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Is Dell Just Testing the Market?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the sneaking-thru-the-back-door dept.

Linux Business 287

sarig_magik asks: "It seems that Dell is testing the Linux desktop market worldwide, and their choice of desktop is Linspire 4.51. I wonder how Microsoft will view Dell, now? Could this be a real attempt to gain a foothold before any of the other distributors do? We know the hardware vendor, but can anyone comment on the choice of OS?" Although Dell is offering a system with a preloaded Linux Desktop, they aren't doing it here in the US, but through their Italian partner, Questar. While the choice of Linspire as a desktop may leave a few of you underwhelmed, this does seem to be a step in the right direction. Is Dell testing the market? Of course they are. How well do you think they will do?

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wow (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685860)


free gmail account (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685868)

first one to reply with an email address that is not a gmail account gets an invite sent there!

Re:free gmail account (-1, Offtopic)

NoahsMyBro (569357) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685910)

So will I get modded down for this off-topic post?

Is it worth it for a GMail invite?

Only the Shadow Knows....

Re:free gmail account (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685915)



Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685938)


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685978)

thank you for trying but you are too late.

Methinks not (2, Interesting)

Magada (741361) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685872)

It ain't no test, just the usual amount of freedom of movement Dell grant to their partners. Don't look for this to propagate in a top-down manner.

Re:Methinks not (5, Informative)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686109)

It ain't no test, just the usual amount of freedom of movement Dell grant to their partners.

I don't get any of this. Dell's been offering Linux on its servers and Precision Workstations for about three years, partnered with RedHat. Some time ago in the US they created an "N series" line which shipped with no OS, with Linux as an option. Dell has employed developers to work on improving Linux's stability and compatibility. Dell has been very good about Linux in general, even having agents for its Open Manage software that run on Red Hat.

Admittedly they don't heavily advertise what is really a niche product, but they have [] plus a page that is dedicated to these alternative OS desktops [] ; Their support pages typically have several variation of Linux listed for downloading drivers, etc.

Seriously, how much Linux support do you want from them? Are you waiting for the Dell guy to announce "Dude, you're getting a Gentoo Dell!"

Re:Methinks not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686149)

Absolutely correct. You can buy Linux Dell machines from the following URL. .a spx/desktops_n?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd

Eh, it'll do ok, but not great (2, Interesting)

GuyinVA (707456) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685875)

Like it or not, MS still has a strong hold on the corporate enviroment. While I think it's a good thing that Dell is going this route, it'll only have marginally decent results.

It's a good start (5, Insightful)

agraupe (769778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685877)

Dell (IMO) is a good manufacturer for the "average" computer, and the brand recognition is quite high. I think Linspire is a good choice for a pre-installed distro. Most Linux geeks (who would prefer, say, Gentoo or Debian or whatever) would want to install it themselves anyway. Linspire is a good "first-time" distro, or so I've heard. The people who need the OS to be installed when they buy the computer will like what Linspire has to offer.

Re:It's a good start (5, Insightful)

tindur (658483) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685966)

If some kind of Linux is installed on the box when it's bought it should be trivial to install some other distribution. It probably isn't stuffed with Windows only hardware.

Re:It's a good start (3, Interesting)

agraupe (769778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686090)

That's a good point. I didn't think about that. Still, I have linux installed on two dell machines (soon to be a third) and I find they don't use Windows-only hardware. I also ran Knoppix on some *really* old dells at school (before the BIOS were password-protected), and they worked fine. Remember that Dell has been offering linux for servers for a while now.

Re:It's a good start (5, Insightful)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685972)

This is very true. While we might view optimization and total control as desirable attributes, the n00b Linux user who is testing the waters outside the Microsoft pool is likely to be overwhelmed by this requirement, and will probably not stay long enough to give Linux a good test drive.

While Linspire might not be ideal for the hard core folks, it's a good first choice for people who want to find out what all the buzz is about and see what it's like to live in a world free of virii and pop-ups, without having to worry about the administrative overhead of a Debian or a Gentoo install. Let them get comfortable first before suggesting such a quantum leap like that.

Good start? Why was RH not? (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686089)

While we might view optimization and total control as desirable attributes, the n00b Linux user who is testing the waters outside the Microsoft pool is likely to be overwhelmed by this requirement, and will probably not stay long enough to give Linux a good test drive.

I agree with this assessment, for the average non-techie home user, Lindows is probably fine, and once they get a grip on it, may feel more confident about moving on the a "real" Linux distro. But...

I never found my first Linux distro, RH8, difficult at all, technically. The graphical installer didn't seem any more challenging than Windows, and when it was done, everything was there: browser, OpenOffice, games... What's the big deal?

Re:Good start? Why was RH not? (2, Interesting)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686129)

That's because you were a windows user before.
Now imagine someone who has never had a computer. (6 billion people minus 600 million computers still leaves 5.4 billion people (and that's not taking into account the fact that many americans/europeans use one at work and one at home))

Is that person going to be OK with linspire?

What if there were 600 million linspire users out there? you know, in the same vein as "there are 40 million AOL users out there".

Re:Good start? Why was RH not? (1)

really? (199452) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686135)

The graphical installer didn't seem any more challenging than Windows, and when it was done, everything was there: browser, OpenOffice, games... What's the big deal?

Err ... you are not a typical Joe Sixpack?

Re:It's a good start (2, Insightful)

calcfreak (796523) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686142)

True. Dell is a pretty well known brand, so many schools use it. A 3rd grader is not likely to know about chrooting, so linspire is a good choice. One day, I was bored enought to watch the Linspire intro video clip, and it was pretty user friendly, although not as power user oriented as Gentoo and Debian are. Besides, its UI is very similar to Windows, so it has a small learning curve.

Not Very Well (5, Interesting)

Gumph (706694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685879)

I think Linspire is too unknown/controversial.
If I was buying a new linux distro, I would go with Either Redhat (known and trusted) or Suse (rising star) not some recently name changed article
IMHO of course

Re:Not Very Well (3, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685961)


There's a combination you don't see every day.

I'd actually support a subscription model for Linux desktops. You don't necessarily pay for the software. You pay some local guy to come around every Friday to play Bridge and update your software. (He'll bring this week's updates on CD. And he'll happily train your child or grandchild in Linux system administration.)

Give Linux a friendly face.

Re:Not Very Well (2, Informative)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685967)

> Redhat (known and trusted)

I would like to emphasize that the poster most likely meant the distro rather than the company behind it.

Suse == Novell.

I would stick with Debian.

Back to the story:

Linspire is a great choice. What Dell is testing is not whether its computers work, but whether Linspire on its computers work.
If I were Dell (which I am not) I would test Linspire and entertain the thought of aquiring it. That way, I could put a useable OS in the machine without paying an OS tax.

Re:Not Very Well (1)

DavidNWelton (142216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686045)

The thing is, that the number of people who have never bought a linux distribution vastly outnumber those, like you or I, who have. Linspire is after that market, not us.

I will continue to happily use (and participate in developing) Debian, but think Linspire might work for complete end-user types who are just not interested in what their computer runs as long as it does what they want. I might be more bothered by the non-free aspects if it were aimed at other hackers and developers, because of the networking externalities (don't like to see everything aimed at one distribution), but as things stand, they don't really play on my turf.

Disclaimer: I've done some work for the folks at Questar and found them to be quite bright.

Re:Not Very Well (1)

z0ink (572154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686180)

Where's the controversy? They got thrown into court by Microsoft, the ones who claim trademark to Windows and every likeness, and they were pressured to get rid of the name Lindows. I'm by no means a supporter of Microsoft, but making a product that looks and feels exactly like another and even has a simliar sounding product name is wrong no matter what side of the OS fence you're on. I was always tought that two wrongs don't make a right.

I think this would be a wonderful thing to be launched in the US. Name brands and recognition are what get products sold here and Dell is the Marlboro (McDonalds, Coca-Cola, etc.) of the desktop computer world. If anybody has the power to get the linux desktop market started, because lets face it linux's current market is mainly database and web application, it is most certainly Dell.

ummmmm (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685881)

Is Dell testing the market? Of course they are.

So that was a rhetorical question. Or at least a waste of effort to type then.

I'll sneak though their backdoor... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685891)

BAM! My cock right in their ass!!!

Linspire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685892)

so does it still run everything as root?

Re:Linspire (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686107)

NO, Read their F'ing FAQ

Legal problems (2, Insightful)

shackma2 (685062) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685896)

Maybe Dell does not want to deal with the possibillity of legal trouble by offering Linux in the US. Who knows the contracts that microsoft has over dell.

Also remember the legal trouble Linspire had when it was Lindows.

Re:Legal problems (1)

ViolentGreen (704134) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686093)

I know that as of several years ago, dell was offering notebooks that would dual boot into redhat. Not sure whether or not they still do.

Re:Legal problems (4, Interesting)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686207)

You're right, Dell [] would never [] offer Linux [] in the US.

For the second? third? time? (5, Informative)

shoppa (464619) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685897)

Dell offered Red Hat Linux circa 2001 along with their desktop machines. We bought several dozen machines this way. Then, of course, this option mysteriously disappeared. (I think it may have only ever been available for corporate customers to begin with).

Yes, the new option is different. What I see is not so much "testing" but something being there and then disappearing, and then something different being there and disappearing. I'm not going to count on Dell supporting any particular distro, but I think that it is nice to be able to buy a machine without a Microsoft tax.

Re:For the second? third? time? (2, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686017)

Yeah, I was wondering if I was the only one old enough to remember the 20th century. Remember when every big PC vendor was announcing some partnership with a Linux startup? Dell and Red Hat! HP and Eazel! Compaq and Ximian! Dell and Eazel! HP and Ximian! Pretty much nothing came of it -- so little, in fact, that these new stories are reported with "The unthinkable has happened!"

Anyway, to answer the submitters question: Dell doesn't sit around trying software until they find something they like and want to ship. Partners come to them and pitch deals to them. If Dell (or their hardware partner) is going with Lindows it's because Michael Robertson made them a deal they couldn't refuse. It's that simple.

Re:For the second? third? time? (4, Interesting)

Polkyb (732262) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686036)

Dell still do offer a RedHat solution here in the UK, but, only for the server market. You cannot get Linux on a desktop, however, they have recently started shipping desktops with FreeDOS, so you don't HAVE to buy Windows

Re:For the second? third? time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686064)

Dell still sells Linux Workstations -- pricy machines with pro video cards and SCSI. These are aimed at the same market as Sun.

Re:For the second? third? time? (4, Informative)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686048)

You can buy the machines without os (or rather, the DrDOS OS) from their website. | Small business | Destop | N-series Desktop

( e. aspx/desktops_n?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd)

I have bought some, and they work great.

PS: I never though I would be posting, on /., instructions on how to buy Dells.

windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685898)

Does dell offer full compatibility with windows ? :rolleyes:

Re:windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686125)

Does dell offer full compatibility with windows ? :rolleyes:

Which (compatibility) version of Windows?

the REAL question is... (5, Interesting)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685901)

Because it comes with the Linux distro pre-installed, is the computer $99 less because it hasn't paid the 'microsoft tax'?

its a good marketing move to sell to people who don't want to buy / have Windows XP.

Re:the REAL question is... (4, Insightful)

Proc6 (518858) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685963)

You think Dell pays Microsoft $99 for each copy of Windows they install?

Re:the REAL question is... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686075)

No they don't.
Dell pays Microsoft less than half of that $99 being bandied about here by the ever hpefull Liniux crazies, fr each copy of Windows installed on a PC.
Plus of course over 90% of Windows installed on PC's in their world countries including China, India and most of Africa is of course pirated, so the so-called Linx cost advantage simply doesn't exist.

Re:the REAL question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685986)

An illegal version of Windows will be installed on most boxes sold without Microsoft license anyways. The market share of illegal Windows is much larger than the Linux marketshare.

So the real question is whether Microsofts efforts at preventing piracy will result in a significant number of those pirated systems being equipped with Linux.

Re:the REAL question is... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686062)

No, we've been through this a million times. Dell doesn't buy their Windows licenses at CompUSA, added support costs for desktop Linux far exceed the cost of OEM Windows and the last thing Linux needs anyway is users who hit a checkbox to save a few dollars and then complain because AOL won't work.

Re:the REAL question is... (1)

Pantheraleo2k3 (673123) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686213)

You mean it's a bad thing that AOL wouldn't work?

A very interesting game of chicken (3, Interesting)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685902)

or maybe in this case I should say penguin *rim shot*
Anywho, there is probably no way Dell could survive if it invoked the ire of Microsoft and MS refused to sell them licenses(or at least reduced cost ones). However, I think that Dell is pretty confident that MS will not do this unless they REALLY want the anti-monopolists breathing down their neck...
Maybe then the DOJ could do it's job

Check back in a year (2, Interesting)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685905)

Presumably, this is more of a test run to work through operational issues (providing Linux support, drivers, etc.). Look for a more serious effort in a year or so. And don't forget Sun, aren't they pushing a Linux desktop now, too?

Re:Check back in a year (2, Insightful)

hyperlinx (775591) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686118)

But Dell already has this experience with regard to providing this kind of support...They sold desktops and Servers not long ago with Redhat installed...this is probably a localized deal with their Italian partner Questar...the MS feelings in Europe are different compared to the feelings in the U.S. and the market in Italy is probably more ripe for such an offer.

target (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685909)

well, most people who use linux probably won't buy their system from dell, but probably build it on their own, also, few of us will want to use linspire.

this is probably targetting the 'newbie' crowd.

Old news, I guess. (-1, Redundant)

houghi (78078) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685914)

That never stopped anybody [] from posting it again.

Old news ... (3, Informative)

supergiovane (606385) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685916)

... wrong news [] .

Is Dell just testing the market? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685921)


The market is just testing Dell.

I have a question..... (2, Interesting)

theJerk242 (778433) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685926)

Although Dell is offering a system with a preloaded Linux Desktop, they aren't doing it here in the US, but through their Italian partner, Questar

Please go easy on me....but why is Dell not doing it in the US?

Re:I have a question..... (3, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686175)

I have a theory. Well, it has several parts...

1.) Dell is bound by liscense agreements with Microsoft to ship consumer PC's with a copy of Windows installed. (notice I said consumer PC's)
2.) Dell does ship servers with linux pre-installed to businesses. So, there's no contractual requirement forcing Dell to ship a machine to a business with Windows.
3.) Dell will ship desktop machines to businesses with FreeDOS installed (they call it the no-OS option). This re-enforces the statement in 2.
4.) Questar is buying white-boxes with the no-OS option, and intalling Linspire itself. Questar then ships these to consumers. This is a work-around for case 1.
5.) Dell is testing the waters in Europe. Once they've got the bugs worked out, they'll start shipping machines, under another name, with Linux pre-installed, within the U.S.

There's nothing to prevent a mom and pop shop from buying white-boxes from Dell today and doing what Questar is doing, inside the U.S. Maybe this is what Dell wants. It's a win-win. They sell machines (albiet not Dell branded) and consumers get machines with Linux pre-installed.

Re:I have a question..... (1)

kidlinux (2550) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686206)

Probably because Italy has a smaller market, which will equate to a smaller user-base for this new system.

The smaller user-base will make it much easier to recover from a product failure (failure meaning the product doesn't do well, or the product has a lot of problems.) Also, if something does go wrong the news won't be as big since it's in Italy and not the US.

There may also be more demand in Italy. Personally, I'd predict the US being the last country on earth where we'll really see the Linux desktop succeed.

VAR loads Linspire, Dell sells machines... (5, Informative)

WizzleWizzleWizzle (697435) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685929)

I thought Dell said they had nothing to do with the VAR that was loading Linspire and selling the PCs in Europe other than selling them machines?

Story Here []

Re:VAR loads Linspire, Dell sells machines... (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686212)

That's Dell's story. Dell sells white-boxes to distributor channels and sells Dell branded machines to businesses with Free-DOS installed (they call it the No-OS option).

Linspire (1)

GTsquirrel42 (624871) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685930)

A friend of mine works for a small computer repair shop that sells a few boxes on the side. He has started playing with Linspire to see how well it works. His idea is to use Linspire as the base OS on lower-end desktops and offer Windoze as an upgrade. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out with Dell doing this too now.

WS3 preinstalled already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685935)

My company has been buying RedHat preinstalled on Dell machines for years. RH8 & RH9 last year. We just bought 10 360 class machines with WS3 preinstalled.....

Linspire ! (1)

[000000] (130723) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685943)

Unless they take one of the "TOP" main-stream Linux OS's like Redhat, Suse, or Mandrake this will be another plop in the pot for the Lunix drive. Why Linspire? rather than say.. "Mandrake"?

Things do Happen... (2, Insightful)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685946)

These folks -- and there are many -- won't have to deal with partitioning their disks to install the system. They won't have to worry about selecting drivers -- if they know what drivers are. They won't have to go through a tedious installation process. In fact, they won't have to worry about installing a new system, period.

If they every decide to install new hardware they might. Although I have no idea how often the average Dell consumer actually upgrades their machine instead of just waiting to buy a new one?

Re:Things do Happen... (2, Insightful)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686098)

you're right. Most people do not have any idea that you even can upgrade a computer. To them, it's like a microwave oven. They use it until it breaks, then they buy another one.

My Opinion (1)

keybsnbits (711259) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685952)

This is my opinion... and FYI it is not based on facts at all. Although I am personally infatuated with Linux as an OS (as many /.ers are), I am really not sure as to how well a PC preloaded with Linux will do. Price, I'm sure, will be low. This may spur some sales, but I am still doubtful. How many new computer buyers (Dell's audience) actually know about operating systems, let alone Linux? Dell is making a smart move, however, as they are testing the market with a sister company that will not mar the Dell name. This is ingenious, as Dell will not get a bad name if people are unsatisfied with their PCs loaded with Linux. Hell, Dell could go on selling their current PCs, and nobody would ever have known the difference. This is a win-win situation. My final opinion on how sales will be for this Linux desktop: luke warm. Sorry guys. Props to Dell for trying.

Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685956)

Dell has been selling Linux boxes for a long time, so this is not NEW news.

What Dell could do (1)

cyber_rigger (527103) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685958)

What Dell could do is offer ALL of their machines without the Microsoft tax.

Cornering the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685959)

While Dells choice of distribution is odd in many way, you can't help but appluad their decision. Pushing Linux is a dangerous proposition for any OEM, especially one who relies so heavily on Microsoft discounts in order to make a profit with such razor thin margins. Forgetting (forgiving?) Dell for Linspire, clearly they are making the sane decision with a bold move to conquor the market now, before anyone else has a chance. They can clearly see the writting on the wall for Microsoft; they expect Longhorn to crash and burn and as any smart company would tell you, they don't want to get dragged down along with Microsoft. Dell know that the smart money is on Linux desktops. It is a growth market, and the trend looks set to continue. At current rates, Linux will totally destroy Apple within the next two years. By the time Longhorn is ready, Linux will have the majority of the market, with Microsoft a pathetic second. Why wouldn't Dell want a peice of that pie?

As long as Dell can stay the course, we're all set. Longhorn is years off, which at least gives KDE developers enough time to actually fix the horrible cripling usability issues in the KDE desktop. Maybe we'll even see three, maybe four games available!

Re:Cornering the market (1)

Proc6 (518858) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686058)

By the time Longhorn is ready, Linux will have the majority of the market, with Microsoft a pathetic second.

Give me whatever you're smoking.

Re:Cornering the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686137)

"By the time Longhorn is ready, Linux will have the majority of the market, with Microsoft a pathetic second"

One thing one can say about you Linux arnachists, you sure love living in dreamland.
You guys made that same predictions back in 1996, 1197, 198, 1999 etc etc. By your predctions, Windows was supposed to be a " pathetic second" way back in 2000, then 2001, then 2002, and it goes on!!
With clowns like you in charge of the open source movement, Microsoft really doesn't have too much to worry about.
No doubt Microoft's sales and profite are at record levels now, when all Micrsoft has to face is a bunch of Linux Don Quixotes!!

This isn't Dell's doing (5, Informative)

sixteenraisins (67316) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685965)

The writeup may be a little misleading; Dell isn't the entity behind installing Linspire on these machines, it's Questar:

A PC dealer in Europe has begun selling Dell desktops equipped with Linux, but Dell emphasized that the systems were customized by the dealer and that this isn't the first time this has happened.

That article can be read here [] at Cnet [] .

Testing the Waters (2, Interesting)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685970)

I worked for Dell from '98 to early '00. During that time they went from "testing the waters" to fairly comitted (with an "apliance" that came in two flavors: Linux and Netware). Then sort of back to testing the waters.

Now its '04 and they are testing the waters.

I think that it would be better to say that they are perpetually ready to "go Linux" if and when it makes sense, but MS still pretty much has them by the short hairs.


Dell has already clarified this. (5, Informative)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685973)

Dell is not using Linspire. That is completely the doing of their reseller, and Dell has distanced themselves from Linspire.

See the article at C|Net from last week on the matter []

Spyware (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685974)

If I remember correctly Dell loaded spy ware onto Windows machines and stopped telling the general public how to remove it... Now then, how will they do this with Linux?

Once a spyware user, always a spyware user. Theres no reforming in business, just bullshitting more.

Re:Spyware (1)

Cat_Byte (621676) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686146)


look here []

Or just go to and look towards the bottom right.

It's not Dell that offers the machines!, (2, Informative)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685983)

According to this [] , Questar is just a reseller, not a partner. From the article:
Questar is simply buying Optiplex 170L desktops from Dell as might any other business or individual customer. Is there any thing more to their "agreement" than that? No, Dell told The Register today: "Questar is a direct Dell customer and that is the extent of the relationship."

Dell can't make up their mind what the deal is (1)

One Louder (595430) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686049)

According Forbes, Dell has flip-flopped [] on the issue - again.

Now apparently the story is that they *are* installing the OS and shipping the systems on behalf of Questar.

Re:Dell can't make up their mind what the deal is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686092)

If you place a big enough order from Dell, they'll install whatever disk image you give them. The point is that Dell isn't sticking it's neck out here.

No partnership (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9685985)

Dell is not testing the water. Dell is not shipping Linux PCs. Questar is not a Dell partner.

All that is happening is that Questar is buying Dell PCs at full sticker value just like anybody else and sticking Linux on it. No story here folks, time to move on.

Dell refuted this last week ! (3, Informative)

johnhennessy (94737) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685998)

I thought Dell distanced themselves from this last week, claiming that third parties can load whatever OS they want onto their hardware.

This WOULD be news if Dell was offering Linux support along their Windows support, but a third party that buys a Dimension/Optiplex and sells it with Linux really isn't ground breaking news.

Comment of OS? (1)

amitupadhyay7 (523531) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686003)

"We know the hardware vendor, but can anyone comment on the choice of OS?"

Yes I can. It is linux.

Do They WANT To Fail? (1, Insightful)

bfg9000 (726447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686015)

... I've tried L'Inspire (apparently some sort of French Linux distro) when my buddy bought it. It was nice, in a mindless sort of way, but within a week of using it I formatted my HD and reinstalled Debian. The stupid limitations of Linspire got irritating real fast. If Dell's testing the waters, they won't get an accurate result using Linspire, because Linux geeks will be the first to buy a Linux CD when offered the choice of Win vs. Lin. Only later will regular users start to choose Linux.

Maybe Dell WANTS to fail, to justify future lack of Linux support. Because I can't see this being successful. Especially because they will undoubtedly have various devices that don't run under Linux -- modem, wireless card, etc. Until the hardware is 100% supported, Linux won't make inroads with the common man. And until they ditch Linspire, they won't make inroads with geeks.

Paranoia mode (3, Insightful)

vectrex (16314) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686022)

1) Dell is friend with Microsoft
2) Microsoft has some serious security issues
3) Microsoft has no clear "target" to say, "hey Linux too has security issues"
4) Microsoft ask Dell to start shipping Linux
5) ...but make sure they use a really lame, unsecure distro (everyone is root!)
6) Microsoft steathly release an exploit/virus/whatever that target Dell's Linux machines
7) voila! Bingo! Next on CNN, "Linux is target of a mass viral infection! Microsoft has the solution!"
8) A page show up on talking about how Linux is bad, etc...

Really, it makes sense...

OK, I'll put back my foil hat now. Kthxbye.

After using mine I felt like (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686023)

this man [] .

Maybe Xandros? (1)

AstroDrabb (534369) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686034)

Maybe they should use Xandros [] ? It is just as easy to use as Linspire and they also have a business desktop with a desktop management server to make for easy deployment and management. SuSE/Novell may also be a good option if they come out with some type of management for easier deployment. While Red Hat has a great server, they have no real integration for management or deployment of business desktops, so I don't think they are a good option for the enterprise right now.

Trying too hard to cross-market (1)

TheTXLibra (781128) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686037)

Personally, I think they're trying too hard to cross-market. If they would just release a line of machines with actual LINUX/UNIX on it, rather than something vageuly LINUX powered but Windows-shaped, they might actually do a lot better.

My problem with Linspire is that it attempts to cater to people too stupid or lazy to learn how to use Linux, but want to show off how anti-Microsoft they are by not buying a Windows OS. Now, this may not be the case, it could just be my perception, but it seems that if someone is going to use an entirely GUI-based OS, they should stick with Mac or Windows and accept it.

Now, me personally, I'm a Windows user. Not because I'm too stupid to use Linux (in fact, I used to do tech support for it), but because my career depends on their support, and using it at home keeps me current in the field. But after years of supporting users who have inadvertantly screwed up their system by clicking the wrong things at the wrong times, I really respect Linux for the mere fact that you CAN'T screw it up unless you know what you're doing. It seems like Linspire is just going to add this problem to Linux when it doesn't need to be there.

Dell still sells Linux (1)

grunt107 (739510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686041)

Although hidden under the 'small business' banner, and never on the cheapest PCs, DellPrecision 450n/650n offers RH workstation rlse v.3. It seems Dell's bargain w/MS was to not directly market consumer grade PCs (yet).

Round #2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686047)

This is the second time Dell has attempted to sell consumer desktops with Linux. The first run failed miserably from a sales standpoint. I doubt this one will do that much better, but at least they chose a more appropriate market.

RedHat Missed Opportunity (1)

mslinux (570958) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686051)

If RH hadn't dropped "RHL" in order to "focus on the enterprise", they'd be in a position to make tons of money with hardware partners such as Dell just like Microsoft does!!!I rant about RHL being EOL'ed constantly, but I still can't believe they did it. It will go down as the single most stupid OSS managment decision of all time. RH had mindshare, they had the grassroot Linux movement... hell they were Linux in the USA. They threw all of that out the window.

Dell Has Been Offering Linux For Ages (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686066)

The last time I bought a server and workstations from Dell, I asked for a quote with Windows and with Linux. Linux was more expensive. I asked the salesman why. He said, "Because Linux is more expensive than Windows." You can get Linux for nothing. He wouldn't sell the machines to me without an OS, "because of their agreement with Microsoft." I retorted that the agreement was not legal, and had been ruled as such in court. He replied, "Oh yes it is. I used to work for Microsoft."

Re:Dell Has Been Offering Linux For Ages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686114)

Get an OEM quote from Microsoft and RedHat, and see who is cheaper....

Also, Dell has worked around their MS agreement by selling "FreeDOS" (really bare) machines. If you think the agreement is illegal, take it to the judge.

Im not so sure (2, Informative)

jford235 (677581) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686068)

whats so great/new about this. You can get OS-less PowerEdge 400SC [] starting around $250(with instant and send-in rebates).

Why post false news, /. editors? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686078)

Dell isn't offering Linspire preloaded. It is the European company Questar who is doing so, after purchasing os-less Dell machines.

Linspire (2, Informative)

rogerborn (236155) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686081)

I switched from Windows to Linspire and it is a good change for me. It works like Windows, but it seems to have a lot more features than Windows did.

I lost a lot though. No more unannounced updates by M$. No more virii attacks. No more trojans that take over my computer and trash my workday.

I am a writer, so I used Office, plus I used Photoshop and ran a website, cut CDs for my music, etc. - all the standard stuff most people use.

Linspire had a matching free app for all that I do, and it came loaded with the distro, which was a painless install. I could even access all my old data files.

I would never go back again, and why should I have to? All my documents are compatible with M$ files and the clients I work with cannot tell the difference. I can. I have a lot more free time since I don't continually have to muck with my computer because of Windows!

Linspire is my first encounter with Linux. I hear it isn't even the best version, but I am completely happy with it.

Roger Born

Re:Linspire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686195)

Fuck mang your site fucking hurts to look at - if things are so much better and you have more free time why don't you fix your shit.

Why not Red Hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686084)

I was kind of disappointed when Dell announced these machines - I'm hoping that they'll move to a better distro in time. Fact is I, like lots of people who run small businesses, use Dell hardware because it is pretty good, pretty cheap, and the after care is excellent. However getting Linux working on said hardware is generally a pain in the proverbial. The weird thing about the choice of Linspire/Lindows/Lin--- is that Dell had been quietly supporting Red Hat on their machines for ages []

Lindows/Linspire is a good choice for end users (1)

stm2 (141831) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686085)

Lindows has Click'n Run that let users install Linux programs without recompile, without dependency issues and all under a nice GUI.

This story is total BS (4, Informative)

Brian Blessed (258910) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686119)

It seemed obvious that something was wrong with this story the first time it was discussed on /. because there were no links to Dell.

The Register confirms that this move has little to do with Dell: estar/ []

- Brian.

Dell better pull their weight (3, Funny)

Himring (646324) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686120)

They need to get back on track and help contribute to that 1 billion windows installs. We'll never make that 2010 deadline if they keep this shit up....

/. users can be hypocrites (3, Insightful)

DarkMavis (767874) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686133)

I'd like to know how many /. users have acutally used Linspire/Lindows. It seems to me that there is a large negative cloud that follows this distribution but the cloud isn't substantiated by actual use. The main negative issue that seems to always come up is the "runs as root" issue. Well, that's been resolved. When you first log in, you can choose to create a user other than root. Plus, look at the bigger picture. Linspire is designed with the END USER in mind. Not your typical linux user who likes to re-install their system frequently or likes to wrestle with dependencies when installing applications. I've been using Linspire since last November. It hasn't been perfect but I'll tell you, it's been the best linux distro I've ever used. The combination of a Dell system and an easy-to-use DESKTOP linux distribution is win-win. Heck, any PC being sold with linux preloaded is a win for the open source community. Remember, it's not a competition between linux distros, it's a competition between Linux, MacOS, and MS Windows.

Feedback loops (2, Interesting)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686147)

Loop 1
1. Microsoft selected which OEM makers would be allowed steep discounts on its bundled software for about the last decade.
2. This pruned the small, Mom & Pop OEMs, speeding up the process of a few bigger industry members becoming dominant.
3. Even though Microsoft generally did business with all the remaining larger OEMs, raising the threshold startup costs for new competitors entering the market made the competition one limited to the existing ones, which helped trigger and speed up the OEM shakedown that has left Dell in a dominant position.
4. Dell, being number 1, becomes powerful enough to push back at Microsoft, at least a little.
5. Micosoft profits fall as they have to cut a better deal with Dell.

Loop 2
1. Microsoft delays production of Longhorn and other software repeatedly.
2. Newer, faster computers not needed to run newer, bigger programs.
3. Industy wide OEM sales become sluggish, Dell doesn't have the profit margin to push very hard at Microsoft, but Microsoft can't afford to gouge Dell with the whole industry tepid.
4. If Microsoft succeeds in selling bigger, shinyier software that raises OEM sales numbers, Dell gains more power to break away. If Microsoft fails, Dell sales become flat, with no margin to be shaved off to increase MS profits.

Marketing opportunity? (5, Interesting)

travail_jgd (80602) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686164)

I think the first big vendor[1] to properly commit to shipping Linux-based systems has the opportunity to make a killing.

Anyone can sell a cheap x86 box (Windows or Linux) to Joe Sixpack.

The first big vendor that offers a complete Linux system can really rack up the profits. By system I mean modem, networking, scanner and printer. The vendor would be in a position to (somewhat) honestly claim "if you don't buy from us, good luck getting it to work." Reinvest the MS-tax in Crossover Office, so they can advertise compatibility with Office, Photoshop, etc[2].

[1] Big == national, with an advertising budget to reach non-geeks.

[2] Having Office compatibility makes switching to Linux easier to swallow for Joe Sixpack -- even if he never uses it.

savings? (1)

Chuck Bucket (142633) | more than 10 years ago | (#9686184)

While not the only thing to consider, is a similarly equip'd system cheaper than one with XP on it? I'm just wondering what 'value' joe user will see when considering Linux. Unfortuantely a cheaper price will need to lead the way.

Additionally if you can order boxen with Linux, then you SHOULD be allow to order 'naked' boxen from Dell, with no OS present. Currently you CAN do this, but only through their 'small business' section.

That's how I'd like to do it, but if I have to get Linspire on it, that'd be fine, I'd just need to do a fresh Slackware install once the box was in my hands.


I bet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9686216)

I bet this is a ploy by Dell to obtain more favourable terms for its OEM licenses from Microsoft.

One can expect them to drop Linux again in a few weeks once they have been to Redmond to have a personal talk with Bill and Steve

(you know MS dont want to loose one of their biggest resellers)
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