Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton
I am not convinced OEMs have that much freedom. In theory, they could adopt Linux, but in practice, the consumer/IT have shown little interest in Linux. That low end Linux notebook experiment you a talking about was tried already. It was called "Netbook." Between Apple's iPad and Microsoft's emergency downmarket-ing of Windows (i.e., Windows Starter Edition), the Netbook experiment failed to take off. Sure, Google is trying to revive the idea by calling it Chromebook, but that's just new rainbow-colored wallpaper over the same idea.
I believe a Chromebook is seriously limited vs. a Linux machine. Linux has come a long way in both ease of use and interface. I think the issues hampering Linux adoption today are the sheer number of distros, lack of popular commercial applications and games (though it is growing slowly), and lack of MS Silverlight support (damn you Netflix). The GUI has come a long way, and the installation is painless. The command line is there if you need it, but most people wouldn't need it. It would be a viable alternative for the cheaper notebook crowd if they could get over the stigma of it being hard to use. Gamers wouldn't want it, but for a general purpose machine it would serve people well.