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Slashback: Newton, Wal-Mart, Eats 473

Slashback tonight brings you quick updates on the stolen copy of Newton's Principia, Linux at Wal-Mart (dot com), Free software vs. free software in India, and food for the desperate computerist. Read on!

Honestly, where would they have unloaded that anyway? yorgasor writes "Yahoo reports that the stolen copies of Newton's Principia have been successfully recovered. The thieves are also suspected of other thefts from several Moscow and St Petersburg libraries."

They have everything. An anonymous reader writes "Looks like Lycoris joins Lindows and Mandrake in being preloaded for walmart.com: 'The new $199 Desktop/LX Certified MicroTel PCs include the Desktop/ LX operating system. Desktop/LX also includes the following incredible software features without any additional downloading:'"

Who needs a war? Krieger writes "I found this link to the definitive browser wars at HardOCP, where you get to play checkers to prove your browsers superiority. Taking the browser wars to a new high/low?"

Here's the hook, can you pass that sinker please ... JoeWalsh writes "According to this article, earlier this month RMS visited India and tried to convince them to use Free (as in freedom) Software. Then along comes Bill Gates this month, handing out free (as in beer) software, and suddenly India isn't interested in RMS's message. A choice quote: "We are a poor country. We cannot develop operating systems and platforms on our own." Did RMS tell them they couldn't use GNU/Linux, or is this more Microsoft propaganda at work?"

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Newton, Wal-Mart, Eats

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  • Phew... (Score:5, Funny)

    by YahoKa ( 577942 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:02PM (#4711395)
    I'm very the stolen copies of Newton's Principia have been successfully recovered. I was having trouble around here without the laws of physics.
  • Walmart "computers" (Score:3, Informative)

    by blate ( 532322 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:02PM (#4711396)
    What they don't tell you in the advertising is that many of these cheapie Walmart PC's run a processor from Cyrix that VASTLY underperforms Intel/AMD chips of the same speed. Another example of how MHz/GHz are not a good measure of system performance. Also, another example of how there's no such thing as a free lunch.
    • by perfessor multigeek ( 592291 ) <pmultigeek.earthlink@com> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:08PM (#4711443) Homepage Journal
      Oh, please. It's a CHEAP computer in every sense. It's mean to be sold to clueless masses with no cash and no skills, not somebody looking to replace their PIII with custom everything.
      It's gonna use the lowest cost stuff they can find and you know what? That's entirely appropriate. Get over it.
      Rustin
      • by kevcol ( 3467 )
        Exactly.

        Not everyone needs a blazing fast machine when most home consumers just use the web, email and a word processor. I have a Pentium 233 that still performs these basic tasks quite adequately. For $200, that's not a bad deal.
      • What I'd like to know is if it's possible to have:
        Up to 8 MB shared video memory
        and
        Watch DivX, AVI, Mpeg, files and other supported formats full screen with dynamic sound
        in a confortable way?
        At least, they dont talk about 3D games.
        • by AmigaAvenger ( 210519 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:46PM (#4711714) Journal
          umm... 8 mb is more than enough for divx, avi's, mpegs, ANY other full screen video you want to watch...


          1024*768=786432 (total pixels)
          786432*3 = 2359296 (we have 3 color per pixel)
          2359296 / 1024 = 2304 kilobytes (1 byte per color-pixel) (assumed 24 bit color, 16 million...)

          end result is 8 megs is more than enough for some very nice triple buffered video, and double the amount needed for double buffered.

          • by kesuki ( 321456 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:37PM (#4712782) Journal
            Granted, the graphic card has enough memory, But does the Processor have enough power? The Cyrix processor Lacks a FPU. Without FPU you're talking 1/3 the playback speed, on MMX Enhanced FPU requiring multi-media applications. That's right, this 800 MHz-1.0 GHz cyrix chip is going to run about as fast as a Celeron 333-450. Everything that doesn't need FPU integers is going to run as snappy as on a 1.0 ghz system, but video, audio, math intensive routines etc, are all goint to be hosed by the fact that they're not optimized for no-FPU cpus, and as such a FPU has to be Emulated to perform DivX playback.
            Now you're probably wondering "but my Pocket PC PDA can play DivX.." Which is true, up to a point, and that point is that at extremely low resolutions, an an extremely low resolution screen, DivX playback becomes possible. and the Windows Media PocketPC edition is designed to optimize for a no-fpu environment, so, even though a DivX codec might need to emulate FPU, nothing else on the system is, so you can get by.
            so forget 1024x768 resolution on the cyrix PCs for DivX playback, you'll have to full screen the movie, and decode at it's Native resolution, not at the current desktop resolution. avoiding the scaling should save enough cycles to allow clean playback. but, again, only because the DivX codec can turn off most features that enhance visual quality when playing back on a slower machine.
            Also, keep in mind that your calculations are only per-frame, and that can only hold true if the video memory can dump and rewrite the data at least 30 times per second. With shared memory, you might have problems, as you need to use 70MB/s of the memory thruput Just for the video card's usage... the decoder is also goine to use an identical amount of memory thruput, plus whatever memory thruput the OS and the codec need for themselves. True, even SDRAM should have enough thruput, but theory and practice aren't the same, playback is going to take more out of these systems, and stress it harder.
            Getting these cyrix $200 systems is almost like getting a 3 year old celeron box... for someone who has a three year old celeron, they might be looking at the current crop of computers with envy, but if they bought this bargain machine from wal-mart they'd be dissapointed.
            I really can only recommend this machine for people so financially strapped that it's the $200 linux box, or nothing. Or people willing to use it as a $200 all-in-one firewall/router/(possibly a personal ftp/webserver), and who don't have linux compatable hardware in thier old PC. (eg: a machine that would be a nightmare to try to get linux running on)
            • MMX!=FP (Score:3, Insightful)

              by turgid ( 580780 )
              MMX is integer SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data). These Cyrix/VIA processors have 3DNow! which is Floating Point SIMD in addition to MMX so they are more than powerful enough for playing digital video. I'd say that for a low-cost machine, they are pretty darn good value for money. BTW the 3DNow! outperforms the legacy Floating Point by a significant margin. In some cases by 300%. And no, I didn't pull that number out of my butt: libSIMD [sourceforge.net]
            • My cacheless celeron 300 (o/c 375) could software decode DVD at 1024x768 only very rarely dropping frames so I imagine this would just about do.
            • Your post is utter BS. All Cyrix processors since the M1 (6x86) have had FPUs. They are just really lousy FPUS, about on a par with Pentium MMX performance. And you suggest that SDRAM doesn't have enough throughput! Most systems now still use PC100 or PC133! Mpeg 4 and 2 playback is no problem! Finally, MMX is for _integer_ performance, not floating point!
      • Clueless masses (Score:4, Insightful)

        by nlinecomputers ( 602059 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:47PM (#4711717)
        I don't understand how Walmart expects to sell this stuff. The price tag that is on this kind of computer will appeal to the Lowest Common Denominator customer. One that doesn't have money or the internet. So how are they supposed to buy it without internet access? And if they do buy one and when they can't run the lastest games(re:windows based games on it) they will return them. (Or pirate old copies of Windows 98 to run on them.)

        Most people "in the know" would avoid them would they not? Most Linux geeks that I know would want high end equipment not cheap junk. I've got an old celeron that has trouble running X. How the heck is this going to run Lindows, lycoris or Mandrake 9?

        So I can't figure out who this is marketed at? College students? First time "trailer home" computer buyers?

        Some one there made a bad business move IMHO.If you have stock in Walmart I'd sell.

        • Re:Clueless masses (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <tms@in[ ]ous.net ['fam' in gap]> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @09:20PM (#4711895) Homepage
          Most Linux geeks that I know would want high end equipment not cheap junk. I've got an old celeron that has trouble running X.

          Um, one of my machines here is a Pentium 130. I've run X on a 25MHz 486 box (NetBSD, not Linux, but still...) If you can't run X on a Celeron box, either XFree86 doesn't support your card (unlikely), or something is hideously misconfigured.

        • Some one there made a bad business move IMHO.If you have stock in Walmart I'd sell.

          Indeed. As we all know, one small misplaced cheap product can doom a multi-billion dollar empire.

          • Indeed. As we all know, one small misplaced cheap product can doom a multi-billion dollar empire.

            Correction: isn't the "small misplaced cheap product" the very cornerstone of this particular "multi-billion dollar empire"? :)
        • Quoth the poster:
          Most Linux geeks that I know would want high end equipment not cheap junk. I've got an old celeron that has trouble running X.

          My "old" Celeron 366s on an Abit BP-6 have NO problem running X and generating more than 1000 frames per second when running glxgears through my Voodoo4 4500.

          It's true that the Via C3 is not a modern processor design but it is PLENTY adequate for running Linux.

          As for the target market for these machines, well who knows ... the "no money/no internet access" crowd you speak of isn't going to be buying from Wal-Mart.com (See the notice? The one that says "not available in stores"?) That 2 GHz P4 for < $500 might make one HELL of a personal workstation on some slightly tech-savvy small business's LAN if you gave it a RAM upgrade ... especially if it was the Mandrake machine (which includes OpenOffice out of the box).

          My question is this ... does ANYone have any idea how many Linux boxes Wal-Mart.com is selling and what kind of customers they are selling them to?
        • Re:Clueless masses (Score:5, Informative)

          by Chris Pimlott ( 16212 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:18PM (#4712673)
          What a dumbass post. How will they buy them? See, there are these things called stores. Walmart has a few. In fact, Walmart has a lot. In fact, Walmart is the largest retail company in the world.

          Walmart sells a wide range of products to the 'lowest comment denominator' customers. They may not have the money to buy high end but they're not dumbasses; they know if they buy a computer for $200 while Dell advertises computers for $1000, their computer is not going to be the newest and fasters and it's not going to run everything.

          Leaving aside the traditional Walmart customer...
          Many Linux geeks I know run multiple boxes, often on old hardware. A cheap no-frills box you can pick up with a 20 minute trip and use for a mail server, firewall, database, etc isn't a bad deal.
        • Some one there made a bad business move IMHO.If you have stock in Walmart I'd sell.
          Yeah, because selling a $199 PC is going to topple the US's richest company.
    • by Micah ( 278 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:13PM (#4711491) Homepage Journal
      The PR says it compares to an 800MHz Celeron. Whether it DOES or not, I dunno.

      It's not a super-powerful computer, of course, but for $199, it's certainly not a rip-off. I'd have no trouble recommending that to some people.
      • by blate ( 532322 )
        To whom? Grandma?

        Sure, as long as nothing goes wrong with the bos, you're fine.

        But, in my experience, with bottom-of-the-line cheapo components, your life can become a living hell in short order if something breaks. I guess as long as I don't have to help them nurse the box back to life, it's a good bargain. Otherwise, I'd recommend that they go with a major namebrand, pay a couple hundred more, and get bundled technical support.

        Personally, I think these boxes *are* well suited for newbie/seasoned linux guys who need a cheap starter box or a secondary/backup machine. I'd actually considered getting one myself, for that purpose.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      But at $200, it makes it available to people who couldn't afford it before.
    • Wal-Mart also ships both low-end and mid-range Intel and AMD systems, with Linux [walmart.com] or no operating system installed [walmart.com]
    • Sure, the 800mhz Via C3 does games slower than a 800mhz Celeron, but 2d applications are as just as fast. These machines would be great for a student, and will help computerize some homes that previously couldn't afford a computer.

      I realize this PC uses older technology, but it is still warranted for 1 year. I hope WallyWorld sells these machines in Mexico, and other countries wherever they happen to do business.

    • by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @09:55PM (#4712095) Homepage
      My uncle wanted a computer as cheap as possible (as a 2nd PC in his house). I had him order a walmart PC with Mandrake. What he got was a decent PC with an AMD Athlon processor, 256MB Ram, 20GB hd and onboard video/sound, along with a PCI ethernet card and modem, all assembled. When I came over to help him set it up, I just plugged in the keyboard and mouse and monitor (which he already had). It was much easier than building him one, and it only cost $400. Then he said he wanted Win2k instead of Mandrake... well guess what. The walmart PC cam with a single CDROM that had drivers for all the hardware for every version of windows! So 40 minutes later, he had a full Athlon system. I didnt have to install any hardware or hunt down any drivers on the internet. Walmart is doing a good job with their PCs.
    • by tiny69 ( 34486 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @10:06PM (#4712166) Homepage Journal
      I just received my $200 Walmart special yesterday. So far I'm more than happy with it. I had originally planed on installing Slackware as soon as I recieved it, but I decided to mess around with Lindows first. The default desktop is a heavily modified version of KDE that looks very similar to a Windows 2000 desktop. Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word Viewers are listed in the "Start" menu, but they don't seem to work (haven't looked into it yet). The mouse scroll wheel is configured to work by default. The default daemons listed by netstat as listening for new connections are smbd, cupsd, lisa, and dhclient. The thing I don't like so far is that the system auto logs into Xwindows as root!!

      The only thing that I'm worried about is the cheap components breaking. If they don't, then the sytem is more than worth it. I'm seriously thinking about buying another one to upgrade my Pentium 90 firewall.
  • by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) <mister@sketch.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:03PM (#4711399)
    It didn't make the main page, but we can now comment [copyright.gov] on the DMCA. It was mentioned on an earlier /. article and it's was in YRO [slashdot.org] today and yesterday.
    • It didn't make the main page, but we can now comment on the DMCA. It was mentioned on an earlier /. article and it's was in YRO today and yesterday.

      (I posted this in response to the Copyright office submission link earlier today. I thought it might bear repeating. Bottom line: Commenting on the DMCA is not nearly as easy as one might think.)

      I just went there with the full intention of submitting. The problem is that I don't have time to wade through their fairly obtuse, 36K Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies [copyright.gov] [copyright.gov] document so that my submission must follow the "format detailed in the notice of inquiry". Specifically, I wasn't able to determine what the proposed class or classes of copyrighted work(s) to be exempted were, nor whether they met the requirements laid out in the scope of term "class of works" [copyright.gov] . Briefly, the term "class of works" means:

      The Register found that the statutory language required that the Librarian identify a ``class of works'' primarily based upon attributes of the works themselves, and not by reference to some external criteria such as the intended use or the users of the works. The phrase ``class of works'' connotes that the shared, common attributes of the ``class'' relate to the nature of authorship in the ``works.'' Thus a ``class of works'' was intended to be a ``narrow and focused subset of the the broad categories of works of authorship * * * identified in section 102.'' Commerce Comm. Report, at 38. The starting point for a proposed exemption of a particular class of works must be the section 102 categories of authorship: literary works; musical works; dramatic works; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic and sculptural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; and architectural works.
      Is the CD collection I habitually store in MPEG and/or OGG format a "musical work" or a "sound recording"? Can I just pick one? I don't know.

      Worse than that, I don't know if I can submit comments at all. If I understand their requirements for argument(s) in support of the exemption proposed [copyright.gov] [copyright.gov], I'm not sure I can say that adding lame, easily circumvented copy proctection to CDs is enough to allow me to ask for an exemption. Here's what they say I need to tell them:

      In the last rulemaking the Register determined that the burden of proof is on the proponent of an exemption to come forward with evidence supporting an exemption for a particular class of works. Therefore, the initial comment period in this rulemaking specifically seeks the identification of this information from proponents of exemptions. First, the commenter should identify the particular class of works that is being proposed as an exemption, followed by a summary of the argument for the exemption. The commenter should then specify the facts and evidence providing a basis for this exemption and any legal arguments in support of the exemption. Finally, the commenter may include in the comment any additional information or documentation which supports the commenter's position.
      First of all, they'll say that the work is available on cassette and I can copy from that (a comparision between DVD and VHS is buried in that doc). Second, can I quantify adverse effects the lack of an exemption has caused or provide legal arguments in favor of an exemption? I don't know. Do I already have a legal right to use-shift or time-shift copyrighted works I've purchased? Search me; I'm not a lawyer. Do I need to know this before I research arguments towards an exemption? Good question.

      I'm glad you mentioned the submission form, and I hope enough people with more free time on their hands than me can put together enough arguments that the DMCA ia reviewed and exemptions are provided. I'd just like to point out to people that it's not as easy as filling in a web form with "I need to be able to make my Eminmem MP3s..." They want people to say things like "If the only way to access the complete works of Charlie Parker are via DMCA-restricted means, then we need an examption" and then show them, in a way detailed enough for a government employee to understand, why that is the case.

      -B

  • That much? Wow! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by handsomepete ( 561396 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:04PM (#4711406) Journal
    "Desktop/LX also includes the following incredible software features without any additional downloading:'"

    Was this a joke or did the submission get cut off? Or does Desktop/LX just have no incredible software features? Inquiring minds want to know (without having to click the link at a filter-happy workplace).
    • * With support for over 162 Digital Cameras, 800 printers and scanner support, your digital pictures jump to life
      * Includes a full photo editing suite with over 25 filters, layers, transparency, and capable of opening and saving select Photoshop(R) files
      * Pump up the volume with Ogg Vorbis, MP3, CDs and WAV digital music, streaming music, playlists, and online music database access
      * Be productive right out of the box with the included Word Processor, Address book, Calendar, Spreadsheet and Presentation software
      * Watch DivX, AVI, Mpeg, files and other supported formats full screen with dynamic sound
      * Communicate digitally via email, AOL(R) instant messages, and relay chat
      * Send and view digital faxes
      * Pre-configured with RealPlayer(R), Flash(R) plugin, Java(R) and Acrobat Reader(R), the built in Web Browser gives you an interactive Internet experience
      * Burn your own music CD's and backup your data onto CD-R or CD-RW.
      * Maximize your home network by viewing shared files with the Network Browser
      * Simple right click file sharing
      * Built-in Firewall for air-tight Internet security
      * Data snapshot, backup, and recovery program for configuration changes
      * Video Recovery mode
      * Use Desktop Sharing to export your desktop for remote control or demonstrations on the network
      * Powerful Remote Assistance included for fixing problems via the Internet
      * 10 games including Tetris(TM), Solitaire, Galaga(TM), and Asteroids(TM)
      • Lycoris... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MsGeek ( 162936 )
        It's not a half-bad distro, and it's the only one I've tried that had Xine set up right out of the box to play VCDs and unencrypted DVDs correctly. Lycoris also has one of the best damn communities out there, at http://www.lycoris.org/ [lycoris.org].

        It is not for everyone. But give it to someone with no Linux experience who has worked with Windows for years and they'll feel right at home.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:04PM (#4711410)
    I have one. The CPU performance is equiv to a 400 Mhz first generation Celeron despite their claims.

    I spent $62 and replaced the CPU with a 1.2 Ghz Celeron. The hard drive is still very slow, but it is now an okay machine.

    I dumped Lindows and loaded RedHat.

    I purchased it to eval as a low cost load generator. Next time I'll probably build a cheap Athlon system for just a little more money (but get a lot more machine).
  • by mthed ( 120041 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:04PM (#4711414) Homepage
    It somehow seems wrong that WalMart is selling products based on free (speech) software. Not sure ($$$) why it is exactly.
  • RMS vs. BJG (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:06PM (#4711424) Homepage Journal
    I recognize this goes against the grain here, but here goes:

    I think India's rationale for going with Bill Gates offering over Richard Stallman's offering is fairly simple to explain: Bill's offering a finished product, no polish necessary, at no cost. RMS is saying you can have the greatest software in the world if you put your mind to it and pointing to a bunch of half-written software.

    Which would you rather have? Just take a look at the statistics in the places where people can choose to pay for Windows or get Linux free to get an idea of why the opportunity is so tasty to India.

    • by PissingInTheWind ( 573929 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:16PM (#4711520)
      I think India's rationale for going with Bill Gates offering over Richard Stallman's offering is fairly simple to explain: Bill's offering a finished product, no polish necessary, at no cost.

      It is not because you /can't/ improve it yourself that it means it is a 'finished, polished' product.

      [...] pointing to a bunch of half-written software.

      Wow, can you imagine how big Emacs will be once they are done with it? ;-)
    • Re:RMS vs. BJG (Score:2, Interesting)

      by grytpype ( 53367 )
      If Microsoft is supporting India's many languages out of the box, I could understand the decision. If on the other hand the Indians have to compute in English anyway, it makes no sense. I suspect massive bribery was involved.
    • Re:RMS vs. BJG (Score:4, Interesting)

      by imr ( 106517 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:19PM (#4711552)
      during the peru thing, going along gates offer of money, was great pressure from the us government through its ambassador:
      http://www.wired.com/news/business/0, 1367,54141,00 .html
      New motto for the new millenium:
      Freedom? Yes!
      for us
    • Re:RMS vs. BJG (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      nothing is free.

      you pay now...or you REALLY pay later.

      linux...you pay some up front in time and effort.

      microsoft...you will pay later. period.
    • ``Bill's offering a finished product, no polish necessary...''

      Um, wouldn't you count service packs as additional polish? (I would)

      And just what additional `polish' is needed with Linux? An awful lot of people seem to find it quite polished right out of the box.

      ``RMS is saying you can have the greatest software in the world if you put your mind to it and pointing to a bunch of half-written software.''

      Heh. Are you referring to Hurd? :-)

    • by cybercomm ( 557435 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:46PM (#4711710) Homepage Journal
      Hiring (or promising) to hire a whole bunch of Indian programmers. Heck i would adopt windows on a couple of boxen if M$ decides to invest heavily in TI market..after all those people are not going to spend their whole lives working for MS...sooner or later they will move on, and presto! Inda has educated progammers with world class experience!
    • The MS TRAP (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dh003i ( 203189 )
      You've foolishly overlooked a few key important points.

      1. MS isn't going to offer this software to India for free forever. As soon as MS deems that they can suck India dry, they'll start charging. Now, they're simply trying to make India dependant on Microsoft, so that people there have to use MS Windows and MS Word. Later on, they'll start charging outrageous prices. Just like what drug dealers do: free to try, addictive, and then you get to pay through the wazoo.

      2. Substantial costs of using Windows such as security, downtime, etc have been ignored.

      3. The cost of dealing with the BSA and paying them off of they threaten to sue has been ignored.

      4. If India needs Windows to do something it doesn't do, they're screwed. If they use Linux, all they have to do is hire a few programmers.

      For what the government needs to do, Linux is fine -- perfect, in fact. It can install on many standard types of hardware, and it has some good GUI defaults (i.e., KDE/GNOME) along with good windowmanagers (i.e., WindowMaker). Office suites like OpenOffice are quite easy to use. If they really want MS Office, they can use CrossOver Office.

      The most important point here is #1. MS is like a drug-dealer. Sure, they'll give stuff to you for free in hope of making you dependant on it. Then once they're sure you're dependant on it (and they'll do things to make you dependant on it through their updates), they start charging. Sort of like the MP3 FRAUD: let them use MP3's for free, then when everyone's using it and it'll be difficult to switch to something else, suddenly introduce royalty payments. THESE FRAUDULENT FUCKS ARE NO BETTER THAN DRUG DEALERS.
  • tha webz (Score:3, Funny)

    by Slashdotess ( 605550 ) <gchurch@hotm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:06PM (#4711425)
    play checkers to prove your browsers superiority.

    or post on /. and prove your webserver's superiority
  • by threedays ( 16600 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:07PM (#4711435)
    I would like to add that i see nothing here about food. move along.
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <teamhasnoi@nOSPAM.yahoo.com> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:08PM (#4711446) Journal
    I just got back from the Browser War. It was worse than the opening 5 minutes of Medal of Honor! Blood and plugins everywhere! The exploitable holes! The hastily applied patches! An orgy of clicking and death!

    OH GOD, The Humanity!

  • If you are going to build a government office, which do you want to spend, $100 an hour for 2 days for a contractor who will set up a linux server and show you how to set up linux machines, or $300 for each of 200 copies of xp, plus a $150 an hour contractor to set up an insecure xp or maybe a novell sever, plus $90 * 200 for each copy of ofice, plus $god only knows * 200 for the administrative software? (this isnt all, but the rest will be shared no matter what OS)
  • Features (Score:2, Funny)

    by RQuinn ( 521500 )
    Desktop/LX also includes the following incredible software features without any additional downloading:

    Wow... so many incredible features... I'm at a loss for words!
  • Priceless art, texts, etc, aren't the sort of thing you'd unload onto Ebay, but there is still a market for them. I'm sure several rich private collectors would have loved to get their hands on it. Nobody would dare flaunt it in public.
  • stealing something like that I hope they throw the book at them. Just not THAT book.

  • by tony1c ( 610261 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:11PM (#4711469) Journal
    ...I wish I could convince an entire country that not paying for software is just too damn expensive.
  • by perfessor multigeek ( 592291 ) <pmultigeek.earthlink@com> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:12PM (#4711472) Homepage Journal
    I don't get it. Where are the "eats for the desperate computerist"?
    I thought that this was a comment on something like the Dilberito [dilberito.com].

    Rustin
  • by Otto ( 17870 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:12PM (#4711473) Homepage Journal
    You know, /. has gotten things wrong before, but mixing up Checkers with Connect Four is a first.
  • by bstadil ( 7110 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:13PM (#4711487) Homepage
    There is a story over at theInquirer [theinquirer.net]today about a major win for Cyrix / Via from Walmart.

    They are having some server problems so I have included portions from the article here

    Via wins big Wal-Mart Linux PC order

    C3-Cyrix-Centaur selling 300,000 PCM?

    By Mike Magee: Tuesday 19 November 2002, 09:58

    TAIWANESE SEMI firm Via has secured an order from massive shop Wal-Mart for two of its C3-Cyrix-Centaur X86 based processors. The Economic News reports that Via and Wal-Mart will create two budget machines running flavours of the Linux OS. There's also a plan for the chip company to make low cost sub $300 machines running Windows Eyecandy. The article claims that Medion is also set to clinch a deal with Via, while Legend and the Founder Group also use some of the C3 processors.

  • by cmeans ( 81143 ) <cmeans@@@intfar...com> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:13PM (#4711493) Homepage Journal
    Money talks! In different languages!

    Maybe it's as simple as giving away disks with GNU/Linux already on them, verses just saying it can be downloaded. Having the disk that can be used (by anyone) to perform an install, is a lot different than having to first download a distros ISO, and burn it to a CD.

    I don't know what RMS did on his trip, he may have actually tried to give disks away...

    The problem is...it's probably easier to take the hand of someone offering what appears to be the quick fix, rather than reach for the life vest that someone else tossed you.

  • FUD R US (Score:5, Insightful)

    by walt-sjc ( 145127 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:14PM (#4711497)
    In a quote from the article, Bill says:
    "We can save money in terms of speed of development or by being able to run on less expensive hardware."

    So I guess that's why WinCE handhelds are less expensive than Palm pilots. Oh, wait, they aren't less expensive. Oh but then there is desktops. Oh wait, what about the $199 walmart PC running linux being less expensive than the Windows counterpart... Considering that Linux runs on just about anything, the "less expensive hardware" just is totally untrue. Let's see Windows XP run on a 386 with 8M ram. Nice FUD Bill.

  • Newton Joke:
    Damn.. why did we have to get the laws of physics back.. my wifes tits were starting to look mighty fine without gravity.

    Walmart Joke:
    Do we really want Linux to be associated with people who sport mullets?
  • by grytpype ( 53367 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:16PM (#4711514) Homepage
    OK, I'll supply one. Remember when that guy who draws Dilbert was going to launch a line of prepared food products for geeks... like Dilburritos, or something like that?

    When things seem really bleak and hopeless, just think about what a total, colossal failure that must have been, and you'll be cheered up in no time!
  • Well... (Score:4, Funny)

    by FrostedWheat ( 172733 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:23PM (#4711574)
    I hope those theves get there library cards taken of them and a 90p fine for each day they didn't return the book.

  • This is great! And remember, everyone, if you are getting your ass kicked by Galeon, I just might be doing the ass-kicking.
  • by triumphDriver ( 600794 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:30PM (#4711617)
    Walmart is the beginning of the end of American Middle Class. They kill a lot of small individually owned mom and pop stores when they move into a town. In the future we will all get to work for them at minimum wage and buy cheap crap from Asia. It is ironic that everyone is up in arms about M$'s behavior but is very passive about what is happening to small businesses. In my view both M$ and Walmart are predatory.
    • MS isn't predatory. MS buys companies and people. They pay very well. They employ lots of well-paid people. Wal-Mart kills business and does nothing but create thousands of minimum wage, degrading, eat-your-own shit jobs.
    • Walmart is the beginning of the end of American Middle Class. They kill a lot of small individually owned mom and pop stores when they move into a town. In the future we will all get to work for them at minimum wage and buy cheap crap from Asia. It is ironic that everyone is up in arms about M$'s behavior but is very passive about what is happening to small businesses. In my view both M$ and Walmart are predatory.

      That's a four-part statement, and each of those parts is horse shit.

      part 1> The job market is changing.

      Well job displacement is what happens when a more efficient system replaces an older and less efficient system. Carriage makers and stable boys were displaced by car manufacturers and mechanics. Legions of accountants and file clerks have been displaced by personal computers. In a society where people are free to buy and sell according to their own interests the purchasing trends of the public change with technology and fashion. What do you advocate ? a system where government officials dictate at what stores you can shop and what you purchase, all for the purpose of acheving a technologically stagnant society which perfectly preserves every job category and rate of compensation?

      part 2> If mom-and-pop stores die out, then middle-incomes salaries will cease to exist.

      Everyone in the US who earns near the mean income level works in mom-and-pop retail stores. If those stores disappear, the distribution of incomes in the US will become bimodal, with no salaries near the mean income level. Riiiight... Why don't you put down that crack pipe until your head clears and then think about this again. You could start by considering if maybe there are any jobs, other than some of those in mom-and-pop stores, which pay near the mean income level.

      part 3>Wal-Mart jobs pay less than jobs in Mom-and-Pop stores.

      Do you have any evidence fot that, or are you just making that up ? Until you provide links to income data, I think its safe to assume that you are full of shit.

      part 4> Because the number of jobs in Wal-mart stores is increasing and the number of jobs in mom-and-pop stores is in decline, then therefore those who would have worked in mom-and-pop stores are now working in Wal-mart.

      You do not know from where Wal-mart employees are drawn and you don't know where those who otherwise would have worked in mom-and-pop shops work instead. Just becasue one job category is growing and another is shrinking does NOT mean that employees are transfered between those categories. For all you know, those who are not managing small retail businesses today could be working for Microsoft, and the new Wal-mart employees have moved up to those jobs from something less rewarding.

    • Not Walmart - economics.

      People keep trying to avoid the fact that the innovators dilemma applies to nation states as well as to businesses. A long time ago this was mitigated by the fact that social standards influenced import rules. GATT buried that so now the west can't easily refuse goods created in dangerous circumstances by underpaid workers and child labour.

  • "Did RMS tell them they couldn't use GNU/Linux, or is this more Microsoft propaganda at work?"

    Maybe India just noticed how Bill doesn't get bent out of shape when you don't refer to it as Microsoft/Windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So Bill Gates is giving out software to India for free and that "Microsoft was willing to "dramatically lower" its price for socially relevant projects"? As a college student, I feel that as A SOCIALLY RELEVANT being, I am justified in giving myself a free copy of .NET.
  • Has anyone tried Lindows? How is it? Does it list what windows software is known to run under it??/
  • 1. Imagine a beowulf cluster of these.
    2. ???
    3. All your base are belong to us.
  • that to choose awomen, you must see her without her makeup..

    Bill Gate looked better without makeup than RMS did :)
  • by Kaz Riprock ( 590115 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:49PM (#4711735)

    I went to that site to play a fair game of Connect Four in the hopes of getting a final answer as to which browser is truly better than the others. Unfortunately, hoodlums have logged in with multiple browsers to throw the game by playing poorly with one browser in the hopes of defeating a defenseless opponenent!

    I mean, truly, who plays checker 3 to slot 1 when the opponent has opened with a classical Harvey the Wonder Hamster attack in slots 4,5, and 6!!

    Outrageous! I see the only way this will ever be settled is through the time-honored (and FAR less unruly) game of Go Fish! Harumph, I'm taking my checkers and going home...
  • Very degrading... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmetzler ( 12546 ) <bmetzler AT live DOT com> on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:56PM (#4711773) Homepage Journal
    "We are a poor country. We cannot develop operating systems and platforms on our own," Kulkarni said.

    Whenever someone says something like that I hear: "We are a very poor country. We are all dunces. We can't raise our standard of living. Therefore we will eat at the crumbs and wallow in our own pity.

    It's a shame people don't respect themselves more. And it's not like php requires that much more development ability then ASP does.

    -Brent
  • Walmart == clever (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sterno ( 16320 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @08:58PM (#4711782) Homepage
    Sell a cheap machine and offer the possibility to several linux vendors to get their wares pre-installed. Let them compete with one another and get the best price for the software and the best software packages.

    I've gotta hand it to Walmart, they have really figured out how this game should work. I realize that right now, they are offering 3 distros, but ultimately I suspect that, for support purposes it will be easier to trim it down later on. They can just let these guys fight it out for a while to see which one gets the best response from the public.
  • ..it's too bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @09:45PM (#4712036) Homepage Journal
    ..it's too bad walmart doesn't have these machines on the shelf, or at least one of them, one of the mid range models perhaps. The local walmart here you have a choice of one-an HP I believe-running xp. On the software shelf, xp. I don't see anything wrong with a low end budget computer. that's why these markets have terms like that, high end fulla blinkenlights and quad fans, down to these cheap systems. Something for everyone is a *good thing* methinks. Around here the few independent and white box shops offer almost the same low end config for around 600$ and up in a lot of cases and are getting it (when they sell them), mostly because people just don't know any better. Pickups they know, tractors they know, used or new 4 wheel buggys they know, computers, nope, microsoft=computer=it has to be expensive, and as such most people still don't have them. Just yesterday I saw one guy had a 486 bundle all used everything for 250$. I was incredulous, but I guess folks don't realize that out in the "heartland" there's not enough choice. That's the tradeoffs in a lot of matters. And it's hard to shop around and order online if you don't have a computer in the first place, yes?

    I don't necessarily approve of walmart,it's business model in general, not really, but at least there's finally some effort to break the stranglehold of microsoft-only and expensive-only for computing.
  • by ToasterTester ( 95180 ) on Tuesday November 19, 2002 @11:56PM (#4712909)
    Guess RMS didn't do his homework. MS actually got in trouble in India years ago for hiring so many Indian programmersand shipping them off to the states. India told MS their programmers are a natural resource and MS can't drain any more. So MS has built a large development facility in India. So RMS is asking India's developers to work for free, Gates is giving them paychecks.
  • by bagsc ( 254194 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @12:03AM (#4712940) Journal
    Good job! We've recovered the loot, and placed the henchmen behind bars. Now, it's time to go after Carmen Sandiego, Gumshoe!
  • by The Cydonian ( 603441 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @12:32AM (#4713087) Homepage Journal

    You see, it was like this. RMS came to our (non-descript, but *very* highly funded) university a couple of months back, evangelising on copyright misuse. The lecture theater was full to the brim of course and the audience, mostly consisting of CS grads, were quite taken by his rather impressive beard and his persistent plucking of his nose. Not to debase his talent or vision, but he has some very interesting stage-habits.

    Fast forward to a couple of weeks back when Steve Ballmer made a stopover at our university. The theater, this time the largest available, was again filled to the brim. The university President shared the dais with him and we all had to register for the talk with our name and university IC No. The official reason for the registration is that seats are limited, which, in any case, was a sort of valid reason; seats were booked within two days of the announcement. Needless to say, everyone (that is, from all faculties) turned up to watch him speak.

    I wasn't down at Mr. Ballmer's talk, but friends tell me that it had very little to do with the stated topic "Innovation and Entreprenuership" and more to do with X-Boxes and Tablet PC's. Ballmer's shiny scalp was, I believe, impressive, but apparently the audience found the X-Boxes and Tablet PC's more interesting.

    Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me that Bill Gates made a better impression on India than RMS.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @12:45AM (#4713152) Homepage
    This is a major WalMart product now. Go to the main WalMart site. [walmart.com] Click on "Computers and Printers" in the upper left. You're now on the page with Linux-based PCs. All the desktop machines on WalMart's main computer page run Linux. The notebook machines shown run Windows, but cost 5x as much. Windows XP Pro alone is shown as costing more than the entry-level Linux PC.

    Think about it. This is WalMart telling Joe Sixpack that Linux is the way to go. In their words "Desktop/LX is an exciting new Linux-based operating system (OS) that offers a user-friendly, powerful and open alternative to Microsoft Windows." Hundreds of thousands of kids are going to be doing their homework on those boxes.

  • by FuzzyBad-Mofo ( 184327 ) <fuzzybad@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @02:06AM (#4713467)

    Cost of computer: $2500
    Operating System: $40 retail
    Broadband Internet: $50/mo

    Owning Graphical Browsers at Connect 4 using a Text Browser: Priceless

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.

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