Linux Systems Go Low-Cost

Just six months ago, the $299 PC seemed to good to be true. Today, people hearing about BuyPogo.Com's $299 and $599 Pogo and PogoPro PCs would barely raise an eyebrow.

But unlike most PCs in that price range, the Pogo and PogoPro are complete, upgradeable computers with software installed and configured for use as file servers, print servers, Web servers, Web browsers, or general-purpose computers.

One reason BuyPogo.Com can offer these PCs at such as price is because they run RedHat Linux, rather than Windows. This allows BuyPogo.Com to "save 90-something dollars," said Tim Lee, BuyPogo.Com president and cofounder. In addition to RedHat Linux 6.0, the computers come with Corel WordPerfect 6.0, Netscape Navigator, MP3 players, and a variety of networking server software pre-installed.

The systems also include MP3 players, and Apache WebServer software. "A lot of people overlook the fact that you can test web pages locally before they are uploaded to a server," Lee said. "You can edit the content on a Pogo machine, test it on the Pogo," and when it works properly, post it on your Web site."

In addition, running proxy server software allows multiple users to share a single Internet connection, Lee said.

No Junk Parts

"We don't put in junk parts," Lee said, explaining that the company "has low overhead, and we work with our suppliers for the best price on parts."

The $299 Pogo is based on a 300-MHz Cyrix M2 CPU. It has 64MB of memory, a 4.3GB hard disk, 4MB S3 Virge GX PCI Video Card, Ethernet adapter, 1.44MB 3.5-inch floppy drive, keyboard, and a three-button mouse. A CD-ROM drive and sound card are optional.

The $599 PogoPro features a Celeron-400 processor, 96 MB of memory, an 8.4GB hard drive, a 40X CD-ROM drive, and an 8MB ATI Xpert AGP graphics board. The PogoPro also includes a Sound Blaster 16 PNP sound card, a pair of 90-watt amplified speakers, a keyboard, a network adapter, a floppy drive, and a Logitech three-button mouse. The computer uses a Tyan motherboard and features an easy-access ATX case.

Options include a monitor, additional memory, a 100-mbps Ethernet adapter, and powerful speakers. All systems are preconfigured and burn-in tested for at least three days before they are shipped to the customer. They come with a one-year warranty, and the company offers a 30-day return policy.

Full-Fledged Machines

According to Lee, the Pogo is the least expensive full Linux computer currently offered.

"There are cheap Linux machines-the $199 personal appliance things--but they're really different from our computers," he said. "Ours are full-fledged Linux machines. You can go into a terminal, and can install a lot of things. The $199 Web appliance is really a souped up WebTV module. "The first Pogos were shipped last week. According to Lee, product offerings will change with component price drops.

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