E-Commerce Site Brings Linux to Mainstream Consumers
07/01/99 12:00 AM PT
EBIZ Enterprises, Inc. (OTC BB: EBIZ) this week announced the availability of its Personal Internet Appliance (PIA), a sub-$200 (US$) Linux-based computer system aimed at the consumer who may not yet be an experienced Internet user.
The AMD-driven PIA -- featuring a 2.1GB hard drive, 32Mb of RAM, database, spreadsheet and word processing software, along with a Netscape browser and Internet access -- will be available through the company's e-commerce Web site, TheLinuxStore.com.
According to a company statement, EBIZ hopes to establish "a new entry-level category for Linux computer systems," bringing "the performance and reliability of Linux to the consumer market."
"The PIA is designed to provide Internet access and basic computing power to the 20,000,000 households in the U.S., not yet serviced and hooked up to the Internet," commented Stephen Herman, President of EBIZ. The move, if successful, could of course increase the number of consumers patronizing e-commerce sites such as TheLinuxStore.com, which also sells Beowulf Supercomputer Clusters, notebook PCs, servers and workstations.
"We have taken a quantum step forward in being able to provide reliable, low-cost computing and Internet access to every home, student and business professional," added Jeffrey Rassas, CEO of EBIZ. "Linux has proven its strength, performance and reliability in the technical community, and within the server market where it has an estimated 17% market share, according to International Data Corporation. We are pioneering the market's efforts to bring it to mainstream America."
EBIZ, a manufacturer and distributor of e-commerce systems, is negotiating with financial institutions, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and retail chains in order to be able to provide a bundled PIA for $19.95 a month. The fact that the operating system (OS) being factory installed on the PIA is Linux means users will be able to access thousands of freeware and shareware software programs, additionally keeping their costs minimal.
Linux is an OS based on Unix that was created in 1991 by Linus Torvalds-- hence its name -- as an alternative to Windows. Fine-tuned by a legion of programmers and hackers, Linux has a primary advantage over a certain OS market dominator recently engaged in an anti-trust lawsuit with the US government-- it runs on open-source code, and is distributed freely.
A market has been created by the need for technical service and support, however, as the OS has fanned out from its original devoted following of tech-insiders, to those engaged in business and consumers. Providers including Red Hat and Caldera offer copies of the OS, along with support and bundled applications and utilities.