07 January 2009

GNU/Linux from...Marks & Spencer

As I've just written on Open Enterprise, the rise of the ultraportable/netbook was one of free software's biggest successes - and surprises - last year. It was particularly important for getting GNU/Linux into the hands of punters, many of whom were quite happy with it, contrary to the conventional wisdom.

Looks like things are going to get even better for free software:

Laptops will soon go on sale in Marks & Spencer and Next for less than £100, in the latest sign that the consumer electronics industry is tackling the recession by selling ever-cheaper products.

Elonex, a small British computer maker, will start selling its ‘net books’ in the two fashion chains from February, in an attempt to win over a new generation of female shoppers to cheap computers.

It promises its machines, which can fit inside a handbag, offer users all that laptop can – internet surfing, emailing, word processing, storing photographs – but on smaller scale. The screens are just 7 inches wide, the keyboard is slightly smaller than a normal laptop keyboard and the memory is limited.

At that price, they must be GNU/Linux. Free software-based systems as an impulse buy in M&S? 2009 is already looking good....

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