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Thursday, March 26, 2009

TomTom has no Linux support?

I'm still procrastinating - A plumber is supposed to show up to cut a hole in my ceiling in a few minutes, basically as exploratory surgery on my new house, in order to find a leak that's developed in the pipes leading away from the washer and dryer. So, I thought I'd spend the intervening moments doing something utterly useless. I looked up TomTom's web site and took a look at what they have to offer.

If you don't know TomTom, they're a company that produces GPS units for personal and car use. They've recently shot to fame because Microsoft decided to sue them for a bunch of really pointless patents. The most interesting ones of the bunch are the ones that Microsoft seems to think are being infringed just because TomTom is using Linux.

Anyhow, this post wasn't going to be about the patents, since I already gave my opinion of that. Instead, since I'd been thinking about buying a GPS unit for a while, I thought it might be worth buying one from someone who uses embedded Linux - and I'd like to support TomTom in their fight against the Redmond Monopoly. Unfortunately - and this is the part that boggles my mind - TomTom offers absolutely zero support for people who run Linux as their computer operating system. Like many other companies, they're a Windows/Mac support only shop.

This strikes me as rather silly - all of the open source users out there would probably be interested in buying an open source GPS, and would probably be happy to support TomTom in their fight... but they've completely neglected that market. They've generated a great swelling of goodwill in many communities by standing up to Microsoft's bullying, but then completely shut that same market segment out of purchasing their products.

Well, that's some brilliant strategy right there. I only hope TomTom changes their mind at some point - since otherwise all that goodwill is just going right down the toilet...

And thinking of plumbing, again, it's time to go see about a hole in my ceiling.

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