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The First Domino Falls in Toronto, Canada

You'll know desktop Linux has broken the Microsoft monopoly when you walk into your local computer store and see a Linux aisle crammed full of desktop and laptop computers ready for your shopping cart. That's our vision at Lindows. Today there are about 1,000 stores in North America, many in Mexico, that stock at least one pre-installed desktop Linux computer. It's not easy getting retailers to carry Linux computers. They naturally have questions about how they can train their sales people, whether consumers will buy them, and how solid is the support. In addition, Microsoft uses their massive economic power to discourage retailers from selling competing products. For example CompUSA, the largest retailer of Microsoft Office, gets hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing subsidies from Microsoft. CompUSA knows that stocking Linux computers will make Microsoft very unhappy and that could translate into fewer marketing dollars to them, which would dramatically affect their profitability. This leaves an opportunity for smaller vendors to fill the demand for Linux computers.

Mark and David Silverman are two brothers who are doing a thriving online business selling computers called (In their native Canadian dollars, it's but they do a large percentage of their business to Americans and so they name their store in U.S. dollars as well.) They have remarkably low prices and one reason is because they've chosen not to sell any Microsoft products but instead focus on Linspire. I recently bought several desktops and a laptop computer from them for my friends and family. They're one of the 350+ builders who have signed up online which gives them digital access to software they can use to test and ship Linspire pre-configured computers. It's cost-effective, immediate and there are no audit demands or long term contracts which they would be required to enter into with Microsoft.

Recently, the Silverman brothers have decided to open the first Linux-only retail store in
The first Linux-only Retail Store
Toronto, Canada. Sub500 will open its doors at 2930 Dufferin Street Saturday, June 26th, 2004 to serve the Ontario area demand for Linux products. They'll be stocking desktop computers from $299 to $979cdn and laptop models available from $1,111 to $1,444cdn. Shoppers can walk in, try the computers, speak with passionate knowledgeable Linux people and go home with an affordable computer. They will also have a complete line of Linspire software products on display. There have been other retailers to carry a Linux computer or two, but none that I know of have dedicated their entire inventory to Linux software and computers.

I believe the Sub500 Linux store may have much greater impact than simply satisfying demand in Toronto for Linux. Every tech trend starts at the grass roots level and moves up the eco-system like a row of dominos tumbling over. The first PCs weren't owned by big business, but by hobbyists. The first Linux servers snuck in the back door of ISPs and were installed by geeks. New technologies are rarely championed by big corporations first, but follow a natural progression. They start with early adopters, then move to home and small business, then to medium-size businesses and finally to large enterprises and government institutions. It would be terrific if CompUSA starts selling Linux computers, but they likely won't start doing that until competitive pressures compel them to. This will happen when other retailers start taking their business and begin satisfying customer demand for Linux computers. I believe it will start with independant retailers like Sub500, then move to the regional chains, then the nationwide chains, then to mass retailers. At Lindows, we hope the sound you just heard was the first domino toppled over in Toronto, Canada.

-- Michael

Please visit to answers questions you may have about Linspire.

About Linspire
Linspire is an affordable Linux-based operating system, designed specifically for desktop and laptop computers in homes, schools and businesses. Linspire uses proprietary CNR technology that allows the installation, updating and management of hundreds of software programs usually with just one click. The Linspire operating system is also offered in Spanish ( and Japanese ( Those who are interested in becoming authorized resellers of Linspire should visit, or if interested in selling computers pre-loaded with Linspire.

We are located at 9333 Genesee Ave, 3rd floor, San Diego, CA, 92121
Linspire is a trademark. Copyright © 2004. All rights reserved.


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