I saw a netbook at a discount chain store the other day that I want. It's an Acer Aspire One. It has 1GB RAM and a 160GB Hard Drive for $296. Awesome deal. The problem, at least for me, is that it comes standard with some whittled down version of Windows XP. This wouldn't ordinarily be a problem but I prefer Linux on my potential new netbook.
Why don't you just buy one with Linux then?
This store only carries the Windows version and I can't get the Linux one at the same price. Such a dilemma!
My option is to live with the Windows XP preinstalled version or to take the time and effort to wipe the drive and install Ubuntu or Linpus although--I'd probably install Ubuntu 8.04 first to see how it works for me before trying Linpus.
So what's my beef with this whole scenario? It all sounds pretty simple really.
I wish there were a store--a chain, or even something locally owned where I could walk in, select a computer (desktop, laptop, netbook, server) at a decent price, select my operating system and walk out happy.
How would this work, you ask?
If I had the money, I'd do it myself but saving that fantasy, here's my vision:
The store has a selection of two or three each of low end, middle, and high end computers in each of the four categories (desktop, laptop, netbook, server) from which to choose. You have a chance to look at the different models in the showroom, check the pricing, look at the different options and make a selection. Part of that selection is operating system.
With high-speed drive cloning hardware, a new standard operating system image could be "burned" to your hard drive in just a few minutes. Alternatively, they could supply you with a fresh CD/DVD of your chosen operating system so that you can do your own custom installation.
You walk out with a new system ready to plug in and go to work. You're happy. They're happy.
For better deals, I'd be cool with non-leading edge models of hardware. Manufacturers come out with new models pretty often, large companies returned leased equipment, manufacturers refurbish equipment; So there are a lot of possible places to obtain hardware for this store--often by the thousands--making it possible to offer "golden" operating system images for those units.
I know it's a fantasy but a good one.
I don't like to wait for mail order and what if there's a problem and the company sending the wrong model, a missing or broken component or some other problem requiring me to call the company, complain, frustratingly speak to someone on the other side of the world and maybe never get what I wanted.
Am I too neurotic?
I don't want to mess with mail order. I don't want to wait. I want something custom. I want a good price.
I've asked my wife to buy me the Acer Aspire One for our upcoming anniversary. It will have Windows XP pre-installed. I'll spend hours reimaging it with Ubuntu or Linpus. She'll wonder why I'm messing with this brand new thing so much. She'll be frustrated. I'll be frustrated. She'll refuse to ever buy me another computer-related thing for the rest of our lives. I'll be angry and write numerous posts about it. You'll laugh at my expense.
I should just ask for a tie.