Looking for a system with XP on it for Christmas? Well… good luck if you go to a retail chain :)
I dropped in at my local Future Shop store today and had a look around at the computers for sale; mostly major OEM PCs, but a few Macs too. All the PCs carried Vista. The salesman was quite adamant that OEMs weren’t allowed to sell XP anymore (this is demonstrably not true; it can still be preloaded until June 30, 2008) but admitted when I asked him if he’s had people inquiring about XP machines that he’s been asked that a LOT. So the demand is there, its just not being filled (in the big chains, anyway).
We got chatting though and I told him a little bit about Ubuntu (and when he seemed interested I gave him a disk ;). I always point out the white text area on the back when handing out Ubuntu disks; its always a WOW moment for someone who’s pretty much only had experience with Windows and other proprietary software:
I find that people who sell computers generally are interested in Ubuntu; they know the hardware and they certainly know the not so nice points about Windows ;) but they don’t know that there are free alternatives out there since they’re not being asked to sell them. A good thing to do when discussing computers is to bring up Dell’s Ubuntu systems, the Eee PC, OLPC and the gPC (as I did when I was at London Drugs) to show that not only are Linux systems being offered for sale, but they’re really not that expensive (especially the $200 gPC! ;). Its kind of a shock to the salespeople when you can show them a retail Linux system for less than half of their lowest end Vista model.
A couple weeks ago I was in a Source by Circuit City store and asked them if they might ever carry a Linux-based computer. He replied in the negative, at which point I mentioned the Linux systems on the market which suddenly surprised him since they actually DO SELL the Eee PC, he just didn’t know that its OS was Linux-based! =D (in fact right now its listed as “the hottest computer for the holiday season” on the main page of their website!)
I weep a little bit that the Eee PC runs a version of Xandros (which it will be remembered, signed a patent deal with M$) as that means I won’t be buying one. Maybe I should contact Asus and see if I can get one sans-OS…
Oh and BTW, I should share my best Ubuntu disk story so far! The other day I took my daughter to visit Santa at the mall to have some holiday photos taken for the grandparents; Santa gave her a little stuffed bear. She gave Santa an Ubuntu disk :-) Merry Christmas Santa!