back to article US retailers start pushing $20 Ubuntu

Canonical has begun selling Ubuntu, its free, open source, Linux-based distro through Best Buy and Amazon for around $20 a pop. Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04, which has been packaged by ValuSoft, is being sold online at Amazon.com and Bestbuy.com, and through Best Buy's retail stores. Customers happy to be $19.99 lighter of pocket …

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  1. Darren B

    $20 for 60 Days support

    Thats a touch steep, or an I missing something. Maybe $20 for 1 years support?

  2. Adrian

    Hope it's better than their downloadable version

    I had to go back to XP Pro because the 8.04 version was so buggy it crashed more often in the two weeks I ran it than in the last 15 years of Windows.

    Firefox - just junk

    Security restictions - guess what uBuntu - if you copy WIndows look and feel, then don't copy that rediculous requirement to have to agree to changing anything. If you can't realise the difference between me clicking something and some trojan changing something then there are major issues bubbling under the surface.

    Very un-user friendly for people coming from a Windows enviroment. Very unfriendly in its ability to install even simple things like the Flash viewer and Quicktime.

    me, I'm sticking with XP (Vista is just as bad).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Great

    I'd like to buy the boxed copy. It looks nice on the shelf plus you are helping them out.

    Paris as she likes helping out Ubuntu Linux

  4. Ian Ferguson
    Go

    Probably worth it

    After going through the sheer hell of installing and configuring Linux for the first time last year, I would have been happy to pay £10-odd for unlimited support for the first couple of months - as long as it really is unlimited support, and they're willing to talk me through setting up networking, drivers and the like.

    'Free' and 'value' are relative terms.

  5. Rukario
    Paris Hilton

    $20 gets...

    the user a printed manual and 60 days' support, and for Canonical, shelf space in PC shops.

    Paris? Because she'd like the support.

  6. Jamie Cole
    Linux

    Nothing New

    This is nothing new, vendors have been selling Linux for years. I have a boxed copy of SUSE 6.4 that came with a number of (very good) manuals, a lot of extra software CDs and even some Geeko stickers.

    I suppose it's less relevant than when the majority of people were limited to dial-up, but a lot of people like having physical media and some printed docs.

    As long as they make it harder to download the free version, all credit to them!

  7. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

    Good move

    If you what to be treated seriously, you need to make a commitment. And the most universally acknowledged way of making commitments is to Take The Money.

  8. paul
    Go

    Humans are so silly

    Some people see ubuntu and linux/open source as being inferior because it is free. They think the more you pay for something the better it is.

    I expect this to sell rather well.

  9. Charles Calthrop
    Unhappy

    hmm

    Lets say you know jack shit about computers and so you go to the shop to buy one cos your kids say they're handy.

    So you go to the shop and buy a cheap machine. The salesman says "well you can replace the OS for $20." How many people are going to do that? And how many more are going to think "$20 ? I depend on it, and it only costs $20? How rubbish is it going to be for that money?"

    How many other people are going to go to the shop to upgrade their OS. One on sale you've heard of - vista lets face it -for X, the other for $20. now, X is a lot more but you figure "$20?" Well, if you get what you pay for?" You might figure "60 days of support? So they think I need it do they? Do I want to pay so little and then spend days on hold talking about computers? Don't think so"

  10. Edward Rose
    Go

    Good plan

    And, I'm not being sarcastic.

    A printed manual and support goes a long way with a lot of people, £10 a pop doesn't sound to bad for 60 days support either.

    Plus, if it's in a box on the shelves it's what we in the trade (okay, I'm not) call simple advertising. Making people hunt for a product needing to know it's name stops people finding it by accident. Wandering into a store and seeing it there, well - 'nuff said!

    How long until it happens with OpenOffice (although, for the love of all things chewy, lets bleedin' trim it back a bit first - flame me if you will for not volunteering the efforst myself, but as a superhero I regularly spend my evenings flying around the world plucking lost babies and kittens from the trees...).

  11. adnim
    Thumb Up

    Fair enough,

    more exposure, a nice box and a paper manual. I download and find my own support from forums and the such like. But any approach that exposes open source systems to those that are not even aware of an alternative to the closed and tightly controlled software/spyware that m$ punts is a good thing, a very good thing.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Hey, Adrian

    Donned our flame-proof suit and troll hat and gone out baiting Linux users I see?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free == rubbish

    At least in some peoples' lexicons. Sticking a price tag on something will make it an option for some where it wasn't before. Admittedly, some of those same people will also believe that *cheap*==rubbish, too, so $20 isn't going to impress them.

  14. Sean Ellis
    Linux

    @Darren

    Given that Canonical will be getting a lot of support calls along the lines of "I installed Windows Ubuntu and I can't find my Start button! Help!", and "How do I install World of Metal Gear Damarcy 4? What do you mean, Windows Only? Ubuntu is an OS so it must be based on Windows!", this is a brave move.

    In the UK, $20 is £10. This buys you two Zinger Tower Meals at KFC. 2 months support for the price of 2 burgers? I'd say that this is not "a touch steep", but an absolute bargain.

    By putting Ubuntu in a box and getting it on a shelf next to Windows in physical space, it's putting it in the same mental space in the customer's mind, and raising awareness that there is an alternative, and OSs don't have to cost $200.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Value of Linux

    Quite amusing, most people who have been into Linux for a while, have at some point bought a distro. Those new to it, quibble about $20 and are the first to meet the ire of the community and the rtfm mantra.

    The sale of Linux is required to get it into the consumer eye, there is only so much free beer Linux geeks can drink whilst setting up yet another mates computer system.

    If Ubuntu was closed source, and proprietary, the OS would probably go for at least $1000 if you were looking at quality, Vista is $300 - $400, $20 for Ubuntu is an absolute bargain.

    The UMCs are the big draw really, Linux works so much better on a smaller system, but the support avenues need to be there, and this is a response to it.

    As Linux starts to come preinstalled on all Asus motherboards, other motherboard manufacturers will follow suit, and some people will just go with that splashtop style of setup, avoiding MS or a full blown Linux OS. Others will notice the splashtop and look around to install Linux as their main OS.

    Linux has the tech, but it doesn't have helpline support in numbers or visibility.

    Ubuntu offer support, and other companies will as well once the numbers up.

  16. Peyton
    Flame

    Don't Forget!

    For a mere $129.99, you can have the Geek Squad install it for you! What a deal!!

  17. C
    Go

    $20 is not bad at ALL

    SUSE used to be US $40 to $60.

    And I agree the brainwashed masses that continue to let Beastly Buy rip them off and abuse them need a break too! I'm hoping that a retail presence will make more people aware of Linux, as most of them ask "What's Linux?" when I suggest it as an alternative to Windows.

  18. Timo
    Flame

    @AC

    So who are you helping out by ponying up $20? Surely not Canonical.

    Tell you what - I can do it for $15. Although if you want for an additional $5 I'll upsell you to the "green" version where I omit the packaging, dead tree documentation, and the carbon-heavy shipping (oh my how can you live with yourself!). I will securely deliver you a link to a server with the ISO on it. Tsk tsk how completely irresponsible you would be if it wasn't for me.

    And just think - you get the satisfaction of knowing that you're helping ME out!

  19. Brutus
    Linux

    $20 for 60 days is cheap

    When you compare it with the £1+/minute that you pay for some of the isp or pc world helplines!

    @Adrian - Can't say I've had any problems with 8.04, seems almost rock solid so far.

  20. Jeremy Chappell
    Linux

    Err, what's the problem?

    Why is this a problem? I can see some people WILL want a manual, and a bit of hand holding to get them onto Linux (or in this case Ubuntu). Sure, not everyone will - I downloaded mine, and I'm quite happy with that process and installing it onto a system. But I'm not everyone, I see no contradiction with Canonical offering this and their "always free" stance.

    Essentially they are charging for the manual and the support, Ubuntu itself IS still free. If you are happy to download it (or get them to ship a free CD) and you don't need support then you don't need this product.

    Did you know they sold badges, stickers, clothes, bags etc with Ubuntu printed on? Is this a problem? (Actually the messenger bag looks quite spiffy)

    If it is, then why does El Reg do this (charge for shirts) when they don't charge for access to their site?! Now stop trying to turn a profit and send me my free shirt!!! <grin>

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Sean Ellis

    "By putting Ubuntu in a box and getting it on a shelf next to Windows in physical space, it's putting it in the same mental space in the customer's mind, and raising awareness that there is an alternative, and OSs don't have to cost $200."

    SUSE and Mandrake have been available for years in PCWorld and look how far that's moved things forward?

    No, linux still ain't ready for the average Joe user yet, if it were then it would've happened a long time ago. And before anyone makes a comment, I'm talking about installing linux yourself here, i.e. replacing Windows on your own PC, not customised solutions all ready and working a la eeePC etc.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Ubuntu 8.04

    Works well on reasonably up to date hardware, one of mine is running on a dual core AMD 5000+ BE on a NV7025 chipset board, all hardware detected and installed correctly. Only thing I had to do as far as drivers were concerned was the allow the use of restricted NV drivers. Only issue I have come across is SAMBA browsing in Nautilus is busted, ok if you know the IP number and share name but otherwise its busted. But SAMBA issues in an OS are not unknown ask any Apple fanboi about Fix/Delete alias and SAMBA error 36 and watch a grown black Polo Neck cry.

    Efros

  23. Simon Painter
    Happy

    Free for some... pay for others

    This is a clever move by the Ubuntu crowd. One of the things that puts people off Linux is the lack of support (and by that I mean someone you can ring rather than the millions of wikis and forums that you can search if you have the time).

    MySQL only started getting taken seriously in the enterprise market when they started charging for the product and offering professional support because a lot of CTO's just don't want the exposure when they can offload the responsibility to Microsoft for four hundred bucks per support event.

    In terms of the $20 for 60 days, that's pretty cheap because 60 days gets you installed and up and running, all for the price of a few lattes (and a shed load cheaper than Microsoft's support)

  24. Jon Green
    Thumb Up

    Don't see the problem

    It costs money to print up manuals and box blanks, print CDs,build and stuff the boxes, and get them distributed.

    As others have commented, shelf space means visibility, which exposes Ubuntu to a whole new market that hasn't seen it before, and a UK tenner for two months' newbie support is an absolute bargain - I have to wonder how Canonical expects to afford to provide the support.

    Whichever way you look at it, Canonical isn't likely to be making much, if any, profit, and they're following the Open Source model completely by profiting from support not content sales. What's not to like?

    I fully expect Microsoft to be leaning heavily on Best Buy (etc.) to remove Ubuntu, or give it shelf space somewhere near the rafters or the floor sweepings.

    This will be interesting.

  25. Steve
    Coat

    $20 for 6 months is a rip off

    Retail Price:

    Windows Vista Home = $200

    Canonical Ubuntu = $20

    Included Support:

    Vista = till 2014

    Ubuntu = 2 months

    Average cost for support:

    Vista = $4.5 per month

    Ubuntu = $10 per month

    Wouldn't that make Vista cheaper?

    (Flame-proof suit and troll hat most definately on! ;-)

  26. wldcard
    Thumb Up

    Absolutely

    This is totally a necessary move to get Linux out into mainstream usage. As others have already pointed out you need to get it out onto shelves at big name stores so people can stumble across it. People will want the choice once they realize that they do have one; but they won't realize that choice is available if they don't know what they're looking for.

    As far as the 60 days unlimited support goes..... awesome. That should be more than enough time for the uninitiated to either get it up and running with all their favorite crap or to give up and run crying back to microsoft.

    Plus, having the physical packaging and manuals does go a loooong way in alleviating a lot of people's fears concerning Linux. They just don't want to start their experience by having to troll message boards or hunt down texbooks on the topic.

  27. Dave

    @Adrian

    Sounds like you're the sort ideally suited to Win XP. We don't want Linux to become a monopoly lest it suffer from poor quality like Windows so I guess we need some people batting for the other side.

    Having said that, I never really got on with Ubuntu either, I've always tended to use RedHat/Fedora, but that might be because it's what I learned first. At least I get chance to run the same thing in a different manner that suits me, rather than have the OS decide/insist because it knows best.

  28. Roger Lancefield
    Linux

    Beer as in three, three as in beer.

    I agree with Jon Green above. Calling this a rip-off demonstrates a serious lack of proportionality. The admin, materials, and distribution alone will probably soak up much of that $20.00. As for the amount being a rip-off for 60 days of support, c'mon peeps, again a sense of proportion please, you can't buy three beers in a London pub for that! It's a bargain, however you look at it.

    I recently donated five times this amount to Canonical, and I still feel like I'm freeloading (I don't contribute to the code-base). People complaining about Canonical covering their costs are just ungrateful. If Ubuntu (or any other distro/OS) isn't worth $20.00 to you, seriously, don't use it. The community is unlikely to miss you.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Steve

    Glad to hear you have your flame-proof suit on - so may I be the first to point out that it's DEFINITELY, not DEFINATELY? Doh...

  30. Lager And Crisps
    Jobs Horns

    ...'Adrian', is that Oliver Jones in disguise?

    Microsoft has let loose it's legion of naysayers (lol, sounds like they are characters that belong in World of Warcraft) to launch couterstrikes against the approaching Linux usurper.

    With Ballmer's Churchill like speech in their ears and the Microsoft EULA in their hearts they shall do battle for the veneration of Gates and to the glory of all Redmond kind.

    'Anonymous Coward' has a manifest destiny to liberate all those heathens that have accepted the penguin. No more shall they offer such alien concepts like 'value' and 'freedom'. The traitors must be made to pay for their crimes against capitalism.

    And lo, Ballmer stretched forth his hand of doom ready to unleash the most terrible of weapons...poised to strike...waiting until the time is right...then as thunder his words echo 'Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers'...and the Chair of Mass Distraction did follow...

  31. Doug Glass
    Go

    Common Ploy

    Why would anybody pay anything for something that's free? Well, it's human nature for people tend to believe what they get free is of low quality. So, raise the price above free and sell all you can. From a business perspective there is nothing either illegal or immoral here. But what we need to consider is who are the sheep (to be fleeced) who are willing to pay for free goods?

    I know many people whose personal comfort zone does not include downloading and installing any programs, much less an OS that powers their entire system. To me computers are just toys to be played with, broken, fixed and broken again. But a lot of people are simply not that adventursome.

    Several years ago, my former company wanted to transition to a "paperless" environment and actively promoted viewing documents in electric format. I was astounded at the number of reasonable, educated, competent people who simply refused to read letters, memos, and the like on their monitor. They printed every email, every letter, every notice .... everything, and read the paper copy. They simply weren't ready to move to paperless. Paper usage actually increased since now instead of circulating a paper memo for each drone to read and pass on, each printed their own. As Art Linkletter said, "People are Funny". And scammers know it and bilk from people millions of dollars (Pounds?) every day.

    There's a buyer for everything. And I need to more aggressively market that bridge I have for sale in Brooklyn, NY.

  32. Stan

    good move

    Always wondered about ubuntu's support costs, $250 for a years support isn't too bad for a business but for it's a bit steep for a home user, but $20 off the shelf, in a box, with a book AND with 2 months of hand holding is a good deal for anyone asking "whats this linux thing?".

    Plus it's the way MS users are used to doing things, good software comes on disks that you buy in shops. When I first switched over I went looking for 'this linux thing' and payed (that's right, and with money too) for 6 burnt cd's of redhat 8. I didn't know there where other ways of doing it. It put me off redhat for years too, though trying a debian based distro (morphix) had more to do with it :)

    @Adrian, if your going to throw out flame bait try and write something that makes sense.

  33. Mad Dave

    I think most of the detractors are simply jealous

    As far as I'm aware, there's nothing to stop anyone from selling copies of Ubuntu, or any other GPL licensed software.

    If I wish, I could sell copies of firefox for a fiver to anyone stupid enough to buy it.

  34. Funky Dennis
    Thumb Down

    The average computer user

    never reinstalls their operating system. They don't even know what "operating system" means. When their computer seems sluggish and is over a certain age (2 years?) they buy a new one. Or perhaps they get their chump^H^H^H^H^Hmate to fix it. But they never reinstall Windows.

    This move will, sadly, change nothing.

  35. Mark

    Holy Spurious Mathematics, Batman!

    Steve regurgitates:

    "Retail Price:

    Windows Vista Home = $200

    Canonical Ubuntu = $20

    Included Support:

    Vista = till 2014

    Ubuntu = 2 months"

    Uh, the £200 gets you updates, NOT SUPPORT.

    And, since the kernels from 2.0 are still being supported, that is, what? Back to '98? 20 years?

    If you buy support (extra contract), it only covers three (IIRC) calls. More than that and you have to pay per call.

    Which is nice.

    So how long did it take to clean the shit off those figures, given where you got them from?

  36. Robert Moore
    Linux

    @AC

    "No, linux still ain't ready for the average Joe user yet"

    You forgot to mention that "Joe Average user" Can't install windows either.

  37. Steve Renouf
    Thumb Down

    @$20 for 6 months is a rip off - By Steve

    Err, try again.

    Your retail package of Vista doesn't get you unpaid support until 2014.

    "Mainstream Support

    Mainstream Support is the first phase of the product support lifecycle.

    At the supported service pack level, Mainstream Support includes:

    * Incident support (no-charge incident support, paid incident support, support charged on an hourly basis, support for warranty claims)

    * Security update support

    * The ability to request non-security hotfixes"

    The OS is supported until 2012. But free? - No (apart from the online KB options)

    http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifepolicy

  38. SilverWave
    Linux

    Great Idea and a Very Low Price for 60 days support!

    I am running Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 and I have had no problems.

    I think 60 days support for £10 is incredibly good value.

    I wouldn't think of supporting anyone for less than £10 per hour.

    Its another choice, which is what FOSS is all about.

    Great advertising as well.

    Hopefully a lot of people will give it a try now that tech support is included.

  39. zelrik

    @Anonymous Coward

    Dumping my partition, installing ubuntu hardy heron + configuring network : 30minutes !

    No issue at all...my biggest problem I encountered was to click on the "next" button.

    I have a fairly recent ASUS laptop (not EEE..) and all my stuff was there out of the box.

  40. RW
    Unhappy

    Constructive criticism

    I use Win98 on two of my boxes, one for old Win3.1 software that's never been superseded, one for more recent Win32 software. Ubuntu (Feisty) runs on a third box.

    All three machines are underpowered by any reasonable standard.

    I use Ubuntu for most stuff these days, but I wouldn't say it's ready for prime time. Here's some reasons:

    1. Far too often, problem resolution demands use of the command line or editing a config file. People, if you are going to flog a system with a GUI, for God's sake make sure it's *all* guified.

    2. Very slow application load times in comparison with Win98. Open Office is a swine. ABIWord is much more nimble but less functional.

    3. Important programs for interacting with Windows, viz. Samba and Wine, are a pain in the ass to use. [This is much the same bitch as #1.]

    4. While I fuckin' love having a fully Unicode system, why on earth are there 39 Arabic fonts installed? And why do some of the "standard" Linux fonts have funny gaps of a character here, a character there in non-Latin scripts?

    5. Applications are inconsistent in the details of their GUIs. Some use Windows style menu activation (depress alt and release), others what I presume is Unix style (depress alt and old down). Some dropdown lists reposition themselves as you key in the object of your desires, others don't. (Character map script selection is an example of the latter.)

    6. Bug reporting and discussion is a nightmare of endless forums, repetitious reports of problems, vaguely described solutions only comprehensible by engaging the Geek lobes of one's brain, etc. I dislike MS, but I have to admit that life is easier when all reports of the same problem end up as one entry in their Knowledge Base.

    OTOH, relative freedom from security issues and more or less consistent implementation of open standards (esp. ODF) remove certain headaches tha plague Windows. Also, support for older hardware is better in at least some cases.

  41. Kwac

    @:Mad Dave

    GPL -you can sell for reasonable costs, e.g. materials, postage printing.

    Firefox isn't licensed under GPL.

  42. J-Wick
    Thumb Up

    Done to generate discussion as much as anything else....

    So, the sort of person who would try Ubuntu is probably the sort of person who would be comfortable downloading & installing it for free, anyway. But don't forget the publicity this will get them - I suspect a couple of articles in the Journal or the NYT (or the Independent or Times, depending on your location) will discuss this). Always good to raise 'brand awareness', even if the boxes aren't flying off the shelves...

    I reckon Cannonical need to make a 'notebook PC for your gran' (trademark pending), allowing web surfing, email, webcam-ing, DVD & CD playback(-ing), and other general internet-y stuff. Running on (pre-installed) Ubuntu, with hardware all tested to work, no worried with drivers, hardware conflicts.

    Then - sell it in Wal-mart as an easy way to get online, without having to worry about viruses & the like...

  43. John Crisp
    Gates Horns

    Rising to the bait...........

    In my experience most average computer users wouldn't know an ISO file if it fell on them from 40,000 feet. This is aimed at average users, not experienced ones.

    I don't see what's wrong with lobbing a few on the shelves. 20 bucks is nothing in the scheme of things, especially if you are rich enough to shop in PC World ;-)

    If it encourages a few extra users, then what's the harm - unless you say that if they have problems installing etc, they may well never try it again and slate it to all & sundry. At least it gives users some choice.

    Adrian, I wonder how stable 8.04 would be in say 5 years time and after 3 major services packs, 40 million patches, hacks, fiddles et al ???? Maybe nearly as stable as XP I guess....

    IE7. Don't make me laugh......

    And don't get me started on Windows & system security. Most people I know using Vista just turn off the warnings (it's usually the first question they ask, and perfectly possible in linux as well, if you really feel the need and can read), and there you are, back to square one - administrative user, full rights and no security. And they are the ones least likely to know a scam from a slap in the face with a wet fish. Why can't they write software for Windows that runs in user space and doesn't require full admin rights ? Or am I being completely stupid ?

    And no, I'm not a fully licenced linux druid - I use MS on the desktop for work most days because some software I have to run won't easily run under linux. I don't think Linux is quite the full ticket yet for desktop mainly due to lack of some main stream applications. But I can't wait for the day that it is, so at least I have some choice.

  44. Beelzeebub
    Happy

    @Roger

    You can get 4 pints of Alpine lager, or 5 pints of Old Brewery Bitter and stlll have a quid plus out of a tenner in London.

    Where? Any of the several Sam Smith's pubs dotted around the centre.

    My favourite is Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fllet Street, rebuild in 1667.

  45. Jim Halfpenny
    Coat

    Ubuntu piracy?

    How long before we see torrents of these Ubuntu boxed set CDs on the net? Better fire up the BSA party van, because $20 is going to look awful cheep when you can download it for free off teh Intarwebs.

  46. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Linux

    Good idea

    I like it... despite running a better distro....( distro flame wars :- how linux nerds amuse themselves when theres no m$ fanboys to bait :+) )

    You get a disc with an OS on it ... much better than downloading an ISO file via torrent then hoping it burns to disc correctly.

    A nice shiney manual with clear and concise instructions on howto set your PC to boot from DVD and howto partion your windows infested hard drive .

    And finally 60 days free support for when it all goes belly up(like every linux install) so you dont have to spend 3 days trawling linux forums full of postings like "rtfm newb" and incomprehensible geek speak relating to doing something in the terminal

    But I'm sure there's someone in redmond calling all the major software sellers saying "Remove Ubunto or we'll remove all our products from your chain"

  47. Svantevid

    @ AC , 10th July 2008 16:34 GMT

    "No, linux still ain't ready for the average Joe user yet, if it were then it would've happened a long time ago. And before anyone makes a comment, I'm talking about installing linux yourself here, i.e. replacing Windows on your own PC, not customised solutions all ready and working a la eeePC etc."

    Honestly, I don't see why you think installing Ubuntu is a hard work. Insert CD, click, click, enter your name, username and password, click, click, set time and date... that's it. Much, much easier than setting up XP, even without talking about the frequent reboots Windows require. And as my experience as a non-techie user covers installation of Windows 3.1, 95, 98, ME (not on my computer), 2000 , XP, Ubuntu 7.04, 7.10 and 8.04, I believe you can take my word for it.

    Latest Ubuntu version (unfortunately, not called "Horny Hyena") enabled additional buttons on my MS Intellimouse and media buttons on my keyboard by itself, and added GUI to bootloader (I use Ubuntu/XP), so I don't have to edit GRUB bootloader manually. I wonder what will Insidious Iguana (or whatever it's called) bring next to enhance usability. :-)

    Now, if you wanted to talk how hard for your average Joe is to get used to Ubuntu, then I would have to say that after 15 years of using Windows it was a task I've spent several evenings at... not because Office, browser or e-mail client (we're talking about Joe Average who uses nothing but that) are hard to find, but because I wanted to learn the structure of OS and find what goes where.

  48. Roger Lancefield
    Coat

    I'll come quietly

    @ Beelzebub

    It's a fair cop. Please stop spoiling my rants with the facts :-)

  49. Glenn Alexander
    Thumb Up

    Basic manuals are good for noobs

    I generally recommend new users spend the extra money the first time on a version with the manual. I got into Linux back in the late '90's with a $10 RH book+CD from the local newsagent I bought on spec after I got jack of Steve Jobs. I am vary glad I had the manual to get started, though haven't needed one since.

  50. Stan

    @Jim Halfpenny

    Your kidding, right?

    http://releases.ubuntu.com/8.04/

  51. Robert Brockway
    Stop

    @Simon Painter

    C'mon Simon, don't use that old myth. There is plenty of commercial support for Linux available, and this has been the case for many years. If someone stays away from Linux due to a lack of commercial support all it shows is they didn't spend 5 minutes on Google.

    One great thing about OSS is you can "vendor shop". You can continue to use the same apps while having the option about who to get your support from. For many commercial apps the choice of who can support your product is very limited. Access to the source code is essential to complete support.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Nice book about Linux

    And free Linux on top of that, a pleasant surprise.

    £10/$20 isn't much for computer literacy even if it were just a book, not a book with OS attached. A Dilbert book cost $12.

    Support is just icing the cake (and probably worth nothing... we'll see).

  53. tempemeaty
    Thumb Up

    With most the worlds average PC users still on dial up this makes sense.

    When I was on dial up and could not download a copy of Linux I used to go to Frys electronics and just buy one. This is good for all who are internet bandwidth deprived but can't live without their Linux and only make cash purchases.

  54. dwr 50
    Linux

    Umbuntu

    Ubuntu wouldn't work on my computer, but Mandriva did ;-)

    Acer Aspire 5315-2153, $348 Walmart Special,Mandriva Linux 2008.1 Spring Edition

  55. Fred
    Go

    Im going to buy it.

    For what i consider the right reasons, I think that this is worth a try.

    I downloaded, burnt, and installed 8.04 and was very impressed with it.

    Admittely this was for home use and the only obsticle was performing DUN over bluetooth - most of the info online was conflicting since some was for older versions of ubuntu, and if £10 means i can call somone for a sanity check then i'll give it a go.

    As for those who found it hard to download a .deb package and then right-click and open deal with it with the package manager, well all i can say is TRY LEARNING!

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Ubuntu grumbles

    Two things?

    1) Why did Canonical bugger about with the run levels? What could that possibly serve?

    2) Restricted drivers -- if Microsoft dared to remove drivers (read: kernel modules) after you'd installed them because it didn't agree with them on some vague philosophical stance, we'd be baying for blood. Personally, I don't give a toss whether my modules are OSS or not, I just bloody well want my hardware to work. Let's just say, getting Ubuntu 8.02 to work with CUDA was interesting.

    There seems to be some shoddy hippy ethic and grating Stallmanesque righteousness winding right through Canonical, which they /will/ have to deal with at some stage. I'm an advocate of and participant in open source, but it cannot be the only solution, and I would rather be spared the patronising lectures.

  57. Charles Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    @Kwac

    The "reasonable costs" also includes service and support costs. That's how the commercial Linux models work--the costs are borne for service and support as well as any proprietary applications included, not for the base OS.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    linux - not yet

    i'd love to give linux a run out on a desktop comp but, as long as the creators of the various distros continue to concentrate solely on tempting the microsoft drones across, by making every linux distro look like feckin' windoze, i'll give it a miss.

    if you're going to copy someone else's GUI at least pick one which hasnae been beaten to death with the fugly stick first.

  59. Patrick Parks
    Thumb Up

    Suitable for some people

    Let me get this out of the way right up front. I'm a fan of Linux, been using it for years. Also use Windows..support Windows at work....support and use Linux at work.

    I think this is a good move. The reason??? Because it gets this out in front of people who would otherwise not recognize it. Sure, it's freely available online. If you have the bandwidth and a cd burner, you are good to go. However, once some people walk into a store and see it sitting on the shelves...they make the association that it has somehow made it. Right or wrong, it's how some people think.

    With regards to the price...$20 for 60 days is very reasonable. With Microsoft VIsta, you get 90 days of phone/email support with your purchase...and it's much more expensive. As far as a supported lifetime, somebody made a comment about Ubuntu only being supported for 2 months. Well, to set you straight, all Ubuntu releases get 18 months of support and some releases (8.04) are LTS (long term support) and get 3 years of support for the desktop and 5 years of support for the server version. Not bad at all considering it's a free product. And within that timeframe, more versions will come out giving you the option to freely upgrade to the next version.

    As far as Linux being ready......I think it's more a problem of the users being ready for Linux. While I admit there are still various driver issues out there with some rather dodgy hardware vendors who won't lift a finger to provide a driver for the Linux community....the bulk of the problem lies with the end user who often isn't as computer savvy as they think or simply are unable to pry themselves away from what they are used to. Thinking about all the people trying to continue running Windows apps under Wine, crossover or Cedega on Linux......rather than moving into Linux based alternatives.

    Will this move cause Linux to take over the world. No Way. Do I care? Not in the least. Honestly, I'd rather not have everybody else in the world using Linux. If it gained a certain level of popularity, certain things would become more standardized and set in stone...and that would take some of the freedom and functionality away from Linux.

    At the end of the day, I'm just elated that I have a working knowledge of Linux which provides me the ability to have a fully functional alternative to Windows. I'm not stuck like a lot of other computer users in the world.

  60. Telic
    Linux

    Twix Cup and the Lip

    Methinks Canonical chose the wrong version to do this. At the very least, I hope they use the bug-fix re-issue version 8.04.1.

    I've been using Ubuntu as my full-time OS since May 2007, and considered each upgrade to be an improvement. Version 8.04 is the first upgrade that I refuse to keep, because it was glitchy even after two months of updates. For now, I'm staying as an avid user of the previous version.

    I recommend the book-CD combo that includes version 7.10, "A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux"...

    http://tinyurl.com/5bzz7n

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Darren B

    A year? for $20? UNLIMITED support? are you kidding?

    If you want to arrange for a support contract with a LIMITED number of hours with a company like the one I work for you're looking at *THOUSANDS* of dollars.

    $20 for two months unlimited support is a freaking fantastic deal. Stop being so cheap. You remind me of those adsl home users that pay maybe $60 a month and expect people to jump when told to get their service back up in less than an hour.

  62. Uwe Dippel
    Stop

    Being a real expert,

    in all humbleness that is needed, in the field, and using FOSS exclusively over the last 10 years, being sysadmin and so forth. </self-praise>

    As much as I like 8.04, and as much as it has finally convinced to switch from Debian to Ubuntu for some desktop users, the install, sorry folks, was a dog; and it was a dog on all and any machine. SXCE is a breeze, comparatively. Aunt Tilly would never know how to do it without the help of a relative, or exactly that US$20 support.

    I agree, once it is up, it works pretty well. Updating is much easier than Windows. All and everything. But I was shocked with the installations.

    Even more shocking, I filed some reports about the miseries, and never any feedback. The latter might convince me to go back to Debian. At least "Won't fix" is proof that someone has read the report and thought it over.

    It is so sad, that Canonical doesn't seem to get the priorities right: Whatever Ubuntu offers, as long as the interested party cannot get it to install and reboot after the install, all is in vain.

  63. J
    IT Angle

    Trolls, trolls... I love trolls.

    "Included Support:

    Vista = till 2014"

    Cool, so you can call them up in, say, 2011 and have them solve your problems without charging anything else? Yeah, right...

    Did you mix two very different meanings of the word "support" there on purpose or was it just ignorance?

  64. zcat
    Linux

    after reading a third of the comments..

    For $20 a year, you can join a LUG. Ours has monthly 'workshop' sessions where experienced members help the less experienced with any problems they might be having, as well as the usual 'presentation' meetings where we try to have interesting speakers talk about various things related to Free and Open Source Software. And you can get plenty of free help through the ubuntu forums and from the #ubuntu channel on freenode.

    BTW; the last message I bothered to read, about samba browsing not working. You installed a firewall didn't you? Most Linux boxes on a LAN are quite safe behind NAT and really don't need a firewall, but if you do choose to install something like Firestarter and want Windows File and Print browsing to work you need to remember to allow broadcast traffic through the firewall, as well as the SMB ports. Hope that helps.

  65. Jason Togneri
    Gates Halo

    An OS for $20

    Well to be honest, if Microsoft brought their pricing policy down to this level, I bet there would be a lot more legit copies of Windows being bought - people obviously like XP, why else all the piracy...?

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Seems a reasonable deal

    $20 for 60 days support is much better value than paying several times that for a Vista upgrade with no such free support.

    I think it's probably not a great deal for Canonononical, since the people that buy this are probably lower down the tech scale and may require substantial support to get things working. I say this simply because those who already heard of it and spend a reasonable amount of time with computers may well have the capability to at least download it for themselves and give it a try. This is aimed at those who may not otherwise really know what this Ubunix is.

    For those who do not choose to get a fast always-on connection (or have no choice) then $20 is a darn sight cheaper than paying to download a version in eg an internet cafe.

    That said, Ubuntu is available on so many magazines these days, the download alone does not explain it, but I still think the support does.

    Overall I think it is a good idea, I would be surprised if it makes them a ton of money but then any profit at all can only help, and a broader base of users may just start the necessary snowball effect. Remember when Firefox was for geeks and zealots only?

    @Adrian - you clearly have no real idea of how OS security works. Mandatory access controls instead of Discretionary ones is not a new idea, and certainly not invented by MS for Vista. As for whether the OS can tell if it is you or a trojan doing something, that's not the issue. The issue is whether what you did was start a trojan installation or simply try and open that hot video sent to you anonymously.

    Years of stupidity have shown that some users simply cannot be trusted to make sensible security decisions. Asking if you were expecting your action to do something 'administrative' like installing a program is quite reasonable, and gives you a chance to say "no, I was just expecting to see a video, so something is wrong".

    Paris - because there's lots of places you can get her free downloads, but you need to pay for the good stuff to be sent to you in plain packaging

  67. Andraž Levstik

    Amusing and sad...

    @Adrian

    I guess you seem to fail the idiot test as well... The reason it's asking you for your credentials is

    because it needs to install stuff as root which you don't have as a normal user. Big diff between

    "Do you want to run this" and "Enter your password to run this"

    C'mon folks... if my mom(50+) can use this without me actually helping her out at all most younger

    people should be more than capable of using it...

    @Jim Halfpenny

    Lol... good joke... here's your coat with a complementary ubuntu boxed set in the pocket

  68. Rob Cooper
    Thumb Up

    From MS Guy - This is a GREAT thing.

    Disclosure - I am a MS developer and I do have a thing for MS *IN GENERAL* (they are not PERFECT - but remember, just because MS isnt perfect, it doesnt meal Apple is good).

    I think this is a great thing for software. Anything that heats up the competition is good. Do I think its good for the end user/consumer (you do remember those) I am not so sure. I had real beef with Linux when I had a go with several distro's (about 6 months ago) there was so much noise about "how much better it has become" etc etc yet it still took me 3 freaking DAYS, yes DAYS to set up my wireless network. This involved lots of forums, lots of crap in the command line, then I finally found a GUI wrapper that actually did the job (after a driver hack). Windows? Click click. Type key. OK. Wait a second. Done.

    My point? Getting more options out there is good for the industry, it drives competition and innovation. But it needs to NOT be at the expense of the end user. The support *needs* to be there. Or all thats gonna happen is people will be out of pocket, feel like crap/stupid, and end up going back to Windows and it will just create a *real negative picture* of *nix for the "normies". This would be detrimental to *nix movement as a whole.

  69. Mark
    Alien

    @madra

    Well, try elive. Uses enlightenment.

    'course if you start with "but I don't know where anything is", this will explain why so many distros ape windows in UI.

    PS I take it you don't use windows either, since each iteration is aping windows...?

  70. Mark
    Alien

    Re: constructive criticism

    1) Under windows, problem resolution is either a paid engineer or regedit (and knowing what your application name hashes to: good at hash algorithms in your head?)

    2) Well, go and use an older distro. One from '98. Or use Xubuntu or other distro made up to fit on older hardware (this is why there must not be One True Distro). Turn off Java on OpenOffice.

    3) Uh, you give nothing here. Try your Win98 on a vista domain. Using Samba: gui setup.

    4) Buy your own font. Delete the arabic fonts. Hell, if you have windows, take the fonts and import them (gui tools for this too).

    5) Windows apps even by Microsoft don't follow any standard GUI

    6) Try bug reporting on Win98

    So out of six criticisms, four aren't constructive.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    ReactOS anyone?

    For those who want open source but want to stay with a 'Windows environment' wouldn't ReactOS be a good alternative when it gets to beta/RC stage, (being based on NT)? I haven't had the opportunity to try it so can't say how good it is (bear in mind it is still in alpha), but I gather it is improving all the time and you can play (some), Windows games on it (some restrictions on 3D graphics though I think).

    I have had mixed experiences in the past when installing alternatives to WinXP Pro... I have tried Mandrake (back in about 99/2000), Suse (2004/5), Fedora 6/7/8, Ubuntu and even OpenSolaris (couldn't get it to boot into full GUI though). The later generations of GUI installers are much removed from the command line installers I encountered years ago and I don't think are to different to Windows, you can let them do their standard install or you can get more involved and define your partitions if you wish. BUT, where I have had problems, decent manuals or phone support could probably have set me straight...

    In general though I haven't had a bad experience with later distributions of Linux (other than maintaining a continuous wireless connection which is a trivial inconvenience and one I have also had with Windows in the past), and can do most 'personal' everyday tasks with them (play some mp3s, watch a dvd, email/internet, OpenOffice etc), but my job centers around Windows based products so 'professional' everyday tasks have to remain there, at least for now.

    The first Linux distro I got was Mandrake bought from PC World in 99/00 and it cost £30 ish, may be £40. Back then most people I knew were either on Dial-up 56K modems or in some rare cases had dual channel ISDN, imagine downloading a CDs worth of info over that!

    I think there is a place for buying Ubuntu even if it is just for the hand holding manuals and the confidence that at least in the begining there is some one on the end of a phone to help... It just makes it a bit more attractive to those who are undecided if they want to try it or not, and for a tenner, its not going to make most people break out in a sweat if they decide it isn't for them...

    Dan

  72. Steven
    Go

    Ubuntu Vs Vista = No Comparison.

    OK I have a dual boot with Vista and Ubuntu 8.04. Only installed Linux recently, but must say it is far better than Vista.

    Cost:

    Ubuntu 8.04 64bit = Free (I downloaded it)

    Vista Ultimate 64bit = £150 (OEM Copy)

    Performance:

    Ubuntu = Hard drives always silent, machine always responsive

    Vista = Hard drives churn constantly, often very unresponsive

    Security... Do I really have to go on...

    I run an overclocked quad core with an overclocked 8800 Ultra and 8GB of overclocked RAM before anyone says "well maybe Vista slow because your system cant handle it". Besides what kind of argument is that? ANY machine even really old ones run well on Linux.

  73. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    Coat

    @Gerhardt

    I don't think that anything in the Ubuntu package manager will actually uninstall modules that you have built, but what it will to is update the kernel and not rebuild the modules that you have added. New kernel versions mean new modules directories which will not contain your modules. The old ones will still be there in the /lib/modules/<version> directory, and if you boot the relevent kernel (ever wondered what all those extra entries in the GRUB boot screen were), they will still work.

    I do agree that this is difficult behaviour to get to grips with. I put 8.04 on my main laptop (previously running Dapper 6.06) the weekend after the full release, and have had at least 4 minor kernel upgrades since, which have meant that I have had to re-compile (or at least re-copy) the aironet module that I use for my Three 3G network dongle to speed up network access (it's patched with the USB id of the dongle).

    Provided that the kernel update is a minor release (4th number of the version number) there is an extremely good chance that your module will work without re-compiling. Alternativly, you can lock the kernel and kernel modules packages so that they will not be upgraded, but this means that they will not get any patches. Fire up the synaptic package manager from the System->Administration menu, and press <F1> to get some help.

    To locate where the module you want is installed, assuming you know the name of the module, then you can use "find /lib/modules -name '*mod-name*' -print" (where mod-name is the name of your module). You can then identify the version of the kernel with "cat /proc/version", and workout from this where to copy the module. Please note that this is all command line stuff, and is not a full procedure, but with the correct amount of applied thought, you should be able to work it out.

    Sorry, I know that this is not a tech-assistance forum. I'll try to just keep to comment in future.

  74. Richard Kay
    Happy

    Good move for those who want to progress

    Beyond the plateau where Windows users tend to stop learning that is. 60 days support is about right for the average smartness Windows user who wants to learn new tricks while transitioning to community support.

    My 88 year old dad had to transition to Ubuntu from Windows 98 because his new hardware didn't support the Vista it was supplied with and I didn't really want to support his use of XP or 98 on it and he didn't want to send the HW back when he could see what Ubuntu could do on it booted from a CD. He has had few problems despite his great age and finding it difficult to see small details.

    Personally I did find 8.04 Hardy slightly more buggy than usual for a couple of months. A bit beta, but pretty much ironed out for prime time now. I guess those that didn't want cutting edge should have stayed with Gutsy or Dapper until now. There again Hardy is a long-term support version, so Canonical had to make sure the programs included were a bit on the cutting edge on release in April so they could be supported until after the next LTS release which I think is in a couple of years.

  75. Rabbi
    Gates Halo

    It's not a complete install package . . .

    For the first time in quite a while, this update is NOT a complete re-installation of Adobe Reader. It's just a 2.2MB msi installer (for Windows at least) package.

    This is a good deal better for sysadmins - I can deploy to 100 computers spread over 6 sites without anyone moaning about the download/install time!

  76. Mark

    Re: Suitable for some people

    Linux is suitable for two kinds of people:

    1) People who don't get computers

    2) People who understand computers

    It isn't suitable for people who understand windows but isn't one of the above groups.

    Windows, to be saleable to group 1, guesses all the time what it should do. Worked OK until someone realised that they could get money selling your computer resources, in which case, they could fool your computer into doing what THEY want, not what YOU want.

    So now, computers with Windows on isn't suitable for people who don't get computers because they can't tell when their computer is out of their control and can't get into the idea of protecting it (which requires you understand either how Windows does things, or how computers work).

    Then again, if you understand how computers work, the Linux system has been suitable for you since the 1.0 days of Yddrasgil et al.

  77. Jay
    Linux

    Support is good for the less technically gifted

    I don't think $20 is too bad if it includes a manual and some support.

    Recently I got Parallels Workstation and decided to have a play with various OS. XP went on fine, as did Puppy Linux. Solaris wasn't too bad either. But with both Ubuntu (7 and 8) and Fedora I ran into some nasty problems when I decided I wanted a resolution of 1024x768. In short I ended up having to hack xorg.conf amongst other things.

    OK I managed to sort out the problem myself after some googling (and my day job being sys admin of various *UX), but for someone less inclined to such things then it could have been a bit more of a problem, where phone support could have helped.

    The Linux desktop still has some way to go before it starts to eat into Windows/MacOS, but it's slowly getting there.

  78. Mad Dave

    @kwac

    Are you sure, old bean?

    http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#DoesTheGPLAllowMoney

    "The right to sell copies is part of the definition of free software. Except in one special situation, there is no limit on what price you can charge."

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    free?

    Canonical is a business, not a charity.

    TANSTAAFL

    Shuttleworth is getting you lot to work for him for free.

  80. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    Thumb Up

    We can all sell Linux

    Excellent idea.

    People who know about Linux can get it for free but they have to do some work themselves.

    I find Linux easier to install than Windows. With Debian, as long as you plug the network cable into your router you get the uptodate version installed. Probably the same for Ubuntu. With Windows you have to someone trigger the update process and keep rebooting after each update round. Windows drivers for laptops have to be chased down on the Internet where as with Linux it just seems to figure it out itself.

    I expect the $20 operating system to be successful as long as the computer shop staff arn't afraid of it. Hey, if the user gets into trouble they could probably charge to sort it out.

    All of us here can sell Linux. We can even make our own distros if we want. It's fair to give some money back to the developers. I like to build linux servers. Always make sure the user has a UPS and the server will just chug away and never cause any problems. Hardware actually seems to live longer when set up as a Linux server than as a Windows PC.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I needed something like it a year ago.

    I am the first to admit that I am not great with computers. When I bought my laptop, incidentally an Acer Aspire, I had no choice at the time but get Vista as part of the package. [kinda annoyed as I did not get a refund, got a runaround, despite never registering the OS]

    I installed Mandrivia on my system, I had practically no prior experience with it but it was the best alternative I could find. The installation was easy enough [ok I needed a little advice as I was not sure of the meaning of some of the suff]

    After that I will admit I needed a lot of help. I had no idea that I needed to install a graphics driver, I did not know what software I needed for my wireless card, there was a whole lot of little things I needed that I had no idea about. I guess I should have done more research but I found the forums too big and I did not really know where to start at the time.

    I am lucky that I have a talented younger sibling who helped me out and taught me what I needed to know as I went along. I spent well over £30 on bribes, chocolate and thank you gifts before we were finished.

    For someone like me this package is probably worth it.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Well..

    If people are daft enough to pay for something that's technically free for download, then good luck to Cannoical, perhaps then they can higher some developers to fix the mess they made of the 8.04 desktop!

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My 2p worth

    I don't see the problem with putting boxes on the shelves - I bought a copy of SuSE 7 (I think,) years ago. However, as has been pointed out, having it on the shelves hasn't made everyone want to go out and buy it. Linux evangelists need to realise that Joe Normal (n.b. I said Normal, not Average you guys aren't above average and frankly would have to strain to achieve Normal) isn't necessarily desperately looking for an alternative to Windows. By this point normal people are probably looking for a way to get you guys to shut the hell up. When you boast about people you've converted, I have to wonder how many of your mates have been told the only way they can get help out of you is to let you install Linux.

    Anyway, back to the point. No harm in it; I like printed manuals, though I dunno how much they can pack in for $20. It's not going to convert the masses, but might get some takers. Ironically, I think they're going to be the same shoppers you always sneer at.

    @Boris the Cockroach : point well made, but I'm amazed it's taken you this long to see how the flames go. No MS people? Slag off distributions. Everyone using the most awkward-to-install one already? Drop back to vi versus emacs. Or C++/Java. Or anything I'm using versus what you're using because I'm better than you.

  84. Doug Glass
    Happy

    Selling Ubuntu

    Hmmm. I think I'll start a small company, call it something weird like "Uboon 2 2 U" and start selling it for $19.95 and provide 30 days phone service. I got plenty of time and people seeking help are used to waiting on the phone for long periods of time anyway.

    And after a while I can claim economies of scale and drop the price to $15.95 and corner the market.

  85. Bruce Sinton
    Heart

    Ubuntu buy the Book

    I brought a book about Ubuntu ,published 2007, cost me us$40.

    Very useful , am learning how to do useful things.

    I did manage to download 8.04 ,install the ISO file and all that. It works well, and as soon as I sort out how to make my Folding@Home program work properly , I will have all I require.

    If I, a 77 year old, definitely non-geek can do it, then almost anybody can.

    As said above ,security( by Steven ), -do I have to go on.

  86. Chris Hawkins
    Thumb Up

    Re:Nice book about Linux

    @Anonymous Coward

    ".A Dilbert book cost $12......"

    Does this include 60 days unlimited support?

    and Uwe Dippel what have you got against dogs....most canines I know are very partial to Ubonetu! :)))

    A confirmed Ubuntu fan who is now deploying it on clients' dying computers in youth hostels and B&B's, to cut the virus/malware nightmare and frustrated the hell out of your usual US/Antipodean/European Backpacker who is determined as part of a temporary mission in life (and admirably so) to bu***ger up any public usage PC! :) Pity they can't seem to do the same with the Bulls in Pamplona!

    What only Firefox, Openoffice and Pidgin Messenger???? :))))))))

  87. Simon

    @kwac

    > GPL -you can sell for reasonable costs, e.g. materials, postage printing.

    GPL (and BSD, Apache etc.) - you can sell for whatever you like. £1000 for a copy of OpenOffice? That'll do nicely!

    The limit to 'reasonable costs' is if you have distributed a binary copy of a GPL program and the person you distributed it to asks for the source. You can make a reasonable charge to provide this additional data. There's no limit to what you can charge for the binary, and if you include the source then there's no further come back on you.

    The reason this doesn't happen (mostly) is that people realise they can get the same stuff without having you pay you for it.

  88. Alex Smith

    already been done...

    "I reckon Cannonical need to make a 'notebook PC for your gran' ..... with hardware all tested to work, no worried with drivers, hardware conflicts."

    Already been done, there's a number of offical partners out there (Including Dell - http://tinyurl.com/39m5sr)

    @ Adrian (Thursday 10th July 2008 15:11 GMT)

    If your unable to click through the dialog that comes up when you go to a site that has flash player embedded to install Adobe Flash (or Gnash) then you really should just put your PC back in it's box, return it to PC World (where people like you seem to buy machines) and tell them your too stupid to use a computer and that you'd like a refund.

    All it requires for flash is for you to accept the licence agreement and click next a few times, works for my family quite nicely.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Peter Gathercole

    We're not talking about updates here -- a simple reboot is enough.

    If you download NVidia's driver installer, it will compile, install quite happily; fire up X and the driver clear works. However, reboot Ubuntu and it will refuse to load your custom module into the kernel, and instead will substitute it with an approved driver.

    The only way around this is to edit a text file in /etc to tell it to leave your custom modules alone. It's an ugly hack; I'm being made to jump through hoops.To repeat: if Microsoft behaved in this fashion, there'd be an outcry.

    Now, I understand the reasons for Ubuntu wanting to have a full-set of OSS drivers, but must they shove their ideologies down my throat?

  90. Paul

    Customization

    "if you're going to copy someone else's GUI at least pick one which hasnae been beaten to death with the fugly stick first."

    Yes, but the good news is it's not hard to change to something else. Gnome menu: System > Preferences > Appearance... have fun! It's a pity the appearance prefs tool doesn't have a direct link to the Gnome themes website though.

    Want it to look like OSX? Knock yourself out! Want it to be utterly incomprehensible to anyone but yourself? Have at it! Accustomed to Windows? No problem. Confused by all the options you now have? Just ignore them, the defaults are reasonably sane anyway unless brown makes you queasy. :)

    The customer base this targets isn't likely to ever do this anyway. They'll plug along with the out-of-the-box settings, just like they always did with Windows.

    Is Linux ready for everyone? No, but it's ready for a lot more people than the naysayers would like you to believe. Selling it at retail with support thrown in can't hurt any. Don't forget, the "free" in "free and open source" has nothing to do with purchase price, it's the other "free", as in speech. It just happens that you can also download it for nowt, but if I wanted to sell copies of it and provide fee-based support, I could do that without having Richard Stallman come and kick my door down!

  91. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Happy

    @Adrian

    The reason Ubuntu asks for confirmation that you really want to do things isn't to filter out trojans - it's to deter idiot users a bit.

    Incidentally, I agree with you about the Firefox beta they included with 8.04. Bloody awful, unreliable, and unfinished. Luckily a quick "sudo apt-get install firefox-2" and "sudo apt-get remove firefox" dealt with that little problem.

  92. Bob. Hitchen

    8.04.1 latest version

    I couldn't load 8.04 but 8.04.1 is rock solid. This looks like a good deal for the newcomer. I couldn't understand the firefox comment above I use it on both windows and linux and rarely use IE. I suspect the guy must work for MS. I use both XP and Linux with the emphasis on Linux for general purpose computing.

  93. Martin Usher
    Go

    Consumers trust things they pay for

    If you've used to making products for customers then you'll know that presentation is half the product. A boxed product has more of a 'finished' feel to it, and for many people this makes the difference between something that is to be taken seriously and something that's a toy for geeks. Also, a lot of customers won't like downloading, blowing ISO files to CDs and so on....and you have to humor the customer, its a fact of life.

    As for the code being useless and so on, you have to be kidding. I'm not up to speed on 8.04, I still use 7.10 (and an earlier version on one system) but its rock solid. Firefox is good as well....it takes quite a bit of the thrill out of using IE ("will this site nail my computer", that sort of thing). Things that Ubuntu does do better than MSFT include printer support and updates. In fact, for people who just want to work the web, get mail, watch youTube and so on, there's really no reason to use Windows any more. (The only reason I can think of is DirectX for those first person shooter games....)

  94. ben edwards

    Giving Linux to cheapies is good for the online community?

    Wow, you people are hippies to the single-core.

    Giving no-brainers access to something that will let you "rm -Rf /" is NOT a smart move. You complain about the 'stupid' Windows failures you have to take care of already, how will it be when you come into 'Well, I wanted to dualboot and now I have no harddrives' and 'GRUB infected my POSIX and now my sources.list has rpm.sex.com and my pc runs sloooow'.

    That's what I'm worried about. The next wave of malware will be infecting source lists and then masking its tracks in ways that Windows users will be snickering at.

  95. Mark

    @Gerhardt

    Uh, how do you expect it to know about your custom driver? Under windows, if you were to make a custom driver, you'd have to make a thingy to edit the registry to make windows keep the driver. Under linux, you have to edit a text file. If you don't like the CLI, use your file browser.

    Then again, how many people using windows write their own drivers? They get one written by the manufacturer, don't they.

  96. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    Re:Selling Ubuntu

    Yes, yes, you can do that.

    Why keep bringing it up, though?

  97. Adrian Midgley

    Good deal

    And no inconsistency at all. I got good value out of the version of SuSE I bought as a boxed set long ago in PC World, despite having previously installed one without the hard copy - the books were useful. Oddly, I didn't need the support that was included, and I suspect the expectation is that a small proportion of people will need a small amount of simple support.

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Re: Mark

    I think you're a bit confused -- I'm not complaining about the way Linux loads driver kernel modules, I'm complaining what Ubuntu specifically does with them. With Ubuntu, Canonical have put in additional obstacles in your way; not for security issues, but political ones.

  99. Mark Roome

    and also

    It makes for a handy birthday or Christmas present at that price.

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