Load Linux onto your HP PC and you void your warranty

Summary:Load Linux onto your HP PC and you void your warranty - everything that's wrong with tech support.

Interesting story over on Linux.com:

Laura Breeden bought a new Compaq Presario C304NR notebook in January. She bought it because she wanted to get rid of Windows and all the malware that surrounds it and move to Linux, and her old laptop lacked the memory and power to run Ubuntu Edgy. The salespeople assured her that the C304NR was "Linux ready." But they didn't tell her that running Linux would void her warranty.

Things were good until the system started to display keyboard problems:

Until recently, she's been happy with it, and with Ubuntu Edgy. But a couple of weeks ago she began having keyboard problems. The keyboard is misbehaving when she begins to type quickly: keys are sticking and the space bar does not always respond when pressed.

OK, it's pretty obvious to anyone with even a a handful of brain cells that this is a hardware issue.  Everyone that is, except HP tech support:

When she called Compaq -- the unit comes with a one-year warranty on the hardware -- they asked what operating system she was running. When she told them Linux, they said, "Sorry, we do not honor our hardware warranty when you run Linux." In order to get warranty service, she was told, she would have to remove Linux and reinstall the original OS.

Now, this story pretty much sums up everything that's wrong with PC tech support.  Anyone that has the occasional contact with tech support knows the kind of hoops that need to be jumped through in order to get a problem solved.  Support personnel follow a script and there's little or no scope for deviating from this script.  Tech support is a tough job and there are good reasons for taking people through the process, but there are times when the support technician goes on auto-pilot and ignores the obvious.  Like in this case.  What does the OS have to do with a sticky key?

Now, what's really interesting about this story is not that HP has some kind of weird support clause that means that you have to have Windows installed, it's the fact that both Dell and Gateway refused to comment on their own support policies under such circumstances.  My guess is that this means that their policies are pretty much the same.

Yet another reason why it'll be a long time before OEMs offer widespread support for Linux.

Thoughts?  Have you had similar poor tech support experiences or have your tech support experiences all been good?  How do you think the tech support process could be improved on?

Topics: Operating Systems

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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