Asus Sabotaging Linux Netbooks
I have several of the original EeePC machines. Their Linux has a built-in self-destruct feature. Their "union file system" loses inodes over time. As a test, I have one plugged in and completely idle; it loses about 1% of its inodes per day. When all the inodes are gone, the machine stops working. There is a workaround for this [eeeuser.com], which must be applied every 90 days of power-on time, or sooner if you actually use the machine. The vendor-recommended procedure, though, is to reinitialize the machine to the factory-empty state, losing all user files.
How is this not a bigger "anti-trust" story than "Apple forbids Flash on iPhone OS / App Store?" Microsoft and hardware manufacturers are colluding to limit competition in netbook OSes in order to raise prices so Microsoft can still suck profits from the sale of such low-margin products. If Apple is the "vertical integration locked down our way-or-the-highway hardware+software extreme, then the opposite extreme is the abusive Microsoft+codependent-hardware partners who can't forge an independent path in terms of software. Surely there is a happy medium? About the only PC hardware manufacturer (besides Apple) with an independent OS strategy is HP with their purchase of Palm. If they succeed perhaps it will begin a renaissance in well integrated custom OSes made by the hardware manufacturer.