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The Michael's Minute Meter
Lindows.com Report Card - June 26, 2002

As summer arrives, many school children are coming home with their report cards.  I thought this would be a good time to see what kind of grades Lindows.com received for their first 9 months in operation.


To view the Timeline of Lindows.com's first 9 months in business, click here.
Operating System:
 

As of last week, consumers can experience LindowsOS in one of two ways. One way to get is to buy a computer running LindowsOS from Walmart.com, for as little as $299. This is a significant milestone for us, as we've partnered with our first builder (Microtel) and retailer (Walmart). These computers work great out of the box and are ideal for general purpose computing tasks.

For those who already have a computer and also wish to try LindowsOS, we offer the Insider program. This gives people wanting early access to LindowsOS a chance to try out LindowsOS as it develops. Currently, Insiders report installation success about 80%  of the time on their PCs. Therefore we have some room to grow and consequently, this product is not yet for everyone.

Some may wonder how we can sell a computer at Walmart when the program available directly from Lindows.com is billed as not completely ready. The difference is the Walmart computers are certified, ensuring that all components  work elegantly with LindowsOS. That's much different than offering a software program that will work on any computer in the world - that's very difficult. It's the difference between making a single pair of shoes for a known foot size versus opening a shoe store with every style of shoe for every size foot. The first one is easy, the second one is a much bigger job.

While the installer is fantastically easy and fast (the entire OS installs in under 5 minutes), we've got a lot more work to do to support a wider range of hardware, printers and other devices.
Grade:  B


Software:

Our goal to give people choice means giving them choice not just on their operating system, but access to all the programs they'll want to add to that computer to really make it work for them in their school, home or business.

Click-N-Run is the easiest way to load software onto a computer. For the first time a Linux based system has leapt ahead of Microsoft operating systems in ease of use. With 1,000 plus programs already in the Click-N-Run Warehouse, users can find quality software titles for just about any computing task and with a single mouse click download, install and run them. All these titles are included in the $99 annual membership.This is a fantastic consumer experience and price point. Look for a lot more great software in the Warehouse in the future. 

Grade: A-


Microsoft Windows Compatibility:

We live in a Microsoft world, so there needs to be a bridge from the legacy world to the broadband LindowsOS world. This means we need to support some bridge programs, file types and network devices to help people interact with the legacy Microsoft world. LindowsOS computers come with software to view, print and copy popular Microsoft applications like: MS Word files, MS PowerPoint files and MS Excel documents. Where there's great Linux based alternatives, we'll guide people to those alternatives (they're better than most people realize). To edit Microsoft files, we'd highly recommend one of the office suites in our Warehouse such as OpenOffice.

Many of these programs are very high quality and a great value since they're included in the Warehouse. Sometimes there are no viable alternatives for those programs, so we're investing necessary resources to support some Microsoft Windows based programs. Stay tuned for more developments in this area. Our printer support is ok, but there's a lot of room for more drivers. Connecting to MS Windows based file servers is still a challenge. We need to get better in these areas.
 
Grade: B


Communication:

We've tried to be diligent in communicating where our company is going which is why there's typically a weekly Michael's Minute. While our overall goal has not deviated - Bringing Choice To Your Computer - our implementation has become more focused as we listened to what our Insiders and potential customers have told us. (Keep sending me your comments.) We have been de-emphasizing running Microsoft Windows programs because many of you told us you detest spending hundreds of dollars on individual software programs, forced upgrades and activation codes. It's not just the operating system, but costly Microsoft programs you're wanting to avoid.

Consequently, we've been emphasizing Click-N-Run because it will change the way you think about software. Having a neatly categorized library of 1,000+ software titles all for a flat annual fee at your digital fingertips is an entirely new way to think about paying for software. It's immediate, elegant and affordable.

There are lots of mischaracterizations about Lindows.com swirling around - that happens when you have a small organization which can't address every question or publication. We'll do a better job of addressing those in the future. For now, I wrote up answers to the Top Myths about Lindows.com. Check them out by visiting: www.lindows.com/myths 
Grade: B+


Overall: B+

Michael Robertson

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