[linux-elitists] Lenovo ThinkPad survey

Don Marti dmarti at zgp.org
Fri Jul 31 08:36:08 PDT 2015

We all know the PC business is brutal.  It's like
running an airline, except that you have to not only
deliver a minimal-price commodified experience, based
on inputs you don't control, to someone who hates you,
but you have to support it for years.

The way I see it there are two ways out.  One is on
display every day at the most crowded, best-run store
at your local high-end mall.  Control the entire
platform, hardware and software, so you can capture
all the value of the whole product and afford to make
a machine that users will want.

The other way out is to let everybody who has
the skill and incentive control the platform.
(See "Coase theorem" on Wikipedia and the RMS printer
jam notification problem.) Make a commodity business
work like a commodity business, not one that pretends
to be integrated and shiny until things break and
the illusion fails.

Lenovo is doing a series of surveys on options for
"retro" ThinkPads.  Today's survey includes an OS
option question.

Everyone who has been running Linux on laptops for
a while has seen this game before.  Every so often
a vendor chooses to MSFT to get a better deal on
their OEM licenses.  Good news is that every time a
hardware company does that, somebody actually gets a
decent pre-installed Linux box out of it. So have fun.


And of course every time it happens we can wonder a
little bit...is this the time that a PC vendor finally
breaks out of the worst business in the world, and
stands up in the free market?  Or will Calls Be Made
and it's back to "business" as usual? 

Sometimes watching the PC business is like yelling
at a video of an accident, when you know what's going
to happen and you yell anyway.

Don Marti <dmarti at zgp.org>                   
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