×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

How Dell Is Making Ubuntu Linux More Attractive

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the gussyin'-n'-prettyin' dept.

Linux Business 160

CWmike writes "Dell was the first of the major computer manufacturers to support pre-installed Linux, but it's not just pre-installing Linux. The Austin, Tex. company is also adding functionality to Ubuntu Linux on its desktops and laptops, writes Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. It began by adding DVD-playback to its systems shipping with Ubuntu 7.10. With the recent release of Dell PCs with Ubuntu 8.04, Dell is now including 'Fluendo GStreamer codecs for mp3, wma (Windows Media Audio), and wmv (Windows Media Video) playback' in its latest Ubuntu-powered desktops and laptops. On Ubuntu systems with ATI or NIVDIA graphics, Dell also now supports HDMI output. Yesterday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said his company hopes to steal a page from Apple's playbook and change how it works with hardware makers in an attempt to duplicate its rival's success. Is OS customization the way forward for desktop Linux, and Windows?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

160 comments

Making more attractive.... (4, Insightful)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 5 years ago | (#24351805)

....or saving on support costs?

It's really a no-brainer- if you're going to sell computers, they better be able to do out of the box everything that people know computers can do. They'll save $$$ on call-centre robots, there's no choice.

Re:Making more attractive.... (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 5 years ago | (#24351821)

Are they mutually exclusive?

Many of the biggest boons to open source software have come about not because of converts to the religion, but because of business seeking the best solution to a given problem. If paying $x to customize Ubuntu is cheaper than paying $x+y to support users without it, most businesses are going to customize Ubuntu for sufficiently large values of y.

Win-win.

Re:Making more attractive.... (3, Insightful)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#24355051)

My larger concern is are they doing it correctly? Are they adding this functionality by creating policy compliant debs and installing them? If not they are actually hurting Ubuntu by making it harder for the Ubuntu support systems to function.

Debian (and thus its derivatives) has historically had one of the nicest package management systems (although these days emerge and yum have made the difference much much smaller than it once was). However the cost of that is that the system requires that packages conform to a relatively strict set of policies, and that hand installed software be installed into /usr/local instead of /usr.

Debs not conforming to those policies, or manual installation of software to /usr can potentially wreck havoc on the system. even if it does not, any problems resulting from them can be far more difficult to diagnose.

Re:Making more attractive.... (3, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352241)

I believe it's going to be just the opposite ..... more support calls. Once again everyone is missing the point. It's not the OS -- it's the ability to get things done. I loved OS/2 and BeOS but they were ultimately useless because of a lack of appications and device drivers.

For example my 75 year old aunt has been heavily interested in Geneolgy for many years and has hundreds of pages of data and photos. So she decided that she wanted a computer. She went to Best Buy and bought a Gateway and one of her nephews who "knows about computers" wiped the hard drive and installed Linux (may have been Ubuntu but I don't remember). It turns out that "knows about computers" isn't much more than reading a few pro-Linux anti-Windows articles and knowing how to burn an ISO onto a CD.

For a while everything was fine. She surfed the web, sent e-mail, wrote letters, etc. Then she goes to the store and talks to a salesman about Geneology. He sells her a Geneology program, a scanner for all her old photos and she decides she would like to get a digital camera so she can take more pictures of all her various nephews, nieces, grandchildren, etc. The salesman assures her that everything is "plug and play" and you just follow a few simple directions.

Well, of course nothing works. The software and device drivers are all Windows only. Yes, even the camera requires a driver to transfer pictures. She calls Gateway support but they can't help her. Of course Gateway doesn't know that she's running Linux -- she doesn't know it either and wouldn't know what that meant if you told her. So she calls the nephew who "knows about computers" and he spends some time Googling but can't help. So now she's angry and upset, but she's even more angry and upset when she finds out she can't return the software because it's been opened.

In desperation she calls me. I wipe the hard drive, reinstall Windows XP, all the updates, remove all the crapware, etc. And now she's happily spending many hours with her Geneology. It's not the operating system -- it's the ability to get things done.

The point is very simply this. Yes you can set up a computer with Linux that performs routine tasks and is easy enough for Aunt Mildred to use. But eventually everyone -- even Aunt Mildred -- outgrows routine tasks. Remember WebTV? Remember (hardware) Word Processors? Where are they now? I believe that Dell will save a few dollars by not installing Windows but spend much more than that on support calls. There are a lot of Aunt Mildreds out there.

Re:Making more attractive.... (4, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352345)

While I agree that the important thing is to "get things done," people have to know the limitations of the things they buy. If she didn't know she was running linux and bought software that was specifically only made for windows, that's her fault. I don't go to the store and buy new DVD's and try to make them work with my tape deck. The fact that I just wanted to play music is not an argument against the tape deck. Saying "she didn't know" is a cop-out, I don't get out of a speeding ticket because I didn't know what the limit was on that street. Sorry that she was so mad, but that's life.

Re:Making more attractive.... (0, Flamebait)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352529)

How the hell would she have even known? she's 75, for christ's sake. She thinks a computer is a computer is a computer... It's not her fault that the idiot nephew installed ubuntu without telling her. In all reality, if the nephew actually knew wtf was going on, he could have had it running within the hour. He's the reason why people don't like switching stuff. Example conversation with someone like that:
"This is so cool, you should totally use it! It's way better!"
"ok."
Months later, when a problem is encountered:
"Why can't I use $HARDWARE?!"
"I don't know..."
"Well find out!"
"I don't know how."
"I thought you said this is better!"
"It is!"
"Not if I can't do what I want!"
"JFGI!"

Re:Making more attractive.... (3, Insightful)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352595)

So then, if ignorance is a defense, I suppose your logic works equally well if she had a Mac and then had gotten MS Software. Or if she was running MS WinXP, and she bought Mac software. So really Apple, MS, and all versions of Linux are to blame because of her ignoranance. Sorry, I have to laugh at the implications of such logic. Maybe you didn't think it through, but at least to me, it is obvious.

Re:Making more attractive.... (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352641)

Yes, because someone who thinks a computer is just the same as any other computer and isn't even told by the person setting it up what's going on. When you don't even know that such things as alternate operating systems EXIST, then no, you're not at fault for someone else just going and installing something without your knowledge.

Re:Making more attractive.... (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353075)

Her own damn fault for not taking the time to find what she was getting. It's like she got a car without checking what kind of fuel it takes. "A car is a car! Every car runs with the same fuel! Diesel? Ethanol? NGV? What are you talking about, boy?!"

Re:Making more attractive.... (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353155)

Um, your argument makes no sense. Nowadays, unless you are specifically told otherwise, you can usually safely assume that your car will take unleaded. Besides, if the box for the machine says "windows" but the idiot nephew installs ubuntu without telling her, how would she know?

Re:Making more attractive.... (1)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353421)

Really it's just that no one knows what linux is, so they only make the distiction between macs (which are pretty easy to recognize with that logo all over them) and "everything else".

Re:Making more attractive.... (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353529)

Nowadays, unless you are specifically told otherwise, you can usually safely assume that your car will take unleaded.

Well, that's not the case with computers. Not long ago, true, you'd just assume your PC would come with Windows. But now many sellers bundle Linux instead, and it's almost trivial to change the operating system. A PC is a complex machine, not an appliance. It's not really hard to use, but it still requires a bit of learning. Otherwise, you will keep needing someone to fix any screw-ups.

Besides, if the box for the machine says "windows" but the idiot nephew installs ubuntu without telling her, how would she know?

By the fact that it says "Ubuntu" every time it boots? See, that's a part of the learning I just mentioned: to know what an OS is.

Re:Making more attractive.... (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353577)

And how many people outside of /. really know that such a thing as linux exists? Not many.

Also, most people hit the button and walk away from. Hell, I don't even watch it boot, and I'm on here nearly 12 hours a day!

Re:Making more attractive.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24354897)

Exactly. Today, nearly everybody (in developed countries) uses a computer, and the majority have no clue what windows is or what it does. Linux is rarely something they've heard of, so thinking that they'll know what it is shows how little some people know about the world.

Re:Making more attractive.... (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352775)

And, if you would actually read my comment, you would notice that, no, i did not say that it was because of apple, ms, or linux; i said it was because of people who know nothing saying "This is awesome! Use it!" and then not being able to help when something invariably comes up.

Re:Making more attractive.... (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353125)

First, I'd like to say: flamebait?? ReallY? Come on guys, I was expressing my opinion, but in no way flamed the guy...

Perhaps I misunderstood you a bit. I understand the frustration involved, but I was assuming you were saying it was a problem with open source as opposed to the nephew. The problem was that the nephew put your aunt into a situation that she could not maintain herself. I agree that that can be a problem, but it's only a problem of communication and understanding between the two parties involved, not with the software.

Re:Making more attractive.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24352693)

I think an important issue is the fact that we, as consumers, allow retail to tell us that we cannot return open box software. Hell, you can even return open food to a supermarket, but you can't return an item that has (effectively) no expiration date.

Re:Making more attractive.... (1, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353463)

[If she didn't know she was running linux and bought software that was specifically only made for windows, that's her fault. I don't go to the store and buy new DVD's and try to make them work with my tape deck. The fact that I just wanted to play music is not an argument against the tape deck. Saying "she didn't know" is a cop-out,]

This is utter bullshit. There are numerous technologies that the elderly know nothing about. To say that she's supposed to know about Linux is beyond absurd.

She doesn't have to know... (0)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353805)

She might not know about linux. But if she knows enough about computers that she wants to do her genealogy on it, she'd better walk into the store with the software she has in mind, and say "I want to use THIS!". If she doesn't, then she deserves whatever problems she gets. Just because you don't understand something, doesn't mean the world should bend over backwards to explain it to you..

Being old isn't an excuse for being stupid.

Re:She doesn't have to know... (1)

Screaming Cactus (1230848) | more than 5 years ago | (#24355713)

95% of computer users don't understand them. At all. That's the way the computer industry is, and most people just accept it. Sure, we encourage them to learn, but it doesn't mean they want to or have to. Just like the majority of geeks don't want to have to learn how to change their own oil or patch a hole in sheetrock (I think?), most computer users don't want to have to learn about the system in order to use it. They just want it to work, and when it doesn't, it's easier for them to pay someone else to fix it. Aunt Mildred doesn't care what OS she's using, she has one specific task she wants to do and that's all she cares about. If she has to learn the specifics of her hardware and OS to make it work then it's not worth her time.

Of course the teenager working at Best Buy probably didn't think to ask her if she was running Linux, hell, he probably didn't even know what it was. Try to see it from her point of view.

Re:Making more attractive.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24353823)

To say that she's supposed to know about Linux is beyond absurd.

But she was already fucking using it.

Re:Making more attractive.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24352513)

This sounds like special pleading. Its no different a story when aunt Mildred who doesn't know how to drive a car decides to drive one day, you still need the foundation of knowledge to competently use what ever it is your trying to use.

It would be like someone jumping in a manual car even though they have only ever driven an automatic.

Re:Making more attractive.... (2, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353771)

Yes, even the camera requires a driver to transfer pictures.

Unless she bought a toy digital camera with a non-standard chipset, it should have worked fine. Either digiKam or f-spot should have been able to find and download the photos. If not, the camera should have shown up on the desktop and you could have used copy/paste to get them onto the hard disk. Sounds like Granny was talked into buying a cheap camera instead of a good one.

Re:Making more attractive.... (1)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 5 years ago | (#24355387)

Well, it's not as if Dell isn't selling Windows PCs as well. Aunt Mildred's situation was unfortunate in that her nephew knew just enough to be dangerous. But if you're just looking for a computer on the Dell site, you're not even going to find the Linux machines. They're not really front and center.

Re:Making more attractive.... (1)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 5 years ago | (#24355819)

The point is very simply this. Yes you can set up a computer with Linux that performs routine tasks and is easy enough for Aunt Mildred to use. But eventually everyone -- even Aunt Mildred -- outgrows routine tasks. Remember WebTV? Remember (hardware) Word Processors? Where are they now? I believe that Dell will save a few dollars by not installing Windows but spend much more than that on support calls. There are a lot of Aunt Mildreds out there.

You certainly have a point; although there needs to be a push for interoperable standards.

For example, I can buy a DVD and play it in any DVD player; no single company completely controls the DVD specification. (With the exception of 5.1 sound...)

On the other hand, I have to run XP under VMware Fusion because we still don't have a good system for software interoperability.

I hope computer manufacturers start pushing for interoperable software/hardware standards. Aunt Mildred shouldn't have to buy a Windows computer just to do what she wants to do. Hopefully this is the beginning.

Re:Making more attractive.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24355835)

Nice anecdote, now why don't we hear this same story about Macs?

1st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24351885)

1st

And what about BIOS upgrades? (2, Insightful)

blowdart (31458) | more than 5 years ago | (#24351921)

Dell are releasing BIOS upgrades for their laptops to cope with the Nvidia weak component problem (basically the fan will spin up sooner). This includes the laptop models that come with Linux preinstalled. Except there's no BIOS updater that will run under Linux; they're all Windows [direct2dell.com] based (although if you have a DOS floppy knocking around you can use that)

<tongue location="cheek"> Of course that might be ok as lets face it 3d gaming under Linux is as likely as Stallman shaving and looking respectable</tongue>

Re:And what about BIOS upgrades? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24352401)

root@ubuntu-box# apt-get install oolite

Hey look at that, 3d gaming under Linux. It's even got a ubuntu package.

Re:And what about BIOS upgrades? (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353807)

lol okay, let me revise the parent..

Of course that might be ok as lets face it real 3d gaming under Linux is as likely as Stallman shaving and looking respectable

Re:And what about BIOS upgrades? (3, Informative)

linuxboredom (1054516) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352935)

Dell are releasing BIOS upgrades for their laptops to cope with the Nvidia weak component problem (basically the fan will spin up sooner). This includes the laptop models that come with Linux preinstalled. Except there's no BIOS updater that will run under Linux; they're all Windows [direct2dell.com] based (although if you have a DOS floppy knocking around you can use that)

Umm...Dell has a Linux BIOS updater in its SMBIOS library [dell.com]. The only downside is that you might have to install wine for the image extraction (though it says it is still doable without).

Re:And what about BIOS upgrades? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24353139)

(although if you have a DOS floppy knocking around you can use that)

What the hell? You have such a low userID ... how can you possibly not know about Free DOS [wikipedia.org]?

I have never been unable to apply a BIOS update using a bootable Free DOS CD. (And prior to that, OpenDOS.) There's an ISO at the Free DOS website. It doesn't get any easier than that. So what was your complaint again?

Re:And what about BIOS upgrades? (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 5 years ago | (#24354973)

OHAI. I just cleared the "Portal: The Flash Version" map-pack (it's really a full alternate game, a sort of "Portal Master Quest") on Portal tonight. While running Linux.

You Gotta Do it Yourself.... (3, Interesting)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 5 years ago | (#24351925)

Yes.. it does seem that Dell is at least paying lip service to Ubuntu/Linux, but just *try* to find the few systems that Dell has deemed to have Ubuntu installed on.. Not easy at all.. And when you do stumble upon the page, they try to scare you off by insinuating that you won't be getting Windows if you buy a system from the following pages.. Oh yeah, they're *really* supporting Linux.. I wanted a nice Core2Duo laptop with Ubuntu on it.. The only ones they preinstall Ubuntu on are the Inspiron/XPS systems.. I wanted a corporate system, ie: Latitude or Vostro system with it... Solly Cholly, only these few systems will we offend the great M$ on.. So I checked out the Dell Outlet, found a VERY nice Vostro 1400 with most everything I wanted, for $519, and proceeded to wipe Microsoft Yawn (also known as Vista) off it, and installed Ubuntu, which was a piece of cake.. But, since it came with Windows, MS gets to claim it as one of the hundreds of thousands of copies of Vista they've shipped..
Thanks Dell.. Great machines, but you don't seem to have the balls to stand up to M$...

Re:You Gotta Do it Yourself.... (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352347)

I take your point about the choice but in the UK site at least its easier to find Ubuntu [dell.com] (its on both the desktop and laptop drop down menus) than XP [dell.com] which is currently blank and recommending Vista.

Re:You Gotta Do it Yourself.... (3, Informative)

kenh (9056) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352427)

It's not that hard to find Open Source/Ubuntu systems on the Dell US site:

Open www.dell.com, choose "For Home", then click "Laptop" from the drop-down menu. Open Source systems are linked under the heading "PC Operating Systems" on the left side menu (bottom of menu).

Or, www.dell.com, choose "For Office > Small Business", then click "Desktop" from the drop-down menu. Open Source systems are listed under "FreeDOS and Linux Desktops"

Now, as for the selection of systems, I'm happy with the systems they offer ($WORK just bought a fleet of new "N Series" desktops (Optiplex 755n to be exact), and there was a fine selection of hardware/upgrades available (including ATI discrete graphics cards)...

If they really wanted to hide them, they could have done a much better job of it... I think if I were truely looking for a system with no OS/Ubuntu, I could find it quite easily.

Re:You Gotta Do it Yourself.... (2, Insightful)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352497)

Well, since if you buy Ubuntu you aren't getting a Windows system, it isn't an insinuation, it is the truth. I have read the page you are talking about, and it seems to be their intent is to make sure people know what they are buying.

Re:You Gotta Do it Yourself.... (1)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 5 years ago | (#24355749)

if they wanted to write the truth they'd have this written on every page where you can buy a computer with vista:

the main thing to know about windows vista is that it's an operating system we wouldn't be selling if microsoft hadn't stopped letting us sell xp.

the thing is, you read every line of their ubuntu-warning page and you just know, it had to be okayed by microsoft.

Restore discs? (0, Troll)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 5 years ago | (#24351963)

Do these come with restore discs? (I'm presuming being Dell they will.

Otherwise I can imagine the call from Great Aunt Mildred when she tries to work out how to reinstall:

I knew these computer thingies were new fangled, but mine wants to MAKE out with me, sonny!

Re:Restore discs? (4, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352205)

Your argument fails on 3 fronts:

1. It presupposes that most/all elderly are stupid.

2. It's easier to install the major Linux distributions than it is to install Windows of any flavor.

3. The need for restore disks isn't as vital as for Windows.

      A. Windows users think it's normal to wipe and reinstall every quarter.
      B. Linux doesn't have a half-life/slowdown rate. See 4.

4. The cause of needing restore disks is usually infection. While technically Linux is vulnerable to security problems, the number of "in the wild" Linux viruses is currently 0. Most, if not all, Linux trojans need some sort of user interaction to work. One needs to deliberately shoot one's self in the foot for them to work. Microsoft would do everyone a lot of favors in this department by abandoning Active Yecchs and abandoning the use of 3 magic letters at the end of a filename to determine executability.

5. It's easier to remotely admin through ssh Great Aunt Midlred's Linux machine than it is to go over to her house. While that's more convenient, I guess the drawback is the lack of cookies. (case in point, I went over to a friend's house the other weekend because he screwed up flash and java. I could have done it from my house, but I wanted to hang out and have beer and chourico sandwiches).

--
BMO - We do what we must because we can

You must be new here. (-1, Flamebait)

crhylove (205956) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352437)

Elderly people STILL predominately vote Republican, and at THIS POINT, that is clearly stupid.

The problem is, even though that kind of statement (though true) is STATISTICALLY ageist, it is still wrong to assume that EVERY old person is stupid.

I'm one of those people who tend to think 90% of EVERY age group, race, and sex is pretty fucking stupid.

I'm also one of those people eagerly willing to wade through the 90% to find the 10% I want to talk to, which hopefully keeps me from really being ageist, sexist OR racist. Although, honestly, having been in orchestra for most of my life (I play the violin), I AM convinced that Asian women, at least, are mildly worse drivers than average. But they are also mildly (or in some cases) extremely more attractive than the rest of us, so I suppose it evens out.

Re:You must be new here. (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353141)

>> Elderly people STILL predominately vote Republican, and at THIS POINT, that is clearly stupid.

Not HALF as stupid as voting for the other pant-load..

We have two bad choices.. One's a steaming pile of cow-dung and the other one is merely a pile of barf.. I can tell you which one *I'll* choose, come November... It SURE won't be Obama-Mama!!

Not as new as people think..... (0, Offtopic)

crhylove (205956) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353353)

I actually have a youtube video up posting about how Obama is a stuffed shirt corporate mouth piece very similar to McCain. I'm a fan of Kucinich. And the Senator that got whacked. I think his name was Wellstone. Going back further, I'm a fan of JFK, Jefferson, and Franklin. Not necessarily in that order.

I actively promote armed rebellion, and advocate every American citizen owning a REAL gun, so that we can get the Bill of Rights back, and the rest of the constitution, and maybe start tearing down the cameras.

Much Love,
rhY

Re:You must be new here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24353487)

IMO thinking that your vote makes a difference or that changing presidents will change the direction of America is more stupid than voting for any party.

To quote Zaphod Beeblebrox, the job of the president is not to weild power but to divert attention away from it.

As for your 3rd and 4th paragraphs, I couldn't agree more ;o)

Re:Restore discs? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352447)

It's easier to remotely admin through ssh Great Aunt Midlred's Linux machine than it is to go over to her house.

Unless the problem is something that prevents the network from coming up. And how is X11 tunneled over SSH any better than Remote Assistance in Windows?

Re:Restore discs? (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352589)

Ooh! first of all, ssh -x allows per program running. Second of all, is RA in windows even encrypted?

Plus, Great Aunt Mildred should be told "don't fuck about".

Re:Restore discs? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352715)

"And how is X11 tunneled over SSH any better than Remote Assistance in Windows?"

Nothing, really, since it's just an implementation of X11 networking ideas.

Seriously though, it took a long time for Microsoft to just catch up to the functionality of X11 over a network. (btw, don't even mention RA over XP Home Edition unless you want to be seriously laughed at)

Besides, /can/ you pipe RA over ssh?

--
BMO

Re:Restore discs? (1)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353925)

Your argument fails on 3 fronts:

1. It presupposes that most/all elderly are stupid.

No it doesn't. I was talking about Great Aunt Mildred - not anyone else.

You went past presupposing there. Who mentioned all old people, and who mentioned stupidity? Ignorance - in the true sense of the word - is not the same as stupidity. Most don't know how linux differs from Windows, et al.

Oh, and it was a funny. It's ok - I like (and use for some machines) linux too

Re:Restore discs? (1)

Blackhalo (572408) | more than 5 years ago | (#24354173)

"The need for restore disks isn't as vital as for Windows." Ubuntu sucks in this regard. I purchased a Ubuntu laptop from Dell. It now sits dead due to the bad update that I got from Ubuntu that changed my video to an unsupported res and disabled audio. I know how to fix this in Windows. Press F8 to boot into safe mode. Dammed if I know how to fix it in Linux. This should be fixable from the GUI, but all the support I can find requires some kind of CLI fix. Fuck that. For Linux to be a "Real" OS anything that can be done via CLI should be doable in the GUI. Linux ain't there yet.

I've fallen down and I can't get up (0, Troll)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#24354261)

The geek trots out stereotypes of his own.
.

1. It presupposes that most/all elderly are stupid

It is not stupid to admit that you are old.

That the days when you thought nothing of cracking open a 50 lb case to reset a video card are gone forever. That fighting the good fight for Linux doesn't matter to you any more.

2. It's easier to install the major Linux distributions than it is to install Windows of any flavor.

The OEM system install is the gold standard in the home and SOHO market. Service under warranty. In-home service. The-no-questions-asked return.

Chances are your DIY Linux install will be successful. If it isn't you are in deep shit.

That is how the game is played.

Most, if not all, Linux trojans need some sort of user interaction to work. One needs to deliberately shoot one's self in the foot for them to work

Which is simply another way of saying that infecting a Linux machine is more a matter of applied psychology, social engineering - as long as a user can be seduced into launching an executable the problem doesn't go away

- for all the Geek's talk of "Active Yecchs."

Microsoft to ratchet IE8 security another notch in Beta 2 [zdnet.com]

A. Windows users think it's normal to wipe and reinstall every quarter

No they don't.

I've used an XP restore disk perhaps five times in five years to open the Recovery Console and run CHKDSK. I haven't found a reason for reinstalling Windows other than replacing an aging hard drive.

Re:Restore discs? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 5 years ago | (#24354667)

There is a lot of "admin" work you can't do with SSH - specifically, anything involving the GUI. And lackluster protocols like VNC don't cut it.

Windows also has a nice 'remote admin' protocol called RDP (via Remote Assistance). IMO it's the bee's knees, and probably one of the best/only half decent things about the Windows GUI system.

Re:Restore discs? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 5 years ago | (#24355817)

I know I have been trolled, but what the hell:

"And lackluster protocols like VNC don't cut it."

You /do/ know that X11 is /meant/ to be used over a network? I'm not talking about VNC. I'm talking about raw X11 piped over SSH, for deliciously encrypted graphical sessions from one side of the planet to the other. And guess what, it's /efficient/ too.

But not only that, Linux speaks RDP too. Yeah, we get to talk to inferior Windows systems with their own language.

http://www.rdesktop.org/ [rdesktop.org]

Coming out and implying that VNC is all us Linux users have to work with is such bullshit.

"admin" work you can't do with SSH"

Like what? List something specific.

"anything involving the GUI."

Unlike Windows, configuring a Linux (or unix in general, including OS/X) machine does /not/ require access to the GUI. A GUI is nice sometimes, but if you want to do /real/ work, a command line is so much nicer. Oh yeah, and one of the latest/greatest things about Windows is Power Shell. Funny how Microsoft had to "reinvent" a command line interpreter/shell. So much for the GUI being the be-all/end-all of interfaces.

--
BMO

Re:Restore discs? (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352305)

That would be funny if it was true but Ubuntu installs from a Live CD system so its unlikely that situation would arise.

Re:Restore discs? (2, Informative)

superm1 (1123117) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352387)

Yes they come with a framework for creating recovery disks as well as a recovery partition on the hard drive.

Target group for Ubuntu is... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24351965)

Ubuntu is for niggers. Gay niggers actually.

Re:Target group for Ubuntu is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24353443)

As an American, I find your ideas intriguing and would like to form an association to discuss our mutual interest.

not really (2, Informative)

A little Frenchie (715758) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352047)

Canadian website

I just did a quick test, the Inspiron 1525(Windows) and 1525N(Linux)

same specs, the Linux system cost 350$ more than the windows one

http://img517.imageshack.us/my.php?image=windowsol0.jpg [imageshack.us]
http://img174.imageshack.us/my.php?image=linuxmq5.jpg [imageshack.us]

Re:not really (3, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#24355639)

Who would have figured processors would be so different in price...

I redid your test on the US site using the SAME hardware:
Windows ($824): http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/1341/dellwindowsze8.png [imageshack.us]
Ubuntu ($749): http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/3127/dellubuntusp9.png [imageshack.us]

Re:not really (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#24355651)

Also, Maybe you forgot to leave the service contract section of the page in your screen capture on purpose? You can easily get a $350 difference by putting a service contract on Ubuntu and not Windows.

Motherboard? (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352089)

Anybody know of a motherboard with HDMI out that supports audio? The closest I've seen is the Asus P5E-VM HDMI [asus.com], but haven't been able to find anything definitive on HDMI audio support in Linux.

HDMI is a nice step, but ... (1)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352173)

HDMI is a nice step, but how does it handle h.264 decoding? Does it have hardware decoding in the GPUs or simply work by CPU decoding? And in either case, what kind of performance does it deliver? 1080p easily? Choppy? 720p?

Re:HDMI is a nice step, but ... (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352287)

Any modern CPU can play 1080p h.264 easily, purely in software. My 2.5 year old Athlon X2 4200+ (2x 2.2 Ghz) can play 1080p h.264 content perfectly, with only ~85% CPU usage of one core (the other being entirely idle).

Re:HDMI is a nice step, but ... (2, Informative)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353207)

An Atom CPU is a modern CPU ... and I sincerely doubt that it could hand'e 1080p h.264 even at full speed.

Are they good? are they bad? what is in vogue now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24352197)

So, are Dell doing good or bad?
AFAIK Lindows/Linspire where one of the first companies to provide the software necessary for using some non open formats, and IIRC they were almost crucified (and are not very liked) by the slashdot community.

So, is it finally "trendy" to provide a useful desktop experience to end users?

wth, going anonymous because I *know* I will be modded down badly

Perhaps this time the message will sink in (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352293)

The Austin, Tex. company is also adding functionality to Ubuntu Linux [CC] on its desktops and laptops. It began by adding DVD-playback to its systems shipping with Ubuntu 7.10
.

Michael Robertson [wikipedia.org] spent seven years trying to hammer this lesson home with Linspire and CNR.

Re:Perhaps this time the message will sink in (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352611)

I see you have slashdotter installed in firefox.

I really hate to constantly bash ubuntu, but it really should come with all this stuff OUT OF THE BOX. Sabayon comes with all of this stuff ready to go, and that's part of why I like it so much; i don't have to muck about with this shit.

Microsoft will stop them if it gets serious (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352673)

Every time some big player starts pushing Linux, Microsoft makes it go away. Wal-Mart has sold Linux machiens twice, then backed off; they no longer seem to sell any Linux machines. Fry's has stopped selling Linux machines.

Go to the Dell site [dell.com] and try to find a Linux laptop. It's quite hard to find. Even when you finally find the Ubuntu page, for which you will probably have to search, the first thing you see is "Not sure Open Source is for You? The main thing to note is that when you choose open source you don't get a Windows® operating system. If you're here by mistake and you are looking for a Dell PC with Windows, please use the following link..."

You never get to a Linux PC from the "laptop selector", even though Dell does offer them.

Re:Microsoft will stop them if it gets serious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24352831)

uh, the walmart linux machines were shit. it had nothing to do with linux or microsoft or anything other than it was a poor quality product up and down.

i normally don't feel the need to defend linux but, jesus, let's stick to the facts.

Re:Microsoft will stop them if it gets serious (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353085)

I think many of the WalMart Linux machines were retrurned by people thinking computer == run all the software WalMart sells. The best market for general public Linux users are those who don't need to constantly play the latest game or just for email, office work, such as grandparents or young kids - they would welcome something that does not get messed up all the time.

Re:Microsoft will stop them if it gets serious (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#24354611)

I've personally thought that a good market for Linux users would be those console gamers who:

1. Like a good PC port now and then.
2. But play consoles because they don't want to have to spend a lot of time and money on gaming and want something that just works.
3. And are geeky enough to be willing to read a few books or join message boards to learn how to use Linux.

Heck maybe they could be encouraged to install Linux on their gaming console. Admittedly that gaming console would most likely be a PS3 since it's the easiest to get Linux on.

Re:Microsoft will stop them if it gets serious (1)

Taxman415a (863020) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353697)

Go to the Dell site and try to find a Linux laptop. It's quite hard to find.

It's not quite advertised now, but it is much easier to get to them than it was when they were launched. Before you had to search for them or know they were there. Now it's not far off the main page. On dell.com choose the 'Home and Home office' or the 'Small and Medium Business' link then when you run over the Laptops and Desktops menus at the top what do you see? "Open-source Laptops' and desktops. So it's not wildly out in the open, but that's not as hidden as it was. Those menus are on most of the shopping pages.

For all I know there's something in the mainpage menus but I can't see them, they go behind the large image in FF3.

And the argument that MS will stop them is losing ground when you consider the netbooks and so forth that have been shipping with Linux. As soon as there is a business case for it MS won't have much say in the matter.

Wal-Mart (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#24355603)

Every time some big player starts pushing Linux, Microsoft makes it go away. Wal-Mart has sold Linux machiens twice, then backed off; they no longer seem to sell any Linux machines. Fry's has stopped selling Linux machines.
.

WalMart has tried to make a go of every OEM Linux distro known to man.

But inevitably the Linux product becomes the bottom feeder.

The gOS system that ships without a working modem in a market that is often still dependent on dial-up. That is installed in the biggest case anyone can find to make it look more impressive. Rather like a flea-market stereo.

the first thing you see is "Not sure Open Source is for You? The main thing to note is that when you choose open source you don't get a Windows® operating system"

WalMart puts the same warnings on its web site.

The Linux system gets a lukewarm send-off as a passable web browser. OpenOffice.org might get a sideline glance, but there has never, ever, been a link to a compatible printer.

Dell are using non free software (2, Interesting)

kipman725 (1248126) | more than 5 years ago | (#24352739)

These decoders are non free software, to me this breaks the spirit of the linux comunity.

Re:Dell are using non free software (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353167)

What's the alternative?

1) Risk licensing lawsuit from codec owners
or
2) Ship without codec support.

If you want your linux to suck. Uninstall.

Re:Dell are using non free software (3, Insightful)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353175)

When I was young I had an older man explain to me "I strongly disagree with what you are saying, but I would fight to the death for your right to say it."
Perhaps the spirit of the Linux community would be better served by promoting true software freedom, including the freedom to use non-free software in order to do what a Linux user wants to do.

That is, after all, what freedom is all about.

Re:Dell are using non free software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24354145)

That is, after all, what freedom is all about.

Uh, no it's not.

Seriously. All you are talking about is freedom of choice. That's only one out of many different kinds of freedom and definitely NOT what 'freedom is all about.'

Re:Dell are using non free software (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353195)

The "Free" software is also supposedly illegal as they didnt pay the mathematics patent fees.

Dell is only doing things legal. I cant blame them for that, nor can the MPEG2 patent holders.

Re:Dell are using non free software (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#24354161)

Wah, wah, wah. This is the same retarded thing we hear every time someone does something that isn't FOSS in Linux. Guess what, man? The vast majority of the world just wants their shit to work. We don't give a flying fuck if it's "free software" or not, because we aren't ever going to need the ability to modify it. We just want it to do what we want it to do. The entire mindset of free software zealots is off-base: the highest goal is functionality, not ideology. The zealots may put ideology first, but, well, they're zealots, and there's a reason they're a small portion of the population.

Re:Dell are using non free software (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#24355573)

You've only hit on part of what free software is about. It's also about being unencumbered by patent messes, so the same code isn't reimplemented in a dozen different ways, and programmers aren't figuring out work-arounds for existing patents.

Re:Dell are using non free software (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 5 years ago | (#24354361)

Not necessarily... Many Linux users tend to be pragmatic, preferring FOSS, but not insistent on it.

I do appreciate your views, don't misunderstand.

using Dell as a good example? (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353197)

Look, it's great they offer the option to get Ubuntu preinstalled, but you might want to look at what exactly they're doing before holding them up as a good example. If you go through the build process for an XPS1330, you'll find that there are FAR fewer hardware options available when building a Ubuntu-based machine compared to a Vista-based machine, and I'm not talking about hardware for which there may not be drivers, either. Fewer CPU options, storage options, etc. It's completely ridiculous, and it probably took more effort for them to eliminate those options than it would have to make the same hardware options available between the two OSs. I can't say I'm all that impressed yet with Dell's Ubuntu offerings, though it's better than nothing.

Mr. Language Person says (2, Informative)

yomegaman (516565) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353285)

"Codices" is the plural of codex (i.e. book), not codec. Unless the summary really does mean that Dell is throwing in a collection of books from Fluendo about the mp3, wma, and wmv formats, in which case I apologize.

Re:Mr. Language Person says (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24355191)

Dell supplies the codices so that people won't get virii on their boxen.

Hey Michael, how about more Ubuntu Desktops? (1)

angrykeyboarder (791722) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353457)

Why don't you offer Ubuntu on your XPS Desktop line?

The Ubuntu desktop box you are offering now is rather paltry by comparison.

If I were buying a Windows Desktop box from you, I'd be getting an XPS for sure.

I'm very happy that Dell is offering Ubuntu. It's good for everyone. But please give Linux users more of the model choices that you offer with Windows.

Re:Hey Michael, how about more Ubuntu Desktops? (1)

planetoid (719535) | more than 5 years ago | (#24353491)

Pretty sure the XPS line is targeted toward gamers.

Get more games ported on Linux... I don't know who's picked this torch up ever since Loki went under.

Re:Hey Michael, how about more Ubuntu Desktops? (1)

angrykeyboarder (791722) | more than 5 years ago | (#24355203)

Gamers and Enthusiasts.

But the low-end XPS is also just a nice multimedia PC.

More expansion slots and so forth.

I actually could care less about games. I'd buy an XPS Desktop if I were buying a Dell PC because it gives me the options I want.

At the very least, a GPU and a sound card.

Oh and Ubuntu *is* an option with the XPS notebook.

More attractive? (2, Funny)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#24355379)

When I read the headline I thought they meant Dell was re-branding it and removing the orange/brown!

On a slightly more serious note, it's good to see that they're doing what the consumer needs and making things like MP3/DVD playback easier. Yes, it might upset some purists, but they can just buy the machine and wipe back to a default, or go for a machine from another company that can't afford to bundle the codecs.

Customization? (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | more than 5 years ago | (#24355715)

Installing certain programs by default? That's what a distro is. As long as I can so-called "customize" my system by installing any of these programs that Dell is installing, I'll be fine. You don't need to buy a Dell computer to get certain programs though, unless they're the only provider and they aren't open sourced and you can't buy just the program from them, or unless you simply want those programs to be default. I'll take anything over Windows when I buy a complete computer, since I don't use it, and certainly having a good default program selection is a perk if that's the software you want.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...