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Why Buy a PC Preloaded With Linux?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the diabolically-advocating dept.

Linux Business 518

Shadow7789 writes "I have been in the market for a new computer for the past few weeks and I know that I want to run Linux on it. However, every time I look at (for example) Dell's computers that are preloaded with Linux, the question pops into my head: 'Why should I buy a PC preloaded with Linux?' They are more expensive, and it's not hard just to reformat the PC with Linux. I hate paying the Microsoft Tax as much as anybody else, but if paying that 'tax' allows companies to reduce my price by bundling with my PC products that I will never use, why wouldn't I just buy a Windows-loaded PC and reformat?"

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Well, for one thing.. (5, Insightful)

oneandoneis2 (777721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554289)

If it's got Linux installed on it, you know that the hardware it's got is supported by Linux. Nothing worse than buying a new computer and finding out it's got some chipset or other that Linux doesn't work with yet.

Re:Well, for one thing.. (5, Insightful)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554325)

Conversely, when people buy Windows machines, hardware makers think people will only want/need Windows drivers. Many of those people will install some other OS, but how are the businesses supposed to know about that? In capitalism, buying decisions are the primary means of sending messages to the producers.

Re:Well, for one thing.. (5, Insightful)

hunteke (1172571) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554703)

In capitalism, buying decisions are the primary means of sending messages to the producers.
Agreed, but I'd think being specific as a consumer where possible would be good. That's why when I recently bought my Dell, I bought it with Windows instead of Linux. (It was a good $300 cheaper for better hardware!) Then, when the computer arrived, I rejected the on-first-boot MS Eula and got a refund for a little over $50 dollars. This way, I still got what I wanted, and I was able to send the most accurate message as well. The article that gave me the idea: How to Get a Windows Tax Refund [linux.com]

Re:Well, for one thing.. (3, Insightful)

montyzooooma (853414) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554333)

If you're buying from Dell then it's going to be the same hardware on the Windows or Linux machine.

Re:Well, for one thing.. (5, Informative)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554491)

Not necessarily. Last time I checked, the Linux machines used Intel wireless and nVidia video cards, where the Windows models used ATI cards and I some other brand of wireless.

Re:Well, for one thing.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554521)

Not necessarily. I went through this with work and different hardware is available with different OS's.
Also the hardware they support under Linux may not be supported using free drivers. For example when getting a new machine for work a few months back I had to choose between getting it preloaded with Windows or getting an ATI video card. I ended up choosing the option with the ATI card because I knew that was going to eventually be supported with free drivers (and would work well enough initially) rather than be stuck with an NVidia video card (which is what Dell uses for their Linux boxes).
In a related note I also would have preferred an AMD CPU, but couldn't get that with ECC memory unless I had gotten a server class machine, which would have been too expensive.

Re:Well, for one thing.. (5, Insightful)

phtpht (1276828) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554383)

Also, if the PC/notebook/whatever has some special features - e.g. buttons - the preinstalled Linux will have them mapped to sensible functions. It's the polishing.

Re:Well, for one thing.. (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554447)

and if its a tower he can build his own, unless hes looking for entry-level he should save a few bucks easily enough.

laptops yes to maybe, pc's and servers no (4, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554457)

This is probably obvious to most people, but any x86 server is good out of the box today running Linux. Same for the vast majority of desktops. Slightly less so for Laptops, but I haven't tried many that don't work. It is the "secret" contracts with MS and the spam-like crapware that cause most of the headaches. We should be able to buy virgin systems, like businesses and put on any OS we like. The hardware manufacturers would love to support only the hardware, but they are forced to support Windows and squeeze their margins. Companies like Lenovo and Dell sell their hardware with Linux because they don't have to support the OS. Of course the Lenovo T61 I just bought was $97 dollars cheaper with the Suse option than with the Vista.

Re:laptops yes to maybe, pc's and servers no (2, Informative)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554705)

Not necessarily so. Bought a server recently with an Intel 64-bit processor and the DVD+RW drive (from which I had already booted up with a Debian CD) wouldn't detect. Fortunately, I had a USB stick handy and the motherboard supported booting from such a device, so was able to create a netinstall image on that. (You'd be surprised how many motherboards won't boot from USB, or maybe I've been doing it wrong all these years). Even when I built myself a brand spanking new kernel, the DVD+RW drive remained obstinately undetectable.

Since that box is now the NIS/NFS and APT server for the whole site, I'm a bit reluctant to try anything else on with it. Obviously it'll have to be upgraded when Lenny goes stable, but that's unlikely to be for awhile :) Seems like Etch is going to hang on longer than Woody .....

Re:Well, for one thing.. (3, Informative)

kylehase (982334) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554543)

Some also include fully legal DVD playback [ubuntu.com] . Otherwise you're supposed to check with your local laws before loading up those libraries and codecs.

Re:Well, for one thing.. (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554681)

Open source legal CSS-encrypted DVD playback? can someone explain...

Re:Well, for one thing.. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554775)

Open source legal CSS-encrypted DVD playback? can someone explain...

It's written in APL?

Re:Well, for one thing.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554615)

It's nice to have a machine that has been burned in with its OS installed. It is an assurance that the PC is healthy.
            But now it goes a bit deeper. Asus has several motherboards that have Linux built right into the MB. Highly desirable says I!

What about DIY with Intel/nVidia? (1)

jeric23 (1154589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554667)

Some companies actually offer Linux drivers for hardware. If you are willing to do the research, you could build yourself a sweet system knowing it will be fully compatible with Linux.

Re:Well, for one thing.. (1, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554685)

Why would ANYBODY go buy a random PC and then just expect Linux to work on it? WTF? You find out what works and then buy the PC, not the other way around!

I suppose this explains all the linux lusers showing up on #solaris complaining that Sol-X86 sucks and won't install. Looking for a hardware compatibility list before spending hundreds of dollars is evidently far too advanced for some people.

Re:Well, for one thing.. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554739)

Not nessararly.
When Dell started to release Servers Preloaded with Linux we baught one with a second eathernet card (nothing to crazy for a server configuration) however while Linux supported both eathernet cards it didn't seem to support both cards at once. We had pleanty of experience in configuring Linux systems with duel eathernet cards. But there was some chipset or hardware design that Linux drivers didn't support 100% that allowed duel cards to work at the time.
We argryly returned it and demmanded a full refund because they told us that it would be Linux compatible but in fact it wasn't, because the second eathernet connection wouldn't work in tandum with the first.

Now Dell may have cleaned up its act or not, and Linux probably has fixed this problem as it has been many years. But the fact that you get Linux preinstalled doesn't mean that it will compleatly work correct. Heck you get Vista systems that says Vista Ready or whatever and it doesn't work.

Re:Well, for one thing.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554799)

If it doesn't run Linux, it's not a computer.

support (-1, Flamebait)

mSparks43 (757109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554291)

You shouldn't buy from those companies period. They do not want you to buy Linux, supporting it is to expensive.

Re:support (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554331)

Isn't preloading one the mantras the Linux community has been chanting in their "this is the year of Linux"?

Principle is seldom cheap. (5, Interesting)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554293)

Everything you say is correct from a cost/hardware standpoint. If you wich to vote with your dollars against crapware bundling, you will need to overlook that.

Re:Principle is seldom cheap. (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554305)

So, I should pay more now for "bleeding edge" in order to help someone else pay less tomorrow?

This is Linux we're talking about here, not Apple.

Re:Principle is seldom cheap. (5, Interesting)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554553)

Nobody said anything about paying for bleeding edge. You can choose to pay more to support the wider project (FOSS) and have your computer the way you want it. But it is a choice.

I would choose to pay slightly more, because it tells the manufacturers that I want to use Linux, and I'd really like them to supply Linux drivers for their hardware.

There is a different argument as to whether you should pay more to Dell et al, or buy the cheaper machine and donate the extra to a FOSS project. I'm not sure which option is preferable there.

Re:Principle is seldom cheap. (2, Funny)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554715)

>So, I should pay more now for "bleeding edge" in order to help someone else pay less tomorrow?
As that 'other' person in you're equation, I'd say yes, fairly emphatically.

Re:Principle is seldom cheap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554765)

Don't worry, if you wish to buy the same hardware but with an apple badge, inflated price tag and an even more alien OS than Linux, we're not going to stop you, it still counts as a cash vote against the monopoly, sort of.

Make your principles cost them. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554417)

One of the best way to vote with your dollars is to buy a Windows machine in a place where you can definitely return it and insist on a full refund, including taking it to the small claims court if needed. If need be make an order from France and insist that they unbundle, however there are a number of US states and other places where you can get your Windows machine and then return the Windows. Be very careful not to open any packaging that you don't have to to get to the machine and check your local web sites about how to do it.

Returning windows does so many good things: increases the cost of selling Windows. Reduces the cost of buying a machine for Linux. Ensures MS don't get their MSTax, exercises the consumer laws, teaches companies to accept returns. (in the long run; the company probably makes a fixed cost deal with MS in any case and probably doesn't dare claim back, but they get a stronger negociating position next time round if many people do this).

Probably even better (I'm not sure though) is buying from a supplier like penguin computing [penguincomputing.com] which doesn't stock Windows in the first place. When you give extra money to Dell, you are giving to a company which does a great deal to support Windows development. When you give to Penguin, you can be pretty sure you aren't contributing.

Wiping the crapware will also work - indirectly (2, Insightful)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554621)

Based on the assumption that the crapware makers pay for having their stuff bundled, in the hope of selling subscriptions (or whatever) to inexperienced users:

By all means, buy the Windows computer and reformat to Linux. You will end up doing Microsoft a favor, but the crapware vendor has wasted his advertising money. I dislike this guys as much as Microsoft, and would settle for damaging them instead of MS.

Now if lots of people do this, I predict two consequences:
1) Crapware bundling will no longer be an attractive business model. Maybe some crapware vendors go out of business :-)
2) The license costs of Windows are no longer compensated by crapware advertising money. At that point, computers bundled with Windows should actually become more expensive than the Linux versions.

To make a point (5, Interesting)

Lord_Sintra (923866) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554299)

So that companies realise that people want Linux, which will encourage them to start making drivers/software compatible. If people buy, then add Linux, companies just assume no one wants Linux. However, if you read the Windows EULA, you can get a full refund from the retailer for the copy of Windows, so that proves a point, and saves you a lot of money.

Re:To make a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554563)

Dell isn't responsible for drivers and software anyway. If that's your goal, hunt down parts that have compatible drivers or just badger the companies that have the incompatible parts you want.

If Dell wants to overprice machines just because they have Linux on them, tell them to go pound sand and build your own machine instead, or buy any of the numerous cheap white boxes available on the web.

And, if you're buying for a business where having a single spec is important, you should be pressuring your Dell rep about them gouging you on the machines you want, not overpaying just so you can evangelize on the company's time.

Re:To make a point (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554719)

However, if you read the Windows EULA, you can get a full refund from the retailer for the copy of Windows, so that proves a point, and saves you a lot of money.
Assuming the retailer has read the EULA, that is.

Depending on the country you're in, they may or may not be obliged to refund the cost of Windows. Very few countries where they would be have included in such legislation "and the retailer must make it easy".

Forcing you to spend an hour on the phone to a potplant reading from a script and training staff in a draconian refund policy (but not the customer's legal rights) are just two ways retailers use to duck out of honouring your statutory rights.

I've often thought of this (5, Insightful)

Kickersny.com (913902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554301)

I'm a die-hard Linux geek as well, and all for preloaded Linux (especially if it solves driver issues!), but if a computer is cheaper with Windows, why not buy the cheaper computer and get a refund for not accepting the EULA? You then save money on both fronts, and get your Linux computer.

At the end of the day, I always decide that the hassle isn't worth it and that I'd also rather send the message to the company that there is a market for selling computers preloaded with Linux.

Just my $0.02.

Re:I've often thought of this (3, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554389)

A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step... and often enough a flat tire, nevertheless, by insisting on the preloaded Linux computer (if you can afford it) you are telling the store, the OEM, and more importantly the MS pundits that you prefer Linux to Windows. Yes, that is something of a statement you are making, yet, the more people who make it, the more who won't have to, and the less likely that YOU will have to in the future.

Believe it or not, MS had to go through this phase of consumer acceptance with Win95 also.

Personally, when I purchased my last pc I could not get a pc preloaded with Linux, so I bought pieces and built my own like I have been doing for years. Hopefully when I buy my next pc that will not be the case.

If you can afford it, pay the tax, then take the EULA back for a refund. That should be good for one or two WTF blog posts anyway.

Re:I've often thought of this (3, Informative)

yincrash (854885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554451)

I remember that when Windows 95 came out, my local micro center had lines at the door before the store opened.

It sold out on the first day, and was also full of bugs.
I don't think you can compare Linux consumer acceptance to Win95 consumer acceptance.

Marketing works (2, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554483)

Windows 95 had a great theme song [youtube.com] .

Maybe Linux could benefit by having a catchy theme song [youtube.com] too.

Re:I've often thought of this (3, Interesting)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554557)

Unfortunately, you will not get this as a choice in most cases. They've slapped EULAs on the machines themselves- you don't use Windows, at the minimum they will flat-out not support you. If you don't accept the EULA, in some cases, they've verbiage stating that the vendor won't take just Windows back- they will only take the whole machine back. (Gives a sideways nasty look in HP's direction...)

Blithely saying just return the EULA isn't going to work.

Saving money is all well and good- but when it contributes to the problem, unless you just simply can't swing the "extra expense" you should probably be doing DIY instead where you're not adding to their sales figures- which is what happens when you buy a unit, even if you return it because of the way their accounting for this stuff is done.

Re:I've often thought of this (2, Informative)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554469)

[ ... ] if a computer is cheaper with Windows, why not buy the cheaper computer and get a refund for not accepting the EULA? You then save money on both fronts, and get your Linux computer.
On both fronts ? You've obviously not been through the hassle of trying to claim a refund for Windows. It would be much less work to just find and patch the bugs in Windows.

Re:I've often thought of this (3, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554515)

Considering that they've tied acceptance of the machine (warranty and all) with the acceptance of the Windows Vista EULA with recent machines...

In the end, you're NOT helping things by buying the Windows machine. If you're not running Windows and they're not selling bare machines or ones with your OS of choice on it you're not really their customer- even though you're buying the machine. If you've no choice (no funds, no buying options...) this is a lesser of two evils thing- it's okay.

It's not so okay if you've got a choice. Sure it's cheaper- but each purchase of Windows or a Windows application is a VOTE with your dollars for MORE of the same crap.

Re:I've often thought of this (1)

George Beech (870844) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554599)

Considering that they've tied acceptance of the machine (warranty and all) with the acceptance of the Windows Vista EULA with recent machines...
At least with the recent Dell machines that I have configured there are two separate acceptance screens. One when you first start the machine that is an acceptance of the warranty and then you don't accept the Windows EULA until you run through the mini-setup for windows (aka the first run screens)
So you can definitely accept the dell warranty to use the machine and then just not run the mini-setup and you haven't accepted the Windows EULA.

Re:I've often thought of this (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554755)

A die hard Linux geek having driver issues? I'm sure if you are a die-hard linux geek like me you would *gasp* learn how to compile and troubleshoot the damn drivers themselves. No Ubuntu package hell BS. I can't think of how many times people didn't want to put intelligence into supporting their device(s), because they are looking (and still looking) for some package to install to support it.

Yes, you can call them linux users, but hardly geeks, and definitely not die-hard ones.

Not every PC costs more with Linux (5, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554307)

I was looking at new Thinkpads through Lenovo, and a T60/T61 with Linux pre-installed actually costs less than the same system with Windows XP or Windows Vista.

I haven't looked at their desktops, so I don't know if the same applies there.

Re:Not every PC costs more with Linux (1)

DaFallus (805248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554673)

I actually just purchased a T61 with Linux. I gave SUSE a try but in the end I went with Ubuntu instead. The process was flawless and I didn't have to hunt down any drivers or install NDISwrapper or anything.

Re:Not every PC costs more with Linux (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554733)

I was looking at new Thinkpads through Lenovo, and a T60/T61 with Linux pre-installed actually costs less than the same system with Windows XP or Windows Vista.

I haven't looked at their desktops, so I don't know if the same applies there.
I'm not surprised. Lenovo have inherited from IBM the policy of overpricing their products by 20-25%.

Because you want one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554317)

And if you don't, you don't buy it?

I realize this was just a "devil's advocate" type of question in the first place (alright it's a troll, but at least it's better than fucking Idle posts on the front page). Still, I have trouble believing that you couldn't come up with an answer on your own to such a stupid question.

Getting hardware to work is not always easy (0, Redundant)

Einmaliger (1052420) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554321)

I would assume that a pre-installed Linux is already configured and all drivers are there and working.

I still have problems getting all devices of my 3-years-old Dell pc to work with current Ubuntu versions. My hope would be that if I buy a desktop pc with pre-installed Linux, all the hardware is at least supported by Linux, and I don't need to do the "hard" parts of the configuration (like the WLAN stuff).

So you can blame the vendor (2, Insightful)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554323)

If you buy a machine with a preinstalled OS, it's the vendor's reponsibility to ensure that it's compatible, and all the relevant drivers exist and perform reasonably well. If you roll your own, then you take that responsibility.

If you consider the ability to say 'hey, this doesn't work, I want my money back' without the reply being 'works for us, you messed up the install, your problem' to have a monetary value, then it's probably worth paying for the 'free' software.

Re:So you can blame the vendor (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554481)

I want my money back' without the reply being 'works for us, you messed up the install, your problem' to have a monetary value,

you never delt with DELL or HP have you. that is their standard answer with....

"get out your restore CD and reinstall the OS."

Oh that support is worth paying for.... Erase my pc and everything I did for the past 4 months and wipe+reinstall the drive.

If that is what commercial support I am "paying" for is I'll pass.

You should definitely pay the "tax" (0, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554337)

If you stand on principle, you may cost Microsoft a few bucks, but in the process you will end up costing yourself a few bucks too. It's hardly worth it since it's really a drop in the bucket for MS whereas it's probably a real cost to you.

Look at it this way, every voice probably counts for something, but in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter all that much what you as an individual do, so why go out on a limb and do something that is going to directly harm yourself?

So pay the Microsoft tax and save a few bucks. Whatever money MS gets will go into coming out with a better competitor to Linux, and that perpetuates the good positive feedback cycle that competition is supposed to spur.

Re:You should definitely pay the "tax" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554511)

> it's really a drop in the bucket for MS..

Actually most of the cost is probably for the Windows retailer in terms of customer service. That's definitely worthwhile since, when the cost gets high enough

> Whatever money MS gets will go into coming out with a better competitor to Linux

If it was a company other than MS, you would be right. However, money to MS is not going to pay for developers to build Windows. Mostly it's going to lawyers trying to work out how to damage Free Software with patents, to marketers spreading "Get the Facts" lies and indirectly to people like SCO (e.g. through the MS "UNIX" license) who are actively suing Linux companies. In this particular case, any money you give to Microsoft is actually slowing down the development of better computer systems.

    "if once you have paid him the Danegeld, You never get rid of the Dane."

Re:You should definitely pay the "tax" (4, Insightful)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554541)

If you stand on principle, you may cost Microsoft a few bucks, but in the process you will end up costing yourself a few bucks too. It's hardly worth it since it's really a drop in the bucket for MS whereas it's probably a real cost to you.

No, you'll feel better if you stand on principle, especially if it only cost you a few bucks. Judas killed himself over twenty silver pieces, right?

Look at it this way, every voice probably counts for something, but in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter all that much what you as an individual do, so why go out on a limb and do something that is going to directly harm yourself?

Every voice probably counts for something? That should really inspire the next generation.

So pay the Microsoft tax and save a few bucks. Whatever money MS gets will go into coming out with a better competitor to Linux, and that perpetuates the good positive feedback cycle that competition is supposed to spur.

Come on, man. You do actually use Linux, don't you? Do you really believe your own post? I encourage you to think critically about it. Participating in slashdot should embolden us to eliminate the Microsoft tax, not rationalize paying it.

Re:You should definitely pay the "tax" (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554571)

Do you know the game Global Thermonuclear War? The Microsoft Tax is kind of like that. You only pay if you don't pay.

Re:You should definitely pay the "tax" (2, Insightful)

capebretonsux (758684) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554643)

If you stand on principle, you may cost Microsoft a few bucks, but in the process you will end up costing yourself a few bucks too. It's hardly worth it since it's really a drop in the bucket for MS whereas it's probably a real cost to you.

Uh, how would not paying a Microsoft tax end up costing myself a few bucks?

Look at it this way, every voice probably counts for something, but in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter all that much what you as an individual do, so why go out on a limb and do something that is going to directly harm yourself?

What limb? I can't think of anything negative that could happen to anyone if they dared not to choose windows on their new computer purchase.

Whatever money MS gets will go into coming out with a better competitor to Linux, and that perpetuates the good positive feedback cycle that competition is supposed to spur.

Ahahahahaha! Now I know you've been joking! Sorry I didn't pick up on the sarcasm sooner...

Re:You should definitely pay the "tax" (2, Insightful)

pdusen (1146399) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554713)

Except that's bad advice. Buying a machine from, for example, Dell, with Linux pre-installed means that that PC has the same guarantee as Dell's Windows PCs as far as hardware compatibility, which means fewer headaches for you as a user. That alone should be worth a slightly higher price, if you're going to be installing Linux on it anyway. This also counts toward telling manufacturers that there's actually a demand for Linux, which will drive them to improve support for it--a "drop in the bucket", as you put it, but after a while they start to add up.

keep looking, they are out there (5, Informative)

dominux (731134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554361)

look at Novatech [novatech.co.uk] they have all their headline prices without operating system. You can specify various flavours of windows as an optional extra. In fact look at this one [novatech.co.uk]
No Operating System Installed £249.99 inc vat
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition £299.99 inc vat
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic £329.00 inc vat
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium £339.00 inc vat
Microsoft Windows Vista Business £349.00 inc vat
Microsoft Windows XP Professional £359.00 inc vat

Re:keep looking, they are out there (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554783)

Hehe WIth XP Pro with the most tax. Well, at least they are following the consumer's interests...

because freedom has a price! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554363)

Who told you things would be cheaper with knowledge than without it? Same goes for free software I guess, or the world in Matrix.

If you can install it yourself, that's nice, ... (4, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554367)

... but pretending that every computer user out there can install an operating system is just delusional. Yes, there are people for whom clicking on "ok" several times (or, g0d forbid, getting the computer to boot from something other than its HDD) is an insurmountable task. They hear "install an operating system" and immediately know that they cannot do it. Regardless of how simple it may seem to you. It's not Solitaire, a web browser, or outlook (express), so they cannot do it and do not even want to try learning it.

And that's the ideal case where there are no problems whatsoever after installing the OS. During my last attempts to install Ubuntu, I had to manually mess with the video driver settings (and that was for an ancient Ati Rage Mobility 3 chipset, nothing newfangled, which ran just fine with the previous version of Ubuntu).

Ok (5, Interesting)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554377)

Well, first of all, the price difference isn't really all that much. In fact, unless you are buying in bulk and getting an Enterprise discount, the cost difference is less than $50.00 (in the case of Dell, anyway).

Secondly, if you WANT Linux and FOSS software to succeed in the desktop realm, supporting companies that are willing to go out on a limb and sell Linux on Desktops and Laptops is necessary. If there isn't any profit in it for them, they won't support FOSS. Simple as that.

Thirdly, Why would you WANT to pay the "Microsoft Tax", or have to deal with fighting with a machine who's hardware might only be partially supported under Linux. Vs. a machine with NO "Microsoft Tax" AND will have all hardware fully supported in Linux? Why make things harder on yourself?

Unless there is a specific piece of hardware that you need or want that is in a Windows box and not a Linux box, I really don't see the need to buy Windows when you want Linux if there are Linux machines available. Especially when the Linux machines are comparable in specs to the Windows ones, excepting the really high-end gaming rigs (Of course, if you want a high-end gaming rig, why wouldn't you just build it yourself from hardware you know is Linux supported?)

Re:Ok (1)

dspolleke (1139333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554449)

I second that AND you get a Bloatwareless/crapless pc. If you calculate what you cost (per hour) times the time it costs removing the Redmond OS and installing Linux = cheaper to have Linux preinstalled.. But you do the math

Why bother /. with this? (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554379)

You told us the answer already. Why bother us with the question then?

Re:Why bother /. with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554497)

Because his answer was wrong. And he knew it.

support? (5, Insightful)

doktorstop (725614) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554397)

I can see several benefits of buying a Linux-installed desktop.
- for one thing, one can pray that the manufacturer has done everything to maximize compatibility. Sure, you can do it yourself, but for an average user, it really makes sense.
- support. Support is needed, when you're stuck and dont know what to do (or what questions to ask in the forums!). Having professional support is always a plus.
- you can't resell your Windows liscence anyways (read the small print). So why just trash it?
- giving the industry a sign. Ok, that one is a bit too theoretical, but anyways. A company producing a nice linux-powered PC that sells will continue to do that. Develop drivers, boots support, invest time and money. It will be an indicator that it isnt ony possible, but profitable... maybe others will then follow!

The real ? is Why Buy a PC Preloaded with Vista? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554399)

Need I say more?

Why buy a pre-built computer? (4, Insightful)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554401)

It's not that much more difficult to build a computer on your own. You get to pick the parts which means you can build Linux compatibility. You don't have to pay for Windows. It's really that simple.

Re:Why buy a pre-built computer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554573)

I'm a pretty keen linux guy, but I prefer to get the vendor to build my linux computer these days.

The main reason is hardware compatibility and reliability. If I get the vendor to build the computer, they are responsible to ensure that the CPU is compatible with the motherboard, that the RAM is compatible, that all the necessary cables and fans and so on are supplied. If I build it myself from mail-order parts, sometimes the parts aren't compatible, or I bought the wrong type of SATA cable (or it's too short), or ... maybe it's not functioning reliably.

If I build it myself and something doesn't work right, I have to spend time investigating the problem, determining which component isn't working right, then try to prove the fault to the vendor (again, through mail order).

On the other hand, if I get them to build it, they are responsible to ensure that it works when it leaves their hands. If find after delivery that it doesn't work, all I need to do is send it back to them as a unit and they have to fix it under warranty.

Of course I'm not paying for Windows to be installed. I pay them for the hardware build (about $70) which is also a bargain since it takes me the best part of a day to put a computer together from parts.

After I receive the unit, I just install linux.

Are you ok with funding Microsoft's propaganga? (2, Interesting)

Adaptux (1235736) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554403)

Even if buying a computer bundled with a Microsoft license does not cost you more, it means that some money goes to Microsoft corporation. The question is, are you ok with that? If you'd rather not support what Microsoft is doing, it might be a good solution to offset the effect of that financial support for Microsoft by making a donation to one of the various organizations that work towards achieving a more reasonable future in the field of IT.

Buy it with windows, (2, Informative)

RationalRoot (746945) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554405)

Then return windows. Tell them you do not agree with the licence and ask for a refund.

Sorted

Best of both worlds (4, Informative)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554409)

If the cheapest PC you can buy has Windows pre-loaded, then buy it, reject the EULA (document the proces - maybe take photos - since you can expect a hassle) and claim a Windows refund from the vendor, then install Linux. Or, if like most people you still have occasional use for Windows, then accept the EULA and create a dual boot system.

nnig6a (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554415)

BE NIGGER! BE GAY! States that t4ere can no longer be

Pushing your luck (1)

ehkz (680643) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554421)

You finally got dell too cave in and offer Linux on there systems. Now you want this? Make up your damned minds!

Why choose? (2, Insightful)

HetMes (1074585) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554427)

I think the choice between the two only applies to people that want a working system out-of-the-box. The rest of us just build from parts anyway. And surely, even with Ubuntu, there are still a couple of problem with hardware and multimedia playback on a clean install, hence a little extra effort. Besides, Dell had a large Windows help desk knowledge base. The probably don't want to have to support two OS'es

It's convenient. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554431)

I bought a Ubuntu Dell because it's very convenient. It's been a long long time since I thought installing an OS was a fun use of my time; and it was kinda nice to have it working out-of-the-box.

And it doesn't always cost more.

Dell pricing is very funny.
Sometime the Linux models cost more, sometimes less.
Sometimes the Dell Small Business models cost more than Dell Home, sometimes less.
In my case a dell coupon code that they didn't mention would work on the Ubuntu model happened to work, so it was actually the exact same price as the windows model that day.

It demonstrates that there's a demand (4, Interesting)

jejones (115979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554435)

Reread Milton Friedman's _Free to Choose_. When you buy it, you're communicating with the market, saying "I want a computer with Linux." When you buy a computer with Windows preinstalled so you can wipe it and install Linux, you're fibbing to the market--it will interpret that as "I want a computer with Windows", and be more likely to do that and ultimately to stop selling computers with Linux preinstalled. And for that matter, they aren't going to press hardware makers for Linux-friendly hardware, either--why should they?

You may be able to install Linux on such a computer, but the proverbial Joe Sixpack or grandmother can't, or will be afraid to, or won't want to bother. If you lie to the market, you're making it less likely that _they_ will have the option to buy a computer with Linux preinstalled.

(And yes, I've put my money where my mouth is; I'm waiting for the Dell laptop with Linux preinstalled to arrive.)

Re:It demonstrates that there's a demand (1)

EriDay (679359) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554657)

By having a lower price, Dell is saying "We want you to buy a computer with Windows+crapware installed, and reformat the disk" or alternatively "Suckers will buy computers with Linux preinstalled". The OP was about a 2-way conversation between Dell and the consumer.

Re:It demonstrates that there's a demand (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554757)

Doesn't this show a problem with the market? What if I can't buy a computer with Linux easily or cheaply? (Which used to be the case, and is still the case when buying from big brand computer stores in most countries.)

Here's an analogy that I read here on Slashdot some time ago. Let's say my favourite restaurant (a Chinese place) goes out of business. Damn, I think, and start going to the Indian joint down the road.

Now, the market going to say, "there is an increased demand for Indian food", and suddenly three more Indian restaurants open up.

But I don't want Indian, I want Chinese. And there is no way to communicate to the market that I want a Chinese restaurant.

------

Want another problem with the market? Most economists (from Smith on) assume perfect knowledge. Do consumers have perfect knowledge? Fuck no. If consumers had perfect knowledge lots of them wouldn't choice MS Windows.

------

Meh. Don't bother buying a pre-installed Linux system unless you want to. If you have the technical knowledge to install it yourself, if you know that the hardware works, and if the hardware is what you want, then fuck, don't bother buying the more expensive one.

And you can get your money back for MS Windows, without having to give up your entire computer (even if the EULA says otherwise). Well, assuming you live somewhere with sane laws on the matter...

Go smaller or get a refund (1)

The New Andy (873493) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554445)

I recently purchased a computer, and I just went with a smallish company that lets you spec the computer how you want (www.secret.com.au if you are interested). One of the questions is about what operating system you want. By splitting it up this way and having a cost associated with each item, I can see that I saved anywhere between AU$120 (XP home) and AU$250 (Vista Ultimate).

If you do get a computer with windows bundled, then just return the windows part for a full refund. You are entitled to it. It will make it easier for you if you can get the price itemized (or else they'll claim that windows cost them $1). But you are well within your rights to get a refund.

One reason for, one against. (0, Redundant)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554465)

Reason TO buy a PC with Linux preloaded:

It will work. I've been trying to migrate to a Linux dual boot system for months now, but between problems with my wireless card and every flavor of Linux's refusal to recognize my nVidia raid controller, I've given up and am forced to be content with windows. I tried quite hard, but since the only "support" Linux has are worthless IRC chat rooms and forums and hoping to God someone else has had the same problem as you, getting anything done is like pulling teeth. Having a support number you can call would be fantastic. Pre-loaded PCs provide that.

Reason not to:
Buy a cheaper computer with Windows, then notify Dell (or whomever) that you refuse the liscence agreement. They are required to refund the value of the software to you.

IBM (3, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554467)

A few years back, I bought an IBM server and I was willing to pay for the effort and testing that IBM had performed in order to guarantee its compatibility with Linux and other popular server operating systems. I was very impressed with the level of support that IBM provided. None of the usual "It shipped with Windows Blech, install anything else and you are on your own".

Build your own PC (1)

billsf (34378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554471)

Just build it -- It will only take a couple hours at most and almost always save you money.

It seems quite obvious to me. I can't stand the thought of a MS tax. (Though its unavoidable as most hardware -- even drives, memory-sticks -- everything has a NDIS CD you don't need!) Build your PC -- Its very simple to do and you have total control of your hardware. In the case of a laptop, you might have to have it "special ordered", which could be a wait. No OS is a legal right in Europe and the only way I'd accept a new laptop.

Finally if you buy a 'server', chances are there will be no OS pre-installed, but like the laptop, you must accept what you get and be sure there are expansion slots and ideally no Realshit audio and other bundled "crape-ware" from the hardware makers.

Re:Build your own PC (2, Funny)

teslar (706653) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554561)

Just build it -- It will only take a couple hours at most and almost always save you money.
Ok, I don't know why but that sentence just reminded me of this [xkcd.com] :)

I'd have to wipe the Linux off it as well anyway (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554487)

I don't know why I would buy one with Linux on it. I can install the distro myself, and I don't think the distro I use (Archlinux) is likely to be preinstalled on a commercial PC, usually those are distros like Ubuntu or other big names getting preinstalled. And even if it were Archlinux being preinstalled, how can they know which packages I want on it? So if there was a preinstalled Linux on it, I'd probably replace it anyway... Also, I bought my last PC without any OS at all, I just bought all the parts of it separatly. So that is certainly an option.

Two reasons why it's a good idea (2, Interesting)

s.petry (762400) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554501)

First, is the visibility. Companies do not have any idea how many people want Linux (or do not want M$, depending on your view point). Purchasing pre-loaded fixes the books so that companies have no doubt.

Second is, as someone else mentioned, you know that all of your components work with Linux. Most of us have had issues, where M$ only devices reside on a purchased PC. In that case, generally the products have no vendor support for Linux, and driver/software products capable of using them rely on the time consuming task of reverse engineering.

Remember too that companies like Dell have to pay more for Linux support (Gigabazillions paid top dollar for that M$ cert.. as opposed to the handful that earned their RHCx)

Everybody wins! (1)

seven of five (578993) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554531)

Hah! You buy Windows machine to get it cheaper. M$ gets a licensing fee from OEM. You never use Windows, but what does M$ care, if they get paid? Norton, M$, AOL, etc pay OEM to put crapware on PC. You install Linux distro of your choice, for free. Everybody wins.

simple matter of opportunity cost (4, Insightful)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554535)

If you buy something preloaded with Linux, the companies involved know that they just sold one more unit on account of Linux. If enough computers are sold in this way, compatibility with Linux will have much more value to them, and the hardware they buy will reflect this. This, in turn, will encourage more hardware vendors to be compatible with Linux.

The question you want to ask yourself is whether the extra money paid is worth the chance to help bring this about. How much is the future prospect of better Linux compatibility worth to you? Is there something more valuable you can and want to do with whatever money you might save?

Re:simple matter of opportunity cost (1)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554789)

Good point. Think of it as a donation to FOSS, or like paying ("patronizing?") artists for music that you like so that they can afford to continue making it.

More expensive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554545)

Last time I checked, Dell with linux costed 50+$ less, not more, than with Windows!

Depends (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554575)

If you are thinking only in the short run, ie today you could just as well buy and rip Windows.

If you on the other hand care about competition, drivers, compability and Linux you should take on another approach.

Computers with Linux are cheaper to sell, the problem is that OEMs pay for Windows regardless if they ship Linux or windows. It has nothing to do with bundled products. If vendors find that Linux is a business opportunity they will tell Microsoft to stuff it. When you buy a computer with windows and replace it with Linux you are saying "I dont want Linux" to those OEM's.

Award thos who give you what you want and punish the ones who dont. There are things besides money that counts.

Your money makes it possible for Microsoft to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554577)

* Spread lies about Linux
* Register idiotic patents and then bully smaller companies
* Force hardware vendors to drop Linux support
* Sponsor open source projects and then shut them down

Custom made? (3, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554579)

Perhaps in your country they don't do this, but where I live there are lots of stores that assemble your PC with the specs you give, and no OS preinstalled. My PC costed me around 600 dollars.

Re:Custom made? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554653)

That's quite a useless figure until you compare it two a pre-built system.

Installing XP on a Linux eee PC (1)

cyclocommuter (762131) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554587)

I am buying an eee PC 900 preloaded with Linux because it has a bigger SSD drive. I intend to reformat Linux off it and install an MSDN subscription XP when I get it. I realize I will probably have to "n-Lite" XP first to reduce its size further to get it to fit the 4GB primary drive.

Come Ooooon (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554603)

This Feed needs some funny comments. Come on guys wake up !

to choose or not to choose (1)

Kunax (1185577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554623)

silly gits, not every one know how to install linux or windows. this will allow them to get a linux if they prefere

No O/S PC Suppliers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554637)

There are many places who will supply a PC with NO O/S Installed. This is how I buy my systems. Then I can choose what Linux Distro I want to install and not have to use for example ubuntu as supplied by Dell on some of their models.

Other replies here have said 'build your own' It might be better for you to start with what is called a Barebones system and add the bits you want.

I have build many systems this way for people who do in the main run XP.
Do a bit of shopping around and you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
It is far better than what I overheard a few months ago by a major retailer in the UK that it was illegal to sell a PC without Windows installed.
I interrupted the sales assistant and said "So you are illegally selling all those Mac's I see on display behind you unless they come with a copy of windows as well as OS/X?"
They had no answer to that. I directed the potential customer to one of the places ( a few miles down the road) who sell PC's with no O/S installed.

Future Prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554671)

Linux may currently be a lower volume option and victim of fuzzy deals. But presumably over time if support is demonstrated, the linux prices will fall.

So you can install FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554731)

obviously

Because you want a ready to use *nix work station (1)

elteck (874753) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554777)

That's how we use them. Our cad software runs on Linux, so we buy workstation that we plug into our network, and we're ready to play. All we need to do is set the network setting, NIS, and a few security setting and we're ready. Just like the old days when we had Solaris work stations.

Just get a Thinkpad with SLES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23554785)

A decent Thinkpad with SLES tends to be $100 cheaper than a Thinkpad with M$ Vista. This has led to the "We're going to see which of your existing video games can run under WINE, and what existing video games for Linux are sufficiently entertaining for you," discussion with the wife and kids.

Custom build (1)

Braedley (887013) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554795)

If you don't want to spend the money to buy a preloaded, and don't want to pay for a windows license, I highly suggest building your own. All of the smaller computer shops that I've dealt with don't force you to buy a copy of windows when you buy a new computer from parts. They'll also install all the hardware for you as well.

This option also usually ends up being cheaper in the long run as well. I spent $1600 on my latest computer that would have cost me over $2000 to get from Dell at the time. In fact, a similarly speced computer from Dell still cost $1400 nearly two years later, although it does have a better CPU and GPU.

Stop the fees! (1)

ttimes (534696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554809)

"I hate paying the Microsoft Tax as much as anybody else..." If you feel that way, we all need to urge our representatives to disallow the bundling of Microsoft software to hardware- it is something they should not be permitted to do since they do not make hardware (among other things). How would you feel if Exxon got a piece of every car sold because it might use their gas?

It's worth it (2, Informative)

freelook (1227968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23554817)

I bought a Dell Ubuntu laptop, which I decided to wipe clean and try a fresh Linux install with the standard image that I downloaded.

No dice. Dell shipped that with a custom install of Ubuntu that included the special drivers I needed that weren't part of the standard install. I ended up using their custom image to restore my pc, which worked perfectly. I can't imagine how long it would have taken me to get everything working otherwise. If you're going to use Linux anyway, I say it's better to get the peace of mind, for the small price difference there may be at any particular point.

And I fully agree with what others have said. Give these companies the incentive they need to get support for Linux hardware.

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