Many people won’t like this, but the market reception of the Linux version of the Wind has not exactly been stellar, according to Tung. The return rates for the Linux version of the MSI Wind have been four times higher than that of the XP version.
As you can read in the article quoted above, the Linux variant of MSI’s netbook named Wind isn’t doing so well. It turns out that users don’t want to learn a whole new OS, but rather stick to Windows.
The discussion about the reason of this is already heating up. Some say that it is because Linux is just worse than Windows — I definitely don’t agree with this — other say that it’s caused by the way MSI deployed the distribution or by SuSE. Some people are even blaming the news sites for being pro-Microsoft.
The title my main source of IT news, the Dutch Tweakers.net, has chosen a more generalizing title for their article, Netbooks with Linux are 4 times more often returned, since it’s just about MSI’s netbook. However, their article does provide some more information about what MSI wants to do against this.
They’re not very content with SuSE and consider changing the distribution. One suggestion from inside the company is to use Ubuntu with the look and feel of Mac OS X.
I think that this all is caused by people not knowing what they’re buying. Most people go for the cheapest one when the specifications are generally the same and find out after they’ve opened the box that it has a completely different OS, if they even know what an OS is. Explaining the differences between the both versions could help, but when the buyers don’t know much about the system that can be hard to do.
What should be done? Advising the Windows system to computer illiterates because that’s what is mostly used or advise the cheaper and according to my opinion better Linux equivalent, making Linux bigger, which is good for all distributions?
I think that at least the difference between the two OSes should be made more clear on a understandable way in the description, even though not everyone would understand it completely. Next to that the salesmen should also highlight this difference and explain it. However, in my eyes MSI has the largest responsibillity. They have to deliver a good and easy-to-understand system with support that’s easily available. MSI can do this by picking the right software and help a bit if needed. But if there is nothing good to chose from, they’ve got a problem. This is the responsibility of the Linux community. We need to provide something that is suitable for this.
Canonical already made a good start with creating an Ubuntu netbook remix, which looked good in my eyes. I don’t know how the SuSE version at the Wind look like, because I couldn’t find any screenshots and browsing MSI’s website gives the idea a Linux version of the Wind doesn’t exist at all. The “MSI recommends Windows® for everyday computing” sentence everywhere at the website doesn’t give you a better feeling too.
It seems that Linux isn’t really important here, which is a pitty because I think that the area where Linux can show it’s qualities is the netbook class. I hope this will improve in the future, who knows what will happen in the future? The announcement of Microsoft that Windows XP is going to be available for a longer time gives at least some hope, because it proves that Windows Vista isn’t suitable (yet?) for a lot of people who rather want to use legacy software than the newest member of the Windows family.