At first sight it may not be apparent what this has to do with open source enterprise computing:
Good OS (gOS) and Everex today introduced the limited edition MyMiniPC running gOS Space 2.9, a special version of gOS Linux made for MySpace users, featuring brand new MySpace Apps just weeks after the MySpace API launch. MyMiniPC targets MySpace users with a glossy white case, 3D desktop, and a media center dock stacked with MySpace and Web 2.0 folders for News, Photos, Videos, Music, TV and Movies, and more. At one and half inches tall and weighing two pounds, the $499 MyMiniPC is the most compact and premium gOS desktop ever, aimed at the 100,000,000 MySpace users.
This follows on from the previous Everex system running gOS, gPC, which was notable for the way in which it used Web-based applications like Google Docs to provide functionality traditionally offered by installed applications. Everex has done the same with MyMiniPC, which aims to serve the MySpace crowd rather than than the low-end general user/home office market. In other words, both the gPC and MyMiniPC are dedicated machines – appliances, really - very much tailored to particular sectors, rather than traditional PCs.
It would be practically impossible to create these systems using anything other than free software. You might, after leaping through endless licensing hoops, be able to provide the same functionality, but you certainly couldn't get them to market in a timely fashion. For these kind of appliances, the biggest advantage is not so much cost as flexibility: as a developer and manufacturer, you can make it do anything you want, and as soon as you spot the opportunity.
As the online world continues to grow and segment, I expect that we'll see more of these appliances, from Everex and others. And they won't be limited to the MySpace or Facebook crowd: it's easy to imagine customised business systems too, aimed at particular market segments, offering easy-to-use front-ends to business-oriented services like LinkedIn and who knows what. But whatever market they are aimed at, one thing seems likely: few of them will be running Windows