Subject: Why do Linux box vendors thrive?
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 1999 17:30:05 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Jonathan" == Jonathan Corbet <corbet-fsb@eklektix.com> writes:

    Jonathan> The box vendors are not only in that market, they are
    Jonathan> tiny companies in an arena that is increasingly getting
    Jonathan> the attention of the Dells and Gateways of the world.
[...]
    Jonathan> So does anybody have any thoughts on why companies go to
    Jonathan> VA rather than to Dell for their Linux servers, and
    Jonathan> whether they will continue to do so?

I can't speak for Dell yet, but having installed Linux on several
Gateway boxes, I have to admit that Gateways are well-optimized for
... Windows.

Fortunately, this doesn't make them unusable for Linux, but I would go
to VAR in a minute if the protectionist Japanese government would
allow me to convert my research yen to dollars and buy at US prices
(and get US keyboards!)

I believe it's going to be difficult for some time for companies to
optimize both for Windows (with the assumption that much customer
support == Microsoft-trained hand-holding) and for Linux (where you
are going to have to do your own support, and for the typical
Windows-oriented vendor, the customers will be far more expert than
most of your personnel).  The temptation to "reduce platforms" to
reduce cost (the way the auto companies do with their chassis) would
be hard to resist, but could be a significant suboptimization in both
markets, I suspect.  And so on.

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