The new shop

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The new shop

Postby craig100 on Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:34 pm

Hi,

Has anyone actually bought anything from the new shop? I just tried and without it asking me who I was or where I wanted stuff delivered it took me right through paypal and back to the final submit your order button.

Tried to register for an account after that, but that didn't seem to want to work either.

Scary. Hope they get this fixed soon.
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Re: The new shop

Postby clem on Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:25 pm

Hi Craig,

The Store doesn't sell anything itself... it links to the items on the vendors (partners) websites. Say you're looking at a t-shirt for instance, if you click on it, you're redirected to Hellotux, who manufacture these t-shirts and you're then able to purchase it with them.
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Re: The new shop

Postby rhodry on Fri Nov 02, 2012 1:15 am

clem wrote:Hi Craig,

The Store doesn't sell anything itself... it links to the items on the vendors (partners) websites. Say you're looking at a t-shirt for instance, if you click on it, you're redirected to Hellotux, who manufacture these t-shirts and you're then able to purchase it with them.


...which makes you succeptible if their reputation and/or service is "less than expected". Perception is everything in marketing. Not saying you are responsible, but it would be prudent to be very careful who you partner up with. Old confuscious saying:

'Man who lay down with dogs likely get fleas'

Good luck,
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Re: The new shop

Postby Chris888 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:35 am

:) First post.

I'm the CEO of ThinkPenguin.

We have been getting a bad rap so I thought I'd post on the forums here.

First of all there are lots of people who have purchased from us. Google ThinkPenguin and you'll find plenty of happy customers. Be aware though there are some really crummy reviews with bad info out there. I'm clearly not a public relations person. We obviously don't have one.

As far happy customers go there are a ton of Trisquel users you can ask:

http://trisquel.info/en/forum/users

I can pretty much guarantee you'll get a delighted response if you inquire there. We have been supporting that project for a long time now. I frequently post on that forum as well. There are probably a dozen or so regulars who post that have purchased from us.

The prices reflect the quality of the hardware and it's really been an unfair comparison to judge based on Walmart pricing. Free software support is our priority concern. We are going to donate 10% to the Linux Mint project and contribute another 10% into a free software fund to help other projects.

We are the only company focused on making sure that the hardware you purchase today will work tomorrow. Even though Linux Mint includes non-free components there are lots of reasons to avoid them. For one they break Linux. Programs like ndiswrapper which will load Microsoft Windows binaries creates system instability. It is a hack that does not work terribly well. Drivers from companies like Lexmark for instance come and go. You'll have support for one particular distribution and then only just one or two releases. After that your stuck because guys like Clem can't easily support them. This is true though of all types of hardware and software. Not just printers.

A good example of a breakage is with Oracle's non-free Java. Oracle has a version of Java (the main version) which it releases under a non-free license. At one time this license allowed distributions like Ubuntu and Linux Mint to package it and include the software in repositories. This makes a lot of sense after all since this is how Linux works. One day Oracle came along and said "no more". Now you could only get it from Oracle itself. Canonical and others were stuck. Here they had packaged and released it. Now however they couldn't release security updates for which they had promised since they couldn't get the new versions with the security fixes from Oracle under even a redistributable license agreement (let alone a free one). The long story short? They were forced to release an update which removed the insecure non-free version of Java from users machines. After which users found that the web sites and other programs dependent on it were broken. Now what? Trying to fix this problem was a nightmare. There was no clear and easy solution. You couldn't easily get the new version from Oracle. It was just too technical. Ultimately after a lot of searching you might have discovered a violator of the license agreement from a third party repository. However this is in no way a workable situation for a non-technical user of Linux.

Everything generally works very well out of the box across distributions with our hardware because we make a point of ensuring the chipsets we use are not dependent on non-free software. This is not something any other company can legitimately claim. While the majority of most code in most distributions is built on free software the non-free bits create a lot of problems. It's one of the reasons we don't ship hardware dependent on it and have been working with companies such as Atheros to release the source code for newer components. Until they do we won't release hardware based on there chipsets. We have been successful in getting companies to work with us so this has not been a bad move.

We do need more support though. A the moment there are many projects we are working on. One of them includes a newer properly supported USB N adapter. Another project will include better support for customers outside of the United States and particularly those who don't speak English. We are one of the only companies which is working to improve hardware support for consumers outside of the United States as well. We ship with non-US layout keyboards, AC adapters, and language options.

There are a lot of other things we would like to do too. For instance we would like to eliminate the dependency on Adobe's Flash plug-in. Right now there is almost no money (besides that of which we contributed) to the Linterna Mágica project. A free flash replacement is a long way off. Trisquel has support which is barely usable and is probably the only distribution that has that level of support for a free flash replacement.
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Re: The new shop

Postby clem on Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:12 am

Hi Rhodry,

Indeed. We don't have many partners but our relationship with them is excellent and the quality of their service is key to us.
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Re: The new shop

Postby SColla on Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:04 am

Well, my post apparently was not accepted on the blog for no other reason, then merely stating the truth about ThinkPenguin. So I reg'd here at the forums. Let's see how long it takes for censorship or even a ban. Anyways, this is in response to Linux Mint signs a partnership with ThinkPenguin

@ Chris: Lower spec'd machines, I def agree with that. But higher quality? Only if you say so.

So your saying that these aren't normal Microsoft Windows systems that you wipe and preload Linux? Well, maybe the wees aren't, but the desktops and lappies are.

I agree with the fact of your support though. Excellent. Unless it comes to replacement yeah? Oh wait, you would replace them if someone never loaded Windows on them. No support there of any kind.

Your systems are overpriced for lower end machines. $399 for a base system is a bit much, when we can get the same machine for about $200 at New Egg or Tiger Direct.

Let's not forget the old hardware you throw in them. Like nVidia 9500GT. That's how old now?

God forbid we want to throw in an old i7 2600k. That's what, an extra $600 yeah? Those processors are less then $300 now at Tiger Direct. But if you buy in bulk, you can get them as cheap as $125. The mobos you upgrade to on the i7's are a dime a dozen. I know, it's how I make my living also.

I also understand that you have to make a living. But your systems are just a wee(pun intended here.)bit over priced. I have purchased from you in the past and I must say, if you stick to just Linux on the system and never install Windows. Then ThinkPenguin will take great care of you.
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Re: The new shop

Postby Chris888 on Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:08 pm

SColla wrote:Well, my post apparently was not accepted on the blog for no other reason, then merely stating the truth about ThinkPenguin. So I reg'd here at the forums. Let's see how long it takes for censorship or even a ban. Anyways, this is in response to Linux Mint signs a partnership with ThinkPenguin


I don't know anything about this. I don't think the posts are automatically accepted though so it might just show up in a day or two. I'm not a big fan of censorship. Even of other critical views or views different than my own. However I do understand why it might have been censored. It's not a good place for a discussion. The forums on the other hand are a good place. Also trolls are a real problem.

I am a bit sick of the trolling. It wastes too much of my time. Fortunately there are a lot of people in other forums which come to my/my companies defense. There are plenty of happy customers as well as people who understand the reasons behind many of the decisions. I'll try and explain at least some of them below. If you aren't just a troll you'll hopefully see why things are the way they are.

SColla wrote:@ Chris: Lower spec'd machines, I def agree with that. But higher quality? Only if you say so.



The laptop designs are targeted toward business. Both in that they are of a higher quality and the chipsets on the motherboards. You would have to compare them to Dell or HP's business line. Those machines are much more expensive. Comparing it to the cheapest thing you can get off Newegg or from Walmart isn't a fair comparison. While they are using the same CPUs that a low end consumer machine uses the quality of these particular parts is not an issue. It is the designs/motherboards/etc which are of lower quality on the cheap Walmart and Newegg machines.


SColla wrote:So your saying that these aren't normal Microsoft Windows systems that you wipe and preload Linux? Well, maybe the wees aren't, but the desktops and lappies are.


Frist of all we don't pay for a Microsoft Windows licenses on any of the machines.

This is a separate issue from the designs though. Some of the cases are standard on the desktops as well as the motherboards. However we only use particular particular pieces in the overall designs of the machines. That means we use wifi cards, chipsets, etc which have free drivers/firmware. They don't come with digital restrictions like most name brand systems these days. The chaises are modified and branded like any other major company.

The laptops are NOT re-branded Dell, HP, or Acer systems. There are no brand names on the product except ours. We work with the same manufacturers (for which there are only a handful) as the bigger 'name brand' companies. They tweak designs for us some times and work with us on getting pieces that don't yet exist. For instance we have a model we are working which will ship without a finger print reader. This is a tweak of original design. It will also ship without various other components that are in most similar models from competing brands. This model normally has digital restrictions management technology amongst other undesirable features. We are shipping all our models now with non-US keyboards and AC adapters (we don't yet have the demand to ship a keyboard specific to every region although do have some of the major regional layouts covered).

SColla wrote:I agree with the fact of your support though. Excellent. Unless it comes to replacement yeah? Oh wait, you would replace them if someone never loaded Windows on them. No support there of any kind.


I'm not sure what you mean here. If you are referring to our policy on repairing hardware I can state that we stock parts so there is generally a quick turn around time for after-warranty repairs. We don't ship systems or sell Microsoft Windows licenses so why would you expect us to support it? We will point people to compatible drivers where they exist (they don't necessarily exist for every version of Microsoft Windows, Mac, etc). We won't remove Microsoft Windows from your machine if you install it. It won't void the warranty either. Our policy is better than if you bought a Microsoft Windows machine and installed Linux and tried to get support for it from another major manufacturer.



SColla wrote:Your systems are overpriced for lower end machines. $399 for a base system is a bit much, when we can get the same machine for about $200 at New Egg or Tiger Direct.

Let's not forget the old hardware you throw in them. Like nVidia 9500GT. That's how old now?


You have picked out the oldest example possible. The 9500GT was a high end card at one time. Now it is merely the best support card in Linux. We aren't targeting hard core gamers so this is not a relevant issue. What is relevant is that the hardware works out of the box with as many distributions as possible.

If a user wants to install a higher end video card there is nothing preventing them from doing it. We don't implement digital restrictions like most manufacturers do these days so this isn't an issue. As an example our laptops don't lock you into any particular wifi card. If you want to replace it you can. There are many laptops that if you installed Linux on them you would end up without being able to get support for built-in wireless and you can't replace the chip because of artificial restrictions in the BIOS.

We are not out to release 'the latest and greatest'. We are out to release the best supported hardware for Linux.

None of our systems are "state of the art" enough for hard core gamers. We can't produce such a system at this time due to the companies policy on proprietary software. Until or unless nVidia/ATI become more cooperative with us (and the community) we won't ship systems with these companies graphics chipsets. There are technical and support related reasons for this. These chipsets don't have support across all distributions. There is no way for us to know when or if nVidia or ATI will discontinue support and the community can't jump in and take over because proprietary bits can't be fixed/updated/etc. While my personal position you might disagree with there are places of agreement on all sides of the issue. Linus was bad mouthing nVidia just a few weeks ago over nVidia's refusal to cooperate. There is one exception at the moment within the nVidia line up due to a reverse engineering project though so we do ship one computer with the option of an older well supported nVidia graphics card. The quality and support of the nouveau driver has gotten to a point where it adequately supports at least one graphics chipset and the driver is now in the mainline and derivative kernels. This support has been many years in the making. You can find out more about it from:

nouveau.freedesktop.org/

You may not agree with the approach and you are free to start a competing operation. For us this approach has worked very well. There is certainly room for a competitor to target gamers with a 'high end' system. We prefer to offer systems of better quality and support for free software. I think this is particularly important going forward as we see more and more less technically savvy users try out Linux for the first time.



SColla wrote:
God forbid we want to throw in an old i7 2600k. That's what, an extra $600 yeah? Those processors are less then $300 now at Tiger Direct. But if you buy in bulk, you can get them as cheap as $125. The mobos you upgrade to on the i7's are a dime a dozen. I know, it's how I make my living also.


The reasons for these particular CPUs is that they don't contain digital restrictions. We offer a wide variety of options that are well suited for a range of different budgets. I will repeat that we are targeting the larger population. This is not you in particular or hard core gamers. Our customer base is growing out of wider and better support for Linux. Not from attracting the current Linux base.

I will say though that we do have a large following of developers because of our stance on proprietary software. We have sold hardware to just about every major company/organizations/body you can think of. From search engines you use every day to cellular providers and governments/agencies.

SColla wrote:
I also understand that you have to make a living. But your systems are just a wee(pun intended here.)bit over priced. I have purchased from you in the past and I must say, if you stick to just Linux on the system and never install Windows. Then ThinkPenguin will take great care of you.


Again- I don't see what the problem is that you have with this position. We have never had a customer even inquire about getting a system with Microsoft Windows as far as I can remember. I'm doubtful you bought from us before. Some of the comments here suggest otherwise or you have simply outright lied.

While I'm not a fan of the position that some of our smaller competitors hold. I'm not going lie about them. They are doing what they can in many instances and eager to assist users.

I like ZaReason very much for instance. It is like Linux Mint from my perspective. There are good things about each and bad thing although what I don't doubt is anybodies intentions (all being good). Don't ask me about Apple or Microsoft... I'll take a much stronger stance.
One last thing. We may lower the prices again. There is a range of prices which we have tried. The people who care about support, quality, and so on are not shy of paying a bit more though. And every dollar helps to improve support right now. We have had the prices as low as $399 on the laptops in the past. It however doesn't make us any money. Not that we are out to make a fortune on the basic models anyway.
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Re: The new shop

Postby SColla on Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:40 pm

Well, you have covered a lot there. I appreciate you replying back. As for calling me a liar. I will overlook that. I am not a troll looking to stir up issues. I did not say anyone has asked to purchase a system from you with Windows. I was stating the fact about people who have purchased your systems do get excellent customer service as long as the machine in question had issues under Linux and not under Windows.

I did purchase a system from you folks about a year ago. I had requested it to be pre-loaded with Fedora. After I had it for awhile, I decided to install WinXP on it and that is where my problems started. I called customer support over the issue, but as I was told that since I had installed Windows, they could not help me. I understand that and don't have a problem with it.

But my main point is that your systems are a bit overpriced for what you get. However, that isn't always a bad thing. Because your customer service is exemplary as long as the system never had Windows. But, couldn't you folks extend your service to include systems that people have messed up because they personally installed Windows on them? Instead of turning them away as I was?
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Re: The new shop

Postby Chris888 on Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:49 pm

SColla wrote:Well, you have covered a lot there. I appreciate you replying back. As for calling me a liar. I will overlook that. I am not a troll looking to stir up issues. I did not say anyone has asked to purchase a system from you with Windows. I was stating the fact about people who have purchased your systems do get excellent customer service as long as the machine in question had issues under Linux and not under Windows.


Maybe I'm just not understanding what your getting at. I apologize if it's a communications problem. It sounds to me like you are intentionally misleading or stirring up untruths though.

SColla wrote:I did purchase a system from you folks about a year ago. I had requested it to be pre-loaded with Fedora. After I had it for awhile, I decided to install WinXP on it and that is where my problems started. I called customer support over the issue, but as I was told that since I had installed Windows, they could not help me. I understand that and don't have a problem with it.


Either you are mistaken about who you bought it from or I have my doubts about this. It is true though that we don't support Microsoft Windows and never have.

SColla wrote:
But my main point is that your systems are a bit overpriced for what you get. However, that isn't always a bad thing. Because your customer service is exemplary as long as the system never had Windows. But, couldn't you folks extend your service to include systems that people have messed up because they personally installed Windows on them? Instead of turning them away as I was?


I don't know which system you bought or when exactly it was although there was a model that did not meet our expectations. We pulled it after a handful of units had been shipped. There were no more than a dozen customers who ever received this. I believe we replaced each one of these systems with the higher priced and higher quality model which we moved to after this incident. We also discontinued a partnership over it.

I think there may have been a communications issue here if you did in fact call about Microsoft Windows because we would have still provided support for Fedora. We can help reload Linux although we can't guarantee any support for Microsoft Windows.

If/where the the components/chipsets for which we use already have drivers for a version of Microsoft Windows we will make them available on request. If there is no driver though you are out of luck. We did have one customer experience this after upgrading to Microsoft Windows 7 from Vista. Some chipset we used there was no newer driver for Microsoft Windows 7. In Linux it was not an issue because the source code was available and continued to be maintained in the mainline kernel.
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Re: The new shop

Postby SColla on Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:58 pm

I'm just going to let this go. I can see we are not getting anywhere. I just want everyone to know one thing: "If you buy from ThinkPenguin, you will get excellent support when it comes to Linux."
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