Sitting on the train, it is hard not to be inundated by desperate Yodobashi camera signs that tell you about the benefits of buying from a brick-and-mortar store. #3 on the list is a knowledgable staff. And they also had something about a wide variety of computers. You’d think that meant that in nerd-capital Akihabara, we could get a Linux laptop without much effort.
First, “wide-variety” is more-or-less Pravda-worthy Newspeak. Every store has the exact same models from the exact same manufacturers. The specs are all the same. The monitors are the same resolutions, the chips are 95% the same. With the exception of the Alienware laptops, there is no difference. Ok, that’s understandable; same underlying components after all. Let’s run with it.
However, the staff is _never_ knowledgable about _anything_ related to computer software. At the Dell store, I was informed by the salesmen that “Dell does not sell anything but Windows branded PCs”. (Android mobile phones? Linux server boxes? Project Sputnik for laptop-based developers?) At Yodobashi, I was told “Oh, we never had Linux computers”, as they ushered me by Android (read: Linux)-branded touchpads.
If this is the world’s second or third largest economy in a world that is going to be dominated by information technology, given that most servers are running Linux, why is it so hard to stock a _single_ Linux laptop model in a store that is otherwise filled with generic boxes from the same companies? Even if preinstalled linux is a pipe dream, why can’t there be at least one person on staff who is knowledgable enough about PCs that *he could let me know which laptops have generally decent Linux support?
I can build my own desktop. However, it’s a different story with laptops and I am willing to pay extra as it is a business tool, not a god damn toy. Instead, Yodobashi Camera is playing commodity hardware chicken with Softmap and Yamada Denki.
* There are no females in Akihabara PC stores. That is not very PC. Har har har.