[kwlug-disc] interesting piece on the power of open source

Lori Paniak ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com
Wed Dec 2 11:56:22 EST 2009

Does the average computer user ever call OEM/Windows for support?  I
thought they just called relative/neighbour/friend tech support.  Yes,
we know who we are. I know it makes me unqualified to know what
"typically" goes on with computer users.

If things get really bad, they call Geek Squad or take the box to the
local computer store, no?

I seem to recall in the mid-late 90s that Dell would preinstall Linux
(RedHat?) if you called them and explicitly asked for it.  That was in
the US.  I guess OEMs have to pay the Windows tax on sold boxes so they
like to cut out the complicated choice issue and only offer/support

I like the OS agnostic DVD idea:  Ship computer + disk/USB key.  Start
the machine and pick your OS from the splash.  Come back in 15 min and
enjoy the system of your choice.

On Wed, 2009-12-02 at 11:39 -0500, Chris Irwin wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 09:20, Kyle Spaans <3lucid at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Say you have an OEM/Hardware Vendor, Dell perhaps, who says "We
> > certify that these distros will boot and run with all necessary hardware
> > working". When they ship you the hardware, instead of installing one
> > of the distros for you, they have a special bootloader pointed at
> > something like http://boot.kernel.org/ (except hosted by themselves).
> > Then you are free to choose the distro of choice, install over the
> > network (the big assumption is that you've got working/"fast" internet),
> > and not need to download and burn ISO images.
> If the vendor were actually interested in providing choice, they could
> just provide a 9GB DVD in the box that could easily have a restorable
> disk image of Ubuntu, Suse and Fedora, plus extras, all on one disc
> with a fancy boot menu. If they put in a little effort, they could
> have the OS restore preserve /home, and you wouldn't lose your data if
> you did an OS restore. I know people that did OS restores because the
> built-in Windows Mail client stopped working, so folks do use this
> feature, even if they immediately phone me because their photos are
> gone.
> Vendors won't do this though. When Joe User phones in because the
> internet isn't working, try asking what distribution they are running?
> Most users think they run currently think they run Windows Office
> Vista XP, try asking them if they have Fedora, Unbuntu, or Susie. They
> would need multiple support flow charts and retraining. Granted, with
> Windows drastically changing between each release, I can't see how
> adding at least one distro would change things too much. I guess this
> is what Dell is going after.

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