Windows to Lindows to…Windows!

Mike Langberg, writing in the San Jose Mercury News, says Lindows makes Windows look good. It is an assessment of many things we can do wrong in trying to get people to switch from Windows to Linux. His conclusion:

LindowsOS, at least in its present form, represents false economy. Any money you save buying a LindowsOS computer and downloading Click-N-Run software will be canceled out by the time spent coping with the many missing pieces.

If you want a bargain, consider the offerings from Emachines (, the only major manufacturer currently selling Windows PCs for under $500. The Emachines model 1220, at $399 after a $75 mail-in rebate, offers a 1.2 gigahertz Intel Celeron processor, 128 megabytes of RAM, a 20-gigabyte hard drive and Windows XP Home Edition. After suffering through a period of poor quality and customer service, Emachines has rebounded with decent products and support — undermining the need for LindowsOS.

I haven’t tried LindowsOS, so its hard to comment on it. My belief though is that all these companies are targeting the wrong set of users. Just forget the developed markets (US, Western Europe, Japan). Focus on the next one billion users. They are the ones who are willing to go through some learning (and even some pain) and will be delighted with an 80% solution – one which is cheaper than the alternatives available. It is a much harder set of customers to target, and not that’s not immediately obvious sitting in Silicon Valley. But there is a world of 4 billion people living in countries whose per capita GDP is more than the cost of a PC. They are asking: What can you do for me today?

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.