Linux exec: Personal computers will be free like phones

The executive director of Linux Foundation sees parallels between wireless phones and computer hardware

Look for personal computer users to soon get their hardware in the same way that they get their cell phones: for free as part of telecommunications service subscriptions, the executive director of the Linux Foundation said on Friday afternoon.

In a presentation at the O'Reilly OSCON (Open Source Convention), Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin said a trend will emerge in which users would select a wireless or network service provider and get a free PC with a data plan.  AT&T, he said, already is offering netbooks as part of a service plan, with the user getting the netbook for $US50.

In an interview on Thursday, Zemlin elaborated on his free PC vision, enabled by the rise of netbooks running Linux. "What made the cell phone industry in the U.S. in particular take off in the mid-90s was the free phone," he said.

Carriers, he predicted, can provide Linux-based devices and develop their own app stores. Device makers also can provide these store, like Apple has, Zemlin said.

During his keynote, Zemlin emphasized the use of Linux in multiple types of systems and how Linux was changing the game in operating systems even on the client. "Today, everybody in the modern world uses Linux multiple times a day," he said, citing examples such as laptops, Google searches, and other systems.

Meanwhile, phones and PC devices are starting to converge, offering a lot of the same functionality, he explained. A PC can be cheaper than a phone, he said.

"If you look at what the iPhone has, it looks pretty similar to that PC," said Zemlin, comparing the iPhone to a $US1,000 ThinkPad PC.

Linux also is benefitting from the down economy, with customers looking to save costs, Zemlin said. It also is overcoming potential legal hurdles with developments such as Microsoft now embracing the GPL, Zemlin said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Linux

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Krill

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Taking cybersecurity to the highest level and order now for a special discount on the world’s most awarded and trusted cybersecurity. Be aware without a care!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?