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Ubuntu at Best Buy: Package Details

I learned this morning via #ubuntu-us that they’re now selling Ubuntu at Best Buy, and couldn’t help myself: during my lunch break I swung out to Best Buy to drop $20 on a copy.

It wasn’t easy to find, I spent about 10 minutes searching through their software section, past their big Microsoft Windows Vista and Office displays. I finally found it on the bottom shelf with lots of other miscellaneous software.

Ubuntu at Best Buy

What did I get for $21.19 (after tax)?

Spiffy packaging!

An Ubuntu Hardy, 8.04, CD, and a small quickstart booklet:

The booklet came with a Registration Number, interesting (I whited it out here).

It’s very exciting to see Ubuntu carried on the shelf by a mainstream store like this, even if it is on the bottom shelf right now.


  • Greg

    I wonder what the registration number is used for? Can you register it and request another copy if this one breaks?

    Or is it just that all copies of software needs to be uniquely identified?

  • A.Y. Siu

    That’s quite a nice package. I’m glad they include little inserts as well, and not just the CD. It is a CD, right? Not a DVD?

  • pleia2

    @Greg – Not sure what the code is for, I’ll probably toss an install using the CD on a machine tonight and see where it gets me.

    @A.Y. Siu – Yep, it’s a CD, not a DVD.

  • Ani

    On the back cover http://princessleia.com/images/ubuntu/box_back.jpg
    it says that Ubuntu ships gaim instant messenger.
    However it is a lie, Ubuntu does not ship gaim instant messenger it ships pidgin instant messenger.

  • Ani

    Another lie on the back cover.
    It says that Rhythmbox is a “Media Player for Music & Videos”.
    That is a lie too.
    Rhythmbox can not play Video.

  • Vadim P.

    I think this is a company (“ValueSoft”) that’s simply selling free programs – which is good.

    But it’s something that Canonical should have thought of first!

  • Mackenzie

    Maybe the registration number gets you some time period of tech support?

  • pleia2

    @Vadim P. – According to the box ValuSoft is an “Official re-distributor of Ubuntu” so it seems like they have thought about it and are now authorizing distributors :)

  • pleia2

    @Mackenzie – Aha! I think you’re right, the back of the box says that 60 days of free support are included, so they probably base that on the code.

  • Julian

    They should a fix what’s written on the back. Support maybe nice if they really can offer quality support.

  • Vadim P.

    I missed the official Canonical recognition.

    Then, this was great, but now this is amazing! Lets hope this goes and gets a better place on the racks.

  • days_of_ruin

    About the misinformation on the back:
    pidgin used to be called gaim so thats
    probably an honest mistake.Saying Rythmbox
    can play movies might just be a mistake or
    they wanted to save space.Doesn’t really
    matter since ubuntu has Totem which they
    probably should have mentioned instead of
    Rythmbox since Totem plays all media files.(if it has the codecs)

  • Fabian Rodriguez

    Great pictures, thanks for spreading the word out :)

    The registration code enables 60 days of support which ValueSoft provides. Although I can’t give out any details, Valuesoft works with Canonical’s tech support to deliver that and it is indeed an “officially” approved boxing of Ubuntu.

    There are errors on the box unfortunately it was designed a while ago, however calling those lies is bit of a stretch.

  • Vadim P.

    @Fabian: Thanks for taking this up. With this being completely official, well-packaged, and supported, I hope the venture takes off.

  • bjb_nyj110

    Ubuntu is released under the GPL, therefore Valuesoft doesn’t need ‘authorization’ from Canonical to redistribute it.

  • days_of_ruin

    It needs authorization to sell it since it
    uses canonical trademarks.

  • Heartsbane

    Nice find Pleia2. But you should see how good ValueSoft is by putting their support through the test, and make that your next blog post.

  • Derek Buranen

    So in the end, it’s $10/month tech support for 2 months and a little bit for packaging. I can’t say I’d go for it, but thanks for the breakdown. I’d be more against it if not been for the tech support.

    If you ever do utilize the tech support, please do write about it. I’m ever so curious how successful and helpful and expedient the tech support is.

  • Vadim P.

    Same here, because it will be a vital link to sticking with ubuntu for many at first.

  • leogg

    Wow! This is awesome! Thanks for the post and the pics, pleia2!

    Are there any plans to sell this boxing outside the US?

  • EBP

    I dont think they should sell UBUNTU itself maybe sell machines pre-loaded with ubuntu. But why pay for a spiffy package when the distro is free? No need for tech support really there is all the help you could possibly need on the Ubuntu forums.

    GAIM IS PIDGIN just the newest release name.

  • Michael

    Technically they are distributing Ubuntu, not selling it, and it is the support and media they are selling. This could be good for Ubuntu, though I’m sure a lot of people would be confused about what it is if it isn’t next to Windows and OSX in the Operating Systems section.

  • Jeff Schroeder

    Ever hear of guerilla marketing? Take it off of the bottom shelf and put it in front of the Vista CD.

  • Steve George

    Thanks for posting this, it’s great to see it in a store setting.

  • betty

    Read PromotingLinux.com and go get your refund people!

  • Silvio Sisto

    I was thinking why the heck they charging so much. And then I read booklet pic you posted and it says you get 2 month support so that’s a pretty good deal!!

  • belal1

    Actually the rhythmbox statement about playing video is NOT a lie. Rhythm box will be supporting video in the distant future as Banshee already supports it.

  • Dylan McCall

    Not impressed by their guide in the first page of the instruction booklet. I rarely encounter a BIOS where pressing F1 brings up choice of boot device. More often, there are instructions at the bottom of the first screen for how to choose the boot device. (Such as to press F10). Furthermore, the instructions do not say what to do after getting to the boot device choice screen. Oh, and that direction is redundant; it gets repeated much more clearly in the Troubleshooting section.
    Cute pictures, though. It could be great!

    That screenshot on the back of the box was poorly chosen. The Compiz cube effect alone is not exactly a major selling point, particularly when seen aboard a rather ugly looking computer. It just looks confusing and “techy”. That isn’t even a default desktop setup; it has Conky and a wallpaper from elsewhere.
    Also, “Firefox” was should not have the second “f” capitalized. Being “tabbed” should not be in the same line of thinking as being “easy”, since the term “tabbed” will do nothing but have someone think “huh?!”, completely negating the previous point.

    Hm… and “Click the question mark” is not exactly a nice way to lead someone who needs help finding the help centre. That should be more along the lines of “the question mark a little bit over from the top left of the screen when you log in to Ubuntu”.

    Regrettably, I expect confused users.

    Cool, though! Thanks for all the detail, Elizabeth.

  • ruddiger

    Everyone go to Best Buy, Take them off the bottom shelf and put them where people can see them. ie in front of the windows boxes.

  • Matt

    ha, another day I’m proud to be an ubuntu user….sadly enough the fact that they charge money and have a guide is probably enough to convince my friends to switch…at which point I can make fun of them for paying 22 bucks for 0.

    I gotta say, best buy is making a killing there. Near infinite profit margin!

  • ValentineS

    Actually, Since best buy isn’t making the product, there are still costs involved, just one or two less than normal. Best Buy pays ~ $3-12 per unit, depending on contract, volume, etc. which is what they pay for most software products in the $20 range. They also pay fixed expenses just like any other company selling any other product, which are built into the cost of operations, total inventory costs, etc.
    ValueSoft has costs including paying for the mass production (packaging, labels, shrink wrap, mass CD manufacturing, etc.) plus marketing, sales and office staff, and tech support staff. Many positions may be only one or two people, but they still need to be paid. Plus, if they have a call center, you have phone lines to pay for (or skype subscriptions) multi-line business phones, etc. etc.
    The advantage of the product being Open Source is the elimination of paying the developer licensing costs, some legal fees, and one or two minor expenses. Even still, they are still paying Canonical something for trademark use and support, so even then the free software is still offset by other costs.

    Still, I fully support what they’re doing. Looks like I’ll be going to Best Buy soon to show my support through my wallet.


  • Talos

    The packaging/text/manual need a few tweaks… most importantly, they never ever mention “linux”… I don’t find that fair. Like Ubuntu = Linux… and they mention Anti-virus program Avast comes along… not really a smart thing to do… while promoting linux, one should not mention any anti virus programs… (they can mention that in the booklet, for those who want to run antivirus programs… but not on the packaging.)

  • Ruby

    Ha ha ha. This just proves what I’ve always said. The only ones stupid enough to buy Linux, are the ones already using it!

  • Talos

    To Ruby,

    No, I definetely don’t agree, although some linux users will buy it just to have a nice package instead of a burned ISO, most of the buyers will be newbies, who might buy it while shopping. Perhaps these newbies don’t have broadband, so this option could be ideal for them.

  • bts

    also, i’d pick up a copy just to see the $ go to Valuesoft, because that means they can train their support staff better (which, invariably, means that our LoCo irc channels etc. are less flooded with support requests and can instead talk about more fun things. like beer and karaoke. and more beer.)

  • V Jean

    I just loaded Ubuntu on my other harddrive because windows finally broke down. I can load all my windows programs on it with “Wine” – an open source software created by the Ubuntu community. I am a graphic designer, and Photoshop won’t work on Windows anymore, because it is an older version. So this was the best fix for me, to load it on Ubuntu using Wine. I feel very liberated. I want to wear Ubuntu t-shirts and get a Ubuntu laptop carrying case for my laptop. : ) Any suggestions on where to buy them?

  • pleia2

    Hi V Jean – you can get tshirts at the official ubuntu stores: