Side by Side Comparisons of PCs with and without That Other OS

It’s not often one sees where M$’s OS gets compared side by side on identical hardware on the web but here’s an example:

VN282G-FD30F
Price: $ 299
VN282G-ED30P
Price: $ 349
VN282G-ED30W
Price: $ 399
Free DOS Windows® 7 Home Premium Windows® 7 Professional

In all other respects, these three models of Acer’s Veriton N are identical. The logical conclusion is that other OS costs $50 or $100 depending on the level of lock-in you desire…

Of course some will buy this unit in order to install a retail version of that other OS which costs more than $50 or re-image with a customized version which costs more, but some will buy the FreeDOS version to avoid the “tax” altogether and install GNU/Linux.

Interestingly, in the Philippines you cannot buy the Veriton N with that other OS at all… and in Malaysia, a notebook which comes in two models gives you the choice of better hardware with GNU/Linux or that other OS for the same price…

Yet, here in Canada, retailers refuse to give us side by side comparisons of that other OS and GNU/Linux although they could. Why are we denied the advantages of competition in the marketplace? Wake up Competition Bureau!
“What, generally, were the changes to the Competition Act that arose from the passage of the bill?

Allowing the Competition Tribunal to award administrative monetary penalties against companies who have abused a dominant position in the marketplace.

The changes will modernize the Competition Act and better protect Canadians from the harm caused by anti-competitive acts. Keeping businesses honest cuts costs for everyone in the economy.

Competitive markets provide the greatest opportunities for lower prices, better product quality and business innovation, all of which benefit not only individual Canadians but the economy as a whole.”

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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18 Responses to Side by Side Comparisons of PCs with and without That Other OS

  1. Yonah says:

    “Or, they could just take their newly-bought GNU/Linux PC home and let it run.”

    Indeed they could, but that’s not likely to happen. You can’t seem to fathom the idea someone would see Linux on their desktop or laptop computer and say, “I don’t want this.”

    “I think consumers are smart enough to prefer doing it once only for GNU/Linux.”

    “I don’t know any consumers will want to add huge labours to their purchases just to prop up M$’s monopoly.”

    For better or worse, not everyone thinks like you do, nor does everyone have the same problems with Windows that you had.

    “It is easier for them to use Free Software, a cooperative product of the world. Install it and forget it. No malware, no slowing down, no re-re-reboots.”

    Same old outdated and inflated sales pitch.

    “Why would they do otherwise?”

    Because they don’t want to use the product you’re pushing.

  2. Yonah wrote, “That’s something you can observe first hand if you get out and see more of the world,”

    I have seen the world. I was in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. There were multi-story buildings selling audio cassettes with really bad labels. I can imagine there are places on Earth where such operations have been brought up to date technologically. It still takes time and effort by the consumer to take a PC to such a place and to fix it repeatedly. I think consumers are smart enough to prefer doing it once only for GNU/Linux.

    This brings to mind a purchase I made in Saudi Arabia in those days. I have a few of them still as good as new all these years later… The particular one is a huge/heavy reel-to-reel tape recorder that can hold 2400 foot tapes. I recently dragged it from the last place I lived to here because it was occupying space. I was younger then and hefted it on my shoulder in the shop where I bought it, hiked up an over the pedestrian crossing of a major thoroughfare, got on a bus and brought it to our third-story apartment in Riyadh in the heat. Now it’s all I can do to shift it from one place to another. I guess we will sell it on the web if anyone wants to buy it… I have been out in the world. I don’t know any consumers will want to add huge labours to their purchases just to prop up M$’s monopoly. It is easier for them to use Free Software, a cooperative product of the world. Install it and forget it. No malware, no slowing down, no re-re-reboots. Why would they do otherwise?

  3. Yonah wrote, “They won’t do it themselves. They will pay a PC technician to do that for them. Since the pirated copy of Windows doesn’t cost anything, essentially the customer is only paying for the service.”

    Or, they could just take their newly-bought GNU/Linux PC home and let it run. That sounds easier to me. If it’s a FreeDOS PC, they could pay the installer to install GNU/Linux and get updated software from time to time legally over the network. That’s the same cost and better performance. Either way, the consumer gets more for less with GNU/Linux.

  4. Yonah says:

    “Now we are told that consumers will install that other OS on a PC…”

    They won’t do it themselves. They will pay a PC technician to do that for them. Since the pirated copy of Windows doesn’t cost anything, essentially the customer is only paying for the service.

    That’s something you can observe first hand if you get out and see more of the world, and it’s something you can’t see clearly from “the web”. As someone I though was a scientist at one point in your life, it seems to me you have fallen off the waggon. Your reasoning and research methods are scientifically unsound.

  5. Thorsten Rahn says:

    Rob wants to pull our leg again. And disproves himself without noticing.

    PCs without Windows are available. You just showed it.

    Windows — not a monopoly.

    End of story.

  6. Clarence Moon wrote, “The real reason for merchants to ignore your desires is as you state”

    Nonsense. I have advised many times on shopping for PCs and the retailers do nothing for those I advise either. Schools are not dumpster-diving. They receive donations in bulk from governmental and business organizations “subsidizing” education. The PCs they get are what an individual might find in a dumpster, although in working order and with a supposedly legitimate licence for software. Schools prefer GNU/Linux because of the uptime and performance, but the donors insist on pushing that other OS, refurbishing with XP or whatever. Retailers are only too glad to sell to schools as long as they buy that other OS. The reason I got the contract at Easterville was because those PCs cost much more than a GNU/Linux thin client. We had no problem buying 96 GNU/Linux PCs for that project from an outfit in the USA. We would have been happier to buy from a Canadian supplier.

  7. Clarence Moon wrote, “A large number of these machines are Macintosh, of course, but the remainder are a sizeable number and one can only make the assumption that they are put in use by someone somewhere.”

    MacOS is not “a large number”. It’s modest and Apple published units sold. Read their SEC filings. MacOS in their last 10-K shipped only 16.7 million. Every OEM is shipping a lot of GNU/Linux PCs to large organizations. Dell is selling millions in China and India all by itself. The deficit of M$’s share is enormous compared to those numbers and it’s there quarter after quarter. It’s real.

  8. Clarence Moon says:

    1% of Canadians is 300K people. That’s enough of a market for a small business to expand in

    Well, if you take the general population, then there are a certain percentage of those potential customers who are infants, or toddlers. Or in nursing homes or at a minimum unable to drive to the Linux store. That would cut down on the available market, eh?

    The problem is that retailers are refusing to serve that market in deference to M$.

    A pure figment of your imagination, Mr. Pogson. Total tripe. The real reason for merchants to ignore your desires is as you state: “I can live off what people leave in dumpsters so they will never have us for customers.”

    I have found that all Linux fans that I know are precisely in the same mold as yourself. They are fundamentally hobbyist dweebs who take great pleasure in fiddling around with the hardware pieces and the bits and bytes of the software, too. Interestingly, a significant proportion of them are amateur radio enthusiasts as well. In the local LUG 4 of the 10 regulars are hams.

  9. Clarence Moon wrote of businesses that sell GNU/Linux, “these businesses do not prosper.”

    Yeah, right. ZaReason and others have been in business for how many years and adding staff but they can only sell on the web or in their own stores because retailers won’t sell GNU/Linux. What’s wrong with this picture? Remember ASUS was selling out globally and Walmart was too when they sold GNU/Linux here.

  10. iLia wrote, “It is very difficult to expand when only ~1.5 are ready to use your stuff.”

    Nope. 1% of Canadians is 300K people. That’s enough of a market for a small business to expand in. When the product is out there and people see it, the market will expand just as GNU/Linux on netbooks and Android/Linux on smart thingies. The problem is that retailers are refusing to serve that market in deference to M$.

  11. iLia wrote, “You can buy PC with Linux, with OsX, with Windows. You can buy eComStation OS, you can buy Amiga OS. Plenty of choice.”

    Not where I live. Only on the web. The majority of shopping for PCs by consumers is still in bricks and mortar shops. MacOS is apparently available in my town but only in one shop that I know of. Several places I shop do not have anything but that other OS. There are people like me who install GNU/Linux and keep machines going until they die. I can live off what people leave in dumpsters so they will never have us for customers. I can buy PC parts on the web if I need to fix anything. Most consumers can’t/won’t do that so they are forced to buy M$’s OS. M$ and partners have eliminated any real competition merely by excluding it from the retail shelves.

  12. iLia says:

    Why are we denied the advantages of competition in the marketplace?

    Denied? You can buy PC with Linux, with OsX, with Windows. You can buy eComStation OS, you can buy Amiga OS. Plenty of choice.

  13. iLia says:

    The logical conclusion is that other OS costs $50 or $100 depending on the level of lock-in you desire

    and you call it abusing a dominant position in the marketplace?

    $50? An abuse? No comments!

    The most interesting thing in this abuse is that Microsoft managed to get its dominant position in the marketplace by selling very cheap operating systems and very cheap office and development tools.

    As we all know, DOS became the OS of choice for the Personal Computer. In part, this was due to its significantly lower price when compared to the other operating system choices then available for the PC.

    M$ has “willing” partners in this case because they make money by giving preference to M$.

    Most people who start their own business do it for earning money, if there will be no money there will be no business.

    There are already a few such businesses but their volume is low and they are not expanding.

    It is very difficult to expand when only ~1.5 are ready to use your stuff.

    Why are we denied the advantages of competition in the marketplace?

    and in Malaysia, a notebook which comes in two models gives you the choice of better hardware with GNU/Linux or that other OS for the same price

  14. Clarence Moon says:

    M$ has “willing” partners in this case because they make money by giving preference to M$.</b.

    You find it offensive for a vendor to be swayed into selling what is profitable for them to sell? That is rather radical!

    It’s false. It’s misleading.

    And you know that how? The OEM prints the statement on their advertising. It is true on its face, of course. You want to assign an ulterior motive to the recommendation, but only because your bias is towards another product.

    It is hardly misleading either. No one is so naive that they would not believe that the vendor had a vested interest in making such a recommendation. You are grasping at straws to try to get the government to do what Linux proponents are too lazy or are unmotivated to do for themselves. That is shameful.

    There are already a few such businesses but their volume is low and they are not expanding.

    The logical take-away here is that there is not as much demand as you think and so these businesses do not prosper. I am sure that, if any of them requested pricing for a Windows based PC product to sell from HP or any other OEM, they would be treated on the same basis as any other vendor. In the USA, at least, that is the essence of the Robinson-Patman Act and I would think that Canada would have a similar law on the books.

  15. Clarence Moon wrote, “What anti-competitive act are you suggesting that they treat, Mr. Pogson? As you point out, some companies such as Acer seem to make products that suit your desires, but how can anyone force a merchant to stock them?”

    The Act, itself, is defective in that it defines anti-competitive acts in terms of competitors colluding and does not cover the case where one competitor excludes others from the market. M$ has “willing” partners in this case because they make money by giving preference to M$.

    Another angle worth pursuing is “false or misleading” advertisements. Nearly every OEM puts “X recommends that other OS” in the top right-hand corner of their pages. I am doubtful that is accidental or that every OEM is of the same opinion that other OS is the best. It’s false. It’s misleading. Knowingly so, because M$ pays the OEMs to make that claim.
    “52. (1) No person shall, for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, the supply or use of a product or for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, any business interest, by any means whatever, knowingly or recklessly make a representation to the public that is false or misleading in a material respect.”

    The best way to break the log jam in Canada is to start a business selling PCs with GNU/Linux, the government will not require retailers to make them available. There are already a few such businesses but their volume is low and they are not expanding. They do not have enough shelf-space to make much difference. However, if they are able to sell in their own stores but not in the chain-stores, they would be able to complain about exclusive dealing.

    We used to have similar issues with soda pop. A store would sell one brand and not another. That is rarely an issue now. I can go into some retail stores and find 5 brands all with tons of space. That can change with PC operating systems too.

  16. Of course, it’s easy to write that without showing the statistics…

    Oh, you yourself have used the same statistics time and again, Mr. Pogson. Just to review them, you say there is some 350M PCs produced annually worldwide based on periodically published IDC stats and then you point to press releases from Microsoft that show that only about 250 million Windows 7 licenses are accounted for, which leaves a large gap of machines that do not have a legitimate Windows license associated with them. A large number of these machines are Macintosh, of course, but the remainder are a sizeable number and one can only make the assumption that they are put in use by someone somewhere.

    Web statistics, however, which are the only real direct measure available, continue to show that Linux use is below 1% world-wide. You come up with some tortured reasoning somehow involving Cupertino and other Silicon Valley towns that the statistics are not reliable, but they are the only statistics available and they are relied upon by commercial entities and have been consistently collected for over a decade and show compatible results.

    The simplest answer is that the machines that are accumulating in the world that appear to be running Windows based on the web statistics are running a pirated version of Windows since there are not enough valid licenses issued to cover the actual useage encountered.

    That is a fairly simply explanation as to what is what and does not rely on any exotic explanations as your interpretation does. Ergo it is much more likely to be correct.

  17. Clarence Moon wrote, “Statistics show that almost everyone who buys such a bare bones model ends up putting a pirated copy of Windows on it.”

    Of course, it’s easy to write that without showing the statistics… Your comment assumes that statistical evidence exists. I haven’t seen any on the web. Also, it’s not a bare bones model. It’s a powerful processor with lots of RAM and you can get that other OS “Pro” version on it…

    Repeatedly we have been told that consumers are incapable of installing GNU/Linux on a PC so that won’t happen. Now we are told that consumers will install that other OS on a PC… Contradictory comments coming from the peanut gallery.

  18. Of course some will buy this unit in order to install a retail version of that other OS which costs more than $50 or re-image with a customized version which costs more, but some will buy the FreeDOS version to avoid the “tax” altogether and install GNU/Linux.

    Statistics show that almost everyone who buys such a bare bones model ends up putting a pirated copy of Windows on it.

    Competition Act…

    What anti-competitive act are you suggesting that they treat, Mr. Pogson? As you point out, some companies such as Acer seem to make products that suit your desires, but how can anyone force a merchant to stock them? The merchant has the free choice to sell what they wish in the USA and even in Canada. Perhaps you should take your message to the GUM store commissar and make your case. If you were successful, then you could crow about how the Russians have such freedom to choose!

    In any case, it would seem to me that you have the opportunity to order such a machine from many other sources and it will be delivered right to your door, even from Walmart in Canada. I think that you have seen the result of the lack of promotional efforts by Linux product vendors, due to the lack of profits inherent in marketing a free item, and now wish to have some government agency force Linux upon a non-caring populace.

    “It is for their own good!” you seem to say. “If they are too stupid to choose on their own, I will choose for them!”

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