The Industry Standard is running an interesting interview with Novell CTO Nat Friedman about Netbooks. In the process he made some interesting statements that seem to indicate that Novell understands Netbooks…at least the way there were initially.
First of all, regarding Linux in general running on Netbooks, Mr. Friedman says:
People typically don’t care what operating system is on the netbooks, because they don’t buy them to run a suite of applications like Microsoft Office, but to be on the Web using a Web browser.
In my experience this is half right. Netbooks tend to be used both for net browsing/email and light notebook tasks like note taking and simple office documents. On top of that are some elements of leisure activities, like watching video or reading ebooks. Linux can certainly handle most of those tasks just as well as Windows can, however people still tend to want to be able to install applications the way they are used to on Windows, and use programs they are familiar with, like IE or Outlook.
If he were talking about MIDs or UMPCs I would agree completely…those devices are all about the internet. Netbooks, not so much. Maybe that will change when more 3G versions arrive with more connectivity.
After that comment, Friedman appeared to lose his map. and said:
Most of the low-cost netbooks will run Linux, to avoid the higher cost of the Windows operating system, and also because most of them have about 2G bytes of flash storage, for which Linux is more suitable.
2G? Ummm..not for quite awhile. If he is referring to Razorbook variations or the glorified PDA knockoffs that are being seen lately, maybe, but most of them also are now running with more storage. If Novell is still shaping software for the Eee 700 like it’s the cutting edge, then I suggest they answer their SMSs, 2007 wants it’s netbook back.
On a positive note, Friedman said that SUSE Linux versions of netbooks by Lenovo, MSi and HP will be coming soon, which is definitely good news for Linux and netbook fans alike.