The Growth Of Linux For Non-Geeks, And Why It Will Work

The $200 PC has come, and it’s good. Really good. In fact, I’d venture an educated guess it’s more stable than the average, novice PC/Internet user’s PC. What’s so good about it? It’s running Linux, and it’s streamlined.

Most PCs today are loaded down with malware, trial software and essentially unnecessary applications that slow down the PC from square one. Add that to the fact that many most users will unwittingly become infected with spyware during the life of their PC (having fixed both my mom’s and countless friend’s and colleague’s PCs, I can safely say that almost every non-geek I know is infected), and you have a silent invasion most people never even realize is slowing their system down.

This is a boon for corporate computer repair like Best Buy’s Geek Squad, and independent computer techs alike. With around 77% of Americans having Internet access, almost everyone is online, and there is (arguably) a collective feeling of frustration by many Windows users.

Getting an Apple is the solution they probably think of first, but most would never buy one, probably due to higher price-tag and perception (Apple’s perception is a quality, expensive, yet geeky product –would Mr and Mrs. Smith in Anytown, USA really purchase that?) . Many just need a PC for basic functions and web access.

Linux systems are cheap, efficient, and don’t come loaded with spam. And the best part is, they are essentially spyware and malware free. Did I mention that WalMart has already sold out of these?

From the article:

“The system sold by Wal-Mart was an Everex’s TC2502 gPC and is the first mass-market $200 desktop PC. The spec of the system is very low – 1.5 GHz VIA C7 CPU embedded onto a Mini-ITX motherboard, 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive – but this doesn’t matter because the system does pretty much everything that your average PC users wants. With the gPC you can surf the web, send and receive email, work with word processor and spreadsheet documents, chat with friends, keep a blog updated, edit photos and pictures, even burn DVDs CDs thanks to the built-in DVD CD burner. About the only thing that your average home user won’t be able to do with this PC is play games on it.”

Microsoft and Apple have serious competition in the low-end market. How they decide to answer will be interesting. The issue here is for resellers and producers of these Linux PCs to demonstrate the stability and affordability of their product, and start to spread their brand. I’ve polled friends and colleagues who are educated people, and many of them don’t even know what Linux is. There is an obvious visibility problem. The right marketing campaign, which has both strong on and offline strategies, could be massive.

I’m really excited for the future. Maybe this will signal the end of having to fix my parents and friends computers for the hundredth time.