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Nov 3 2007   10:59AM GMT

Overheard: gPC is a gMOOT (get me one of those)

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

everex_gos.jpg I mean, really…did you ever think you’d see the day when you could go into Wal-Mart and buy a Linux machine for your teen-age daughter?

Key Features:

  • 1.5 GHz processor
  • 80 GB hard disk drive
  • DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive
  • gOS operating system
  • OpenOffice.org 2.2 software suite

There’s been a lot of press about the One Laptop Per Child initiative — formerly called the $100 laptop initiative till the price doubled and it became a $200 laptop — but here’s something just as worthy of attention that kind of snuck through the back door.

It’s a $198 computer called gPC and it’s being sold by Wal-Mart.

Everex built the gPC to consume less power (hence the name — the “g” stands for green). But the real reason the gPC is so interesting is that the operating system is Linux. It’s an Ubuntu-inspired variety the manufacturer calls gOS. The GUI is big-button user-friendly. Windows and Mac users will feel right at home.

This is huge. A new generation of kids is going to be introduced to an open-source computing environment where some of the apps are local, some of the apps are web-based and the kids won’t know or care which is which. These are the same kids growing up broadband, without a clue about what the “modem dance” is. Bong Bong.

The desktop comes with icons for Google’s suite of applications: Gmail, Google Docs and Spreadsheets, Google Calendar, Google Product Search, Google Blogger, YouTube, Google Maps, and Google News. It also provides easy access to Meebo for instant messaging, GIMP for image editing, the Firefox browser, Xing Movie Player, RhythmBox (an iTunes substitute) Facebook, Skype and the computer’s OpenOffice Suite.

Schools are going to love these puppies. So will small biz.

On the back end, the Windows vs. Mac debate will finally be moot. And help desks will have something new to drive them crazy.

I can just hear it now: “We are a Windows shop. It was bad enough that we have to deal with those Mac fanatics who insisted on polluting the environment with Jaguars, and Panthers and Leopards. Now we have to deal with Penguins too?”

The times, they are a’changing…


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