Ubuntu Linux launches via Best Buy

Ubuntu Linux launches via Best Buy

The Ubuntu Retail packaging has been designed to highlight the advantages Linux brings to the end-user.

Linux distributor Canonical has entered into an agreement with US retail chain Best Buy to bring boxed copies of its popular Ubuntu operating system to store shelves across the nation.

According to a post by Steve George, director of Corporate Services at Canonical, on the official Ubuntu blog yesterday the boxed product – produced by software distribution company ValuSoft – will include an Ubuntu 8.04 Desktop CD-ROM, a quick-start guide, and sixty days of support by Canonical-trained ValuSoft employees.

Retailing for $19.99 – around £10 – the product is aimed at “users who are unaware of Ubuntu or who are bandwidth restricted and don't want to download Ubuntu themselves.

If you want to try out Ubuntu but feel that, even with a sixty day support package, it's a little too scary, Best Buy's in-house technical team – the rather painfully monikered “Geek Squad” – will install the OS for you; sadly, they charge a rather eye-watering $129.95 to do so, according to ComputerWorld.

This isn't the first time a Linux distribution has been available as a boxed product in a high-street store, of course: my very first installation of Linux was of a SuSE Desktop retail package purchased from PC World, which included a lovely series of manuals and around four CD-ROMs containing all the packages you could possibly want. SuSE, along with other Linux distributors, has discovered in the past that boxed retail products for an operating system that can be downloaded for free perfectly legitimately just doesn't work; whether the shift towards user-friendly Linux distributions alongside the sensible price point chosen by Canonical will allow the company to buck this trend remains to be seen.

Tempted by a boxed Linux distribution, or are the days of physical software purchases numbered now that broadband is the rule, rather than the exception? Share your thoughts over in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
liratheal 10th July 2008, 10:16 Quote
Wait. Did they stop the free CD thing?
Gareth Halfacree 10th July 2008, 10:26 Quote
No, this is in addition to. The idea is that they've got the people who browse the 'net looking for alternative operating systems, and now they're trying to get the people who browse the aisles of Best Buy. It's in-store advertising more than anything.
r4tch3t 10th July 2008, 10:27 Quote
Nah they're just offering a retail box so Joe Blogs can get it from his local store just like Windows. You have been able to buy Ubuntu over here for years, $10, but it's just the same as the Free CD so no retail packaging.
I think this could work for Ubuntu as it is more average user orientated. Even my Dad can use it and prefers it over windows because it works better with no random popups all the time which he has no idea whether to say yes or no to.
lepre 10th July 2008, 11:34 Quote
the box seems like the one of crap sw you already find in stores, and that's where it will be, unfortunately.
Timmy_the_tortoise 10th July 2008, 12:24 Quote
I didn't like Ubuntu.. It made me feel claustrophobic... Still haven't uninstalled it yet though.
proxess 10th July 2008, 14:04 Quote
id opt-in to buy a box just for the heck of it. its 20 dollarz... thats roughly 15€. symbolic price
wuyanxu 10th July 2008, 14:09 Quote
why do so many people like Ubuntu?

i tryed it when they first put out their free-CD scheme. and it was bad! so bad, i throw away the Live CD after 1 boot.

Fedora Core or SUSE is what people should be looking at
Panos 10th July 2008, 16:13 Quote
I remember back in the 90's I bought my first Linux distribution. RedHat 5.2. It was 3 CD's, a massive book going through everything (including kernel compile) to introduce you into the system. Cost £20, on 90's value.
We are talking about the years where command line was something you used more than anything else, and FWMN95 as your GUI (if you manage to install XFREE86). On that Dial Up Era the issues where many. A simple update mean you had to stay online all the night in case a file stop downloading to kick it again. Or else you where losing money connected over the phone and doing nothing.

I would like to see more distributions like that, coming with a nice fat manual with them too. I hate online documentation/book. 10th July 2008, 18:10 Quote
"Retailing for $19.99 – around £10 – the product is aimed at “users who are unaware of Ubuntu or who are bandwidth restricted and don't want to download Ubuntu themselves.”

What the ****, you can order free CD's of the distributions anyway.
Jordan Wise 10th July 2008, 18:12 Quote
lol loving the box : linux for human beings
DXR_13KE 10th July 2008, 22:37 Quote
130 bucks for installing it????
Fophillips 10th July 2008, 22:43 Quote
Meh, that packaging really sucks. It just looks like the rest of the rubbish on the PC software shelves.
Cthippo 11th July 2008, 05:29 Quote
Guys, if you want a viable alternative to windows for the masses, this (or something like it) is it!

Yes, I know there are a shedload of compromises in Ubuntu to make it "user friendly", I know it has issues, and I know you can dowload it for free. I've done it, I hand out copies of it at work. This is not for me, or even for the averave bit-tekker. This is for the people who buy a computer and expect it to work. This is for people who would never, ever consider upgrading, much less downloading, and OS because they're afraid they'll break it.

Even if you're a die-hard Windows fanboi (*caughgoodbytescaugh*), this is still a good thing. Real competition will force MS to make new versions of Windows significantly better than the last, because people now have a mainstream, cheaper option. MS cannot compete with linux on price, so they have to compete on brand loyalty and value.

For those of us who already use *nix this is still a good thing because this will strongly encourage manufacturers to support linux with good drivers, or risk losing market share to someone who does. It also means that some people who would have never been exposed to linux will go on to become power users and advocates for the FOSS cause.

I don't know how to say this strongly enough...

knuck 11th July 2008, 06:21 Quote
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
130 bucks for installing it????

services are where the company makes profit

and yes , all their services are freaking rip offs
Ubuntu Warrior 11th July 2008, 11:14 Quote
As you may tell from my user name I am slightly biased but, hey, Ubuntu offers a fantastic solution. Yes, services are pricey but they are even more pricey from most other players. Try getting a quote for an install of Oracle Applications, or some BI consulting work from KPMG, or Java Spring development, etc. To be honest our organisation does not invest heavily in services and we have some 22 Ubuntu servers and around 150 Ubuntu clients working just fine - need a savvy sys admin though!

We do take annual maintenance from Canonical for 2 of our key network servers and while it is not cheap it is a wonderful feeling knowing that my cash is supporting people trying to change things for the better with the open source movement. On the contrary, most of our M$ spend leaves me feeling sick most of the time with an unhealthy dose of guilt for feeding the global money-making machine. Don't get me wrong, I am not anti everything M$ and some of their products are unbeatable, but it is refreshing to see other players out there offering far better value to the client and still putting food on the table.
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