Now that OpenSUSE is working well on my laptop, I will be using it for a while. Really, I do not want to keep jumping distributions as much as I have, and I also enjoy using OpenSUSE. It’s a refreshing break from a round of Ubuntu-based distributions that I have been in for the past few months. I haven’t backed out on Ubuntu, as I still believe it’s the best distribution, but testing out another system always provides another look at Linux.
While I like OpenSUSE, I still do not support the Microsoft/Novell patent deal that was announced back on November 02, 2006. The OpenSUSE community has been free of this deal, but unfortunately have suffered the consequences of a damaged reputation from Novell as a result of their collaboration. To be honest, the collaboration that has been happening between Microsoft and Novell are good things, but the patent protection part of the deal is one that is damaging, as it says that Novell has been violating Microsoft patents. Microsoft has made such claims about Linux and patents, but have never specified which ones are violated. It is a strategic move, because if Microsoft revealed the patents, the offending code would either be fixed or the patents declared invalid. The result would be Microsoft having no way to scare users from using Linux. Just look at the last Yahoo! deal, where Microsoft gave Yahoo! a 3 week deadline to accept their offer, or Microsoft would stack the Yahoo! board in their (Microsoft’s) favor. That never happened, and Microsoft made several more attempts to please Yahoo!, only to back out of the deal after Yahoo! raised the bid price — a perfect example of empty threats in action.
On the topic of Microsoft, the Windows version of the new ASUS Eee PC will cost less than the Linux version. It is always interesting to watch the prices of Linux and Windows computers. In the past, Microsoft has been known to threaten PC makers into releasing computers with Windows for cheaper than the competition, even if they are installed on the same make/model computer. One of the most recent examples was the higher price of the Dell computers, where the Ubuntu Dell cost more than the same model with Windows preinstalled. This goes against common logic, as Ubuntu is free, and Windows (or at least a box version) costs $129. The Eee PC comes with Xandros (another company that signed a patent protection deal with Microsoft), and the system had been tailored for the Eee PC. Xandros is not free to download, but rather available for purchase, and is still far cheaper than the Windows XP being installed on the new Eee PCs.
The question does arise — Did ASUS get threats (or an amazing deal) of some sort to sell the Eee PC with Windows for cheaper than the one with Linux preinstalled?
My guess would be… yes. I am sure something happened, but whether or not it was good for Xandros is impossible to tell. Also, it could be possible that ASUS is looking to impress Microsoft, especially since they predicted that they would sell more Windows Eee PCs than Linux ones? Of course, I doubt that many of the higher end Eee PCs will sell over the lower spec all Linux versions available for $400. Who would want to pay $500+ for an underpowered device, especially since at $500 you can get a modestly priced laptop or desktop?