[conspire] No more GNU HP Minis

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Nov 3 16:27:16 PST 2009

Quoting Ruben Safir (ruben at mrbrklyn.com):

> On a Laptop it is a really big advantage, especially when depending on 
> WiFi drivers.  If the machine comes preinstalled with GNU/Linux then at
> least you know two things...
> A) - I'm not paying a darn MS tax
> B) - All the hardware works with Linux.

On a laptop, I put a great deal more evidence on selected write-ups
reached via e.g., Tuxmobil and linux-laptop.net than I do on the alleged
existence of a manufacturer preload.  For one thing, experience suggests
that said manufacturers' notion of "works with Linux" strongly tends to 
revolve around buggy, fragile proprietary drivers that (in many cases) 
will work only with ancient kernels.

That syndrome regarding cruddy proprietary drivers for (often) abysmal
WiFi chipsets (e.g., Broadcom) should be familiar:  It's (almost) the
exact same idiocy as we saw occur in the 1990s happened with winmodems, 
recycled for the new decade.

In the 1990s, the smart thing to do was either plan to pull out and
discard (or sell) the El Cruddo winmodem, or buy your machine with _no_ 
modem and retrofit a good one.  In the 2000s, the smart thing to do is
either to plan to pull out and discard the El Cruddo WiFi miniPCI card 
(and favour models that confine the junk to such cards) or plan to buy
your machine with _no_ WiFi card and retrofit a good one.

When you buy bundles with manufacturer preloads and proprietary code the
preload relies on, you are reinforcing said manufacturer behaviour.
This you should not do.  Moreover, you really don't know very well
_what_ else is and isn't in that preload, but you do know that
manufacturers tend to screw around with the contents of preloads, to
their benefit and that of their business partners, and not to yours.

Loading the _real_ Linux distro of your choice eliminates those

Moreover, manufacturers often charge a _premium_ for their suspect Linux
preloads, over the bundle with the proprietary OS (that, as Don points
out, can be split off and re-sold).  Paying extra is saying "Yes, I'm a
sucker; please deprive me of money."

> For the first time in a decade I just shelled out a MS tax for a
> computer and it really ticks me off.  Also, after 2 years of things
> really looking up on the consumer end for GNU systems, we're back to
> square one, or so it seems.

Ruben, have you ever even bothered to understand how Microsoft Corp's
co-op marketing deals with the OEMs work?

Dude, stop railing at how the market happens to be set up, and deal with
the realities.

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