My review of the ultra-small, extremely cheap Zonbu Linux computer was published Friday on CIO.com.
The tiny computer, which is about the size of a pocket paperback comes loaded with Zonbu Linux (based on Gentoo) along with a boat load of open source software all for $99 and a monthly subscription (which buys you online storage space and instant recovery in the event of catastrophic failure).
Even though it is not really being marketed to the enterprise, I write that the computer could appeal to IT pros looking for an inexpensive way to dabble in desktop Linux. For consumers, it offers a low budget, low maintenance computer, which works with surprisingly little fuss. Of course, they will likely have to come up with a bundle to include the keyboard, mouse and monitor to make it a true no-brainer package.
The subscription model is so simple, it makes me wonder why one of the bigger companies hasn't come up with this idea. Microsoft has dabbled online, but so far not with any great success (most likely because it would have too big an impact on its lucrative desktop business). Google is trying to dominate online, but has yet to get into the hardware or OS business (probably because they see little need for an OS with an online model), but the Zonbu is a simple computer design running open source software with automatic backup and remote access to your files from wherever you are. What could be easier?
The Zonbu should be available some time later this summer or early fall. It will be interesting to watch and see how well it does in the marketplace.