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Re: OT: Linux on Walmart's systemless computers

On Sunday 14 April 2002 09:19 pm, Hall Stevenson wrote:
> * dman (dman@dman.ddts.net) [020414 21:55]:
> > I kinda hope walmart does well in this venture, just to show the
> > industry that we don't want windows pre-installed. Otherwise the local
> > shop is just as good, if not better.
> You know, that was most people's biggest point when Walmart first
> started doing this !! It's what so many people have been asking for for
> so long... A "Windows-free" computer available from a major retailer.
> And what's it turn into on this list ?? Stupid bickering about the wages
> that people earn building these PCs...

the wages are a whole 'nother issue. the fact is that walmart is able to 
afford taking the chance on offering a system that microschrott can't even 
begin to complain about. though certain aspects of walmart's retail 
philosophy allegedly sucks, at least they hold true to the idea that enhanced 
trade should lead to better deals for the consumer. as long as they market 
the same product in china for the same proportionate dollar value, i've got 
no problem with them. if the median income in the u.s. is indeed $36,000 and 
their pc costs $500, then i hope that they make it available to those who 
make $3600 a year for $50. if that's proveably not the case, get back to me.

the first form of linux i ever dealt with was the umsdos version, and, like a 
whole lot of people on the list, i sucked that sucker on to my system without 
a moment's hesitation. there was nothing about windoze that i couldn't reload 
in the event of it all going wrong. i live, in faith, that, over time, given 
a blank slate system as that offered by walmart, now, those who've ventured 
far enough to own one will also most likely--if in many cases only 
eventually--select the least expensive means of rendering it functional. 
hopefully those pioneers will make it clear to the others that linux means 
more than free, as in beer.

most pc users still don't even know that linux exists, yet most non and new 
users simply want a system that works. back in the dark old days of personal 
pc-dom, there were two choices, mac or what we now have come to regard as 
crap. for the historically conscientious amongst us, we admit that going pc 
entailed a degree of self-determination--in so much as pc's could be cloned, 
thanks to ibm's failure to patent what they had--and it enhanced our street 
credibility if not our wallets as evidence of our near-magical ability to put 
together fuctional sytems that weren't bound to patent considerations--apart 
from the operating system. the problem was that there was--though the magic 
of our ken didn't lose panache by the fact--only one flavor of operating 
system available. we settled for our quick renown and we wondered about the 
magnetism of our screwdrivers, while microdick was all the while in court, 
working strategically on a hegemony, of which we would all learn the effect 
but none, even yet, have developed the sophistication to properly describe. 
remember dr dos, quarterdeck, geoworks. when all of those went to bat against 
microsoft, decisions were returned based on the detrimental cost to business 
of replacing what microdi$ had already achieved as an established base. in 
fact, i believe that the dr dos suit is still ongoing. if anybody knows 
better, please let me know.

in short, whatever walmart is up to, the fact that they don't have to pay off 
to macroshit is probably a considerable factor in the pricing of their 
os-less machines. they are democratising the machine in the fairest possible 
way. in fact, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that this was, in fact, the 
real inspiration for ballmark's tirade about cyber anarchy. after all, what's 
the most likely of all os's to end up on those boxes; and maybe, eventually, 
through that association, we might even convince walmart to be a better class 
of retailer. 

how long have we waited for someone to sell an os-independent machine? it 
seems like a miracle in my life and, as old as i am, i'm not actually a 
relic. how more true is it to free market philosophy that the biggest 
retailer in the world is the first to come up with the goods, to deliver a 
machine that waits on the consumer to make their own choice of operating 
system from all the options available? were i locked in a cellar and beaten 
black and blue for 15 years, i could not deny my belief that the availability 
of cheap os-free machines is the best news i've heard in quite a while.

personally, i'm neither a conservative nor an avid free marketeer, nor a 
libertarian, but i've got to give credit where credit is deserved. the next 
step is to for all of us who really give a shit to ensure that walmart offers 
equivalent proportionate discounts wherever it markets those machines, and, 
more, to encourage walmart to offer those savings to everyone anywhere, all 
over the world.


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