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The Linux laptops of 2009

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The Linux laptop business represents a Chinese industry trying to serve a Western market and getting lost in the translation.

The Chinese like cheap, and they understand the cellphone business model. When Westerners look at the product, however, we want usable keyboards, acceptable screens and compatibility with the files we used last year.

The first generation of Linux laptops ran an Intel Atom chip set. They were underpowered, but Microsoft found a way to get Windows XP on them, at $3 per copy, then Windows 7, at an unknown price, so they are less of an adjustment.

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