Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
I was browsing around my local Carphone Warehouse shop last week. Unlike the last time I crossed their threshold (November) I noticed that their Ubuntu netbook display had vanished. There was only one netbook on display and it was advertised as running Windows XP. Their website also advertised the Asus EeePC with Windows XP too. I approached a sales person to ask about a GNU/Linux option on the Elonex and was informed that they no longer stocked them. What when wrong? I decided to investigate.
What went wrong?
This problem goes back to November when conflicting reports emerged that customers who purchased their WebBook as they called it, hosting Ubuntu on an Elonex white machine, were reported as returning them in numbers up to 20%. There were further reports that not only had the machines been returned by disgruntled customers but that Carphone Warehouse had actually recalled all machines running Ubuntu. Carphone Warehouse have denied this but the rumours persisted and at any rate I only saw Windows netbooks (and if you visit to their UK website you will search in vain for anything with GNU/Linux installed on it).
The main problem as reported seems to be that once purchasers got their netbooks home and started exploring the pre-installed GNU/Linux they couldn’t cope with it. “Unfamiliar” and “confusing” were two of the words used and “an issue of consumer understanding”.