This morning we are treated to this news here. Apparently, Asus will soon begin to ship the Asus Eee PC with Windows XP pre-installed. It's going to cost around $100 more than the version running GNU/Linux. This just goes to show the increasing disadvantage that proprietary software vendors are going to face as the hardware cost continues to slide: The price for the software will begin to constitute an unreasonable percentage of the overall purchase price. Free and open source software is therefore inherently more competitive in those markets. That is, if you buy retail.
However, there is an important detail in this story:
The new Eee PC with Windows XP will be available from selected retail outlets as well as aimed at the education market, being made available via special tender for educational institutions.So, hold on a second! A special tender for educational institutions? And this is only for the XP version of the Eee PC, not the GNU/Linux version? I wonder who managed to line up this deal? Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if Microsoft would be the one sponsoring this. Probably giving away the copies of XP more or less for free. If anyone has any information on the details of this, please let me know...
Actually, assuming that Microsoft 'pays' for this special deal makes perfect sense, considering their recent DreamSpark initiative (see my comment about that here). As far as I can see, this is yet another attempt to ensure that students, as young as possible, are being let towards Microsoft products and are prevented to experience any alternatives. And since those closed-source products always hide 'how it works' from students, the only thing the students are left to learn is 'how to use it'. Training students with proprietary software just trains them to be IT users. Click here, click there. It only trains them in a particular vendor's products.
I doubt that the XP-version of the Eee PC will be cheaper than the GNU/Linux version. Schools may choose the XP-version, though, because of familiarity. Educational institutions going along with this are doing their pupils a disservice and are just playing into the hands of the marketing strategies of a semi-monopoly.
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Comment by freitasm, on 28-Mar-2008 11:19
Wait a minute... You wrote "Assuming that Microsoft 'pays'".
Do you have sources confirming this is for the Windows version only? Do you have any fact?
As I posted in the comments in the article, I have contacted ASUS for more information, so it would be just fair to wait before you go around spreading FUD.
Comment by freitasm, on 28-Mar-2008 11:55
I just got a reply from Asus on this:
"New Zealand schools will certainly have a choice between Linux OS and Microsoft OS on Eee PC purchased via special tender.
Both are available and some schools have already implemented the Linux based version.
From our feedback, many schools find it easy to integrate Microsoft OS into their current curriculum and are comfortable with the familiarity, however with the ease of use of the Linux based version, we don’t see any difficulties for students to adapt to the new interface. It's up to the school"
So where is the FUD you are trying to spread now?
Comment by freitasm, on 28-Mar-2008 13:14
The original story was about the release of an Eee PC Windows XP. And how it would be avaialble for education institutions.
Nowhere in the article or original press release there was anything saying that there wasn't the same offer for the Linux version.
Just because there was no mention of Linux you wrote "So, hold on a second! A special tender for educational institutions? And this is only for the XP version of the Eee PC, not the Linux version? I wonder who managed to line up this deal? Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if Microsoft would be the one sponsoring this. Probably giving away the copies of XP more or less for free."
That sencente alone sounds full of prejudice to me...
I am sorry but I think your post was malicious from the start, and without any merit.
Comment by freitasm, on 28-Mar-2008 15:06
The whole article was about the Eee PC with Windows XP. It sure says the Eee PC with Windows XP will be avaialble to schools.
But nowhere it says the Eee PC Linux wouldn't be available - simply because the whole point of the release was the Windows version.
So, if you think someone acted with prejudice towards you, then you feel entitled to do the same?
Comment by Ray B, on 29-Mar-2008 06:16
Actually if you read the Press release that was linked in the post, you will see that they only mention "special tender" for xp, but offer the linux version (with out offering the "special tender").
So I guess foobar wasn't spreading FUD, unlike freitasm.
"The Eee PC with Microsoft Windows XP will be available via special tender for educational institutions, as well as at selected retail outlets including Dick Smith Electronics, Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi from end March 2008 with a recommended retail price of NZ$699 inc GST.
The Eee PC with Linux is also available from selected retail outlets with a recommended retail price of NZ$599 inc GST."
Comment by William, on 29-Mar-2008 11:14
FUD? Sorry freitasm, I think you are misusing this term. FUD tends to be deceitfulness presented as truth or a couple of lies thrown in with some truth to make it palatable.
It would seem to me that foobar was voicing an opinion (not out of place given this a blog), based on an assumption that MS was involved.
Assumptions can be dangerous - fair enough. However, given:
A) The wording of the original article
B) History showing Microsoft's character and propensity to do these things,
I believe foobar's assumption to be a very reasonable one. That we know now that the linux one is available under the same scheme merely points to the fact that author of the original article was a little clumsy with their wording - not that foobar sought to spread FUD.
Comment by Eduardo, on 30-Mar-2008 13:56
Let me bring up another matter. In a few months, Microsoft is going o stop selling XP to OEM's. Is the Eee going to run Vista? And if so, at what cost?
Comment by Patrick Dunford, on 19-Apr-2008 17:49
'Scuse me, what problem is there with proprietary software for schools? None except perhaps cost. Then, costs have to be compared accurately. If we buy these Eees for our school, then we'll choose XP because it runs automatically with our current Windows network for the minimum amount of effort. The hundred dollars is well worthwhile compared to the extra expense of making Linux laptops work in our site.
There is a lot of proprietary software out there in education, most of it is very good and I'm getting quite sick of the ideological rants coming out of segments of the open source community, especially in schools.
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