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Old 06-30-2009, 12:41 PM   #1
iamback
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Default It's better with Windows? Here's why *not*!

Today I wrote an Open letter to Asus on my blog. Comments are welcome, spam is not.

All new Asus models are announced with Windows only, and there's a campaign site (seemingly) by Asus claiming "It's better with Windows - here's why". "Seemingly" because while the movie portrays only Asus netbooks, the domain is actually owned by a small marketing firm (see the footnote on my blogpost for details); but then campaign sites (and email servers) set up by a marketing firm quite often are at domains owned by the marketing firm, not their client.

I posted links on identi.ca, two forums (one for Asus customers, one independent one by Eee Users), sent a mail to the owner of the marketing firm, and sent an email to the two contact addresses I was able to find on Asus sites (one of which didn't work!).

But regardless of who "owns" that campaign site, I stand by what I wrote: the claims there are simply FUD, and some of the presumed problems like "unfamiliarity" are Asus' own fault by putting clunky Xandros on the Linux netbooks, which is hard to configure and definitely unfamiliar to Linux, Windows and OS X users -- even though it's actually pretty easy to use (but that is another thing altogether).

Meanwhile, I'm considering which distro to put on my netbook now that I'm back... plenty of choice!

   
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:02 AM   #2
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Hi Marjolein, been a while since I have been around here but thanks to Kelvyn I am kept in the loop sort of

ASUS had a huge success with the original EEE 700 netbook, in fact it led to the naming of the new genre even though some others had played in the field before ASUS. They did this on the back of Linux, and Xandros is a crappy Linux distro yet they sold hundreds and thousands of the little boxes. I have had my EEE 701 since February 2008 and I use it every single day for all sorts of things. I even work on it to Cad up my model railways using XTrkCad. Not bad for a 7" screen and 4G storage.

Microsoft got their nose tweaked by this huge uptake of a Linux'd computer and they could see the writing on the wall. They needed to put their name into the genre so the newcomers could learn that Windows was also for the little notebooks as well. The consensus is that they have gone as low as US$40 per OEM copy of XP just to make it "easy" for ASUS and the other copycat netbook makers to move away from Linux and back into "Safe" Windows-land. They also kept extending the closing date on XP because they knew that they didn't have any sensible alternatives for such a restricted system. XP had to be on the netbbooks if they wanted to lock out Linux from public acceptance. Hence the FUD campaign because they had little else going their way.

They have also obviously 'leaned' on ASUS to bring them back into the Windows fold so the source of the FUD they are sprouting shouldn't be very surprising to aware readers.

As for distro of choice, I had a lot of success running Mandriva 2008 and 2009 but it still left a little to be desired, mostly in speed and convenience. Now I run Ubuntu Netbook Remix, though not with the truly awful "Easy" interface. Once you get into standard mode it runs very well, starts fairly quickly and does a smart job of shutting down in a hurry too. It isn't anywere the speeds they have got from drastically tweaking Xandros but it also works far far better than Xandros, and is so much friendlier when it comes to installing and updating.

A suggestion, look and install the EEE Control utility, it just makes things work much better controlling many functions including cpu speed, screen brightness and fan speed. http://greg.geekmind.org/eee-control/

   
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:40 AM   #3
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Yes... the consensus on identi.ca is that Microsoft likely leaned heavily on ASUS and forced a new OEM contract on them (along the lines of "windows only, or else...") -- they'll never tell, of course. Whatever, the source of all that FUD is clear, whoever actually owns the content on that website (no reactions from either ASUS or the "mysterious" marketing firm so far).

Now first I need to find a way to create a complete image of my current setup, and then I'll start experimenting with distros; I hear of trouble with WiFi and the function keys, but also that there are solutions for those, and most kernels now recognize the WiFi natively. WiFi is important (used it on my trip, though less than I might have). So we'll see...

Thanks for that link - looks extremely useful! Bookmarked!

   
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Old 07-02-2009, 02:33 AM   #4
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Much discussion, as ever, on Slashdot about this:
http://linux.slashdot.org/story/09/0...ux-In-the-Face
It includes info about who owns the domain of the "better" website, and the useful advice that if you buy a PC with Windows and put Linux on it, you should "return" the Windows OS and claim a refund.
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benwiggy View Post
Much discussion, as ever, on Slashdot about this:
http://linux.slashdot.org/story/09/0...ux-In-the-Face
Interesting, thanks for the link. (Obviously I wasn't aware of that since the discussion seems to have taken place while I was still traveling in Central Asia!)

Quote:
It includes info about who owns the domain of the "better" website,
That's interesting too, since it's different from what I dug up (see the footnote on my post!); the information in that thread seems to be outdated and Michael Sharp now appears only as Technical contact, while domain ownership (both registrant and administrative contact) is Michael Keyser of KeyServices, Inc.

I do not believe (as suggested in that thread) that the page at http://www.asus.co.uk/eeepc/1008HA/features.html is a "scam site": "Asustek Computer Inc." (registrant for the domain asus.co.uk) is ASUS and the main page actually redirects to http://uk.asus.com/ -- instead, I suspect that page was an (early?) PR/Marketing mockup for the 1008HA introduction. (Some images in the "gallery" on that page have an alt text "PR Shot", and there are whole chunks of content commented out.) But the suggestion was that this page links to http://itsbetterwithwindows.com/ but this is not (no longer?) the case. It's also a bit odd that the main image (the machine on the beach with some shells) has been (rather clumsily) edited to delete the little crab, making logical nonsense of the track behind the machine on the left. The page as a whole just looks like an (abandoned) work in progress, especially if you look at the source code.

Still, the role of KeyServices, Inc., and who their actual client is (if they actually exist and if there is an actual client...) is still a riddle; no reply so far from Mr. Eric Keyser.

Quote:
and the useful advice that if you buy a PC with Windows and put Linux on it, you should "return" the Windows OS and claim a refund.
Nice idea.


One thing is clear: the page and the video on it may be unprofessional, but one way or another there's a clever bit of marketing going on here. I do wonder if ASUS is actually behind it, or if someone is trying to pull their leg, or Microsoft's.

   
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