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Dell's Secret Linux Fling

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the far-from-the-prying-eyes-of-the-world dept.

Linux Business 146

Slagged writes "The Register has up an article on Linux-based Dell systems being sold in China. While Microsoft quashed an attempt by Dell to create a market for Linux PCs in the U.S., such restrictions are not the case in Asia. From the article: 'Fifteen months ago our own Ashlee Vance, who broke the news of the first break-up in 2001, proved how hard it is to buy a PC from Dell without Windows. Not pre-loaded with Linux mind you - but simply a bare bones box. But far away from the prying eyes of Steve Ballmer, romance is blossoming. An eagle-eyed reader found the fruits of the union, brazenly on display in a Beijing subway.' The article has pictures of the advertisements, which offer Dell PCs preloaded with 'Red Flag Linux'."

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Aim at foot, fire when ready. (5, Funny)

caluml (551744) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524534)

But far away from the prying eyes of Steve Ballmer, romance is blossoming.

Well, sticking it all over the front page of one of the largest tech sites means it will get his full attention now.

Re:Aim at foot, fire when ready. (3, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524596)

Well, sticking it all over the front page of one of the largest tech sites means it will get his full attention now.

Thus lending a whole new, and unintended meaning to the term Red Flag Linux: "Red Flag! Linux"

Let me be the first to say: (2, Insightful)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524564)

yay! [catb.org]

Hard to buy a bare pc...really? (5, Informative)

Gr33nNight (679837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524574)

Right before Christmas, I found an awesome deal for a Dell PC in their Small Business section. I configured it, added it to my cart and obviously found out I could not de-select Windows. So I called them up and the customer service rep saw my order and promptly removed Windows for me, saving about $50. 2 weeks later my PC arrived with freedos. Seems easy enough for me. Maybe it was because it was Small Business and not home.

Re:Hard to buy a bare pc...really? (5, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524730)

You actually can configure a desktop [dell.com] or notebook [dell.com] without Windows directly from their web site. The selection is more limited, and it's harder to find, but Dell will sell you a system with FreeDOS instead of Windows.

Re:Hard to buy a bare pc...really? (4, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524924)

I've seen this before, and I didn't believe it, so I clicked your notebook link.
The page you requested may no longer exist on Dell.com

hmm...

The desktop link still works right now though.

Re:Hard to buy a bare pc...really? (2, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524956)

Well, I'm sorry about that (not sure why it's doing that). To find them, try going to http://linux.dell.com./ [linux.dell.com] Look along the side for links to "n Series" laptops and desktops.

Re:Hard to buy a bare pc...really? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525074)

I did try that. Apparently it doesn't work as well from outside Dell's localnet.

If you're getting a good link, try using a proxy, and track it back from there if it's your job to fix this.

Re:Hard to buy a bare pc...really? (1)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525232)

Going to linux.dell.com and clicking the link on the right worked for me. Nice, too, since I was just considering a new laptop to run Ubuntu.

Re:Hard to buy a bare pc...really? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525386)

I have no access to fix anything with Dell (no connection to them, other than being a fairly satisfied customer). I'm connecting from the internet.

Re:Hard to buy a bare pc...really? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527244)

His url ends with a period.

URLs that end with a period (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528470)

Yes. That has a specific meaning in HTTP. It's not an error.

Dell Linux laptops ... not here. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525832)

The link is not working for me, either.

Just to confirm, the link I'm trying is http://www.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx /nseries_nb [dell.com] , linked to from http://linux.dell.com/ [dell.com] . The resulting page is just a generic "The page you requested may no longer exist on Dell.com" error.

What seems odd to me is that the link to "n-Series Desktops" points to http://www.dell.com/nseries [dell.com] , while "n-Series Notebooks" points to http://www.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx /nseries_nb [dell.com] . I would have guessed that the URLs for the two destinations would be similar, but they're not.

Is their server just down, or have they decided to purposely bury their Linux laptops?

Re:Dell Linux laptops ... not here. (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526098)

The links works for me. Although, when I replace dell.com with either 143.166.224.244 or 143.166.83.38, it gives me a page not found error.
Perhaps this link [dell.com] would work better? What OS, browser, and country are you connecting from?

That's better (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526336)

Now if they would only fix the website.

To answer your question though, west coast US, firefox2 and IE6 for me.

Re:That's better (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526918)

That has got to be one of the weirdest pages ever. It only worked in the first browser/OS combo I tried, Firefox 2.0.0.1 on Windows XP. It didn't work under Opera, IE7 or Firefox 1.5.0.6 on XP or Firefox 2.0, 2.0.0.1 on Linux. When I upgrades from Firefox 1.5.06 to 2.0.0.1 on my other XP box, it could view the page fine. Anyway, the customize links seems to always work:
Latitude D520 [dell.com]
620 [dell.com]
820 [dell.com]
420 [dell.com]

Re:That's better (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526976)

All the links worked fine for me; I'm in the UK using firefox2 on win XP, so it might not be a dell problem.

Hey Dell guys working on this issue! (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527186)

Apparently Dell is fixing the problem with this link. It now works in FF, but not in IE.

Re:Hard to buy a bare pc...really? (2, Interesting)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525172)

Yep,

Those are the N-Series equipment. They are a Godsend for shops like mine, where we use a RAID drive array and a custom Windows image. we don't have to pay the Windows tax on the machine just to wipe Windows off of it to install our version. (We have a corporate version, unlimited copies.) The notebooks are a more recent addition, and really great given that we don't want Vista forced down our throats for at least 2 more years.

Nicely done Dell!

Re:Hard to buy a bare pc...really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17525518)

we don't have to pay the Windows tax on the machine just to wipe Windows off of it to install our version. (We have a corporate version, unlimited copies.)

Microft if busy rewriting policies, be careful. All corporate installs are now considered "upgrades", you have to have a windows license first...

Might want to be careful there. (3, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526148)

Unless you have a very strange or old volume license agreement with Microsoft (different than every other volume license I've ever seen), what you are doing isn't legit. You can't install volume or corporate-license Windows on bare hardware; the hardware has to have some sort of Windows license on it first. I don't think Microsoft sells unlimited-install licenses that entitle you to put XP onto totally bare hardware. It's their way of cooperating with the big VARs; this is one of the reasons why you never see a big company with white-box PCs, even though any reasonably-sized organization with its own IT department could go to Taiwan and get their own equipment for half of what Dell charges. Only the gear that comes with a license sticker on it from the factory is eligible to have corporate images put onto it. (Which really makes me question the utility of those corporate licenses, but I guess that's because I'm not in management.)

Dell is pretty clear about this on their n-Series page [dell.com] , as it states in bold type: "It is not a Microsoft operating system and is not qualified for Windows licensing use under any existing Microsoft Volume Licensing Program (OPEN, Enterprise, etc.) Customers interested in a Microsoft® Windows® solution should purchase a Dell desktop pre-loaded with Windows XP Professional."

If you get audited, you may be in trouble.

Re:Might want to be careful there. (2, Interesting)

aaronl (43811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527202)

The blurb from that Dell page is just saying that FreeDOS has nothing to do with MS and in no way gives you a license to use anything MS related. If you take the full quote, it makes much more sense. This was the line directly before the bold part:
        "The open-source n Series desktops feature select popular models from the DimensionTM desktop, OptiPlexTM desktop and Dell PrecisionTM workstation lines available with a copy of the FreeDOSTM open-source operating system included in the box, ready to install."

As far the MS licenses, yes, if you have a volume license, you can certainly use it on bare hardware. There are plenty of places that do use white box systems, too. Most of the time, it just isn't worth the cost to maintain everything in-house, so you go to a Dell or IBM for hardware. If you have good people and policies, then white box is a nice cost cutting measure. No little hologram stickers are required.

There are unlimited licenses from MS, too. You just buy a site license, and don't worry about the numbers. Most vendors have something like that, just for the big companies.

Re:Might want to be careful there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17528592)

I'm not an expert but...

  Volume Licensing programs: For organizations that use multiple copies of Microsoft software, Volume Licensing is a flexible and economical way to acquire from five to thousands of licenses for software. Volume Licensing agreements, including Academic Volume Licenses, do not offer the full license for Windows Client operating systems; Volume Licensing covers only Windows Client upgrades. The full operating system license must be acquired as FPP or pre-installed by an OEM or System Builder.

Q. Can I order a PC with no operating system from a manufacturer and then use my Volume License to install Windows on the desktop?
A. No. Volume License agreements--including Academic, Government, and Public Sector--never cover the initial full Windows Client operating system license. Volume License agreements cover only Windows Client upgrade licenses. Windows upgrades are designed to upgrade previously acquired qualifying desktop operating system licenses. See the PUR for more information on qualifying underlying licenses.

pasted from http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/resources/faq.m spx [microsoft.com]

Re:Might want to be careful there. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527286)

Interesting, it didn't say anything about that on my MSDNAA copy.

easier than that (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526630)

Actually you don't even need to look for the non-windows version. They will automaically offer to sell you the PC without Windows at the end of the customization process and you save $30 (I tried using the OptiPlex 320)

Dell: PLZ sell Ubuntu laptops to replace my Mac (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17524818)

If Dell sold Ubuntu laptops where everything (wireless, 3D accel) "just worked" I'd get those instead of the mac laptop I use today.

My desktop's Linux - all my company's servers are Linux - and as cool as BSD/Mac is I don't really need the context switch. I liked Dell hardware last time I used it - and yes, eventually I got Ubuntu running fine on it (damn wireless chips) - but no, it's not worth the effort to change. Yes, I understand for wireless and 3D it might cost as much as Windows to get the proprietary stuff licensed. But it's worth it. Yeah, I know it's not that hard to do it all yourself - I'm just not interested and would rather have something that just worked (and that's my problem with windows - it doesn't "just work" without all the antivirus/security screwing around you need to do).

Dell, if you want to get your market cap back above Apple's -- please get a real OS.

Re:Dell: PLZ sell Ubuntu laptops to replace my Mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17524906)

How to get a Dell laptop to work with ubuntu easily.

1 - buy dell laptop with supported video chipset. Ignore ram, HDD and other aspects other than screen.
2 - Buy a minipci Atheros+bluetooth wifi card or other supported wireless.
3 - buy some quality ram at far lower price than DELL.
4 - buy a decent Segate HDD that is faster, cooler, and way quieter.

install all the above, then install Ubuntu.

Dell tends to put low grade junk in their laptops, their wifi,ram and hard drives espically are really low grade.

Re:Dell: PLZ sell Ubuntu laptops to replace my Mac (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17525216)

How to get a Dell laptop to work with Windows easily.

1 - buy dell laptop

Re:Dell: PLZ sell Ubuntu laptops to replace my Mac (1)

Matilda the Hun (861460) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525530)

2 - Reinstall windows when you find the default image is borked. 3 - Return Dell to Best Buy when reinstalling windows breaks the Dell hardware. 4 - Realize that by reinstalling windows you apparently broke the service contract and you'll have to fix it yourself. 5 - ??? 6 - Install Linux anyways.

Re:Hard to buy a bare pc...really? (4, Funny)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525030)

Your PC came with freedos?

Like inside the case, or were they still in the bag? Barbecue, or plain?

Lawl (-1)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524588)

Red flag linux... Thats funny. if it had a HOSTS file (its linux) I'm sure that wikipedia.whatever would point to a censorship site, along with any blog authoring sites.

Does linux offer something similar to a HOSTS file?

Also, in this case, would ssh, https, and proxy settings be completely disabled/removed?

Re:Lawl (5, Funny)

Gerald (9696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524684)

Does linux offer something similar to a HOSTS file?

The HOSTS file is completely different in Linux. It's spelled with lower-case letters.

Re:Lawl (1)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524716)

haha.. yeah I see that. Good old wiki to the rescue. Learn something new everyday.

Re:Lawl (1)

tehSpork (1000190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524694)

Linux offers many things that could operate in the manner you seem to be suggesting, however in most cases it would be relatively simple to detect and remove such blatant censorship.

Worst case the user could burn a Fedora DVD and reinstall. Can't be any worse off than with some generic "Red Flag" distro...

Re:Lawl (1)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524828)

But then the government would castrate you, take your wife, kill the one child that they let you have, and throw you in jail for the rest of your life. Not fun. [chinesehum...reader.org]

Re:Lawl (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17524782)

Red flag linux... Thats funny. if it had a HOSTS file (its linux) I'm sure that wikipedia.whatever would point to a censorship site, along with any blog authoring sites. Does linux offer something similar to a HOSTS file?
You, sir, are a fucking moron. Where do you *think* Microsloth got the idea for their fucking HOSTS file, dumbass? It's from UNIX-land, and it's called /etc/hosts on any UNIX system, including Linux.
Also, in this case, would ssh, https, and proxy settings be completely disabled/removed?
And Red Flag Linux is open source, dumbass. The Chinese government uses it for its own shit. Why don't you try using your fucking pea-brain for just once before you attempt to post? *sigh*

Re:Lawl (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17525008)

Of course Linux has a hosts file. Linux is a Unix knock off so the lineage is obvious. Windows network layer used to be a BSD knock off so rather than re-invent the wheel M$ ripped off the design and mangled it to fit whatever the bizarre filename mangling was at the time (8.3 with long aliases and byzantine rules for capitalization and when it matters). I don't know for sure if the Vax/VMS with Wollongong networking had a hosts file or not -- it probably did and since all things Vax were default upper case maybe that's where the M$ folks got the idea that HOSTS must be shouted LOUDLY.

 

Re:Lawl (1)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525166)

THANK YOU I understand now. At least its not spelled hOStS or something dumb like that

Re:Lawl (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526800)

"if it had a HOSTS file (its linux)"

So if it has a hosts file, it's Linux? Hmm...

C:/windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts

ZOMG! Stop the presses! I'm running Microsoft Linux XP!

On a more serious note, if you're going to implement a censorship regime on a large number of clients, why would you try to do it on the client end with a file easily reconfigurable by the user rather than intercepting and redirecting the DNS requests?

Re:Lawl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17528234)

I think he was asking if Linux had an equivalent to Windows's C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts, not realizing the origin of the "etc\hosts" bit.

Works pretty well on my Inspiron (1)

petabyte (238821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524600)

Well, I bought an Inspiron B130 right before Christmas as my Pentium 2 latitude had seen the end of the line and was supprised how well it works with Linux. With Ubuntu edgy, everything worked out of the box sans needing 915resolution to get my widescreen supported properly. I find myself using the laptop more than my athlon64 desktop these days.

I would have liked the system to come without Windows, but booting the Ubuntu cdrom as soon as I got the machine and using dd to wipe the partition table solved that problem for me.

Red Flag Linux... (3, Insightful)

tehSpork (1000190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524638)

Would it kill them to find an original name?

Re:Red Flag Linux... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17524918)

Maybe it has to do with the fact that the Chinese flag is red, and that Red Flag Linux is a Chinese distribution?
Red Flag is partially financed by the Chinese government.

The name "Red Flag" is akin to the US Government naming their own distro "Red White and Blue Linux"

Maybe not as original as "Redhat", but its name is directly tied to its origin and backers.

Re:Red Flag Linux... (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525078)

if it sufficiently pissed off an authority over there, why yes, attempting such a thing could well get someone killed

Re:Red Flag Linux... (1)

eMbry00s (952989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525502)

If by it you mean the party, then yes.

A near guarantee (0, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524650)

My near guarantee is that a substantial number of those systems are being loaded or will be loaded with "pirated" or "illegal" copies of Microsoft's Windows software. Now call me a troll.

Re:A near guarantee (2, Insightful)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525116)


loaded or will be loaded with "pirated" or "illegal" copies of Microsoft's Windows software


Very true, but will it balance the years of Microsoft taxes levied on linux user's who purchased systems for linux use and were never provided the option of no-OS or linux pre installed? I've personally purchased two laptops on which I ran linux and never intended to run Windows but I had to pay the Microsoft tax if I wanted the hardware.

I think the pirating also helps Microsoft more than it hurts. The large pirated install base helps to maintain Microsoft's monopoly position. Given a choice of paying for Windows or using linux free I suspect the majority of those users would dump Windows in a heart beat.

Re:A near guarantee (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17526696)

I think the pirating also helps Microsoft more than it hurts. The large pirated install base helps to maintain Microsoft's monopoly position.

"Sure, I stole his car, but he got a better one out of the insurance money!"
"Well, yeah, I did kidnap them, but they've made a fortune writing about the experience!"
"She enjoyed it, officer!"

Unfortunately, the fact that the victim benefited is rarely a valid defence in a court of law. What's wrong is wrong, period.

Re:A near guarantee (2, Interesting)

the_womble (580291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527594)

The difference is that the victims of your hypothetical crimes are not tacitly encouraging it. Kidnap victims do not go around saying "If I am kidnapped I will not go to the cops", do they? They are also real crimes recognised by any society, not ones invented by governments in recent years.

MS (and other software companies) do tacitly encourage piracy. Otherwise why do they fail to enforce their copyrights.

I lvie in a country where some of the Holywood studios have proved enforcement works: people are far more cautius about priating DVDs than software because they ahve been sued for it. IBm has also been getting people to pay for Lotus Notes. MS thinks this market is worth fairly heavy advertising, but not worth suing the peole priating their software - why do you think that is?

If anyone from MS is reading and wants to prove me wrong: I will promise to find you thirty retailers, high street or shopping mall , that can easilly be proven to be pirating your software, in return for a guarantee that you will sue them.

Rumour has it that MS was considering enforcement, but backed down when some corporate users said that they would rather use Linux than pay for Windows.

Re:A near guarantee (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526024)

To be honest, I very much doubt it. It'd probably be quicker, easier and better for the end user to just get the legal edition from Dell with the PC.

Makes sense. (1)

satansmurf (934000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524692)

If you know the Chinese market, this makes sense for multitudes of reasons.

If for no other than to curry favor with the gov't.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Flag_Linux [wikipedia.org]

price (1)

CapsLock343 (1046372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524712)

i rounded up for the sake of this but 6,000 yen is only like 55 USD...

Yuan, not Yen (2, Informative)

gentimjs (930934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524764)

They dont use "yen" in the PRC ...

Re:Yuan, not Yen (1)

CapsLock343 (1046372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524814)

oooh! ok that makes more sense i had just typed "¥6000 to dollars" in google and thats what i got. but 770ish dollars makes a lot more sense. thanks!

Re:Yuan, not Yen (1)

gentimjs (930934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525214)

Its confusing that/when they use the same symbol (the Y with the lines through it) ....

Re:Yuan, not Yen (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525578)

What about when they want to hold an inflationary currency?

Re:price (2, Funny)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525194)


for the sake of this but 6,000 yen is only like 55 USD


Only? For $55 that had better be a nice bottle of sake.

Re:price (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527914)

6000 Yuan is actualluy about 770 USD or 400 GBP

Red Flag Linux?? (0, Redundant)

neuro.slug (628600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524776)

In Communist China, Red Flag Linux installs Dell!!

Re:Red Flag Linux?? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17527264)

You are not funny, you little dirty ass-smelling skunk. Now stop trying to be and go back to your mom's basement where you belong.

Nothing Clandestine About It (5, Informative)

Pakup (624459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524802)

Nothing at all.

Just look at Dell's Chinese website: there, right in the middle, amongst all those Chinese characters, you'll see the caozuo xitong ("operating system") listed in clear Roman letters: Linux.

http://www1.ap.dell.com/content/products/features. aspx/dimen_c521?c=cn&cs=cndhs1&l=zh&s=dhs [dell.com]

(The stuff at the top says Dell "recommends the use of" XP Professional.)

Re:Nothing Clandestine About It (1)

simontek2 (523795) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527586)

Way tooo funny. Click the customize button. Says Red Flag Linux, with a picture of MS Windows.

Red Flag (1, Redundant)

ShorePiper82 (1027534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524826)

The article has pictures of the advertisements, which offer Dell PCs preloaded with 'Red Flag Linux'

Red Flag Fork: Linux for Commies --- In Soviet Russia, Linux Codes You!

Hard to get a Dell with no OS? (5, Informative)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524890)

No it's not. I have one. OptiPlex GX280n. The "n" is for "no OS", it does come with a CD of FreeDOS, but other than that, you're on your own. You can see their newer versions of the "n" series by clicking this link http://www1.la.dell.com/content/products/compare.a spx/optix_n?c=pr&l=en&s=bsd [dell.com]

Conspiracy (-1, Offtopic)

endianx (1006895) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524966)

This is obviously nothing more than a Microsoft plot to kill Linux users with exploding computers [slashdot.org] .

Ni6ga (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17525040)

to any BSD project, a previously anyone that thinks BSD's codebase Deliver. Some of had become like 8esulted in the which aalows too, can be a for a living got

And we care about Dell why, again? (0, Troll)

Perp Atuitie (919967) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525062)

Tiger Direct and a whole bunch of other vendors have been selling barebones systems for years. Worrying about Dell's opinions on Linux is like worrying about what Fernando Llamas likes for breakfast.

Re:And we care about Dell why, again? (2, Interesting)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525188)

Love them or hate them, Dell sells more PC's than any other vendor. So their moves as a whole would generally be something that the linux community SHOULD follow, not just disregard and only cite statistics for much smaller vendors or channel resellers. Frankly, though, this isn't that big of a deal. As has been said before, it's relatively easy today to buy a PC from Dell (US) without an operating system. And the fact that in China you can buy a PC preloaded with a government-funded operating system isn't something I'd use the word "shocking" to describe.

It's HP now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17525528)

HP passed Dell last year some time, I remember reading about it. And laptops now outsell desktops. Sorry no links right now, just an anecdotal. I am sure others remember this.

with that said, Dell (Michael) said he'd be glad to offer Linux on his machines all over-once the community decides on "the" distro that he would need to support. He threw it right back at the critics and he is still waiting. Although I think he could just pick one of the big distros out and say you are on your own with anything else. I would guess that the faster release cycle distros really need to stop and think on that if they really want linux on the desktop. Geeks don't mind too much upgrading, but joe average might get annoyed with every 4 to 6 months, with the resultant stuff that used to work now doesn't, and so on.. I think in the non geek real world a once a year max release schedule, up to two years, then just security and bug fixes might be more appropriate than the constant bleeding edge all the time.

    In china, they passed a law there that no bare computers could be sold (international IP concerns and the WTO and etc), they have to ship with some sort of OS at least at the retail level. Red Flag was a natural for their internal market.

Pir8 enablers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17525076)

Around 80% of the Windows machines in China are not legitimately licensed.

All this will do is continue to enable pirates, since they can now get a PC without a legit copy of Windows. Honestly... why would anyone actually want to use Lunix? The first thing they are going to do with their new Lunix Dell is drop in a Windows CD and format the drive. After that, they will probably load up some pirated games.

"Free as in worthless"

Re:Pir8 enablers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17525554)

Oh come on is there a way to moderate -2?

Surprising? (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525128)

Given a country where local shops will sell you a system without charging you for the OS (in any way), how does a deep pocketed competitor from overseas compete? Linux. It can be shipped for free, without breaking laws, and avoiding lawsuits. I'm sure MS is well aware of this, and we have all read on /. how they keep making threats to China in efforts to solve this problem. Unfortunately, people that like to use cheap foreign labor to MAKE products, do not often understand that those same people can't afford to BUY them at those wages.

Re:Surprising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17525260)

In Brazil you can buy any DELL with FREEDOS it even comes with a GNU GPL license.

Dell and Linux for corp customers mainly (3, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525278)

I have bought hundreds of Linux machines from Dell. For a corporate customer it isn't an issue.

Linux on Dell (2, Informative)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525312)

Linux on Dell Laptops seems to perform almost flawlessly. I run Ubuntu on my Inspiron 6400 and everything was detected. The only noticeable problem I have is that I have to manually put the laptop to standby before closing the lid. I confess I haven't checked the power control panel yet. Otherwise, everything was detected and cooks!

Dell is evil! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17525336)

Any computer manufacturer that rivets its cases shut is evil. Moreso if they install Windows before riveting them shut!

At least the Chinese have a less evil Dell... I don't know if Chinese Dells are riveted shut, but at least the TFA says they come with Linux!

I'd prefer, however, a box I can actually upgrade or repair. I can always wipe Windows, but a friend was crestfallen when I discovered I couldn't fix his broken Dell, or install a second drive with Mandriva on it. Unless he has a pop-rivet gun I can borrow!

Dell is evil, Dell with Microsoft is doubly evil. What's next, riveting your Ford's hood shut? Note to Dell: Microsoft WELDS the hood of their OS shut. You should go the double-evil route yourselves and WELD the boxes shut. The poor saps will NEVER get them open! Mwahahaha!

Re:Dell is evil! (3, Informative)

csplinter (734017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527678)

What are you talking about?! We have hundreds of Dells of different types were I work and I've never seen one welded or riveted shut. I've seen rivets used in their construction but, not used to keep you from getting inside. I think you are mistaken. I know those Dells can be pretty tricky to open sometimes because they have weird case designs but given enough time I have not encountered one I could open with a screw driver or my bare-hands. Maybe I'm wrong, whats the model number on the machine your talking about?

It's a XP rip off (1)

superangrybrit (600375) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525382)

Red Flag Linux looks exactly like Windows XP.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Redflaglinux41. png/ [wikipedia.org]

Re:It's a XP rip off (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526776)

Damn, you're right. It's got a Winamp icon in the Start Menu to start XMMS, and it's even got the blue E icon.

Maybe it's to make the desktop seem less strange to people used to Windows? You and I can use a new theme or switch from KDE to Gnome (and vice versa) without freaking out, but I doubt most computer users can manage that.

Still, I think this should run into legal (copyright/trademark) problems in western jurisdictions.

At least they didn't change the Open Office icon for the MS Office icon ;-)

can't buy a Dell PC w/o Windows -- bull! (2, Informative)

renehollan (138013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525472)

...proved how hard it is to buy a PC from Dell without Windows.

I call bullsh*t, or at least misinformation.

I was able to negotiate a refund of some $62 for each of four Dell PC purchased while I worked at a former employer because we explicitly did not want Windows for them. Even though it came preinstalled, with shrink-wrap installation media, we got the refund upon returning the installation media and attesting that we reformatted the hard disk.

Dell was not difficult about it.

Of course, the fact that all our desktops were Dell machines, and most of them did run Windows, and my employer did have a blanket corporate license from Microsoft for all MS software may have had something to do with it, but still.

Of course, getting a refund for returning something you don't want is not the same as not having to purchase it in the first place, but the bottom line was that, in the end, Dell happily sold us PCs with no operating system on them.

Re:can't buy a Dell PC w/o Windows -- bull! (1)

bigpat (158134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525740)

You are calling "bullsh*t" about someone's post saying it was hard to buy a PC from Dell without Windows and then as a an example of how easy it is you say how you were able to "negotiate" with Dell to get a refund of $62 after you returned the installation media and had to promise that you reformatted the hard drive. Seems to me that you just proved the point that you were calling "bullsh*t" at the point in your story where you say "negotiate".

Re:can't buy a Dell PC w/o Windows -- bull! (1)

renehollan (138013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526944)

Seems to me that you just proved the point that you were calling "bullsh*t" at the point in your story where you say "negotiate". "Negotiate" as in: one two minute phone call to our Dell rep. who was so quick to agree, that I had to make sure he understood what I was requesting. I wouldn't have spent more than 15 minutes trying to get a lousy $248 refund, anyway. It may have been that we did so much business with them that they'd not even blink over a louse $248, but my boss was in a nickel and dime mood that week and was quite happy that two minutes of my time got us $248 and established the principle that we didn't have to pay the MS tax on Dell machines we bought for Linux-based development.

Re:can't buy a Dell PC w/o Windows -- bull! (1)

bigpat (158134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528824)

I think you can agree that if when I clicked on a button on Dell's website that said Linux instead of Windows and it took 2 minutes to change Windows to Linux in the configurator, then you would hardly call that "easy" and certainly not convenient. You might even call customer support and complain about the responsiveness of the website. But you aren't even given that option, aren't told that it is an option, and have to call someone you do business on a regular basis in order to make it happen and then make it seem like it is no problem. Perhaps you were just trying to show it wasn't impossible to get what you want with Dell, but it is hardly good customer service.

Re:can't buy a Dell PC w/o Windows -- bull! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17527712)

my employer did have a blanket corporate license from Microsoft for all MS software may have had something to do with it

I certainly hope it had nothing to do with it, as Microsoft only sells upgrade volume licenses. You an existing retail or OEM install to use them.

Quoth The 'Soft [microsoft.com] :

Note Volume Licensing agreements cover only Windows client upgrade licenses, not the full Windows client operating system. Customers must have a qualifying underlying operating system license before Volume License software can be installed.

or, here [microsoft.com] :

Volume Licensing programs: For organizations that use multiple copies of Microsoft software, Volume Licensing is a flexible and economical way to acquire from five to thousands of licenses for software. Volume Licensing agreements, including Academic Volume Licenses, do not offer the full license for Windows Client operating systems; Volume Licensing covers only Windows Client upgrades. The full operating system license must be acquired as FPP or pre-installed by an OEM or System Builder.

Pro-Microsoft people please explain? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525504)

Please explain to me in the most civil terms possible why is it okay that businesses even as large as Dell should be afraid of Microsoft's disapproval?

I feel similarly about Walmart and what it does to its vendors, however, it's interesting to see what Walmart's push for flouescent lights over incandescent will do... such power over the market CAN be used for good.

Re:Pro-Microsoft people please explain? (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526764)

Please explain to me in the most civil terms possible why is it okay that businesses even as large as Dell should be afraid of Microsoft's disapproval?
Please explain to me in the most civil terms possible why it is okay for you to beat your wife.

Hint: Dell simply is not afraid of Microsoft's disapproval, which is why they have been selling PCs with Linux on them for some time -- certainly in the UK, at least, I can't speak for America. This is a non-story.

OS Monopoly is why... (1)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 7 years ago | (#17527714)

Because Microsoft has a monopoly on operating systems for the PC and because the profit margin on PCs is so small, a moderate increase in the cost of Windows can make it impossible for Dell to compete.

Most people don't want to buy a PC that does not come with Windows preinstalled. So if Dell does anything that really frosts Microsoft's cookies, Microsoft could make it very difficult for dell to stay in business simply by raising the price it charges Dell for its monopoly operating system.

Re:Pro-Microsoft people please explain? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17528424)

Please explain to me in the most civil terms possible why is it okay that businesses even as large as Dell should be afraid of Microsoft's disapproval?

The only thing that Dell fears is the market, service and support costs.

Dell will sell the bare bones, FreeDOS or Linux PC, in any quantity to its commercial and institutional buyers, who are typically thinking RHEL. It isn't persuaded by the die-hard Geek who thinks that OEM Linux is right for the direct seller in the domestic consumer market.

Walmart lost interest in Linux quite some time back, though at Walmart.com you will probably find one or two mediocre Microtel boxes remaining on life-support. If you look hard enough.

Tinfoil hat time (0, Flamebait)

wsanders (114993) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525556)

> Microsoft quashed an attempt by Dell to create a market for Linux PCs in the U.S

Disclaimer: Both my grandfathers were Freeemasons, so I'm in on the conspiracy.

I subscribe to the Dell Poweredge Linux mailing list - it a continual litany of woe from Linux newbies whining about how they can't get the latest random distro to work perfectly with the latest something-or-other. (Along with the odd message about the Broadcom ethernet and onboard RAID drivers locking up.) It's perfectly within Dell's rights to sell only preloaded systems with their qualified OSes, particularly since they have only a skeleton crew of talented people to support Linux, and their onboard RAID controllers are mostly useless unless used with drivers built with this morning's patches. And it's perfectly within our rights to buy boxes better-suited for the task, or to cough up the bucks for RHEL or Suse. There's plenty of competition here, see Penguin, et al.

Suse? (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17525576)

I can't help but wonder if microsoft would allow the companies it intimidates into using only windows would mind if they allowed Suse (more specifically, SLED) to be preinstalled?

"Red Flag Linux?" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17525582)

I knew it - software designed by commie bastards for commie bastards.

Re:"Red Flag Linux?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17525732)

Hello. Your a sociopath.

You are so messed up in the head that you consider charity communism, and then go up to those people and call them bastards.

The sad thing is that was started by Steve Ballmer.

In Singapore too, and with Red Hat Enterprise (1)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526384)

Workstations with RedHat pre-installed [dell.com] have been available in Singapore for ages. This seems to only be for small business-targetting workstations, though: I haven't seen any in the home/home office range yet (although atleast one of the OptiPlexs come with 'DOS not factory installed').

We could /. Dell with Linux Desktop Searches (1)

smeckert (713620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17526406)


I followed a few of the links listed, and found
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/08/03/dell_ends_ great_linux_desktop/ [theregister.co.uk]
where a dell marketing sleeze says:
"Our customers did not seem to want it though; the numbers didn't add up,"

If enough people searched for "Linux Desktop" on Dells website
it might make them reconsider.

Guess China is not big on the "NSA INSIDE" logo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17526962)

that now comes with windows:)

Supreme irony (2, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17529402)

I am, in essence, an avowed capitalist, but let me say this:

It is the supreme irony that it is possible to more freely purchase what you want in China than it is in the United States - the country of the products' origin and central influence of capitalism throughout the world.
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