Blogus Maximus

Rubbing people the wrong way since 1970...

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I'm not the first to blog this, and likely not the last, but here goes: 

WalMart has stopped selling the Linux PCs in their stores, but will continue to sell them online.

Allow me to quote the article:

"This really wasn't what our customers were looking for," said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien.

Well... duh.

No offense to Wal-Mart (although I'm not a fan) but what genius seriously thought this would be a runaway hit?  Sure the price point is acceptable (for a low end machine) at $199, but come on...  the only people I know who would seriously consider buying their PC at Wal-Mart, would NEVER consider using Linux. 

And why should they?  Let's face it, Linux may be a great server, but it pretty much sucks as a home use machine, if you're not a die-hard uber geek. My Linux-Readiness-For-Primetime test involves one simple question:  Would you give it to your grandmother?  If the answer is no (which it always is) then stick it back in the oven for a few more years.

The fact is, this was a machine built for people already enamored with Linux. But come on, those guys aren't likely to buy their machine at Wal-Mart either.

Don't give me the "people will use Linux because it's free" argument either.  Most people who run Windows aren't buying it outright. They're using OEM copies that shipped with their machine and never noticed the price, or they built the machine themselves and picked up a copy online for a fraction of the cost (or they know someone with a Corporate License... hey it happens, don't think it doesn't.)

Lest you think I'm writing this because I'm some Microsoft Fanboy, think again.  I've given Linux a fair shake, on multiple occasions.  About once every 3-4 years, I'll grab the latest version of some distro (I've tried Mandrake, RedHat, Slackware, and one other one I've mercifully forgotten) and install it on a fresh machine.

I try to like Linux, I really do. I even WANT to like Linux. The uber geek in me begs me to try it. I even went to numerous LUG (Linux User Group) meetings, in multiple states, to no avail. By the way, you guys could learn a thing or two from the .NET User Groups... like actually making eye-contact when you speak to people, greeting first-timers, educating newbs without (and this is key) sneering at them, etc...

The article mentions they sold out of all their in-store stock, but one statistic they don't mention is how many returns or complaints they got. We'll probably never know.
posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:26 AM


# re: Surprised? No, not really... 3/11/2008 10:31 AM George Clingerman
I think what these articles are failing to mention is that these weren't just Linux machines. They were running "Lindows" (which I believe has a new name now due to a lawsuit from Microsoft which may have also contributed to this line being discontinued). It's designed to look and feel like Windows so it's not as geek intensive as most versions of Linux.

Most of WalMarts clientele when they went to purchase computers would probably not even notice. The low price would be enough for them.

But I'm sure they DID get a lot of complaints once the people got home and they couldn't get anything to work right with what they thought was a Windows box.

# re: Surprised? No, not really... 3/11/2008 12:13 PM Blogus Maximus
George: If that is correct (which I think it is) then it's even LESS of a surprise, since not even the diehard Linux geeks would touch Lindows or Linspire or whatever the hell he's calling it now.

# re: Surprised? No, not really... 3/14/2008 10:28 AM Blogus Maximus
Justin, I think you nailed it exactly.

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