Where did all the Linux netbooks go?

Adam Williamson asks the question after doing a bit of research across several major vendors and online shops.

where the hell did all the Linux netbooks go? In 2007 you couldn’t buy a netbook with Windows; in 2008 to 2009 you could still walk into a big box store just about anywhere and pick from a few with Linux; now, you can buy one from one store in England with an Android dual boot, one from a hidden page on Ubuntu’s site with an inferior configuration to its equally-priced Windows equivalent, and one from a very well hidden bit of HP’s site with a $132 premium over its identically-specified Windows equivalent.

I am not a big expert in this matter, but I tend to agree with some of his conclusions:

the cynical side of me can come up with a lot of explanations as to where all those pre-loads went, and all of them involve large amounts of money going out of Microsoft bank accounts

And I think that’s pretty reasonable.  After the netbook market is different from the desktop one.  In the desktop world, Linux has a number of ongoing problems, such as office applications, games, and so on and so forth.  But most netbooks aren’t powerful enough to run those applications.  Their primary use is of a simple Internet device – browsing the web, reading email, chatting, etc.  And for this purpose, the operating system is pretty much irrelevant.  Most of these tasks are done in the browser.  And browser-wise Linux is rich – Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and more.

So, how come all these netbooks are now selling with Windows and not Linux.  It can’t be just Microsoft Internet Explorer.  After all, most end users don’t even know what the browser is.  There must be another reason.  And probably it’s not a technical reason.  And as Adam says, it must be some of those reasons that involve large amounts of money going out of Microsoft bank accounts.

If you have any other ideas, please do share via comments.

3 thoughts on “Where did all the Linux netbooks go?”


  1. I think it was a large amount of returns and complains. People are mostly ignorant and nobody is aware that most well-advertised and popular programs do not run under Linux. But most of them clicked that beautiful banner promising better productivity and linking to a piece of shareware.

    Majority does not know soft is not a part of computer and has its own price.
    -- Laptop with Linux? What can I do? Can I just install Windows?
    -- Yes you can. Do not forget to pay.
    -- What for? for software.
    -- I have bought it with a laptop!
    -- You did not -- that was free soft.

    And at last I am sure retail version of windows 7 is FREE for laptop vendors. @least starter edition

    All the above are just assumptions. I do not know whether these reasons can nifluence market enough


  2. I find only one convenient reason for that -- battery durability. HP Mini, WinXP installed, lasts 8 hours. Last time i’ve compared durability on dual-boot laptops the difference was drastic: Windows OS were lasting twice longer then Linux.. :(

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