I have blogged a couple of times about the Apricot netbook. Just to recap, it's the resurrection of a nostalgic brand by virtue of a guy buying the brand a few months ago and launching a rebadged FIC Via under it.
A representative told me today that they have decided to dump the Linux version of the device. This was to have been priced at £279, with the XP version costing £329. There is now only an XP option, priced at £299.
This makes sense. As referenced in the above link, SUSE Linux was a massive fail on the Apricot PicoBook Pro. In its natural state, the OS was too unintuitive for the netbook. OK, Apricot is a minor player, but what lessons can we learn from this?
Lesson One: Apricot should have done - although they probably didn't have the resources to do this - what Acer, Asus et al have done with their netbook distros. Which is to tailor them into an idiotproof dashboard. Solved. But what does this tell us about wider Linux distros? That they're not ready for primetime.
Lesson Two: If they're going to take the mantle of XP - every opponent's worst enemy, and you can count Microsoft in that pack - then Linux distros need to work recognisably and straight out the box. On a netbook or a normal PC. Whether this means the wider distros have to become more XP-like, or whether the whole shebang needs to be rethought, I have no idea (although I tend towards the latter).
All I know is, I love Linux and its ethos, and I hope it will displace Windows, but it won't right now. This is its challenge, which is a good thing, right? Shuttleworth & Co. (and I'm not singling out Ubuntu here; rather the man): take it away.