Last week I learned that Linux laptops are selling briskly at Amazon.
I contacted the company, which put me in touch with Chris Rupp, their director of merchandising for computers and office supplies.
He confirmed that netbooks are hot. A netbook is distinguished from a laptop by its size (smaller), its price (also smaller), and what it can do (it's designed for Internet access).
"Three of the top five selling laptops at Amazon are Netbooks," he said. This year's models sport 9-inch screens, up from 7-inches last year.
What about Linux?
"In the month of August, 12 of the best selling netbooks were based on the Linux operating system, six supported Windows XP and two supported Microsoft Vista." (Note this is two months after the XP era supposedly ended.)
This does not necessarily mean that Linux is outselling Windows, only that a lot of different Linux set-ups are selling, he added.
And what about those Linux buyers?
"In general buyers of Linux based netbooks are looking for a lower price point - netbooks loaded with Windows XP cost a little more."
So, online at least, Linux is taking advantage of the netbook trend and disillusion with Windows Vista approaching Bush-like proportions. (Maybe Jerry can get Sarah Palin in to do a Vista ad.)
After my session with Rupp I redoubled my efforts at finding a Linux laptop, now having some sense of what I was looking for and who I was likely to get one from.
My patience was rewarded. An Asus representative contacted me (they now pronounce it A Seuss instead of Ace-us) and said one would be arriving shortly.
I think I hear the mailman now.