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Dell Drops Linux on Desktops and Laptops

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the servers-still-kicking-tho dept.

Linux Business 292

aclute sent in a bit saying that Dell is dropping Linux from desktops and laptops. They cite low demand, and they plan to continue shipping Linux on the server. I've sworn off Dell PCs since their finance dept. tried to screw me over on the laptop I leased for a few years in college (No, we never got that laptop back. Nor can we explain why you have signed confirmation that it was delivered. You owe us a year's worth of late fees). Frankly there are much less expensive places to get a Linux laptop, but those suckers with the 1600x1200 screens and the GeForce 2 video card are still super pimp.

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Re:Ok, so how does this work? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2176114)

Ok, so how does this work? (Score:3, Insightful)

This is exactly whats wrong with this forum. The level of hypocrisy here is big enough to choke a whale. Microsoft spreads FUD, it makes them evil. Slashbot user posts FUD, it's Insightful. Let the karma whoring begin.

look at the facts. (1)

Nick (109) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176122)

Right now it is way too early for large manufacturers to start to ship with these.

Quite frankly I was surprised they had started to do it in the first place. Linux is a fully capable OS, with 8 years of experience I think it's safe to say so. However, the plain truth is that most people who are going to buy a computer from a Dell or a Gateway seem more likely to not be interested in a UNIX operating system.

And no, I am not intending to troll or insult Gateway/Dell consumers, it's just that someone who is more likely to be installing a unix operating system is well versed in the art of the computer and more likely would buy their machine by the part and put it together.

Why so soon? (2)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176128)

How many people even knew Dell was shipping desktops or laptops with Linux on them? I guess you really have to have your ear to the ground, or you might miss something like this. :)

As long as they still support Linux on their desktops and laptops, I'm sure this won't be much of an issue.

Will they ship a laptop or desktop without an OS?

No demand? Too pricey (3)

dilger (1646) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176131)

I'm not surprised they gave up.

I spent a lot of time trying to buy a Linux box from Dell (since I already have some with Windows, I wanted to stick with one vendor). In almost every configuration the boxes were MORE expensive than identical models with Windows. Configuration options were lacking, and the standard hardware (video cards, etc) wasn't anything to write home about.

So I gave up and bought from someone else.

Re:No demand? Too pricey (2)

jnik (1733) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176132)

You managed to identically configure machines? Funny. We were trying to spec out some Inspiron 8000's for our company. The least processor you could get with Windows was 900MHz PIII. Only option with RH was 750MHz PIII. Couldn't get the better display, couldn't get.... We concluded it would be easier to just buy the damned thing with Windows and handle our installs ourselves.

I think at least two years... (2)

sheldon (2322) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176134)

I swear Dell started offering machines with Linux back in 1999.

For those of us who have been around a while, Dell used to ship their own version of Unix SVR4 back in the early 90's.

Unix is nothing new to them, they just haven't had much success selling it.

Re:Dell Laptops (3)

sheldon (2322) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176135)

Ok... You are aware that you aren't supposed to stand on laptops in order to reach up on the bookshelf right?

We once had a user that did that. Stood on his laptop bag in order to reach up on a bookshelf.

The damage you describe is identical... bad display, busted keyboard.

Warranties are supposed to cover manufacturing defects. Not user stupidity. :)

Was it ever seriously on them? (2)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176138)

When you went to their web site, trying to order a Linux machine, you'd find that the older models, not the newest ones, had Linux offered. Worse, they'd offer things like NVidia cards for display adapters for these machines and Matrox G400's for the NT/W98 machines. Matrox had better 2D and working 3D support at the time that those machines were shipping out.

I don't really think they put any serious effort into this as they claimed (and Michael Dell wanted)- for whatever reason.

Re:Dells and Free Windows CDs (2)

ZxCv (6138) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176143)

Where the hell are you paying $60 for a 3com NIC?! Either you live far from civilization or you're just getting fucked, cuz I see the 3com 905c retail for around $30 everywhere I go in Vegas.

I wonder if it cost that much more because of that "free" win98 upgrade?

Subject? We don't need no stinking subject (1)

Psarchasm (6377) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176144)

So expect less than open hardware to be installed on Dell Laptops and Desktops.

Re:Toshiba (2)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176145)

I second that, toshiba laptops are gems. I've had dell, and IBM and had problems with both, my toshiba has been quiet and well behaved with NO problems for nearly 9 months now. hmmm maybe a problem will be born soon :)

they claim customer support (2)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176146)

but as a former Dell customer their support sucked. I am not sure who they payed to write the support review for them but the support technicians were clueless in the extreme, and often spent more time checking serial numbers and paperwork to be sure you were entitled to their INEPT support than they did actaully attempting to support you. I think you would have just as much luck calling the psychic friends network as you would with DELL support.

i don't think LINUX is not efficient at all (2)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176147)

I just need a decent sub for M$ Excel :( and that lousy M$ Project....
I use star office for word pro. and it works great but I still have to reboot to view any sort of multi-sheet or formula driven spread sheet.
Make the full set of tools available and I'd love to give M$ the long kiss good-bye.
We use linux for ALOT of server implementations but very few people use it as a sole desktop due to the constant reboot need

Oh, Shit... (2)

waldoj (8229) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176151)

I knew [] something this would happen. Y'all can bitch about Dell all you want (no, I didn't know that you could get Red Hat desktops or laptops, either), or about people being able to install it themselves, or whatever, but the fact is that this is a minor PR disaster for Linux and for Open Source.

I think the worse part is that the comments [] from Dell ("the productivity suites just aren't there"..."the biggest growth is on the server") are totally true. Sure, we all think that KOffice [] and Star Office [] are just grand, but the average consumer sure doesn't think so.

Hooray to Sun for their recent Gnome recent UI testing [] , and kudos to KDE and Jono Bacon [] for their new (less-formalized) UI testing [] via the KDE Usability Project. Let's hope that the result of this is Dell picking up Linux again in six months.

But in the meantime, let's not fool ourselves: this is bad.


Your personal battles... (1)

cornice (9801) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176158)

Hey Taco, it sounds like your notebook was nabbed by the shipping company. Is this Dell's fault? What are the terms of the agreement? Ever wonder what FOB is? Check your contract for details. Then ask yourself who you would rather believe - the shipping company or some college kid. Yea, I know - it's a toss up. Which benefits Dell most? There's your answer.

As for the dropping of Linux, this is a no-brain decision for Dell. I bet that less than one tenth of one percent of their notebooks and desktops go out with Linux. It's not worth their time. Can we punish them for dropping Linux? I doubt we could make an impact that would affect change until Linux really is ready for the desktop or until some truely killer app (no, not Emacs) requires it.

Re:Ok, so how does this work? (2)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176160)

This doesn't have anything to do with VA. VA just about stopped making workstations fairly early in the game, concentrating on servers. When I last looked at their site before they went out of hardware altogether, VA had only one desktop product remaining.

So this didn't do anything to VA. Even they didn't think of desktops as much of a market.



Re:Perhaps linux will return... (2)

rnturn (11092) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176161)

``Linux is still far from being mainstream capable. Installing that, for the common folk, is NOT easy.''

I have to wonder whether that's really true any more? Unless you're setting a system up for dual/multi-boot or manually selecting what packages to load, the installation process for most of the latest distributions hardly asks any questions that Joe Sixpack couldn't answer. Unless that timezone question is too tough for Joe. :-) Even partitioning can be fairly automatic. (Not that I'd like the way things get laid out using the automatic method.)

``some bash is very necessary in Linux''

IMHO... not really. Remember, all Joe wants to do is pound out a letter or connect to the internet so he can check out the sports scores (or his stock prices). How much shell programming is required to do that? Sometimes people in the tech realm forget that not everyone is using their PC to write code and tweak Makefiles with vi.


They never sold them to begin with. (2)

HomerJ (11142) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176163)

If anyone looked at thier configuations for desktop systems, linux was never an option. I was looking for a friend of mine, and there were no systems with a drop-down box with an os choice of linux. I called Dell's sales dept. and was told that you can only get desktop systems with Windows.

After searching for a good hour on Dell's site, I did find their "linux" section, with a system. Perhaps if linux was an actual choice when you called, or went to configure their true desktop sytems, more people would have went for it. You can't sell a product, keep it in the back room, tell people it's not really there, and then stop selling it before "no one bought it when we had it".

Re:Why so soon? (1)

pivo (11957) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176164)

Yeah, I was buying a laptop recently and I specifically looked at Dell because I'd heard they were shipping some machines with Linux. I couldn't find any laptops offered with Linux, figured they were only shipping Linux on server machines.

Oh well, I bought an IBM laptop and it turns out I like the "nub" mouse so much better than touch pads that I'm really happy I didn't go with Dell.

Re:Perhaps linux will return... (1)

pivo (11957) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176165)

BTW Once you have built in a built in modem and ethernet port I am not sure what use PCMCIA ports really have? I have removed the blanker cards to allow better air flow.

For yor wireless card, of course. What's the point of a laptop without a wireless ethernet?

So what? (2)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176168)

It's not as if Dell machines with linux pre-installed cost $90 less.
In effect, you're still be paying for Windoze, just not getting it.

It doesn't matter anyways - linux is free, and widely available.
So Dell's not gonna install it for you anymore.
Most of the people I know (myself included) that run linux prefer to install it themeselves anyways,
so they can be assured of a reasonably stable and secure system.

I'd estimate 90+% of workstations/laptops Dell sells are destined to be windoze boxes,
so it just wasn't cost-effective for them to continue installing linux.
Not as if it matters, because someone clueful enough to consider ordering
a Linux install prolly has the skills to install it themself.


I'm not surprised (3)

maroberts (15852) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176171)

I sent Dell asking whether I could dual boot their laptops into Windows and Linux. Got no response.

Also AFAIK, their UK website made no mention about offering Linux installed on their systems. It certainly didn't appear as a purchase option (Select Operating System:Linux -50UKPounds) when I went through the options in order to buy one.

In short, if you don't advertise or even offer the option on your website, you are unlikely to get any demand.

I don't want to install JUST Linux on my laptop, as I still need Office tools and want to play Diablo II occasionally.

Official Statement (5)

PRickard (16563) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176172)

Dell announced today it will stop offering as an option on desktop and laptop computer systems an operating system it never advertised and buried deep within the bowels of its Web site where most customers could never find it. The reason cited for dropping the option was "low demand."

This is really a non-issue. The only people who could get Linux on a Dell had to know from the beginning that Linux was an option and know where to find the page that allowed them to select it. Dell only offered Linux in the first place as a flimsy token to open source people. Now Microsoft probably used that as a reason to not let Dell stick AOL icons on the desktop or something, so the option is gone. Is anyone really surprised?

Re:Maybe if Dell's customizer had Linux on it.... (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176174)

Maybe there should be an OS exchange program? The ide is if you don't like Windows, then you could get a refund for Windows in the form of a Linux ( or maybe another OS ) purchase voucher from Red Hat or one of the other Linux distributors.

Re:Perhaps linux will return... (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176175)

My short-sightedness. Apart from the token-ring and the microdrive my computer has most of the things so I didn't really think of the othe possibilities ( I am not trying to show off ). I am probably also prejudiced by some of the nightmares I have had trying to get PCMCIA devices working with Windows.

Re:Perhaps linux will return... (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176176)

Linux is still far from being mainstream capable. Installing that, for the common folk, is NOT easy.

This is even true for a techie. I have a friend who is a Linux competant sys admin and had problems installing Linux on the his Dell Latitude because the PCMCIA slots were causing problems. This he ended up sorting out with a BIOS tweak and going via the 'advanced' installation method. There also was a problem with USB mice until he modified a value in the BIOS. These problems may no longer be an issue with newer versions of Linux installers, but at that point in time it proved to be a big time waster. Had he not been so convinced to get Linux running, I don't think he would have gone the mile.

BTW Once you have built in a built in modem and ethernet port I am not sure what use PCMCIA ports really have? I have removed the blanker cards to allow better air flow.

Re:Makes sense (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176177)

I would tend to agree with this. Any techies will find a way to install Linux whether it is vendor approved or not. Don't get me wrong I like Linux and use it myself, the problem is that for your average workstation user it just doesn't have the polished edges that it could. At the moment I think of Linux vs Windows, as the mechanic's off road vehicle vs a Ford Echo - sure Windows is not 100% reliable, but it is comfortable and does what the user wants without having to fight too much.

One OS that Linux needs to emulate is MacOS X. Sure the OS still has some maturing to do, but it has given a relativley friendly interface to the Unix underlays. The user needs never use the command line to configure the machine, though if they do it is there ready to be revealed.

I am not wanting to start a flame-war, rather I am trying to give real world view point of the situation. Sometimes it helps to leave the computer alone for a few weeks and see where everyone else is coming from.

Re:Maybe if Dell's customizer had Linux on it.... (1)

BattyMan (21874) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176181)

The customizer will let you pick between a couple of M$ "options", but not Linux.

You have to (had to) _call_ Dell on the phone and ask them if they would put Linux on it, and the answer to that is (was) "yes". I did not ask about being relieved of/refunded the M$ tax, as I'm sure they would look upon a pre-installed RH as "costing" them at least as much as bundled WinBlooze.

There's nothing like a level playing field to demonstrate "lack of customer demand".

I'm actively in the market for a laptop. I want that huge screen, so that narrows the choices somewhat. I think my eventual decision is going to be based on whose laptop has Linux drivers available for:

1. the internal modem
2. the internal sound hardware
3. the internal 10/100MHz ethernet interface

Seeing as they all have these things, and they're all rather dodgy for Linux drivers. I'm going to make an issue of this, as by the time I pay for all this neato gear (that I can't use) and for WinBloze (that I won't use) and then pay more to replace these with things I _can_ and will use, that laptop starts looking much more expensive than it would be if its imbedded hardware were useful with Linux.

Re: Lots of functions for PCMCIA sockets (1)

BattyMan (21874) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176182)

BTW Once you have built in a built in modem and ethernet port I am not sure what use PCMCIA ports really have? I have removed the blanker cards to allow better air flow.

I find them handy to stuff my CF cards into (with a $10 adapter) and move things to/from the PDA. They'd be useful if you had a CF digital camera, too.

The blanker cards may be intended to insure that the air comes in near something that needs cooling, rather than in through the PCMCIA holes....

I was using this customizer to estimate a price (2)

Benjamin Shniper (24107) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176187)

Were you supposed to call the number to get it? I wanted to hopefully get a duel booting computer so I could take full advantage of a DSL connection I'm getting (but I don't want to pay for a full server). I guess I'll just have ME for games and buy a Linux at the store is all.


Re:Ok, so how does this work? (1)

alexjohns (53323) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176209)

As paranoid conspiracy theories go, that's a pretty good one. Well done.

I kept thinking that my next PC was going to come from a major manufacturer, with Linux loaded, to help the statistics gatherers. Who else major is selling Linux PC's? IBM? Compaq? Gateway?

And more off-topic conspiracy theories: Anyone noticed the proliferation of Smart-tag and Pop-under/over stories. I think we're in for a sea change in our web browsing experiences. Remember when Wired ran the big 'PUSH!' issue? (What happened to Pointcast? Are they still around?) I think we're shortly going to see a whole bunch of pushy-type things going on. Re-configuring your browser, changing your home page, pop-up windows all over the place.

Might be a selling point for alternative browsers. If the Mozilla coders were to get on the ball and make some easy pre-emptive changes and then tell the world, I could see some big time adoption. It's got to be quick, though. After a while, you just get used to it. When I first came to the US (from Germany), commercials during TV programs annoyed me. Then I got used to it. (Still bothers me when I think about it.)

Gotta get to the annoyed user just as he's getting tired of all the crap on his screen. "Tired of these Pop-Up Ads? Tired of not being in control of your browsing experience? Mozilla's the answer. Easy configuration. We'll even show you how to never see on-line ads again. All for... Free!" Of course, you'd best do it via a pop-up ad. :)

OK, I'm rambling. Ate too much for lunch.
Alex Johns

Signed Confirmation (5)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176210)

If you have signed confirmation, then you could have a case in small claims court. Just threatening one could cause them to relent and just replace the darn thing.

Or are we going to see Taco on Judge Judy?

Re:What do we care... (1)

Caball (58351) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176211)

"200+ servers" are not desktops are they Einstein.

Re:What about AMD??? (1)

Caball (58351) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176212)

I actually got a survey from Dell a few months back asking about AMD... told them that they should definitely offer AMD processors as a choice. Also told them I would have bought my last PC from them if AMD was an option, rather than building my own.

No idea if they will start to ofer them, but it appeared as though they were testing the water.

Lack of sales? You mean lack of effort. (1)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176214)

Of course sales would be low if they don't advertise. If I go to [] and configure a laptop linux isn't even a choice in the OS section.

I remember when Dell first starting offering Linux. I wanted to buy two servers. I called Dell, told them I wanted to run Linux but, I wanted to check compatablilty. "Can you tell me what IDE, SCSI, and graphics contorllers you use on brand X server?" The sales rep said he'd call me back. He never did.


Re:Makes sense (4)

quartz (64169) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176217)

I dont see any real computer company actually seriously selling Linux on their user level computers any time soon. This is not a troll, but most users dont want Linux.

I totally agree with that. It's exactly why I like Linux so much. Right now, Linux is made for people who know what they're doing and demand total control, and that's all I can ask from an OS. The only way Linux can make it into the mainstream is to become at least as dumbed-down and full of security holes as Windows, at which point I'd probably start looking for alternatives. But I don't think that will ever happen, as most Linux developers have power and security as primary design goals, not what has come to mean "ease of use" nowadays.

Gee... I wonder why the demand was low? (5)

iceT (68610) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176220)

- Geeks buy LINUX. (Generalization, I know)
- Geeks deal with computers better than people (more generalizations), so they would order over the Web.
- Web ordering never allowed LINUX as an OS pick for desktops.
- Geeks never ordered LINUX.

Thank you. Please drive through.

Re:Official Statement (1)

egghat (73643) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176222)

Second that. Over here in Germany you never really had that option. You had to buy and pay the MS tax and ask for a refund afterwards. With no guarantee whatsoever, that you actually get your money back. Bye egghat.

Re:Here is why we care. (1)

smasch (77993) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176223)

What, and buy a Naked PC? [] (warning, that page linked is huge!)
No, you probably don't want to...

What about AMD??? (1)

Controlio (78666) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176224)

I still have my Inspiron 3200 - though it's about time for a new one. It was cutting edge at the time... PII/233 with 4gig... it was really cool, but that damn thing was so hot it just about lit on fire after a little while at 100% load. It's just too old to do anything I want it to (sucks at gaming, too small to triple-OS it, etc) and thus I'm going to be in the market for a new laptop in the near future. The support I've had from Dell has been fantastic to say the least (best repair policy I've ever dealt with), and I would never consider any other laptop maker... oh yeah, except for one thing.


I'm all for their power line with the Geforce2, too much RAM and HD, etc... but I would MUCH rather purchase an AMD-based laptop for oh-so-many reasons (not the least being performance-per-$$). I'm sure they're bound by some piece of paper they signed at some point in the past... but this is the main reason I haven't ALREADY bought a new laptop from Dell.

I don't consider Dell not including Linux on laptops a big story... I'd much rather do it myself so I can triple-partition and get WinNT, Win9x and Linux on the same laptop. But when are they ever going to wise up and start including AMD processors in their laptops? Is there something fairly obvious I'm missing here?

Re:What about AMD??? (1)

Controlio (78666) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176225)

Yes, I do remember hearing about this somewhere. In fact I saw a link posted on /. to Dell's survey, but by the time I got to the link the survey was gone (or the link was bad). I searched around on their website, and it was nowhere to be found.

I would never buy a pre-made PC from anyone (I'm a do-it-yourselfer and very anti-everything-on-one-board), but you can't exactly go out and build your own laptop. Regardless, I feel that AMD is at the point where they will continue to provide processors that are superior to Intel (provided they stay on the same track they're on now), and even the next power desktop I build will be carrying AMD Inside. Their mobile processors are no different - after spending hours going over graphs and reading thorough explanations over at Tom's Hardware, plus looking at the MSRP difference between AMD and Intel processors, I just can't bring myself to paying more for a label when they truly do provide an inferior product to the competition.

Dell has really been trying to dig into the "value" laptop market... I guess I don't understand why a part of that plan isn't purchasing faster processors at a lower price. Not to mention they won't burn up in my lap like my wonderful PII/233 does.

Makes sense (1)

Kwikymart (90332) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176233)

I dont see any real computer company actually seriously selling Linux on their user level computers any time soon. This is not a troll, but most users dont want Linux. Also, the people who do probably wont want to run the distro on it. The only thing it really has going for it it because it would be certified to work. Anyways, it would be better just to sell the systems without operating systems or provide Windows refund checks for these desktops and laptops.

Re:Makes sense (2)

Kwikymart (90332) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176235)

No most users don't know how to use Linux.

One of the reason most people dont want Linux is because it has a large learning curve for normal people. Most users dont know how to use Linux because they dont want to spend the time to do so!

other reasons may include:

  • not agreeing with the GPL ideology
  • hardware support
  • lack of games when compared to Windows
  • lack of real office suites (MS office is still the standard)

Re:Maybe if Dell's customizer had Linux on it.... (2)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176244)

I was on there two weeks ago getting something for my brother. RH6.2 and 7.1 were on the list of operating systems to install on the laptop.


Dell Laptops (1)

Life Blood (100124) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176245)

Ugghh, dell laptops. I bought one after some friends and the computer press had informed me that they were the bomb. PIII, lots of RAM, big hard drive, etc. Now its a year and a half later and my third LCD screen has died and my third keyboard is giving out. Needless to say I'm really glad I got an extended warranty or I would be broke fixing the thing. Dell isn't making any money off me.

I look forward to the day it finally dies and I can justify buying a new laptop of hopefully better reliability.

I really dont care... (2)

11thangel (103409) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176247)

I was planning to buy one with windows installed (as my college requires it) and install linux manually. As long as they keep selling the linux compatible hardware (namely the PSION modem and Xircom LAN card) I'm happy.

Re:I was using this customizer to estimate a price (2)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176249)

duel booting computer

Please God no!

Don't let your operating systems duel. Playing with guns is bad, mmmkay?

Another article (2)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176254)

There's another article [] on Yahoo! [] too.

I'd rather be trolling for [] .

Re:Ok, so how does this work? (1)

jvmatthe (116058) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176257)

Oh, come on. I put a smiley and a laughing smiley in my post. I was clearly going for a (Score: 5, Funny).

I'm not responsible for moronic moderators. :^D

Ok, so how does this work? (2)

jvmatthe (116058) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176258)

I never did any shopping at VA Linux, so I'm not sure what their entire product line was like, but which of the following most likely happened?

  • VA ships Linux workstations. Dells smells a market. Dell enters market to sell Linux workstations. The tiny market now split between a big company and a smaller company isn't enough for VA to continue to exist. Dell, having held out a bit longer, realizes that the market as a whole isn't big enough for them to stick with, so they exit.
  • Dell enters Linux workstation business just long enough to push out VA, a competitor in the server market.
  • Bill Gates sends Dell a check just big enough to stop them from selling Linux desktops but not big enough for them to stop selling Linux servers. :^)

Just rambling. :^D

Re:Ok, so how does this work? (1)

jallen02 (124384) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176261)

It was humor.. cynical but still just humor, not serious.


Re:Perhaps linux will return... (2)

frknfrk (127417) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176263)

I am not sure what use PCMCIA ports really have
I use my PCMCIA slots for:
  • IBM Microdrive
  • Wireless networking (802.11b)
  • DVD Decoder card
  • Token ring (most laptops don't have built in token ring :)
  • Firewire (see Margi 1394-to-go!)
  • etc

Glad or Mad? (1)

crashnbur (127738) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176265)

I'm either glad that they're getting rid of Linux, or I'm mad that Microsoft has bought out Dell. :) Either way, Windows for me... I know, I know, I'm sooo not down with it. Fine by me.

Re:We do, because... (1)

Mathetes (132911) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176269)

Funny thing is, when I checked prices on Dell laptops, I could get a Windows laptop cheaper than a Linux laptop because of promotions!

We do, because... (3)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176271)

...we still have to pay for that pre-loaded software that we aren't using.

Don't read too much conspiracy into this . . (3)

fetta (141344) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176272)

Times are tough. This is just an example of zero based budgeting. There is nothing here that claims that Dell says "Linux is a bad operating system." They just made a decision that with limited resources, they would get better return on their investment by supporting other products. []

Too often, when an announcement like this comes out, the slashdot community starts crying foul and looking for Microsoft conspiracies. Dell will start shipping Linux based laptops and desktops when they think they can make money doing so, or when business improves to the point that they can afford to take more chances.

Re:Ok, so how does this work? (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176278)

Perhaps you should stop worrying so much about the moderation done to comments and just read them instead. Moderators sometimes smoke crack: it's life, big deal.

Low demand because... (3)

squeegee-me (169687) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176284)

Dell wanted an additional $200 per linux PC. The end result is people are buying win2k on them because they are cheeper, even with the little sticker on the box. They apparently never considered users with a linux CD for any PC they buy. But Dell discuraged their buyers by charging more for a free operating system installed than a $100-200 operating system they are already supporting.

Re:Maybe if Dell's customizer had Linux on it.... (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176288)

An Apple TiBook (or even iBook) running OS X has all of these, and more: support for 802.11 and Firewire built in. Linux? No--but close. If you're looking for a huge screen, you couldn't ask for much more.

Re:Maybe if Dell's customizer had Linux on it.... (2)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176300)

I was on there two weeks ago getting something for my brother. RH6.2 and 7.1 were on the list of operating systems to install on the laptop.

This was a month ago on an entry-level Dimension L. Here's the link [] that *didn't* offer Linux. (Did I miss it? I can't see how to get it without Windows. Dell lost the sale as a result.)

Re:Maybe if Dell's customizer had Linux on it.... (2)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176301)

I was actually pretty impressed how easy it was to select Linux instead of Windows. You can't say they didn't try.

This was a month ago on an entry-level Dimension L. Here's the link [] that *didn't* offer Linux. (Did I miss it? I can't see how to get it without Windows. Dell lost the sale as a result.)

Re:Maybe if Dell's customizer had Linux on it.... (2)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176302)

That Dimension desktop or Inspiron laptop will always have the latest copy of MS whatever, with MS-Works. Which I am sure they are getting a little revenue off of that.

Which really shoots them in the foot for the low-end market. I mean, what's a Windows Me license running these days? $100? On a sub-$1000 system, that's a *big* chunk of your total system price.

For general newbies, preinstalled Linux makes things easy, and let's face it, most of these people are looking for nothing more than a web and e-mail grinder that lacks the intelligence-insulting AOL crap.

Especially if you advertised that Linux came preinstalled and configured with Netscrape and an e-mail client, maybe StarOffice too. Little different for a newbie to learn, but this guy is a newbie whose only other net experience was AOL on Windows 98, and *hated* it. (Crashes, found it counterintuitive to click "Start" to shutdown, nasty AOL point-and-drool, silly sound effects, etc.)

Maybe if Dell's customizer had Linux on it.... (5)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176303)

Maybe there'd be more demands for Linux on Dell desktops and notebooks if I could actually select it on their website. If it was available as an option on that machine, I couldn't find it.

As it was, I was hunting around for a Dell desktop for a friend of mine. Nothing spectacular, but he didn't want to pay the Microsoft tax, and liked the look of Linux on one of my machines.

We chose the link to customize the machine, and Linux wasn't on the list. In the end, he went with a generic clone because he could get it without the liability of a copy of Windows Me. Oh, and we downloaded an RH 7.1 ISO from their website.

Wanna hire a computer geek who can configure BIND and whip out a soldering iron to hack a monitor? []

Clueless? (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176306)

When I tried to explain RedHat could be downloaded free, he said "No way. How else would they stay in business?". Clueless!

Really? []

No big loss. (1)

SouperMike (199023) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176311)

I don't think Dell will be getting mass e-mails demanding that they return to providing Linux on the desktop. Just as they said, I don't think they would get too many orders for it. Veteran Linux hackers are more likely to build their computers than to purchase them pre-made. Hopefully, people just getting into Linux will realize that understanding how installation works will help tremendously in understanding Linux as a whole. (Pick my root point? Why would I want to put this /usr directory on a separate mount point? ...etc) So I don't really think there is a huge market in the first place for desktops with Linux on them.

Support (1)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176313)

They probably figure, correctly I'd imagine, that the linux boxes would require more support than the windows boxes. You can bet that people buying linux boxes from dell- probably a good half of them are doing it for the gee-whiz factor, and would likely screw something up, or be utterly confused at runlevel 3.

If, on the other hand, they told them that absolutely no software support would be provided with the linux boxes, I'd imagine that would cut the price substantially. I'm guessing Linux tech support people would probably cost more than windows guys, and they've probably fired alot for their condescending tone (which they develop instinctivly after getting as far as figuring out set prompt) when dealing with customers.

Incidentally, I love Dell Cases. It's wicked easy to take them completely apart without tools in minutes.

It's not Rocket Surgery... (1)

wardomon (213812) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176318)

(No, we never got that laptop back. Nor can we explain why you have signed confirmation that it was delivered. You owe us a year's worth of late fees).

...And you paid them??? I thought that Linux users were smarter than that.

Re:umm... (1)

Pravada (217899) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176322)

Amen. First thing I do when a friend gets a Dell is an fdisk, format and reinstall of the OS. Saw a huuuuge performance improvement between the Dell installation and my own.

Re:Ok, so how does this work? (1)

mactari (220786) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176325)

The level of hypocrisy here is big enough to choke a whale.
  • Oh, come on. I put a smiley and a laughing smiley in my post. I was clearly going for a (Score: 5, Funny).

You expect a five for Funny on that lame arse, whale killin', FUD provoking, crimminy-spit? At best that's a, "(Score: 2, Attempted Appeal to Esoteric Slashdotter Sense of Humour)" aka, "(Score: 2, No Mention of Cowboy Neal)".

Perhaps you should change your sig to fifteen :^)'s, but you might get a "Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted." error like I did when I tried to print out all those smilies the first time.

Re:No demand? Too pricey - ask why (2)

KarmaBlackballed (222917) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176329)

almost every configuration the boxes were MORE expensive than identical models with Windows

An interesting question might be why do the configurations running LINUX have to be more expensive? (I'm not doubting that the options were more expensive.)

Strangely I can run the latest Linux on my old 486, but cannot run a 3 year old release of Windows on it.

There may be more at play here. Maybe Dell never really wanted to sell Linux in the first place. Another "why" question would be appropriate there too.

~~ the real world is much simpler ~~

Re:umm... (1)

Mr_Matt (225037) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176331)

I guess I'm writing from ignorance, but was there a price difference in the system depending on the OS the machine came pre-installed with? If so (and assuming that Linux was the cheaper option :) then it sucks that Linux users will be paying a "Windows Tax" for an operating system that probably never sees the light of boot, having been fdisk'ed before it's time. :)

well.... (1)

gol64738 (225528) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176332)

it's not like there was any linux people over at Dell anyways... at our company, all our developers use Dell Dimension 4100's with linux preinstalled. it's pretty neat how they come with microsoft mice, however.
we just received another one a few weeks ago, that had redhat 7.0 preinstalled, yuck.
and even though they come with nvidia 32mb gts video, they're not even using the nvidia released drivers, sheesh. (but our linux boxen sure make for some nice q3 action at work, hee hee.)
everytime a new Dell came in, i reinstalled linux on the thing anyway, so this news doesn't bother me a bit.

Foot? (2)

canning (228134) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176335)

Despite an initial splash last year, and efforts by groups such as Gnome to build graphical user interfaces to run on top of Linux, it has been difficult for the operating system to get a foot in the door of the desktop market, said Red Hat spokesperson Melissa London.

Foot....Gnome......Ha ha. I wonder if she even knew what she was saying. Ha ha ha!

Not really surprising... (1)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176336)

It's easy to figure out why demand would be down -- you have to figure that the average Linux enthusiast is more than capable of building their own computer. If you can successfully recompile a kernel, you're probably going to laugh at the idea of 3-year warranties that you'll never need on machines that are twice as expensive as a hot rod you can build for yourself.


Toshiba (2)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176338)

I've run linux on everything from the old Tecra 730, to the Satellite Pro 8100. They are beautiful laptops and linux has no problems with them.

Re:1600x1050 ? (1)

nowt (230214) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176339)

I'm replying on a Dell 8000 at 1600x1200. Debian sid distro. Personally, I'd never want Dell's config on any *nix machine I'd run..but I do appreciate buying hardware that has nifty drivers available under linux.

Re:Who cares (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176344)

And then try a refund for the windoze copy you never used...


probably an ask slashnut question... (1)

xtermz (234073) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176345)

where can you get a decent linux (and unfortunately windows 2000) compatible laptop? I'm actually in the market for one as we speak and am tired of fighting countless PnP battles...

"Pussy: You spend 9 months trying to get out of it, and the rest of your life trying to get back in..."

Price break for Linux? (1)

BroadbandBradley (237267) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176348)

when I looked, the first thing is that you have to HUNT for the linux systems and there were only a few offerings. Beyond that, say MS charges $200 for Win98, the 'OEM' version you can get with a hard drive is $150 (aprox values) what do you think Dell pays MS? $10? Redhat goes for $30 for the basic version, did they charge Dell to offer it preinstalled? if so how much? Was there a way Dell could offer a Linux system for cheaper than and MS system in order to either make more money or offer a better deal? I suspexct that with OEM contracts MS makes it REAL CHEAP to preinstall windows on new machines for the OEM and thereby erasing the competitive advantage of Linux being 'free'.....Beyond the initial software cost, how much did Dell need to pay it's tech support people to support Linux compared to supporting Windows? everybodys grandma can support windows, Linux support people would be harder to find and thus mean Dell needs to spend more to train folks.
it all comes down to Dollar$, Dell needs to make money and Linux can't give them an edge because they're invested in supporting MS Windows already, and moving to a new platform free or not requires building infrastructure around supporting it.

at least we have each other :-)

Re:The question is... (2)

baptiste (256004) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176354)

While I love the theory, my guess is the support costs? I mean it doesn't cost THAT uch to maintain the images they throw on the drives - that's easy & automated. But my guess is the cost of having support available for user questions cost more than it was worth given how few desktop/laptops were sold with Linux.

Personally, I'd install myself anyway - the fact that this DOESN'T affect servers says something - they found a market there and given my past experieince with Dell servers - I'd spec one in a heartbeat if the price was right and the customer was willing to forgo Micro$oft!

Re:Maybe if Dell's customizer had Linux on it.... (1)

pdiaz (262591) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176355)

Model: Dell Inspiron 4000. 256 MB RAM. 10 GB HD. 700-850 MHZ PIII. Some winmodem I really don't care about it.14" TFT screen Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 Potato as the only OS

  • the internal modem: I was told from a friend that its possible to use some linux winmodem drivers to use it. No personal experiences
  • the internal sound hardware. No problem at all. ESS Maestro 3 support in 2.2.19
  • the internal 10/100MHz ethernet interface :Comes without it, but having no problems using my 10 Mbps/Modem/Fax PCMCIA, and my wireless PCMCIA

Windows only, just called (1)

mwillems (266506) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176357)

I just called Dell to ask if they would sell me a PC without OS. The answer was "NO": all Dell desktop PCs have to have Windows on them.

The sales guy was out to lunch: he said "you are cheaper off this way". I said no, Linux was free. He said "No, RedHat and so on are not free". When I tried to explain RedHat could be downloaded free, he said "No way. How else would they stay in business?".



Re:It's not Rocket Surgery... (1)

tbone1 (309237) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176360)

Intelligence and common sense are not the same thing.

Sorry to see Dell go (1)

pgpckt (312866) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176363)

I know Dell (along with IBM) has been one of the larger champions of Linux. Its a shame to see Dell pull Linux of Laptops/Desktops. I have this old Dell laptop that I am dual booting Windows ME/Red Hat 7.0 on, and it is a cool system. But in a market like this, I suppose it was to be expected.

The fact that Red Hat is still being offered on the server side tells me that alot of companies have seen the strength of Linux for that environment. Linux still has a ways to go on to where end users (not the type of people running servers) will be comfortable with it. But Linux is both a stable and familiar choice with those on the server side, and that is what we are seeing reflected.

I appreciate Dell's willingness to keep open the option to reinstate the program when the economy gets better and people are more willing to experiment.

You have GOT to me kidding me! (5)

Compulawyer (318018) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176368)

Low Demand??? I BEGGED them to send me either a Latitude with Linux pre-loaded or a blank box with no OS. They flat-out REFUSED. They would only ship with MS Win2000 or WinME preinstalled and REFUSED to provide me with information so I could obtain a refund for the unused Windows license.

Maybe if they actually sold to people who asked for Linux they would find that demand isn't as low as they think.

This is the height of hypocracy for Dell. They are known for custom building boxes to order and for having the lowest inventory levels in the industry (5 days). Tell me they can't slap a hard drive with Linux in as easily as they can load more RAM. Excuse me while I barf.

Re:Maybe if Dell's customizer had Linux on it.... (1)

clontzman (325677) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176371)

I was pricing a laptop last week and there was a big ol' tab to select Linux when you were beginning the customization process. It was pretty much impossible to miss.

That said, you did have to go to the configuration screen to see it, but where else would it have been?

I was actually pretty impressed how easy it was to select Linux instead of Windows. You can't say they didn't try.

Sadly... (2)

kypper (446750) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176374)

the installation process for most of the latest distributions hardly asks any questions that Joe Sixpack couldn't answer. Unless that timezone question is too tough for Joe. :-)

You fail to understand one simple fact: Joe Sixpack couldn't answer those questions that we take for granted as obvious. He is too afraid of fucking up, and so he doesn't use his noggin. He'd rather ask the tech support.

Even the timezones... he'd be afraid of something wrong. I know... I did tech support... it frightened me.

Screw 3...

Perhaps linux will return... (3)

kypper (446750) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176375)

to the hands of the geeks who install them on their own PCs.

Linux is still far from being mainstream capable. Installing that, for the common folk, is NOT easy.

Consider that these are the people who avoid DOS, which is the child's intro to that sort of interface. (and I'm sorry, but some bash is very necessary in Linux)

Dell has no reason to think it'll make them any money to provide it, especially when you can just download, burn and install :op

Screw 3...

Re:Here is why we care. (1)

rootmonkey (457887) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176379)

Ok paying a M$ tax does suck. Can you get them without an OS? --

this was to be expected... (1)

turbine216 (458014) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176381)

especially considering Dell's primary customer base: entry- to mid-level users who only know of Windows. These people flock to Dell because of word-of-mouth advertising and magazine articles that consistently point to Dell as being the industry leader in terms of customer support and end-user satisfaction. And I can't really blame them for dropping it...they are a business, and they are obligated to make money for their shareholders, so if an idea such as offering Linux was not making money (or even worse, costing too much), then it was just a business decision.

That's capitalism.

Re:umm... (3)

Unknown Bovine Group (462144) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176383)

I think thats the crux of the issue. The people who want to run Linux on a desktop/laptop are the same ones who, if forced to use Windows, end up reinstalling it from scratch anyway to remove goofy configurations and 3rd party "value-added" crapola.

If we don't want happy Dell-enhanced Windows we CERTAINLY don't want to leave a much more configurable Linux install in their hands.... and as for those users who DO like the hand-held pre-installed setup... they're not Linux users. At least not yet.

Too bad... (4)

natesch (465385) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176388)

Oh man, this is no good. I know a lot of people are thinking "Fsck Dell, who cares what they do. I'll install it myself," but I was geniuinely happy to see Dell offering the choice between Linux and M$. When my friend was assembling his own PC on Dell's webpage he noticed you could save some cash by choosing Linux. He asked me about it, and I said I'd help him learn about the OS if he picked it. He did, and has been a huge Linux fan ever since. This is beautifully illustrative of the kind of cooperation between the open source community and OEMs that Linux needs to expand to the desktop world. I really hope that the other OEMs don't follow the lead of Dell, but since it is the largest of the pack I'm a little worried.


The question is... (2)

jamesdood (468240) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176390)

Is the real reason low demand? or do they expect better treatment from Micr0$0ft? I wonder if this has anything to do with XP desktops and perhaps placating M$ with this in order to align a deal with AOL for product placement on the desktop.... Conspiracy theorists must know!!

Re:What do we care... (2)

ccoder (468480) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176391)

NO right? What are you, a micro wenie from the dark ages? Linux runs great for just about any type of system, given the right tools (albeit sometimes you must buy minimal tools to make it functional in very few situations)... I hate people that spew off about how "Linux has no..." bleh!

Linux runs great here at our office and on 200+ servers pushing several hundred megabits of continuous data. Tell me its not efficient, secure, cheap, and stable -- and I'll prove you wrong.

Desktop Icon (2)

Mr. Disappointment (470728) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176393)

Maybe if AOL had a desktop icon in all distros of linux Dell would have stuck with it. We all know that AOL makes everything SO EASY!!!

It had to happen (1)

4n0nym0u$ C0w4rd (471100) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176394)

I'm sorry to say this but unfortunately very few home-users are going to buy a system with Linux pre-installed. Many linux users build their own system, others prefer to buy a windows system and simply place Linux on a partition so that they can boot to windows if they want to play a game thats not available on Linux, finally many Linux users have to share their computer with others who want Windows installed. I would estimate that 70-80 percent of all home Linux users fall in to those categories, maybe more. I don't particularly like Dell (or any major OEM) but it's obvious to me why they had to stop shipping out home Linux systems.

umm... (2)

4n0nym0u$ C0w4rd (471100) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176395)

You can still install Linux on a Dell System, you just can't buy one with Linux already installed anymore.

Re:Perhaps linux will return... (5)

Captain Bonzo (472184) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176397)

Linux is still far from being mainstream capable. Installing that, for the common folk, is NOT easy.

To go at a slight tangent...

To be honest, I don't think that the difficulty of installing Linux is actually a real issue. The recent Linux installations I have made (most recently SUSE and Mandrake) have been almost as easy as the last Windows install that I did (Win98). But that's not the point I wanted to make.

My real point is that I believe that there are relatively few people out there who have actually installed any form of OS. The average desktop user will be either using the OS that was preloaded on their PC, or whatever their company's IT department gave them. Those of us willing to tinker are the minority.

What people are more likely to be installing are applications -- or, more to the point, games. Once they are easy to install, people might start to convert, and PC manufacturers might see a bit more demand.

Re:Inspiron spec error (1)

vic5 (472734) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176400)

The early "Ultra XGA" displays were 1400x1050. Later they replaced those with 1600x1200 displays. Both are sweet though.

Re:Desktop Icon (2)

swordboy (472941) | more than 13 years ago | (#2176401)

I may be a pool man, but I am f@#*&ng Jon Bon Jovi's pool man!!!

So do you work with Jon Bon Jovi's pool man or do you just sleep with him?

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