Turns out that they are going into the browser business, with FirstView Connect, a browser for Internet
toasters , and FirstWare Connect, which is a dedicated browser that lives in a part of the hard drive that’s protected by the BIOS, waiting for viruses or lusers to mess things up so badly that Windows won’t even boot. Then the luser tells the BIOS to fire up FirstWare Connect, which takes them to the OEM/system builder’s site, where the OEM can “up-sell service contracts and other products” along with providing downloads to fix the problem.
Even better than the idea of booting into your emergency browser, only to be greeted by Joe-Bob Computer Company’s “Wouldn’t you like to buy that extended warranty now?” page, is just how that browser’s running when you can’t boot Windows. There’s no mention of what’s under the browser in FirstWare Connect, but the PDF data sheet for FirstView Connect helpfully explains how it runs on an embedded Linux kernel, so I assume FirstWare Connect does as well. “Hey, OEMs: tired of having lusers return systems when Windows gets so horked that it won’t boot? Why not include our Linux kernel and browser, so they’ll have something that still works?”
(Disclaimer: not only do I not know whether or not FirstWare Connect actually runs on Linux, I don’t really think Windows is all that bad: I’ve been running this copy of WinXP for eight or ten hours a day of brutal and careless use for over a year now, and in that time it’s crashed exactly once. Unless I install something that insists on a reboot, I usually go a couple weeks at a time between reboots, and even then it’s usually not needed, just “maybe this’ll fix my application problem.” It’s just that after twenty years of making fun of MS’s operating systems, I couldn’t stop if I wanted to.)