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[ale] Re: Contents of Ale digest

Message: 4
Date: 16 Jan 2004 12:47:51 -0500
From: Jeff Hubbs <hbbs at comcast.net>
Subject: Re: [ale] Open Source Apps
To: Atlanta Linux Enthusiasts <ale at ale.org>
Message-ID: <1074275270.17086.738.camel at localhost>
Content-Type: text/plain

On Fri, 2004-01-16 at 12:18, Sigmascape1 at cs.com wrote:
> Hi everyone!
> I'd like to get some response from everyone about a subject that I think is very important. Currently, major pc hardware vendors provide the consumer few options outside of Windows. When designing your dream pc on the HP-Compaq store, forget Mandrake Linux 9.2 as an option, you have Windows... Home or Professional. Although that may change in the future, one thing that can change today, if we want it, and that is pushing these manufacturers to offer open source application option to their offerings. Most consumers, when looking for a new pc, have no real option in terms of 'productivity suite' other than either MS Office XYZ or MS Works... expensive or not-so-expensive. How many consumers would like to save any where from $50 to $300 on a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation suite? I think a lot of them, maybe most of them. The problem is that most consumers don't know that there are other options that are literally free. Wouldn't it be cool if we could decide to have, at no cost, OpenOffice.org 1.1 preloaded on a new Sony Vaio?! There are many open source apps available for Windows that these manufacturers could offer, and they could save themselves money and the consumer/business person money. I know I am going to hear about "What about MS going off the deep end?" but that should not be an issue. I believe we need a campaign that pushes for the Dells and HPs of the world to give us choices, not just cheap and expensive, but free and open.
> What do you guys think???
> Thank you,
> Mitch Featherston
> ______________________________________________________________________
Mitch -

I think that as long as MS, unaffected by the antitrust convictions they
were handed, continues its business practices, I think you're going to
continue to see the situation you describe.  

Think of Dell and HP.  They compete relentlessly against each other, yet
both are dependent on the same vendor (MS) for OS and app software. 
Anything either one does that might upset MS - offer Linux or
OpenOffice, for instance - might cause them to suffer; there may well be
contractual terms that the PC vendor was hammered into taking or there
may be intangibles like MS leaving themselves a path by which they can
punish the PC vendor in any number of ways.  Either way, it's an
abuse-laden situation because any punitive measures MS takes, even if
small, will harm the vendor with respect to its competition with other

In other words, suppose (and I don't at all KNOW this is the case, but
here's a possible scenario) that Dell and HP both have identical
contracts with MS (that is almost certainly NOT the case, but I'm just
trying to illustrate) that say that if the vendors offer any GPL
software on their machines as shipped, they have to pay an extra 3% to
MS for Windows licenses. 3% doesn't sound like much, BUT consider that
the vendor, in order to break even, will have to make up that 3%
somewhere else (won't the stockholders demand it?) - ship jobs to India,
use a crappier motherboard, whatever.  The race to the bottom thunders

This is why I advocate getting whole machines from medium-sized to small
local system builders instead of going the Dell/HP route.  They don't
seem to be as beholden to MS, AND, if you ARE going to get it with a
Windows OS, you'll get an actual MS OEM Windows package w/ CD-ROM, not
some stupid "recovery CD" that's shot through with some vendor's
channel-marketing BS (it's bad enough that you'll get MS' BS).  

So, forget the Dell-Packards of the world.  What REALLY needs to happen
is that Free Software needs to land in people's hands.  There need to be
OpenOffice CDs next to AOL CDs at the post office.  I recently GAVE some
friends on the other side of the so-called Digital Divide a junker P/100
with Debian and OpenOffice.  I think that OpenOffice is a more important
wedge to drive between MS and people's money than Linux right now
because nearly everyone with a computer wants to word-process and it
takes some real money to get into ANY kind of MS Word.  Yet, where is
OO's street buzz?  Where are the CDs?  Where are the bumper stickers?

- Jeff


Great, valid point. I, too, want to see OpenOffice discs next to the AOL discs at the Post Office. Also, using smalled hardware vendors is a great idea, but hitting the 'big guys' is critical. I have written Dell, and received a moronic response. In terms of MS lowering the boom on Dell and the like, I see Corel WordPerfect offered by some larger manufacturers, so I still believe it is possible to get these same companies to offer GNU apps. By the way, SuSE and Dell are getting friendly, so who knows!?


Mitch Featherston