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Linux-based home network computer launches

Jul 18, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

A startup aiming to bring the benefits of network computing to home users has started fulfilling orders for its first low-cost system. Zonbu's silent, eco-friendly “Zonbox” PC runs a Gentoo Linux-based OS with centrally managed local applications and network file storage and backups.

Zonbu announced Zonbox in May, along with an open beta testing program. A prototype Zonbox subsequently earned a favorable review from PC Magazine, in part for its full complement of open source applications that coalesce into a pretty slick package.

The first Zonbox

Now, the Zonbox is actually for sale, albeit in “limited quantities,” Zonbu said, with priority given to customers who have previously registered on the company's website. Additionally, the device's software is still beta testing, so the first customers will receive three months of management service free.

Zonbu's optional management service plan includes:

  • Automatic back-up
  • Free upgrades to latest versions of the operating system
  • New applications every six months
  • “Unlimited” electronic and live customer support
  • Up to 25 GB of secure on-line storage (or 100GB, for an extra $8 per month)
  • Free replacement warranty of Zonbu desktop

Touted advantages of the Zonbox, compared to traditional PCs, include:

  • Complies with the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool's (EPEAT) stringent environmental standards, which were designed by the IEEE, and include a reduction in the use of hazardous materials like cadmium and mercury (based on the EU's strict RoHS standards), the clear labeling of recyclable parts, free recycling/take back programs and responsible packaging.
  • Priced at just $99, along with a monthly subscription ranging from $13 for 25GB storage to $20 for 100GB. Cost including two years pre-paid management service and 25GB of storage is $378.
  • Frees users from administering their own PCs, worrying about viruses, security, data loss, and system replacement. “Easy as a Mac,” one beta tester reportedly said.

A Zonbu spokesperson claimed, “There is no 'greener' PC on the market today. The Zonbox uses around a tenth of the power of traditional PCs.”

Lots more details about Zonbox and its various open source applications can be found in our previous coverage, here, and on Zonbu's website, here.

In other recent news, Linux legend Jon “maddog” Hall is backing a similar Koolu managed Linux system targeting business, government, and school deployments.

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