Is Linux failing the Netbooks?

Is Linux failing the Netbooks?

Several Linux flavors attempted to go mainstream when they were introduced pre-installed into netbooks. It was free, performs well and doesn’t take up a lot of space. It made sense and seemed like a perfect fit. Or not.

As quoted from Engadget, people who bought their netbooks with Linux pre-installed as more likely to return the unit:

MSI’s internal research has found that Linux-infused netbooks are returned four times as often as units with Windows XP.


linux netbookThat’s not twice as often. It’s 4 times. What does it say about Linux?

I’m not sure but I guess it all boils down to familiarity. Netbooks are for mass market and that market is more familiar with Windows XP than any other OS available.

As the Atom processor gets faster with HDD/SSD storage and RAM cheaper, there will be less and less reasons to go with a stripped-down OS.

No wonder XP continues to get a second lease in life.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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17 Responses

  1. Gee Please says:

    I think it’s because of the population of buyers getting to excited by the low price but not getting accustomed to the OS the comes with that price. Adding a XP os would jack up the price a bit and thus they think it’s two different products altogether.

    Btw, just saw a sighting of Abe at Net25 Netbook launch testing out some netbooks. Where was that Yuga?

  2. yuga says:

    Not sure which one (had many instances), but it could be at the Manila Ocean Park with Intel launching the Atom and 5 netbooks on display.

  3. Gee Please says:

    Yup, now I remember with all the Intel branding all around the venue. I hope they interviewed you there for some of your views. I think the netbook market is pretty big now in the Philippines than in other Countries…

  4. herbert says:

    I guess it boils down to functionality and familiarity. People may no longer buy netbooks as their secondary laptop. It might be their first notebook, or even their first computer. If they will install their favorite programs on their first PC, might as well have XP as its OS.

  5. Jay says:

    “To Linux or not to Linux.”

    Even though these “netbooks” are installed with Linux we all knew that right after unboxing an inevitable idea pops on our minds to install a TinyXP or XP Lite on that petty machine.

    The low price is cool. (I wish every single netbook comes with no OS installed but supports a plethora of operating system.) So we can install whatever OS we like. I’m not encouraging piracy here, but get over it.. welcome to the real world Juan dela Cruz.

    Linux is a great OS with a pretty functionalities to offer but nothing works better to what we are accustomed with (Windows XP). (yeah right! I’m using Vista) lOL

  6. Num Lock says:

    The reason why Linux is not a mainstream OS such us Windows is that it is not yet as comfortable to use.

    As Herbert said, familiarity is the primary reason. We use Windows in our office as well as in every internet cafe.

  7. Jay says:

    found this lurking around in, a nice guy offering services of installing a (pirated.. or so?) Windows, OSX, and Ubuntus on EEE, AA1, NEO, BLuE, HP Mini NOtE & WinD~~

    Some reasons why you need to go to XP:

    1. It’s easier to install programs
    2. It’s easier to get help for stuff like how to create shortcuts and what not.
    3. It has YM with Buzz, Avatars and a working webcam!
    4. No need to relearn everything to operate your laptop
    5. Lots of free downloadable software
    6. And of course, games!

  8. Chef says:

    The majority (mostly those those who dont go on yugatech) who buy the netbooks are either newbies or on a budget and probably just want to keep to what they’ve known and love.

    XP on a netbook’s a $30 premium so why even bother with Linux? Why relearn how to ride a bike again?

  9. BrianB says:

    I’d prefer linux on a netbook. With XP, I’d have to buy virus protection ad running virus protection on an atom processor is quite exasperating. Try running it in the background while you’re surfing. With linux there’s FF and Open Office pre-loaded. The unit is good to go.

  10. al says:

    some of these people, considering they went for really cheap netbooks, are just not bent on spending extra for the familiar Windows. even if the upgrade’s cheap enough, they’d think less of the netbook when they get their hands on the linux.

  11. argee says:

    Though there had been great strides in terms of making Linux more appealing to end users, there’s still much to be desired with the “complexity” of using a Linux OS. I for one am no dummy on computers and yet I find myself lost and confused whenever I encounter a hitch on even the “friendliest” of Linux distros. It does only take some patience and knowledge to find your way around the OS but that’s only true if you know your way around computers. This unfortunately is not the demographics of the people buying these cheap internet devices. What’s worse is that Linux does not enjoy the same amount of peer support you can get when you use a Windows OS. Let’s be realistic here, how many of your friends actually know Linux?

  12. DJ says:

    I think the problem here is that people want to use their netbooks as something more than a netbook can and is supposed to do. The Atom, no matter how large the HDD or SSD capacities get, is still that minimal processor designed for basic computing and nothing else. (Not to mention that the cheap SSDs used in netbooks are actually awfully slow.) Linux, similarly, as a netbook OS is perfect. A netbook is a basic connectivity and productivity device, and Linux has everything you need for that. But then, people are not satisfied with that because they then thought that, “Hey, it’s a computer too, why won’t I install all my favorite Windows apps in this thing like I do in my desktop?” After that, they realize it’s not Windows and think that whatever it is is stupid. The problem of familiarity, therefore, comes after the problem of misunderstanding the netbook concept.

  13. Mikey says:

    I have to agree with this report. I recently purchased an Acer Aspire One with a Linpus Linux OS and sadly, I have to return the unit because the OS keeps on turning off my screen. I had XP installed instead but, yeah, the WiFi is working but the indicator light in the Wi-Fi switch is working no more. much for that. At least it’s working.

  14. hukares says:

    @argee: What in the world would that friendliest Linux distro be?

    The only reason that a fraction of fractions of the population knows about Linux is that it is not being taught it schools.

  15. jpzante says:

    hold on everybody, the MSI quote didn’t state the very reason for the linux-based netbook returns. Or the return was caused by linux-causing hardware failures?

  16. Thats a lovely blog post! I am so delighted you thought to share it.

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