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355 comments

OK, I'll float the cynical questions (5, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816206)

Is there a Majority Shareholder keeping Linux support at the lip service level?
Or, do Dell's executives own Massive Stacks of certain stock?
Maybe Somebody would be Mighty Sore at Mr. Dell if he Mustered Sufficient courage to Make Significant choice available to people.
Ah, Monopolistic Speculation: gotta love it.

Re:OK, I'll float the cynical questions (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816246)

Many Salespeople get commissions based on the cost of what they sell. Maximize Software cost is the operative principle here.

Re:OK, I'll float the cynical questions (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816487)

It is about the mighty dollar!
Support is costly. It is cheaper and easier to support the most popular OS than to support two. They don't want the expense of support Linux.

Re:OK, I'll float the cynical questions (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816290)

What is this an Emerald Nuts commercial or something?

Re:OK, I'll float the cynical questions (1)

dtsazza (956120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816296)

Could you, perchance, be referring to the part of TFA which says:
At least one partner, Tangent Inc. [tangent.com] , an OEM based in Burlingame, Calif., has come right out and said that Microsoft charges exorbitant fees from OEMs [thechannelinsider.com] , distributors, and resellers for its operating system licenses.

Do you know what else Tangent claims? That Microsoft entered into restrictive agreements with OEMs and system builders that limit or eliminate their ability to feature non-Microsoft products. The company filed an antitrust lawsuit in US District Court Feb. 14 against Microsoft, alleging anticompetitive behavior in several areas (digital rights management (DRM), server software, and others). Hmmm ...
Hmmm indeed.

Re:OK, I'll float the cynical questions (0)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816297)

They Might hear you! Shhhhh!

Re:OK, I'll float the cynical questions (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816417)

MS Pac.Man , May Say about that , gobbling up all the pac-dots(in Marketing Shares) .

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816478)

VERY gay First Post. Get in as quickly as possible and get your moment of fame.
 
Please moderators, if you are decent people, you will mod me up and mod parent down. Thank you for your lovely consideration.
--AC

Re:OK, I'll float the cynical questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816720)

In all seriousness MS doesn't have as much pull at Dell as it used to. The ONLY place where it dominates is the desktop, all other /. articles to the contrary, linux has been selling well in the server room.

Why Dell won't market its linux desktop is obvious, they don't want to support it. As it stands if your Dell PC won't boot to Windows, Dell customer support will work with you on the issue and work MS if that is where the problem lies. They don't want to do that for Linux too. In fact it is identically the same reason that they won't use AMD.

Until AMD or Linux become so dominant in the marketplace, on their own, you won't see Dell supporting them. It's not necessarily corrupt, it's just business.

DELL IS KOREA (1)

BisexualPuppy (914772) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816207)

yes it is, indeed.

Support (1)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816214)

I bet they don't want to be responsible for any sort of support. Like someone calling and asking how to get their scanner to work.

Re:Support (0, Flamebait)

Gammage (957807) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816333)

I do not think this is an issue. Dell makes a ridiculous amount of margin off of its service. Component manufacturers have 3 years on their parts and the representatives that do the troubleshooting are all in India. Dell is an imatator. They will wait until a competator will pave the road for new technology then do the same thing cheaper. So, marketing a product that isn't proven on the grand-scale already will never happen as long as Dell has the business plan that they do.

Why not? (1)

bradleyland (798918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816547)

Why not? It can't be that hard to train technicians on how to remove temporary internet files and delete cookies in Linux.

Re:Why not? (1)

Bohiti (315707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816764)

Mod parent +100 funny. Well done, sir.

Re:Support (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816743)

I hear this canard very often. Yes, it's true that sometimes it can be a pain in the arse to get a scanner working under Linux. On the other hand, getting same scanner to work with Windows is not exactly a barefoot frolic in a summery meadow either.

Windows scanner software tends in my experience to be buggy, crash-prone and awkward to use. Even the TWAIN drivers, which should allow you to scan straight into your favourite graphics editor transparently, are prone to memory leaks. The installation CDs violate pristine systems with time-limited trials of expensive proprietary software.

At least, that is my experience with cheap scanners. I recently acquired a HP PSC750 combined printer, scanner and copier {not the world's most expensive machine perhaps, but no cornflake-packet giveaway either} for nothing, from a user who was having trouble {which I immediately diagnosed as an ID10T error} with it. One quick apt-get install hpoj later, I had the thing working.

Re:Support (1)

OneSeventeen (867010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816749)

After fighting with my scanner in windows (couldn't find the CDs and the manufacturer's site was a bit wonky at the time), I decided to try a last resort. I plugged it into my linux laptop.

Immediately (no driver installation, no softare configuration) it was ready and able to scan.

Just like the computer industry did for Windows 15 years ago, they can do the same thing now, for Linux. Offering support is what people pay them for, so why shouldn't they? In fact, if a major PC manufacturer like that threw their weight behind linux, perhaps hardware manufacturers would wise up and start producing linux drivers as well.

Support. (5, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816217)

It's very simple. Support will be an absolute nightmare. The few hundred bucks per machine that they're charging over Windows doesn't come close to paying the bill of the support that the "average" computer users would need if they actually bought these things. They want to make sure that people who buy them REALLY want them and know how to use them, already.

Re:Support. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816234)

Yeah right. Install something like Ubuntu and your granny will use it happily to browse the web and read her email with no problems whatsoever.

Re:Support. (1)

iBod (534920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816624)

I think you're being rather patronising towards 'Grannies'.

Just because someone has grandchildren doesn't mean they don't know about computers (hell, some grandparents probably know much more about computers and OS's than anyone else).

I know a 'Granny' who's a pro. photographer and needs Photoshop (and other Win/Mac-only tools) for her work. How's she going to get by on Ubuntu?

Re:Support. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816253)

That's all well and good, but, they could have big disclaimers, call it a work machine, or just something other than trying to hush it up... It's hard to sell a product which your potential buyers don't know exists...

Re:Support. (1)

poeidon1 (767457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816310)

But do they support anything non-dell even on windows?

Re:Support. (0)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816328)

Of course not. I'm talking about just supporting the OS, itself.

Re:Support. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816383)

It's very simple.

It is.

Support will be an absolute nightmare.

And it's even simpler than that.

Money.

Re:Support. (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816502)

Does that really makes a difference [thisistrue.com] ? Is dell support for windows so great to start with? (you cannot get support from ms, you got to get it from dell!)

As for the money: paying MS or not paying MS(licnesefree os). What would be more profit?

Re:Support. (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816566)

Look, regardless of how good their support is, support costs money. It costs money to hire somebody, pay them, pay to train them, pay for the telephones, pay rent on the call center, pay for the power, pay for the toll-free call, etc. When I was a phone jockey at IBM, I remember being told at some point that a single call to IBM for support (on their Craptiva or Thinkpad lines) cost something along the lines of $100+. If somebody called in twice, IBM lost money on that particular machine. How difficult is it to understand that Linux is going to generate, what?, 2?, 3?, 10? times the number of support calls that Windows will, if they sold Linux to average people?

Re:Support. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816706)

Or, they could do a deal with an OS vendor to provide support for their OS. Like Mandrake or Novell maybe? Gee, Mandrake already has really good support . . . .

"Workstations" not "Desktops", you'll note (2, Insightful)

john-da-luthrun (876866) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816713)

I'm sure you're right that Dell is keen to gently discourage the "average" user from buying these Linux boxes. Just look at the descriptions on the linked page: they're described as "workstations" (message: not one for Mom and Pop), and have suitably intimidating subtitles ("Elite", "Performance", "Advanced").

Then there are the descriptions of "ideal owner": "Demanding, price-conscious users requiring the power of a workstation over a desktop for specialized tasks". Again, it's a "get lost, n00bs" message.

Re:Support. (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816760)

It's very simple. Support will be an absolute nightmare.

Not really. Dell's customer support currently has a "15 minutes then restore" policy. If the tech on the line cannot solve your problem in 15 minutes, then you are instructed to restore the PC to the "as shipped" state via an image on the hard disk or on CD.

That puts a fixed upper bound on their support costs, regardless of the operating system being sold. Dell does not have to provide "how to use" Linux support any more than Dell provides "how to use" Windows support.

"What's Linux?!" (1)

LeddRokkenstud (945664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816239)

"I don't want this computer, what's Linux. I want a computer with Office on it like I'm used to!" Plus, the Arabs would have no idea how to support Linux. Just not a good idea.

Don't Buy from Dell (2, Informative)

cyber_rigger (527103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816241)

There are plenty of other companies that sell Linux an no-OS machines. http://www.addonshop.com/ [addonshop.com] http://www.emperorlinux.com/ [emperorlinux.com] http://www.ibexpc.com/ [ibexpc.com] http://www.koobox.com/ [koobox.com] http://www.linare.com/ [linare.com] http://www.linspire.com/ [linspire.com] http://www.linuxcertified.com/ [linuxcertified.com] http://www.linuxsyscorp.com/ [linuxsyscorp.com] http://www.microtelpc.com/ [microtelpc.com] http://www.outpost.com/ [outpost.com] http://shoprcubed.com/ [shoprcubed.com] http://www.sub300.com/ [sub300.com] http://www.systemax.com/divisions.htm [systemax.com] http://www.walmart.com/ [walmart.com] http://tuxmobil.org/reseller.html [tuxmobil.org] http://www.us.debian.org/distrib/pre-installed [debian.org] http://www.linux.org/vendor/system/index.html [linux.org] http://tuxmobil.org/ [tuxmobil.org] (general information)

Re:Don't Buy from Dell (1)

dtsazza (956120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816264)

My eyes... you probably want to set your posting method to "Plain Old Text". Or user <br>s, or <ul>s.

But nice list, nonetheless.

Re:Don't Buy from Dell (1)

cyber_rigger (527103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816329)

My eyes... you probably want to set your posting method to "Plain Old Text".

Sorry, I realize that post was ugly
but Slashdot had some lame filter that said something like "too few words per line".

I had never seen that before.

Re:Don't Buy from Dell (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816688)

Here you go.

There are plenty of other companies that sell Linux an (sic) no-OS machines.

http://www.addonshop.com/ [addonshop.com]
http://www.emperorlinux.com/ [emperorlinux.com]
http://www.ibexpc.com/ [ibexpc.com]
http://www.koobox.com/ [koobox.com]
http://www.linare.com/ [linare.com]
http://www.linspire.com/ [linspire.com]
http://www.linuxcertified.com/ [linuxcertified.com]
http://www.linuxsyscorp.com/ [linuxsyscorp.com]
http://www.microtelpc.com/ [microtelpc.com]
http://www.outpost.com/ [outpost.com]
http://shoprcubed.com/ [shoprcubed.com]
http://www.sub300.com/ [sub300.com]
http://www.systemax.com/divisions.htm [systemax.com]
http://www.walmart.com/ [walmart.com]
http://tuxmobil.org/reseller.html [tuxmobil.org]
http://www.us.debian.org/distrib/pre-installed [debian.org]
http://www.linux.org/vendor/system/index.html [linux.org]
http://tuxmobil.org/ [tuxmobil.org] (general information)

Slashdot's lameness filter is actually pretty... well... lame. Defeating it is usually as easy as adding more text. You know, like this sentence. :-)

Re:Don't Buy from Dell (1)

StonedYoda47 (732257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816319)

Too bad no business will buy from any of those companies. You want a long warranty, customer support, shipping of replacement parts, all 24x7x365? Well that's what your boss and his boss want. If these places don't provide it you're SOL. Unless you're a very small company (50 people) or you have some great sway at your office. Nice list though.

Re:Don't Buy from Dell (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816428)

I'm sure randomcomputercompany.com offers 4 hour 24/7/365 onsite support.

But this is slashdot, ripping on Dell is cool. Here's a tip boys and girls: pay for good support and you'll get... good support. Crazy idea, I know. Ever use their Gold support? Here's a typical phone call.

1. Dial the US based number for Gold support. Very short hold times, if any.
2. Tell them the problem. Recent example: "The hard drive in one of the Optiplex GX620s that we just bought has failed. I ran the diagnostics and it reported the drive as bad."
3. They ask you for the service tag and may ask you to run the diagnostics again.
4. They offer to have someone there the next day.
5. You instead request that they just ship you a new HD. They say "ok" and overnight one to you.
6. You say bye. They say bye.

Re:Don't Buy from Dell (1)

theraptor05 (908452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816330)

True, but none of these fall into the category of a "major computer manufacturer". Dell does, and as one of the first major ones to have a Linux offering, you'd think that they'd say something about it, or at least confirm to a caller that it is available when directly asked.
The question is not "Where can I buy a prebuilt Linux system", because, as you point out, you can. The question is "Why when a large company invests resources into a Linux product line do they not only not actively promot it, but won't even confirm it's existance". That kind of behavious won't make sales, and is therefore extreamly odd for a buisness. Answer: "Unknown" outside forces are holding them back.

Re:Don't Buy from Dell (1)

cyber_rigger (527103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816364)

True, but none of these fall into the category of a "major computer manufacturer".

The thing to do there is to MAKE DELL'S COMPETITION a "major computer manufacturer".


That way you won't have to bother Dell.

Re:Don't Buy from Dell (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816392)

. That kind of behavious won't make sales, and is therefore extreamly odd for a buisness. Answer: "Unknown" outside forces are holding them back.

Wrong. It would be odd for a business not to want to make a PROFIT, not SALES. They wouldn't make a PROFIT selling these machines to people who have never seen Linux before. I (or any other business owner) could drop sales price below cost, and sales of any product would go through the roof. However, I'd also be bankrupt pretty quickly. Those "unknown outside forces" as you call it is simply PROFIT.

Re:Don't Buy from Dell (1)

theraptor05 (908452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816592)

Fair enough. Profit is the goal. Investing in a product line and then not selling it will not make a profit. So. Since they've already spent money setting this Linux line up, why not promote it?

Re:Don't Buy from Dell (1)

madman101 (571954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816674)

Very simple. The line is there because of requests from businesses that have already standardized on Linux. These people know Linux and support is minimal. Dell wants to take care of these customers. Dell doesn't want to sell Linux to newbies or businesses without support staff already trained in Linux. It would be a nightmare for them to support...

One Word! (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816249)

Retaliation!

Just for fun I tried http://www.dell.com/linux/ (3, Interesting)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816262)

Just for fun and to see if it existed, I tried http://www.dell.com/linux/ [dell.com] and it brought up a page full of information about Dell Linux products and information.

But it is interesting to note that on the http://www.dell.com/ [dell.com] page, there is nothing about Linux.
Maybe Dell could add a link to Linux on their root page? Just a thought.

Re:Just for fun I tried http://www.dell.com/linux/ (1)

Brobock (226116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816285)

It says Medium to Large Businesses, so this page does not necessarily target desktop or consumers. This is more of a "server" solution.

Re:Just for fun I tried http://www.dell.com/linux/ (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816390)

I'm not entirely sure who they're targeting with those machines. I mean did you look at the graphics options?

Re:Just for fun I tried http://www.dell.com/linux/ (1)

croddy (659025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816491)

the other one is http://linux.dell.com/ [dell.com] .

fair is- fair? (2, Insightful)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816501)

just for fun, show me where microsoft is mentioned on their root page?

Why publicise? (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816294)

At this point, it seems anyone who would care about Dell's Linux machines are nerds like us who already know, and are least likely to base a computer purchase off an ad anyway. Why would they spend money on promotion that would preach to a choir and go ignored by the masses?

Re:Why publicise? (1)

theraptor05 (908452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816349)

It's not just a matter of promotion. According to the article, they won't even acknowledge that it exists when asked.

Re:Why publicise? (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816369)

Heh, maybe they're just trying to weed out the non-elite. Perhaps there's a code word you need to use.

Re:Why publicise? (1)

Microsplat (957810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816388)

I agree. The only one's who care about linux are people who already know it, or the few newbies that are just starting. I wouldn't want a company like Dell to promote it anyways, cause if an ad campaign failed, NOBODY would touch it again. I like things the way they are....the cluefull take advantage of Linux, while the clueless spend, spend spend... :-) I couldn't imagine battling the spikey hairs here at work to switch to Linux. They fear change, cause people are lazy....which is really a catch 22, cause if we were running Linux, it would be less work.

Novell Connection (2, Interesting)

brickballs (839527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816308)

Novell puts out a monthly (free) magazine called Novell Connection [novell.com] . I just got the latest issue a few days ago and I do remember noticing a Dell / Linux Advertisement on the back cover.

Definition of a "workstation" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816337)

A desktop that sells for more than a certain amount of money. At one time the borderline was about $5000. Nowadays, it is about $1000.

Just like a used luxury car becomes "pre-owned."

Let's get with the program and remember to wear your tux when ordering.

HP dx5150 (1)

sci50514 (722502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816344)

HP DX5150 series officially supports SUSE Linux and is available with AMD chips. Very nice computer. I am standardizing on this model for my office. Dell is terrible. The Dell's are failing left and right and their entreprise support is not like it used to be.

Dell is not stupid. (1)

Oz0ne (13272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816356)

Dell is out to make a profit. There is no money in selling Linux desktops.

Let me clarify that. The amount of profit/marketshare in selling Linux desktops is far outweighed by the cost of promoting them. It is a stupid business move to spend advertising resources snubbing one of your biggest business partners (Microsoft.) It is a stupid business move to spend millions advertising a free product that will not help you move yours. It is a stupid business move to introduce a factor into your business which will exponentially increase the number of support/service requests that you are neither prepared or willing to support (because people will call out of ignorance.)

Re:Dell is not stupid. (1)

jeffkinney (443264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816386)

I priced-out a DELL 380 workstation equipped identically with the exception of Windows XP Pro. Interestingly, the Windows equipped PC was $8 more.

Re:Dell is not stupid. (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816579)



Was that Win XP home up to Pro for $8?

or No operating system / Linux up to Win XP Pro for $8 ...?..

it its the latter.. wow. I really thought dell could push the cost down of there lowest PC's down if they ditched Windows.. but for an extra 8 bucks, no wonder no one changes.

Re:Dell is not stupid. (1)

cyber_rigger (527103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816407)


The amount of profit/marketshare in selling Linux desktops is far outweighed by the cost of promoting them.

Make a small link on their homepage.

How much could that cost?

Because (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816365)

Microsoft told them to

//+1 concise?

In the year 2000... (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816378)

I bravely predict that Ubuntu Dapper Drake will be milestone in GNU/Linux desktop accaptance (including OEMs, like Dell) just like Firefox was in the browser world. For the last two years Linux gained stability and "final touch" that user need, but it is still missing "something" big, that would compensate to end users for huge task of switching OS platform. I think that combination of Beagle maturity, XGL coolness and Eclipse for power users might be just that "something".

Silly question..... (3, Interesting)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816394)

Everyone knows you can't try to make logical conjectures from anything Dell does.

Why doesn't someone tell me why Dell screws my company out of hundreds of thousands of dollars each year selling them overpriced server equipment? Or why the Dell reps attempt to bribe our IT department with cash and free laptops if they'll continue to purchase only Dell equipment.

Or howabout why our Dell contract reads that installing any non-dell equipment on our network violates our warranties? Or how we can't put non-dell ram into our desktop machines, even when Dell has no ram available to sell us.

Dell can go fuck itself. It makes all its money by ripping off companies, bribing those that do know better and lying to those that don't. Not to mention the shit hardware they deliver...

Go ahead and order 10 identical desktops from Dell. You'll get 10 boxes that look identical on the outside, but you'll be pleasantly surprised to find they've got 10 different motherboards and ram configurations in them. This is AWESOME for imaging disks! fuck dell.

To make it more personal I'll mention that my company is one of the largest fast food chains in America, so depending on how you look at it, Dell is directly responsible for high priced fast food. Revolt!

Re:Silly question..... (1)

Dr. Zowie (109983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816420)

Why doesn't someone tell me why Dell screws my company out of hundreds of thousands of dollars each year selling them overpriced server equipment?
Because they can.

Re:Silly question..... (1)

BVis (267028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816628)

Because they can.
Not only "can", but "must". Publicly held company, legal responsibility to maximize profits, etc.

Your company getting ripped off is just another symptom of a culture-wide problem: once a company goes public (Google notwithstanding, because they've established 1) they don't give a flying fig about the stock price, and 2) their shares are distributed in such a way that a shareholder revolt is both unlikely and difficult), the focus goes from "How can we build customer relationships that will be worth far more money in the long run" to "How can we take this company for all they're worth right now, so our stock price stays high?" This problem also takes the effectiveness out of switching vendors because of this behavior; they ALL do this because they HAVE to to stay "competitive". (IMHO an alternative way to stay "competitive" is to not pay CEOs who have driven the company into the ground eight-figure golden parachutes. Yes, Carly, I'm looking at you.)

Maybe 'cause Linux isn't ready for the desktop... (2, Interesting)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816397)

Look, I like Linux in a lot of ways. It's definitely a great server OS. And the desktops have come along way. I love seeing the progress and I love playing with them. But given a choice, despite all my frustrations with Windows, I simply find Windows easier to use in a number of ways.

It doesn't matter which version of Windows you run (okay, not necessarily with '95, '98 or something even more ancient) you can install the same .exe file and run it. On the other hand, with Linux, you usually have to get the executeable for your specific CPU if not your CPU and flavor of Linux. Or, God forbid, you actually have to download the source and build it yourself, which has happened with me with a number of apps because I simply couldn't get the package to install for some reason or another (maybe I couldn't find one of its dependent packages or I couldn't install one of the dependent packages). Installing apps in Linux, especially the less popular ones, can be a very trying experience.

Just to give a single example, something as simple as a CPU temp monitoring app, turned out to be a nightmare. I spent 3 days trying to get a couple of them installed. Never managed to pull it off, despite passing tons of messages back and forth on linuxforums.org

There are other things about Linux that simply aren't ready as well. On the other hand, there are areas where Linux has excelled beyond Windows, and that's terrific, but I generally see the failings in being the areas that affect your non-tech users. Ease of use, ease of finding apps, ease of installing said apps.

These issues need to be addressed and I have no doubt they will be. MS, for all of their faults, have done a pretty good job of making stuff easy to use. It comes, in part, from spending a great deal of time and money doing usability testing of their software.

Another failing in Linux is that, a lot of apps aren't terribly easy to use. Many Linux developers, especially for smaller apps, still have a tendency to focus on command-line apps. MPlayer, for example: An app for watching movies, is command-line. That makes no sense to me. Sure, I can get a front-end for it, but why don't they just include one so I don't go have to find one that: A> I can manage to get installed and B> That doesn't suck? Command-line should be the secondary method, not the primary method.

Most non-tech users don't even know Windows has a command line. They don't need to know. That's a good thing.

Re:Maybe 'cause Linux isn't ready for the desktop. (1)

Dr. Zowie (109983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816511)

Bute given a choice, despite all my frustrations with Windows, I simply find Windows easier to use in a number of ways
.

It's true -- Windows is definitely easier to use. The network transparency makes it really good -- I can fire up an xload on my remote machines and see how they're doing, or even tunnel my Windows connection over SSH for complete security. Oh, wait, you don't mean X Windows?

In seriousness, reading your complaint I think that you may simply be trying the wrong technique. You shouldn't be trying to install novel apps yourself, that is for hobbyists and tinkerers only. You should be using prepackaged user-friendly distros like Mandrake or Fedora, that have nice GUI installers. For a non-command-line movie player, don't use MPlayer -- use Xine, which way doesn't suck.

This is probably the biggest problem facing those who would adopt Linux: there is such a huge morass of options it's hard to tell which path is the easy one.

Re:Maybe 'cause Linux isn't ready for the desktop. (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816531)

Your comment on "cpu flavours" is kinda moot. There are versions of Windows for non-x86 and I can certainly build SSE3 applications that won't run on your Athlon XP etc, etc.

The fact that Linux can (and largely does) work on non-x86 platforms is not a bad thing. I've yet to find a significant problem installing any random application... of course gentoo builds from source for me.

As for the hardware sensors... on non-intel motherboards lm-sensors *usually* works. You can thank non-standard hardware vendors for that one though. In this day and age there should be a trivial serial protocol for reading temps/fan speeds/etc that all motherboards adhere to uniformly. That isn't a Linux problem just your hardware sucks.

Imagine if in the 80s and 90s each vendor had their own take on UARTs. Yes, there were some variations but more often than not a RS-232 device "just worked". Because of that many devices were created that extended the computer era. E.g. modems, mice, printers, plotters, joysticks, primitive networking :-), etc, etc, etc.

If you had to buy a modem for your Compaq computer and then later it didn't work in your whitebox that would be pretty useless now wouldn't it?

So why is it now that we put up with vendors who clearly don't implement anything remotely approaching standard? Why can't they agree on some uniform base for things like sound cards, graphics and sensors? ...

Tom

Re:Maybe 'cause Linux isn't ready for the desktop. (2, Insightful)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816739)

>> Ease of use, ease of finding apps, ease of installing said apps

I really have to say, install Ubuntu, enable Universe and Multiverse and fire up Synaptic, then come back here and say that ;)

Plus the fact that 99% of drivers come pre-installed.

There are still areas that are unnecessarily difficult I'll grant you. Multimedia configuration for a start, but I've now reached the point where if someone I'm going to have to support, my parents for example, wants a new OS, I'll try to move them to Linux. Once it's set up right I think it'll work much better for them.

This of course assumes the apps are available, but tbh for most PC users I think they are. Open Office 2 is dandy, Firefox, Thunderbird or Evolution, media players, PDF viewers, instant messaging and so on and so on, it's all there.

Plus, as a Gnome user, I personally now find most of the apps I use to be far superior in terms of interface to the equivilent Windows apps.

It still has to catch up in some areas, but I think Linux has already overtaken Windows in many areas, and yes I do mean for the desktop user.

Re:Maybe 'cause Linux isn't ready for the desktop. (1)

PeteDotNu (689884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816752)

"Just to give a single example, something as simple as a CPU temp monitoring app, turned out to be a nightmare."

Funny. I just did sudo apt-get install mbmon

Maybe they don't want to explain the prices.... (1)

Dr. Blue (63477) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816403)

The pricing on these systems is really strange. Do this: Go to the Dell Linux workstations link in the article. There are three systems there. Now navigate back to the small business Dell Precision desktop workstations, and you'll find an almost identical page, with the same three workstations, but with Windows XP Pro installed. How much do you have to pay for Windows -- or rather, how much do you save by getting a Linux workstation? Nothing! Two of the three systems are exactly the same price regardless of whether you get the Linux or the Windows version. The other system is actually a few dollars cheaper with Windows XP.

Now how can that make sense? And why would anyone buy a Linux workstation from Dell if they're paying the "Microsoft tax" anyway?

Re:Maybe they don't want to explain the prices.... (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816446)

They don't need to explain the prices, because anybody with have a brain knows that there's more to the price than the physical cost of the components. Had you though before you posted, you would have realized that SUPPORT is a cost for them, and that SUPPORT would cost much, much more with every Linux based system that they sell. Jeez, I know that most of you computer dorks aren't business people, but isn't this just common sense?

Thanks! (1)

Tony (765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816716)

. . . SUPPORT would cost much, much more with every Linux based system that they sell.

Thanks for all the proof you provide to support this claim. I've been wondering when someone would just stop spouting "support costs more!" gibberish and provide some evidence that it does.

Re:Maybe they don't want to explain the prices.... (2, Informative)

bellers (254327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816452)

They cost the same because RedHat Enterprise WS is not a free-as-in-beer product.

You get 3 years of RH support with Enterprise WS, and you pay for it. the pricing is about $180 for the OEM copy of RHEL WS, which is about similar to the OEM price for XP Pro.

Just because it's linux doesnt mean it's always cheaper.

First and foremost these are not consumer machines (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816408)

From the article they seem to be workstations. So why promote them in the same way they promote consumer machines? First and foremost Dell is a brand name as much as anything, and their goal is to give their customers similiar experiences regardless of which Dell consumer grade machine they buy. And part of that experience includes Windows.
However, businesses are a different story. For the most part(cue cynics) you are going to have people who know what they need and will go straight for it. Why should Dell spend a lot of money with "promotions" that won't mean anything to their target audience?
It's nice that Dell is selling Linux machines, but lets not pretend this represents any sort of great ideological shift at the Dell corporation.....

Re:First and foremost these are not consumer machi (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816625)

I agree and I would also like to add that the majority of the people buying a Dell are buying it for a couple of specific uses... Writing email - ok, Linux can do that.

Surfing the web - yep, Linux can do that too

Running Turbo Tax - There is some open source tax software out there but the people buying a Dell aren't going to go out and search for it much less understand how to install it. Also, personally I would not trust any of them with my finances.



Microsoft Word - Most people don't know there are other word processesors in existence!

The majority of people who buy a Dell are not the technical savvy. Sure, there are some - probably a lot who are, but Dell's cheaper PCs are targeted at the people who know nothing about computers - that's why Dell has so many advertisements stating you don't have to know anything about computers, they will walk you through the decision making process.

Re:First and foremost these are not consumer machi (1)

Jason Hood (721277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816679)

For at least a year (that i can verify), Dell has offered linux preinstalled on their entire Precision line. Use the customize option, build a machine (via the wizard, not the combos) and you will see. I have one sitting on my desk, this is nothing new. What they do not do is make a big deal out of it.

I am sure their linux desktop sales are less than 5% of their annual sales and thus not important enough to pay attention to. Wait 12-18 months, until udev/hal/dbus/*DEs are polished, the vista hype has subsuisded and then Linux will honestly be a viable option, and thus worth advertising for.

promote linux? to whom? (1)

nbuet (944469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816415)

I think that people at dell are having a hard time to find out who could be interested in a linux desktop. Basically, from the mob point of view, linux has only "mee too" features. So why bothering?
My opinion is that the eubuntu project is reallay going in the right direction: if you are considering an os education purposes, then this one was made for you, and you must check it before taking a wondows/mac/linux decision! Only very specific targets should be adressed. Some examples:
* Distro for the very young ones (simple interface, nice educational games...)
* Distro for the elder ones (no configuration, only net, chat, voiIP and letters)
* ...
Then linux could make a difference.

Re:promote linux? to whom? (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816541)

A normal Linux distro has tools easily at hand a Windows user can only dream about. Not to mention how happy people would be if they actually could use their new computer instead of babysitting it against viruses, worms and spyware. Obviously there are a demand for Linux computers and the its pretty strange none of the bigger players tap this market. Sooner or later a new player will emerge that will capture that market.

Perhaps because they COST MORE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816423)

Comparably outfitted n series optiplex's and precision workstations both come out equal, or slightly MORE expensive than their windows laden counterparts. Why bother buying it with pre-installed linux, or some crappy freedos disks when I can just reformat the harddrive and put linux on anyway?

Dell would not need costly Linux support (1)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816427)

Many people have suggested that Dell are maintaining a low-key Linux offering because otherwise it would cost them a lot of money in after-sales support. This really isn't so, the cost of support can be extremely small and still provide a very effective level of service.

Dell would need to do only two things, at minimum cost:

  1. Install a bog-standard release from one of the Linux big boys, like RedHat or SuSE. And, very very importantly, DO NOT CUSTOMIZE IT. At most, supply loadable binary modules for any hardware that isn't standard, and that's all.

  2. Provide server space on one of their boxes for an official but community-run wiki, and keep it well fed with PDFs and specs and other raw data. Place a nice prominent link to RedHat/SuSE/whichever on the front page.

When your Linux isn't customized, everything in the original distro applies, so customers would be served perfectly adequately by generic documentation on the net.

And the community is more than happy to run its own support sites, especially when they are friendly wikis that are easy to update and the server is paid for by a patron.

Re:Dell would not need costly Linux support (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816498)

Provide server space on one of their boxes for an official but community-run wiki, and keep it well fed with PDFs and specs and other raw data. Place a nice prominent link to RedHat/SuSE/whichever on the front page.

I buy a nice, new machine. I have problems. I'm sure as hell not going to spend my time going to some silly wiki. I'm calling the company, and speaking to a real person.

Same - Same (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816447)

The interesting thing to me is that the Linux version [dell.com] costs the same as the identical Windows version. [dell.com] In past Linux system offerings from Dell, the Linux system was actually more expensive than the Windows system!

Why should they have to? (1, Troll)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816463)

There are plenty of rational reasons why they might not want to advertise it to the mainstream and just leave it to those (geeks) who are looking for it (IE: support is a bitch to grandma who bought the wrong scanner). But I'll give you one better: why should they have to?

They are a company. They can do the hell they want with their products. Michael Dell is making more money than you are, is making more people more money than you are, is making more people more money than any other hardware manufacturer to date, let him play his game. As mentioned in the paragraph prior I see at least 1 damn good reason to do so. Its his company, let him do what he wants with it. His right to do what he wants with his company supercedes your right to see the word "linux" on the front page of dell.com.

Re:Why should they have to? (3, Interesting)

Tony (765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816671)

They are a company. They can do the hell they want with their products.

Damned straight.

And we are customers, and we have demands. We have the right to demand what we want, just as they have the right to refuse us. That doesn't mean we can't write articles detailing how coy Dell is being with their Linux desktops. We can write whatever the hell we like, especially if it's the truth.

They are a company. One would hope they listen to their customers, try to keep their customers satisfied. I would further hope that people with money to spend would demand the things they want, as loudly and publicly as possible.

His right to do what he wants with his company supercedes your right to see the word "linux" on the front page of dell.com.

That doesn't mean we don't have a right to demand it.

You seem to advocate quiet, sheep-like customers. I advocate just the opposite: demanding, loud, annoying customers. Demand Linux on the first page! Demand we don't pay a Microsoft tax! Demand we get what we want to get!

Let Mike Dell do whatever he wants with those demands. That's his company's right. But don't try to silence the customer. It's not called "supply and demand" for nothing.

Vendor recommends that you have no choice (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816464)

I've never understood the stupid "xyz vendor recommends Windows XP" campaign. It's not as if desktop users have much of a choice when they buy their Windows XP desktop. What's there to recommend to the user? By the time they have their machine... they have no say in the matter!

Vendor lock-in (2, Informative)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816616)

Simple. It is all about locking-in the computer vendors to Microsoft.

Microsoft says to the vendor, "If you will put this 'We recommend Microsoft Windows' line in ALL of our advertising, we will pay you $$$ out of our advertising budget." The amount paid is large - large enough to pay for a good chunk of the vendor's advertising.

However, the catch is that ALL ADS, bar none, must have this logo. So even is what is being sold is a Linux server, the "We recommend Microsoft" has to appear. Also, the vendor is STRONGLY discouraged from advertising anything else - they cannot, for example, say "We recommend Microsoft Vista or RedHat Enterprise Linux" (emphasis mine).

So, vendors like Dell receive very large sums of money for those blurbs.

In short, it is a way around the banned practice of "per CPU license fees" that Microsoft used to do before the anti-trust decisions.

Dell doesn't matter (1)

pigs,3different1s (949056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816484)

Any business savvy enough to know the benefits of using Linux as their OS of choice, is also going to be savvy enough to buy decent hardware. Well, that leaves Dell out. Why? Because Dell chose not to have an AMD option.

I suspect that most potential Linux users ask this question:
Which OS gives the user the biggest bang for the buck?

And those same people are probably going to ask this question:
Which CPU gives the user the biggest bang for the buck?

Here's why. (1)

xdroop (4039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816513)

  1. The Microsoft argument, made in the article, is tired and probably has some basis in truth. And while there is an additional cost for the end user to deal with a Microsoft Tax, since all vendors force you to pay it, it becomes part of the built-in price of the computer; and as long as that price is still both lower than people are willing to pay and high enough that the vendors can make a profit on it, the makeup of the pricing for the components will continue to be irrelevant.
  2. Linux is free. If you want it, you can get it.
  3. Linux attracts the technical. Odds are no matter what distro(s) are offered, some rabid fanbois of other distros will be unhappy.
  4. Linux attracts the technical, who tend to have specific ideas of how their systems should be partitioned and set up. (I know the first thing I do with any box I get, Sun or Linux or Windows or whatever, is to do the OS install the way I want it done.) Tie this together with #2 and #3, and there is a very low likelyhood that any initial Linux install would survive shipping; therefore there is no perceived added value to the customer in preconfiguring and preinstalling the OS, and therefore no business case for spending additional resources making it happen.
I now stand back and await a detailed explanation as to why I am completely wrong.

About the dell screwing companies for over priced (1)

majortom1981 (949402) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816515)

With my experience with dells servers they are extremely reliable. Even if a server part broke down. The part got shipped next day . If I was a business and depended on my servers I would pay more to have them reliable.

They could start by offering laptops with NO OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816530)

Why is NO OPERATING SYSTEM INSTALLED not a choice when you buy one of their laptops?

Clearly, that would include no software support either.

Why do we have to continue to pay the Microsoft Tax on laptops?

Re:They could start by offering laptops with NO OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816699)

If you don't like their business practices purchase a laptop from another manufacturer that does give you the option to purchase without an OS. Failing that, I'm sure a company like Quanta will gladly custom manufacture a laptop for you.

Been wondering for years.. (2, Insightful)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816549)

the knee jerk response is because they can't afford to lose whatever deal they have with microsoft, but I'd hope that isn't the real reason. All I know is that I tried to buy a desktop w/o an OS from them (ok, you have to have a naked drive with FreeDOS included, close enough) but of course that one was more expensive with cheaper add-ons than their 'speicals' with XP Home! SO there ya go, I paid the MS tax by saving 150$ on a better machine from Dell. It frustrates me to no end, but I don't know what I can do about it save for complain, which I have to them. I know, buy from someone else, roll your own, etc...but I've done that in the past, now I want some kinda 'just works' hardware that I can buy and trust. (and ppl wonder why I'm so excited about the new apples...dual boot osx/linux and I'll be a happy camper)

Application Support (1)

fdragon (138768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816555)

I would really like to listen to the phone calls when a customer purchases with this link a Dell Precision Workstation With Linux [dell.com] and they are unable to get any of the bundled software to work.

From the mentioned website, during the configure process, you have choices of business software you would like to add to the workstation. Last time I checked, none of these ran on Linux systems yet. Choices include :

1. Avid Express DV
2. Adobe Video Collection Standard 2.5
3. Adobe Premier Pro 1.5
4. Adobe After Effects Pro 6.5
5. AutoCAD 2006 Standard
6. Avid Technology Avid Liquid 7
7. Alohabob Pc Backup
8. Alohabob Pc Essentials Suite
9. Alohabob PC Relocator Ultra

What is all the fuss about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816615)

I've had two Dell Linux boxes (a 370N and a 380N) under my desk for months now. This is like "discovering" that you can get ketchup packets at Arby's, even though they're not on the menu.

'Cause a Linux Desktop killed their momma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816639)

Just kept drivin'. Didn't even look back.

penguins everywhere (1)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816651)

ok were all thinking about this from a geeks perspective (if youre reading slashdot u are one!)

now think from a advertisers / marketing persons perspective

"how do you sell a pack of penguins to john doe??"

dell make alot of money because their adverts are EVERYWHERE!

A Fine Mess (1)

gurutc (613652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816656)

In the FA the author details Michael Dell's investment in Red Hat and the Dell Corp's bigtime deal with Novell. That's where it gets sticky sticky because Novell owns SUSE and, if you're a Novell customer, you have to keep your lips shut pretty tightly unless you want a widdle spoony woony of SUSE shoved in your wittle mouth.

Margins (1)

Aphax (727653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816680)

It is the same margins that is forcing OEMs to stick to dealing with MS currently, that will eventualy make OEMs switch to Linux as desktop OS at some point in the future. Wether you think Linux is currently more suitable as Desktop OS than Windows or not, it is an unstoppable force.

Think about it, the two major obstacles right now are probably hardware support (manufacturers not disclosing their schematics, or only supplying closed-source drivers) and certain applications not being available such as Flash, Photoshop and most games. I think that at some point, be it in 5 years, hell, maybe 10, a snowballing effect will develop as the number of Linux users grows, where more hardware and software companies will consider availability on Linux worth the effort.

And before you know it, you have a very usable and well supported desktop OS, free of charge. Now what do you think what those OEMs - which have been sticking to MS all this while to keep their precious margins wide enough - are going to do? They are going to give MS the finger and supply Linux, increase their margins or become more competitive with their pricing. I can't tell you when it will happen, but when it does, MS won't know what hit them.

Re:Margins (0, Troll)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816708)

I can't tell you when it will happen, but when it does, MS won't know what hit them.

You're right. The most successful company in US history, run by the most successful person in US history will be totally surprised by it. Sure.

The bar is going up again (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816695)

Check out these screen shots ( http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1931945 ,00.asp [extremetech.com] ) regarding Windows Vista. The Linux folks have a whole lot of catching up to do, again. While they have been busy bringing the Linux desktop up to modern (ie Windows XP circa 2002) standards MS has been busy raising the bar significantly higher. There are some really nice features that will make the desktop much more friendly for novice users (the crowd LInux needs to capture). The good news is now Vista can be copied too! And since it's alot easier to copy than it is to lead, I expect Linux to catch up again in relative short order.

Possible reason Dell's "shy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14816729)

Posting as AC for good reasons.

Most of the posts have focussed on whether linux is ready for the desktop of not and have the technical flavor.

The most likely reason why Dell won't promote linux desktops is their "Marketing Agreement" with Microsoft. These agreements are of course "voluntary" and have a clause that says, approximately, "we will promote and prominently display product X and none of the competing or potentially competing products will get marketed/advertised anywhere near the level of product X, in exchange for marketing dollars from the manufacturer of X." And these are a LOT of marketing dollars to keep the product X marketed/advertised at a MUCH more significant level than other products. These agreements may also have a confidentiality clause in them, that's why Dell is shy to talk about it and keep it "under the radar" of the Microsoft marketers/lawyers, but still be able to sell Linux desktop products. So the bottom line is, Dell wants to and can sell Linux desktops/products, but due to "the deal with the devil," it has to be kept low profile at least from a marketing perspective.

Regards.

Because consumers don't care. (1)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14816731)

How many years has Wal-Mart been selling a dirt cheap Linux system online without generating enough demand to bother putting it on store shelves? Dell isn't promoting the Linux desktop because there isn't enough demand for a Linux desktop to make it worth the bother. Linux nerds already buy Dell machines and install Linux themselves, so there's no point marketing to them, and the last thing Joe Blow on the street wants is to try and learn to use another operating system after finally learning how to use Windows update without paying the geeks at the Best Buy service counter to do it for him.

Most consumers don't care about Linux. They definately aren't asking for Linux. And that's not going to change, because for the most part, the Linux/Open-Source community is a bunch of *NIX hackers writing code for themselves.
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