The lack of OEM vendors
Apr 26, 2006
5:38 AM EDT
|...is the OEM's fault because they cannot change their "traditional" (and thereby obsolete) way of thinking.
Here's what a "old-school" (=stone age) OEM thinks how he gets an OS installed onto the computers he sells: 1.) Approach mighty vendor of non-free software, fall to your knees. 2.) Make contract with aforementioned vendor. Think: "Yay, I'll get a huge discount for each license, I'll save $millions$". Get ripped off when contract is up for renewal (but you haven't got any other choice because you're "locked in" now). 3.) Vendor supplies install media, license tags etc., You install software onto computers you sell. 4.) For each vendor of BIOS, gfx chipset, sound card, wifi network card, DVD writer etc., repeat steps 1 to 3 in order to get all the drivers and firmwares together until you have a computer that actually works out of the box. Pay huge amounts of license fees and get ripped of over and over again. Wait for h/w manufacturer to go out of business or simply loose interest and cease drivers support. 5.) Wait for customers to get angry because you cease providing updated drivers and BIOS firmwares 6 months after the "new product line" has been introduced. Rinse, repeat for each "new product line". 6.) Loose out and cease business (hopefully) because your computer's are so Dull (pun intended) that you simply cannot advertise a hot selling point in comparison to the radioshack around the corner.
Here's the "new" (and much cheaper) way: 1.) Download some iso images of any GNU/Linux distro (don't forget the sources, though). Optionally, ask Mark Shuttleworth to create a customised Ubuntu/Kubuntu distro just for your company. 2.) Install GNU/Linux on computers you sell. 3.) Make source code available on your webpage. 4.) Every six months, use new release of chosen GNU/Linux distro to update the default installations, point existing users to newly updated releases of chosen GNU/Linux distro. If few customers are unhappy, point them to other GNU/Linux distros. If many customers are unhappy, change choice of GNU/Linux distro for default installs. Wait a minute, where's the lock-in? 5.) (Except for the sabdfl option) don't pay a single cent to anyone but your few employees that do the default installations for you. Wait a minute, where's the rip-off? 6.) Save $truckloads$ compare to the "old-school way" of OEM-software. Increase your market share because you can sell your computers significantly cheaper than the senile competition.
Linspire is a company for OEMs that want to have a "modern" image but cannot change their ways anyway. They'll sell them Free Software the "old-school" stone-age way. Any really modern and clever OEM will go for the "new" way instead and simply download and use Ubuntu or OpenSUSE or whatever's available. Really big OEM might even be able to create their own distros or to pay big GNU/Linux companies money to get customizations done. I wonder how much money you would have to pay MS in order to get that kind of service.
Conclusion: I don't want Linspire to be installed on the computers WalMart sells. I want Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora Core, CentOS, OpenSUSE or whatever on these computers, but not Linspire nor Mandriva nor Xandros. I want WalMart to realise that it is cheaper for them if they did this by themselves instead of paying Linspire ridiculous sums of money for something they can get for free. I want them to respect my freedom as a consumer and to avoid handcuffing me with non-free software and paying for the "privilege."
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