Say It Ain’t So: Wal-Mart Stops Stocking Linux PCs
The grand experiment is over. Wal-Mart has locked Linux out of its stores. The retail giant has stopped selling Linux-based PCs — though Walmart.com will continue selling the so-called Green gPC from Everex, according to the Associated Press. What does this mean for the open source desktop movement in the consumer market? Here are some thoughts from The VAR Guy.
First, don’t press the panic button, Linux fans. By all accounts, customer choice remains live and well in the PC world. Companies like Lenovo and Dell continue to pre-load Linux on selected desktops and notebooks. And a new Linux market niche — in the consumer PC space — continues to grow, even if it doesn’t grab shelf space from Wal Mart.
In the online world, Walmart.com continues to sell Everex’s popular gPC2 and the CloudBook, a $399 sub-notebook that has generated strong buzz. And there seems to be no stopping the eee PC. (The three Es stand for Easy to Work, Easy to Learn, Easy to Play).
Small Linux PC makers also continue to expand. ZaReason, for one, is firmly established in the US and recently launched European operations to sell its Ubuntu-based systems.
And keep a close eye on Novell over the next few months. The company’s SuSE Linux has landed some pre-install deals (Lenovo in North America and Dell in China, for instance). Sources at the company aren’t ready to hype desktop Linux, but Novell insiders say they’d be pleased if SuSE gets 1 percent of the desktop market over the next few years. And those desktop Linux efforts will be widely discussed during Novell’s BrainShare event, scheduled for March 16-21 in Salt Lake City.
The upshot: Perhaps consumers weren’t ready to ask for Linux PCs when they walked into Wal-Mart stores. But those open source systems continue to sell out on Walmart.com. In other words, the glass is half full — not half empty — for desktop Linux.