Dell makes MSWindows price transparent to consumers

Checking up on how Ballmer’s way out-of-step-with-reality plan to raise the price of netbooks is going, I looked at Dell’s website, to see what a Dell Mini 9 would cost with MSWindows vs how much it would cost with Ubuntu.  This used to be very difficult to do, because Microsoft’s agreements with vendors specifically forbade that kind of transparent pricing.

But Dell surprised me beyond any expectations.

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Dell makes MSWindows price transparent to consumers

What can a 10.8 billion dollar Operating System do?

Here’s the summary of the Top 500 Supercomputers, broken down by Operating system. Linux only has 87.8% of the Top 500 supercomputers.  But it really isn’t fair to compare Windows and Linux, after all, Linux cost 10.8 billion dollars to develop, and Windows development team probably only had a budget of a couple of billion dollars or so. Poor Bill Gates…

Operating system Family Count Share % Rmax Sum (GF) Rpeak Sum (GF) Processor Sum
Linux 439 87.80 % 13341108 20822363 2104191
Windows 5 1.00 % 328114 429555 54144
Unix 23 4.60 % 881289 1198012 85376
BSD Based 1 0.20 % 35860 40960 5120
Mixed 31 6.20 % 2356048 2933610 869676
Mac OS 1 0.20 % 16180 24576 3072
Totals 500 100% 16958600.19 25449076.20 3121579

But what can it do for you?

Well, what do you want it to do?

What can a 10.8 billion dollar Operating System do?

A cool device from H-P

Another device that’s similar to the ASUS eeepc: It’s small, light weight and is available with Linux pre-installed:

HP releases its first Linux-powered laptop
Apr. 09, 2008

At the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit at the University of Texas Supercomputing Center April 8, Hewlett-Packard announced the release of its first Linux-powered computer to be sold in the United States, the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC running Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 Service Pack 1.

HP was expected to offer a Linux desktop, and now it has finally done so. It’s not, however, the Linux desktop that many users expected. Instead of being a general-purpose consumer system or business PC, the Mini-Note is meant for the education market.

Chris Sieger, director of IT Services for Alexandria City Public Schools in Virginia, said in a statement, “HP listened to our needs and now is delivering a product designed by education for education.”

So now Dell and Lenovo are probably the two largest hold-outs from the UMPC market. But, the Dell machine has been leaked, and I doubt Lenovo will hold out for long. Why would they?

And, in a related development, a report that talks about why light devices optimized for Web 2.0 run Linux, not Vista. It seems Microsoft did not anticipate Web 2.0 when they designed Vista:

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A cool device from H-P

Another Tipping Point…

Microsoft, after losing the anti-trust judgment against them in the EU and giving themselves a bloody nose in the process of getting their ‘standard’ OOXML approved, continues to lose ground. Here’s a great question from Heide Rühle, Green Party Member of EU Parliament:

Considering that Microsoft continued to abuse its powerful market position after the Commission’s March 2004 decision requiring it to change its practices, and given the fact that it is already the third time in four years that the Commission had to impose fines or penalty payment for non-compliance with a Commission decision, and bearing in mind that the 17 September 2007 CFI judgment has the force of res judicata, does the Commission consider that Article 93 (b) and (c) of Financial Regulation, read in conjunction with article 45(2) of Directive 2004/18/EC could be applied to Microsoft in this particular case and with regard to any ongoing or future public procurement procedure? If it is the case, could we therefore consider that Microsoft does not fulfill the conditions to participate in such public procurement procedure?

My follow-up question: How long will it take the stock market to realize the significance of this question? It’s not just the question itself that I am referring to here but the context: This question is going to be popular, and that means more bad news for Microsoft earnings.

Another Tipping Point…

Low Standards (RULE or law edition)

Over at TLF I’ve had some exchanges with Braden Cox, an employee of the Association for Competitive Technology, a lobbying/publicity organization funded by Microsoft, who has been defending Microsoft’s actions during the approval of the OOXML standard.

I don’t think Bill is getting his money’s worth as Braden has been reduced to making the all-important distinction between RULES and laws. Why do RULES get ALL CAPS and laws just get lower case…?

Even Andy Updegrove, at his standards blog, has this lawyerly statement that casts doubt on whether RULES (not laws) were violated:
“While engaging in appeals in the case of OOXML may expose the inadequacy of the system to address such concerns, they will not solve them, nor necessarily result in a change of the vote in question, since existing rules may not in fact have been violated.”

Now Andy does call for an overhaul of how ICT standards bodies work (given what he perceives to be their increasing importance in society). That may be the case, and it’s probably worth exploring, but while related it’s a different debate from whether ISO did not follow their own rules, or whether there were OOXML approval “irregularities.”

So RULE BREAKING IS OK while law breaking would be bad, bad bad. In any case, we have to see what comes out after all the exchanges between Microsoft, their consultants and those involved in the standard setting process are subpoenaed to really know whether any laws were broken or if they WERE JUST RULES THAT WERE BROKEN.

In any case, notable is a wonderful speech by Steve Pepper, the widely respected chair of the SC34 mirror committee that reviewed OOXML for Standards Norway, who has brought attention to the fact that after a vote of 21 to 2 against approving OOXML, the Norwegian standards body had gone ahead and voted yes:

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Low Standards (RULE or law edition)

The eeePC is irrelevant…and it can disappear (into my briefcase)

Now there’s so much competition that even if the eeePC were withdrawn, or if Asus lost their lawsuit against IBM, the momentum of this new market segment would continue without it. Let’s all do remember too that it was the OLPC that started it all. A whole new market segment initiated by a not-for-profit. Part of the trend of the expansion of the not for profit sector.

Of course, the incumbents are trying to shut the barn door long after the horse has left. Here’s one Sony exec.:

If [Asus’ Eee PC] starts to do well, we are all in trouble,” Mike Abary, a senior VP with Sony US’ IT products operation, told Cnet. That’s just a race to the bottom… if mainstream buyers buy it then whoa…” (Found here)

“IF???” Yeah, right Mike, so what planet do you live on? The eeePC has sold more than 400,000 units, and it can’t be kept on shelves. So I don’t see any justification for the “if”. No wonder Sony is in the pickle it’s in.

Sounds like a game consolebut not one that Sony makes. Like the wii, the eeePC is priced below the competition, it is cool, and it fits into the man maximum/machine minimum trend that’s been going on for the last few years. The eeePC does this by being small and unobtrusive. I can throw it in my briefcase and hardly even know it’s there. Try that with a laptop. Less is more.

This form factor is also inherently much more sustainable than a large format laptop–it uses less power, less materials and is going to be easier to recycle. Of course, each manufacturer needs to do the right thing and get their components from green suppliers, using lead free circuit boards and batteries that don’t contain mercury. But being green is always easier when you’re not so big.

But, look at all the great competition there is! What a glorious race to the bottom!

(They are in the order of e_f’s perception of coolness…)

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The eeePC is irrelevant…and it can disappear (into my briefcase)

Exactly Right

User, frustrated by the DRM not working on his computer, and the fingerpointing between MS and the studios, describes from his viewpoint the result of the implemented DRM technologies:

The irony in all of this, is that the DRM that Hollywood is so much in love with, is really only harming their paying customers. When you do a DRM reset, it’s not your pirated files that get revoked, it’s the ones that you already paid for that are at risk. I’m not allowed to watch low res Netflix files, even though I have the capability to download high def torrents? How does this even make sense? It’s as if the studios want their digital strategies to fail.

Exactly Right