I write to you as a customer of your Eee PC line of computers.
I’d never really considered buying any of your hardware up until you released your Eee PC line of products. When I discovered that the Eee 701 was pre-loaded with (Xandros) Linux and came pre-configured with all the usual applications that I am familiar with on my Linux Desktop I was delighted.
I bought two, a white one for my wife and a stylish black one for myself. Since then I’ve purchased a further two Eee PCs (900) and influenced a small number of others to buy similar machines. I love mine and my wife loves hers. Hers runs the standard Xandros Linux install (still) which works just fine. She connects securely to wireless networks, prints to our networked printer, reads data off USB memory devices and cameras and was delighted to find the 3g dongle we tried just worked. How great is that!? Thanks!
Mine on the other hand has seen various operating systems. For a long while I used Xandros, then moved briefly to Ubuntu 8.04 then back to Xandros again. After a brief flirt with Ubuntu 8.10 and Crunchbang Linux – all very good – again I came back to Xandros. I loved that your partnership with Xandros Corp resulted in a system that was fast to boot, ran software I knew, had its roots in Debian (always a plus point for a geek like me) and was robust & dependable.
I’ve used my Eee PC on planes and trains, in pubs and restaurants (whilst waiting for take-out), indoors and outdoors, and pretty much all that time I’ve loved the experience. Yes, the keyboard takes getting used to and yes it’s not the fastest machine ever but I knew that when I bought it, so that was a concession I was willing to make.
One concession I wasn’t willing to make is buying the machine with Microsoft Windows installed so I bought one with Xandros. Personally I don’t care for Windows. I’ve used it and I’m pretty good at fixing it when it goes wrong (ask my accountant, my in-laws, customers, neighbours and friends) but I prefer not to use it. So I was happy that you made laptops that didn’t require me to pay for an operating system that I was never (I really mean that, never) going to use on the device. You scored a great home run with that decision. Thanks again!
Now 18 months have passed and I notice new models are on the horizon carrying the Eee PC moniker. A friend of mine pointed out the Eee PC Seashell (1008HA) for example, which looks very nice on the website http://www.asus.co.uk/eeepc/1008HA/features.html. But hang on, what’s this. I’m now told by your marketing department that “It’s better with Windows®”, and I am invited to find out more by clicking a link to http://www.itsbetterwithwindows.com/.
The site you link to is not new to me, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a vendor link to it, indeed it’s the first time I’ve seen a vendor of hardware that runs Linux link to it. Forgive me for saying this but it seems that you’ve kicked the Linux community squarely in the teeth with this one. I applaud you for bringing Linux to the mass market with the Eee 701, but that good work is all but undone with this stunt. I can only presume it’s a stunt of course.
Lets take a look at “It’s better with Windows”. I presume you’re referring to Windows XP (released in 2001) given that’s the logo on the above page. I guess you can’t possibly be referring to Vista as that barely runs on most of your Eee PC range, and Windows 7 isn’t even released yet, so it can’t be that.
Apparently Windows is “Trusted”, it “..delivers a dependable experience..”. Do you honestly believe that? An OS which is insecure by default with viruses, malware, unexplained and untraceable crashes, required (and un-requested) reboots and a vendor who keeps telling us the OS is dead makes for a dependable platform in your eyes does it? I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say Windows XP was ‘dependable’ unless under duress or contractual agreement. Which is it with you?
I note with interest from that site that I “can be up and running right away”. Of course that’s after I have entered the product key you conveniently put on the underside of the laptop. Then I have to apply the usual updates or service pack to Windows itself, grab office updates (or indeed an entire decent office package [no, Microsoft Works is not in this category]), get new virus definitions and update or installed a malware detector. What else, oh I should scan the machine for viruses (you know these hardware vendors, sending out machines with viruses on them. Tsk!), search for malware, download a PDF viewer, download or update a java stack, flash and various codecs, and all the other basic stuff you need to be “up and running right away”. What’s your definition of ‘right away’ in this instance?
I also see that Windows is “Compatible”, and that I can be “confident” my devices and applications will work. Ok, lets see. My HP Printer, digital camera, 3G dongle, sound card, mobile phone and wireless stick all refuse to work on a Windows XP machine without navigating some obtuse vendor websites or chugging through a load of vendor supplied CDs. It does have a CD-ROM drive, right?
You make some nice kit, and were instrumental in the rise of the netbook form factor all around the world. I can completely understand you pandering to the masses clawing for Windows XP because they don’t know any better. But don’t insult my intelligence by telling me it’s ‘better’, because it flat out isn’t, and a patronising, condescending pro-Windows website isn’t going to convince me otherwise.
Linux was good enough for you at the launch of your Eee PC models two years ago, and it’s even better now. How quickly you changed your allegiance when the hardware caught up with the requirements of Windows. We now know who our real friends are. Maybe you never really were our friend, maybe you just used us to steal a march on the competition. If that’s the case then you suck.
It was nice knowing you, when you didn’t suck.