Tesco, the UK’s biggest retailer, has started selling entry level PCs with Ubuntu pre-installed. Could this brave move give Linux based operating systems a much needed boost in the UK?
Tesco is the world’s third largest grocery retailer, and also sells everything from clothes to electrical equipment. In their latest Tesco Direct online catalogue they have a selection of personal computers on offer. The top range of course offers the ubiquitous Windows Vista as the inbuilt operating system. The mid range towers on offer still have Windows XP built in. It’s actually the two lowest priced machines on offer which have Ubuntu pre-installed.
Here are the links:-
This fact, which could potentially have a big effect on the mindset of UK retailers was only noticed in passing by John Levin on the Ubuntu-UK mailing list. I only saw it as it made it’s way in to the blogosphere courtesy of an Ubuntu based blog written by Dave Walker.
The machines on offer come with Ubuntu 6.06 which is a release well over a year old, but it’s still an intriguing development nonetheless. As Dave Walker correctly points out the big problem will be the support required for any new converts who buy a cheap PC from Tesco expecting to instantly know what they are doing. Any Linux virgins will surely struggle to grasp all of the nuances of the system, especially if they’ve solely been used to Windows in the past.
Pairing a cheap entry level computer with Ubuntu makes sense in terms of cost, with the price of Microsoft’s operating systems taken out of the equation. The problem is it also pairs up possibly first time PC owners with an operating system they potentially will never have heard of.
I take my hat off to Tesco though, this is a good move, offering a choice which, up to now, has sadly been lacking in the UK economy PC market.