foobar on computers, software and the rest of the world


Asus Eee PC with XP - special discount for schools?

, posted: 28-Mar-2008 10:43

Update: Thanks to Mauricio for enquiring at Asus about the availability of the educational special tender for the GNU/Linux version of the Eee PC. Apparently, the special tender is also available for the GNU/Linux version, which is great news. The article was phrased in a way that suggested, the tender only applied to the Windows XP version. The point I am making below about the problems of using proprietary software in schools remains valid, however.


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.

Other related posts:
PC World: Move your business to Linux, not Vista
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The great 'Windows collapse' of 2011?








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?


Author's note by foobar, on 28-Mar-2008 12:06

@freitasm: Thank you for following up on this. I was trying to find contact information for Asus, where one could ask these questions, but I guess you had the right contact already.

You wrote:

Do you have sources confirming this is for the Windows version only? Do you have any fact?

I read the original article. I quoted the pertient question in my post. How would you read it? The wording there very clearly seemed to indicate that the special tender was for Windows only.

About spreading FUD: Oh, please! This is FUD? I merely commented on how Microsoft paying for the special discount would not surprise me at all. I guess you would call that an 'opinion', rather than FUD, no? I leave the spreading of FUD to others, who have much more practice at it. I never said: Microsoft does it. I only said that it would fit in well with their strategy. I also commented on how the use of proprietary software in educational institutions is a problem, and I will continue to state that, since it is independent of any special discounts on the Eee PC.

Anyway, maybe you could follow up with your contact at Asus and enquire whether the educational discount is the same for both the XP and the Linux version?


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.


Author's note by foobar, on 28-Mar-2008 14:44

@freitasm: It said in the original article:

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.

How you could NOT interpret this to refer to the XP version only is beyond me. Maybe you are blessed with some special insight? Unfortunately, I am lacking it, I assume. But I cannot for the life of me read this sentence and divine from it somehow that the 'being made available via special tender for educational institutions' does not refer to the thing mentioned at the beginning of that sentence, which is: 'The new Eee PC with Windows XP'. How you can sit there and have the audacity to accuse me of mailiciousness and saying that my post is without merit boggles the mind.

And about my sentence being full or prejudice: You bet it is! Microsoft has done enough to warrant this kind of prejudice and suspicion in the past, with tactics and behaviour that has been well documented.


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?


Author's note by foobar, on 28-Mar-2008 15:13

I wasn't talking about the Linux Eee PC not being available. I was talking about the special discount for schools. That (as far as I know) was first introduced here in this article. In the context of the Windows XP release. I hadn't heard about it before, in the context of the Linux version.

So, why again would I not think that this discount is a special offer for the XP version?


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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New Zealand


  • Who I am: Software developer and consultant.
  • What I do: System level programming, Linux/Unix. C, C++, Java, Python, and a long time ago even Assembler.
  • What I like: I'm a big fan of free and open source software. I'm Windows-free, running Ubuntu on my laptop. To a somewhat lesser degree, I also follow the SaaS industry.
  • Where I have been: Here and there, all over the place.




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