[sf-lug] $199 Linspire Desktop at Sears

Sameer Verma sverma at sfsu.edu
Wed Jan 30 19:20:47 PST 2008

Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Blake Haggerty (Blake.Haggerty at Sapphire.com):
>> I am just wondering if anyone was aware of Sears selling Linux Desktop
>> Machines? Anyone ever used Linspire?
> Few people in the conventional Linux community use Linspire, because
> it's marketed at an entirely different market, and only rarely is 
> even available in slightly crippled editions (e.g., for download)
> without paying for either a shrinkwrapped retail copy or an OEM preload.
> Last time I got ahold of a copy, which I believe was Linspire 5.0 
> (complete with Baby Boomer-focussed advertising campaign calling it 
> "Linspire Five-O").  It was a rather underfeatured KDE-based desktop
> distribution built on Debian, bundled with a number of "value-add"
> proprietary desktop utilities specific to Linspire.
> It seems as if their business model relies mostly on a "razor blade and
> razor" sales model:  They want you to backfill the rather thin supply
> of applications by buying them from the online "Click'n'Run Warehouse"
> e-commerce site.
> (I vaguely recall that almost all such software is also available
> without expense from, e.g., the Debian mirrors.)
Reminds me of what my professor used to say in graduate school. He would
say, and I quote approximately, "If you take away the fence from around
a sheep pen the sheep will still stay in formation". Debian mirrors
aren't going to help the folks who shop at Sears (or Walmart).

> Going by what I remember of it, I think Xandros Desktop OS was, at least
> at that time, by far a more impressive entry in the category of
> "proprietary supersets of Debian aimed at novice desktop computer users
> and trying to look and act as much like MS-Windows as possible".
I've seen their handiwork on the Asus Eee PC. They have worked hard to
make it look like Windows XP. Maybe I'll bring one to the meeting this


Dr. Sameer Verma, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Information Systems
San Francisco State University
San Francisco CA 94132 USA

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