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How Much Linux Can You Get For $20?

Most of us reading this are probably accustomed to the idea of getting Linux for the cost of an opinion about the weather -- in other words, nothing. But now Ubuntu, arguably the most visible of Linux distributions, is hitting store shelves at Best Buy for the practically impulse-buy cost of $20.

Most of us reading this are probably accustomed to the idea of getting Linux for the cost of an opinion about the weather -- in other words, nothing. But now Ubuntu, arguably the most visible of Linux distributions, is hitting store shelves at Best Buy for the practically impulse-buy cost of $20.

Why pay? Two reasons: One, you get printed documentation -- something people have increasingly lamented the loss of, although the cost of printing in general (and the searchability of electronic files) has pushed paper docs aside.

The other, and more significant reason, is 60 days of unlimited tech support, courtesy of Canonical. Two months is a fairly decent margin of time for someone to install Ubuntu and work their way through most showstopper issues, and the most recent Ubuntu comes with a very nice gamut of tools to make migration and dual-booting a lot easier than it usually is.

The price is definitely right. The last time I saw boxed Linux on the shelf of my local Best Buy, it was SuSE, and it sported a price tag of almost $100. (A quick search of Best Buy's site shows they don't even keep SuSE in stock anymore; not much of a surprise, there.) I'd love to not only see this take off, but spawn some competition in the same space -- say, perhaps from an outfit that uses the same pricing model but uses Fedora or even OpenSuSE as their base distribution.

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing