Blog Post

Wal-Mart to sell $200 Linux PC

You heard that right, $200 for a PC running a variant of Ubuntu called gOS. I just read this in the Chicago Tribune a little while ago, and then proceeded to the website to read THIS.

The variant of Linux on the gPC is called gOS and is derived from the popular Ubuntu variant. It’s heavily oriented toward Google’s Web sites and online applications, like YouTube, Gmail and the company’s word processing program, all of which can be used only when the computer is connected to a broadband line. The PC comes with a dialup modem, but gOS doesn’t support it. So most users likely will get online other ways.

DOH! What, comes with a modem but it doesn’t work. -1 Linux to a new user because of this.

“We feel the timing is right for open source because of that,” said gOS founder David Liu. The company has fewer than 10 people on it staff but gets help from volunteers in the Linux community.

DOH! Fewer than 10 people, there goes support. -1 Linux to a new user because of this.

Whether value-minded shoppers who would be enticed by a $199 PC will also be interested in making the jump to Linux remains to be seen. The operating system isn’t known for ease of use and mainly attracts the tech-savvy.

DOH! Isn’t known for ease of use? Mainly attracts the tech-savvy? All I have to say is read the forums! Look at IRC! Look at my brother! Look at my mom! No tech-savvy’ness there! -1 Linux to a new user, only if they read the Trib, which just happens to be the 2nd or 3rd largest paper in the US.

Well, I spoke with a friend who works with the higher ups at Wal-Mart, and he told me the original plan was to go with Ubuntu (about 6 months ago he told me about this), and I had heard other rumors that backed this up. Then I read today that it is a variant of Ubuntu called gOS. Anyone remember Lindows? Ya, that tanked at Wal-Mart, and now they are coming back with Linux on an Everex PC. Only 600 stores, so maybe it won’t tank as hard, or possibly as quick as Lindows did at Wal-Mart. Although, I will say that Lindows did sell quite a bit at Wal-Mart when they were around back in like 2001/2002. I don’t see this taking off. And if it were to take off, say goodbye to gOS. Less than 10 people, jeesh. Wal-Mart will eat you alive, that is what they are good at! You show the tad bit of weakness and kiss your arse goodbye.

Well, seeing as the gOS, is the greener OS, or this system or whatever is greener, now Wal-Mart can get the EPA off of their back. “Hey! We have green PCs, never mind the busted bags of fertilizer outside that are seeping into the water sources, WE HAVE GREEN PCs DAMNIT!”

OK, I see nothing but bad, bad, and more bad with this. Does anyone see opposite? I wish gOS the best and hopefully Wal-Mart will spare a few lives in the end πŸ™‚

Kevin Carmony! This is for you, I know you are sneaking around these waters. I would definitely love to get your input on this. You were with Lindows/Linspire for the Wal-Mart days. I would love to know if the experience was good for you and the group back then? I know the reason behind the tanking wasn’t Lindows/Linspires fault, I believe that whole Microsoft suit killed it with Wal-Mart, if I remember correctly. Don’t feel like researching it. How do you think this current deal will go? Will it take off, or will it just sit on the launch pad smoking?

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  • If anyone finds information, like a website to gOS, before I do, can you please post it here? I cannot find any information whatsoever on this Linux distro. All I find when I research it, is the same thing that the Tribune reported, and that is Wal-Mart will be selling it. Scary!

  • scosmo451

    http://www.thinkgos.com/

    Site says it’s opening 9am Nov. 1

  • I seen that link too, but didn’t think that was it, and skipped right by it. Thanks for that. It doesn’t look all that flattering to me. I will have to see if the local Wal-Marts carry them, even though I can’t stand Wal-Mart.

  • oldmanstan

    i dont get it, why are they trumpeting the “built around google apps” thing, makes so sense. probably the same people who swore up and down we’d all be using “net appliances” by now… *sigh*

    in a related matter, why’d they drop well-supported ubuntu for “ten people!” gOS? it’s not like there’s a cost difference, it’s free vs. free…

  • Bill Barter

    I think this could be the time for this type of PC to take off (if they do it right). When the OS is about 30% of the price of the PC ($287 quote for similar system loaded with Vista), this could drive a lot of people to buy this type of computer. People may laugh, but the Google Apps focus might be a strong selling point (again if they do it right). With reliable, always-on broadband as the norm, I would gladly use something like Google Apps exclusively. I am curious to see more of this system to see if Walmart learned anything from Linspire’s relative failures.

  • I love getting a look at almost-open website! if you google ‘site:thinkgos.com’ you can see someone (medianet) setting-up the apache setup, mod_php, mod_perl,mod_python, and plesk. Wait a day or two and may be something more will appear.
    -K

  • Bill

    It’s a good thing: would M$ dare sue WalMart for patent infringement?

  • It will be interesting no doubt, I just fear that this gOS is not doing it right. 10 people and a community? I can’t see their community being all that large unless I am totally missing something? How does a distro get created so quietly around here? A Microsoft vs. Wal-Mart Battle Royal is exactly what we need πŸ™‚ I know that a lot of government agencies despise both of their business practices, so if it were to go down, the winner would be the one who contributes the most campaign money, and if the past is any indicator, than MS would win that battle, even if Wal-Mart is responsible for a lot of GDP, which is sad.

  • Heard at http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r19359361-WalMart-selling-199-Linux-PC-wo-monitor
    “They are recommending only developers download the OS, as it is still under development.

    So, they are putting an OS that is still in testing phase on shelves in the largest department store chain. This is worse than the Lindows/Linspire push. At lease Lindows/Linspire was in a better position than this.”

    At the website http://thinkgos.com/downloads.html:
    “We encourage everyone to try a product that we’ve optimized the gOS for. At the moment, we are encouraging only developers to download the gOS as we are still in development stage.”

    OTOH, this may be a good time for the FOSS community to jump in and give them a hand to show Wal-Mart the potential they can reach when they have help from the community.

  • troll

    Modem? Where I live they are actually not selling land line phones anymore and they are actually shutting down those services.. 3G is killing them very fast. Even the thought of having to use a modem *shudder* I’d kill myself

  • Wal-Mart was always a great partner and supporter of the Linspire Linux pre-installed PCs. The MS suit didn’t play a role in our relationship with Wal-Mart, which lasted for several years. I think Wal-Mart was always quite happy with the Linux PCs they sold. They must have been, because now they are actually putting them IN the stores. The Linspire PCs were only sold by Wal-Mart via their online store. The fact they are now selling a Ubuntu-based Linux PC IN the stores is wonderful! I actually think they will sell a lot of these. The key is that they MESSAGE things properly and what these low-cost machines are capable of. For basic computing, they’ll be a great value.

    Kevin Carmony
    http://www.kevincarmony.com

  • @ Kevin: Rock on! Thanks for the response. I am a business person myself, in the process of finishing my MBA, at my 2nd university now, Kellogg just got to expensive, and UIC is free since I was in the military. The one funny thing that I find, no matter which campus I am at, is the pure hatred of Wal-Mart most due to their business practices, which have been coming to the light quite a bit lately. Even HBO has a new show all about Wal-Mart, and CNBC had a great show last year, or the year before about Wal-Mart. See, with Lindows and Linspire, you obviously had a corporate backing, and not 10 people and a small unheard of, and unseen community, as gOS has. gOS is only based on Ubuntu, so unless gOS is the greatest thing since sliced bread, I don’t see it bringing Ubuntu nor Linux to the light, unlike the Dell deal did obviously. I will watch this adventure no doubt, but this will have to be a “seeing is believing” on my part for success.

    Also, this PC they are selling for $200 isn’t even middle of the barrel either. Our local Fry’s Electronics here in Chicago used to sell the Linspire PCs that were very stout compared to these Wal-Mart PCs, and the price, was actually on average, $50 to $75 cheaper. I bought 2 of the Linspire machines from them, however Linspire didn’t stay πŸ™‚ I paid $125 for each PC, and the specs were AMD Semprons 2800+, 512MB of ram, 120GB hard drives, and on one occasion, the monitor was included in the $125 price tag. One box served great for a x-mas present running Edubuntu, and the other has served its purpose as my IMAP server.

    @troll: believe it or not, I still run into people here that use dial-up, and a majority of the people who would purchase this computer from Wal-Mart, will undoubtedly be unable to afford broadband, especially since a lot of place in the US is locked down by high charging corporations.

    On another note, I am downloading gOS and will see what it is about. The image on their website makes it look pretty, so we shall see. I was looking through their tracker and what not, and as it stands, they don’t look ready to me. In order to succeed in Wal-Mart, you know you have to be able to push and support product, and a lot of it. It will be interesting to say the least. I will keep an open mind and try and follow this. Funny thing, as I was writing this, I heard them talking about gOS, Ubuntu, Linux, and Wal-Mart on our local news. So if one thing positive does come out, we are getting some killer “free advertisement” right now.

  • ryan

    “An alternative OS with for the masses.” πŸ˜‰

  • @Maxo: Canonical or Google? Who is behind this? There has to be someone, because there is no way that 10 people and a community can make this happen. I would love to say Google because of the “g”, which is supposed to stand for “green.” I thought Foresight and openSUSE had green covered πŸ™‚

    I wouldn’t mind helping, but unfortunately they have way to much non-free stuff for my liking. Ya, I am one of those :p

  • @nixternal: I’m curious if they talked to Canonical for help building their derivitive. I would think if I was in a major business like Wal-Mart looking to take on a project like this, even as an experiment, I would be contacting Canonical for some input. I’m wondering if Mark is at liberty to talk about that.

    Oh, and does your blog have to show the world my shame of having to use IE6 on XP at work? πŸ˜‰

  • @Maxo: If Mark knows something, then I would say he is probably not at liberty at this time.

    Don’t feel bad, at least it is IE 6 on XP and not IE 7 on Vista πŸ™‚

  • scosmo451

    I’ve downloaded and looked at gOS and it looks good for something that the masses will use. Easy navigation – easier than Ubuntu, even. Seems well-laid out for its intended purpose. I could see my wife actually being able to use it. Of course, her tech support would be on the other side of the room.

    Ahh, my shame that is Vista, but at least not IE7. I just happened to be booted to Vista (it’s shiny) and visited here and bookmarked and couldn’t find my way back with any other OS (I’m not that shiny).

    Booting XP, Vista, Mandriva, DSL and running gOS in VM. OS whore.

  • @scosmos451: ya, I downloaded it all day long yesterday πŸ™‚ I am 50/50 on it right now, but of course they are still working the development. I have to admit it is very responsive, but I did notice a few crashes on things, and installing extra software isn’t well documented. I need to set it back up and really dig into it. Do you know if they have /usr/share/doc/ with Ubuntu docs or not?

    hahaha, OS whore! I mainly run Kubuntu, but I do have Vista on my other box for when I attempt to play some game, notice the word attempt. Everytime I play I get anhilated. I only paid $25 for it through school, the full blown edition that loves hogging up my resources. I went up to the Wal-Mart by my house today while I was out, and asked them when they would be getting this new computer, and they said the local stores aren’t provisioned to carry them or any other computers at this time. Which I found odd. Our Wal-Mart has totally nixed 99.9% of their computer stuff. You can get a cheap mouse, keyboard, speakers, some screen filters, compressed air, printer and usb cable, and mouse pads.

  • scosmo451

    I find it intersting tht when you boot up gOS, you get a background the same color as Ubuntu for a little bit. Hadn’t even thought about whether it would share files since I don’t have any other flavor of Ubuntu installed. Wonder if running gOS and Ubuntu under VMware would let them interact normally? Still new to playing around with virtualization and Linux for that matter. Nothing like 20 years of Windoze…

    Our Wal-Marts here in Springfield, MO carry a lot of computer stuff and computers. Haven’t been to one lately to ask about this PC. They carry a lot of HP and Linksys especially.

  • Tarkan

    Why doesn’t gOS mirrored, I cannot download it.

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