An Open Video to HP

Shawn Powers has a message for hardware vendors. Listen up!

If you have a video response, please send to and we'll post it.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Once upon a time there was a

marcopalla's picture

Once upon a time there was a great company with one of the most amazing Unix distro installed on really great hardware.. there's a gadgets company,
they sell 10 HP-UX superdome and 1 trillion printers...

It takes more than geeks in the basement

David Lane's picture


While I agree with everything you are saying, it takes more than geeks in the basement to make the sea change happen. HP, like Microsoft are not selling to the folks in the engine room, but to the people who control the purse strings and the overwhelming opinion (that we are all fighting) is that "so one was ever fired for buying Microsoft."

Just because we know that the CPU would implode under Vista and that Linux has inherent advantage, if the school board and the senior executives are not convinced, then it just does not matter. We have to build a cohesive argument every time we go to bat. Sadly.

David Lane, KG4GIY is a member of Linux Journal's Editorial Advisory Panel and the Control Op for Linux Journal's Virtual Ham Shack

just HP eh ?

Rik's picture

You might as well record 'n play a 1000 more of those podcasts, but just substitute "HP/Hewllett-Packard" for every other manufacturer,... of PC hardware in the world.
From Asus -> Zilog they're all the same. Supporting "Open Source" development to them is nothing but a marketing tool used by these corporations for leverage. They don't care that they constantly LIE to their consumers', you, me, and everyone. They couldn't care less about helping these kids, who will eventually be all of our futures'.

And unfortunately they still think they have to build their "hardware" for "gatesware".
Even the car makers used to build cars for EVERYONE. ?!!!

Maybe if Linux changed its name to Windux some of those PC hardware makers' just might get it through their greedy little heads that Linux, and the xBSD's, OpenSolaris,... are all here to stay, and if for no other reason but being what they TRULY are: powerful development platforms.

but hey, atleast you've done something about it, as a consumer who demands a choice of what he/she wants to drive. Why? -'cause we have all bloddy well $paid for our hardware.

If schools around the globe can save a couple $hundred per PC/Laptop, that they DON'T have, they why shouldn' they ?!

-good-luck and thanks.



Mr.P4's picture

HP sucks ...
they just LOVE WINDOWS ...
I don't know why, probably MS are paying for that.
I have a surprise for you, it's on the website TOO !!!!
on the top of the pink picture
or that:
look the OS on the list
also here:
The same place of the first website
Why there's more people using WINDOWS yet ?
because these bigs corporations install WINDOWS inside


Brusstoc's picture

Shawn, I agree with you. HP (and Dell and others) may have Linux drivers for their hardware; may even sell them pre-loaded. But if they don't tell anyone, don't advertise, and make it difficult to even find, then what's the point?


Anonymous's picture


It appears that in my haste, along with posting late at night, I failed to properly close my last message. I wanted to add that I think it would be great to see Linux being offered and supported by "mainstream" providers. HP is one that I think has the wherewithal to pull it off but, as you mentioned, has been shortsighted. I think they fail to realize that there would be a significant market for fully supported Linux systems. I think the thing that keeps them from doing it is the huge investment required to build the support infrastructure. If you can't support it, you shouldn't sell it. Right? Anyway, that is just my opinion, I could be wrong....


Anonymous's picture


I like what you said. I am particularly interested in this because I run a hardware company that specializes in systems running Linux. We support a multitude of distributions. We have, at times, written drivers for devices that did not have Linux drivers. I would like to share with you that most of the computer buying marketplace is not at all loyal. Especially the Linux geeks. All of that hard work we have put in to make compatible systems is not worth a thing to Linux people. They want my higher quality, pre-engineered, guaranteed compatible, pre-installed, configured, and supported throughout it's lifecycle hardware for not a dime more than the cost of (what they think is) comparable components from online e-tailers. Your assumption that there is any loyalty out there offends me as much as HP has just offended you. All things considered, I do understand your point.

Take care all,


Boy Did You Make Me Think...

Shawn Powers's picture

And my brain, it hurts... :D

My off the cuff response was that you must have been working with the wrong geeks. Then I thought about my own circumstances, and realized that for me, my loyalty really lies with vendors that have first names. Here's my example:

I have ordered computer parts from the same salesman for probably 5 years. The salesman, Tom Bibeault, has always given me excellent prices and he's been truthful about products he sells, even if it costs him a sale. Based on his actions, I've come to trust him, and I'm loyal to the point that I'll even spend more money because I know Tom won't steer me wrong. Here's the deal though, Tom has worked for 2 or 3 different companies over the past 5 years. It was *him* that I was loyal to.

My point? Relationships are very important. It is much easier to dump a huge company than it is to dump a person you've come to know and respect. My suspicion is that the Linux users that dropped you so quickly may not have realized the effort you put in for them. We tend to assume we're getting the shaft. :)

PauleyB, I'm truly sorry your efforts for the Linux community were not received well. I personally love to hear about companies making efforts for open source, and please send me some specifics. I'd love to know more.

Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.

Hi Shawn great vid. I'd just

Anonymous's picture

Hi Shawn great vid.
I'd just like to point out that your use the word "fickle" contradicts you description of linux users af "loyal" - one cannot be loyal and fickle (a contradiction in terms).

Fickle \Fic"kle\, a. [OE. fikel untrustworthy, deceitful, AS.
ficol, fr. fic, gefic, fraud, deceit; cf. f[=a]cen deceit,
OS. f?kn, OHG. feichan, Icel. feikn portent. Cf. Fidget.]
Not fixed or firm; liable to change; unstable; of a
changeable mind; not firm in opinion or purpose; inconstant;
capricious; as, Fortune's fickle wheel. --Shak.
[1913 Webster]

They know how fickle common lovers are. --Dryden.

Syn: Wavering; irresolute; unsettled; vacillating; unstable;
inconsonant; unsteady; variable; mutable; changeful;
capricious; veering; shifting.
[1913 Webster]

Just so you know.

I dwelled on that for a long time

Shawn Powers's picture

I was afraid someone would call me out on that. When I said fickle, I meant that we might be happy about one thing, and then angry about the next. I didn't mean that we are fickle regarding things we're passionate about. (For example, if a vendor is clearly working harder to support Linux, I'd be very loyal. I might be fickle regarding this model or that model, or unhappy about how product X was configured, but really like product Y.)

Ultimately, I was hoping to lay my cards out on the table, and admit that I realize we can be a difficult group to work with -- but our loyalty is worth the effort. Sorry if I confused you with my apparent oxymoron. :)

Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.

Money, marketing and Microsoft

quiet_identity's picture

I'm glad to see someone working in a school who supports open source operating systems. Out of every High School and University I've been too in New Zealand not one has an open source system outside of the computer science labs. Not at any point in the Information Systems major will a student see anything open source. And C# is the language of choice.

I assume this is because my University has a lucrative marketing deal with Microsoft. At least Microsoft doesn't run the University I guess, a la the Microsoft schools in America for under-privileged kids.

Shawn Powers for president!

goblin's picture

Great video!
Shawn Powers for president!

Shawn for CIO of HP! For

Anonymous's picture

Shawn for CIO of HP!

For #$%%#@ sake the CAPTCHA on this site sucks!

Loyalty and Linux

marytee's picture

Great podcast--and right on point. I ONLY buy HP printers because of their Linux support. However Dell, not HP, has my loyalty because they were the first major pc vendor to offer Linux preinstalled on their laptops.

Any vendor who's friendly to Linux has my vote--and money when it's time to upgrade, etc.


LNXGUY's picture

Regardless of the subject of HP and the specific model computer, this video totally sums up the angst and frustration of Linux users!

Great job Shawn! This rant/polite explanation of how Linux users are LOYAL to vendors who support Linux should be in the inbox of every PC vendor's CEO/COO/CIO...

I and millions of other loyal Linux users feel your pain.


you should have torn the

haider_up32's picture

you should have torn the cardboard at the end of the video..were u supposed to return it??

check this out

edoardo's picture

dell recommends windows vista too :-)

I just spend a few weeks fixing my friends vista computer crashed by some trojan horses...
nice video!

it's just a label

dontodd's picture

Lighten up, it's just a label. I buy all kinds of stuff I use with/for linux that don't have linux labels on them. I agree, though, about the loyalty thing. If something's so backwards as to require proprietary drivers/software, I just don't buy it, I don't get angry ;P

Seems HP does list Linux as an option on the 2133

Anonymous's picture

I just checked out HP's website for details on the 2133 and while they do list Vista as the OS of choice, they also list FreeDOS and SUSE Enterprise Linux 10 as options.

Check out the model KR922UT#ABA

Linux Drivers

G.Powers (not related to video blog author)'s picture

Shawn - you should give HP a little bit of a break. They do, for the most part, support linux on the products that they say they do (Servers: DL380, etc. - Workstations: xw series). I work in a Systems Engineering group, and my company uses HP exclusively. HP does actually do a decent job of Linux support, and they do have a great group of engineers that are just like us (true Linux geeks).

As far as the notebook you are reviewing, it DOES have linux drivers. On the website, it is labeled as "Linux Source RPMS" or so, and I'm downloading it to check it out and make sure it's legit, but I suspect it will be similar to the SmartStart disk used on the Servers to install drivers and third party packages.


So what - you got a piece of cardboard that has the standard marketing groups literature stamped on it. Those people in marketing (in any tech company that isn't RedHat, SUSE, etc) don't even know what Linux is! They've been told for many years what verbiage to print on the material they send out. You're a geek - act like it, and be intelligent enough to deduce this on your own, rather than fling yourself off the high side of the cliff, and sound like a child!

If you like the laptop, get one. If you are really a Linux geek like you say you are, use lspci -nv, and the pciid database like everyone else who looks for OSS drivers on a laptop. 95% of the time, we've been successful at making Linux run very well on even windows only laptops (the other 5% not being able to find wireless nic drivers...but that's a different story all together).


Bad attitude (About Linux drivers)

Anonymous's picture

"If you are really a Linux geek like you say you are, use lspci -nv, and the pciid database like everyone else who looks for OSS drivers on a laptop. 95% of the time, we've been successful at making Linux run very well on even windows only laptops (the other 5% not being able to find wireless nic drivers...but that's a different story all together)."

Sorry GP, with an attitude like this, the driver situation is unlikely to improve.

Shawn's rant was spot on: I too am a Linux-guy and sysadmin. Like Shawn, I am responsible for departmental purchasing. Linux support colours every one of my purchases. I have avoided ATI video cards for 5 years at work because of their poor Linux support even though less than half of these systems end out running Linux.

Just because a system is likely to be Windows-only now doesn't preclude it from running Linux in the future. Why buy a system that pigeon-holes me when I can pick one that is more flexible? I'll even spend a little extra for that. It's because of Linux support that I stick with an Intel chipset, Intel video when possible, Nvidia video when speed is needed, 3Ware cards for RAID etc. I'm even considering Dell for the first time in years because of their line of Ubuntu machines. Linux users may be small in numbers but I dare say that we are rather significant in terms of budget. We are a minority worth catering to.

Thankfully, things are much better on the Linux driver front than they were five years ago. Now, I can buy a motherboard without worrying about NIC drivers. Hopefully I'll be able to buy a laptop soon with the same confidence that it will just work. Vendors having Linux models are a huge step in the right direction. I'm typing this on my HP 2133 and I also own two EeePCs, one running Windows, one running Linux. I bought the SLED version of the 2133 and it's a lovely machine with above average Linux support. Had HP gone with an Intel CPU and chipset, it would be even better. The Broadcom NIC was an unfortunate choice on HP's part. Shawn's right, though: HP seems to be trumpeting MS OSs over the Linux version and that's a shame.


einstein's picture


Vista Business for Education?

Cory Wright's picture

They recommend Windows Vista Business edition for educational institutes?

________ recommends Windows Vista.

Will Orr's picture

I know you're pissed about this Shawn. I can totally understand that. But I don't think it's HP's fault. I think, in order to sell Windows at all, you have to put that little blurb on your advertising and web site. I've seen it on so many manufacturer's web sites, it's pretty ridiculous. Some examples: <-- look up top.;HHOJSID=HK5NLspVG8pnnJqvTFJ1Jjn0HzrrhrG4TtDKYT271WVm5n8ls8yL!-1205452510 <-- right side <-- it's pretty obvious <-- again obvious <-- below nav bar

Don't all these vendors (with the exception of Gateway) offer Linux? These little notes are relatively easy to find. Usually, if you go to products, or store, and then go to a particular type of computer (desktop or notebook) they show up. I don't think it's because they want to, I think they have to because of some deal with Microsoft. Just speculation though. Correct me if I'm wrong, anyone.

I agree

QuickFox's picture

I remember whenever I looked at a Dell catalog, they always recommended Windows XP. Like I think it's marketing. Though, I'm surprised Dell is including Ubuntu Linux on some machines.

You're Right

Shawn Powers's picture

You are correct that Microsoft must "coerce" the big companies into doing such things, but vendors can't allow their entire marketing strategy to be controlled by MS. Not once in the ad I received was Linux even mentioned.

There's more to it than just offering computers that sorta work under Linux -- we're talking hardware documentation so that kernel drivers aren't either reverse engineered or NDISWrapper'd in. The big vendors are the only ones that are going to be able to do anything about it. Small companies don't have the clout to get chipset manufacturers to give specs. If the tier one computer vendors don't make an effort, it just won't happen.

There I go getting ranty again... ;)

Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.

Wow, Vista is now recommended

QuickFox's picture

I think "recommending" Windows is a marketing thing. People who don't know what Vista is like, might think it's the latest and greatest. :( True about school budgets, my old high school still used Windows 98 machines from 1998 in 2007.

I wonder if schools have used Linux? My old high school used Windows 98 and XP on some machines, and my old elementary school used Macintosh System 7. Sorry for being slightly off-topic, it got me wondering.

Side note, I'm dual booting Linux and Windows XP. Since switching I pretty much do everything on Linux now, I save Windows for stuff I can't do on Linux.

MS business model

Anonymous's picture

It can't be a coincidence that precisely the same phrase is used in every PC manufacturer's publicity. I suspect MS have made it a condition that PC manufacturers use it for them to be able to distribute any of their products with Windows preinstalled. It could be for a cash discount per licence but I suspect it is a blanket condition for any install. MS depends upon royalities from OS and office applications and will vigorously protect its revenue. Manufacturers know that their sales depend substantially on offer products that people believe they can use right out of the box. Ordinary people do not believe that about any linux distro. They do believe it about Mac or Windows OS. So there's no way the Dells, HPs or Gateways of this world will stop selling enduser (vs. sysadmin) machines without an option for Windows to be preinstalled. As long as they stay in the enduser market, they will do whatever they are told to do by MS.

Linux & HP MiniNote 2133

Lawrence's picture

I guess HP is going to get burned when they do get reviewed. Unless they address the fact that only the fast and loaded models come with Windows. And, the Linux models are slower and have less features.

I had looked at getting the 1.6Ghz model with 2G and Bluetooth and stuff...but those are the Vista (or XP for business customers only) models. The Linux version tops out at 1.2GHz...and no bluetooth, etc.

Completely agree with your

Anonymous's picture

Completely agree with your video. You made very good points.
BTW, these image CAPTCHA's are nearly impossible.


Anonymous's picture


this one totally made my day.

Microsoft seems to control

Anonymous's picture

It look like Microsoft is controller of these company. They might be giving slight discount for that reason. If you go for buying a system with linux they really offer less featured hardware and still add the cost of OS as big as that of VISTA or XP.
This is simply cheating