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Q: How is Groovix different than computers sold by other Linux vendors?

A: We don't just sell Linux computers, we design Linux computers to ensure that you have an enjoyable computing experience. At Open Sense Solutions, we have engineered the software, tools, and documentation that is required to create a fast, fun, and stable Linux machine. Tell us what you want, plug it in, and it works. If you need help at some point, we have the same system as you, so we can tell you exactly how to customize and fix it.
Other Linux vendors offer a wide variety of hardware and install a Linux distribution on it using default settings. That is the easy part, and most people could buy the hardware and install the OS themselves. However, if you want to configure the installation or get additional components installed, you may end up spending countless hours searching help forums and reading mailing lists. Once you find a solution, it may not even be applicable to your hardware and software. Our systems eliminate, or at minimum reduce, the amount of effort needed to get the system to your liking.

Q: What are the Groovix Enhancements that aren't in the normal Ubuntu install?

A: In short, we do everything to set up a machine that we would do for our own business or home machines. Anyone can install Ubuntu, but getting a nice system up and perfectly-configured can take a lot of time.

1. We add our own Groovix respository of software with key functionality fixes and extra software that is not included in standard Ubuntu respositories. Examples include our connect2groovix live tech support tool, multi-user software, fixed drivers for VIA onboard video cards, an automated RealPlayer installer, and TV tuner modules.

2. We install software and modify configurations to make your hardware fully functional. This includes support for dual-core cpus, cpu frequency scaling, accelerated 3D video, DMA enabled on all disks, modems, WiFi cards, and tv-tuners with remote controls.

3. We install extra software programs that are not included with the base install, but are highly desirable in a desktop environment. When you get a new computer, there is a usually a set of important programs you immediately want to install. We try to take care of that for you. As we get more user feedback our install list will grow. We help you select the best open-source programs as you switch from Windows to Linux.

4. For modem users, we include all of the Ubuntu repositories including "universe" on the hard disk to avoid long software downloads.

5. We provide a utility for the user to install and setup some license-encumbered programs that may only be installed by the end-user. These include Flash, RealPlayer, Java, fonts, DVD-playing utilities, and multimedia codecs. You'll have all of these setup with just a few clicks of the mouse.

6. If you ever want to re-install Ubuntu from scratch, our installer script creates /home on a separate partition and automatically answers all configuration questions.

Q: What exactly does "Simultaneous Local Independent Multi-User" (SLIM) mean?

A: In short, you can plug 2 keyboards, 2 mice, 2 monitors, and 2 sets of speakers into one computer. From a user perspective, it works just like you have 2 separate computers.

Here is what a two-user system looks like (monitors and speakers sold separately):
Image of 2-user system.

Q: Hasn't the idea of multiple users on one machine come and gone?

A: Non-local (networked) multiple users on one machine has always been a part of Unix computing. It continues to be used in business environments because it makes great economical sense. The maturation of GNU/Linux operating systems for the desktop user and the advances in personal computer hardware now make desktop local multi-user computing possible. Personal computer hardware has become more powerful than most software requires. In addition, recent advancements in Open Source Software give users all the software they need without worrying about restrictive licensing and fees. The age of the Simultaneous Local Independent Multi-User desktop computer is here.

Q: Can I buy a multiple user machine like this anywhere else?

A: Groovix systems are the only open source commercially available systems in the world that fully support simultaneous local independent multiple users with distinct sound and 3D video. Open Sense Solutions built upon the open source work of Aivils Stoss, Svetoslav Slavtchev , and The Linux Console Project , and we offer our developments back to the community. In addition, Groovix systems offer installed peripherals like TV tuners and wireless lan cards that most other Linux vendors don't offer, making Groovix systems truly unique.

Q: How does a Groovix machine's performance compare to other computers?

A: We have chosen our components to give you the fastest computer possible for your money. Instead of shouting out the latest technology buzzwords, we focus on the components that will actually make your computer faster. We give you more ram, faster hard drives, and more CPU cache than other computer makers. While other companies choose components based on how much they can mark them up, we choose components as if we were building a computer for ourselves. We're confident that no one sells a faster Linux machine for a better price.

Q: Won't the computer run slow if 2 or 3 people are using it at once?

A: Today's processors are extremely fast, and they sit idle 99% of the time. Running 2 users doesn't require twice as much memory, because most of the programs running are the same between users and the memory can be shared. Today's hard drives are huge and it is much more economical to buy big hard drives and share them between users. Some intense activities like advanced 3D games may slow other users down slightly, but you can run some 3D games in parallel without noticing you're on a two-user system! Office work, web browsing, and most games don't even come close to using up all the system resources. If you bought two or three separate systems that added up to the price of one Groovix system, all of the components would be older and slower. The Groovix system, even with 2 or 3 simultaneous users, would actually run faster than those separate computers.

Q: If I have 2 or 3 users, do they all need to be sitting right next to each other?

A: The most common configurations include users sitting face-to-face or side-by-side, but the possibilities are endless. You can use extension cables or wireless senders to set up a second or third user in a completely different room. 6 to 50 foot extension cables for video, keyboards, mice, and speakers are readily available and start at just $20. Wireless or CAT5 50 to 300 foot extensions are available starting at $150. You could even set up a remote Groovix console on the other side of the world with a KVM (Keyboard Video Mouse) over IP (Internet Protocol) extender.

Q: Are your systems 64-bit?

A: Almost all of our systems use AMD 64-bit Athlon or 64-bit Sempron processors. Buying 64-bit hardware means that you can take advantage of future 64-bit software when it is ready. 64-bit processors can run 64-bit software OR 32-bit software. For everyday computing the advantages of 64-bit software are negligible. Some software does not have a 64-bit version available yet, or the 64-bit version is not as reliable. We pre-install 32-bit software on all of our systems at the moment, but future upgrades will likely be 64-bit. If you would like your system preloaded with 64-bit software right now, we can accomodate that, but some programs and features such as Macromedia Flash and multi-user operation will not be supported.

Q: I've never used Linux before, is it hard to use?

A: Anyone with an open mind can start using Linux instantly. Things look slightly different from other common computer operating systems, but all the concepts are the same. Linux can be difficult to get set up properly, and that's why we have done all the hard work for you. If you are unfamiliar with basic computer concepts, this might not be the best choice for your first computer unless you have an experienced user around to help. Anyone who has been using a computer for years will have no problem switching to Linux.

Q: Can I install Windows or a different version of Linux on a Groovix computer?

A: While it is possible, we do not support using Windows and the simultaneous user features will not work. If you prefer a different version of Linux, this is the best Linux hardware available and would make an excellent starting point for your setup. Multi-user operation is possible with other versions of Linux but is not officially supported.

Q: Can I run my Windows programs on Groovix?

A: Many popular Windows applications are also available for Linux and will run properly within your Groovix system. If your software is only available for the Windows operating system you still may be able to run it under Linux. We offer CrossOver Office which allows you to run many Windows programs. You can also use programs such as Wine, Cedega, or VMWare to run Windows applications inside of Linux. If necessary you can also modify your Groovix computer to dual-boot Windows or Linux upon startup. If you have a multi-user Groovix machine, please remember that most windows programs are only licensed to be used by one person at a time. Any third-party modifications to the original Groovix system configuration will not be supported.

Q: Can I play all of my favorite games on Groovix?

A: Many recent games published by popular vendors now have a Linux version. 3D gaming is possible for every user on a Groovix system. If you really want to play your old games designed only for Windows, you can dual-boot windows or use Cedega. Ubuntu comes with a whole host of classic games providing lots of free entertainment.