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12/17/2004
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Anything But Microsoft Retail Store Pushes Linux, Open Source

The Linux and open source software movement has an ambitious retail store, and it is offering a low-cost, lightweight laptop that is devoid of Microsoft software.

The Linux and open source software movement has a retail store " possibly the only one in North America " and it is offering a low-cost, very lightweight laptop computer that is devoid of Microsoft software.

The Sub300 store could be called a Mecca for the Anything But Microsoft crowd. The store's president, Marc Silverman, says most people who contact the store do so because of an intense dislike for Microsoft.

"A lot of people are sick of Microsoft and Bill Gates," he said in an interview. "They hate that their computers crash once a week. They hate viruses. They hate paying so much for Microsoft software."

On Friday, Silverman announced that his Toronto-based store will begin an intense marketing campaign of its Sub300.com Ultralite Laptop for $799. The 2.9-pound laptop has the Linspire Linux operating system and OpenOffice software including word processor, spreadsheet and data base filer.

"We are avoiding the 'Microsoft tax,'" said Silverman, adding that Microsoft software can add from $200 to $400 to the cost of a PC or laptop. He said customers have been drawn to the store and its offerings for a variety of reasons, most of which are based in a dislike of Microsoft products.

Many are driven to seek out the Sub300 store because they are frustrated by the high number of spam, viruses, worms and other computer cyber pestilences that attack Microsoft software. Others like the low prices. Silverman believes still others will be attracted to the firm's extremely lightweight Ultralite Laptop. In addition to the Linux operating system, the laptop features a 1GHz VIA processor, 256 MB RAM, 40 GB hard drive, PCMCIA slots, Ethernet and USB links, as well as a 12.1-inch TFT display. The laptop is made in Taiwan for Sub300. (Because of currency differences the store is known as Sub500 in Canada.) Silverman and the store's co-owner, brother David Silverman, believe that stores specializing in Linux and open source software have a bright future. "Linux-based software is only now beginning to reach the desktop and PC market," he said. Marc Silverman said visitors have come from the U.S. and even from as far as Germany to visit his store. Located next to a school in Toronto, the store is often visited by high school students. Silverman said when they use Sub300 computers, they don't realize they have no Microsoft software on them.

Silverman said he believes the Sub300 store is the only store specializing in Linux and open source software in North America. He said there is a similar store in Australia. Supporting U.S. sales, Sub300 operates a warehouse in Buffalo, N.Y.

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