The Best Buy chain of home and business electronics and appliances is a new outlet for the popular consumer Linux. The Best Buy CD is available for $19.99 and includes other open source software. It's been priced at a near match to the $17.97 for which it's available through Amazon.com, including shipping.
What's Best Buy is offering is Ubuntu 8.04, also known as the Hardy Heron release, which became available on April 24. Best Buy started selling Ubuntu Hardy Heron on May 6 but it is not a featured offering and a search of the Best Buy Web site for Hardy Heron will return 371 items, including a "The Best of Gil Scott-Heron" CD and the Laurel & Hardy Collection DVD. A search for Ubuntu or Linux brings up the $19.99 package. It's the only Linux offered by Best Buy.
The Best Buy version is packaged by ValuSoft, a division of THQ Inc. in Chaska, Minn. ValuSoft is a game and business software distributor. Best Buy is based in Richfield, Minn. The ValuSoft package is a "complete edition" of Ubuntu, meaning it comes with OpenOffice desktop productivity applications and Evolution email and calendar, along with other open source code utilities and applications.
Ubuntu is a version of Linux produced by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth's firm, Canonical, headquartered in London. Ubuntu came out of the work of the Shuttleworth Foundation based in Durbanville, South Africa. It is a Linux that is updated frequently, with the next release due in October.
Ubuntu is scoring many favorable reviews on the Best Buy site but the faint of heart were warned off by a reviewer, who charged: "I would only suggest using Ubuntu Linux if you intend to spend a lot of your free time using Google to solve problems with hardware, configuration and software that should work but does not."