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4 Intriguing Desktop Linux Options Coming Soon to Retail Stores

Windows may still be the default operating system on the vast majority of mainstream PCs thanks to Microsoft's many longstanding OEM partnerships, but that's not to say it hasn't been possible for some time to buy desktop machines with Linux preloaded.

No, indeed! Thanks to vendors such as System76, ZaReason, EmperorLinux and others, Linux fans have long been able to get desktops, laptops, netbooks and more preloaded with a variety of Linux distributions -- and that's not even counting several on-again, off-again efforts by Dell, Wal-Mart and others to sell Linux boxes on their retail shelves.

Over the past few months, however -- coinciding, perhaps, with Windows 8's appearance on the horizon -- there have emerged some very encouraging signs that consumers' Linux-based options are going to be increasing soon.

It looks like Linux is quietly creeping back into the mainstream retail world once again, in fact. Here are a few key intriguing examples.

Chromebook1. Chromebooks at Best Buy

A lot of big news came out of Google's recent I/O developer conference, but certainly one of the most exciting announcements for Linux fans was the fact that Google's Chromebook laptop is now available in Best Buy stores in the United States and at Dixons in the United Kingdom. What's more, an expanded batch of Chromebook models are expected to be available through these retailers in time for the 2012 holiday shopping season. Bottom line: Google's Linux-based ChromeOS will increasingly appear in front of a whole lot of eyeballs that might not have otherwise have seen or considered it. Definitely a “plus one” for Linux, to use Google+ terminology.

2. The New Asus EeePC 1225C 

Asus 1225C

Also in recent weeks we've seen the emergence of the Asus EeePC 1225C, a new member of the Linux-friendly company's netbook line that will come with Ubuntu Linux preloaded. Global availability and pricing aren't yet clear, but it has already popped up in Italy and promises yet another potential alternative for the Windows 8-wary masses.

3. Dell's 'Project Sputnik'

Back in May, meanwhile, we got word of Dell's “Project Sputnik,” through which the company has been working on an Ubuntu-loaded open source laptop aimed at developers.  Based on Dell’s XPS13 ultrabook and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS “Precise Pangolin,” the project just entered beta at the start of this month. No plans have been explicitly revealed for a consumer version, but the project is apparently “rapidly gaining traction” within Dell. It's also hard not to speculate given reports that Canonical expects Ubuntu to be loaded on 5 percent of the PCs that ship around the globe next year.

4. The Diminutive Desktop

Finally, it's also worth noting signs uncovered earlier this year that Google is eyeing the desktop for Linux-based Android. That, of course, would be in addition to all the tiny and inexpensive Linux-powered PCs currently flooding the market, including VIA's $49 APC, the Raspberry Pi, the Cotton Candy, the Mele A1000, the MK802, the Oval Elephant, and more.

The moral of the story, of course, is that there's never been a better time for the Linux desktop to make its mainstream reappearance. Windows 8 has countless business and individual users running scared, and Microsoft just delivered a hearty blow to hardware partners with its Surface plans. Then, too, there's Windows XP's impending end of life in 2014. Now more than ever, PC users need new choices, and that's something Linux always delivers.



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  • Martti Said:

    Hope well get some of these here in Europe. Finland at least is void of any linux computers, apart from android of course. My next 10" netbook will either be one of these or possibly a android tablet with ubuntu on android. Hopefully sometime down the line maybe something from Jolla.

  • Petri Said:

    Example in Joensuu Finland, Petrotek Oy sells Ordi brand laptops with ubuntu preinstalled, also from webshop

  • Chris Said:

    Yes, i am so glad more people are opening their eyes to the open source world!

  • Siddharthx64 Said:

    It is indeed a good time for Linux to start taking the first baby steps towards becoming a mainstream Distro. Its been too long in the shadows. Time to Rise and Shine.

  • Brett Legree Said:

    These are all nice options - I am also very interested in non-Intel/AMD machines, such as the Lemote 8133 laptop, with a quad-core Loongson 3A MIPS64 processor (this seems to be about the best info I can find on it so far and I have spoken with the North American distributor - no word yet on when it will be ready to ship). It will run Linux, of course. Richard Stallman uses an earlier Lemote model, actually.

  • Bruce miller Said:

    Dell computers in China ship with Ubuntu to avoid copywrite conflicts with the U.S.A. i use Ubuntu 12.04 and the associated open source software - excellent! and Free on the net!

  • Marcus Said:

    Every bigger town in Sweden has computer shops selling older pc's with dualboot OS - mainly Windows XP SP3 and Ubuntu. Then there are more and more shops in Sweden and Finland selling lots of Android-tablets. The next stage could be ChromeBooks and i think that one of the reason for likely success will be the name of Chrome and Google. Majority of people knows the name of Google, Microsoft, Facebook but the name "Linux" says nothing to most of folk.

  • Carling Said:

    I have read all this in the passed, Two years ago there was a big report that Best Buys and Office Depot was going to start selling Linux Netbooks, Notebooks and Laptops , It's never came to pass, The excuse given was retailers can't make a profit selling Linux systems with the operating system(s) and software being free, they would lose the sales of all windows software, That's were they make their profits from after sales software, Of course their Geeks department would have to train up on Linux systems as well, For those that know and use Linux know the advantages it has, I found that the American are not interested in learning new things, even if it comes free, I have shown Americans how they can use a CD/DVD, and USB flash drive to boot their systems up with, they are amazed when they see it done, I have given them a copies to play with, when I ask them a couple of days later how they're getting on with Linux, the answer is always the same, "It's not like windows" Over this passed couple of weeks I have been handing out Zorin OS, that mimics all windows desktops and still get the same answers, because the desktop colors are not MS colors that puts them off period, They are uneducated Microsoft zombies

  • Stephen Green Said:

    Wouldn't it be something if, for example, an Android based device big enough came along and put the final nail in Microsoft's coffin. I went over to Linux a long time ago and I firmly believe that Microsoft is doomed.. They are already losing out in the market place by the very competitors they refused to acknowledge. The smart phone and tablets are winners in the new era. Just as Microsoft and their crummy desktops once were..

  • myynti Said:

    Open Source is maybe nice but where all coders get pay? How they live?

  • revdjenk Said:

    @myynti Open source coders get paid in multiple ways: For the recognition, (to put on their resume) Offering programs for free, charging for service or premium version Selling the program itself (not impossible for open source)

  • Frank K Said:

    Linux Mint recently announced that they are teaming with a hardware maker to produce their laptop can find more info at Mint's blog @ their website.

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