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04.08.08

From Ballnux-powered Eee to Ballnux-running Eee ‘Killer’ (SUSE at H-P)

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents, SLES/SLED, Xandros at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If not Xandros, then Novell?

Several weeks ago we saw the BrainShare announcement from H-P about preinstallation of Novell’s SLED. This had reporters buzzing for a while and we later mentioned it in more detail here.

H-P did not quite stop there and for quite some time there have been rumours and leaks about H-P’s response to the ASUS Eee PC. One of the key bits in these rumours was the inclusion of GNU/Linux, but the chosen version was unknown — until now.

Sadly enough, despite the company’s history of installing other distributions, it chose SUSE this time around. It’s not OpenSUSE either. It’s the version Microsoft gets paid for. Have a look at this short report from Laptop Magazine.

The HP 2133 Mini-Note PC (starting at $599 for Windows Vista Basic, $499 for SuSE Linux, and $749 as configured) is a bit more expensive and weighs more than the competition, but the system’s unique strengths make it a good investment for students, mobile professionals, and anyone else looking for an affordable, highly portable computer.

There is some more information over at CNET.

Like the three aforementioned machines, the Mini-Note is not aimed at the mass market. It starts on the low end at $499 for the Linux, SSD version, but a fully configured device with Vista can top out at $1,200.

Like in the recent case of SAP (see the post about Intel-SAP-SUSE-Microsoft, aka a "Partners Triangle"), H-P is very close to Microsoft. We last showed this only about a week ago when H-P lobbied for OOXML in France. It is primarily in Microsoft’s best of interests to ensure that its favourite and largest OEMs choose distributions that are financially-tied to Microsoft. But why should customers be careless or naive enough not to see it?

Recall our recent post about what could possibly be described as Dell's "Linux tax". Amid massive layoffs at Dell, one has to wonder about their seemingly rocky relationship with Microsoft, which they try still to sustain, despite vocal disgust and rebellion against Windows Vista.

Given those historical collusion stories, it’s simply hard to get past the idea of secret software patents tax. There are more reports of this kind, one of which we cited here just a couple of days ago. Here is another newer one:

Dell giving the shaft to open source ubuntu customers?

[..]

Seems that with FreeDOS I could get a processor with a (relatively) whopping 4MB L2 cache, 2.33GHz clock speed and 1333 front side bus. I could also get a significantly larger hard disk of 500GB. These improvements would cost a mere $170 extra, not bad.

Now, there were some other differences between the setups so we’re not really comparing apples to apples. For example, the ubuntu PC had an option for a firewire port (IEEE adapter) whereas the FreeDOS option did not. But then, the FreeDOS had an option for a dial-up modem which the ubuntu PC did not have. Other than that the systems were almost identical. They have the same capacity for an nVidia GeForce 8600-DDR3 256MB video card which is respectable for a non-gaming PC and consequently one of the more important factors to consider when using ubuntu since ATI graphics cards are notorious for having problems with ubuntu.

Still, the trend is clear, Dell offers FreeDOS PCs better hardware upgrade options. In the end I opted for the FreeDOS computer simply because it comes with beefier hardware. I can install ubuntu by myself; I actually prefer it that way.

More curious, however, have always been the comparisons between Windows- and Linux-loaded PCs, where the customer gets extra for the Windows bundle and for Linux the customer receives nothing, for no apparent reason. This is definitely something to keep an eye on in case Dell’s involvement in the Novell/Microsoft deal includes payments to Microsoft for Ubuntu Linux (more details in the previous post). Based on something I was told last week in private, some of these suspicions may be justified. But they are just unconfirmed (and ‘unconfirmable’) suspicions.

Steve Ballmer license

Image from Wikimedia

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7 Comments

  1. Leicester Bergroft said,

    April 8, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Gravatar

    Well, SUSE simply IS the best Linux out there, so why should HP not use it? Out of your queer ‘political reasons’? I_don’t_think_so.

  2. Jackal said,

    April 8, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Gravatar

    SUSE is the best Linux out there? Thanks for your opinion, but I disagree. This aside, I don’t care if a distro allowed me to receive oral sex every time I pressed a button, if it had anything to do with Microsoft, I would dump it like a hot potato.

    That Microsoft is allowed to get involved in Linux companies should be a crime. That Microsoft still exists should be a crime, obviously the DOJ needs to be overhauled, but the American people are asleep. Unless something like Katrina happens, most people don’t care, and then when these events happen they see just how broken their government is.

    The camel nose is under the tent, boycott novell is a light house of truth in a dark web of Microsoft owned, sponsored, or paid off media.

  3. Leicester Bergroft said,

    April 8, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Gravatar

    “boycott novell is a light house of truth”

    Now, this is outrageous nonsense.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 8, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Gravatar

    I think I can recognise the full address of ‘Leicester Bergroft”, which I see in the logs (it’s from Germany by the way). There are usually some hecklers when I criticise SUSE (recent ). Long story short, they are here to serve as ‘Novell boosters’… just like in Slashdot and other Web sites. Even TuxMachines has one.

  5. Leicester Bergroft said,

    April 8, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Gravatar

    So everyone who like openSUSE is a paid minion for you? Well, thank you for being so bloody arrogant!

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 8, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Gravatar

    No, but we’ve had troublemakers in the past — people whose only participation here was inflammatory and raised suspicions. In some cases, Novell employees attacked us as well (right here in this site) and so did OpenSUSE developers. There’s reason for suspicion and no verification of identity on the Internet. So please accept many apologies for unfair prejudice.

  7. Like Chester Borg Soft said,

    April 8, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Gravatar

    ““boycott novell is a light house of truth”
    Now, this is outrageous nonsense.”

    Funny how you reply to that statement but ignore the rest about Microsoft. Another shill for the mill!

    Leicester Bergroft, you can kiss my ass!

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