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View Full Version : Linux hardware on the UK high street.



sleepingdragon
September 14th, 2008, 03:58 PM
Here's a little gem I found in a UK Aldi store today. It's a 4Gb USB stick for 7.99. Not a bad price, but it does specify Linux as a compatible OS (kernel 2.4 or greater). I've included a scan of the back cover of the packaging so you can see for yourselves.

Anyway, here's a quick hardware review of the PNY 4Gb USB Thumb Drive...

Well, it looks cheap, and it feels cheap, but for all that the plastic casing does feel quite thick - I've experienced flimsier casings. The dimensions are pretty slim for a standard stick (this isn't one of those super-mini USB sticks) - L64mm/W18mm/H9mm. It's not waterproof.

The USB connector is protected by a removable (i.e., easy to lose) cap, but it does go back together with a satisfying "click". The cap seems to hold on quite well.

A small red LED indicates data transfer - though I didn't notice there was an LED at first, it's fitted behind a semi-opaque section of the casing. I thought that was a nice touch.

File transfer speeds seem pretty average. I've gone through a handful of USB sticks in my time, it's performance seems no different to any of the others. It does support USB2.0.

The casing also the provides the obligatory hole for a lanyard/key chain attachment, which is a fair diameter - about 3mm. Some of them have such impossibly small holes you practically have to use a sewing needle to get anything through the hole.

All in all, it's about as exciting as any USB stick gets, but for the price it seems like an honest piece of kit. My 8.04 box sees it immediately, and my read/writes are all fine.

SuperSonic4
September 14th, 2008, 04:00 PM
Aldi have always been very good for functional products at cheap prices although I won't be getting one, I have a small (small enough to get into my jacket or trouser pocket) external hard drive which is 120gb so flash pens are superfluous. Saying that you can't have too many backups :D

Half-Left
September 14th, 2008, 04:01 PM
Yer there is hardware out there that says Linux one the back of the box, edimax(ralink chipset) wireless cards being one, and I've seen a few usb sticks say the same.

I'll buy any hardware that says Linux on the back, You support my OS I'll support them.

sleepingdragon
September 14th, 2008, 04:08 PM
Yes, I mentioned this in a different post. Argos (http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/catalogId/1500001151/partNumber/6753454.htm) indicate Linux compatibility for some of their USB sticks as well. Nice to see some High Street names getting involved.

tom66
September 14th, 2008, 05:02 PM
I've seen Linux support mentioned... 'Windows: Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista, Mac OS X 10.0 and above, Red Hat Linux 6.0 and above' But the lack of a kernel version can be confusing. I saw this on a laser pointer.

Great to see Linux is becoming more popular. I wonder if the manufacturers actually test these devices, though? Maybe because they're just a memory stick repackaged they assume it works instantly with Linux 2.4+ (which I think it should.)

clanky
September 14th, 2008, 05:08 PM
I know this might sound silly at first, but do they come in different colours? Reason being that it is so much easier to know that work stuff is on the green stick and personal stuff on the red stick than to try and read labels etc.

sleepingdragon
September 14th, 2008, 06:16 PM
I know this might sound silly at first, but do they come in different colours? Reason being that it is so much easier to know that work stuff is on the green stick and personal stuff on the red stick than to try and read labels etc.

No. It's not a daft question! They have every colour you want... so long as you choose black! Sorry...

Try using coloured adhesive tape. Electrical insulation tape tends to work well. You could also try a blob of coloured nail varnish.

clanky
September 14th, 2008, 07:14 PM
No. It's not a daft question! They have every colour you want... so long as you choose black! Sorry...

Try using coloured adhesive tape. Electrical insulation tape tends to work well. You could also try a blob of coloured nail varnish.

I have tried the electrical tape before, I am a marine engineer and I work in a fairly harsh environment, so the tape usually ends up falling off, paint fares slightly better, but even that eventually comes off. I have always found that either different colours or completely different sticks work well.

sleepingdragon
September 14th, 2008, 08:52 PM
marine environment.... er..... try epoxy resin mixed with food colouring.

Sealbhach
September 14th, 2008, 08:58 PM
It's good to see Linux mentioned alongside Windows and OSX. It creates awareness and also gives it an aura of credibility that it may have lacked in the minds of consumers.


.

clanky
September 14th, 2008, 09:00 PM
marine environment.... er..... try epoxy resin mixed with food colouring.

LOL, it really is much easier just to buy different coloured USB sticks, I presently have one windows one for work stuff (waterproof which is nice, not because I get wet regularly, but because I have washed it in my overalls pocket e few time and it is still OK), one windows one for personal stuff and one Linux one for personal stuff, which both end up getting taken to the engine room from time to time.

sleepingdragon
September 14th, 2008, 09:17 PM
LOL, it really is much easier just to buy different coloured USB sticks, I presently have one windows one for work stuff (waterproof which is nice, not because I get wet regularly, but because I have washed it in my overalls pocket e few time and it is still OK), one windows one for personal stuff and one Linux one for personal stuff, which both end up getting taken to the engine room from time to time.

lol, yeah it's easier just to buy the pretty USB sticks, but it might offer ideas to other users. Incidentally, I would in no way recommend using the resin/colouring idea to create fake bird c**p and putting on peoples' cars to see how long it takes them to remove it. That is a thoroughly bad idea and people doing that deserve to be fully punished...

bubba_169
September 14th, 2008, 09:26 PM
Anyone see the connection here between rising popularity of eee netbooks running linux and linux getting more mention in the high street? Not that its a bad thing :D

clanky
September 14th, 2008, 09:35 PM
For me the way forward for Linux is pre-installed Linux on a machine which has been pre-configured for Linux. It is a bit of a chicken / egg problem, Linux will never be well supported until it has a larger market share / Linux will not get a larger market share until it is better supported.

Hardware like this will certainly help, people who don't try Linux because they are afraid / have heard that loads of stuff doesn't work might buy this stuff for a Windows PC and then see that it will also work on Linux.

sleepingdragon
September 14th, 2008, 10:12 PM
For me the way forward for Linux is pre-installed Linux on a machine which has been pre-configured for Linux. It is a bit of a chicken / egg problem, Linux will never be well supported until it has a larger market share / Linux will not get a larger market share until it is better supported.

Hardware like this will certainly help, people who don't try Linux because they are afraid / have heard that loads of stuff doesn't work might buy this stuff for a Windows PC and then see that it will also work on Linux.

It's why LiveCDs are such a great asset. a "Try Before You Buy" scheme. Though in the great spirit of FOSS, it costs nothing to buy, and the LiveCD doesn't make permanent changes, so checking it out inherits no cost either.

sleepingdragon
September 14th, 2008, 10:23 PM
Anyone see the connection here between rising popularity of eee netbooks running linux and linux getting more mention in the high street? Not that its a bad thing :D

Personally, I've not noticed. I do help/support a lot of people who have seen them and either say a) they're cute or b)they're small. The OS doesn't really come into it, and I think for a majority of regular users, it doesn't.

From what I've observed, most people don't really care what OS it is, so long as it works. If both Windows and Linux had 100% hard/software compatibility, then I think that the percentage of Win/Linux users would be far different from what it is now simply because they would use whatever the device come with, and it wouldn't really matter.