back to article Microsoft, Asus launch anti-Linuxbook campaign

Microsoft and Asus have teamed up to present a new advertising smarm-storm intended to extol the virtues of Windows on netbooks - and smear Linux. The joint effort's spawn is a website entitled "It's Better with Windows." It's a simple site with a simple message: Windows can prevent poor, unsuspecting non-techies from "dealing …


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  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    It had to happen

    As soon as Microsoft put its grubby mitts on this project, this outcome was inevitable.

    What I would like to know is how those that originated this project can look at themselves in the mirror in the morning. Or has Monkey Boy given them Personal Grooming Assistants so that they don't have to any more ?

  2. Sitaram Chamarty
    Gates Horns

    what they did not mention

    is "secure". They found a close-enough-in-some-sense word (Trusted) but they dared not say "secure".

  3. Frank

    Yes but....

    I watched it and it was bland, bloated and bullshit - hey, it's Microsoft :) I am wondering what the equivalent Penguinista video would look like. Apart from the suspicion that the OS 'community' would not be able to see the point of producing a video like this, or any kind of advertising for that matter; what would a Penguinista promotional video look like?

    Post your answers You-Tube please and provide a link to El Reg comments by the end of June 2009 when voting will take place. The winner gets an EEE 1000 running Win-7 Starter Edition.

  4. Andus McCoatover


    Need some digging to find out why Xandros and Asus have fallen out. There must be some muck under the rug we don't know about.

    The netbook and Linux concept was a marriage made in heaven. I just don't get it. Microsoft must've wedged up Asus bigtime for this. Was Asus on the financial ropes? Needs checking.

    But, I can't understand this at all. The video shows a dad having to set up his son's privacy protection..The whole sodding point of these machines was to whip it out of your coat pocket, swich on - boot in seconds - find an access point - pub, home, Starbucks, PanOulu, whatever - and get your e-mails, find your bus timetable, etc. within a minute or so. Not piss about with admin. rights...

    Does XP boot that quick? Doubt it.

    Can I change from Xandros to XP free? Doubt it.

    I suppose this change scuppers any upgrades to Xandros now....


    Incidentally, looks like the model they've chosen to mostly show is the early eee701 4G. I say 'early' - We've got two (bought 3 - one's in a Kenyan orphanage. "Buy three-Give One"). My g/f's later 8G model has a squirly Eee logo on the lid,not ASUS like mine, or in the video - presumably to show the ASUS name, which the later models won't. Later S/W - MUCH better than mine.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Unlikely to have bought Asus anyway...

    but at least now it won't even be considered, with "them" up their back passage.

  6. some
    Paris Hilton

    Investigation time!

    I've read a lot about this and people are saying it's fake. Although in a few places, it's been said that Asus have admitted it is a genuine campaign. There is some discrepancy with the and sites, too. I don't know what to believe. El Reg, don't just write stuff without verification. Go right ahead and call them. We need proof of this.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    It's about time ...

    ... that someone did us all a favour and nuked Redmond. Where's your mushroom cloud icon, El Reg?

    On a slightly more serious note (but only slightly), if Microsoft has offered *any* kind of inducement to Asus, or if Asus has asked for any consideration from Microsoft in return, then isn't that behaviour illegal in the anti-competitive/anti-trust sense?

  8. Kevin Rudd

    "Trusted" like a catholic priest babysitter.

    After ASUS dared to defy Big Ballmer, looks like ASUS have been sent for a session in room 101. Now that they have been re-educated, they are producing this vomit inducing shite. (seriously, I am mashing chunks of carrot between the keys as I type)

    Ahh well, the dream was nice while it lasted, buying a computer and only paying for the hardware and not an MS tax etc, etc.

  9. Michael


    Talk is cheap.... what asus should do is load any new eeepc's with nvidia /ati hardware, so they can REALLY paint themselves into a corner.. (Proprietary drivers).

  10. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Never Mind

    There's a whole lot of ARM stuff about to appear. lets see them get Win 7 on that

  11. Nick Askew

    I admit it I like Windows

    There I've said it. And apparently so do 96% of new Netbook owners. Or at least 96% of them prefer Windows to Linux. I too bought an early eee pc with Linux installed (Xandros I guess) and quickly upgraded that to Ubuntu and then after my Holiday I have to say it has sat unloved on a shelf. I will admit that this is partially because I am unfamiliar with Linux. I do regret not having had the Windows option at the time (I believe that was offered later).

    While that advert really is quite sickening it does seem that ad men seem to be going down that route a lot these days. I mean who would have thought that aided only by a mediocre fizzy drink you can dump your girlfriend with such style.

    And as for Windows messenger. I really do wish that it sat quietly in the background rather than forcing popping up adverts when it starts. But I think the point, Andus, of showing some parent setting up security for their child is to show that, with Windows, it is so easy that your average parent can do it.

    What I am saying here is that Windows is more familiar than Linux to most people. Perhaps if it sat still long enough more people would become familiar with Linux but my experiences with Linux has been that sooner or later you have to drop into some command prompt to get your work done. Quite often it seems that the commands you then have to type have changed from one installation of Linux to the next.

    When some people buy a new computer they want it to work just like the last one because owning the computer is not about how fabulous the kernel is, it is about turning it on and sending someone an email and doing it just like you did last time. This does not make Windows necessarily a better operating system but it does attract loyalty.

    I'm guessing that if a big car manufacturer came out with a whizzy new way to control a car where the pedals are in different places and you use a joystick rather than a stearing wheel there would be some people who would see the superior nature of the controls and about 96% of people who would say they liked it the old way.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Falseness In Advertizing

    So they cheat too. Not surprising. At least in the "Trusted" ad they show a full-screen view of the display that is twice the horizontal resolution of the EeePC (shown immediately afterwards as true resolution in the next cut)...

    It's the little details that piss people off...

  13. Charles Manning

    Coke is Life...

    err no it is water (which isn't too bad) + a poison (CO2) + bunch of carcinogenic compounds (sugar, caffeine etc).

    But still they're pretty close to being right,.

    I have [ and am using right now] an Acer sold with Linux. Thank BigG I'm reasonably Linux literate otherwise I'd be fucked.

    As much as we might fanboi over Linux, there is far too many zealots pushing the Open Source Religion (Wikipedia should really ban then sometime) over straight usability. Until we're practical about making usability more important than "freedom" (as defined by RMS), Linux Laptops won't be ready for prime time unless the hardware vendors support and update their own tweaked distros.

    One reason Linux phones work for the Great Unwashed is that they use custom distrros. Although based on open source, customers still experience these as turnkey software.

    "Oooh you can fix the bugs yourself" is a fine strategy for geeks who get a stiffy at the thought of a bug, but Mom and Pop want software to work when they download it from the vendor. They don't want to spend days in Ubuntu forums figuring out how to tweak X config files or fix bugs.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    How Much Did MS Pay ASUS ?

    Or give a considerable discount ? Monopoly leverage going on here I think by locking up the channel, anyone got Neelie Kroes phone number (and no I'm not looking for a date before the wags get there).

  15. Anonymous Coward


    Perhaps the monopolies commissions can look at WHY 90+% are now using XP; I tried and tried and tried to get an original 901 with Linux but failed; every retailer I could find was only selling the XP version, or claimed the Linux version was "sold out, waiting for new stock", which never arrived.


    I dont want a 900, or a 904; in my book the 901 was the nearest thing to perfect for mobile/casual use, the SSD meant no worries about using it on the move and the huge battery life meant no worries about where the nearest power socket was.

    The 1000 series may have a better keyboard, but it (like most of the others), is too big and heavy to slip in a pocket (assuming you have a pocket big enough!!), unless you REALLY need to use it while out and about.

    Mines the one with the shop-lifting pocket ideally sized for a EeePC.

  16. captain kangaroo


    .. to see that they are demonstrating XP... the old familiar... not the massively unpopular Vista or the new 7...

    I don't suppose they could carry on with the "trusted", "familiar", or "compatible" tags if they had show Vista or 7...

    Ah well. I suppose the saddest thing about this is that Asus are involved. I have lots of their components and a Screen of theirs, and to be honest I'd rather hardware vendors kept out of the OS wars, as it doesn't really build trust when you see them getting into bed together in such a bitchy way.

    P.S. The lady featured in the film is hot, so it does score on one level ;)

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. James Dunmore

    Simple linunx relatiation

    ...NO VIRUSES !!

  19. Anonymous Coward

    My tuppence

    "an unfamiliar environment or major compatibility issues." - reminds me of vista when it first came out.

    However..., much as I hate MS, there are 2 key reasons I use windows on this eee, and 1 key reason I use linux (dual boot).

    Pro windows:

    Wireless config (linux just doesn't handle it as well)

    Display scrolling - the driver allows the display to be bigger than the little screen.

    Pro linux:

    speed: boot time and browser rendering time (particularly flash/js-heavy sites)

  20. david bates
    Thumb Down

    Well, I love my little 701...

    and running eeebuntu its a little stunner, but looks like next time I'll be shopping with someone other than Asus.

    Windows and a spinny hard disk = FAIL IMHO for a netbook.

  21. Christian Berger

    It needs to have Windows to be a netbook

    If you have Linux it's a full-featured PC. If it has Windows installed it is a feature limited appliance.

  22. Allan Rutland

    Much of this...

    actually goes back it seems to the original Eee 701, and Asus discovering that over 75% of the linux versions it shipped were getting XP installed on them inside the first 3 months. One of the really stupid things about this was the reasoning behind it, the users were (a large majority of them anyhow) putting XP on them so they could install iTunes on the things (and yes, its a netbook, it shouldn't have it on it)...I dunno, theres a whole lovely glossy feeling of seeing Apple actually ending up being a reason to install Windows over Linux thats just bloody funny as hell hehe.

  23. Richard Stubbs
    Gates Horns

    What else they did not mention

    I hear if you put Linux on a netbook a kitten dies

  24. Rob O'Connor

    Asus lost a sale

    Well done Asus. I was about to buy an Eee PC to run Linux on, but now you say you don't recommend it, I won't.

  25. Sooty

    my thoughts

    are that the main issue is that the versions of linux on netbooks are generally fairly customised and locked down. The view of what a netbook is and what the buyers seem to want is slightly different.

    I think that the simplistic versions of linux released have shot themselves in the foot. Most of the linux netbooks are setup like an appliance, simplistic menus, and a few simple apps. As soon as you put windows XP on it become a mini laptop. I realise you could put a full linux distribution on, but your general public doesn't know what distributions are. if anything they know linux and windows, eg. as far as they know linpus is linux and all it ever will be.

    As much as the companies want netbooks to be simple web browsers and office tools, the vast majority of people who buy them, myself included, just wanted a cheapish ultra-portable laptop. Despite being "low powered", the netbook i have is the same spec as previous laptop, which was top of the range when i got it 5-6 years ago.

  26. Gerry

    And then they fight you...

    @ Nick Askew

    You are of course, at liberty to like Windows, but remember to thank Linux when you buy another computer with MS Windows 7 Starter edition, they've had to uncripple it and I'd be pleased hear reasons for that happening other than a real alternative.

    @Charles Manning

    "Thank BigG I'm reasonably Linux literate otherwise I'd be fucked"

    There's a wonderful joke sitting under that quote, but honestly, why do you bother?

    Out here, a friend of mine had been resisting my blandishments regarding swapping out Win 2000. However she looks after someone with cerebral palsy (this isn't a joke nor I talking about about any well-known astrophysicists) who has been using GNU/Linux for years. She gave my friend a live CD of that annoying distro. My friend didn't realise that the performance she preferred could be improved by installing it...

    I started the install programme for her, which went without a hitch.

    She knows _nothing_ about IT, operating systems, .deb, and she's well happy.

  27. Dave Bell

    Xandros v. Windows

    Xandros Linux on the Eee was usable, but support was minimal and there were reports of security compromises. More relevant to the average computer user, OpenOffice, on a UK keyboard machine, didn't have UK English dictionaries. Also, the media player was missing widely-used video drivers.

    There are much better versions of Linux, and Windows wouldn't have the visible Xandros problems, but I doubt I could do anything useful with Windows on this machine.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Retailers fault

    Personally I think this is the retailers' fault.

    I work on returns/customer service for a well known, and disliked, UK retailer and we get loads of Linux netbooks returned because sales staff are selling then as laptops, the customers then find out they can't install their games and try to return it (I had one recently returns cause they couldn't play Crysis)..

    If they were sold as an internet device or like a smart phone I think there would be alot more happy customers, instead of sales staff claiming they are just cheap, small laptops.

  29. Apocalypse Later


    The ads are essentially true. Windows is familiar and compatible. Linux has other virtues no doubt.

    I have two machines side by side on my desk, running XP and Ubuntu, on the same network. XP is the one I turn on every morning first thing. I play with Ubuntu every now and then. Canonical sent me a free Ubuntu 9.04 CD for the asking, which is definitely an improvement on the procedure for acquiring Windows, but it won't run most of the programs I use everyday. It has alternatives for many of them, but I keep having to switch back to Windows to do various things, and once there, there is nothing to make me switch back to Ubuntu.

    I tried putting Linux on an old laptop that hadn't enough memory for XP, to use it like a netbook, but the OS could not understand the wireless PCMCIA card that had worked fine in Win98. No Linux drivers available from the manufacturer. Is that Linux's fault? Not the issue. Another iteration of "Windows works, Linux fails".

  30. captain kangaroo
    Thumb Down


    This is such an obviously biased web site I hope this backfires. I really do think that many people will see that M$ are actually scared of something, and wonder what they are scared off.

    For me, i took the Pepsi challenge, I'd ordered tickets for a gig. and being the UK there was a postal strike, so the tickets didn't arrive. I got an email from the promoter saying that the email was may ticket, all i had to do was print it take it with me..

    I'd just rebuilt 2 PCs, one with Ubuntu and one with XP, but had never connected up ther printer to either, and the gig was in 40 minutes, so i had to get a print out.

    Connected printer to XP box.... waited, got a message saying something had happened to a USB port and it was going to look for drivers and stuff..... a few minuts later it still had no idea what had happened to the USB port and was asking me for help.. I wondered if Ubuntu would fare better as I was getting nowhere with XP.

    Connected printer to Ubuntu box, got a message straight away saying "You have connected a HP 5250 Printer, please wait a moment". Then, literally a moment later i had the "device ready" message. 650 seconds later i was making my way out of the door with ticket in hand.

    Now, I bought the XP box from eBay with a pre-installed XP for £45. and Ubuntu is free, although I did wait 3 weeks for the CD. (i could have downloaded it but decided to get the original disk for fun).... If i had paid full price for the PC and XP I would have immediately declared the purchase to be not fit for purpose. Ubuntu however, has been great with everything I've connected to it. It's occasionaly awkward, but nothing mind blowing. And it reads NTFS drives without a problem. Windows does not read anything else apart from FAT or NTFS without a big hoo har, and the last time I did try setting up XP to read ext3 it ruined the permissions on that drive and rendered it useless so I had to re-install it.

    XP = £££ and is not great.

    Ubuntu = Free and is wonderful

    Conclusion, if Ubuntu was £££ i'd only be unhappy because the graphical layout looks like an amateur "My First PC" style... where as XP looks ace and is very slick looking, but is essentially shit for the money....

  31. Wayne Stallwood

    This should be a hoax but it isn't

    That site is just way way to amateurish even for this campaign, however the video is fairly well put together if still very very cheesy.

    But a Website made of a single background image (inc the text so search engines will struggle to index it) nasty nasty jpeg compression, on a domain registered to a Michael Sharp in Washington ?

    Surely even a marketing department stupid enough to approve this campaign would be capable of putting something together that looks a little more convincing.

    But then I noticed that it is linked from here

    So it is endorsed by Asus ! Hilarious

  32. adnim

    Not quite so

    "Why? Well, as the site proudly proclaims, Windows is trusted, familiar, and compatible. And, by implication, Linux isn't."

    Windows is familiar and compatible no doubt there, but trusted? Windows in my opinion is no more a trusted computing platform than it is secure.

    I do trust Windows to contact Microsoft at every opportunity to inform MS of the websites I visit, the search terms I enter into IE, the media I play in WMP and no doubt a list of other activities that I perform on my PC. As a result, I use Windows as an operating system only. All applications for web browsing, messaging, email and media play are from third parties I actually do trust.

    The only place windows is trusted and secure, yes secure, is when it is left on installation media far away from any PC hardware.

    I do prefer OSS but it is still quite a way from being ready as a desktop OS for the average "I'm not technically minded, what's a command line? I just want it to work" user.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dialogs don't fit the XP screen

    Big problem with Eeepc running windows is many of the dialogs don't fit on the screen and because you can't move them off the top left, you can't get to the buttons lower down.

    Open Office is also far far better than MS Works. MS Works is deliberately crippled, Open Office is up to MS Office spec. It comes with lots of Microsoft crust like Windows live messenger, when Skype is far more useful, you need to get rid of the crust to make space, or buy the one with a big hard drive and lose the battery life instead.

    Autoupdates, Microsoft likes to dump addons and call them urgent upgrades at 100Mb a time. Not good on a small factor laptop. You don't want or need Silvershite for example, but that bloat ware comes to you automagically via Windows update.

    Weakest platform for security.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This has got to be someone's idea of a joke

    or possibly the rabid imaginings of some 8-year-old fanboy like the ones in MS's current round of "I'm a PC" ads

  35. Gordon

    its better than windows

    how about its betterthanwindows site, lol

    showing linux and os-x

    i had a eeepc 4g think it was, ok but small screen, the basic linux was ok, but used adavanced desktop, it was xandros, tried windows xp cut down version i had done, it was ok but after installing you had very little drive space left and the rez of the screen was not good you had to put a patch on to fix it, so you could get a good rez, without having to move the desktop around to find thing, then all the security had to be added, good worked ok if you did not really want to do anything with it apart from skype, msn, internet, maybe some form of basic word processing. the on board camera was ok but even with 20Mbps connection still not as good as the one in the video.

    in the tried many other linux on it, then sold the thing.

    Now have a samsung n10 it did have xp on it but now has dual boot linux and osx86.

    much better.

    I was just thinking all hype from asus making the first netbook and running linux, selling loads of them, all the money they made then from them with linux on, then sticking two fingers up and going to Micro$haft, what a bunch of w...kers, i will not be buying any more of there stuff, now it begs the question where they forced, did micro$haft, threaten with breach of copyright etc, some of the code for linux and didn't xandros and linpire join forces then jump into bed with micro$haft to stop all the copyright stuff, then didn't micro$haft start showing interest in the linux stuff claiming they owned some of the code, and started treating any one using linux.

    or may be asus just thought we are not making as much money as we did at start, and loads are making windows netbooks maybe its time to move to it!

    lets jump into be with micro$haft and stuff the linux lot, we have had what we wanted from them.

  36. Andus McCoatover
    Gates Horns

    Embrace, Enhance, Extinguish

    'Nuff said

    ("I am a Fairy. My name is Nuff".

    Fair enough.)


  37. John Robson Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    That's one short video

    Cut together repeatedly...

    And then put in a loop after you press play...

    MS / Asus:

    Familiar != better

    Trusted != Good (we used to trust the banks)

    Compatible isn't your game, never has been.

    - Try reading my ext3 formatted SD cards on Windows...

    - Try looking through just ubuntu's package management to see what "proprietary" devices are supported - and that's ignoring RedHat, SuSE et al.

    I was hoping that the proliferation of netbooks would encourage the definition of some communications standards, and provide device manufacturers (e.g. nokia, garmin etc) to publish their interfaces (it's not as if I'm going to buy a device I can't talk to, or that talking to the device is useful without the physical device)

  38. Anonymous Coward

    I guess this was inevitable really...

    The ad is clearly anticompetitive as far as I'm concerned. But am I surprised? no, I think we've all come to expect this kind of thing from M$.

    I must admit though that most of the population do have a tendency to "prefer" Windows as it's what they're used to and for the most part all they've ever used, plus of course gamers etc who unfortunately don't have much of a choice, I really hope that changes.

    My daughter's 8 now and she's had an Edubuntu/Ubuntu based computer since she was 6, I figured she only really learns how to use Windows at school so I'd try and balance it out. With a little help she recently upgraded it to 9.04 herself with a clean install, setup everything how she likes it from compiz & desktop themes, to rearranging her menus and installing some extra packages & codecs. Give her the choice and she'd rather use Ubuntu every time.

    Maybe they should just concentrate on getting schools to use it, we'd probably see a big shift in a very short space of time then :-)

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    @captain kangaroo

    >> I really do think that many people will see that M$ are actually scared of something, and wonder what they are scared off.

    Just what I was wondering too. Whether or not Apple jumps into this space, the threat of it may have worried Asus enough to seek a strong marketing partner.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    I was happy

    with my little Asus running Linux until they've told me it's shite.

    Can I have my money back?

    BTW, I sympathise with anyone who is forced to use an 'unfamiliar environment'. My wife is struggling at work.

    She was fine until they 'upgraded' to Office 2007 - now she's pulling her hair out.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Installed Windows on my Linux netbook

    I've got the Aspire One and the bundled version of Linux was a nightmare to keep up-to-date. Essential software patches were not available via the official updater MONTHS after they have been released. The only way to keep the machine up-to-date was to hit the command line and do everything by hand (and often finding new incompatibilities as you went).

    For Joe Public this is simply too much hassle. Microsoft, after having so much practice, have got a simple way of updating applications.

    If the netbook manufacturers had been serious about Linux they would have shipped something that combined Linux's security with a usable update procedure.

    And that's my excuse.

  42. Niels Emmer

    I fear change (?)

    Not a linux fanboi at all; in fact after many tries this is the first time I installed Linux and did NOT go back to Windows. My Acer Aspire One came with XP and acted like a laptop with a small screen. Slowed down by virus scanner, firewall & (trial!) version of office. Have trouble understanding all these comments about incompatibility, am I living in the same universe?

    Installed Ubuntu Netbook Remix from a 1Gb stick and that little machine flies! In the office, it drives my 19" flatscreen. Close the lid, take it on the road. Over lunch, it picks up the WiFi net in town and if out of reach, it uses my Nokia. NO additional drivers needed, for ANYTHING. Going 3G was a matter of plugging in my phone and setting the APN. Try that with the shitty Nokia Connection Manager on windows. Suspends, hibernates, wakes up in seconds.

    Open Office does all I need and external communications are in the (standard supported) PDF format. PhotoShop runs without ANY trouble (right click the setup.exe and choose to install using WINE). So does my Garmin software, and other stuff that always pushed my back to MS. Not even mentioned the awesome (for a small screen) netbook launcher.

    Steep learning curve? My grandma took less than half an hour to get it. Be honest, the switch is smaller than going to Office 2007, which is daunting for even this old timer in IT. Click the menu, choose application, work....

  43. Mark Gowdy
    Paris Hilton

    Hello 'Advertising Standards Authority'?

    Have a quick look at the clip just after 3:25

    I was unaware that running Windows (instead of Linux) was able to make your screen display at a considerably higher resolution that the actual native resolution of the device.


  44. Rich Harding

    @Nick Askew

    "We need to talk..."

    (Only the "right" Nick Askew is liable to get that!)

    Me? I'm seriously unimpressed with Asus's behaviour here (upon one of whose excellent full laptops, originally supplied with XP but now dual-booting with Ubuntu and almost never fired into XP, I'm typing this)...

  45. Gareth Jones Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Funny isn't it?

    Of late the only real selling point MS can come up with is that their products are very common (note I didn't say popular).

    Either we have this new campaign which hinges on the fact that if you are used to Windows you should stick with it. Or the "I'm a sheep^H^H^H^H^HPC"* campaign, which seems to hinge on the idea that you should copy everybody else. A curious idea really since it actually argues against other MS products. If they think you should use Windows because everybody else does, then surely that argues against buying, for example, a Zune since nobody else has got one.

    The fact that they are completely out of advertising ideas fits like a thingy in one of those whatsits that they are completely out of product ideas too.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    @Talk is cheap....

    "Talk is cheap.... what asus should do is load any new eeepc's with nvidia /ati hardware, so they can REALLY paint themselves into a corner.. (Proprietary drivers)."

    I'm not sure what point is being made here... Windows uses proprietary drivers for most everything, while to make proper use of your video card under Linux, you also must use a driver from the manufacturer. You don't pay anything for either one. What is the big deal?

    Yes, (mostly) Windows is easier to use. If in some golden utopia in the future, the best things of both MS and Linux OSes could be combined, the world would be a better place. XP works pretty well with everything. (except security) Windows 7 needs much work before release. Ubuntu works perfectly with my wireless card--Win 7 claims it's working normally and doesn't have any connectivity. Wired networking is flaky too till you turn off IPv6 support. Ubuntu works great with my sound card and VLC and Amarok are great. Win 7 claims I have no speakers attached and both XP and Win 7 versions of Media player are bloated, semi-functional garbage. Ubuntu works great with my older scanner/printer/fax combo without installing anything. MS works when it feels like it. The list goes on and on...

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Chairs in orbit

    When Asus started getting successful with their 70x Eee range of 'legtops' running Linux I suspect there must've been a chair or two launched into orbit originating from the vicinity of Redmond.

    Despite all the furore regarding Linux being dropped from 'legtops' in favour of Windows I can see why, I ditched the LInux on my Eee in favour of XP for several reasons; really didn't like the WIMP system as it felt 'alien', even FireFox's interface behaves silghtly differently on Linux compared to Windows. And furthermore if I wanted similar programs to what I use on Windows it would be a serious uphill task tracking down apps I liked and then finding they have their odd quirks, which would take up a lot of time needlessly, so I installed Windows which allowed me to seamlessly transfer menial jobs over to my Eee.

    I'm tying this right now on my Eee because the PSU in my main PC recently popped a cap (fried capacitors stink!!)

    Yes, I've been pussy-whipped by Microsoft I'm sad to say. If only they'd ported AmigaOS to X86 hardware... *sigh*

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "... poor, unsuspecting non-techies ..."

    "Windows can prevent poor, unsuspecting non-techies from 'dealing with an unfamiliar environment or major compatibility issues.'"

    This makes me laugh. I have just recently had enough with a number of Windows users who thought they 'must have Windows' (yeah, upper strata) and their shenanigans; they now run on Linux and finally get their work done. Windows is all right where it makes sense, and the users 'deserve' to have it, otherwise, NO.

  49. Nick Askew

    @Rich Harding

    Hey that's my ring tone!!

    I am slightly embarassed to have to admit that after clicking the 'Post Comment' button my IE7 crashed taking out all the other tabs too. At least Firefox would have realised when it restarted and offered to get those tabs back.

    As I said it is all about familiarity and not necessarily the best tool for the job. Indeed I am certain many new features in commercial software are only there to keep ahead of the competition, including Linux.

    Right I'll click 'Post Comment' again and see what happens.

  50. Brian Whittle

    they have a point

    I am as geeky as the next man and am quite comfortable using Linux but for normal , have a life people windows is easier for them to use if they don't want to go to the expense of a mac.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Go Ask Emacs

    Emacs had, and probably still has, a ripoff of the quasi - Freudian psychoanalytic method of turning every statement a patient makes into a question to further prod the couch potato head into probing their psyche. It may be the Emacs, head shrinker could lead Lusers to recognize why they prefer Linux over Windows,or, why Windows fanbois prefer Windows over Linux, but, ultimately, with netbooks, it's meant to just work. In the Linux arena Ubuntu lays claim to the "it just works" spiel, but I found the flawed Linpus OS did better on my Aspire One than ubuntu netremix. Linux is faster and, philosophically, better suited to the netbook but MS just buys what it wants when it wants it and money talks and bullshit walks. Money should buy MS market share but there's some wildcards at play. The days when noobs wanted desperately to show the proper degree of nerdiness by babbling on about this or that OS the MB of RAM have long past and most users could care less about the OS. The netbook is about on par with a cell phone and few know much more about their cell than whether it's qwery and has a camera. The circle has come full round and nerds again have tech to themselves and the rest of the world could care less, to them it's just another bit of bling. MS can buy market share by pushing Windows onto the shelves and then pompously proclaiming victory but Linux will continue on ever biting larger chunks out of Windows pie. Linux was supposed to die of SIDS in its crib, it didn't, it hasn't, its grown big and bold. Firefox is to ie what Linux is to Windows and Firefox is steadily eating ie's lunch. I've been on Linux since one of the first Mandrake editions so I don't know what all of the fuss is about. For me Linux just works and Windows is just there for gaming and watching movies, for others I'm sure Linux is a foreign, scary landscape but then for them anything amiss in Windows is a otherworldly disaster far beyond their ken. My test question is to ask if they know how to access and read the event log. The answer is almost always "no". I would venture that if you can't access and understand the Event Viewer then you're not a Windows user, you're just a computer user and the underlying OS is foreign and meaningless to your needs.

  52. William Towle

    Re: Yes but....

    Frank> Apart from the suspicion that the OS 'community' would not be able to see the point of producing a video like this, or any kind of advertising for that matter; what would a Penguinista promotional video look like?

    Something like these, I'd have thought:


  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    blimey i really hate this site...

    hy does it nowe use a wionmdows media plugin? instead it uses "Flowplayer"...


    M$ don't even trust their own software to deliver the advert?

    How odd...

    I'd say it was a hoax..... a weird one, but a hoax all the same.

  54. Giles Jones Gold badge

    More M$ FUD

    Shame on Asus, they made a lot of money from the Eepc and that wouldn't have sold so well if it was more expensive due to pre-loaded Windows.

  55. Giles Jones Gold badge

    @I admit it I like Windows

    "I'm guessing that if a big car manufacturer came out with a whizzy new way to control a car where the pedals are in different places and you use a joystick rather than a stearing wheel there would be some people who would see the superior nature of the controls and about 96% of people who would say they liked it the old way."

    What you're forgetting is Microsoft have changed the location of the pedals too, Vista has a different layout to XP.

    Therefore your argument is pretty meaningless.

    KDE with the Windows profile is more familiar to XP users than Vista is.

  56. James

    The site

    just looks shit!

    And how small are the EEEEEEEEEEE resolutions? The screen is at least a third bigger than windows seemed to be using on those netbooks.

  57. Andrew Halliwell
    Thumb Down

    Re: My Tuppence


    Virtual desktop? Linux has had that since year dot.

    (display bigger than screen size, scrolling around it with the mouse)

    All you have to do is set a virtual resolution in the xorg.conf file.

    If asus didn't do that then it's just yet another way they shot themselves in the foot.

    It wasn't linux that was at fault...

    It was asus's half arsed attempt at implementing it.

  58. Anonymous Coward

    Linux and my mum

    For her 60th birthday, I gave my mum a pink 701. She's never used anything but Windows, so I spent a bit of time setting up the advanced desktop and loading various OSS alternatives, including OpenOffice. She's delighted with it, and uses it more often than the XP desktop my parents have. It's easy enough to make Linux mimic the "trusted, familiar" interface. When the users don't know what a browser is all you need to do is change the Firefox launch icon to the blue E and they're happy. And secure. The time spent in the initial setup was nothing compared to the grief of trouble-shooting Windows on an on-going basis.

  59. Graham Wilson

    Next time I won't buy an ASUS

    Next time I won't buy an ASUS.

    I have an ASUS netbook, which incidentally runs Windows, and I wouldn't have bought it if I'd known that ASUS and M$ were going to team up to fight Linux.

    Right, you must have been bribed big-time but it won't pay off in the long run.

    Not onlty do I own an ASUS but I'm also involved in recommending brands etc. Marketing people at ASUS take note--just stick to making hardware.

  60. Kevin

    the problem is

    Saddly I do agree with the "Windows can prevent poor, unsuspecting non-techies from "dealing with an unfamiliar environment or major compatibility issues.""

    When non-techies buy a computer they think windows is the only os from what I've seen. When I worked in a school we had a teacher that bought a laptop with ubuntu installed and brought it in and wanted to know why windows software would not work on it. When we tried to explain to him Unbuntu was a different OS and he would need a windows emulator his eyes glazed over, kind of like the deer caught in headlights look, because he had no idea what a OS was and any explanation that it was not windows was lost we didn't even get to explain what a windows emulator was before he completly tuned us out. Turns out he thought Ubuntu was some kind of program that changed what the start menu in windows looks like...

    So lets all remember standard users have issues with understanding directions on opening programs and changing settings in windows. I cannot begin to fathom the mental anguish that would come from trying to explain to a standard user how to install, run, and change settings in linux.

  61. Anonymous Coward

    Yep - you can't even give it away.

    >Netbooks were once a happy hunting ground for Linux, but Microsoft has steadily gained >ground on the open sorcery of that freely available OS ....

    Yet Linux developers trip merrily along blaming consumer ignorance and waiting for a brave new world where users understand their OS and appreciate their hardcore genius......

    Why Microsoft even bothering with this campaign is a mystery, rubbing salt into the wounds I guess...

    To be fair to Asus they've been pushing distro's and stuff like Express Gate for a long time where techier users are targeted - just responding to what most consumers actually do with the netbooks they've bought and the number of failing Xandros boxen that winged their way back for refurbishment.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    It's better without Windows, apparently...

    As seen on a certain rival news site:

  63. daniel

    But, but...

    But "Familiar" Yes because through market domination, anti-competitive practices etc windows is more familiar to a lot of people.

    "Trusted" Even my family who use nothing other than windows don't trust it. Who trusts windows. I don't. Its always going wrong. I've had Ubuntu 8.04 installed on this laptop since the day of release and nothing has gone wrong with it. It is compatible with the laptop's inbuilt wireless card, the on board graphics card, keyboard shortcuts, my printer and my camera.

    Every time I want to add a new device to my windows running computers (which I don't use that much) I need this CD or to download that driver and go through an extremely irritating set up process.

    The reason that microsoft doesn't want linux based operating systems to gain ground in this arena is very simple. People might like them. If people like using them and find out they can use them with their regular computer there would be less demand for windows operating systems for everything. If there were more demand for linux, vendors would sell it to us in the desktop market etc, then games companies etc would cotton onto the trend and hey presto microsoft will suddenly have competitors. The thing about these competitors though is they're offering something for nothing. Its very hard to compete with free, especially if the user finds it works better. Oh and they don't go round with smarmy advertising campaigns.

    I was considering a new eee, but don't want windows, and don't want to pay for it. If I had the option of getting it with out (even if I had to go to all the painstaking trouble of installing an operating system on it myself*) I would. But Asus has lost another sale.

    *Which not being windows, wouldn't be instant, and I would have compatibility issues, obviously. We need windows to protect us from having to use our brains once in a while.

  64. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Paris Hilton


    What a stupid clip. It doesn't even explain what freedom is and if it did, it wouldn't be an advert for Leenux, whatever that is.

    What were the images supposed to represent? OXO? Beef gravy or a laptop for children? And that was the contest winner. Or was that a fake site?

  65. Rich Harding

    @Nick Askew


    "It wouldn't do for us all to be the same" :D

  66. John Bailey
    Thumb Up

    96%? Yeah right..

    The 96% figure is accurate enough I'd guess.. For the sample they used.

    Specifically, American retail bricks and mortar sales. Places where the Linux netbooks were special orders or limited to the bottom spec, and where the sales staff had no idea what they were selling.

    Yet Microsoft feel the need to quote the retail survey in their PR handouts and make ad sites like this, along with financing the (OEM name) recommends Windows (current version).

    Go to a BNP meeting and get their response to immigration, and it doesn't really reflect UK public opinion on immigration does it?

    So much effort for what is frequently quoted as being around 1% of computer users.. Funny that. Kind of like Tesco trying to fight a retail war against Harrods. Funny how the biggest player in the world of operating systems feels the need to keep telling everybody how big they are, and how rubbish the statistically insignificant competition is. Or am I missing something?

  67. Iain Malcolm

    Just recently I plunged into Ubuntu

    on a new laptop - Acer Aspire 6930G, having immediately ditched Windows and installed Ubuntu 9.04. No it wasn't perfect - I've had to mess about with nvidia drivers, sound card drivers and a few other bits to get it going, I still haven't got sound coming out of the hdmi port...., but I've only been messing around part time for a week or so.

    But compared to the months and months of hassle I had when I first tried setting up Windows XP as a media machine - weeks and weeks of waiting and hoping ATI would finally deliver a working driver with the combination of features I wanted all working at once, endless faffing around with sound cards, drivers and DVD players to get decent quality 5.1 sound from DVDs.

    It seems to me that Linux (in its Ubuntu guise at least) is now way better than Windows XP was when it first came out (and that means the whole ecosphere around them as well). I expect it won't take too long for the gap to close further.

    The main problem as I see it at the moment is that many hardware vendors insist on doing their own drivers, but the linux ones lag behind the windows ones, and don't necessarily work that well when they arrive. Those vendors that publish their interface specs and let the open source community join in are seeing much faster and more responsive development cycles.

    I'm certainly looking forward to a Windoze free retirement in a few weeks time when I've handed back my company laptop.

  68. Richard
    Thumb Up

    @ Nick Askew...

    Well said that man!!

  69. Pierre
    Gates Horns

    OK, time for real info (+fanboy nonsense at the end)

    Given that the site is not very clear about ownership, I asked Mr Whois who told me the registrant for the domain name is a Mr Michael Sharp from Kent (Washington, not the real UK one). Mr Search Engine very kindly poited me to this other website:

    It all makes sense now!*

    So it would appear, after all, that this site has nothing to do with MS or Asus but is just a dedicated fanboy's work. Or most likely a roge employee**.

    I don't know What Asus' take will be. After all, they do sell Linux boxes, so they might not be that impressed by MS underhand attempts to ruin that part of the market... which, when you come to think of it, might be the reason why the site avoids carefully any mention of an official endorsement by MS. Fear of the legal spat maybe?

    (now there's someting true in the website: If all you want is play minesweeper and the occasional Yukon, Windows may be enough for you. You should be aware that it makes Yukon and minesweeper very expensive games though)

    *unfortunately, the nutcase at is apparently from Alberta. There goes my funny theory. But let's not let that fact get in the way of a nice story.

    ** could he be _this_ Michael Sharp?

  70. A B

    RE: Amiga x86 erm actually

    "If only they'd ported AmigaOS to X86 hardware... *sigh*"

    There is AROS (Amiga research OS) for x86. Fully working. I haven't tried it yet but the screenshots are nice.

    BTW Argument will be moot when Apple shows people what a Nettop OS should be. No doubt it will be available in Arm or x86 variants as well.

  71. Pierre

    @ Kevin

    "I cannot begin to fathom the mental anguish that would come from trying to explain to a standard user how to install, run, and change settings in linux."

    How is life in 1995?

  72. Anonymous Coward

    Outrage and consternation?

    So let me understand the gist of all these comments. Microsoft is advertising their product and this is some kind of crime? Did everyone expect them to put out something like "Linux is the greatest!"?


  73. Bernie
    Gates Horns


    That site is so naff it actually brought a smile to my face.

    Why are Asus doing this? AFAIK they sell Linux and Windows versions of their netbooks (or used to), so everyone is happy, right? Why do they need to alienate everyone who bought the Linux version?

    If the Linux version wasn't selling well then they could phase it out, sure, but why put up a smarmy website implying it sucks?

    Why not listen to what the users want and tweak their Linux distro accordingly?

    Microsoft must be twisting their arm on this one.

  74. Doug Glass


    As cheesy and pitiful as it is, the "ad" hits on the three things most non geeky users I know have always asked me about. Like it or hate it, this is targeted marketing at it's very best. It nails in simple fluff what Joe average user is looking for.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OK I'll go out on a limb

    I thought the ad video was stunning especially finger-plucked guitar.

    It taps into life rather than technology in it's first appeal (life is better with Windows on your netbook), spans adults to childer (on the other hand it seems to miss out gramps and gran).

    And perhaps that is why linux is so undernourished?

    But there again, I am a recent convert to Mac so what do I know?

  76. Anonymous Coward

    fock em...

    I purchased an ASUS laptop specifically with the intent of formatting over Vista and I'm so glad I did!

  77. Noel Coward


    Sick of hearing people talk about configuration files and difficulty in Linux. It's just not true any more. I do support for both Windows and Linux PCs and I can tell you that the ones that demand the most attention (screaming child kind) are the windows ones by an order of magnitude. The only configuration files I ever touch any more in Linux are for LAMP environments (as is normal and not needed by most) the rest is just easy and works. Oh and Linux has far more backward compatibility with older hardware than Windows that will spit the dummy with a lot of drivers/hardware over a certain age. Once people eventually transfer to and become educated in the use of online applications the platform will cease to be important.

  78. This post has been deleted by its author

  79. Rick Giles

    @Nick Askew

    Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick.

    "Perhaps if it sat still long enough more people would become familiar with Linux..."

    Linux does sit still. If you need to upgrade something, you upgrade it and roll on. Windows in my experience needs to be completely re-installed at least once a year. I have a HP 6910p running XP Pro that was setup in January '08 and because of the nature of my job, I install and uninstall software regularly. The laptop now needs to be reloaded because it takes 10 minutes to get to a usable state (and before the MS fanbois break out with the tweaks and repair tips, I work in desktop support). I have several Slackware and Ubuntu laptops that probably get twice as much installa and unistalls on them and they are my personal machines. Only one of them had to be reloaded and that was because of a hard drive failure.

    "...sooner or later you have to drop into some command prompt to get your work done. Quite often it seems that the commands you then have to type have changed from one installation of Linux to the next."

    The average Linux user as with the average Windows user will 9 times out of 10 not ever see a command prompt let alone know what it is. Your average tech/geek lives in the command prompt because that is where the real power is. And don't kid yourself, even those commands are not consistent between Windoze versions. If a Linux command changes you have the simple command of 'man [COMMAND_NAME]' DOS was never even that helpful.

    "When some people buy a new computer they want it to work just like the last one..."

    Hhhheeellllooooo! Were you off planet when Vista came out? Granted they have the kinks worked out now, but what's this, Windows 7 is on the way and Windows 8 is already in the works.

    Also, even if they get the same OS as they had before, yes it works, but nothing is how they had it tweaked up to.

  80. Mahou Saru

    Give me more money!!!!

    I guess by promoting Windows they are ensuring that the products they sell need to have more memory and CPU to cope :p

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Security fail

    The first thing that struck me is that in the video, there is only one XP account on the machine, which therefore must be the adminstrator account, and it isn't password protected.

  82. Yan-Jie Schnellbach
    Gates Horns long will we have XP?

    How long does MS plan to have XP supported - or even sold? Linux may be better, but XP is at least still acceptable. But once they cut off XP, then we'll only have Win7-cripple edition. Without Linux alternative left. That's what I dread.

    Hence their need to squash Linux with XP (which will at least open more than three programs at once), because with Win 7, the Linux people suddenly get the argument "Hey, we can open 4 programs at a time, even five AND MORE!".

  83. ray hartman

    MA$US website couldn't ....

    El-Reg rants again. Where's that damn finger? Holy cows it couldn't be that ba .... ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  84. dave hands
    IT Angle

    OS Heaven

    That the Corporations behave like this is no surprise. That we allow them to, year on year, is.

  85. David Barrett

    only 96%?

    Everyone I know who has a net book has bought the cheaper linux offering, taken it out of the box and installed windows straight away... It may be that 4% are still sold with linux but I suspect that not all of that 4% end up running linux!

  86. Christopher Martin

    don't care, don't care, don't care

    Ever since I've decided to stop providing free help to Windows users, I've been a much happier person. Use Windows if you like. It's all good as long as I don't have to.

    As for Asus, I'm convinced the whole Xandros thing was Microsoft propaganda - They hated Linux from day 1. If they actually wanted their users to stick with it, they would have shipped their machines with Ubuntu.

    Regardless, anyone who cares about Linux understands that when you buy a laptop, you're buying hardware. My hardware distributor's opinion about operating systems does not mean a goddamn thing.

    I love my eee, and I'd buy another. (unless their lovefest with microsoft makes their machines cost-prohibitive)

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    All I'm saying is, try explaining to your mother how to do a wlan config in a terminal. Linux is still not for everybody, despite Ubuntu's noble efforts. I can't be the only one who is happily running countless Windows programs that I know and love on my little netbook either, surely? If you're treating them as things to surf the internet and type up a report, then you could have saved a few quid and got yourself a PDA with a keyboard. Even my phone does that, and often I find myself not even bothering with the netbook as I can just surf the net on my e51 on the train or whatever.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    And if this doesn't work....

    ....just arrange to have your latest Service Pack fail to install if you have Grub as your main bootloader on a machine that can be dual-booted.

    Vista SP2 runs to the end of the 3rd stage of configuring updates, then suddenly decides it can't see Vista's bootloader and reverts the SP, it takes ages too.

    Now, who could possibly want another OS on their Vista machine?

  89. Volker Hett

    what is a NETbook?

    for me it is a NETwork orientated computer, I use my 901 as a portable Terminal and Thinclient.

    And yes, I'm one of those who bought the XP version because THERE WHERE NO LINUX VERSIONS AVAILABLE ANYWHERE! (sorry for shouting)

    I added the MS Windows XP Home license to the pile of unused MS XP licenses I already have and installed Ubuntu from a USB stick.

    Windows XP Home doesn't cut it for a networked system, far too many shortcomings. No SSH, no NFS, no X11, limited network connections and and and.

    After hunting down all the tools I need the first 4GB SSD is to small to hold all the MS Patches, the virusscaner and my programs, great! What a wonderful system.

    Ubuntu OTOH can do what I need out of the box and installs in a couple of minutes.

    An now the question to those who claim that Windows is sooooo easy.

    Tell me how you install a Windows XP Pro license on your netbook?

    Put the CD in the CD drive and install the S-ATA driver from a floppy?

    Which CD drive and what floppy?

  90. MaxSmart

    Reverse throat shoving

    I think the Linux fans here have to take a deep, cleansing breath. Remember the Wisconsin woman who "had to" drop out of college last year because she bought a Dell with Ubuntu that did not "access the Internet"? Linux is not ready for those people. In some ways, the best thing for Microsoft would be to encourage non-techies to buy Linux netbooks and choke on them.

    As much as I love Linux and as frustrated as I get with M$, it does us no good to complain about MS shoving their goods down the collective throat of the populace, when what we really want is to shove Linux the same way.

    People hate junk mail too, but without that it would cost $5 to mail a letter.

  91. Anonymous Coward

    i have so not read half the replys here but ..

    how the hell are any of you going to be able to explain how to use linux to family freinds co-workers !!

    I'd go nuts !!!

    the only reason we use and recommend windows is because it s Easy ! we are lazy simple as.

    For us computers are intuitive not the rest

    Yeah teach my sister to use script shell !! lol

    AC cause its gonna get abusive

    Ok im gonna get my flak jacket

  92. Pierre

    @ MaxSmart

    "Remember the Wisconsin woman who "had to" drop out of college last year because she bought a Dell with Ubuntu that did not "access the Internet"? Linux is not ready for those people"

    Now tell me how many students fail their deadlines because of "computer crash"... it happens quite often in corporate environments too... we're talking millions of occurences per year here*, not one single event in history. Therefore, Windows is not ready for these users. Might be OK for lazy techies for gaming purpose but that's it.

    "People hate junk mail too, but without that it would cost $5 to mail a letter."

    People hate cod liver oil too, but without that skyscrapers would be orange**

    * Most of them are actually poor cover-up stories, but who would be foolish enough to think that the Wisconsin incident was anything else?

    ** yes, this is a way to say that I failed to parse your last sentence in a way that made sense -let alone relate it to the subject at hand.

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Brian Morrison

    Not on my laptop it didn't. All worked fine.

    Then I had to manually down load the .NET patch to fix the silently installed OneClick extension for FireFox that MS buried in one of the .NET runtime service packs and installed the extension in such a way that it can't be uninstalled without hacking the registry. Now if we want to talk about dodgy MS Practices then that's one we really should be looking at. Anyone who has FF installed and has the .NET packs installed really needs to check their FF add-ons and get the fix to get rid of it.

  94. Andus McCoatover

    Xp licences

    How to get a free legal (I think - IANAL) Windows XP licence?

    Simple. Go to your local recycling centre, find an old PC, and peel the sticker off.

    Wasn't that hard, was it? Done it dozens of times. Just have to lie convincingly if - in the rare occasions it tells you to phone for authentication - but usually it doesn't.

    Nufff said. "I am a fairy. My name is"...oh, shut the fuc*k up, Andus!!!

  95. Don Mitchell

    Linux lost 86% market share?

    Going from 90% market share to 4% in less than a year is pretty stunning. Like hackers have always done, the standard explaination is that ordinary people are just too stupid to use Linux.

    Pfft! Linux appeals to people who believe running Linux makes them "elite" or that they are striking a blow against capitalism. But technologically, Linux is not as sophisticated as Windows, and indeed Linux is largely a mix of the obsolete UNIX operating system with various features from Windows NT or Apple that have been observed to be useful (journaling file system, async I/O, the graphical shell, the device driver interface, etc.).

    Most people do not choose an operating system for political reasons or because they are "true believers" that need to be part of a political mass movement. And thus I believe Linux will always be stuck with a desktop market share of 2% or so.

  96. jim
    Thumb Down

    Linux is nowheresville, baby

    I gave Xandros a shot. No support whatsover from ASUS - you got questions, go to a forum and beg. I really tried to like Linux but it was just w-a-y too much of a hassle. Want to download a new application, install it, maybe put an icon on your desktop? Good luck with that. Nothing but fingers pointed in all directions.

    I got XP and never looked back. What Linux needs is a responsible adult, somewhere, to put together a unified, completely supported OS out of all the fragments of distributions, toolkits, libraries and other open-source wet dreams out there now. And with a unified, discoverable GUI for configuration and maintainance instead of a Black Forest of configuration files.

  97. BristolBachelor Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    unfamiliar environment, major compatibility issues

    Sounds like my new laptop. Came with Vista and office 2007.

    Very unfamiliar, especially Office 2007. Also incompatible; Acrobat keeps crashing and Microsoft's answer is to buy a newer version (The newer version is unfamiliar *and* keeps crashing). Vista is also incompatible with the CAD software I use.

    Now if HP hadn't used weird hardware so I could get drivers for XP or Linux, everything would be fine...

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Charles Manning

    CO2 isn't a poison, you just can't breath it. You can't breath water either.

  99. Paul Greavy

    Asus obviously don't need customers

    Well, that's the last time I buy or recommend asus motherboards. Obviously they are not suitable for Linux.

  100. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Not 96% preferring Windows.

    "I admit it I like Windows There I've said it. And apparently so do 96% of new Netbook owners. Or at least 96% of them prefer Windows to Linux."

    I wouldn't conclude that. See the posts were people have tried to by a Linux model, and find vendors either just don't sell it, or it's permanently out of stock. *I* refuse to buy anything with Windows on it any more, but many will pay the Microsoft tax even though they are just immediately replacing the OS. (Luckily, the state of Iowa here in USA rejected the federal gov'ts weak antitrust settlement against Microsoft, so via a state antitrust settlement I got a $90 refund check from Microsoft to help cover the costs of junk I was forced to buy that I never used.)

    I'm also wondering how realistic that number is -- I heard about Linux having like 50% of the market last year, then Microsoft claiming <5% more recently. From what I read, the <5% figure they came up with was in *brick-and-mortar* stores, which never seem to give much variety; apparently this underestimates the actual percentage of netbook sold with Linux since most are sold online. (I don't know what the real figure is though, I'm sure it's not still 50% since that figure was from before Microsoft started pushing XP for them.)

  101. Maty

    it's a netbook ...

    You don't play major games on it, you use it to keep in touch with things on the move. (I've used mine to have a video conference with a student whilst changing planes at Vancouver airport.) Get an extended battery (or better yet, two) with ten hours of life and you can cross the Atlantic, watch several episodes of your favourite TV show, prepare your emails for sending as soon as you land, read the newspapers you downloaded before you took off, listen to music, and work on a current paper. That's what my Asus 900 netbook does. With linux.

    I do trust MS Windows. When I'm hooking up to foreign hotspots and sharing my connection with dozens of unknown machines, I trust MS to be insecure enough to get my machine hacked an hour after I've left home. How the hell does that 'parent' manage secure his XP box? Working as a tech at a major British university I never managed it to my satisfaction ....

  102. Rick Giles

    @Anonymous Coward Posted Sunday 31st May 2009 10:37

    Why on earth would your mother be messing with wlan in a terminal? What kind of son are you? Get to her house straight away and sort it out.

    All kidding aside, I have yet to see Ubuntu not configure a wireless card. If you are referring to setting up the PC to connect to her home wireless, you still have to do that with Windoze.

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    "As much as I love Linux and as frustrated as I get with M$, it does us no good to complain about MS shoving their goods down the collective throat of the populace, when what we really want is to shove Linux the same way."

    Thanks for that- it's nice to see someone else wondering where all the 'free as in speech' rhetoric goes when people exercise that freedom to choose Windows. The venom, condescension and schadenfreude aimed at Windows does undermine it rather badly, I've always thought.

  104. Jon
    Thumb Down

    Can I get a refund on my Linux ASUS netbook then?

    I want the new Dell one with Ubuntu anyway...

  105. A B
    Gates Halo

    RE: Michael Sharp

    read (M)ichael (S)harp. An alias for Microsoft methinks.

  106. Michael


    ""Talk is cheap.... what asus should do is load any new eeepc's with nvidia /ati hardware, so they can REALLY paint themselves into a corner.. (Proprietary drivers)."

    I'm not sure what point is being made here.."

    Personal Rant .....My desktop is a barebones with an ASUS M3N78-EMH HDMI motherboard +Athlon cpu, my netbook is an Aspire One . Both run the same linux distro (Opensuse 11.1).

    Guess which one has the most problems? And guess which one works perfectly?

    ....and I STILL won't go back to the MS treadmill.

  107. J
    Thumb Down

    Honor and gratitude

    They've heard of it.

    As apparently did many Win-fanboys around here (who wouldn't be enjoying netbooks and cheap Windows if it weren't for Linux).

    Too bad I bought my Eee 1000HE a couple of months ago. Great little machine, too bad it came with XP -- which I shrunk to a little 10GB partition and installed Linux on the rest. So I did count for the "Windows running" statistics, unfortunately. Even worse, I paid money for crap software, when I could just get my crap software for free.

    FWIW to them (nothing), I will not buy Asus again when it's time to replace my mini-laptop. And of course I tell anyone who asks that they should not buy Asus netbooks, they are crap (since they are not competent enough to work with anything but Windows). Just buy anything else. They will buy XP, buy if it depends on me, it won't be running on an Asus. I have plenty of computer illiterate friends who ask me about these things, and they liked to see such a small and cheap machine last time I went home visiting a month ago. Guess which brand will be recommended against next time they ask?

    Will it make a difference? No. But I like revenge and Asus won't be ever seeing my money again if I can help.

  108. Pierre
    Thumb Up

    Don Mitchell

    "technologically, Linux is not as sophisticated as Windows, and indeed Linux is largely a mix of the obsolete UNIX operating system with various features from Windows NT or Apple"

    Hehehe nice try*, but you went way over the edge, it's not credible any more. So I won't bite. I'm sure you'll get plenty of flames anyway. Keep it up. Next stop: the forums at, to tell them how their cars are technologically not as sophisticated as Trabans, and are largely a mix between steam trains and bicycles.

    *Assuming you're just trolling. If not, please commit suicide ASAP.

  109. Martin Usher

    Windows familiarity?

    So I'm forced to use XP every day in a workplace. Under XP I run Eclipse and Eclipse I run a gnu development tools, all running on Cywin. The rest of the applications are the usual Office stuff (BTW -- Office 200x sucks...big time...).

    So who's conning who about usability and compatibility? Most people run a Web browser and a mail program, that's all. The only time Linux has a problem is with wireless and that's getting better (the reason why wireless support sucked was that wireless chipsets were the first parts that had their datasheets sold by the vendors -- you had to stump up $50-100K to get Atheros's information, for example. Slowed down development for years and their initiative to help opensource was really a mechanism to forestall reverse engineering. All behind us now, fortunately.)

  110. mario
    Thumb Up


    way cool. i love it when most of the lusers run windows. it lets me keep my edge at work. a button clicking moron could never figure out why i spend more time relaxing at work and still finish my tasks way ahead of them. and in the current slowdown where all the "i am a geek coz i can use word and click on all these pretty icons" bozos sweat it out, i'm glad i use a no nonsense os that just works and works well.

    linux works, it's secure, stable, fast and efficient.

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    The end of SCC...

    RIP Small CHEAP Computers. Another area of innovation that Microsoft has killed...

  112. truetalk

    A Proper Linux Supplier

    Yes, ditch ASUS products and maybe buy the new DELL Netbook, preinstalled with Ubuntu. Having said that DELL don't seem to preinstall Unbuntu on any of their other machines. Makes no sense to me.

    In fact, why not buy your systems from a company that actually supports linux (and multiple distro's) such as

  113. Whitefort
    Thumb Down

    Reg needs to get the facts straight here?

    "The Asus-hosted site"????

    Here's a quote from the Asus forum:


    umm, its not Asus thats hosting it. I have it as Mike Sharp Consulting.


    Michael Sharp

    Registered through:


    It features an eeepc but it got sfa to do with asus.

  114. Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft ?

    Why is that video relying on Adobe Flash - surely if things are better with Microsoft it should be using Silverlight ?

    MS Works is shite. You can plug a Sony phone into a Linux notebook and it'll read it like a USB memory device. So - MSN Live Messenger is the main reason to get MS Windows rather than Linux. XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, and this is the OS on the Asus product, so it's a bit silly IMHO to promote it.

  115. Frank

    @William Towle re. Re Yes But.....

    Thank you William ! The El Reg hive-mind is better than Wikipedia :)

  116. The BigYin


    I fired up my hacked-to-pieces Ubuntu laptop yesterday after it had been off for nearly months (I don't need a laptop that much). It updated itself (no reboot) and kept on trucking.

    The Windows PC of the other had is doing my nut it. If I have to install the Nvidia drivers one more time I will scream! OK, so that may be Nvidia's fault and not MS's.

    There are things about Linux that drive me to utter distraction. It has taken me months to get to my current level with Linux (still a newb) and that may sound terrible, but consider; if you gave someone a Windows CD and a blank PC - how well would they cope? My guess is no better and maybe even worse.

    Is Linux better than Windows? Depends on you and your needs. It is chuffin' perfect for me on my lappy.

    Is MS crapping its pants about Linux? Looks like it.

    Will these ads backfire? I hope so. People who have never heard of it will think "What the hell is MS banging on about? What is Linux? Why are they crapping their load about it?" and a will look Linux up. Some will then convert. As more people convert, Linux will improve even if all those new users do is complain about how obtuse Samba is (and gods, is it horrible); it will get improved based on that input.

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Least we forget!

    Having a clever marketing website, does not make it true!

  118. alistair millington

    windows isn't better

    I think you have to see the $$$ at the back of this story, and the fact MS have bought into Asus or threatened them as per usual tactics.

    I have a nice asus 1000 40GB SSD, mandriva 2009.1 looks great and works

    When you update it, it doesn't need to reboot.

    I can stick the software where I want on the hard drive and take up as much room as I can.

    To install was easy and took thirty minutes and all drivers were working from the box.

    There has been no issues, one error message which was my fault

    I have it dual booted with Xp, Linux can see and read the XP partition.

    Grub can handle all the partitions and booting process. XP's MBR can't

    Xp only goes where 'it' wants on the smaller partition.

    It can't see or even recognise the larger linux partition.

    Install was twice as long as linux, with more questions than linux

    I had to install the drivers separately.

    There isn't the RAM or the HDD space for Vista so it had to be XP.

    XP has crached twice requiring two complete reinstalls just to get back up and running. I love the BSOD.

    I can't run it on the netbook for all my apps, because of the hit rate on the SSD, so have to shift some onto the SD card.

    XP can't work the new WPA2 wireless security that my netgear router is running, so I have to downgrade to the older version of security or lose the wireless network.

    I have to run regular anti virus and anti spyware just to remain safe. (Hammering my SSD)

    Battery life is shocking, but boot up is about the same as linux.

    I will stick with XP thanks as a secondary boot option. Mandriva are guaranteeing 100% compatilbility for the eee series and they certainly do work straight from the box as a result.

    I am not a linux fanboy, but the major line variants out there (I have ubuntu desktop and mandriva laptop) and the way in which linux just does what you want with error messages that mean something if it does go wrong and more importantly there is forum help out there. Windows forums are good but let down by the software, active sync and exchange being my current argument with M$, Linux are at least brought out for the next release, happily this is a year away, not three years like XP.

    Bad day for Asus, I held them in such high regard.

  119. Dave Bell

    So it's a fake?

    I bought my Eee, with Linux, in a toyshop.


    Wrote a novel. Keyboard isn't so wonderful.

    But Xandros Linux -- not very well supported, After finding the official upgrade for Firefox wrecked a couple of third party programs, and there was no obvious uninstall, I switched to Eeebuntu.

    I can quite believe that Asus are backing away from Linux.

  120. Luke

    Ed machine runner on source forge

    Are you a developer or Linux distribution maker cheesed off with what you see or just a user pissed with always ending up with a bogged down slow single workstation a year after buying you new system preinstalled with Windows.

    What do you really want for christamas a1000 propitiatory gadgets and a spagetty of wires with less functionality due to everyone trying to do every things or do you wanna run everything on any thing at fast direct or emulated if necessary for hardware compatibility issues. Come find Ed machine runner on source forge and Make this lowly Users dream real.

    Not so sure well check out with effort what ED could do just for windows.

    Ed could rip windows straight out of the Real MBR (ohh yes) and Give it it's own direct Hardware accessing machine only limiting Windows and others from the Main system drive or partition for their own good. No more Compatibility Issues affecting windows becuse of some Other Os install and the Ability to make windows fly with Optimisations.

    Ed is Anti discriminatory though If you want your Solaris or Ubuntu to fly too ED is your guy.

    Remember If you help me We can all tell Windows and others that it's ED's Machine not theirs.

    ED stands for Emulation and direct machine runner and is envisioned by yours truly as the ultimate Boot Engine, Fast and furious wishing One day all processors everywhere can just get along for the users sake. Yes Ed is technically not just a way for OS systems to day to do their thing but a trojan horse for the common man giving him the potential to step up a gear with ease into military standard computing and yes If your a gamer who Want the Ultimate Game to run Awesome ED is the way to get their and wondows alone would just strap you and and slow your ass down.

    Help me peps lets let GNU Granddady ED come life so he can see later his grand children.

    Year You did hear me right I want ED Machine runner to Rip Windows Out of the control seat for Windows own good such that Boots are actually faster under ED and Direct hardware speed a reality.

    With support Ed could Kick ass.

    All we need is ED dah dah

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    all those who endlessly drone on and on and on about how bad microsoft is, please remember a couple of things :-

    Fords are involved in more accidents than any other car, are they less safe? NO there are more of the buggers

    as MS is so dominant in the workspace (thats where grownups get money from ) WHY? they must be doing something right or at least done it right in the past.

  122. TimNevins

    OLPC killed the same way

    Anyone remember the One Laptop Per Child initiative to give 3rd World country children access to IT?

    Started out using Linux.

    Then Microsoft stepped in and it was bye bye Linux.

    Read all about it:

  123. SynnerCal

    @Mike Richards

    (Mike moved his Acer Aspire to Windows because the updater on the Linux distro was crap). Yep me too - and I really didn't like the 'drawn with crayon' front end either. The final straw for me with Xandros was that the stupid thing kept trying to install a Huawei 3G update (which I don't have the h/w for) and failing.

    My advice - get windows zapped and bung on a copy of Ubuntu 9.04 UNR. I did that when it went 'gold' and I've never looked back. It's now fast to boot and use, and looks pretty good, (plus I've now got multiple user accounts - one for each of the family). This is what should ship! Heck, it's what I'm using now.

    That said, now back to the main story...

    ASUS & MS - sorry I've got to laugh that instead of comparing Linux and Vista, they have to resort to XP v's Linux. So let me get this straight Mr Ballmer - you want me to choose an OS that you've tried to kill off at least twice, and I'm pretty sure won't be updated after the end of this year? No thanks - I'd rather have something that's maintained. What's wrong with Vista on netbooks - ooh that's just too easy.

    Asus deserve a slap for (a) supporting this, and (b) shipping the EEE with a crap distro to start with.

    On a positive note, I actually quite like the Windows7RC I downloaded - it's actually quite usable. Unlike Vista which, imho, is just a piece of crap - albeit in a prettified package. The only downside of Win7 on netbooks is something I read about a limit of 3 apps (and you're allowed an AV product on top of that). With my little AAO I can run as many as I've got memory for - oh and no AV needed - ha, ha!

    My Linux v's Windows story - I bought a T-Mobile 3G stick the other day. Put it on my WinXP box and did the install and then rebooted. Nope, still not working. Tried a couple of other things - still no joy. Eventually had to Google (borrowing someone else's machine) and discovered that I was supposed to delete one of the devices it just installed and then let it readd it. Wow - that's user friendly (sarcasm).

    On the other hand - got my Ubuntu 9.04 AAO and plugged in the stick. It came up with a little note about detecting a 3G stick and would I like to configure it. Told the s/w I was using T-Mobile and zap, I was connected.

    As they say, YMMV (but note Linux-flamers - no, I did _not_ have to recompile the kernel!)

  124. Chris Blackmore

    Don't care.

    My Asus has its standard Xandros, with a full desktop enabled, SSD instead of hard disk.

    It works marvellously, and I have made Skype video calls from tavernas in Greece to prove it.

    There is no need to change it, so why should I care?

  125. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you want to complain to ASUS

    .... do it here.

  126. Mark Leaver

    that video is so...

    After managing to watch 1/3 of that piece of blatent MS propaganda, I am so glad that my 701 4G is running xandros... What a complete piece of tripe.

    It would appear that ASUS has been tossed a massive slice of cash to push the netbook users onto XP.

  127. Apocalypse Later


    Lots of people ask me for advice about which computer to get, too, but none of them have ever followed it.

  128. Andus McCoatover

    Crapos for craptops?

    <<Simply put, if you want to run linux, why not buy a computer instead.>>

    You simply miss it. A laptot isn't a computer, as a toaster isn't an oven.

    Christ-in-shitty-nappies, I've 5 PC^H^H computers at home. The eeepc JUST BLOODY WORKS. I couldn't give a tinkers cuss what the fuc*k it's based on. Reads my mail, checks my news, Skype OK, I can write the occasional document...If I want more, I fire up one of my other machines.

    When I get home.


    In an hour or two, depending on the leaves on the line/wrong kind of snow/number of dead Brazilian electricians in the carriage.

    Sodding hell, run DOS if you want that "Experience" that MS was talking about so much.

  129. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    User base

    Depends on the user base.

    Any PC I build / use now I will put Linux on. Even my work PC I put vista into the recycle bin and installed Fedora (luckily I have the freedom to do that :) ) I have an Acer Aspire One with the Linpus install, and am happy enough with it.


    My Dad asked me should he get his partner a netbook, I insisted that he got one with XP on.

    Linux just isn't there for beginners.

    For example - In XP, you download a program, you double click it, it launches and installs. Probably actually a bit too easily for these "comet cursor" / "my web search" spyware things. But none the less, it just works.

    In Linux you have to find it, change permissions, then execute it, that's if you're lucky and it's built for your kernel. Otherwise, you have to configure and build it, then you find you are missing dependencies. So you have to try and find the dependencies, and try and install those and so on. Then, it's still not guaranteed to add itself to your applications menu (gnome, KDE etc).

    I do enjoy it, don't mind building my software from source, and the likes of YUM make it easier, Ubuntu seems to be making inroads into the home market, but I wouldn't want a beginner to go through it.

    Linux is a bit like Alfa Romeo, it's what I happily use myself, but wouldn't recommend to family members.

  130. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why does this drag on?

    Everyone knows that any version of an OS produced by Microsoft has been, presently is, and will forever be garbage prone to crashes and viral infection. The unfortunate truth is that as long as major corporations continue to use Microsoft, the end user will be saddled with Microsoft for decades to come. (After getting laid off from SUN back in September, I eventually landed a lower paying recession-era job with AT&T...and yes it's Window's XP all the way...) Did I mention it sucks? If I don't want it crashing during the day when I am working, I make sure I do a full shutdown every night before I leave.)

    And in case you didn't already know the truth, there may be one corporation that is worse than Microsloth, and yes, you guessed it, it's AT&T.

  131. Jason Yau


    Isn't this just a smear campaign by Microsoft?

  132. Nebulo

    Can't help wondering

    whether half Joe Public's problem is that he looks at a word which is obviously "lye-nux" but which its techies insist is "linnux". No such problem with "windows". (Other problems, yes, a thousand times yes, but not pronunciation.)

    Sorry, it's me sinnus trouble making me ... all right, I'm going ...

  133. Pierre

    @ Sir Wiggum

    "In XP, you download a program, you double click it, it launches and installs

    In Linux you have to find it, change permissions, then execute it, that's if you're lucky and it's built for your kernel. Otherwise, you have to configure and build it, then you find you are missing dependencies. So you have to try and find the dependencies, and try and install those and so on."

    You got it all wrong mate. In windows, you have to find the program on the web, pay for it (or find it for free but run a couple anti-malware tests on it), download it, find the downloaded file, click on it, wait til it installs, reboot your computer and if you're lucky it will be compatible with your version of windows and your anti-malware settings. If not you're welcome to enter the Service Pack Spiral of Death (say Hi! to your good buddy WGA), and/or disable your anti-spyware (yeah, great!). Of course, all this means a few reboots along the way. Then, if you're lucky, it might work.

    In Linux, you have to open your package manager and click install. That's it.

  134. Kavoura

    Terrible news for all lovers of freedom

    Asus are behaving very BADLY by ditching the OS that gave them their ability to launch the Eee PC and its initial success. I think the way the Xandros OS is setup needs to be improved, but bullying tactics by Microsoft, convincing Asus that their Linux installs are not working for people, is not the way to go. Microsoft should keep out of the netbook world, just because Vista was crap and no one wanted it, the netbook makers are now putting XP on them, whereas Linux is up to date, great, and if properly designed for the specific netbook, a very good OS.

  135. Anonymous Coward

    F*** Microsoft

    My favourite website (which no longer exists) used to be at a 4 letter word starting with F followed by

    It listed all the various free alternatives to MS crapware, but it seems that MS is trying so hard now to dominate the world completely.

    a new website should be setup along the lines of -- the domain name is there but no site yet.

  136. Pierre
    Black Helicopters

    @ Jason Yau

    "Isn't this just a smear campaign by Microsoft?"

    Not at all. After all, it's not MS fault if open source devs kill their wives, and try to disrupt the economy by forcing an OS that can't connect to the internet on unsuspecting (but otherwise brilliant) customers. By the way, did you notice that the credit crunch shortly followed the rise of FireFox? Coincidence? I don't think so.

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