Home > Linspire > Rebutting Criticism of the Microtel 200 USD PCRebutting Criticism of the Microtel 200 USD PC Eugenia Loli 2002-10-25 Linspire 43 Comments“This review will dispel some of the myths you’ve heard about the $200 Lindows PC available at Walmart.com.” Read the review at NewsForge.About The Author Eugenia LoliEx-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 43 Comments 2002-10-25 6:03 pm “It is a fact that much of Microsoft’s desktop feel is not straightforward or productive…”i don’t understand why people always bash the windows gui. i have found that after using gnome, kde, the mac aqua interface, and windows; that windows is the easiest to navigate in. things like alt+tab and windows+d are CRITIAL. i find myself always digging through a sea of windows when i don’t have a good way to use the keyboard to switch between apps and windows+d to hide everything. also, as far as the look of the os goes, while aqua is pretty, i find that for a look/functionality mix, windows is the best. the widgets are VERY straightforward (a gray box for a button, a recessed white box for text), my eyes don’t wander around, distracted by the glowing blue blobs and the white and gray lines everywhere.this is my $0.02, and i own both a 1.4ghz athlon /w win 2k and a ti powerbook 800 running 10.2 2002-10-25 6:25 pm ha ha ha… you gotta laugh at such a typical linux review… They always spend more time to say that it’s better than anything that Microsoft does, why is that nessesary at all? It just makes the so called review totally useless, how you can trust a review from a person, that thinks everything that Microsoft does NOT make, is good? Here you have a peson that is willing to live with less and errors… just as long it isn’t a Microsoft product. 2002-10-25 6:26 pm I don’t think the amount of RAM is good enough for Netscape + KDE together. I don’t really feel it would be fast enough for normal use. But the heck with that, the computer sales is most probably impulse buying. Not for anything else.On the Ctrl-Exe thingy, it is used to open up the Start menu…. hey! I didn’t think this up. They *pointing finger towards Redmond* did it! 2002-10-25 6:28 pm Kyle-You sound like a long time windows users. I on the other hand am a long time Mac user and I feel the completely at ease on a Mac and not a Win machine. My guess is that both of us has learned the esoteric short cuts and commands so well that our respective environments feel like second nature. As for other windows users bashing the windows gui, maybe they like 3.11 better.//Ukiah 2002-10-25 6:30 pm No, i don’t think that’s Matthew point. Matthew’s point is that some of Microsoft UI stuff, like the keyboard shortcuts, don’t make sense to someone just starting to use a computer. Surely, after you learnt them all, they are great. Windows’ UI is great – only after you learnt that. If this is what keeping many people from using the aging computer lying in their living room – I prefectly understand why.Not to sound like a Microsoft basher (well, a lot of people emailed me asking if they could get similar jobs at Microsoft), Windows’ UI ISN’T the best. Why not make something BETTER? Which is exactly his point. The review is NOT about Lindows being better than Windows (I notice he haven’t tried Windows XP with MSN 8.0 before Lindows.com). 2002-10-25 7:06 pm Rajan, you’re exactly right, the amount of RAM included isn’t enough for Netscape+KDE together. A smart user would use GNOME and Galeon, and have tons of memory to spare. Nah… in all reality, the included RAM probably is enough for KDE/Konqy, or KDE/Moz. I was running that combination for a while with 64 MB of memory and a 466 MHz Celeron processor (I’m still using that proc in fact, but I have 8x the memory now).Is Windows’ UI great? I love the Win-* key shortcuts, but that’s because I’ve learned them… but [ a ] the average user won’t use them no matter what, and [ b ] there are certainly as-powerful equivalents available for Linux. Ever used Ratpoison? It’s a great, great windowmanager, that eschews titlebars and traditional WM Widgets in favor of always-maximized but tileable/splittable windows. It’s the graphical equivalent of ‘screen’, and there’s nothing more powerful available for any platform.For the average user, they want something intuitive. Some things like that Windows gets right, others Mac does, others both or neither do. For any Linux distro to gain users from Windows, it would have to be more intuitive than Windows; directly copying everything, down to the Ctrl-Alt-Del, is stupid. 2002-10-25 7:15 pm …and offer them up as news stories. Catch this blatant falsehood at the end of the “review”“Linux applications tend to clean up after themselves and store files that are much less bloated than comparable Microsoft applications. The object of Microsoft’s bloat ware is to fill up your hard drive with useless junk, so that you’ll purchase a new PC with the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system pre-installed. “ 2002-10-25 7:38 pm Ctrl+ESC makes sense to HIM. He also seems to be ignorant of why the combo is Ctrl+Alt+Del on Windows.Tell me, how much sense do Ctrl+Alt+Backspace, Ctrl+D, and Ctrl+Z make? Or the billion other combo’s that Linux GUI’s can’t touch or alter because Emacs users will be offended?As for the double click/single click thing…Hint one: You can set Windows to allow single click. They tried to set this to default at one point. Apparently no-one liked it, and they switched back.Hint two: Ignoring the right mouse button for a second, the only place in the Windows UI (and in most good Windows programs I can think of) that you have to double click is on desktop icons (with default settings). Everywhere else, you can single click to select, and then select your action from a pulldown menu, toolbar button or keyboard.Hint Three: Teach a new user to right click on everything to see what they can do with it. Not only will this allow one to use desktop icons without double-clicking, but it carries over to many other programs.That, and don’t assume the Window UI has stood still since Windows 98. It hasn’t. If it looks like it has, then maybe it is because they got so much right the first (well maybe 4th, ie: Windows 95/4.0) time. 2002-10-25 7:42 pm Oh, and the task bar tray. Sometimes you have to doubleclick or right click on icons there too, but task bar tray icons are oversused anyways.All the better reason to tell new users about hint three. 2002-10-25 7:58 pm Perchance, is the physical mouse, and the computer concepts associated with it, a bad concept in the first place?Certainly for text and content creation, some sort of a cursor is required. But the mouse pointer is bad design. It would make much more sense to adequately separate command and control from content. In the future, computers could use voice. Now, couldn’t they make greater use of the function keys?I’d much prefer to have my menubar simply be a list of functions for each of the 12 keys, than to have one where you have to seek it out and click it. Combine that with a windowmanager like Ratpoison, setting it to use the Meta/Win key instead of the Ctrl-T sequence (it could even use Meta-Fx for its main functions), and with a keyboard-integrated scroll wheel, and you’d get a fully-navigable interface for everything except high-end content creation work; and for that, an absolute-positioned mega-sized touchpad, devoid of an on-screen pointer, would work better than any mouse. In addition to supporting completely intuitive context menus. 2002-10-25 8:01 pm I’ve tried to do some searching but haven’t found anything yet, so I thought I’d ask. Does anyone know of a place that has sales figures for these machines? The Linux faithful are constantly stating this is hurting Microsoft but I wanted to see actual figures saying Walmart.com has sold x number of machines with Lindows/Lycoris/Mandrake to see if anyone is really even caring. The main people these distros target (average joe home user) aren’t exactly the type of people who are buying computers on the internet, and if they do they probably stick to the big named brand OEM’s like Dell, HP, etc. Most people wouldn’t know about these computers if it weren’t for the geek sites which average joe doesn’t exactly frequent. I’d also like to see the number of returns when the person who bought it finds out they can’t just pop in their daily free AOL cdrom and have it install the internet for them. Same with the game they probably bought along with the computer. 2002-10-25 8:07 pm > We can’t MS bash on OSNews, but OSNews can link to reviews that doBe sure, I have emailed the author just saying to him: “You got to be kidding me”. 2002-10-25 8:22 pm Kyle,In gnome I have Windows+D setup to get me to my desktop and Alt-Tab works just fine for switching apps. I don’t get what you’re talking about.Gnome and KDE are far easier to use IMO because they allow you to change the desktop, where as Windows doesn’t.In Gnome I have my launcher icons (like the show desktop icon in windows next to the start button) up in the upper left hand corner of my screen, as well as my Gnome menu. In the upper right I have my clock and the weather report (yeah cause I never go outside)In the middle of all that I have my mini-command line so that I can type in the app I want to launch and not have to sift through menus.On the bottom I have all my open windows that I can switch between.IMO that is the best setup for me. But in windows I cannot do that. 2002-10-25 8:25 pm ….for chiding someone who produced a bogus review. I’m a long-time Microsoft (and Linux) user, and I’ve said time and time again that I like MS’s products (most of the time but some of their business behavior bothers me.The most important thing (for me) that Microsoft has done right is good keyboard support. In the early Linux days, I found it very, very difficult to use X because I had to chase a mouse around the screen (I can only see about 3 letters at a time, close up, and the mouse is hard to track further away.) I will *always* be extremely grateful to Microsoft for having done this, and will be grateful to Linux developers who implement good keyboarding as well.I’ve always looked sidewise at people who say software manufacturers were in bed with hardware and comspiring to bloat software. This is especially true now that I can no longer download Mandrake updates to the Linux kernel sources on my modem (100 *megabytes* in compressed form????)Hey…we can itemize the pros and cons of different operating systems all day long, but let’s be accurate! 2002-10-25 8:42 pm I use Windows.I can put the taskbar at the top (or either side of the screen).I can add another toolbar to the top (or bottom or either side) and put launcher buttons in it.I can add an address bar to my desktop that will also launch apps. I can download a 3rd party one that does all kinds of extra stuff if I want.Yes, GNOME is more flexible with customizations like these (yet irritatingly limited in many ways), but most people (including me), don’t need that. The stock UI is “good enough”. 2002-10-25 8:57 pm This new user having a difficult time double clicking makes a lot of sense to me…I have an aunt that I’ve had to explain to a million times that she has to double click the icons on the desktop, though when she does remember, it’s quite difficult. She has to move the mouse over the icon, then she takes her hand off the mouse, and tries to poke the left button with her index finger two times real quick which doesn’t work too well, even when she’s fast enough, she has a tendency to move the mouse off the icon in the process.So really, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have double clicking if you think about it.I would have the same issues if I were new to computers.For a long time, the default in KDE has been single click (though I suppose this isn’t so much an issue with the latest kde’s as you choose what OS you want your desktop to behave like) but still, I make it a point to make sure double clicking is selected (otherwise I tend to open an app twice), though now I am thinking maybe I should go with single click and force myself to get used to it, double click really serves no purpose in kde cept if you’re used to it.Can you setup single click in BeOS as well? Think it might be time to get rid of a useless habbit (even if it does only slow things down bye a millionth of a second). 2002-10-25 9:04 pm Oh ya, forgot to mention this in my last post:Netscape/KDE with 128 megs of ram is absolutely fine! I speak from experience!Your system will do some swapping but so will any other OS running a functional browser including probably even win95.It will certainly be MUCH faster than IE on win98 with 64 megs of ram (again, I speak from experience). And many low end systems were sold with this configuration, and many were bought and are still used today. Including the other PC in my home.I mean, solaris with 128 megs of ram and netscape4 on pc is totally fast enough for me, and at least in terms of lower end machines, solaris x86 is real memory hog (not to mention netscape4)!Rajan, maybe you just had a bad, atypical experience? 2002-10-25 9:31 pm 1. if you are technically competent with computers and you buy a $200 pc….your expectations better match what you are paying for.2. COMPLETE computer newbs, who just want to get their feet wet with the whole email, surf-the-web, play mp3’s, dink around experience….would be perfect for this pc….especially if a $500 pc sounds expensive to them. 2002-10-25 10:19 pm Why is the main thrust of so many distro reviews ‘how will it play for Uncle Fred or Aunt Minnie, who still use a black dial telephone and think TV is the devil?’ PCs are complex. They do a zillion different things. Unlike a TV, or a car, or a dishwasher or washing machine, which have simple jobs. A car goes and stops. A washing machine gets clothes wet and flings them around in circles. A TV makes sounds and pretty colors. But a PC….well, I don’t think I need to make a list!I think it is a mistake to aim for people who have to be forced to even touch a computer, let alone purchase and use one. I like to see reviews that speak to the experienced user. We’re the ones who spend time on them, and have jobs to do with them. I want to know how it will help me do what I need to do. I want to know the good reliable hardware, I want to know the good reliable software. While usability is always an issue, and an especially difficult one for a device with literally hundreds of functions, it’s more important to me to know Can it do the job? As someone commented here awhile back, in the olden days we learned DOS commands, before that it was even more arcane. When did get we get afraid to learn how to properly use a complex tool?I like that this review did discuss the hardware- this is where budget PCs usually blow it. I don’t agree that not creating a user account by default is OK- it’s not. The great strengths of Linux are network-friendliness, protecting system files, and true multi-user capabilities. Can Windows run multiple desktops and consoles? Can Windows run multiple users with different desktop environments simultaneously? Can Windows protect its own system files? Is Windows even one-hundredth as customizable as Linux? Not only no, but hell no!Let’s promote the strengths of Linux, and quit trying to be good little Microsoft imitators. Microsoft has been very successful at perpetuating the myth that computers are easy. They are not, and it’s a disservice to mislead people this way. 2002-10-25 10:22 pm I was thinking of buying one of these, replacing the 10GB drive with a 40GB drive I’ve got laying on the floor here, and turning the thing into a networked ogg-vorbis player for the house! I could rip every CD I own into ogg format, then control it from a browser (after a little Perl CGI programming 🙂 on any machine on my network! For $200.00, it really sounds like a good deal. 2002-10-25 10:25 pm Give me one reason why computers should not be easy.The fact is, a computer with a truly well-designed interface will be easy to use for both a newbie and a techie. The problem is, right now the GUI is king; people actually think that it’s a good idea to use a mouse as a primary input device. As soon as someone comes along and designs a good interface that doesn’t even allow use of the mouse (think Palm OS), we won’t have these flamewars anymore. 2002-10-25 10:44 pm >Let’s promote the strengths of LinuxYou mean try to get Linux becoming a good server? Linux is already a good server. But that’s about it. I don’t see any other strengths on Linux on the desktop today, other than its server strengths. Refer to my Lycoris post today (one story below) for more. 2002-10-25 11:24 pm “The object of Microsoft’s bloat ware is to fill up your hard drive with useless junk, so that you’ll purchase a new PC with the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system pre-installed.”Can it get crappier ? A serious proof please ? 2002-10-25 11:53 pm I was considering getting a cheap machine to run Solaris 8, since it has such a hard time being installed on a multi-boot machine. At $200 the price is right… Is there any reason why this machine wouldn’t be suitable for Solaris? 2002-10-26 1:01 am I want linux to work on the desktop and so forth but I’m no fanboy that just blindly says it’s great it’s just not there yet, sadly mac is but I’m not rich and so I have to stick with windows even if I don’t like it much, it’s not bad, but I hope liunx will win. 2002-10-26 1:22 am Hi folks,All these people talking about good keyboarding remind me that I’ve never seen a “rosetta stone” linking, say, all those Windows keyboard shortcuts with MacOS keyboard shortcuts, with maybe even CDE / KDE / Gnome shorcuts on the side. Does such a beast exist?Yours truly,Jeffrey Boulier 2002-10-26 1:27 am You won’t find any hard evidence that these machines are “hurting” Microsoft.They’re not.If Wal*Mart were selling these on the shelves in their stores I’d think that maybe they would be taking away from some sales of machines with WinXP on them.But, Wal*Mart isn’t selling these in their stores. They’re selling them on their website.How many of you have ever purchased a computer on walmart.com?How many of you have ever purchased anything on walmart.com?These computers are targeted at first-time computer buyers. But to buy a computer online you have to already have a computer. It is illogical to think that a first-time buyer would, even if they had access to walmart.com somehow, buy a computer sight-unseen without asking for a demonstration of it. The only people that buy computers online are experienced users who aren’t necessarily interested in a 1st-time-computer-user pc.This marketing scheme is poorly thought out. I doubt it is causing Microsoft any worry whatsoever. 2002-10-26 1:29 am > I don’t think the amount of RAM is good enough for Netscape + KDE together. I don’t> really feel it would be fast enough for normal use. But the heck with that, the> computer sales is most probably impulse buying. Not for anything else.Hmm…I do not agree with that, though. You must think about the target audience. These PCs are for people who do web browsing, email, chat, and the occasional game. My sister uses an AMD K6-2 450 PC for her college work, and it works just fine. Of course, I will have to upgrade the 640 MB PIO mode 3 hard drive soon… 😉Remember that people really liked those Web TV systems when they cost $200, and these $200 PCs are infinitely more flexible than any Web TV device.> Certainly for text and content creation, some sort of a cursor is required. But the> mouse pointer is bad design. It would make much more sense to adequately separate> command and control from content. In the future, computers could use voice. Now,> couldn’t they make greater use of the function keys?I tried using voice recognition software once, but even with just one-word commands it made everything horribly slow. I am not talking about CPU utilization. And besides, people just look at me even more strangely than usual when I talk to my computer.> I have an aunt that I’ve had to explain to a million times that she has to double> click the icons on the desktop, though when she does remember, it’s quite difficult.LOL, I have encountered new users with that same problem. Seems silly, but it is true. When I stop to think about it I wonder why we ever had to double click on an icon in the first place?In case you – or anyone else – did not know, you can set up Windows to use a single click. Windows XP has this listed under Start/Control Panel/Appearance and Themes/Folder Options. You should also be able to access the Folder Options dialog from an Explorer window menu.> It will certainly be MUCH faster than IE on win98 with 64 megs of ram (again, I> speak from experience). And many low end systems were sold with this configuration,> and many were bought and are still used today. Including the other PC in my home.Have you ever tried running Windows 2000 on a computer with 32 MB of RAM? Now *that* is sloooooowwwwww… 2002-10-26 1:32 am In her review of that Microtel PC, Eugenia says regarding the builtin graphics: FreeBSD users get your drivers from the same page linked above as well. OpenBSD/NetBSD or Solaris users will be unlucky, because Tim hasn’t updated the new version of his driver, 1.1.23t, which adds support or the SavagePRO+ DDR chipset, for these operating systems yet. However, the source is available, so you may be able to compile it yourself!No one I know has tried this yet, let me know if you get it working! My Ultra 2 could use a x86-based friend.Yours truly,Jeffrey Boulier 2002-10-26 1:36 am The link in question:http://www.probo.com/timr/savage40.htmlThe link to Eugenia’s review of the Microtel box:http://www.osnews.com/printer.php?news_id=1145Note that this was for the more powerful Athlon configuration, I don’t know much about the low-end Via C3-based box.Yours truly,Jeffrey Boulier 2002-10-26 1:46 am People have said it on other boards, but I haven’t seen it here, so here we go:On a PC, Ctrl-Alt-Delete is an interrupt, so you’re guaranteed that it goes to the operating system. This is why they used to make you hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete before logging in: to prevent someone from making a program that displays a phony login screen that steals your username and password. Sure, using those particular keys was an arbitrary decision, but there’s nothing Microsoft or any other x86 OS maker can do to change it; it’d have to be changed in hardware first.As for the rest of the review, any valid points made were completely overshadowed by the author’s obvious biases. His sometimes-twisted statements, occasional lies, and often incorrect (or ignorant) claims gave you no reason to believe anything he said, nor be confident that he wasn’t leaving out anything important. 2002-10-26 1:46 am “Please don’t get me wrong here, not all MCSEs are drones…”Oh really? This statement completely discredits Mr. McGuigan as he obviously can not offer any proof of it.McGUIgan? I think this whole article is a troll. 2002-10-26 2:44 am >The link to Eugenia’s review of the Microtel box:I would appreciate that if in the future you link to the actually story.php files and not to the printer.php files. Thanks. 2002-10-26 4:01 am bkakesThere is no “special” interrupt for CTRL-ALT-DEL. I would love to know what drugs you are on.There is only 1 interrupt for a standard keyboard, IRQ 1. USB keyboards would use the interrupt of the USB controller to get the CPUs attention.The windows keyboard driver detects when the 3 fingered salute is given. Where you get this “special” interrupt from is beyond me. 2002-10-26 4:53 am Hiryu: Your system will do some swapping but so will any other OS running a functional browser including probably even win95. Windows 95 won’t do swaping if it had 128mn 🙂Hiryu: It will certainly be MUCH faster than IE on win98 with 64 megs of ram (again, I speak from experience). And many low end systems were sold with this configuration, and many were bought and are still used today. Including the other PC in my home.While those PCs are common, what it really going off the shelfs these days is those with 256MB of memory. And that ultimately gives the difference in performance. Unless they are into impulse purchases, 128MB isn’t enough.As for “MUCH faster”, I sincerly doubt that. Windows 98 + IE 4.0 uses little RAM, compared to Netscape/KDE, so Windows 98 would use less virtual memory.Hiryu: I mean, solaris with 128 megs of ram and netscape4 on pc is totally fast enough for me, and at least in terms of lower end machinesNetscape 4 uses a quarter of Netscape 7’s memory, and Solaris, I’m guessing, since it is using CDE and Motif uses way less memory than KDE 3.0.Eugenia: But that’s about it. I don’t see any other strengths on Linux on the desktop todayLinux also have its strenghts in the high end workstation market. Think SGIs, Suns, etc. Not for the average Joe, but Linux is quite good in the high end market. And it is getting even more better each passing day, and getting more and more comparable with other UNIXes..null_pointer_us: These PCs are for people who do web browsing, email, chat, and the occasional game. My sister uses an AMD K6-2 450 PC for her college work, and it works just fineOkay, I give up. I obviously didn’t know your sister was using netscape 7.0 and KDE 3.0 on that machine. (Well, in the first place, you didn’t mentioned the amount of RAM – but I’m guessing 32MB. As the OS? The apps?)null_pointer_us: Remember that people really liked those Web TV systems when they cost $200, and these $200 PCs are infinitely more flexible than any Web TV device. Plus remember Web TV failed as a product.When I stop to think about it I wonder why we ever had to double click on an icon in the first place? I never really understood the concept. When I first started using computers for at least an hour a week, it was Windows 98, and was single click. I learnt that, and when I tried out Linux and *loved* it, it sticked (thanks to KDE). Now, I absolutely DON’T understand double click. On all my Windows installations, it is set to single click.The only people opposing this is people used to double click. Take sometime to get used to it, then you would question yourself why the heck was I using double click!null_pointer_us: Have you ever tried running Windows 2000 on a computer with 32 MB of RAM? Now *that* is sloooooowwwwww…Well, obviously. If there is one thing besides security that is bad with Windows NT line of OS is the memory consumption. But if you supply both machines with a 128MB of RAM, see Windows 2000 speed up to be way faster than Windows 98.bkakes: Sure, using those particular keys was an arbitrary decision, but there’s nothing Microsoft or any other x86 OS maker can do to change it; it’d have to be changed in hardware first. Might be years ago when Alt-Ctrl-Del was only used to reboot the OS when the OS crashed, now it is something that could be changed. But for that amount of users, I don’t think changing keyboard shortcuts is wise, even if it is possible. 2002-10-26 1:46 pm > There is no “special” interrupt for CTRL-ALT-DEL. I would love to know what> drugs you are on.I remember hearing something about a software interrupt that Windows reserves for CTRL+ALT+DEL. Perhaps he confused that with a hardware interrupt?> Okay, I give up. I obviously didn’t know your sister was using netscape 7.0 and> KDE 3.0 on that machine. (Well, in the first place, you didn’t mentioned the> amount of RAM – but I’m guessing 32MB. As the OS? The apps?)No, 128 MB of old PC100 SDRAM. The operating system is Windows 98 first edition, and the apps are Microsoft office and IE 5 something or other. When I upgrade the hard drive, I am planning to connect her to the home network so that she can browse the Internet.Currently, she must browse the Internet using my Dad’s PC because we haven’t run network cable two flights up, and wireless networks are just to insecure for my tastes.> Plus remember Web TV failed as a product.Yes, because they were not real PCs.> Well, obviously. If there is one thing besides security that is bad with Windows NT> line of OS is the memory consumption. But if you supply both machines with a 128MB> of RAM, see Windows 2000 speed up to be way faster than Windows 98.I was not belittling Windows 2000. 2002-10-26 2:33 pm Actually, wireless networks are quite secure. Change your password and encryption every hour and you are fine 🙂 No seriously, unless you know next to nothing about network security, or if you decide to go down the Apple Airport route, you are practically fine 🙂 2002-10-26 3:07 pm I don’t think anything has been mentioned about the iffy economic time in which we live now. I realize, of course, that not everyone here lives in the USA too. If the economy remains very flat (or worse) and there are others factors involved like war, etc., both personal computing and corporate computing can continue to hurt. Corporations and companies will be delaying buying, trying to stretch things out as long as they can. Consumers will hesitate to buy new computers and first time buyers the same.Like all economics, there is no way to predict what will hapen – all economic speculation is voodoo and, just speculation. Nobody knows what will happen.If things continue to be flat or worse, of course Microsoft will survive. It is the hardware market that, it seems to me, would be the hardest hit. How much further can Dell cut margins and reamin on top if nobody is buying? I fear poor Gateway might go under if things got bad.I think Apple would survive, but the market share may continue to get smaller, although they could still be profitable. Although you don’t have to be “rich” to buy a Mac, as some say, you do have to pay. Right now, for the true Joe User, Apple has the best package out of the box – cool hardware, friendly GUI, the all important iApps and now .Mac., which continues to expand its services. Yes, you have to pay, but Apple has a great package for the consumer.So, what would this very flat economy do for or against Linux? I think it would help Linux. It would help on the corporate level. Many corporations, if things were bad enough, might chuck Microsft and go all Linux – just think of the money they would save, both on the server side and workstation side. On the consumer level, it all depends on how things shake down. But, if Lindows and Lycrois continue to improve, what if Wal-Mart decided to put these babies out on the shelves instead of just online? Despite the fact that these distros are not where XP Home and OS X are, it could have an effect in the positive sense for Linux.Well, I’m just speculating too, but my point is that an ongoing economic situation can have a profound effect on markets. 2002-10-26 6:08 pm > Actually, wireless networks are quite secure. Change your password and> encryption every hour and you are fine 🙂 No seriously, unless you know next> to nothing about network security, or if you decide to go down the Apple> Airport route, you are practically fine 🙂You do not seem to understand the problem. With a wireless network, anyone can join the network *behind* the firewall and thus access any shared resource on the home network. Did you read the article on Ars a while ago when they flew over silicon valley and were able to see 802.11b wireless networks at 1,500 feet? 2002-10-26 6:25 pm (I know this is a bit off-topic, but what the hey)I’ve read from multiple sources on the web that Ctrl-Alt-Delete is an interrupt that is handled by the BIOS (http://techsupt.winbatch.com/TS/T000005052F11.html , http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/Win95_3x/Win95/Q_… , etc.). If I’m mistaken, then please forgive me. 2002-10-26 6:39 pm That’s why you must be smart to make sure the network is secure enough that the usual freeloader won’t be able to hack in. Plus, if you notice a bandwidth drain (when you are surfing, IIRC), get rid of that user from your network. 2002-10-26 7:16 pm > That’s why you must be smart to make sure the network is secure enough that> the usual freeloader won’t be able to hack in. Plus, if you notice a> bandwidth drain (when you are surfing, IIRC), get rid of that user from> your network.I do not have the time or energy to waste setting up an authentication server for my home network which is the only way to prevent literally *anyone* from joining behind the firewall.I do not have the time or energy to waste sitting in front of my PC all day watching my 1.5 Mbps cable connection for bandwidth drain, nor should I have to do that in order to have a “secure” network.I do not have the time or energy to waste explaining to my ISP that the DoS attack (or other disruptive activities) which originated from *my* IP address courtesy of the hacker logging into *my* network behind *my* firewall was not really *my* fault at all, even though neither they nor I have *any* idea who the hacker is or *any* way to track him down.I bought a firewall specifically for the purpose of handling these things so that I would not have to worry about them. Having a wireless access point on my network would make my firewall completely ineffective against anyone in range of the access point.Such a network is not *secure*, and the possibility of this security problem being exploited grows with the number of wireless networks. 2002-10-26 9:19 pm After scanning the article and this discussion thread, I have to agree that it read more like a troll than a serious review.As to the $200 Lindows PC? I told one of my team members about it and he purchased one via Wal-Mart.com and it arrived last week. He spent a day stumbling around Lindows before he finally got around to the real purpose of his purchase – to provide a dev platform for .NET. He booted up from a free XP Pro disc he got at a tech conference last month and I walked him through deleting the exisitng partitions and installing XP.It found all of the installed hardware with no problems and we had a functional install in about 25 minutes. After installing the .NET Everett beta he had a perfectly viable (and extremely cheap) development platform. So far after one week, he says it’s running just fine. I’m so impressed that I may get one for my development test server here at home.As far as usability, I have two seasoned citizens (father and mother-in-law) who used to have Macs because the university where he taught had mainly Macs and they had been told they were easier to use. After going through several models and versions of the Mac OS over the years, they finally abandoned Apple when he retired and they began volunteering for the local Red Cross. Since they had Wintel PCs at the ARC offices they decided they would take a stab at using Windows so I set them up with Win XP Home edition. I spent one night with them going over the basics of right-click, double-click, menu differences, keyboard differences, etc. After almost a year of using the Windows PC they do not regret the move and in fact I spend a lot less time with them on the phone helping them with problems.YMMV.