Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Revenge For The Netbook

technology

Revenge For The Netbook

Glyn Moody as usual gives the big picture over space and time. M$ fought off the charge of small cheap netbook PCs running GNU/Linux by choking OEMs. Today those same OEMs and a bunch more new OEMs of PCs are shipping */Linux like there’s no tomorrow.

“There are two ironies here. First, that at the heart of Android lies an updated version of exactly the same code that the early netbooks ran; and secondly, the fact that Microsoft’s successful attempts to kill off netbooks running free software probably contributed to Android’s current success in the tablet market.”

see The arrival of tablets – The H Open: News and Features.

Revenge is sweet. We get to enjoy it longer thanks to M$’s bulk and the size and number of its “partners” who are getting a huge “attitude adjustment” in 2013 after Wintel began to crumble in 2012. Intel’s latest report says it all. Unit volumes of desktop PCs are down sharply and notebooks are following.

PC unit volumes were down 4% Q4/Q3 and down 6% from Q4 2011 to Q4 2012. Intel raised prices a bit to compensate but that won’t work for long with ARMed prices being much less. There’s no OEM who will stick with M$ with price increases under these conditions. The obvious advantages of using $free and FREE software are too big to ignore any longer. Expect the OEMs and consumers to work on the retailers too. Retailers often get most of their profit in Q4… They will either drop PCs or switch to smaller cheaper computers at lower prices with FLOSS. It’s about time.

10 Comments

  1. oiaohm

    ram you get it. We have to remain aware of the lockdown evil.

    –Some do, but they allow others to get control of the hardware and use their own signing keys – which voids the warrantee (but that makes a certain amount of sense).–
    Not all devices with Linux kernels allow non maker signed kernels or boot loaders to be installed.

    Reality we have to keep our eye on all parties doing hardware lock downs. Windows RT on ARM, OS/i from Apple and others. Fall into the camp of locked hardware.

  2. oiaohm

    ram Linux only boards is possible to be signed kernels only.

    –If it is really Linux, then it remains arbitrarily programmable. If it is Linux then it is programmable by anyone. Proprietary operating systems are not.–

    Linux kernel is only GPLv2. There is no mandate that I have to allow you as a hardware maker to be able to run a different kernel.

    Linux only motherboards can be a complete ass.

    Arbitrarily programmable Linux kernel does not promise you.

  3. ram

    I don’t see ‘Linux only’ motherboards as being a problem. If it is really Linux, then it remains arbitrarily programmable. If it is Linux then it is programmable by anyone. Proprietary operating systems are not.

  4. George Hostler

    Robert, price is indeed an important factor. It’s why Microsoft needed to kill off the Linux netbooks by extending and selling their Windows XP for something of the order of $13 per license, and re-defining what a netbook was with a power hungry hard disk. I have one of the original offerings, the 4GB SSD 7″ ASUS 701 netbook with Ubuntu. Although now considered outdated, it is nice to tote on trips, small enough to pack in a motorcycle saddle bag or a night bag, read E-mails and browse the ‘net from a motel room or cafe. Even composed documents on it.

    Linux is light enough it that it does its job and that nicely. I can move documents to and fro through the SD card or thumb drive. The batteries last a whole day without charging.

  5. Robert Pogson

    bw wrote, “the evolution of computing from desktop PC to notebook PC to netbook PC to tablets and smart phones is driven by mobility and not by price or OS or anything else.”

    Price is a very important driver. Indeed, the low cost end of mobility is on fire. FLOSS and ARM are more than half the cost advantage at the low end. The high end is important for early adoption but in maturity, the low end is king.

  6. bw

    This seems to miss the real point, which is that the evolution of computing from desktop PC to notebook PC to netbook PC to tablets and smart phones is driven by mobility and not by price or OS or anything else. When netbooks came out years ago, there were few smartphones and no tablets to speak of.

    People want computing on the go and will pay a lot of money to get it, starting with the cost of a 4G data plan. The price of the phone is next to nothing as long as one signs up for two years of service. An iPad is a lot more than nothing, of course, but people buy them who want some more useable real estate to view web sites or app data.

    People who like to fool around with computers like the open source stuff since they can get their hands on it and make changes and such. That is about 0.0001% of the people who just want to get some info or use an app to make an appointment or take/send a picture to a friend.

    If you buy a Samsung phone or a Motorola, you can’t play around with the apps yourself in any easy way it seems to me and the presence or absence of the Apple logo on the tablet or phone is more significant to everyone than anything else today. I think that sales of phone and table cases are greater than sales of apps, a lot of which are free no matter what OS you have.

  7. oiaohm

    ram don’t wish too hard on the x86 front without some care.

    Chrome OS devices that are x86 based have something nasty. There firmware. Please note I call it firmware not BIOS. Is only design to load a Linux kernel. They are not EFI and they are not traditional BIOS and they are not Coreboot.

    So booting and running Windows is out the question on them. There are many motherboards out there that are Linux compadible and certified as such. Problem is now we have a growing group of Linux only motherboards they can be just as big of problem at times as Windows only motherboards.

  8. ram

    Now if only the x86 and AMD64 motherboard manufacturers would get the hint!

    It is not that the chips are all that expensive, it is that there is not alot of competition in the non-Microsoft (i.e. Linux compatible) motherboard market.

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