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September 15, 2008

HP to Sell Mainstream Linux Machines?

An odd story showed up in CNET News.  This one had a tease about HP creating its own operating system as a way of becoming less dependent on Microsoft.  As it turns out, the company is really looking to see if it can customize a version of Linux for consumers.  There are plenty of Linux converts out there (I'm not one of them) who can manage their installations and be productive within the constraints of available software.  Consumers have largely ignored the OS because it normally isn't for sale on machines along side Macs and PCs in stores.  Most consumers aren't unhappy with Windows (whatever flavor) or OSX.  They may not know better to discern OS utility in a way that techie individuals might, but that doesn't mean they want to break away from something that works for them.

What Linux has lacked is consistent tech support from a major company at the mainstream consumer level.  This would be someone to take responsibility for managing the OS they way Microsoft and Apple might manage their offerings.  The fact that HP is looking at the viability of doing this certainly makes for an interesting development.  Consumers might find the OS appealing if they had the comfort of not having to put much effort in making it work for them.  I know I'm risking flak here from Linux users who claim its better than Windows, more or less free, and easy.  That may be, but that doesn't translate into mainstream home adoption.  The HP move might just be the catalyst, assuming it gets that far.  And that would be interesting.  [MG]

September 15, 2008 | Permalink


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