CNET News.com: Low-cost PCs spawn Windows alternatives

“With inexpensive PCs and the Internet driving the market, small
companies are proposing alternative operating systems and software
that stand out by being what Microsoft products aren’t: namely,
cheap and easy to use.”

“…OnChannel and NewDeal, are offering software that shuns the
Windows operating system and applications, while appealing to
manufacturers and users looking for programs that run well on
computers below $200 and older PCs not capable of running Windows

“Upstart Linux technology is behind the push at OnChannel to get
an operating system into low-cost TV set-top boxes and personal
computers. … Another reason for the appeal of Linux over Windows:
“Linux has the highest growth of any OS right now,” [OnChannel
president Daniel R.] Nilsson said.”

“Windows 98 can cost small PC manufacturers close to $80 per
machine, according to various sources, making it one of the more
expensive elements of a computer. Linux, by contrast, can be had
for free.
… ‘The price of every single component of a PC has
come down, except the operating system,’ said Shelly Ohava, an
analyst at International Data Corporation, adding that Windows can
become a barrier to offering a low-cost PC.”