|FROM ||From: "Inker, Evan"
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [hangout] Interview with Element Computer Regarding ION Linux
Interview with Element Computer Regarding ION Linux
Posted by Eugenia Loli-Queru on 2004-04-13 20:17:21 UTC
What happens when ex-Lycoris employees join a Linux-friendly hardware
computer reseller? Apparently, a new desktop Linux distro with a kick: the
hardware that comes with it is meant to give you the Apple experience. ION
Linux is a Debian-based distro that is meant to work well with the hardware
it sells with. Read on for our interview with Element Computer's Mike
Hjorleifsson (one of the founders and CTO) regarding their new upcoming
products and a screenshot of ION.
1. The first thing that really caught my eye from your services is your
support. You offer "12 Incidents software coverage for USING the OS", while
your competitors usually only offer installation help (which you only do
once...). Tell us about what made you push your Linux support to be more
"meaty" than the competitions.
Element Computer: User feedback and an understanding of the IT process. When
you run a business, you don't want to be left hanging after you install
they're systems. People want to know that help is there if they need it, and
Oustanding Support is a value-add only Element brings to the table.
2. Tell us a bit about your hardware. How do you chose components that are
known to work with Linux? Are you developing extra drivers for them?
Element Computer: We do alot of testing. Currently we are working with
Manufacturers' existing product lines and selecting them based on
compatibility and driver availability. Our next phase will include "Built
for Linux" mobile devices, where the re-manuf. chipset decisions will
revolve around chipset open source driver availability, stability and
3. You are aiming to bring the Apple taste on x86: hardware and software
working together peacefully. How well this interoperability worked out for
you so far? How are you going to market your products?
Element Computer: As we control the hardware platform we ship, much like
Apple, we can build a more robust distribution tailored for our devices,
providing less of a vanilla install then other distro's and operating
systems additionally we performance tune the distribution to gain optimum
performance / stability balance and the testing of peripheral devices to
4. Tell us about the software. How big is your software development team?
What are the main targets of your distro?
Element Computer: The distribution is Debian based, and built on top of
another outstanding distribution which we are not a liberty to name just
yet. Our team leverages the Open Source community's efforts and supplements
them with internal development and QA testing, as does our software partner.
That makes sense for our customers and business users in general because
they have higher standards and need to get work done. ION is kind of like
"tripple-checked" GNU/linux. We don't publicly state who and where our
developers are for obvious reasons.
5. Is your distro going to be sold seperately, or only part of your
hardware? Is your hardware going to be sold on other retail outlets except
your own store as well?
Element Computer: ION is sold only with the hardware, our strategy is to
provide a truly turnkey point-click-work experience. We welcome retail
outlet partners to join our efforts, though initially we are launching via
our own facilities and the Internet.
6. The software upgrade function you developed is unique to the hardware the
software runs. Is this a sure bet that weird incompatibilities of third
party software won't be introduced for the different versions of the
Element Computer: Yes, and additionally to ensure that the upgrades are
"bulletproof", we do the testing which the open source community usually
leaves to the end user as an additional value to our clients and to ensure
their Element Computer are stable. There are actually two ways to get
additional software for your Element Computer, you can get supported
packages from Element, or use the Do-It-Yourself apt section.
7. Are you going to provide a dev kit? Will stock Debian software will run
Element Computer: We "allow", but don't support DIY apt-get functionality,
apt is configured to pull from our selected sources, not the standard Debian
apt repositories. An experienced user can easily add standard Debian
repositories and install packages themselves, though our tracking system
will pick it up and those self-tested, self-installed packages will not be
supported by the std warranty/support.
8. Who do you consider your competitors? Windows and OSX or the Linux
desktop-only distros of Lycoris/Xandros/Lindows?
Element Computer: Apple is definetly a 'true' competitor, our model is very
similar to theirs in that we bind hardware and software for proper
usability. We provide strong Windows connectivity though, and can live in a
heterogenous Windows environment. We are obviously providing a more robust
experience than the "install it yourself, support yourself" typical Windows
mantra. Element isn't a Linux distribution company for the masses like
Lindows, Lycoris, Mandrake etc. That model has yet to prove itself as a
profitable long term strategy, there are just to many hardware variables for
these firms to contend with, and expend development resources on, Element is
about turnkey point-click-work solutions.
9. Do you have plans for a server version of your software and hardware?
Element Computer: Not a "server version", per-se, since we think of our
products as hardware solutions, but we will be releasing an appliance
solution called Fusion. It will provide the same point-click-work
functionality for server solutions such as email, security, cms etc..
revolving around the current Open Source best of breed. We invite developers
of open source applications to join our EDEN [Element Developer and
Educational Network] developers group which will be launched later this
year, and provides them a solid platform on which to deploy their solutions.
10. What kind of preference panels are you offering with the OS? Are you
rewriting pref panels like Lycoris did?
Element Computer: We try to stick with the standard open source panels
provided with KDE and related KDE projects, but when there is a lack of a
necessary tool we use a customized one that fits with the KDE Control Panel
API to give the user a consistant experience, and help support
standardization on the KDE API.
This message contains confidential information and is intended only
for the individual or entity named. If you are not the named addressee
you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail.
Please notify the sender immediately by e-mail if you have received
this e-mail by mistake and delete this e-mail from your system.
E-mail transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free
as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive
late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The sender therefore does not
accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this
message which arise as a result of e-mail transmission.
If verification is required please request a hard-copy version.
This message is provided for informational purposes and should not
be construed as an invitation or offer to buy or sell any securities or
related financial instruments.
GAM operates in many jurisdictions and is
regulated or licensed in those jurisdictions as required.
NYLXS: New Yorker Free Software Users Scene
Fair Use -
because it's either fair use or useless....
NYLXS is a trademark of NYLXS, Inc