Ubuntu At Best Buy?

Wow, this certainly surprised me. Today I found out that Ubuntu Linux is now being sold at Best Buy online and even at some stores. And normally I would say this is great, except there is a problem – what the heck is Ubuntu “complete” edition? To my knowledge, Canonical (owner of the copyrights and trademarks for Ubuntu) never provided any arrangement with ValuSoft. Because if it was true that Canonical had struck a deal with Best Buy, it would potentially overshadow the news we once saw with the Ubuntu/Dell deal.

So how widely available is it? Apparently, it is available in town here in Vancouver, WA – at three stores in the area. This is huge right? Not so fast. Best Buy mysteriously has not listed this in the same category as OS X or Windows. In other words, the OS I run everyday all day is not listed as an operating system. Well, let me correct that. It both is and is not. It is assuming you use the search feature to look for Ubuntu or Linux. But it is not if you browse to operating systems.

Here is where I see the problem. As you can see from the apparent box used, this “Ubuntu” release is going to see its fair share of frustrated users as it is not sharing the fact that Linux behaves very differently than other operating systems. There are some hardware vendors who have worked very hard at ensuring that there will never be Linux support with their products. So many existing notebooks using Broadcom chipsets or odd-ball video/audio chipsets are going to send new users into panic mode fast. Help is on the way through Youtube among other venues, but unfortunately people stumbling upon this Valusoft release will be mislead into thinking that migrating is a snap.

What do you think? Did Valuesoft use Ubuntu without getting trademark permission first or is Canonical trying a covert experiment with marketing while using Valuesoft as a test vendor for distribution? Hit the comments.

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