Here is another comment on Linux and the Netbook scene . It is inspired by the article – Is Linux dead in the netbook water? over at Dani Web. Again some very good observations in the DaniWeb article prompted this reply.
I think you have essentially defined the problem and opportunity for Linux. The Netbooks battle for OS share is not over – given that HP, Dell and Asus are all considering either Google Android or Intel MobLin or Ubuntu Remix. This brings brand name power equal to (and I would say better than Microsoft vis a vis desktop OS) to the fray.
I suspect for the short term Microsoft will negate the Linux price advantage by giving away Windows XP if it has not done so already. But Linux has 4 huge advantages over Windows :
1)it is open source and so OEMs and telecoms that want to add their own hardware and particularly software to the systems can do so much more readily than for Microsoft ;
2)Linux boots and runs much faster and with less resources than Windows XP let alone Windows 7 which Redmond insists it will shoehorn onto Netbooks;
3)Linux is much more stable overtime then Windows XP which I simply have to reboot to get back lost memory and slower response time;
4)Linux is just much more reliable and secure despite the constant FUD from Redmond.
Linux may gain some real power from point 1) and 4) above with OEMs who want to be more independent of MS but also went minimum maintenance problems. I count on consumers to make just what the best friend says” purchase decisions. And if their best friend is the IT trade press or big retailers that get also sorts of co-marketing or sponsorship deals from Redmond – then these will negate the Telecoms free giveaways. But with the “96% market share and we have buried you remarks/comments from Microsoft, Redmond has clearly signalled they will be deploying all the bucks, hardballs and brick bats necessary to win this battle.
See “Will the linux remain the desktop whimp?” here – http://theopensourcery.ca/?p=1173
for further kibitzing and commentary on this upcoming battle. Microsoft has nearly ruined its desktop OS brand with Vista – so like Lucy they have a lot spalinin to do to their customers. And currently on bloat and speed Windows 7 beta is still remiss.