OpenOffice in unexpected places

I noticed something interesting about OpenOffice: it's starting to pop up in unexpected places. You've probably seen those ubiquitous home-shopping channels that are all over cable TV. Here is a fairly pricey laptop from V2 Premier offered on ShopNBC. It costs more than $1700. To make the price a little more palatable, they include Windows XP and MS Works, but not MS Office. Instead, the "productivity DVD" that ships with the machine contains -- you guessed it -- OpenOffice.

A few years ago, theorists like Eric Raymond were proposing that Open Source software would take over when the price of computer hardware fell so low (like $200) that the OS would be the most expensive component, and that low end manufacturers would then start shipping Linux instead of Windows.  In practice, something different has occurred. Manufacturers have succeeded in raising the price of PCs, by offering more bells and whistles that the public wants, like portability --there's been a definite consumer shift to laptops-- and better entertainment options. To keep the price from getting completely ridiculous, it seems they're cutting out MS Office, and beginning to substitute OpenOffice on Windows.

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