Wal-Mart stops selling Linux-based computers

/ Source: The Associated Press

Computers that run the Linux operating system instead of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows didn't attract enough attention from Wal-Mart customers, and the chain has stopped selling them in stores, a spokeswoman said Monday.

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"This really wasn't what our customers were looking for," said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien.

To test demand for systems with the open-source operating system, Wal-Mart stocked the $199 "Green gPC," made by Everex of Taiwan, in about 600 stores starting late in October.

Walmart.com, the chain's e-commerce site, had sold Linux-based computers before and will continue selling the gPC.

This was the first time they appeared on retail shelves.

Paul Kim, brand manager for Everex, said selling the gPC online was "significantly more effective" than selling it in stores.

Wal-Mart sold out the in-store gPC inventory but decided not to restock, O'Brien said. The company does not reveal sales figures for individual items.

Walmart.com now carries an updated version, the gPC2, also for $199, without a monitor. The site also sells a tiny Linux-driven laptop, the Everex CloudBook, for $399.

Linux software is maintained and developed by individuals and companies around the world on an "open source" basis, meaning that everyone has access to the software's blueprints and can modify them.

There is no licensing fee for Linux, which helps keeps the cost of the Everex PC low. Manufacturers have to pay Microsoft to sell computers with Windows preloaded.

Linux is in widespread use in server computers, but it hasn't made a dent in the desktop market. Surveys usually put its share of that market around 1 percent, far behind Windows and Apple Inc.'s OS X.

Smaller laptops like the CloudBook could provide an entree for Linux, since it runs well on systems with modest memory and hard drive capacity.