MadTux Closes Its Doors

By Caitlyn Martin
January 1, 2009 | Comments: 26

After eight years in business California-based MadTux, an online retailer specializing in systems preloaded with Linux, has closed. A visitor to the MadTux website sees just this simple message:

We regret to inform you that economic conditions have forced us to close our doors after eight years in business.

The news was first reported by Vector Linux co-founder Darrell Stavem in that distribution's forum on December 13. The news received no other notice or mention I could find in the Linux press. Back in August, 2007 I wrote a piece about PCs preloaded with Vector Linux being offered for just $139 by MadTux.

Lots of retailers are hurting or in danger of closing during the current economic downturn. What makes this story different is that I don't believe the economic crisis tells the whole story. The move of Linux based systems into the mainstream marketplace would have made it difficult for MadTux to compete even in better times. It is the success of Linux, first on netbooks and now on a wider range of systems, sold to consumers by large, well known companies both online and in traditional brick and mortar retailers that truly doomed MadTux. I fear other Linux specialty retailers may face a similar fate.

A year and a half ago if you wanted a system with Linux rather than Windows a specialty retailer was probably your only option. Nowadays you can order from a trusted name. Dell, HP, and Asus have expanded their Linux offerings beyond netbooks to full sized notebooks and desktop systems. Linux systems are available online not only from large electronics vendors but also from Amazon.com, WalMart.com, and Target.com. Here in the United States you can now walk into BestBuy or MicroCenter and buy a Linux system off the shelf. Netbooks with Linux are even in stores like Target and Toys 'r' Us.

A clone vendor like MadTux simply can't compete. Price isn't enough. People will buy name brand because they trust the system will work. Large retailers have liberal customer service and return policies that many small vendors just don't offer. Many of these stores are just plain convenient.

The failure of MadTux is more than just another footnote to the economic crisis. It may spell the beginning of the end of the Linux specialist, victims of the success of Linux as much as anything else.


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26 Comments

A trusted name? Dell? Who are you kidding? I wouldn't buy a dell if it was the only computer available. Talk about crappy cheap computers. I think this is sad. I only buy from small specialized manufacturer's. Companies that offer quality equipment, personal serivce, ect. People talk about dells service, support, return service (which usually includes a $150 restocking fee); I'd rather buy from a company that doesn't need to have super support and good return services, because their quality of machine doesn't need it.

Thank you for reporting on this. It is indeed sad. I, like many Linux users, assemble my computers from components. However, there are many who either are not comfortable doing this or just don't want to. I regret that MadTUX will not be there for those users. It is tempting to offer unpaid advertising for a few still in business Linux based computer providers. Suffice it to say they may disappear for the same reasons as MadTUX (RIP). I wish the founders and staff the best.

"success of Linux" kills Linux PC vendors??? Pick anything:
a) No-name distros are not selling (Ubuntu, SuSE would be better choice for mass market)
b) People just do not want Linux at all (Let's face it: Linux netbooks are returned back 4:1, Windoze netbooks already outsell Linux Netbooks 9:1. And Linux netbooks "enjoyed" at least 6 month head start on the market!!!)

May be it is time to face the truth and to admit that Linux (desktop) is not what the faboyz are hyping it up to be. There are gazilion of things (thechnical and bisuness -wise) that need to be worked out, before Linux can be a big player on the market.

@Linux Home User: The 4:1 return rate came from a statement by an MSI exec before they had sold even one netbook with Linux. Meanwhile Asus claims that there is NO higher return rate on Linux netbooks and they are the number one vendor. The 9:1 sales figure you got from our dear friends (cough) at IT Wire actually only applies to the Acer Aspire One and Acer only offers one model at the low end with Linux and makes no effort to get that model into stores. According to Asus CEO Jerry Chen their figure is 6:4, which means 40% are Linux. The overall industry figure is 7:3. So, your wonderful piece of FUD is totally inaccurate. The Linux desktop is doing just fine in the marketplace, thankyouverymuch.

@Name: My experience with Dell, mostly in the corporate workplace, is the exact opposite of yours. I've found their machines to be reliable and well built. I've had little or no problems with their service. The general public knows the name Dell and trusts it. Joe or Jane Public have never heard of MadTux or any other Linux specialty vendors you could name.

You can twist and turn the numbers any way you want. You can throw words "FUD". It does not matter. Saying that Desktop Linux is doing just fine:
a) Failing to separate dreams from reality
b) Just plain stupid
c) Dishonest (as 99.9999% of Linux fanboyz)

Or may be even
d) All of the above


Go ahead spread your Linux BS. I don't care. I am not going to be in your way any more. People are not blind (as you wish they were). I just found a bug in Mandriva 09 install :) But the "reviews" are wonderful

I didn't twist any numbers. I can provide you links to back up everything I said. Somehow I don't think Asus CEO Jerry Chen has a reason to lie. Do you? Here is the source I used, the interview with Jerry Chen.

You can call it "lies" and "B.S" all you want but you provide no, as in zero, facts to back up your assertions. You think Linux is a failure on the desktop? OK, show me some proof. I showed you my source for Asus having 40% Linux sales and no higher return rate. Show me your sources. Are they as reliable as the CEO of Asus?

All operating systems have bugs. Show me a Windows release that didn't. A MacOS release. A commercial UNIX release. An old OS/2 release. You can't! You found a bug in Mandriva 2009. I don't doubt it. To you that makes it garbage and means that all the reviewers are liars. So, by your standards, every OS release should get a terrible review. Is that it?

Anyone who has read my reviews of Linux distributions here on O'Reilly over the past three years or more knows that I don't mince words and don't fail to point out flaws in distributions. I was raked over the coals because I gave a less than glowing review of Slackware 12.1. All reviewers are the same? All are "fanboyz"? I think not.

You wanted to rant and rave against Linux. Fine. I didn't stop you. Your comments are there for all to read. You can call me "stupid" all you want. You aren't be the first and you won't be the last. I'd suggest bringing some facts with you next time, OK?

"So, by your standards, every OS release should get a terrible review."

It is not my fault that the Fanboy Army created such a high level of "just works" expectations while the most simple/rudimental things are failing to work. Relax, I am still going to be a Linux user. I even helped several people to get started with Linux in the past...

PS: I do appoligize if I called you "stupid".

I have been using desktop Linux for more than 10 years now. All I can say is that it is very effective and has improved at a dramatic pace--far faster than Windows or other proprietary software. Linux and other GNU/GPL software serves you at far lower cost and far greater scale than anything proprietary could ever offer. If you don't believe me, then just ask Google or Pixar Studios, or Lawrence Livermore Labs, or any of the other thousands of businesses and users who understand an "do" Linux.

There could be any number of reasons that MadTux discontinued business. Many small business owners decide to toss in the towel and move on to other things. Lack of detailed information on this will only encourage speculation.

"Linux Home User", Go ahead an bash the Linux fanboyz. My network runs on GNU/Linux. Never had a virus. Never been hacked. Never been forced to upgrade. Never had to deal with ad ware, or silly proprietary license authorization schemes.

One additional point to consider is that most current Linux distributions are much easier to install yourself than they ever have been in the past. Linux is a self-service market. Consider how easy it is to install Ubuntu--a 15 minute job on most current systems. This fact in itself has put pressure on Linux specialty vendors. People can shop name-brand and install Linux for themselves. They can wipe Windows or install Linux alongside Windows with far greater ease than ever before. --it will only get better.

You can not measure success of Linux by how much businesses make from it. ...Just like you can not measure success of water by how much businesses make from it. Linux is not a product like water is not a product. It is there to use as you need. It is openly shared knowledge. Float your ship on that!

Linux Home User - Not exactly sure where your thoughts are but while I'll be the first to state my preference towards Linux, I also must say that there is a place for both depending upon needs of the business & individual.

I'm an IT Professional of 22 years. While my employer may be using Windows PC's, the back end is a mix of Linux and MS. Due to a recent change of state security policy, my laptops are all Linux. Regardless of context discussed/debated, at the moment, the industry is neutral to the flavors and as such, my comment above.

I think your missing the point of the article here. I for one am glad to see the larger manufacturers adopting alternatives to the "Bad Medicine" the world has had forced upon them. While I regret that the economic issues are beginning to affect the small or specialty shops (both Linux and MS), I'm very glad to see the alternatives or options being picked up by the "Big Boys".

Everything goes in cycles and while this may be a very rough time indeed, I truly believe that the likes of "MadTux" are not gone forever. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if we won't be seeing a newer and better rendition of the likes of "MadTux" once things straighten back out.

I have to think that part of the problem was the first question that came to my mind: what's 'Vector Linux?'

Interesting difference in markets. A specialty Linux retailer is going out of business because it's so easy to get Linux preinstallations in bigger chain stores.

Here in Australasia it's different: the big chains are reluctant to touch Linux, with the notable exception of Dick Smith. The netbooks they offer tend to be Windows-only models. If you want the Linux ones, you go to smaller outfits like PBTech.

@EH: I don't think that was a problem at all. They offered a variety of different Linux distros preinstalled. If you wanted Ubuntu they had Ubuntu. If you wanted Fedora they had Fedora. The fact that you personally don't know a distro doesn't mean it's not popular. Vector Linux has been around for 10 years or so and its always around the bottom of DistroWatch's top 20. It's an excellent distro from Canada with a very large and helpful community and it's one of my personal favorites.

@Old_Salt: Thank you for bringing this discussion back around to my original point. It is sad to see a speciality outfit that served the Linux community for eight years go under. I hope you're right and I'm wrong about the future for such vendors. While economic conditions are certainly cyclical here in the U.S. we've seen small, locally owned businesses driven out by big chain stores. They have never rebounded. I think what happened to MadTux is the online equivalent of that trend. Only time will tell which of us has made the correct analysis.

@Lawrence: I will certainly concede that what I wrote really only applies to North America. I'm not qualified to discuss markets in your part of the world. I think that, for the most part, getting Linux into the mainstream in this part of the world is a good thing. MadTux may be an unfortunate casualty. Hopefully, in time, if Linux succeeds here and/or in Europe things will change where you live as well.

I simply issue to school aged kids, as many FREE, donated, found curbside, or dumpstered, computers as I can, (all Microsoft Virus Proof!) Linux Mint installed and running thousands of great GAMES, Suites of Applications, Educational Programs, on them!

Linux and BSD users wonder at folks still paying for Microsoft or Apple/Mac Operating Systems, and third party garbage!

The sad truth to the matter is that the profit margins are so low on new computer equipment it is difficult for any small shop to make a go of it.

Hi All,

I've always just trashed the M$ system that was shipped - after saving the original OS to DVD. Then installed my favorite Linux Distro.

I've noticed no cost savings involved with buying a Laptop or Box installed with Linux. I'm not sure what the issue is here, but Linux is free, and open source.

Somehow I think the guys here have missed the point, stopped supporting Hardware, Software, and could not spend enough time with their client base, and missed the opportunity to use their Web Site development skills. IMHO.

What I have found about pre-installed Linux is that it just works - at least on the Asus EeePC. I bought a Linux EeePC for my retired father when it first came out. Since buying it it has worked flawlessly, and I have had to do nothing with it since. No need for the virus and malware software installation and updates, and none of the usual stability problems associated to malware requiring reinstallation as on Windows. When I bought a second EeePC for myself with a 10" screen I decided to opt for Windows. It turned out to be slower and like all Windows installations it has the usual virus, malware and stability issues - normal for Windows but unstable compared to the rock stable Linux version.

Having said all this, it is important to realise that not all Linux preloads are equal - it is not enough to slap on a freely available Linux distro on a notebook and have nothing more to do with it. The company must properly support drivers, and have a commitment to long term support. Asus EeePC is the best - stable and properly supported from a company with a commitment to Linux on the netbook. The MSI Wind is the worst in my opinion - a slapped on SUSE Linux with no real commitment, and probably only done to win Microsoft price concessions for XP. Acer's Linpus Linux netbooks and support is better than MSI, but not as good as ASUS. Dell, despite what many say about the company's desire to actually sell Linux notebooks do have a reasonably good preinstalled distro, and reasonably good long term commitment.

Ok, I was out for a couple of days. Some intresting points to reply to.

First of all.
Caitlyn, Happy Hunukkah :) Sorry to hear (or to read) that you got a lame gift. And "Since having a reliable and portable computer is vital for me to make a living", I suggest to spend a bit more money and get a real laptop (not a netbook kiddy toy). Wipe that Vista off it (I would not blame you) and install whatever you prefer :)

Happy New Year to all too :)

Enough with the smiles, now back to being nasty about desktop linux and the sorry azz state it is currently in

@Ken
"I have been using desktop Linux for more than 10 years now..."
I don't care. Some poeple drive crappy cars for years and they insist that their cars are getting better. But the fact of the matter is they still drive crappy cars. And, as GENERAL PURPOSE DEKTOP OS, Linux Desktop IS STILL CRAP. You can try to make me change my mind, but I don't think it would work.


"Linux and other GNU/GPL software serves you at far lower cost"
I just love when Lniux fanboyz say that. And can't help myself but only lough at it. Forget about the fact that buying a PC with Linux can (and is in many cases) be more expensive than buyng the same PC with Windows (and than using open source programs on it). Forget about business when having MS products means to stay in business because your clients/partners/vendoes use the same MS products and converting them all to Linux is impossible.

But here is my persnoal little example:
I installed fresh openSuSE 11.1 on my home PC. INSTALLATION/HARWARE RECOGNITION WAS ABSOLUTELY PAINLESS (IT IS GETTING BETTER most of the time). I used native FireFox, Konqueror, SeaMonkey, Epiphany, Opera to visit some sites that are heavy on media/scripting. only to see that these browsers do not render the same pages in the same way. Each of them manages to screw up some piece of a web page and its functionality. All of these combined cannot deliver the same experience I get from FireFox/Windows or IE/Windows. I mean, commom now. All the fanboys write their "reviews" how you can use Linux for such a typical activity as Internet Browsing while IE does it better than all those 5 Linux browsers combined. And that is just a tip of the huge iceberg. Coming back to the "low cost", HOW DO YOU PUT VALUE/COST ON TIME WASTED TO GET THE MOST SIMPLE/STUPID THINGS WORKING ??? I just wasted several hours just to find out that IE does better job (why did I listen to Linux fanboyz in the first place? Huh)


"My network runs on GNU/Linux. Never had a virus"
I have two Win XP (dual booted with Linux though) boxes at home circa 2000/2001 that do not have any service packs/patches or active virus "protection" running. I use those to browse on regular basis. One of those got infected once (in 7 years). So what's your point here? It is kind of funny to me that all these years of my dual OS setup the only thing that was permanent on PC was Win XP (and is). While dosens of Linux distros came and went to garbage. I should have counted how much I spent on those CD/DVD drives (and count it against Linux of course) :) joke
It is nice to have a choice: Which shade of crap you prefer? Regardless, all crap stinks

@Old_Salt
"I'm an IT Professional of 22 years"
And you think that I flip burgers in local McD for living all day long. Then I spend nights talking about Linux :)


"I also must say that there is a place for both depending upon needs of the business & individual"
I ABSOLUTELY 100% AGREE TO THAT (both meaning MS and Linux)


"I think your missing the point of the article here"
I might be. But what point is it? Success of DESKTOP Linux is killing business for Linux vendors (instead of giving tham even more business)? I mean the whole 0.0000001% of desktop market that MadTux enjoyed. What I am really missing is "WHAT SUCCESS" ?! I've just read another artice that according to NetApps market share of DESKTOP Linux DID NOT GROW during the past year. MS lost good piece of its market to Mac. So what success are we talking about here? I went to local "Best Buy" and a couple of other stores to take a look at netbooks (with all the current hype). I DID NOT SEE A SINGLE LINUX netbook on the show floor (while Mac was getting plenty of attention). I still do not see any printers/scanners/cameras... at "Best Buy" with requirements reading like "Ubuntu/SuSE/Fedora/Mandriva... x.xx and above". I mentioned a Red Hat project there. Aren't they the one who gave up on idea of consumer oriented desktop linux??? And that coming from the largest Linux vendor of them all

Back @Ken
"Linux is not a product"
May be that's the problem with it. It is definetely something, but not a product. Fanboys say it is an alternative to MS. I don't agree. I think it is only a compromise to MS flaws, but it is not an alternative and it is not a replacement.

DON'T get me wrong I think Linux server is a viable cost saving solution (but that is a different story)

I think "product" spin deserves its own thread. As a consumer, I see Desktop Linux as a bundled product with a PC (just like other desktop oriented OS). You can't really use on OS without a computer, can you? I think it should have proper R&D/Marketing/Support, End User Acceptance testing, Focus groups... As such, it should have a very basic form: one desktop environement, one browser/e-mail/chat program, one office suite, one media player (with common plugins). You could have optional packs/bundles, for example: Network pack (FTP/Torrent/VPN/Remote desktop clients + file/print share), Media pack (Image/Video/Sound editting) and so on (advanced Enterprise packs for Biz world). Smaller number of programs in basic form provides for easier development/debugging/testing/support/documentation. This way you're declaring to the World "This is what I am". And I am going to be this way for number of years (not till next dist upgrade). Be RELIABLE/STABLE PLATFORM for Independent 3rd party Software/Service vendors. Allow binary only add ons. That's right, allow people who do not want to share their code to be an equal part of your Eco-System. Publish your roadmap and stick to it. Be a reliable biz pertnet to others. If someone wants to make a hardware gadget and provide a binary only driver for it, LET IT BE.

The easiest example that comes to my mind would be Mandriva One LiveCD. It provides one DE, reasonable amount of Video/Network drivers and codecs (heck, it recognised media buttons on my laptop and removed drivers I didn't need after install). Publish system requirements (like open solaris) stating range of supported PC hardware. Remove some redundant and/or advanced programs. Install automatically takes over entire hard drive without me thinking about partitions and file systems. Official repository should have only optional packs/bundles (for $$$ or free). It should stick to the same kernel/base libs for the next number of years. Service packs/patches should be backward compatible (so all the existing 3rd party software is not broken when OS is patched). Now you have a marketable product. Make 3rd party vendors be responsible for their products/add ons.

Another point some of you touched up. Linux is being used by many companies. Whooppi-dooo. That still dosn't make it a great general purpose desktop OS. At work, your PC is a tool that need to perform a limited set of functions. It is easy to support a limited set of programs in a locked down environment. I am a believer though, that this is where desktop linux addoption should start. Excluding software development and server admin jobs, I do not see a single job post that requires Gnome, KDE, or OpenOffice as a must have skill. If I type in "MS Office", "MS Word/Excel" in a job search I'll get back gazillion of jobs. But not a single DESKTOP LINUX one. If it was a "must have skill" poeple would learn it (on their own or through employer provided trainig). Once poeple realize competitive advantage of knowing it they would use at home as well. Educational institutions of various levels would provide training, because you can get a job. Imagine the snowball effect from this...


SORRY, it was a long post.

Yep, it was a long and truly pointless post. Saying Linux on the desktop is "crap" over and over again, telling someone with 22 years of IT experience they should flip burgers, etc... Do you really think you'll convince anyone to change their views on Linux with this rambling dribble?

Mt professional IT experience exceeds 28 years. Every time I have to use Windows on someone else's desktop I cringe. Desktop Linux grew exponentially during the past year. The netbooks did succeed and continue to succeed to the point that HP, Dell, and Asus all expanded their Linux offerings to traditional desktops and notebooks.

\My Hanukkah present was brilliant, not crappy. The netbook isn't a kiddy toy and calling it that only demonstrates your ignorance. It's a fully capable little laptop. I had a hardware failure. 90% of electronic failures happen in the first 5% of service life. Sony, the company I did work for back in the 80s, has roughly a 1% return rate on all its products. So... what happened to my netbook could have happened just as easily with a desktop or a laptop. It's being handled under warranty. Sorry... your arguments about the netbook don't hold water. None of your arguments do.

I let you ramble on with repeated posts telling us how awful Linux is on the desktop and spouting misinformation without sources. You're done repeating yourself here. Further posts from you will be unceremoniously deleted.

@ By Linux Home User
You made the following rant;
"I just found a bug in Mandriva 09 install"

Well as a custom computer builder I found an install bug in Vista 32 bit if you have more then 2 gigs of Ram installed. But do you see me screaming and ranting over it? Grow up! 10 years. Yea! Sure!!

It happens. People aren't perfect and it is people that write the code for OS's.
Feel free to fix it if you are so mad about Linux. It's open source and they allow you to fix it on your own unlike other OS's.

As for Caitlyn's article;
It's always sad when a company closes it's doors and especially a small business like MadTux.
They catered to a small niche market when the started up and were driven out of business once the larger companies jumped on the Linux bandwagon.

They will be missed by the Linux community and their previous customers. I find that if you provide good quality systems and provide good support you can create a good customer loyalty but in these hard economic times, loyalty is replaced by "What is the cheapest?".
Sad but true.

TaZMAn

you go caitlyn marin! tell that home user off! I have three of the asus ee pc's and my friends have one of the newer ones. I use them because of their ease of use and stability. I have them to teach computer literacy workshops because after setting them up ( by myself) the students can't break them. I also purchased two of the computers sold from madtux and was happy with them. I dont think they thought i was serious when i asked them if they could or would be interested in setting up a computer lab ( not for free, by our funding one) their customer service was outstanding with one discrepancy, their "live USB" Linux disks were an interesting concept but were set up so you could not save personal configuration dada like the users email addresses or PIM dada because every time you turned the system off and started it back up you had to reconfigure your system completely from scratch. when contacting them with regards to setting up a computer lab for my hospital they said the linux live USB drives had proprietary images and the following Linux distribution offered this USB drive as a fee option built into the newest ubuntu operating system. Their customer service was top notch but their business model was leaving something to be desired. Linux may be stable but windows security holes are what make it user friendly and able for a four year old to send a picture of their gold fish over the internet.

I think Vector Linux was Mad Tux' flavor of linux. it was cool, but not as user friendly as ubuntu. and since it was their proprietary kernel, could have helped extinguish madtux.

@michael: Congratulations! I think you wrote more misinformation in a comment than I have ever read before.

First, Vector Linux was not MadTux choice of distro. MadTux sold a wide variety of Linux distros. Second, Vector Linux does NOT have a proprietary kernel. Third, a live USB distro, properly configured, can save your data. Fourth, Windows security holes are NOT what makes filesharing of photos or anything else possible. It can be done every bit as easily under Linux. It should be no more than point, click, drag and drop. You can do that on a secure system just as easily as an insecure one. What you don't have with Linux is involuntary sharing of malware to your computer.

If MadTux actually used "proprietary images" (which I seriously doubt with a GPLed distro like Ubuntu) then that seriously hurt them. I think what killed them are changes in the market like I described, not the availability of one distro or another

I'm not sure that "failure" is really the right term for a business that successfully ran for 8 years actively working against the might of microsquish during a time when linux was mostly still 'just for geeks' (allegedly).

I say "HoooRaaah" for their accomplishments and hope the individuals there can find some area they can thrive in again, hopefully one that's less of an uphill battle!

Good luck and regards to them and all from
Tom :)

PS an otherwise excellent article tho ;)

good news.
I bought a computer from madtux. it overheated and shutdown within a few minutes of each boot and was horribly slow.

I noticed mad tux had set the clock speed down to the very minimum so they knew there was a problem.

I asked Madtux for advice on a new board. not even to get my money back.

The WANTED TO CHARGE ME EVEN MORE MONEY TO SEND ANOTHER COMPUTER.

I tried another heat sink. didnt work. tried a new mb and processor. that worked.

I am glad they are gone. I hate to send money and not get anything for it. at least a department store pc will probably work a little while.

Linux home user
was making some interesting points and some odd ones
They lost me with:
" these browsers do not render the same pages in the same way.
..each "manages to screw up some piece of a web page and its functionality. All of these combined cannot deliver the same experience I get from FireFox/Windows or IE/Windows."

How is the behaviour of browsers relevant unless "linux home user" is claiming that IE is the most reliable browser and this makes windows neccessary? Although they equate the FF/windows with IE/windows experience.

How does having windows as an OS improve web browsing with the same browser? Its certainly not my experience

Caitlyn has the patience of a saint

After reading the article and comments, I would just like to add something that came to mind while reading ... namely this:

Linux installation allows it to be installed alongside Windows - it (usually, in my experiences) pretty much sets the computer up to (by default) dual-boot both OS's; whereas Windows just reports NO other operating system installed and will only offer to delete the "unidentified partition" before installation (see third paragraph below) and, with at least some of the versions/distributions of Windows, require you to have a previous version disc before proceeding with the install ... Linux does NOT require ANY previous distribution/version disc to install.

Most distributions (a.k.a. "flavors" a.k.a. distro's) WILL ask if you wish to use the whole drive or part of the drive or another drive for installation (or, if the user is either experienced enough [or brave and flooish enough] to create partitions "free-hand"). If you wish to install alongside Windows or some other operating system, it allows the user to resize the existing partition (where Windows, Macintosh, Linux, etc. may exist already) but with warnings that the user should backup their existing data before continuing with the Linux installation...newer Windows will allow repartitioning, but not resizing, the drive(s).

Windows REQUIRES a "PID" (Product ID) for installation/re-installation and with a total OS crash, you need to reinstall Windows ... with several such crashes and re-installations, the user is REQUIRED to purchase a NEW "PID" or copy of Windows before installing or activating the installed copy of Windows! Linux does NOT put the user through this, if the system crashes (more than three times), the user simply re-installs the OS without having to purchase a single thing (unless they bought a "proprietary" (commercial-use operating system) distribution of Linux like Novell's SUSE Linux or Linpus (also once known as Linspire) and even Mandriva has a commercial version of their OS, just to name a few.

Just a "few" thoughts... ;)

QBall

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