January 18, 2001

Web review: At Linux2Order you can name your price

Author: JT Smith

- by Tina Gasperson -
I thought I was going to have to pay to get something from Linux2Order. And that wouldn't necessarily have been a bad thing, after all, there's nothing wrong with figuring out a way to make money from Open Source software. Since all the analysts don't seem to think it's possible, somebody's got to show them.The problem is that, being a writer, I don't have any money -- especially after I splurged on that TDK CD burner a few months ago -- and I just didn't see how Linux2Order was going to be useful to me. But holy schnikies, it's all free, Mr. Farley.

The premise is simple. You go to Linux2Order.com. You pick out the Linux software you want. You build your own custom CD. And then you download it. Or, if you are CD burner-less and don't have a friend with one, you buy a pre-burned CD and have it shipped, for a small, er, medium fee.

Downloading is, of course, free. Unless you opt to go with something called "priority download," which Linux2Order describes as optimized for various connection speeds, like T1, cable, DSL, or ISDN. Does this mean that if you don't pay the monthly or yearly fee for priority download access, you have to deal with slow downloads? Maybe.

I tried downloading about 1 meg on my cable-connected system and got 30Kbps throughput. Not bad, compared to what you might get on an everyday 56k dialup connection, but definitely not the 200Kbps I'm used to. They must put the free access people on a silk thread's diameter of bandwidth.

The priority download service ranges in price from $2.95 a month for 15Kbps (remember, I got 30Kbps for free), to $5.95 for 60Kbps and $12.95 a month for 200kbs. Wow, that gets pretty pricey. Does Internet access come with that?

The pre-burned CD option costs $4.95 plus shipping, which ranges from a minimum of $4.20 for domestic shipping to $14.20 for overnight delivery.

So stick with the free, if you can, and let the filthy rich support Open Source.

As for software selection, it's pretty good. You get to choose from the full standard range of business apps, graphics, email, ftp, games, and full distributions. It's not anything you can't get from Freshmeat-esque download sites, but it does seem a tad more organized, and it is convenient to have all your file choices bundled to download at one time. You even get an estimated time to download -- is that just to remind us how much better off we'd be signing up for the priority bandwidth service?

Will Linux2Order shame the analysts and make buckets of cash? Only time will tell -- but they won't be getting much money from me. Go check out Linux2Order and form your own opinions. Don't forget to email me with your suggestions for sites that should be spotlighted in our weekly Web site reviews.

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