Author Topic: Straw Poll and Preferences  (Read 2331 times)

Offline cavy

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Straw Poll and Preferences
« on: January 22, 2017, 12:22:34 pm »
Hi guys,

I considering setting up a small business; refurbishing laptops, and marketing it with a Linux OS pre-installed. Is there a market for this idea..?

The Lenovo Thinkpad T420 (intel i5, 4Gb ram, 250Gb hd, 14" screen) benefits from the following tweaks, turning it from a slug into a hot rod.

New specs: 8Gb ram, 120Gb SSD, disk-caddy utilising the old hard drive for extra storage.

What are your opinions and preferences?

1. Trick out laptop and no OS?

2. Trick out laptop and OS of your choice?

3. UEFI or Legacy install?

4. LVM install or manual partitioned?

5. A more suitable branded Laptop?

6. Ram?

7. SSD?

Regards Cavy.
   :)
« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 06:04:18 am by cavy »
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Offline cavy

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2017, 03:32:18 am »
I'm on the naughty list...or...something...? The silence is deafening...!   ;)

Seriously, at the end of the day, all members of this forum have bought a computer in all probability came with windoze pre-installed.     ???

Several years ago I bought a tower computer advertised without OS on Amazon. It arrived with windoze 7, but not activated, i.e had to purchase product key. Err what...!     >:(

Ditto with a laptop, advertised with Ubuntu pre-installed, the supplier rang to ask what windoze I required, a rather awkward conversation later I had a £70 ($100 at time) discount.   :-\

The last computer I had built locally, the shop owner a pleasant enough person, as far as they were concerned, Linux was experimental, (pile of junk, inferred references) for rebels at best.   ::)

These are some of my experiences that have left a sour taste, and why I posed my question. I have an idea, but do they reflect the expectations of a Linux buying market...?    ;)
« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 06:04:32 am by cavy »
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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2017, 03:43:11 am »
I'm not sure anyone understands exactly what you're asking :-\

If it's a "what would you want ?" question, you're never going to get a consensus .. everyone's requirements would be different.

Why not be "modular" and offer ALL options ?

So far pretty much only System76 and Zareason have managed to make a go of this .. maybe you should be studying their model.
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Offline cavy

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2017, 04:10:13 am »
Thank you PCNetspec.   :D

Essentially it is that consensus of opinion.   ;)

I'm limited to space, working from home due to my disability. UK politics aside.   ???

Like that word modular.  :D  Thought that approach might over stretch me to start with.  But food for thought.   ;)



« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 04:11:54 am by cavy »
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Offline mac

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2017, 04:14:09 am »
Hi Cavy

Linux dekstop distros are gaining in popularity here in the US but, at least in my neck of the woods, most people have never heard of Linux and those who have think it is for geeks & such.  That seems to pretty much be the general public's perception of Linux along with "the pleasant enough person" who thinks Linux is an "experimental...pile of junk...for rebels at best."  That being the case, it would be a tough go getting started especially as a primary source of income.

If it were me (and, of course, it isn't) I think I would target local small businesses to get started.  You would have to offer instruction, setup and maintenance along with the equipment, though.  Or, as PCNetSpec suggests, you would need to offer other options, as well.

I'm not trying to dash your enthusiasm and there is probably a niche out there somewhere but, hey, if you try it you might not want to quit your day job just yet. 

That being said, good luck with it Cavy! 

cheers
mac
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Offline cavy

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2017, 04:29:23 am »
Cheers mac  :D

Err...What day job...  ;) ...err looking for that primary source of income.   :)
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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2017, 04:42:01 am »
Your main problem is nobody has figured out how to make money with "Desktop" Linux yet (except MAYBE Google with their chromebooks) .. all "Linux" money is either in servers, corporate support, or embedded devices.

Sure there's a couple of "niche" businesses such as Zareason and System76 but they're tiny and at least in the US pretty much have that small market covered.

MANY have tried, but if Dell / HP / Lenovo / etc. aren't doing it, you can guarantee it's because there's no money in it ;)

Like mac it's not my intention to stamp on your enthusiasm, but I'd suggest you think it through first .. the vast majority of Desktop Linux users tend to be "DIY" enthusiasts you can't sell to them as the whole point is the DIY .. the rest simply don't see any value in Desktop Linux over what's already available pre-installed .. any crossover is an extremely limited market.

If you want to sell second hand computers to "Joe Average", I'm afraid Linux will likely be a hindrance rather than a selling point unless you can think of a "value" it adds for Joe and convince him of it when he likely doesn't want to listen and/or learn a whole new way of doing things.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 04:45:43 am by PCNetSpec »
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Offline mac

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2017, 05:05:17 am »
Many years ago, before the birth of Peppermint, even, I put Debian on a couple of laptops and offered them on eBay.  I got a couple of questions about them but no sales.  But Linux has gained at least some notoriety in the last few years so maybe you could give something like that a go.  It would be a good way to test the waters, so to speak, without much investment.  Just a thought.

cheers
mac
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Offline cavy

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2017, 05:59:48 am »
Thank you all for your candour.  :D

The film, though haven't seen it "Eyes Wide Shut" could sum up a non understanding of this potential market.   ;)

I believe I could succeed, but don't have the necessary resources to make a commercial grade desktop, Joe Average would consider.    ::)   But the DIY grade approach could and may have some mileage.   ;)

Finding the right marketing strategy  ;)  ?
« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 06:01:29 am by cavy »
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Offline Pikolo

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2017, 03:19:20 pm »
@PCNetSpec
Dell sells Linux laptops running Ubuntu + a few PPA's for firmware updates and such. They started off 13" but the project was a success and now you can but all their Business(1000$+) laptops with Linux: http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/555/campaigns/xps-linux-laptop?c=us&l=en&s=biz They are only available online and Dells says there are no plans to bring them to stores, so it's probably not too big a niche, but one notheless

@cavy:
When you're selling a computer by specs, you can attract gamers and people who deal with computers daily. They're a small marketshare and generally go for trusted producers. At least that's what I do when I exchange hardware. I think you could be better off going for lower end users.

The problem for you is 3-fold:
a) you'd need to find hardware that works well with Linux(because as a refrubisher you won't have leverage to persuade OEMs to fix problems; that said older hardware tends to be well supported on Linux, just pay attention to older AMD GPUs and Wireless cards),
b) you need a market niche,
c) you need customers, but probably don't have funds for advertising

In theory your niche could be low-medium end devices and trying to be cheaper by not paying M$ licenses. In practice, crapware covers them, so you can't win this way.

One other niche I can think of is computers for the elderly. You'd need a distro with good magnification support(maybe Knoppix Ariadne?), and the advantage over Windows would be the simplicity of use. Linux maintenance seems a lot easier(1 click systemwide updates FTW), there are no lying popups from M$, no installers trying to get you to use MyLittlePony browser search bar and so on. Aiming for first time computer owners, they wouldn't have bad habits, and the list of used applications is small.

These days in this segment you'd probably be fighting Chromebooks though, and I'm not sure if that's a winnable fight, especially because you'd need to convince their children and grandchildren to choose Linux, because they're unlikely to buy hardware themselves.

All in all, it's you to you. GL
« Last Edit: February 01, 2017, 03:21:59 pm by Pikolo »

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2017, 03:53:47 pm »
Yep Dell sell high end laptops to developers, and as I said there's system76 and Zareason .. ALL niche products.

I would LOVE to be wrong, but I just don't think there's the market to make a go of it .. Dell can do it because their bread and butter is Windows PC's which mean they can charge the earth for a Linux laptop and it doesn't matter if they only sell a few.

System76 and Zareason seem to pretty much have the rest of the market sewn up in the US, and over here I've seen MANY startups come and go that attempted to sell Linux PC's .. they are ALL gone now except some specialist mini-PC manufacturers such as Tiny Green PC (who I believe do the Fit-PC and the MintBox), but again their main sales are Windows boxes but also do the odd Linux version (of the same hardware) too.

Like I said, I hope I'm wrong .. I'm just saying it the way I see it.

I'm not trying to put cavy off .. Peppermint may even release some hardware (but like all the others except maybe System76 and Zareason we'll not be relying on it as our sole source of income), I'm just trying to "keep things real" and suggesting anyone thinking of this should be cautious about how much money they sink into it, specially where money is tight.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2017, 04:06:26 pm by PCNetSpec »
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Offline spence

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2017, 05:20:16 pm »
So far pretty much only System76 and Zareason have managed to make a go of this .. maybe you should be studying their model.

I only just saw the query, suppose it all depends upon your price points, for there's definitely an opening below the two PCNetSpec mentions... most folks are here keeping older laptops alive... thus not necessarily in the market for another older laptop, unless its newer than the ones they've been coddling.
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Offline perknh

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2017, 05:40:37 pm »
One other niche I can think of is computers for the elderly.

Not always an easy group to work with --even when you do so for free.  Believe me on this one:  I know what I'm talking about here.  I really, really do. 

These days in this segment you'd probably be fighting Chromebooks though, and I'm not sure if that's a winnable fight, especially because you'd need to convince their children and grandchildren to choose Linux, because they're unlikely to buy hardware themselves.

Unfortunately, this is so.
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Offline LNXlady

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2017, 01:33:08 pm »
When I bought my last laptop, I looked at System76. They only install Ubuntu and I didn't want Ubuntu. If I was going to have to install the OS myself anyway, there was no reason to buy  from them. It was faster and cheaper to just find what I wanted from Best Buy and put whatever I wanted on it myself. And most people who are interested in a computer  with Linux on it will be able to install it themselves. Most will want to. I just don't see buying one with it pre-installed being much  of a draw.

Offline Pikolo

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Re: Straw Poll and Preferences
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2017, 06:57:10 am »
I just don't see buying one with it pre-installed being much  of a draw.
In case of buying from Dell(I don't know about other vendors), the draw is that your laptop is tested with Linux and receives firmware updates. So it will have hardware graphics acceleration out of the box, it will work with a dock and if anything breaks, customer support won't tell you that it's your OS's fault. Dell sells next-business-day round-the-globe support contracts, so I'd say it's largely an enterprise thing

Selling hardware with Linux is a way we can really take the carpet from under Windows's feet, because the majority of PC users are incapable of operating Thunderbird(can't find the link, but an EU study found that 11% of users are advanced enough to find emails matching a search term and a timeframe), let alone installing an OS