$400 Acer + 17″ LCD – Is Zonbu getting squeezed by the mainstream PC makers?

December 24, 2007

Acer SystemWith so many PCs available at or below $500 now, is Zonbu at risk of getting squeezed by the main stream makers?

I think so, and I think it may be time for them to start considering some higher profile partners. HP, Acer, Dell and Asus all come to mind and have all shown interest in Linux products. I’d warm up the phone lines at Zonbu HQ, it may be time to start seeing other people (beyond Via)…

I just saw this deal posted over at Deal News:

“Acer Aspire T180-UA381B AMD Athlon 2.4GHz Desktop PC + 17” LCD

TigerDirect.com offers the Acer Aspire T180-UA381B AMD Athlon 2.4GHz Desktop PC with a Acer AL1706AB 17″ LCD Monitor for $399.97. With around $36 for shipping, it’s the lowest total price we could find by $76. It features an AMD Athlon 64 3800+ 2.4GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB SATA hard drive, dual-layer DVD burner, Gigabit Ethernet, memory card reader, and Windows Vista Home Basic.”

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Asus Eee PC has great video performance

December 22, 2007

I’m still testing the Asus eee PC but so far I’m really impressed.

That being said, it is in a different category to the Zonbu, so its value to Zonbu is as a potential benchmark in a number of categories. And benchmarking against it should be a priority for the Zonbu team. It is a very well done product.

I’ll be posting more in the coming days, but in the mean time, as I expected, I’ve discovered the graphics power is substantially better than the Zonbu. Video and Flash playback is wonderful and advanced desktop effects appear to work well. The whole machine feels snappier than the Zonbu laptop (albeit a lot less usable with the smaller screen and tiny keyboard).

Check out this example of Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy running on a 3e with Compiz enabled. Very nice. Our Zonbus should have something like this.


-Mr. Zonbu

DW Desktop Linux: 2007 – The year that was

December 19, 2007

Distrowatch has a piece summarizing the world of Desktop Linux distributions in 2007. It’s worth a read to get a quick snapshot of where things stand with the various major distributions, and developments in the space over the course of the year.

Of interest to Zonbu users is the observations about Gentoo (the distribution upon which the Zonbu OS is based):

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Half the puzzle? Does Zonbu have the software right and the hardware wrong?

December 18, 2007

PuzzleThis has really been bothering me for the last month or so: I think Zonbu may well have one of the nicest, easiest to use, most consistently integrated and user friendly Linux desktops available.

I don’t say that lightly, as I’ve used it extensively for the past four months as my home Internet machine and I’ve now moved my wife on to the platform.

But I have strong lingering concerns that the Via CPU and graphics chipset that Zonbu is currently shipping as their hardware platform is going to be rapidly eclipsed by better performing, better marketed hardware running other, less impressive, Linux distributions.

Hardware is a commodity business – let the experts do their stuff…

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Beauty & the Geek – The experiment has evolved…

December 16, 2007

Beauty and the Geek logoFor the next chapter in our story, I’m going to take the Zonbu laptop and pass it along to my beautiful wife.

She currently has a Windows XP system on a 2.5 year old Celeron 1.4 GHz Acer laptop. This Acer was her first personal computer. She’s been a PC user for some time, but always used mine at home and had one at the office so the Zonbu will be the second machine that has been hers to customize.

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BBC iPlayer to include Flash derivative

December 15, 2007

BBC LogoFor all of you who are Top Gear fans (and really, who isn’t a Top Gear fan? Even my wife loves it), some good news from the BBC this week. DownloadSquad.com is reporting that there will be a Flash based derivative of their previously Windows only (and very contentious) iPlayer platform:

As observant readers may recall, in August we chatted with Peter Brown of the Free Software Foundation about the BBC iPlayer, and DRM in general. The BBC iPlayer is the U.K. public broadcaster’s drawn-out and vastly expensive endeavour to bring the BBC’s wealth of content into the 21st century.

Until today, the entire project has been Windows-only, with Mac and Linux support missing despite having been much-debated – and required at some stage due to the BBC’s remit for platform independence. As expected, the BBC is starting a new beta phase today with the introduction of a ‘7-day catch-up’ online streaming service via Adobe Flash player to cater for all three platforms.

Wow, another tier one site moves to a flash based video platform.

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Everex to ship ASUS 3e PC competitor with gOS

December 11, 2007

CloudbookLinuxDevices.com is reporting that Everex will soon start shipping a competitor to the ASUS 3e PC.

My own 3e PC should arrive today and after reading the extensive user feedback at Amazon (from both technically minded and non-technical folks) I’m really looking forward to trying it out.

The CloudBook will purportedly have:
The Cloudbook appears to be FIC/Everex’s answer to Asus’s EEE PC (pictured at right), another ultra-mobile Linux-powered PC that began shipping earlier this fall. Like the EEE PC, the Cloudbook will use a 7-inch WVGA (800×480) LCD display, along with an identical keyboard, albeit in a different color, our source close to the company said.

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DesktopLinux: Linux is about to take over the low end of PCs

December 7, 2007

The tipping point, as noted by the team over at DesktopLinux.com:

Opinion — Sometimes, several unrelated changes come to a head at the same time, with a result no one could have predicted. The PC market is at such a tipping point right now and the result will be millions of Linux-powered PCs in users’ hands.

The first change was the continued maturation of desktop Linux. Today, no one can argue with a straight face that people can’t get their work done on Linux-powered PCs. Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, MEPIS, OpenSUSE, Xandros, Linspire Mint, the list goes on and on of desktop Linuxes that PC owner can use without knowing a thing about Linux’s technical side. People can argue that Vista or Mac OS X is better, but when Michael Dell runs Ubuntu Linux on one of his own home systems, it can’t be said that Linux isn’t a real choice for anyone’s desktop.

What else do they have to say?

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An Acer Laptop and 1 Year of Zonbu for $500. What do you say?

December 7, 2007

Acer LaptopA quick poll of our readers on a theoretical offering…

How would you like this laptop pre-loaded with one year of Zonbu service for an all in price of $500 + shipping.

AMD Sempron 3500+ 1.8GHz – 15.4″ WXGA – 1GB DDR2 SDRAM – 80GB – DVD-Writer (DVD-RAM/R/RW) – Wi-Fi, Fast Ethernet and all the Zonbu goodness you can handle.

After that, you pay $14.95/month a la carte or $150/year once a year for the Zonbu service.

Are you interested?
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Zonbu’s new “Public” folder

December 6, 2007

Zonbu LogoMaybe I’m just slow, but how do I let others access the files that I put in my new “Public” folder on the desktop?

Is there a web address where they go? A secret incantation they need to utter?

Was I in the restroom when the instruction was given to the rest of the class, or has the documentation not caught up with the product yet?

-Mr. Zonbu