      4. Support, support, support. Either have a high-quality human contact on the phone, who can solve any problem, or go home? (*booooo*)

      See, it feels dirty. But that's the way...

      So imagine this:
      A b-e-a-utiful laptop. Something that a women would "wear", even if it's just for decoration. A variant for men, being actually made out of carbon-steel. A box for professionals. Looking like an engine block. With heavy looking metal work.
      Then you see the display and the keyboard. Everything looks like it's made out of one piece. Including the OS. CompizFusion is a must here.
      Make the OS different for different people. (Build on the Ubuntu philosophy.)
      Do NOT imitate. Do not make it look or act like Windows. Or OSX. Make it better. Make them feel that. (E.g.: There is no point in binding the window-close command to Alt-F4. Ask the average secretary if the uses than one. She doesn't. ^^)
      On the first start, show an impressive tour around the system. Let the user choose when to stop, and when to come back.
      Make the tour like a game. With the same technique of motivation. Show the controls in the order of their usage frequency. With sound and video and substance, and comfort, until they shit their pants in awe. ^^
      After 10 minutes they have to be able to fully use the window management and run applications. After 30 min, they have to be able to use all their main programs. (For a business guy: the office suite, the calculator, the PIM suite).
      Offer two things everywhere in the tour: 1. CALL SUPPORT, 2. Customization (I WANT IT MY WAY!).
      In support, always offer to actually program a feature for the user, if he wants it. There is no no. There is just an offer with a fair price. (As long as physically possible.)

      So the ultimate user experience has to be like this:
      1. He saw a dream.
      2. He got that dream.
      3. He was up and running in <30 minutes.
      4. No matter what problem, there was someone there for him, offering a solution.
      5. PROFIT! ^^

  • Ready to go (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3&phroggy,com> on Sunday May 10, 2009 @08:32PM (#27900769) Homepage

    Linux, even if you've got a great distribution and you can argue which one is better or not, still requires a lot more hands-on than somebody who is using Windows. So, we've seen overwhelmingly people wanting to stay with Windows because it just makes more sense: you just take it out of the box and it's ready to go."

    If Linux netbooks aren't ready to go out of the box, the vendors are doing a poor job.

    If people are trying to install non-bundled apps, they might run into trouble. Otherwise, everything should just work. If it doesn't, something's wrong.

    • Re:Ready to go (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @08:37PM (#27900813) Journal
      Unfortunately, "doing a poor job" has been surprisingly popular. There have been a variety of embarrassing configuration errors.

      Now, based on the number of requests for help I get after people learn that I "know computers", I submit that Windows machines aren't really ready to go out of the box in a surprising number of cases.

      And Apple, of course, doesn't condescend to make netbooks. Decisions decisions...
    • by mangu (126918) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @08:50PM (#27900917)

      If Linux netbooks aren't ready to go out of the box, the vendors are doing a poor job.

      What the TFA mentions that "Linux, even if you've got a great distribution and you can argue which one is better or not, still requires a lot more hands-on than somebody who is using Windows" is blatantly false. I unpacked my Linux eeePC, plugged it in, turned it on, and started working, something I never managed to do with any Microsoft computer.

      In windows you always need to get and install all the software you need to actually do something with the computer.

      In my case, I do a lot of Python programming, and that was there. I also found Kate, my favorite editor for programming. Plus OpenOffice, a media player for music and video, a bunch of icons for starting Firefox in several different modes, which means 99% of what I need for work and play was already there. Let me see a windows netbook that comes with all that pre-installed.

      The only complaint I have about the eeePC is that the keyboard should be just a little bit bigger, other than that it's an excellent machine. But, of course, one can always have a thinner, lighter netbook, with longer lasting batteries. That would be my choice of directions for evolution.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MoonBuggy (611105)

        People like you are a tiny minority in the market, though, that's the issue here. You already use open source software, you know how to adapt to a different desktop environment, you know in advance what your preferred programs are, and so on. Perhaps more importantly, you don't immediately blind yourself to what's written on the screen in front of you just because the box it's written in looks a bit different.

        Most users are scared by what they don't recognise, and an awful lot of them still insist on learni

        • by Sparr0 (451780)

          [linux]'s not ready to go because it doesn't look familiar enough, because things aren't in the same place, because things are labelled differently.

          And everything you said does not apply equally to Vista / Windows 7 / Office 2007 why exactly?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by zamfield (1346305)
        Basically the reason no one wanted to keep a Linux netbook is because the support friends and relatives all drank the Microsoft kool-aid and can't fix the netbook when it stops working or make their favorite website work again. It isn't that the Linux required more hands on, it's that the grandson, neice, or geeky neighbor had never seen Linux or knew how to make it work, so the existing support network for most cheapskates wasn't compatible.
      • by Telvin_3d (855514) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @10:10PM (#27901505)

        Professional programmer with extensive experience using open source software finds Linux easy to use out of the box; Can't understand why other people have trouble. News at 11.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        I see it lije this, most sesoned windows users are o used to the small tweaks and addons they do that they forget them. They have their optical disks and usbkeys stuffed with the drivers and tools needed.

        But come linux, its back to square one, and none of their usual web haunts (download.com, tucows, snapfiles, the list goes on) are of any use to them.

        Its the windows power user thats the viggest problem, the stef's of the world that has learned how to hit next on a install wizard and what nearby geek to gr

    • Bingo... (Score:5, Informative)

      by schon (31600) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @09:02PM (#27901017)

      If Linux netbooks aren't ready to go out of the box, the vendors are doing a poor job.

      And this is exactly what we saw.

      Acer said they got lots of Linux returns, but ASUS says the opposite [laptopmag.com]

      • by guisar (69737)

        Basically, nobody will sell a netbook with Linux on it despite it operating flawlessly on nearly all of them. Only Dell and on unobtainium ASUS model are available so we end up buying one with Windows on it and replacing it. For instance, I just bought a ASUS 1000HA. Guess what- a sale chocked up for Windows despite the fact that I'd just going to rm -rf * it as soon as the netbook arrives. Same thing for my daughter's netbook. She loves Ubuntu on it and has never had a problem. Lenovo is a MS whore.

      • Thats because acer put a retarded linux distro on their netbooks that no one knew anything about and there was no documentation at all about it. Asus put a distro that at least some people know about and there is some documentation for.
        • Re:Bingo... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by sammyF70 (1154563) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @10:28PM (#27901621) Homepage Journal
          Indeed.
          I was chatting to a non-computer savvy friend who moved to another country a few months ago, and he said he wanted to buy a new computer, but it absolutely shouldn't have linux on it. I asked him why, and he said that he was using Linux right at that moment on his wife's laptop and he was hating it with all his heart. I was kind of amazed by his horrified reaction to linux (I mean, okay! It's different from windows and so on .. but he was REALLY upset about it).
          I asked him whether he was using Gnome, KDE or if, at least, he knew which distro it was. It turned out that his wife had bought an Acer Aspire One ( which, ironically, I was typing at, albeit using Ubuntu 8.10) and he was still using Linpus. For him, Linpus WAS Linux ... and seen from this point of view, yes, Linux *IS* a PoS.
          Too bad I can't just tell him to boot off some live CD to show him what it's really like.
          • by williamhb (758070) on Monday May 11, 2009 @12:35AM (#27902463) Journal

            "Hello, I'm having a problem with my Linux computer. The SuperSpoodle application says it won't work because it has the wrong version of something called ffmpeg"
            "I see. Ok, I'll talk you through updating that package. Do you usually use yum, yast, apt-get, or portage?"
            "What are those?"
            "They are package updaters. Ok, do you use Debian, Ubuntu, Suse, Gentoo, Fedora, or Linspire?"
            "What are those?"
            "Ok, maybe it would be easier if you just brought up a terminal window and I'll tell you letter by letter what to type"
            "Ok, how do I bring up a terminal window?"
            "Well, if there's not an icon on your desktop, then it depends. Does your Linux computer use Gnome, KDE, XFCE, or Enlightenment?"
            "Um, what are those?"
            "Those are different windowing environments you might have. Depending on which you have, the menus and interface could be very different."

            (pregnant pause).

            "I see ... would it be possible to install Windows on this machine?"
            "Bring it in and we can do it overnight."
            "Thanks."

            • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday May 11, 2009 @03:54AM (#27903397)

              (next day)
              "Hello, I have trouble with my Windows computer. The internet isn't working."
              "Ok, what version do you have?"
              "Windows"
              "Erh... no, 98, 2k, XP, Vista..."
              "Umm... yes."
              "Ok, something different. When you open your browser..."
              "My what?"
              "Your browser. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera..."
              "Where is that?"
              "In your start menu. Go start - ... and then you should see it."
              "I have "update windows", is it that`?"

              If someone is clueless, giving him another system won't fix it. Educating people would. But that costs money.

        • Thats because acer put a retarded linux distro on their netbooks that no one knew anything about and there was no documentation at all about it.

          Indeed. I have extensive Linux experience, and I decided that pruning out the -- never going to be upgraded and incompatible with all the other fedora packages for things you might want to install and inexplicably tied to things you want to uninstall -- acer/linpus specific packages was just not worth the trouble. I really tried to make things work for about a month. But, I couldn't just leave things as they were, because the acer/linpus NetworkManager didn't handle WPA2 and the acer/linpus wireless driv

    • Agreed (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @09:21PM (#27901171)

      If Linux netbooks aren't ready to go out of the box, the vendors are doing a poor job.

      Yep. And they are doing a piss poor job.

      I was in a shop the other day and had a good look at whatever the latest Linux EeePC thing is. I use Linux exclusively for my personal computing and I found the desktop really confusing. And it looks so bland - as if they have spent several years and multiple design cycles iteratively increasing it's blandness until it makes a plain brown paper bag look absolutely fascinating in comparison. "Hey, that browser icon looks a little interesting, I'd better file a bug report."

      What do Windows users do with one of these? They stuff around, find they can't figure out how to use it (I could barely figure it out) and take it back. What do Linux users do? Most put Ubuntu on it rather than the crap it comes with.

      I wonder how long it will be before a manufacturer to realise that if they stop sabotaging Linux user interfaces and start using distros that everyone is using, e.g. Ubuntu for the EeePC, then they will actually have a market. I reckon they are deliberately screwing with the user experience to make windows look more favourable, and I think they are being stupid in doing that.

    • by toppavak (943659)

      If Linux netbooks aren't ready to go out of the box, the vendors are doing a poor job.

      Therein lies the crux of the problem: hardware vendors don't want to have to bother with software. Why would a hardware vendor want to have to roll their own distribution or try to maintain hardware compatibility for a 3rd party distro when they already have access to a commercial OS that damn near supports everything currently on the market that the vendor would care to build into their system? User familiarity and brand is also a huge marketing factor for these vendors.

      I love Linux, what it is and what i

  • Linux *is* awesome, but not ready for the masses who don't have an IT staff to tweak their image. Linux is vexing to those who support the idea of open source, but don't have the time or skill to navigate the endless FAQs needed to complete simple tasks (play DVD's, etc..). The key points of a netbook is ease, portability and its "appliance: nature. If there were a way to develop an instant on environment and purpose optimize the device a la kindle, then that's great. However, windows will rule until an eas

  • First of all, this guy looks like a goof. [blorge.com] Alright, that's a cheap thing to say, but he's unfairly insulting my OS!

    All the reviews of the Linux netbooks I've read so far say that the distro they use is garbage. Let someone put a good distro, say Ubuntu, on a netbook and see how people like it. Linux IS as usable as Windows (not because it doesn't have problems, but because Windows has just as many problems).

    Looking into the future, PCs are getting cheaper and cheaper. Right now the cheapest is around
    • by Spad (470073)

      Linux is a problem for users that fall between "Uses the internets to twitter their facebook" and "Has an interest in *how* their computer works, rather than just that it does" - that is, those who want to do more than the basics but don't have the knowledge, time and/or wherewithal to figure out anything that's too complex or time consuming.

      Personal example; I recently battled to get Civ 4 + Expansions working on my Ubuntu Laptop. Even with a rough guide from someone's blog it was still a pain in the arse

      • by Dare nMc (468959)

        people are willing to pay that extra $50-$100 if it means getting

        mis-lead into having to add $100's more just to touch-up photos and create documents and presentations.
        granted ooffice, and gimp, etc run on windows, more spend several hundred on windows, because you can't just launch synaptic/yum/whatever and click one button, like with the linux netbook. I guess it is somewhat greed caused, since most of the pre-loaded linux's seam to hide this on netbooks, so they can sell packages to you.

    • by tepples (727027)

      Either Linux will become more popular, or Microsoft is going to start taking revenue cuts.

      Microsoft has announced the latter: a cut-rate version of Windows 7 that can't run more than 3 apps at once.

  • What is just so wrong about windows being the future is it breaks the the very first claim about the future of netbooks, 'cheap'. The M$ solution represents licence fees for the OS, licence fees for the office suits, licence fees for the servers to connect them, licence fees for communications both email and web server. In fact a whole range of licence fees that far exceed the value of a netbook and, not just by a bit, but in total by a factor of at least 10.

    So the very first claim is an out and out mark

    • The Microsoft solution represents license fees for the office suits

      Coming to a clothing store near you: Tuxedo 2009, with more bling; where does your inner Gentleman want to go today?

      But with Microsoft's stance on DRM, does this mean that when I bring home a girl and we're both hot and bothered by each other, helped by our champagne buzz, I have to pay extortion money to the IFPI* before we can get naked?

      (*International Federation of the Pornographic Industry)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AdmiralXyz (1378985)

      You can argue all you want that Linux is the preferable OS of choice for netbooks, but making claims like "the reality is that the netbook running FOSS will become the default" anything doesn't help much, when, for the moment, these claims are blatantly false:

      People aren't buying as many Linux-based netbooks. And the ones that do get bought get returned in higher volumes. That is a fact, with data to back it up. So rather than denying the reality of the situation (Microsoft is laughing at your post all the

    • by Toveling (834894) *
      I agree. And while Microsoft might be able to throw copies of WinXP for very low prices, they can't do this forever. They might try to offer Win7 for very cheap, but eventually profit will win out over market share, and they'll have to raise the price. Meanwhile, Linux will still be around, no matter what MS does. Open Source isn't something that microsoft can marginalize long-term: MS might be able to keep linux out of the low-price sector temporarily, but they will not be able to sustain it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rtb61 (674572)

        Of course the dominant market of netbooks will always be education, from primary school to university, hundreds of millions of units with hundreds of millions of licences, either they give it away for free and loose (FOSS advocates still win, we believe in bridging the digital divide) or give that market away to FOSS software and still lose (FOSS advocates prefer that as it gives people equal access to the software globally).

        Of course they can attempt to follow the corrupt path and get governments to con

    • by Jaime2 (824950)

      The M$ solution represents licence fees for the OS, licence fees for the office suits, licence fees for the servers to connect them, licence fees for communications both email and web server.

      I'm with you on the OS licensing issue, but not on any of the others. You don't have to buy MS Office if you run Windows, just run OpenOffice. You don't need to buy licenses for Microsoft server operating systems or client access licenses if you don't manage one of those. For a typical home user, they will never need to pay a dime for a server. For a typical office user, they will only pay for a server if they choose to run a Windows server. I don't know what you are even talking about with the email a

  • Windows 7, bigger screens, built-in 3G, touch integration

    So his vision for the Netbook is that they get bigger, heavier, clunkier but more capable yet somehow cheaper. I think he's a couple of decades late in inventing the full blown Notebook/Laptop. The reason Netbooks have become so popular is that they're small, light, cheap and good enough for the tasks that people want to buy them for - mostly word processing, email and web browsing.

    Personally, because I like the flexibility of being able to do more, I

    • by carlzum (832868)
      I thought the same thing, a bigger screen, runs Windows? Lenovo's vision of the netbook is a Thinkpad with 3G and a lower price. I would be very worried if I was an investor. People like netbooks because they aren't tethered to power and network cords, it's not a big investment, and they're really portable.

      The future, IMO, is an instant-on OS, even lower prices, battery life measured in days, and single-purpose applications tailored for the device, not web sites and desktop applications (more like the Fa
  • In a way, I agree... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Draek (916851) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @08:48PM (#27900899)

    I honestly can't blame consumers from returning netbooks loaded with Linux, and exchanging them for the Windows versions. I don't think it's a fault of Linux, though, but rather with OEMs who haven't even *tried* to polish it up before sticking it in their low-cost machines.

    Here, now, how many of you have bought a Linux-equipped netbook? and how many of you *weren't* tempted to replace it with Ubuntu as soon as you first booted it up? fact is, most OEMs are treating Linux as they used to treat FreeDOS: something to stick in the machine until the user goes home and installs their pirated version of Windows in it.

    Missing drivers, non-working features, ugly non-standard interfaces and practically no apps out-of-the-box, it's a pity OEMs are giving Linux such a bad image just to save themselves the effort of giving their users a quality, distinctive experience.

    Guess Linux' world domination will have to come from business after all, pity...

  • It's true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @08:49PM (#27900907) Homepage

    A friend of mine works part time at BestBuy. He more or less has told me the same thing. All brands of Netbooks (Asus, MSI, HP, and Dell) have had a very high return rate on models that were preloaded with Linux. It's not that people don't like Linux, it's that they want it to work the "Windows" way. So far, only Microsoft and provide that for obvious reasons.

    If people really wanted something to work other than Windows, I'm sure they would have chosen Mac instead.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So where are all these traded-in Linux netbooks?

      If they're being re-furbished and re-sold, that should make the price difference even greater.

  • Lenovo won't be in my future! We bought a T500 less than a year ago and they keyboard is failing already. They also far too much crap on their laptops - Vista is unusable from boot for several minutes.

  • It looks like all he means is the same form factor as today's laptops but much flatter. Maybe no more than the thickness of a legal pad.

    • It looks like all he means is the same form factor as today's laptops but much flatter. Maybe no more than the thickness of a legal pad.

      Maybe you'll be able to fit it in a manila envelope.

  • I want someone from Lenovo to tell me honestly that they believe that a Lenovo computer I buy from them will be ready for me to use in the way most people expect to use their computers when it comes out of the box. I want them to tell me that it will be secure, that it will be free of garbage-ware, and that it will have the most commonly used programs pre-installed. They can't do that. When Dell sells me a computer preloaded with Ubuntu, they can.

  • Exp Problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by timpdx (1473923)
    It really isn't the fault of Linux, rather the expectations of customers changed the nature of the netbook from the start. The netbook could have been a small appliance to surf the web, do email and such. Instead, the netbook just became a small PC, with all the expectations of a PC. The general layman knows that he/she isn't going to install Office on a Palm or iphone. Those are whole different machines, after all. But the netbook simply became a small laptop PC. From a Linux standpoint, THAT became the p
  • I'd rather not go through the hassle of Lenovo technical support again.

    http://interface.org.nz/ExchangeSaga [interface.org.nz]

    Then again, I don't seem to have a good track record with Acer support either (bulk orders of replacement parts taking >1 month, "courier" pick-ups taking >3 weeks).

    • As a counter point, I have a Lenovo T60, and over several years, I've only had to deal with technical support once. That once was when the fan suddenly got loud (I cleaned it first -- no joy), I called up Lenovo, told them the problem and they shipped me a replacement (for $0, under standard warranty) in a couple business days. I replaced it myself using the hardware manual [lenovo.com] and I was back up and running again in less than an hour.

      Maybe that's not the usual case, but there was very little I could complain ab

  • Oh, the stupidity... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by socceroos (1374367)
    From the article: "You can just take it (Windows 7) out of the box, and its ready to go."

    I'm getting really sick of these stupid people saying how their manufacturer configured, tweaked and driver loaded version of Windows 7 works with their laptop 'out-of-the-box'.

    Surely, I'm not the only one who finds this stupid. OF COURSE your manufacturer configured OS is going to work out of the box!!!!!!!!111one1

    From the article: "Linux, even if you've got a great distribution and you can argue which one is
    • by glwtta (532858)
      Surely, I'm not the only one who finds this stupid. OF COURSE your manufacturer configured OS is going to work out of the box!!!!!!!!111one1

      Eh, in my experience the "manufacturer configured OS" is so loaded with utter crap that it's basically unusable until I do a clean install.
    • OF COURSE your manufacturer configured OS is going to work out of the box

      This is a key point. User friendly version of Linux like Ubuntu are absolutely easier to install and get working than windows. Most end users buy a computer with a preinstalled OS, and aren't able to reinstall the OS if they have to.

      Installing ubuntu on a machine and getting up and running with all the software I need has never taken me more than an hour and a half. I've never gone from an empty hard drive to a fully functional windows machine with all drivers and essential software in less than 3 hours,

  • Eee PC900, it was ready to go, too. Getting it to connect to my wireless LAN was less work than getting XP computers on my LAN running. However, it's moderately stupid for Asus not to have provided my computer with a real Linux distro instead of a Xandros deliberately dumbed down to provide a net appliance.

    A netbook looks enough like a conventional computer that people expect to see a conventional desktop, with menus and icons. And any halfway workable arrangement of these will work for experienced compu
  • You're going to get returns on Linux-based netbooks as long as you market them as general-purpose computing devices. The true purpose of a netbook is as a portable Internet-access appliance, like a large smart-phone with a keyboard. If manufacturers position them that way then they'll have a lot more satisfied customers.

    How many people do you think returned their iPhone or iPod because it didn't run Windows? Not a lot, I'd say.

    Put your netbook out there with Ubuntu on it and a unique, professionally designe

  • The version for netbooks only runs three programs at a time. So the price point difference will be even higher if you account for a version of Windows 7 that actually works right. Early reports are that Windows 7 isn't that much faster than Vista on low end hardware. The only win I see here is in Steve Ballmer's mind.

    And, isn't oddly ironic, that just when MSFT is losing market share and needs a win, suddenly there are articles future tripping on Windows 7. What a coincidence! Trying to make Windows 7

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The version for netbooks only runs three programs at a time.

      BS! The starter edition is not sold in the developed world. you are spreading FUD

  • As far as I'm concerned there's three classifications of users, and this can be measured by the users' tech-savviness level.

    1) User - this includes most people. Including self-proclaimed "gamers". Yes, your grandma. And the janitor. And probably everyone in sales and accounting.

    2) SysAdmin - These guys run the show. Usually power users. Sometimes they game too, but they know how things work and how to get things done and keep them running. I fall in this category for example.

    3) Developers - Top of th

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @09:55PM (#27901413) Journal
    This guy has been blogigng his anti-Linux views since at least 2007. [lenovoblogs.com] Most amusing from the blog is that a Lenovo VP comments on his blog that he is full of sh*t. [lenovoblogs.com]
  • "Now, people are asking for more functions, so as we move into the next generation, we are starting to see things like integrated 3G and bigger screens.

    Current 1st and 2nd generation netbooks are too small and 'underpowered' for the 'average user'. 'Average user'(AU) wants an inexpensive laptop/portable with a big screen and decent computing power -and AU wants it to run something familiar, like MS Windows. Unfortunately, AU doesn't realize that it can only choose two of the three, bigger and faster, che
  • Digital Ink? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by acheron12 (1268924)
    How long will it take for someone to combine a netbook with a digital ink screen (ala e-book readers)?
  • [Linux] still requires a lot more hands-on than somebody who is using Windows

    It's "allows". "Linux allows a lot more hands-on".That is Linux's biggest (and some would say only) advantage, isn't it. And you want to take it away, in the ever-going and global pursuit of a bigger market share ...for absolutely no reason??

    Let me ask you this: Why does everything always have to grow? Why do we have to bring Linux to everyone? Why would we even want to please Joe Sixpack and Jane Hockeymom, or Frank Businessdrone and Michelle Barbiemodel? What do we gain from it?

    Or more importantly: What d

  • Man, you linux people are as disillusioned as the Apple fanatics. Fix the damn UI problems and Linux one day might enjoy double digit occupacy on PCs.
    • by kramulous (977841)

      Is the "Start" button in a different position and called something else, like "Applications" for example?

    • by cptnapalm (120276)

      Hate to break it to you, but the Windows UI is shit.

      The single big ass everything gets put here menu is awful. That you have to look for the publisher's name, not the programs, most of the time is retarded. That's why there are so many icons on everybody's desktops: the UI is crap.

  • by Anna Merikin (529843) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @10:43PM (#27901699) Journal

    They just don't seem to get the point of netbooks.

    Bigger screens, bigger disks, faster processors, more memory, Windows7.

    That's not a netbook anymore (small, light and mobile) but an ordinary laptop without an optical drive.

  • by Vexorian (959249) on Monday May 11, 2009 @12:20AM (#27902363)
    Let me see, more expensive, big, fast, windows... Sounds like a... laptop?
  • ARM (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jabjoe (1042100) on Monday May 11, 2009 @04:58AM (#27903605)
    x86 netbook, short battery life and big.
    ARM netbook, long battery life and small.

    x86 netbook is Windows, looks like Linux lost on that battle field, not wholey fairly either....
    ARM netbook is Linux, far more functional then a WinCE netbook could ever be. What's the point of Windows where you can't run your normal apps?

    MS one the x86 battle, but will they win the netbook war? It depends what exactly a netbook is for. If it's to be a mini general purpose PC where people run the apps they know, ARM and Linux loose. If it's to be a travel mini PC for web surfing and the odd jobs (and for Linux people, anything) ARM and Linux are in with a chance. Linux nearly succeed with x86, so maybe longer battery life will swing it.....
    Personally, I want x86/Windows monopoly to be broken, I want competition on the OS and chip fronts, but I think they have such critical mass the market alone won't do it. People learn only Windows and don't realize how limiting that is, thus no real competition, and no real competition, means slow and fat.....oh wait that's been happening for years. Windows main competition is old versions of Windows and that sucks. It's just kept good enough that most people don't look desperately for something else. There is at least some competition on the chip front, as long as it's x86....
    I would love to see ARM/Linux win, but I'm not feeling hopeful. Still I'll get myself a ARM netbook as a full pocket linux and a powerful media player in one. :-)

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