Windowz PC Sales Drop, Apple Rises – Linux?

In comments on a R.Pi thread, I’d mentioned that I was no longer feeling any need to keep using my Intel based PCs. (Even with Linux on them).

It seems that the Pi 3 has put me over the edge into “Pi Preference” land… and I’m no longer willing to accept the “compromise” of “almost” quiet… and 4 x 64 bit x 1.2 GHz cores beat one old 32 bit core even at IIRC about 2.4 GHz… something like that. Let’s check:

chiefio@EVOdebian:~$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor       : 0
vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
cpu family      : 15
model           : 2
model name      : Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.40GHz

Yes, I know, I could go out and buy a SuperD-Duper New Giant Game Station Intel Wiz-Box!! and have a whole lot faster… but why? What I have does everything I need… Once you have: Browser, Email, Graphics Edit, Word / Calc / Office Stuff, Video and Music… I’m running out of things I need and don’t have.

I suspect this portends “problems ahead” for Intel and Microsoft…

That reminded me of an article I’d thought of posting about, but that had sat, unused, on a tab for several months.

The PC market has had its worst year ever
Arjun Kharpal
Wed, 13 Jan ’16 | 5:34 AM ET

PC shipments suffered their biggest yearly decline ever in 2015 due to headwinds ranging from the China stock turmoil to fierce competition, according to a new report.

Global PC shipments totaled 276.2 million in 2015, a 10.4 percent plunge from the 308.3 million recorded the year before, research firm the International Data Corporation (IDC), said on Tuesday.

It is the first time shipments have dipped below 300 million since 2008.

“The PC market remains competitive and the economic environment weakened further with the recent drop in the Chinese stock market,” said Loren Loverde, vice-president of IDC’s Worldwide PC Tracker program, said in a press release.

“However, PC replacements should pick up again in 2016, particularly later in the year. Commercial adoption of Windows 10 is expected to accelerate, and consumer buying should also stabilize by the second half of the year. Most PC users have delayed an upgrade, but can only maintain this for so long before facing security and performance issues.”

A 10.4% drop in one year. They randomly cast about for “why” ranging over the whole planet, then lay their hopes on a Windows 10 upgrade cycle forcing people to buy new hardware. Really?

Maybe, just maybe, folks ARE upgrading… just to something not on the MicroSnot treadmill…

Apple posts growth

While the overall PC market declined, Apple saw shipments increase 6.2 percent, making it the only company to post a rise. It is the fourth-biggest PC vendor by market share, shipping 20.7 million devices in 2015, IDC said.

Lenovo maintained its number one position in the PC market and held over 20 percent market share. HP was the second-largest vendor with a 19.4 percent share of shipments, while Dell was third. Acer came in fifth, behind Apple.

“Even as mainstream desktop and notebooks see their lifetimes stretched ever longer, Apple’s emergence as a top 5 global PC vendor in 2015 shows that there can be strong demand for innovative, even premium-priced systems that put user experience first,” IDC said in a press release.

My immediate family bought 2 or 3 laptops in the last year. ALL of them Macs. Plus iPhones.

I bought 3 machines too, all of them Raspberry Pi boxes.

I’m not seeing any reason at all to buy anything outside that set.

I think this matters.

Postulates a different set of causes:

PC shipments see their steepest drop ever

Windows 10 didn’t save the PC industry this holiday.

Jon Fingas , @jonfingas
01.12.16 in Personal Computing
Why the plummeting numbers? The analyst groups peg it on a combination of PC buyers’ behavior and Microsoft’s strategy. As we’ve seen in the past, PC upgrade cycles are getting longer — that old PC is more likely to be good enough for another year, especially in a world where smartphones and tablets still reduce the need for a beefy computer. And IDC notes that the free Windows 10 upgrades may have hurt PC vendors. When you don’t have to pay to get a new version of Windows, why not use the PC you already have?

Whatever the cause, PC makers don’t have a lot to look forward to in 2016. They were banking on a slew of new Windows 10 PCs turning things around this fall, and that clearly wasn’t enough. While there’s a chance that a flood of clever new hardware (plus many aging systems finally needing upgrades) will help out this year, companies may have to accept that they’re in for another rough ride.

I think it is worse than that. More people are simply not going the Microsoft Way but taking the highway…

Apple Macs provide a stellar experience, for more money. More folks willing to “go there” and pay up.

From smart phones to connected tablets, users with light needs (email, browsing, maps) are just using their mobile Android devices. I use my tablet with Android when on the road, and it is fine for that. No laptop needed.

More things that used to take a PC, are moving to non-PC hardware. Raspberry Pi is but one of a gaggle of vendors of small boards and ‘systems in a can’ that are running various versions of Linux. In this category I’d include the Chromebox and ChromeBook machines from Google. I was quite happy with my ChromeBox as a traveling companion desktop box that could drive the TV in wherever I was staying. Cheap, reliable, easy to use (modulo a certain Google Spying and Straight Jacket attitude from Chrome… but MS isn’t much better…) For my main desktop I’m now running on a Raspberry Pi Model 3 and find it Just Fine In Every Way.

Now not everyone will love *Nix based systems like I do, but more do every year. It has reached the point of very effective and usable desktop (in a dozen styles and flavors as you like it) with full and free Office and Graphics Edit software (and just about any other software you could reasonably need for the typical home user).

So where’s my motivation to go buy a $500 to $1000 New Whiz Bang PC? Just to “upgrade” to the latest mutation of Windowz? Why bother. They change it often enough to be a pain anyway, so why not just move over to something that doesn’t do that to you? Take one change one time and be done. Besides, you can also leave behind 99%+ of the virus problems…

In many cases whole countries have moved away from the Windows World. China, for example, uses a home grown Kylin operating system based on Unix (with lots better security…) and at one time Germany had announced their government was cutting over (don’t know the status on that) including the Police. Mexico’s schools were doing the cut-over some years back (again, I don’t know the current state of things). The point being “It can be done” for just about any size organization.

I suspect that all this is taking a heavy toll. At last.

I know I’m not going to buy any more MS Windows systems. I briefly went shopping for a laptop (prior to the PiM3) and found myself being ‘pitched’ Windows 10. “But I want one that runs Linux. Is this one Linux Compatible?”- blank stares… and no sales…

At this point, all the docs I have that need windows are very old. Windows 7 or XP era. I’ve not needed to open one in years, so they are just an aging archive. In most cases, Open Office / Libre Office opens them anyway. So I have an open issue of “conversion”, or maybe just validation that they are openable. But that doesn’t take Windows 10 to do… or a new PC.

I suspect we’ve reached the point where what bigger hardware and newer MS Mutated Windows gives you is more pain than benefit.

A long long time ago I drew a Bell Curve on a graph. Vertical lines dividing it at regular intervals. On the far right, Supercomputers. On the far left, PCs. In between, minis, mainframes, etc. Then pointed out that each of these was able to solve problems in that scale of problem. (Smallest problem on the left, largest on the right.) Over time, as hardware improves, the lines march to the right.

Every Moore’s Law cycle, the lines make ever more problems solvable by machines at the small end, and ever less requiring machines at the biggest scale. I then predicted that Supercomputers would have shrinking market share (not hard as at that time it was already starting) and then Mainframes and then Minis… That was about 1988 or so at Apple. Since then, Cray was absorbed into another company, IBM moved to “service based” business models. Compaq, Dec, Tandem, and a few others absorbed into HP, that is now having “issues” making money with PCs.

The lines continue to march…

But now on the small end, we have ARM chips in tablets, phones and Pi like boards. Apple stayed important by moving with that to major player with the iPhone and tablets, and a laptop that is as small as a tablet (but a LOT more usable).

As the small advances to the center, market share grows. As the large pass it, they have ever shrinking market share. It is inevitable. Just as Dec and Sun and the other “mini” scale machines boomed as they hit the top of the curve, they evaporated as they passed it and the PC became “enough”. At Apple, our Cray was replaced with Silicon Graphics desk machines (who later bought out Cray…) Now I can get more than that power in a $35 Pi. That whole scale of problem now takes a $35 machine, not a $35 Million one…

IMHO, that was why Microsoft tried to get into phones (but did it so badly as to be irrelevant today). It is also why a newer bigger desktop is less and less relevant.

It is my belief that the failure of sales is NOT due to some temporary thing, but due to so many smaller chips, boards, and boxes having advanced to the middle of the Bell Curve of problem size…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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19 Responses to Windowz PC Sales Drop, Apple Rises – Linux?

  1. tom0mason says:

    Like your Raspberry Pi example, other small development boards/systems exist giving users programmable systems (Beaglebones, Arduino, Pi Clones, etc). These user programmable device give freedom to use the boards in anyway they wish — much as you have shown. However for many this route is too time consuming and they need a functioning system now.
    Open hardware is at the moment a niche product but it is doing quite well thank-you.
    If you want a fully featured PC with no MS dross there are the products at (Computers That Do Not Track You). Or there is Libreboot ( ) and their refurbished IBM/Lenovo PCs that have their BIOS boot PROM reprogrammed with fully open BIOS.
    In both cases these products show that UEFI boot is NOT required for a secure and safe PC use. IMO UEFI is the tool that broke MS golden egg. MS’s insistence that hardware manufacturers have this over-complex spyware on all products with their software installed, has ensured that incremental hardware upgrades are a pain. This has not been good for either hardware manufacturers or customers. With this system MS and the hardware manufacturers have ensure that complete new systems have to be purchase often — something many users have resisted. Added to that is MS’s tortuous upgrade path and security issues, have ensured that once loyal customer now seek other simpler to operate systems.
    From the evidence of my family and friends, they find this platform a PITA and overly expensive in the long term and have found better options with Apple and Google products.

    As an indicator of how people struggle to get Linux or anything else in or on their PCs just search for ‘How to disable “secure-boot” UEFI PC’

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    As an indicator of how people struggle to get Linux or anything else in or on their PCs just search for ‘How to disable “secure-boot” UEFI PC’

    Yep I bought a cheap on sale desk top computer of modern manufacture to play with linux on.
    I beat my brains out for most of a day trying to get the drive formatted.
    It simply would not let me run format on the system drive C: no matter what I tried.
    I solved that problem finally with a screw driver, I physically removed the hard drive, put it in a docking station and reformatted it. After that it was simple to install the Ubuntu distribution I wanted to play with.

  3. Graeme No.3 says:

    Apple are going the same way as Microsoft in trying to lock everybody into their product line while ignoring what the customer might want.
    EMS Your comment about graphics caught my eye as I struggle with my iMac /Macbook trying to ‘rip’ DVD’s. Apple don’t want you to use DVD’s any more but purchase on-line. Nor do their latest machines allow you to install programs to do what I want.
    OK I represent 0.00000x % of the market in that I want to view old english comedies (1930-1970) without the region control ( as all regions recorder units are hard to get in Australia) and rip 5-10 sec. video pieces from some modern documentaries to illustrate occasional talks I give.
    Given that these small computers will allow people to do what they want, not what the big companies think you should want, then people like Raspberry will win.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @Graeme No.3:

    Apple has always had a locked hardware attitude and desire to control the SW ecology.

    I can understand part of it. It makes if far far easier to design, code, and support the hardware if it is ONLY one thing and ONLY what you took on. Just look at the endless driver headaches in Linux with a few thousand odd collections of hardware it is expected to use…

    Essentially, to deliver a relatively bug free top end experience for novice skill users you more or less must lock things down. (As a Linux guy I hate it, but as a “don’t need to do tech support for the family” guy I love them having Macs…)

    It was Microsoft who learned the trick from Apple, ‘back in the day’… Then Apple opened up some, and is now backsliding… (my biased POV…)

    So it goes…

  5. As a former PC user and admitted addict, I transferred my affections and user loyalties to my iMac for two reasons.

    I was fed up with the twin problems of constant demands for ever more cash from the suppliers of anti-virus and malware protection suppliers, and the never-ending upgrades from the dark empire of Microsoft!.

    The final indignity of downloading the windows 10 rubbish, inclusive of the alleged ‘upgrades’ which crashed my computer no less than five times.

    Getting used to the Mac was slow, but once the changes were ironed out, I’d never go back to the Darth Vader group.

  6. Martin Clark says:

    “I could go out and buy a SuperD-Duper New Giant Game Station Intel Wiz-Box …”
    Hahahaha … Yes. I did that. About 4 years ago? Just before Windows 8 ?
    I don’t play games. I bought a state-of-the-art gaming box because I needed a new CAD workstation. Game machines have always been the cutting edge, The Soviet missile system was built from recycled western gaming machines with those big ol’ Motorola processors. That is why they didn’t go weird in Y2K. Racing car games didn’t need a real time clock. (Source: old workmate who previously worked at Plessey.)
    I knew my new box would be at least equal performance-wise to what was being passed off as a CAD workstation, but about a fifth or quarter of the price. The supplier (a bit puzzled) was willing to put this in a plain black tower case. With sons who were at the time Warcraft addicts, there was no way I was going to have a box with warriors, dragons, light shows from hell all over it.
    It is i5 64bit, 3.2GHz, 16GiB RAM, decent nvidia graphics card. It handles CAD fine. Much faster than I was used to. I could open several drawings at once, almost instantaneously, that might have a million vectors each on the base map layer, using AMG – Australian Map Grid. AMG is metres. The centroid of my place is roughly X coordinate 7877624.0420, Y coordinate 465967.3709. the origin (0,0) is somewhere in the South Antarctic Ocean.
    I was loyal to Windoze 8 and 8.1 because it was cheap and ran faster than XP on the old backup systems I had. Win 10 put an end to that, with two major “update” and “upgrade” failures (due to M$ incompetence) that showed me their operating system had failed the “implied warranty of fitness for the intended or any purpose.”
    I knew enough about Linux to cut loose, install Linux dual booting from a $70 1TB USB 3.0 drive. This boots about as fast as Windows 10 boots anyway, and it doesn’t fall over. CAD is supplied by Draftsight (Debian version, free, uses Graebert’s ARES CAD engine, ARES Commander available for Windows, Mac, various Linux flavours.)
    There is only one thing I need Windows for – Excel 2007. I need to use an Infrastructure Charges spreadsheet produced by my local council, that uses VBA macros. Nobody, not LibreOffice, not even the Chinese, have managed to crack the VBA dependency problem yet. There is one guy who looks after this spreadsheet. He gets to do it his way, as no one else there understands him or can do his job. It gets amended at least once, maybe twice a year. I can crack the Excel protection and create a version that works in Linux LibreOffice, but I can only do the cracking from Windows. Ironic that I have to keep it running for something that in some jurisdictions at least is illegal.
    There is one other thing I have been unable to do, which is run my data-logging devices (temperature, RH, CO2) under Linux. Some Linux people may know the answers but I don’t understand anything they say. Maybe I’ll have a go at solving the problem myself with Python and a Raspberry Pi 3. At least I understand what some of these Pi people are on about. Kids making robots, old guys like me reusing busted laptop screens? And there I was, trying to give up being a compulsive reconditioner, fixing things that really ought to stay broke.
    If Raspberry Pi or similar gets a bit more RAM and has some capacity for graphics acceleration, then yes these could be the way to go. I may never need a new desktop pc. Just a few more RPis, and maybe one or two USB 3 drives for newer bootable systems. I don’t think I’ll like going over to Macs. They were ok back in the Apple II days, but it seems they have attained divinity since then.

  7. Ian W says:

    I think a lot of the PC problems is that people want something easy and if you have a smart phones, tablets and PCs a non-expert user wants a consistent experience. Apple provides that ‘environment’ that is common across the phones to the top end MACs. If you want a smart phone on its own, it may well be Android and with some android manufacturers the tablets are just larger versions of the smart phone. Move to PC though and there is no Android PC the closet is Chrome Book but that is not the same as an Android phone/tablet. Micro$oft saw this coming and tried to make WIndoze 8 then 10 cross platform, and failed. So you can have a consistent environment or a heterogeneous one. Non technical uses like the consistent look and feel across their devices all sitting in the same ‘cloud’ environment. Many are abandoning PCs altogether and just using tablets or phablets which with a Bluetooth keyboard do all they wanted a PC to do anyway. The only thing that will slow or kill Apple hegemony will be if the company gets too greedy and controlling in which case it will take on the Micro$oft mantle and the story will repeat with another manufacturer moving into the space.

  8. Gail Combs says:

    We bit the bullock a few years ago and bought a new computer for hubby. The first thing he did was wipe Windows and install Linux.

    At this point you are talking a saturated market and are looking at replacement not first time users. For example I have a cobbled together ~ ten years old rebuilt computer bought used for ~$50 also with Windows wiped and Linux installed. It is on it’s third set of cannibalized fans.

    Unless you NEED the new Windows for work or you have money to burn, why would you bother buying a new PC when the old one fits your needs and you are used to it?

    Remember the real unemployment is ~23% and many of those employed have crap jobs flipping burgers or selling Chinese made shody goods to each other. The wealth in this country (and manufacturing jobs) has been sucked dry so there just isn’t that much excess cash for new toys. You are not going to buy a new computer with food stamps… unless it was stolen. (Roughly one in five Americans receives government assistance each month.)

    Shadow Stat: Alternate Gross Domestic Product Chart
    “The SGS-Alternate GDP reflects the inflation-adjusted, or real, year-to-year GDP change, adjusted for distortions in government inflation usage and methodological changes that have resulted in a built-in upside bias to official reporting.”

    explistats: Unemployment, Labor Force – Household Survey

  9. Gail Combs says:

    Ian W says:
    “I think a lot of the PC problems is that people want something easy and if you have a smart phones, tablets and PCs a non-expert user wants a consistent experience….”

    Yuppers, people are lazy and are not going to put in the time needed to learn a new system unless they have to.

    I have a really cheap phone because I do not WANT all the bells and whistles and the headache of trying to learn how to use it. I just want to auto dial friends.

    I was ROYALLY p1ssed that the top number was taken by the government (911) and the second has FAVORITES – WTF? so I now have to scroll down to #3 to get hubby on speed dial. Instead of using two key strokes it is now four and a visual check. Tough when driving, hauling a trailer and just finding out you are totally lost in a city where pulling over to make a call is not an option.

    Speaking of getting lost. The last time was a couple of weeks ago. I pulled into a mall with a police station only to find the door was locked and no one would answer the intercom. Luckily a very kind person agreed to lead me to my right road since the route was very very confusing and not marked with the correct signs. (And no I do not use GPS. Our farm is on the opposite side of the river from where GPS shows.)

  10. wyoskeptic says:

    I have three machines … well 3 and a half. Three Toshiba laptops plus a Panasonic laptop from ’95?’96? MSDOS 3.2 anyway. It still boots up, the last time I tried. Several years ago.

    Of the ‘Shibas, #1 is a 32 bit machine running legacy Vista. Hated Vista at first, spent more time with the Blue Screen of Death than I did using it. (Well, mebbe not quite but close. Real close.) Once it got fully updated and as Vista matured, it turned into a pretty decent machine. (It is now a dozen years old and the keyboard needs the letters re-done. You better be good at touch typing cause there ain’t much you can read on it to to go by sight typing.) Still usable. It is my “Wifi hotspot / restaurant / laundromat browser. Nothing on it worth stealing. If it got locked by a virus, I could pitch it and not lose anything since it long ago paid for itself. It has something like a 32 gig internal hard drive. Didn’t take me long to figure out that an external hard drive was the way to go. So everything but the operating system is on the external HDD(s). (Hey keep an eye on the sales at the office stores and at Walmart, when the next bigger size comes out, the smaller ones get dirt cheap.) I’ve a half dozen 100 gig HDDs, four 500 gig HDDs and a couple of 1 Tbyte drives, all external USB. Keep one on the machine and another offline and powered down, only power it up when you want to do a copy / backup and over all it works good. Very good.

    #2 was bought after Windoze 7 came out. Didn’t much care for 7. Used XP machines at work, knew them inside and out. But hey. Got used to it. I had waited long enough that most of the initial bug fixes were done. (Learned that from Vista.) This is my best and current machine. Battery started going bad. Bought a new machine … could only find Windoze 8. Hated it from the first. Soon as I figured out that you couldn’t tell how many programs you had open at one time I stuffed it back into its box and hunted up a replacement battery for number 2. Then Windoze-dictator-dot-com started offering their “YOU Gotta upgrade to Windoze 8 then Windoze 10” routine complete with stealth updates that lock you into upgrading without asking first. I said “F… that …”, turned off updating. Rooted out those updates that controlled the downloading of 10 and am still using 7 now.

    I have the equipment that lets me use an internal hard drive as if it were a USB drive, so one of these days I’ll wipe the HDD on ‘Shiba #3 and install a copy (legit — bought from a clearance bin at a local computer store) of Windoze 7 so I can use the new one that way, if necessary.

    I have Mint (linux) that I can boot from a USB stick. Got it working just fine. (32 bit version for the Vista, 64 for the other 2.) I would use it full time except that my method of getting on the internet is by way of a usb cell phone spike. My contract is for unlimited data anywhere in the US. I get decent data speeds and I am not going to stir the anthill by trying to convert to new equipment just now. The ISP seems to have forgotten me (other than monthly bill … it is a long story) and I don’t want to draw attention to myself to have them offer me a new “Super Dooper (and much more expensive) data plan. The trouble? The comm manager only works under Windoze and it does not like sharing network access … so, limited to one machine at a time. But that is fine.

    My cell phone is just that: an old Samsung flip phone & nothing else. Between the phone and the cell phone spike, I pay what most everyone else pays for an Iphone and those Mega data plans (or mebbe even a little less because my plan is unlimited and the courts have said unlimited means unlimited. (So far any way.) So no additional for data overages.)

    As soon as the Windoze-ogliarchy decided they knew more about what I needed than I do, they lost me as a customer. I’ll use what I have as long as I can, it works fine for what I need to do, but I will never touch another of their products unless things really change. I’ve been kicking computers around long enough that, one way or another, I can get them to do what I need done. May not be elegant, but it’ll work.

  11. Chazz says:

    I’ve got a couple of Windows PCs that now dual boot to Ubuntu. Setup was amazingly easy and the machines now run way better on the Linux side. I was happily surprised to discover that from Ubuntu I still have access to all of the Widows files on the other side of the partition. Printers, scanners, cameras, phones, etc. were all immediately recognized without having to go through the Widows New Hardware drill. A while ago, I cloned the hard drives, so I can’t see replacing these things until the processors die.

  12. gallopingcamel says:

    This is way above my pay grade but I suspect you are onto something here. I won’t be buying anything that looks like a laptop ever again.

    Right now I am depending more and more on my Samsung S6 but suspect that something Raspberry will be next. I switched to Linux seven years ago along with most of my relatives.

    Hopefully some of the crumbs that drop from Chiefio’s table will help to show the way.

  13. gallopingcamel says:

    I was a fan of Ubuntu until they introduced the “Unity” interface that reminds me of “Windows 8”.

    Please try “Linux Mint” with the “Mate” GUI. I love it because it is simple and FAST!

  14. gallopingcamel says:

    @Gail Combs,
    I will be retiring this year which means I have only one more visit the fine state of North Carolina..

    I hope you will be available in early October. Let’s meet at the same fine restaurant but this time I will bring some friends/family.

  15. Chazz says:


    Yes, I tried Mint and about another dozen other Linux distributions. No clear favorite, but Ubuntu seemed a little more user friendly. Not being compelled by Microsoft to purchase yet another computer has been quite satisfying and confirms Chiefio’s observation that the PC market cannot be sustained at historical rates solely by artificially created demand.

  16. I’m committed to OS X (nee macOS) and iOS, but have run a number of Linux distros under VMWare as Oracle doesn’t supply their database for the Mac. My wife has a Win7 box that she uses a couple times a year when ther iPad doesn’t cut it.

    Currently using CentOS, but avidly following your threads…

  17. Gail Combs says:

    Galloping Camel, tell us the date and we will put it on the calender. See you then.

  18. confoundcom says:

    I personally could not get into Mac’s as you say, however, being a lifetime Window’s User I recently found that Linux is winning preference for a daily use Operating System over any Microsoft Product. Too bad I didn’t jump on the bandwagon sooner! What is it about Mac’s that win you over?

  19. mosomoso says:

    A couple of years ago I had a problem with my satellite service which required that I get hold of another computer. Being out in the scrub, all I could get was a USB loaded up with Lubuntu. This helped me to ascertain that the prob was not computer but satellite service (which they already knew…but ISPs like to run you around for exercise, right?).

    When the problem was fixed, I decided to keep using Linux on a stick, even trying Puppy. Then I installed Linux Lite. And since then, all I have used is Linux. I’m a total non-geek, yet I now have old HP computers lying around with Peppermint, Mint etc loaded up ready to go if the present one falls over. Repairs are pointless, expense is needless. The only hardware that matters to me is a good screen. Sync and Dropbox mean I’m good to go on any machine or device.

    I’m a complete mug with computing, so I can’t understand why many capable types think Linux is too complex or limiting. Just habit? But if Bill Gates really wants to empower the poor he should just help ’em to load up all those billions of old Windows machines with Peppermint 7 or Linux Lite 3 so they can go round the block again. (Though somehow I don’t think that’s what the Foundation is for.)

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