I’m tired of Windows problems, Macs are too expensive, should I try Lindows?

Patrick Marshall does a Tech Q&A column for The Seattle Times. Here’s his number one question today:

“I read with excitement that Wal-Mart has started to sell PCs with a Linux-based operating system called Lindows. I would do anything to get away from Microsoft Windows, but Apple computers are too expensive. Would you please tell me what Lindows is? Is it only for techies? Can it run all Windows-based software? I bought Windows XP and then my computer went on the fritz. I would like to install my XP software on a new computer, but guess what, I have to buy a new version of XP! That’s what I was told when I called Microsoft! See why I want to switch”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: These Wal-Mart Lindows PCs start at US$258. We don’t see Apple wanting to compete in this space. Ever. Thankfully, Steve Jobs would never permit such lapses in quality and performance in order to reach such lows. Unfortunately, Marshall doesn’t recommend a Mac anyway to this poor questioner, dooming him to a computing experience perhaps as bad or worse than Windows. Instead of saving a couple hundred, if this questioner got himself an eMac… You know the answer. Funny thing is, Marshall answers the question, but seems miffed that someone would consider leaving the ubiquitous OS and subtly tries to bring him back to the reservation with his answer.


  1. Spend $258+ on that bottom-end Lindows crap so you can then pay for the open-source goodies that the real Linux users are using for free? Nein, danke.

    I also have to wonder why it wasn’t mentioned that this kid can go to a burn-in shop and buy a custom built Wintel box loaded with Win2K? No DRM there the last time I checked.

  2. Yes, Apple doesn’t want or need to cater to that portion of the “Wal-Mart” market out there. If $799 is too expensive for a new system and if $599 is too expensive for a factory refurb, then you don’t need to be using a Mac probably anyway. It all goes back to the old saying…”you get what you pay for.” Just like you’ll never see $15,000 new Mercedes models out there, you shouldn’t ever see a new $299 Mac either, that’s just not their market and never will be…thank God.

  3. Money is a peculiar thing. You spend it even when you don’t know you’re spending it.

    I bought my first Mac, way back when. A friend was showing me the Mac Plus. I said it was waaaaay tooo expensive.

    He said, “What’s your time worth?”

    That simple question has been the core of my continuing to use Macs over the years.

    Windows sucks, but Lindows, face it, it’s a cobbled together wannabe, and it’s still on top of LINUX. If someone wants to be burried in that morass on a daily basis, ultimately the “inexpensive” system will wind up costing them far more than an e-Mac would have.

  4. “Lindows can run some Windows software…”?!?!?!

    Lindows can not run ANY WINDOWS software. It’s a different OS. How did this guy get his job? He probably means to say that it can run software that some companies have made for both Windows AND Lindows (which are few at the moment), but he oversimplifies the situation, thereby misleading the readers. Hopefully, many concerned Mac users will flood the Mailbox of this columnist and ask him to offer affordable Mac solutions.

  5. I would prefer that Macs are not looked upon as the Mercedes of the personal computing world. I don’t see any reason why a person of lesser means should be forced to use Lindows or even Windows.

    However, I also hope that Macs don’t end up being the Yugos (read: Gateway, Acer, the list goes on) of the computing world either.

    I would want it to be the Toyota of the computing world, offering something that is solidly built, extremely reliable, and chic for almost every budget. And I’m sure Apple wouldn’t mind if they got Toyota’s marketshare instead of MB’s.

  6. Buying a PC with M$ or Lindows.. sooner you with have to pay for the repairing and fixing….. after all you will end up the sum of the cost (price) as buying a Mac with perfect stability and nice…

    it’s the same thing !!

  7. A friend of mine phoned me a couple of days ago asking what computer to buy. He’d been looking at the bargia bundles advertised in the newspapers (For UK readers, that’s Time, Tiny or whatever).

    Now these bundles, including CD-RW, software, a printer and a scanner, are �700.

    I asked him what it was for. He answered the questions correctly, so I suggested a mac. He wants it for his kids to write up homework on and for doing some surfing (or as he put it, “I want that ‘Ask Jeeves shit'”).

    I double checked that they have a playstation, and that they aren’t expecting to play the latest games on it. He’s basically locking it away unless they have some homework to do.

    I warned him that a lot of people might ridicule him for having a mac, but that seemed like a positive thing to say to him. He’s fully aware that I’m an IT professional (not that that means much) and that the people who would be taking the piss most definitely are not.

    Then he asked about viruses. I explained about the numbers (70,000 windows versus 70 for OS-9 versus 0 for OS-X and that pretty much sealed the deal.

    But I did struggle to find something. Even the eMac seems expensive when you see the numbers from some of the PC builders. I was quite lucky that there was an eMac (700MHz, 40gig, combo, modem, 128MB) on eBay an hour’s drive away and was lucky enough to win it at �555. Turns out he’s not worried about a scanner, so a half decent inkjet is plausible now as well.

    I was a bit concerned that it was a little slow, so I’ve given him 128MB extra from my ageing, soon-to-be-replaced G4 and it seems fine now.

    He gets to have individual accounts for his kids, sans admin priviledges, so they can’t delete each other’s work too.

    I think he should be happy with it. I’m taking it ove later today.

  8. Windows is seens as the low-to-middle income family home with an ax killer inside that kills anybody that comes in.

    Linux is seen as the crack house with really, really nice people who intend to do well, but almost always come off as assholes.

    FreeBSD is the house next to the crack house, but could be next to the Windows house, full of hippies who are always partying hard. They are really nice people when you talk to them, too.

    Mac OS X is the middle-to-high income house that is full of those ex-hippies (yuppies) who still enjoy the occasional party, but would much rather pay money to clean their house after the party is over. Or better yet, have a butler on-hand to do everything for them.

  9. Neil: those pop-up – also mentioned in another MDN article – have nothing to do with surfing. They appear even if you do nothing with your computer. Enough for the PC to be connected.
    Again: nothing to do with surfing or web browsers. It is part of a Windows service that Micros**t intented for a manager to broadcast messages to the user. The trouble is that they are – nothing new – not protected. crackers and advertiser discovered recently that Windows honors requests to pop-up even remotely off the network. This way you get advertisements as soon as you are connected. It is the ultimate *innovation* from being on Windows. LOL.

  10. Hey Neil, the columnist (Patrick Marshall) really blew it when it came to that pop-up question. The reason that the questioner gets pop-ups that cannot be stopped is due to a “feature” (heh) called Windows Messenger that numerous people are exploiting to create pop-up ads. Since Microsoft doesn’t view it as a security risk they’ve left that hole open.

  11. For the rich only?,

    Nope. Apple does offer low cost computers. Many people forget that and the only figure often cited is $3000+. Sure, if you want or need the high end, fully loaded Macs. What Apple does not do is offer a piece of junk for pennies. Of course eveyone would want to buy an iMac G5 with 23 inch display for $300. But that is unrealistic. Often when compared feature for feature, quality for quality, Apple solutions fare well against competitors’.

    The same thing can be said to almost everything. If I offer to build you a house for $30K, would you take it knowing that the quality will suffer and having to agree to a contract never to sue me for any problems? Quality most of the time translate to price, although not the other way around.

    I guess you can say that Apple is for people who cares about quality, be it hardware, software or user experience. That is why Apple will never be a Hugo of the computing world.

    “I would want it to be the Toyota of the computing world, offering something that is solidly built, extremely reliable, and chic for almost every budget. And I’m sure Apple wouldn’t mind if they got Toyota’s marketshare instead of MB’s.”

    This is where car analogy breaks down. People are willing to buy a Toyota even if it is much more expensive than the cars from the junkyard. But with computers, people prefer to buy stuff that comes out the junkyard (read: Micosoft) because it is more popular and perceived to be cheaper. For some reason, many people think computers are high tech and therefore complex and therefore must be hard to use. Conflicts, crashes, etc. are acceptable because of that. If you have none of this, then the computer is not complex and therefore not high tech and therefore a toy. So, for these people, why pay more for a toy? (Notice how many people are afraid operating a car vs. a computer)

  12. Avoid Wal-Mart’s Lindows systems like the PLAGUE. I’ve read reviews. They might be OK for someone who just wants email only… in which case, get an email appliance or WebTV for even cheaper.

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