Are Chromebooks hurting Apple as well as Microsoft?

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Today in Open Source: Are Chromebooks a threat to Apple as well as Microsoft? Plus: Does Blu-ray encryption cause piracy? And DistroWatch's rankings for 2012 and 2013

Chromebooks: Apple and Microsoft

The Intronis blog is wondering if Chromebooks are hurting Apple as well as Microsoft.

Well, judging from Microsoft's reaction, they see Google coming and they are not sitting still, launching a commercial as part of the "Scroogled" campaign to go after the Chromebook. The ad features actors from the show Pawn Stars explaining their view of the Chromebook. They call it a brick. Clearly, it shows that Microsoft is worried about these devices.

Apple, on the other hand, doesn't seem terribly concerned, at least they haven't publicly reacted to Chromebooks. While some folks are saying the data shows that Chromebooks are having an impact on MacBook sales, I would argue that people buying $200 computers probably aren't the same ones buying a $2,000 MacBook. For the record, I've bought both, so it's not as though the market is mutually exclusive and people who buy one would never by the other.

More at Intronis Blog

I'm inclined to agree with the author of the article. I've never thought of Apple's customers as the types who would gravitate toward a Chromebook. Apple users tend to like and stay with Apple products, and they aren't as concerned with price as non-Apple customers. They know they are paying a premium for an Apple product, and they're fine with that.

My guess is that a lot of these Chromebook buyers are Android phone users. They've already broken with Windows on their phones, and now they're ready for the next step by getting rid of Microsoft Windows on their computers. Android users are also known to be budget-conscious folks, and Chromebooks tend to be inexpensive computers.

So I don't think Apple has anything to worry about from Chromebooks. Microsoft, on the other hand, had better be very worried. Android has already cut them out of the mobile market as an alternative to iOS, and now Chromebooks are a dagger aimed at the heart of the Windows desktop franchise.

Blu-ray encryption and Linux

Linux Journal takes a look at the issue of Blu-ray encryption, Linux and piracy.

I get a fair amount of e-mail from readers asking how a person could do "questionable" things due to limitations imposed by DRM. Whether it's how to strip DRM from ebooks, how to connect to Usenet or how to decrypt video, I do my best to point folks in the right direction with lots of warnings and disclaimers. The most frustrating DRM by far has been with Blu-ray discs.

Unless I've missed an announcement, there still isn't a "proper" way for Linux users to watch Blu-ray movies on their computers. It's hard enough with Windows or Macintosh, but when it comes to Linux, it seems that turning to the dark side is the only option. In the spirit of freedom, let me point you in the direction of "how", and leave it up to you to decide whether it's a road you want to travel.

More at Linux Journal

I can understand the frustration of Linux users who want to view Blu-ray discs on their computers but can't because of the encryption. This seems like another stupid and short-sighted move by the usual Hollywood morons in the TV and movie industries.

These are the types that will bitterly whine about their product being pirated, but they make no effort to make it legally available to all users. So who's really at fault here if Linux users don't have the option of buying Blu-ray discs that legally work in their systems?

The Hollywood crowd should take a long look in the mirror to see who's responsible for some of the piracy that goes on. You just can't fix stupid.

DistroWatch rankings in 2012 and 2013

DistroWatch takes a look at their distro page hit rankings in 2012 and 2013.

Although far from being a reliable method for determining distribution usage, the DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking statistic is perhaps an indicator of trends and shifts in the world of free operating system, at least among the visitors of this website. So as always this time of the year, we once again take a brief look at the movers and shakers of the distro world in the annual comparison table. Who was up and who was down during the past twelve months?

More at DistroWatch

It doesn't surprise me a bit to see that Linux Mint is still at the top of the heap. There really is quite a lot other distro developers can learn from Linux Mint if they pay attention to how that distro is developed and marketed.

I was somewhat shocked to note that Gentoo has fallen so low over the last couple of years. I remember when it was much more popular than it is now. How the mighty have fallen!

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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