Should you buy a preloaded Linux system?

Today in Open Source: Preloaded Linux systems? Plus: Android Kit Kat missing features, and Microsoft's commitment to open source

By , ITworld |  Open Source, Linux, Microsoft

Preloaded Linux Systems
I'm a big fan of DYI Linux boxes, but preloaded systems can be a better bet for some people. Computerworld takes a look at preloaded Linux options.

Linux preloads are guaranteed to just work. One of the hassles of dealing with installing Linux manually (and with installing any OS manually, generally) is getting all your hardware ducks in a row: finding and adding hardware device drivers not included in the Linux distribution's repository, making sure they work properly, configuring storage and so on. A preloaded Linux system has the vast majority of those issues addressed before you even open the box.

It's one less thing to do. Linux users are much more inclined to tinker than the average PC user; the nature of the OS encourages (and in some cases mandates) such things. But, sometimes, letting someone else do the basic heavy lifting can be worth paying for when you're in a hurry or have other things on your mind.

A different range of options. Those who build their own PCs and preload it with one kind of Linux or another are typically building a desktop or home-theater style system or a "mini-PC" (such as a Raspberry Pi). Rarely do they build a laptop, simply because of the relatively few options available for the latter, apart from buying an OEM or name brand system wholesale. If you want a laptop, it's a lot easier to buy from a Linux vendor.

Service and support. Having "one throat to choke," as someone once put it, is a great thing. Linux users are used to blaming themselves if their system falls over, but it can be useful to have a third party handling support, maintenance and repair. This is doubly useful for hardware not built by your own hands, or which sports a custom design. It's also important if you're buying Linux as a preload to satisfy the demands of others. For instance: some corporate contracts may require a responsible third party as a supplier, rather than performing the installation in-house.

More at Computerworld

I know some folks loathe the idea of buying a preloaded system, but not everybody is cut out to build their own Linux boxes. So the preloaded alternatives can be quite useful for users that just want to turn on their Linux computers and use them.

Have you or would you buy a preloaded Linux system?

The Android Features That Won't Be In Kit Kat
TechHive has a list of Android features that won't be in Kit Kat.

In light of the blah-fest that will surely be Android 4.4 Kit Kat, we’re already looking forward to next year’s version of the OS with all the patience of a child on Christmas Eve. We’re due for a major version update, and we want it to be something that makes everyone sit up and take notice.

We’ve taken the time to gather a list of shortcomings that we believe Google could better address in the next version of Android.

1. Google Now with attitude.
2. We swear these aren't live tiles.
3. Android with special offers.
4. A true Android experience.
5. Multiwindow multitasking.

More at TechHive

I'm sure that Google is keen on adding features to Kit Kat. But it's anybody's guess as to whether or not any of the ones on the list will make it.

If you were Google, what features would you add it to the next version of Android?

Microsoft's Commitment to Open Source
FOSS Force takes a look at Microsoft's commitment to open source. Is it for real?

Microsoft is embracing open source because they have no choice if they wish to keep their proprietary products relevant–especially in the cloud. If Windows Azure offered virtual machines running only on Windows, or only proprietary programs and apps for their stack, the service would fail miserably. Azure’s success depends on its ability to offer CentOS, Apache, Hadoop, Drupal and the like.

Likewise, Microsoft’s contributions to open source projects are almost entirely for the purpose of making sure that open source applications will run well on Windows.

More at FOSS Force

I'm sure Microsoft is just trying to do what's right for the open source community. Protecting Windows and other Microsoft products would never cross their minds. Heh.

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

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