Home > Ubuntu > Canonical and Valusoft Bring Ubuntu Plus Support to Best Buy Canonical and Valusoft Bring Ubuntu Plus Support to Best Buy 2008-07-10 Ubuntu 33 Comments If you walk into a BestBuy this week you may spot some new software peeking out from the shelves. Yes, Ubuntu is now available as a spiffy boxed set in stores and on-line. 33 Comments 2008-07-10 11:58 am Kroc Yes, and if Best Buy is anything like PCWorld here, a user will pick up the box and ask an assistant and the assistant – a Microsoftie with ignorance of everything else – will tell them they don’t want that, and instead they want Vista. There’s a reason Mac sales were languishing before Apple had their own store, and it’s because store staff at the major retailers didn’t (and still don’t) have a clue how to operate a Windows alternative, how to answer customer’s questions to that effect or how to even sell the damn thing. I don’t expect this Ubuntu box to get far, unfortunately. Edited 2008-07-10 11:59 UTC 2008-07-10 12:20 pm IanSVT For what it’s worth, the more exposure the better. My first exposure to Linux was when I purchased Mandrake Linux 6 or something from best buy “way back” in 2000. The move certainly doesn’t hurt. 2008-07-10 12:42 pm Stephen! They’re allowed to sell Ubuntu, even though it’s free software? 2008-07-10 12:47 pm Dreams It is *because* it is free (as in speech) that you may sell it for money. You may do whatever you want with it, even sell it for 1000 euro. The 20 dollars is just for the cd and box it comes in, and for the 60 days of support. 2008-07-10 1:57 pm chemical_scum It is *because* it is free (as in speech) that you may sell it for money. You may do whatever you want with it, even sell it for 1000 euro. The 20 dollars is just for the cd and box it comes in, and for the 60 days of support. Plus a printed quickstart quide. All in all at $19.95 not a bad deal for a newbie who needs some hand holding. 2008-07-10 3:03 pm -oblio- Yes, because it’s not freeware with an EULA. It’s GPL (which, by definition, is the “anti EULA” ) You can download Gimp, put it on your website and sell it. No one can sue you. It’s immoral if you don’t help the developers, but it’s perfectly legal. Edited 2008-07-10 15:03 UTC 2008-07-11 9:25 am Ringheims Auto The GPL is indeed an EULA, it’s just quite permissive, but you can also get sued if you break it (fx. don’t provide the source code). 2008-07-11 1:12 pm -oblio- Any license can be considered an EULA (end user license agreement). After all, if you use the software, you are an end user. The point is that most EULAs regard the user as a software consumer, aka typical desktop user. GPL and Open Source licenses are directed more towards developers, contributors and distributors of software. All of which are more than just “mere” end users. And you can get sued for breaking any license. The point is that you can sell Open Source programs, even if you did not code them (for example Ubuntu wrote probably less than 0.00001% of the OS). Without breaking the license (you just have to put a zip/tar.gz on your website containing the sources). Edited 2008-07-11 13:13 UTC 2008-07-10 12:45 pm google_ninja The reason mac sales were languishing had little to do with the lack of a store, and everything to do with Gil Amelio. Hell, the reason they are doing great now has less to do with the store then it has to do with the iPod/iTunes, iMac, and OSX that Jobs brought with him when he came back to the company. Apple stores are just a big ad venue, people come in for an iPod and are blasted with a face full of pure apple in all its brushed glory. Went in to best buy a few weeks ago to pick up a cheap (800$) laptop for the woman, and the sales guy was actually talking alot of smack about vista. I don’t think there will be as much resistance by the sales guys as you seem to think. 2008-07-10 4:36 pm Kroc Apple’s stores work because they researched into what sucked about stores. A Sony shop is every bit a big Sony advert, and they are failing at retail, miserably. Apple nailed the shopping experience, they could never have done that in the back corner of someone else’s store. 2008-07-11 10:10 am judgen OI! do your homework, Gil Amelio was good for apple, he made cutbacks and helped apple back on its feet. And he got software development back on track by killing many of the fruitless branches of the appletree development. And he also paved the way for Jobs. Without Amelio the company would have been runned into the ground by Scully’s and his ilk’s shananigans. 2008-07-11 6:41 pm google_ninja Ok, amelio did better the scully, but he still had this sort of “Lets compete with the pc market head to head” thing going, and was working pretty hard at making macs more boring enough for business. When jobs showed up first thing he did was kill the clones, second thing he did was put out a simple, flashy box and marketed the hell out of it to college students and home users who found PCs too complected. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2-UuIEOcss) 2008-07-10 1:43 pm Adurbe I agree pc world are more than a little rubbish when it comes to alternative OS Unless the box is displayed prominently (ie pc world are pushing it) it will disappear into the racks of ‘Software’ Obviously the first question people will ask is ‘can it run microsoft office?’ No… BUT… (they are already gone..) 2008-07-10 6:50 pm jbicha Linux actually can run Microsoft Office 2003 very easily now. Just install Wine, then install Office. On the other hand, some of the “reviews” at the Best Buy site seem fake. 2008-07-10 1:44 pm moleskine Yes, and if Best Buy is anything like PCWorld here, a user will pick up the box and ask an assistant and the assistant – a Microsoftie with ignorance of everything else – will tell them they don’t want that, and instead they want Vista. There’s a reason Mac sales were languishing before Apple had their own store, and it’s because store staff at the major retailers didn’t (and still don’t) have a clue how to operate a Windows alternative, how to answer customer’s questions to that effect or how to even sell the damn thing. I don’t expect this Ubuntu box to get far, unfortunately. You’re right. The staff in PC World must be working there because they couldn’t get a job in Macdonald’s. And that’s if a purchaser can even find the Ubuntu box. PC World seems geared around special offers and how much marketing the manufacturer spends on a product. It’s all too likely that a boxed set of Ubuntu will be consigned to the bottom shelf of the back row. I hope not, though, but that’s pretty well what PC World used to do with Mandriva, SuSE, etc. It’s not much consolation really. Getting on to the Asus Eee, the MSI Wind or any similar device would have reached far more people. I’ve still yet to read an account of why the Far Eastern UMPC lot decided to go with the distros they did, and especially with the unfortunately named Linpus whose website makes clear it isn’t a community distro at all even though it’s a re-tread of Fedora. Cheap? Local? Unlikely to upset the Chinese government? Dunno. Apple had to move well away from PC World and all stores like it if they wanted to establish themselves as a premium, high-quality brand with properly trained staff. Not setting up their own franchises would have been like trying to sell gourmet, hand-made chocolates in a thrift store. 2008-07-10 3:32 pm kaiwai Yes, and if Best Buy is anything like PCWorld here, a user will pick up the box and ask an assistant and the assistant – a Microsoftie with ignorance of everything else – will tell them they don’t want that, and instead they want Vista. There’s a reason Mac sales were languishing before Apple had their own store, and it’s because store staff at the major retailers didn’t (and still don’t) have a clue how to operate a Windows alternative, how to answer customer’s questions to that effect or how to even sell the damn thing. I don’t expect this Ubuntu box to get far, unfortunately. With that being said, in New Zealand, the pre-sales support for Mac’s were horrible at one stage. They used to be pushed into the corner or the shops that did sell them were really out of the way (outside the main CBD). Things have improved, and I have a feeling it is because the distributor is spending money training up staff at the shops that do sell it, and most places where they are selling the Macs, there is atleast 1-2 ‘Mac guys’ who know their stuff. For Ubuntu to get around this hurdle, what they need to do is offer free training sessions to the of the retail chains employees they are teaming up with. Get the sales staff familiar with it, give them a free copy they can take home and use, if they have laptops, have a ‘install feast’ to get them used to it. Atleast then, when a customer does come to ask questions, they know how to deal with it rather than a clueless shrug followed by, “best to purchase Windows Vista as I don’t know this Ubuntu stuff”. 2008-07-11 10:09 am Soulbender and it’s because store staff at the major retailers didn’t (and still don’t) have a clue how to operate a Windows alternative I think it’s safe to shorten this to “store staff doesn’t have a clue”. Period. 2008-07-10 12:18 pm satan666 You may be right. But still it is a step forward for Ubuntu. Those Microsofties that work for BestBuy get exposed to Ubuntu too, not only the customers. I’m really happy for Ubuntu even if I don’t use it on any of my desktops. 2008-07-10 12:54 pm TLZ_ Hey, for once: I’m agreeing with you! (Except: I do use Ubuntu a little.) Anyway, this is definetely a step in the right direction. Ubuntu is slowly getting attention outside Linux-circles. 2008-07-10 12:43 pm joekiser When this story first appeared on Slashdot yesterday, I was reminded of just a few years ago, seeing boxed copies of SuSE, and then Mandriva beside Windows XP at Best Buy. Before that, it was Mandrake at Wal-Mart and Corel Linux at sam goody. Ubuntu is the popular distro right now; as such, I’m actually surprised that it took THIS LONG to end up on shelves. Boxed copies of Linux have been on the sold at major retailers off and on for well over a decade. I don’t see how this can be any more successful than past attempts to get new people on Linux. Look, I’m all for people adopting alternate operating systems and sticking it to Microsoft, but I just don’t see how this will turn out any differently. People who already know Ubuntu will get it for free, while curious prospects will be put off when they try to ask questions about it to the idiot employees. I was told one time by a Best Buy employee that buying 64 bit Windows vs 32 bit Windows made it twice as fast, and by another employee that doubling the RAM in my laptop would give me a picture twice as clear. These guys are going to sell someone on the merits of Ubuntu vs. Vista? Best of luck to Ubuntu, in any case. 2008-07-10 12:49 pm google_ninja I was actually thinking the same thing, although I have actually been buying those boxes for about as long as they have been around. Dunno if I will be anymore (really lost a lot of interest in linux in the last few years) but for those of you who are still super into it, I highly suggesting buying it through a big retailer as a way of support. Typically it is not that expensive (50-75$) for an OS, and the more of a market that retailers see for it, the more attention they will give it. 2008-07-10 1:08 pm acamfield Kind of agree, but… BB employee incompetence doesn’t make them microsofties. Just predisposes them to be. Bought SuSE at BB a couple of times and always felt good about it even though I went back to RedHat both times. Having boxes in view next to Vista in a major retail chain makes Linux seem “mainstream” to Joe Public and less the tool of the hacker elite. I’ll buy a copy for my mom’s laptop. And for 60 days she can call best buy instead of me when she hoses something up. 2008-07-11 4:09 am ecruz Very nice of you. Attacking the employees is your way to say, yes, I am stupid and do not have an argument. You love Linux, can you just be a human being and make your argument without putting down the employees? I guess not. You are a p*ece of S$*t. 2008-07-11 1:38 pm acamfield The adult thing would to be to ignore you since you seem to be very young, but it’s a slow day and I’m between projects, so… I’ve shopped at BestBuy for more than 7 years and while I keep going back for the good deals on hardware and software, I can tell you quite a number of stories about their associates that would paint them in a less than stellar light. That I have personally witnessed events that prove that certain BestBuy employees are incompetent is not an attack on them. It’s a statement of fact. Based on what I read, that’s fairly common and could be said about any number of retail chains. As a matter of fact, I thought I was defending them to the OP. But obviously, you didn’t see it that way. So, butt out eduardo. Let the adults talk and you listen. Maybe you might learn sum’thin’. Later 2008-07-12 7:15 pm ecruz I see. You weren’t attacking the employees, but you called them names. Got it! Do you expect computer engineers to work at Best Buy for $8.00 an hour. You see, that’s what you guys (adults?) expect. Put up or shut up. Volunteer your time to go to a Best Buy store close to you ( they will let you) and inform consumers about the great value Linux is. That should make you my child, feel better and at the same time get you out of your house to see the real world! Hasta la vista my lost child! 2008-07-10 1:23 pm Windows Sucks This is a good idea at this price. I go to Micro Center in the US and they have been one of the biggest sellers of Linux and BSD over the years. But a lot of the times the marketing was bad and also the price was WAY too high. The problem with Apple in non Apple stores has always been that they have their little spot off to the side, in the back and no one not looking for Apple products would see it or be interested in it. MS stuff is always all over computer stores. And more important its on the End Caps. The part of the isle you first see when you come to it. Product placement is the key here. If its just thrown on the bottom of a shelf then no one will see it unless looking for it. My thing has always been that a company like Ubuntu (In the US) needs to partner up with a OEM and sell their products on QVC. or make an infomercial. Tiger Direct does those and they do very well. They market their PC’s on QVC etc and make good money from what I understand. Dell even sells PC’s on QVC and the Home Shopping Network. If people can sit down for 30 minutes and watch a GOOD demo of how Linux works when pre installed and what you can do with it and how it works with Windows, how to install apps etc. More people would be interested. Also another key marketing point would be support. The fact that for a low fee you can buy support at any time you need help. A lot of people don’t know or don’t think you can do that with MS and Apple. They think that once it doesnt work or that have a problem it’s best to call a friend cause it will cost an arm and a leg to call MS. Canonical has the chance here to make their name number 3 in the PC market (Microsoft, Apple, Canonical) 2008-07-10 2:54 pm TaterSalad These ubuntu cd’s will sit on the shelf right next to the Suse boxes that haven’t sold. 2008-07-10 9:09 pm cmost This won’t increase Linux’s use on home desktops any more than SUSE’s or Red Hat’s box sets did when they were widely available. In fact, it will probably make things worse. It’s like what another poster said: When a customer asks an ignorant sales clerk about the OS, he’ll be told Linux is complicated, it lacks popular software support (“you mean I can’t run Microsoft Office?” and the clerk will say “nope” even though the customer can run it through Wine;) its for geeks, etc. (list any Linux misconception here) The bottom line is that the customer will leave the store with a shiny new upgrade edition of Vista and s/he’ll never again “waste” his or her time on that “awful” Linux thingy. Without the box set (and the ignorant clerk,) maybe the customer would have downloaded it on his own and found it to be perfect fine. Secondly, Canonical releases a new Ubuntu version every six months. This is too frequently, even for software. (It would be like Chevrolet putting out a new ‘vette every six months.) To make matters worse, each released version of Ubuntu is promptly forgotten about (e.g., repository frozen save for a few scant security updates..maybe a backport here or there if one is lucky.) Users may purchase the last release, or even the one before that and then wonder why this or that package is old or why support is nill. The end result is that the consumer will walk away with a bad taste in his mouth and feel cheated or have the impression that Ubuntu software is outdated and inferior. What Linux (and the open source community in general) really needs is a marketing arm. A group that convenes to decide and implement marketing for major open source projects. This could be funded by big corporations that use the aforementioned FOSS software and by personal donations. 2008-07-11 4:23 am ecruz Why don’t all you guys that are pushing Linux all the time put your money where your mouth is? Or is it like I have always thought, you guys are all talk, but never, ever, support Linux by buying a box set. I have. You all could come up with a campaign and donate some cash ( there are so many thousands of you???) and put it together and buy your own ads. Imagine that there are one million Linux users. Each one can donate $5 Dollars. That will buy you a lot of advertisement. But no, you want corporations to do it for you. Corp. are fo profit entities. Do you have any common sense at all? You might prefer taxpayers to foot the bill for your little toy. Wouldn’t that be nice! 2008-07-11 11:45 am cmost Why don’t all you guys that are pushing Linux all the time put your money where your mouth is? Or is it like I have always thought, you guys are all talk, but never, ever, support Linux by buying a box set. I have. Umm, I donate hard cold CA$H to my favorite Linux distributions. I don’t need a fancy box set or a user guide that’s outdated within weeks. It doesn’t make sense, financially, to buy a box set you don’t need, simply to get some cash into the developers hands. Just put the cash into the developers hands. Perhaps instead of generalizing and making umbrella statements about Linux users (which you’re obviously not yourself) try finding that elusive common sense you claim others lack. 2008-07-10 11:09 pm wrocic Linux needs more exposure, but I think at the minute the best way is still word of mouth. Lots of people in my workplace, WinXP land, have tried Vista and have since moved to Linux. Someone gave me a copy of Ubuntu, and it was pants. I could not play divx’s, and I use my PC for home entertainment. I was then given PCLinuxOS. I liked that, but it seemed a bit flimsy. I was then told to try Opensuse 11. I installed that, and my friend showed me how to enable media playback, and it is simply amazing. I would not have persevered with Linux, without some friends showing me the way, now I am returning the favour to other people who want to try something different. 2008-07-10 11:11 pm Whats That There What is so good about open suse ? I tried it a couple of years ago and it was slow and buggy, is it any different now ? 2008-07-14 2:24 pm darrelljon I think the charging for binary downloads (or just faster servers) is underrated form of revenue for Linux distros. eLive use this with some success.