Linux: Netbooks want to be free

Netbooks want to be free, according to the boss of the Linux Foundation

The director of the Linux Foundation has claimed that mobile telcos should give away free netbooks running Linux in order to boost revenues from subscription deals.

Exec Director of the Linux Foundation, Jim Zemlin, told an industry forum in China this week that telcos could benefit from offering significant discounts on netbooks, much in the same way as they already do on cellphones.

Zemlin said mobile companies in the US offering smartphones for free (or for heavy discounts) should point the way for Chinese companies such as China Mobile.

Netbook ground zero

He added that the low-cost of netbooks that run Linux, as opposed to Windows XP, should be something for Chinese telcos to consider when putting together subs offers and promotions to tempt customers to sign up to long-term contracts.

"In less than a year, I predict that the new cost of a netbook will be zero," said the Linux Foundation boss.

TechRadar hopes that UK telcos are paying attention, as we would love to see more heavily-discounted netbook deals hitting the UK later in 2009 and 2010.