Linux distributor Canonical has entered into an agreement with US retail chain Best Buy to bring boxed copies of its popular Ubuntu operating system to store shelves across the nation.
According to a post by Steve George, director of Corporate Services at Canonical, on the official Ubuntu blog
yesterday the boxed product – produced by software distribution company ValuSoft – will include an Ubuntu 8.04 Desktop CD-ROM, a quick-start guide, and sixty days of support by Canonical-trained ValuSoft employees.
Retailing for $19.99 – around £10 – the product is aimed at “users who are unaware of Ubuntu or who are bandwidth restricted and don't want to download Ubuntu themselves.
If you want to try out Ubuntu but feel that, even with a sixty day support package, it's a little too scary, Best Buy's in-house technical team – the rather painfully monikered “Geek Squad” – will install the OS for you; sadly, they charge a rather eye-watering $129.95 to do so, according to ComputerWorld
This isn't the first time a Linux distribution has been available as a boxed product in a high-street store, of course: my very first installation of Linux was of a SuSE Desktop retail package purchased from PC World, which included a lovely series of manuals and around four CD-ROMs containing all the packages you could possibly want. SuSE, along with other Linux distributors, has discovered in the past that boxed retail products for an operating system that can be downloaded for free perfectly legitimately just doesn't work; whether the shift towards user-friendly Linux distributions alongside the sensible price point chosen by Canonical will allow the company to buck this trend remains to be seen.
Tempted by a boxed Linux distribution, or are the days of physical software purchases numbered now that broadband is the rule, rather than the exception? Share your thoughts over in the forums