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Dell's Ubuntu Ultrabook Now On Sale; Costs $50 More Than Windows Version

timothy posted about a year ago | from the all-prices-are-experiments dept.

Linux Business 403

nk497 writes "Dell's 'Project Sputnik' laptop is now on sale. The XPS 13 Developer Edition comes with Ubuntu 12.04 pre-installed, and costs $1,549 — $50 more than the same model running Windows. The Ubuntu Ultrabook is the result of a skunkworks project to optimise the open-source OS to run on Dell projects, to create better laptops for developers. The idea of the project was to create a laptop for developers, based around 'the idea that developers are the kings of IT and set the agenda for web companies, who in turn, set the agenda for the whole industry,' Dell said." Reader skade88 points out a positive review from Ars Technica.

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403 comments

Surprised? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131615)

Did anyone expect better from Dell? They have a history of doing this with Linux laptops.

Re:Surprised? (0)

MurukeshM (1901690) | about a year ago | (#42131745)

Don't they have some deal with M$ preventing them from selling laptops with non-MS OSes installed? That was that why they had the whole n-series, with only FreeDOS on them and a CD of Ubuntu in the box. Maybe the extra 50 is perhaps an exception fee or something?

Re:Surprised? (2)

somersault (912633) | about a year ago | (#42131873)

I bought my Mini 9 a few years ago with Ubuntu pre-installed.

Re:Surprised? (5, Insightful)

skade88 (1750548) | about a year ago | (#42131999)

Dell did a lot of work to make sure drivers were solid. Its not cheap to make a laptop have a perfect out of the box experience.

Re:Surprised? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#42132161)

IIRC, that was back in the 90s. I think Microsoft had to drop that policy during the monopoly investigation around 2000. (Can anybody confirm?)

Re:Surprised? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#42132165)

Perhaps, but I just assumed it was other costs. For example.... if yopu sell windows laptops, and someone calls with a problem, support staff has to make the call as to whether this is a defect or not, and may have to help the user fix it, depending on the details.

Generally speaking, everything I have seen says that support staff for linux and other unix-like OSs get paid more than the windows folks. Not to mention whatever R&D they have to put into it.

This is just an apples to oranges comparison and the OEM cost of windows vs a free OS has little to do with it.

Re:Surprised? (0)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#42131865)

Exactly. They don't want Linux to succeed. They're deliberately screwing this up so they can say they tried to shut people up about Linux laptops.

Re:Surprised? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#42131897)

Exactly. They don't want Linux to succeed. They're deliberately screwing this up so they can say they tried to shut people up about Linux laptops.

If they want people to shut up about Linux laptops, charging MORE for them is not the way to do it.

Re:Surprised? (5, Insightful)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year ago | (#42132237)

Actually, it might be the way to do it. Linux is out there, for free, in many forms, and people who see free as being a major point have already downloaded it. Whilst *we* know that the extra $50 is probably because they don't receive the same crap-ware subsidies, it'd be easy to pitch it as "it's $50 more because it's a better operating system". Sometimes charging more will automatically make something seem better...I can see it now..."Well sir, yes, you could have the Windows option, but for a measly $50 we can upgrade you to a more secure, stable operating system that comes with a huge library of free software and all future upgrades will be free, you'll save money the first time Microsoft brings out a new Windows."

Might very well work.

Re:Surprised? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#42131989)

I bought a Dell Laptop running Ubuntu for my sister years ago when they first started selling Linux laptops, it was at least as much as the same one with Windows, and it was loaded with tons of crapware. I booted it up, saw Dell's junk all over the screen and just wiped it clean and installed Ubuntu fresh.

No Microsoft Funds (4, Insightful)

Ngarrang (1023425) | about a year ago | (#42132123)

Microsoft is essentially paying a large builder like Dell to put Windows on the systems. Linux, on the other hand, has no one paying Dell, so that $50 premium probably represents the loss those marketing dollars.

Re:No Microsoft Funds (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#42132235)

Well, MS and everybody else. All that bloatware that comes on the machine is paid for by Cyberlink, Symantec, McAffee, and other respective software makers. They pay because a certain percentage of the people upgrade to full fledged products. With Linux, these companies tend not to make software, or the software isn't needed, because Linux includes just about everything by default. Maybe it has something to do with licensing. With Linux, if you want to play DVDs, then you legally have to pay for the decoder license, However, on Windows, Cyberlink is happy to throw in PowerDVD for free, which already contains a license. Not to mention additional support costs and custom software development costs spread out over fewer users.

Boatware (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131617)

Thats because all the pre-loaded bloatware on win machines practically pays for the MS license.

Re:Boatware (4, Interesting)

mschiller (764721) | about a year ago | (#42131669)

Practically? This clearly demonstrates that it pays for the windows license and is also a revenue stream. Either that or Dell is sticking it to linux users just to get a few more bucks... Probably a windows machine that they just pay some high school student to install linux onto....

Who wants to take a bet there is a windows 7 key on the bottom of the laptop?

Re:Boatware (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131817)

Either that or Dell is sticking it to linux users just to get a few more bucks...

I think the larger price tag for Linux is justified. Linux may be free, but Linux technical support is not.

Re:Boatware (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#42131973)

Linux technical support does not cost more than Windows tech support, especially when you consider the volumes involved.

Re:Boatware (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#42132207)

Linux technical support does not cost more than Windows tech support, especially when you consider the volumes involved.

The volume of what? Windows sales to Linux sales? Let's face it, every manufacturer makes things work with Windows because it's on 90% of all PCs, as they would with any OS that's on 90% of all PCs. How many hours have they spent making sure it all works under Linux and how many sales can they divide that by? If they have to maintain that support in new versions of Ubuntu, how many sales can they divide that by? Because I'm sure people would be most unhappy if in 6 months the next Ubuntu upgrade would break it. Never mind the people who'd gladly buy the Windows version and install Ubuntu themselves to both get a dual boot machine and save $50.

The people who buy the Linux version, well they're probably going to feel entitled to some Linux support and actually use it. Just because you do have the technical skills to dig into a problem and fix it yourself, it's very convenient if you can get someone else to fix the problem for you. And they'll probably have higher expectations than the cheap outsourced Windows support who's mostly there to solve PEBCAK problems with scripts. And to be honest it's not really much of an untapped market because if people here don't like the offer they'll just pick some different model and install it themselves. It's not like you get lots of sales because you're one of few options.

Re:Boatware (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132069)

Why does this sentiment never get any thought? Something tells me that Dell's bottom-line shrinks when they have to start working to support hardware on an operating system that isn't part of their core offering.

If Dell didn't put extra work into making sure everything was rock solid, the community would be complaining that Dell didn't take the time to support Linux. They actually put the effort in and the first complaint is price.

Just because Linux is free doesn't mean the cost to engineer a Linux laptop is automatically cheaper. Dell has been working with Windows for over a decade. Every time they start making inroads with Linux, the community bitches about price. I'm surprised they even try at this point.

The alternative is Dell sells the hardware and doesn't put any effort into validating compatibility with Linux and leaves it to the users, while offering rock-bottom pricing. If they do that, then all of a sudden the customer experience for folks *not* already familiar with Linux is terrible and everyone acts surprised.

Get the fuck off my lawn, you whiny little nerds.

** For the record, I use Debian as my primary desktop at home and would gladly pay for a tightly coupled experience on a laptop. It takes time to get there and realize the costs savings that is intrinsically associated with Linux being free. You have to go uphill first and reach the peak before you can start looking downhill. Why is it so hard for the Slashdot community to get that simple logic imbedded into the loosely coupled meat between their ears?

Re:Boatware (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#42132145)

+1 But I'm fresh out of mod points

Competition and pricing (5, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year ago | (#42131933)

Practically? This clearly demonstrates that it pays for the windows license and is also a revenue stream.

Or, it demonstrates that there isn't a lot of competition in the market for manufacturer-optimized linux-installed laptops, and that Dell is using the lack of competition in that market to extract rents. The idea that prices can be expected to closely mirror manufacturer costs is correct so far as the expected long-term result in a competitive market where no player is pricing based on influencing some other market, but its not necessarily true in the short run, or when there is little competition for a specific class of good, or where there are market participants that are using one product to draw people into another market.

Re:Boatware (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year ago | (#42132295)

I'd say some of it will be down to driver / software development that they can get for free on Windows.

Re:Boatware (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#42132299)

Serious question / theory – how much work does it take to tune Ubuntu to run on a laptop? I am thinking specifically of power consumption.

Assume 1. that it takes the same amount of time and dollars to tune a OS to run on a specific laptop and 2. That we are going to sell a lot more Win8 and Ubuntu.

With development dollars speared across fewer computers this would increase Dell’s price of offering free computers. Then factor in bloatware (sigh) and shorter production runs (Had drive images, I would think, would be simple. Different documentation maybe?).

(And I would guess no Win7/8 tag – if so they would offer it as a dual boot - I would guess)

Re:Boatware (4, Insightful)

lilo_booter (649045) | about a year ago | (#42131687)

Indeed. I don't see the problem anyway - just because it's based on free software does not mean it's free to produce a good product. I'm in the market for a new laptop and may even consider this one - but if it too comes with bloatware/shovelware, I'll probably avoid it...

Re:Boatware (5, Insightful)

Zemran (3101) | about a year ago | (#42131837)

Why not just buy the cheaper, Windows version, reject the EULA and demand a refund, then install Linux yourself?

Re:Boatware (1)

Splat (9175) | about a year ago | (#42131969)

Does this still actually work in 2012?

Re:Boatware (1)

Certhas (2310124) | about a year ago | (#42132193)

This is actually easily possible because, if you read the Ars article, Dell is actually supplying all its modifications and additions for free (as in beer), in a PPA.

Still 50$ isn't too much either on a 1500$ machine. And you get one year of support, which you wouldn't get if you put Ubuntu on the Windows version yourself.

Re:Boatware (3, Interesting)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#42132287)

Last couple of laptops I've purchased didn't seem to give me the option to opt out of the license, seemed like they just came on and wanted me to set up my user space info. SO- in one case I just wiped the drive and installed linux, I assume I paid the ransom. In another case I went ahead and used the pre-installed windows os (Xp at that time I think) for a bit until I got so annoyed I had to install Linux. In either case I wasn't presented with a EULA. In those cases how do you get your money back, assuming you paid the ransom for an unwanted windows installation? Is use of the os, even if under 30 days, implicate acceptance of the EULA and license?

Re:Boatware (2)

andydread (758754) | about a year ago | (#42131809)

DING DING DING we have a winner!

Re: Boatware (5, Funny)

Dupple (1016592) | about a year ago | (#42131853)

Boatware - Dell have been at sea for ages and their profits are sinking

Re:Boatware (1)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#42131885)

Don't forget they probably had to hire a new group of technicians to provide support. The cost of Windows support is spread out across their entire product line.

Re:Boatware (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | about a year ago | (#42131891)

More than pays for. In fact, the bloatware not only completely pays for the MS license, it offsets the cost of the hardware. They're paying you to have a laptop with all that garbage on it.

Re:Boatware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131893)

Why don't they include linux bloatware?

Re:Boatware (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#42132009)

They do include a bit (or at least they did when I bought one from them years ago), but not nearly as much as a Windows laptop.

too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131633)

Good ideas that seem to late.

oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131647)

well then

Seems high (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131655)

These days I can't see myself handing over $1,500 for a laptop. I could buy three copies of my last laptop (which I use for development work and gaming) for that much. I don't care if it's $50 more or less than the Windows version, I want to know what about it makes Dell think anyone is going to pay that much for a laptop.

Re:Seems high (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#42131859)

These days I can't see myself handing over $1,500 for a laptop. I could buy three copies of my last laptop (which I use for development work and gaming) for that much. I don't care if it's $50 more or less than the Windows version, I want to know what about it makes Dell think anyone is going to pay that much for a laptop.

because it's UBUNTU! maybe canonical had pre-agreed to buy a bunch of them or something. maybe they were going to give them away and claim them as business expenses. or some weird shit like that.

one thing is for sure - nobody is going to pay more for having ubuntu pre-installed, out of principle if not anything else. maybe someone is crazy enough that they'll pay more in the hopes that windows license isn't paid on the machine already.

Re:Seems high (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#42132241)

These days I can't see myself handing over $1,500 for a laptop.

Well, surely it depends on what you do. Currently, I'm marginally mobile, which means I need a desktop replacement so I can move it if need. It's a beast: a lenovo W510 which is quite tricked out. It's very fast, ha tons of ram a good internal screen and can drive a large monitor. And it's portable in that it can be moved if necessary. And the battery life is OK.

I also have an eee 900, which cost something like $500 when it was new. I wouldn't want my $1500 laptop when I want my $500 one and vice-versa.

In other words ... (5, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#42131657)

'the idea that developers are the kings of IT and set the agenda for web companies, who in turn, set the agenda for the whole industry,'

So what they meant to say was: Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! [youtube.com]

$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131679)

Are you frickin' kidding me? If I'm going to spend nearly 2 grand after taxes on a laptop, then I expect something better than what I can expect to get off the shelf at walmart for $400.

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (-1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year ago | (#42131729)

It seems likely that you're American (Walmart, "frickin'", dollars) so I know reading comprehension isn't your strong point, but perhaps you missed the bit about the 256GB SSD, the 8GB of RAM and the Core i7 processor. If you're buying laptops with that spec for $400, I'm sure we'd all love to know where.

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (5, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#42131797)

I'm not an American, but I know that: the thing I'm going to look at the most after I theoretically buy a laptop/ultrabook is the god damn SCREEN. And for that matter, the fact that it's fast and snappy is heavily counterbalanced by a shitty screen. The GP is right in a way.

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132091)

Not really. I bought (or rather requested from my employer) a $2000 laptop with a 1388x786 display.

Reasons? In my office, it is sitting in its docking station, where it is on a nice Eizo 1980x1200 screen. And on travels, battery runtime and performance matter more than screen estate. on a 13" screen, getting much higher would be useless anyway - in a plane or train the display distance is quite big anyway.

I could have gotten a laptop with much higher resultion for the same price, but that would have had other compromises I did not want to make. In the end, I prefered 8+h runtime on battery, 8GB ram (that was a KO criterium for one of the high res display competitors) and a nice SSD.

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (4, Funny)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about a year ago | (#42132191)

This laptop I walked in and said "I want one with the non-glare display". Processor speed, ram, etc were things I found I didn't really care about (I was going to go to Crucial and max it out aftermarket anyway). The applications I'm running most of the time are Xcode, Visual Studio, and Eclipse (yes it is a MacBook Pro).

Hell I got home and had to open up the hardware screen just to see what I had bought (Quad Core i7).

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (2)

Microlith (54737) | about a year ago | (#42131799)

No, he's pointing out that it's stupid for a $1500 laptop to use a screen no better than one in a $400 laptop.

I just bought a $1300 laptop from ASUS that came with a 1920x1080 IPS panel. Screen quality is probably more important than anything else in a computer, and most laptops come with garbage.

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (5, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | about a year ago | (#42131883)

What good is an ultrabook if I have to bring a monitor along to use it?

1366x768 is a good resolution for a 5" phone, and usable for a 7" tablet.

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132001)

This this this this this. Thank you. Developers need screen space. This is not a developer's laptop.

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131915)

Seems like you're from the UK, (Arrogant, speaking english, condescending), so I know you feel superior, but perhaps you should realize that if your small minded stereotypes were true, you wouldn't be sitting here on a website run by americans, which is using infrastructure hosted by and largely invented and developed by americans. If you're using complex technologies created by people who can't comprehend things they read, then I'm sure we'd all love to know who.

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132283)

Hey, looks llike you're english too, do you guys get out much?

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131965)

It seems likely that you're American (Walmart, "frickin'", dollars) so I know reading comprehension isn't your strong point, but perhaps you missed the bit about the 256GB SSD, the 8GB of RAM and the Core i7 processor. If you're buying laptops with that spec for $400, I'm sure we'd all love to know where.

He's talking about the frickin' display...

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131981)

I deliberately used the word frickin' so that I wouldn't offend any delicate fucking ears. Also, I'm not American, but I have very literate friends who are, so quit with the bigotry.

As for the specs, I never once said anything about getting the i7, RAM, and SSD for $400. I'm more concerned with the display, and I stand by my statement that the same piece-of-crap bargain-basement display jammed into walmart laptops has no place in a laptop this expensive.

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131997)

so I know reading comprehension isn't your strong point

Oh the sweet, sweet, irony.

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132031)

I think his point stands. If it's such an expensive laptop, it should come with a decent display too. And it sucks that they'd take those good and expensive parts and pair them with a cheap rubbish display.

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (1)

booyoh (2511204) | about a year ago | (#42132153)

If you're buying laptops with that spec for $400, I'm sure we'd all love to know where.

Just wait a while... IBM might come out with their own Ultrabooks: http://developers.slashdot.org/story/12/11/29/1545245/in-a-symbolic-shift-ibms-india-workforce-likely-exceeds-that-in-us [slashdot.org]

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132083)

You seriously don't get the difference between a piece of crap low end system and this offering. While I'm no fan of Dells offerings for various reasons your statement is full of crap. We don't want Dell's offering for a number of reasons.

Dell isn't doing this in our interest and they have repeatedly ***** it up. The hardware isn't going to continue working as designed because they don't understand the difference between free software operating systems and proprietary ones. GNU/Linux depends on a free software development model. If the drivers, firmware, and other software can't be maintained (and they can't if they are proprietary) by manufacturers then your support situation goes something like this: "ohh I got my nice Lexmark printer here... it is all working! ohh but look there is Ubuntu 12.10. Time to upgrade I guess. But wait.. my printer no longer works. ohh ok well, lets just download some drivers. but what. discontinued. i just bought this damm printer."

If you don't want horrendously supported or should I say not-support (?) hardware people need to stop buying from the likes of Dell, HP, and others who put on a show.

While I can only name one company to buy from at the moment I'm hoping others will come along:

http://www.thinkpenguin.com/

The same thing goes for services like Netflix. There are alternatives and we need to start using them.

http://www.eztakes.com/

And dare I say distributions too:

http://www.trisquel.info/

And chipsets/manufacturers:

HP, Atheros, Intel, etc (not all, but many are good, ThinkPenguin above is the best or easiest answer to what to get at the moment)

Re:$1500 for a 1366x768 TN display. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132141)

Nearly 2 grand? Where are you? I don't know of any state that has a sales tax in the range of 30%

More like a skunk project (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131685)

That pricing stinks.

More expensive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131689)

There is indeed something rotten in Denmark

BAAAHAHAHA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131699)

They have the nerve to charge more for a free OS than Windows? I wonder how much MS "subsidized" them doing that, so people are more willing to stay with the Windows model, even if they're doing it to throw Linux on it, so Windwos still sells a license.

Buy Windows version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131701)

Install Ubuntu, save $50.

Did I miss something?

Re:Buy Windows version (0)

polar red (215081) | about a year ago | (#42131755)

we don't want to pay microsoft-tax

Re:Buy Windows version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131877)

Ehh... Since the linux version is $50 more expensive (due to bloatware paying to be preinstalled), shouldn't it read:

"we don't want anyone else to pay microsoft-tax for us"

?

Re:Buy Windows version (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about a year ago | (#42131899)

Microsoft tax is -50.00 USD. I am confused?

Re:Buy Windows version (2)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#42132131)

Be careful when you phrase things that way. You could crash the Swedish stock market! [slashdot.org]

Perfect product (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131717)

This is ideal for people who would like to run Linux as their everyday operating system, but don't have the technical know-how to install Ubuntu.

Real big market.

Sounds like somebody should sell their company and give the money back to the shareholders ...

Re:Perfect product (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131903)

Heh.

*sell a laptop option with ubuntu on it
"OMG LIQUIDATE THE COMPANY AND REIMBURSE SHAREHOLDERS WITH TRIPLE DAMAGES!!!!11!1one"

(stupid filter, I like yelling!)

I'll bet Microsoft is behind that (2)

HangingChad (677530) | about a year ago | (#42131721)

I can totally see Microsoft threatening Dell's volume license if they sell the Ubuntu version for less than Windows. Maybe not in any way that would be outwardly anti-competitive, just the old mafia strategy of telling Dell you would hate it if something bad happened to their volume license.

Yes, sir, that would be a real shame.

Re:I'll bet Microsoft is behind that (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about a year ago | (#42131961)

2 things:
- Dell will sell less Ubuntu systems than MS. This means Ubuntu is niche and worthmore from a selling stand point
- Assuming MS threatened one of the biggest players in the market is absurd and sounds like another paranoid conspiracy theory

Re:I'll bet Microsoft is behind that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132111)

>- Assuming MS threatened one of the biggest players in the market is absurd and sounds like another paranoid conspiracy theory

You must be new here. Welcome to Slashdot!

unlikely claim (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#42131723)

If developers' technological preferences really set the agenda for the whole computer industry, a lot of things would look different.

Re:unlikely claim (0)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about a year ago | (#42131839)

Your right.

IT guys fit the systems for the needs of the users. Not the other way around. I've heard plenty of people trying to get open office installed to save the licensing cost of MS Office. All that to have the manager overrule it after users complained things didn't work the same way as before.

Re:unlikely claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132205)

>Your right.

His right what?

>IT guys fit the systems for the needs of the users.

TFA isn't referring to IT monkeys. They're referring to developers who write software packages or services for public distribution.

System76 (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131725)

$50 more for the exact same hardware? I'll stick with System76. At least I feel like a valued customer there. I love my Gazelle Professional, and I am not disappointed with their customer support.

https://www.system76.com/

Re:System76 (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | about a year ago | (#42132039)

same here. for that money you can get a GP with 16 GB of ram, and an 8 core cpu, and full hd screen.

more from Dell (1)

plaut (42347) | about a year ago | (#42131731)

'developers are the kings of IT and set the agenda for web companies, who in turn, set the agenda for the whole industry,' Dell said."'

Dell further clarified that "We also think developers are so stupid that they'll pay us an extra $50 rather than buy the Windows version, wipe it clean, and install Ubuntu for free."

Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131747)

My time is worth money and a laptop that supports linux out of the box is worth more to me than one I have to fuck around with for hours and hours.

Hmm. $50 (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#42131765)

So, if I buy the Linux version, I'm paying $50 to skip:
* Download an ISO (and wait).
* Convert it to a bootable USB image.
* Find a spare USB stick and shove the image on.
* Open the installer, click a bunch of stuff and wait for the install.

It's not hard. Typically takes maybe 0.5 to 2 hours depending mostly on the speed of your internet connection and whether you can find a spare USB stick.

Still, you can pay $50 to avoid an hour's work. Seems reasonable.

Especially to the crows of "time is money" whiners who claim that they only don't use Linux because of the time taken to set it up.

Re:Hmm. $50 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131917)

Still, you can pay $50 to avoid an hour's work. Seems reasonable.

I wish my time were that valuable, but I'm not part of the 1%.

Re:Hmm. $50 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131971)

You also pay for support when you purchase hardware. Dell needed to hire and train new people to support a very small percentage of their customers, so I feel the cost is justified. I don't see why this is even noteworthy. Any knowledgable Linux user would just buy the cheaper Windows version.

Re:Hmm. $50 (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#42132035)

Except that you'd still do the above steps because no IT guy worth his salt uses an OS that came with the box (unless it's MacOS; there's no difference between pre-installed and self-installed there)

Re:Hmm. $50 (2)

dbc (135354) | about a year ago | (#42132067)

Actually, I suspect the $50 goes to pay for peripheral hardware with open source drivers. The reason so many laptops are so cheap is because much of the functionality is in closed-source driver software. Hardware that doesn't depend on a bunch of proprietary kernel code often costs a little more. Easily verified by a trip to your local computer parts emporium -- compare prices on hardware with good open source drivers versus "windows only" hardware.

So $50 for avoiding the time spend researching what hardware I need to find to get good driver support for WiFi, etc, plus in the end finding out that the well supported hardware will cost me more, yes, that $50 seems well spent to me.

Read the description, you are missing much more (5, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#42132159)

So, if I buy the Linux version, I'm paying $50 to skip:

No.

You are not paying to skip anything.

From the sound of it, you are paying for a slightly customized Linux build with a lot of really well thought out features, like work "profiles" that load software tailored to certain kinds of work - the example given was Ruby developers.

Between Dell making sure the drivers work well with all of the hardware involved, and doing custom improvements over Linux tailored to developers you are not paying to skip anything - you are paying just $50 more to make sure you have a really good developer laptop.

This is the first non Mac laptop I've been interested in for years. This is a really, really smart move on the part of Dell and I can't help but think we'll see more things like it with PC makers looking to edge away from Microsoft somewhat now that MS is competing on hardware.

Re:Hmm. $50 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132181)

You forgot about the value of Windows license, for whatever value that might have. But to some it might have value, even if just to run in a VM.

So I can buy the laptop for $X+$Y where $Y is the value of my time, and get:
* laptop
* Windows license
* have Linux on it

or I can pay $X+50 and get:
* laptop
* no Windows licence
* have Linux on it

So assuming I factor out $Y (since it's leisure time, or I do it while doing something else, etc.) or simply $Y is $50, clearly option 1 is the winner.

To look at it another way, any other laptop I buy is probably going to come with Windows on it and I will have to spend $Y anyway so why not save myself $50 and get a bonus Windows license?

Dell: you are idiots.

Re:Hmm. $50 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132189)

That $50 is worth it to me. 1. Yes, my time is worth that much and no, I'm hardly part of the 1%. 2. I don't want to make the bet that the two laptops have identical hardware. $50 and maybe have incompatible hardware? Not worth it.

Not to mention, that they have a lot of special drivers and code, so you need to find someone posting their repositories so you can add the proper ones.

Re:Hmm. $50 (1)

Certhas (2310124) | about a year ago | (#42132229)

Plus support. Plus driver development (which flows upstream though, so you benefit from it whether you paid for it or not).

In response to the higher price (4, Insightful)

Picardo85 (1408929) | about a year ago | (#42131769)

Alright, so they've put Ubuntu, a free OS with free applications on their computer instead of Windows. So why is it more expensive then you ask?

Well the simple explanation would actually be because it doesn't have Windows. With Windows you get the so called bloatware or trialware which is included with the installation at in almost 100% of the cases.

The software in question is there as marketing from the companies who've created that software and they pay DELL and other OEMs for the opportunity to have it installed on their machines. Hence if the operating system doesn't support their products and they can't be installed it means that they won't buy this "ad space" and that in turn leads to DELL losing out on money.

That is the simple answer to why OSS laptops are more expensive than Windows laptops

Added value? (1)

Biotech_is_Godzilla (2634385) | about a year ago | (#42131773)

So what the summary should have said is:
They are adding value by "making sure the drivers work", and potentially (though it's not explicitly stated) funding/providing developers for two community software projects:

profile tool and cloud launcher - but noted they were still in early stages.
"The idea behind the profile tool is to provide access to a library of community-created profiles on github, such as Ruby and Android, to quickly set up your development environments and tool chains," he said. "The cloud launcher enables you to create 'microclouds' on your laptop, simulating an at-scale environment, and then deploy that environment seamlessly to the cloud."

That appears to be the extent of the added value. I'm not sure I'd pay an extra $100 for it versus installing ubuntu myself (assuming OS-free hardware is minus $50 for the windows tax), but good on them anyway.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Machines... (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about a year ago | (#42131847)

If I were to buy another laptop, I'd buy another ASUS Republic of Gamers. I have the 17" version from ~2 years ago, and it's ran linux out of the box extremely well since day 1 (barring control of the brightness of the keyboard backlighting).

It was also $1500, but it was an i7 2 years ago with 8gb ram that could be upped to 16...no complaints!

And for $50 more than that, a MacBook Air (4, Interesting)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#42131855)

13", 1.8 GHz i5 (up to 2.8 GHz), 8 GB, 256 GB, US$1599.

Not trolling, asking seriously: how much difference is there between an i5 and an i7? A 2 GHz i7 Air (up to 3.2 GHz -- a little higher than this XPS) is another $100.

Also, from the Ars article: "All of the additions Dell is bringing to Ubuntu 12.04 are available for free (as in beer)." So could you just buy the Windows version and configure it yourself to save $50?

Re:And for $50 more than that, a MacBook Air (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year ago | (#42132085)

That was exactly the thought I had. People like to complain that Apple hardware is expensive, but when other companies supply similar hardware in a similar form factor it always ends up costing around the same amount. If was in the market for those systems I'd be buying the Air, unless there was some other compelling reason aside from just hating on Apple.

Re:And for $50 more than that, a MacBook Air (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132149)

Not a big difference between these two processors [intel.com] , just a bit more cache on the i7. Benchmarks show differences directly related to clock speeds among these models.

Re:And for $50 more than that, a MacBook Air (1)

am 2k (217885) | about a year ago | (#42132171)

So could you just buy the Windows version and configure it yourself to save $50?

You wouldn't get any customer support for that configuration, which is where I guess the extra $50 go to.

Dell made a deal with the devil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42131895)

Dell is notorious for doing this. Microsoft wants the total cost of ownership to be higher so they've forced Dell into making moves to increase prices of anything with Linux on it over Microsoft.

Example: We wanted to buy 10 desktops. We didn't want or need windows as these would be linux based. The same desktop with windows was $200 cheaper over the desktop with redhat on it because they FORCED the option to put a raid controller and extra hard drive in the system.

Cheap OS (0)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#42131955)

MS is the cheap OS. It is a large scale committee OS that gives the same level of lameness to everyone. If you need a bunch of workhorses that are going to work but not cost a lot, then MS Windows is the way to go. That is the MS market. Like Walmart. No one can make it cheaper, just less like shopping in the desperate market of some developing country .

The thing is with Windows 8 there is a opportunity to place a superior OS on commodity hardware. Dell, being a relatively competent system builder, i.e. not a Gateway that just puts parts that fell off the back of a truck into a case, could create such an OS. The OS will really just be layers on top of Linux coupled with a nice GUI and well integrated application, but it could be enough to provide some competition, and provide some stability for those who do not want to move to phrenetic squares that keep people from productive work.

Really HP would be better, and it could be the one thing that saves it from oblivion, but some one needs to do it now. And they need to be paid. Whoever does will not be geting kickback from MS or the annoyware vendors, so the consumer is going to have to pay up.Of course the likleyhood of the average OSS person paying $50(in this case about 3%) more is about the same as them buying a a *nix based Macbook, since really to most people OSS is free beer, not freedom, but there we go. We will be stuck with MS, and everyone will be complaining, because it isn't worth $50 to have something better.

Supporting Linux is not free (5, Interesting)

Andtalath (1074376) | about a year ago | (#42131983)

Supporting Linux is not free.

Neither is windows of course, but the point is, they don't just preload it, they test it and they have to be able to tell customers exactly how things work and so forth.

This requires a special treatment.

Buying a computer without any operating system should be cheaper, buying a computer with an internally developed system should be more expensive.

Nope, don't see the problem here.

Re:Supporting Linux is not free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132089)

cmon. It's probably just the halted bloatware revenue that pops the price up.

It seems expensive in general.... (1)

gQuigs (913879) | about a year ago | (#42132101)

Take a look at this System 76 laptop:
https://www.system76.com/laptops/model/lemu4 [system76.com]

With comparable specs it comes to $1008, upgraded from base model:
3rd Generation Intel Core i7-3630QM Processor ( 2.40GHz 6MB L3 Cache - 4 Cores plus Hyperthreading )
8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB
256 GB Crucial M4 Series SATA III 6 Gb/s Solid State Disk Drive

As for differences:
Dell is 13.3 in, System76 is 14 in
System 76 is 2.5 pounds heavier (4.5 pounds total)

Am I missing something else?

Right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42132167)

developers are the kings of IT and set the agenda for web companies, who in turn, set the agenda for the whole industry

Dear Dell, please tell that to my employer.

How many times has Dell announced Linux products? (2)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#42132209)

How many times have we heard about Linux non-server products from major vendors that never showed up in retail channels? Dell. HP, and ASUS have each done that more than once.

"Ultrabooks" are just overpriced "netbooks". I rather liked the EeePC line, which is now dead. I have three of their netbooks. Remember the Eee PC X101, for under $200? The industry has stamped out low-end netbooks to boost profit margins.

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