November 29, 2007

Meet the Zonbu - the $99 Open Source, User Friendly, Good for the Planet Computer

Zonbu, makers of the Zonbu Mini Desktop, have a long standing commitment to at least 3 times that I can relate to.

  1. Open Source software. All Zonbu applicances run the Zonbu OS which is a variant of Gentoo, one of the major distributions of Linux. On the Zonbu OS you'll find such great open source programs like Firefox,, and GIMP.
  2. Ease of use. The Zonbu makes computer using a snap - just plug it in and go. It works right out of the box, (as long as you have the keyboard, mouse, monitor, and broadband). If you can use Windows, if you can use Mac OS X, then you can use Zonbu. It's not identical to either of those, of course - but it is just as easy to use. Plus, you don't have to worry about all those nasty Windows viruses, so there's no need for anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-adware, anti-malware, etc. And since it's Internet connected, you're always going to have the latest and greatest version of the OS without having to do anything. The Zonbu automatically keeps itself up to date.
  3. Being Environmentally responsible. Some desktop PCs have power supplies measured in hundreds of Watts. The Zonbu clocks in at a mere 15 watts. That's less than a standard incandescent light bulb! They also do carbon off-sets and recycling of your used systems. And, since the device is so small (unlike the supposedly eco-friendly gPC that uses a full sized tower), there is far less use of fossil fuels and other materials than other computers.
And on top of all of that, they have a real commitment to customer service. Unlike some big brand name computer companies (I'm looking at you, Dell!), they really care about their customers. I've had a few issues with my box (I received one of the eariler beta versions), and they sent me out a new one, with WiFi, no questions asked!
Once I received my new system, the Vice President of the company and a tech support guy worked with me to solve a problem with my ISP. Not a problem with the Zonbu - it was my ISP and my network - but they kindly, patiently, and happily walked me through the problem. I tell you something - no way any other computer company will do that! I can't even get my ISP (Charter - bleh) to help me with my other network stuff.
They just announced that now they have a laptop available, and I will be getting one soon, Lord willing. It's much more powerful than the EEE PC, and unlike the gPC - it's a notebook, so it will go with you anywhere. It is more powerful than the desktop (which is counterintuitive, but a good thing), and it's also eco-friendly, user-friendly, and Tux-friendly. I don't think this is an offical name, but I'm going to call it the Zonbook. (Zonbu + Notebook... get it? Pretty clever, huh?)

As I test it out and put it through the ringer, look for more posts about this $99 computer that seems to have everything the average user needs. For more information check out their website, as well as a blog called "Mr. Zonbu" who has been using the Zonbu as his main computer for several months now.

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