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Dell Sells Open Source Computers

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the ahhhhhh dept.

Linux Business 341

Lo5 writes with the excellent news that Dell is selling desktop computers without Windows preinstalled. They are called "n Series"; you can choose from Dimension E520, E521, or C521 desktops. The hard drive comes unformatted.

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This is not news. (5, Informative)

harks (534599) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732472)

Dell has been doing this for a long time.

Re:This is not news. (2, Informative)

luge (4808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732496)

Mine is... hrm, at least two years old now? Still, nice to see it pimped here- more people should put their money where their mouth is with the big vendors and make it clear that they aren't going to use Windows on their boxes.

Re:This is not news. (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732568)

I got a Precision in 1999 with redhat on it. LinuxCare did the support contract. But Dell seemed to slack off after that.
---
Renting Solar: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:This is not news. (3, Informative)

luge (4808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732706)

This is, to be fair, slightly different from their supported Linux boxes- these are FreeDOS and you're expected to supply a real OS and your own support. Slashdot's first story about them appears to date from 2004 [slashdot.org] ; like you say, they've been selling (expensive) supported Linux boxes for a lot longer than that.

Re:This is not news. (2, Informative)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732798)

...more people should put their money where their mouth is with the big vendors and make it clear that they aren't going to use Windows on their boxes.


That's one of the reasons why I bought an Acer laptop. Don't know if they do this anywhere, but in Thailand, it was no problem to get one without Windows. (And yes, they deducted the price of the OS.)

I also had no problems getting in-warranty repairs on it here in Brisbane from Acer Australia.

Re:This is not news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732534)

Well, they can't have been adding in a "Zune Bundle: Zune 30GB MP3 player and Vizor black leather case Product details [$275 or $8/month1]" for that long...although why they would bundle a zune with a non-windows system is beyond me...

Re:This is not news. (1)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732558)

I've had an nSeries workstation at the office for a little over 4 years now.

Re:This is not news. (1)

solafide (845228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732792)

In other words, it's ancientnews.

This isn't "open source" computers... (5, Insightful)

CaptainTux (658655) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732476)

Apparently, the submitter and editor don't truly realize what "open source" is. Selling a PC without anything on it isn't open source; it's selling a computer with nothing on it. This isn't a move to support open source, it's a move to save money by not having to pay the MS tax.

Re:This isn't "open source" computers... (4, Funny)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732506)

Well, if your computer has no compiled code on it, then it's vacuously true to say that you have all the source code too.

Re:This isn't "open source" computers... (5, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732524)

You have the source code for your BIOS?

Actually IBM used to publish complete BIOS source (4, Interesting)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732566)

You have the source code for your BIOS?

When I used a genuine IBM PC back in the day, yes, IBM published the complete source code to BIOS. The listing was *the* API reference.

My C64 came with the full circuit diagram.. (-1, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732668)

what's your fuckin' point?

Wait, I think I have that lying around somewhere.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732776)

found it! [tinypic.com]

Re:This isn't "open source" computers... (2, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732986)

Well, for the computer to be open source, you'd have to be able to access all the documents necessary to build all of its subcomponents. (And for the computer to be free as in speech, nothing in it could be patented.) The story shouldn't have called the computers open source, just the OS. ... or non-OS.

Acorn Atom came with schematics (3, Interesting)

MCRocker (461060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733600)

My Acorn Atom [xs4all.nl] actually came with schematics [bjh21.me.uk] (2 [bjh21.me.uk] ) and it was easy enough to disassemble the ROM. The manual even had a complete definition of the syntax in Backus-Naur format [xs4all.nl] . Too bad modern computer makers don't seem to have that sort of respect for their users.

Re:This isn't "open source" computers... (1)

frakir (760204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732664)

well, did you ever see closed source nothing?

which raises a question....
if I distribute a null file under GPL don't any modification to it have to be also GPL-ed? :)

Re:This isn't "open source" computers... (2, Funny)

chrylis (262281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732826)

If you can demonstrate that you wrote a work independently of someone else, that person's copyright doesn't apply to you. I think you could rather easily demonstrate independent creation of an empty file. ;-)

Re:This isn't "open source" computers... (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733200)

I don't think that's long enough to warrant a copyright.

FreeDOS is open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732672)

If you read the link, they come with FreeDOS. So yes, they are open source.

Re:This isn't "open source" computers... (2, Informative)

xiang shui (762964) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732898)

RTFA... it ships with FreeDOS. Sounds like open source to me.

Re:This isn't "open source" computers... (4, Informative)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733016)

Apparently, the submitter and editor don't truly realize what "open source" is. Selling a PC without anything on it isn't open source; it's selling a computer with nothing on it. This isn't a move to support open source, it's a move to save money by not having to pay the MS tax.
Actually they aren't without anything. They come with FreeDOS. And FreeDOS is open source.

Are you looking for a desktop on which you can run Linux® or other open-source operating systems? Look no further!

Dell's new open-source n Series desktop solution provides customers with a DimensionTM E520, E521 or C521 desktop without an installed or included Microsoft® operating system. With the n Series desktop, customers have the flexibility to install an alternative operating system (such as a version of Linux® ), and help reduce the price of this system. In addition, the n Series desktop comes with a non-formatted hard drive ready for your custom installation. Dell's n Series desktop ships with a copy of FreeDosTM , an open-source operating system that is ready to install.
http://www.freedos.org/ [freedos.org]

ok, and? (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732480)

Well that's good, but I'll still opt for building my own.

Re:ok, and? (2, Informative)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733476)

I built my own machines for a long time. But sometime last year I realized I could buy an HP machine from Circuit City for way less money. For $550, I got a machine that had a CPU that, at the time, cost over $300 alone from newegg.com for the identical model (AMD X2). For the extra $250, I got 1GB ram, 250GB disk, case/PSU/nifty_media_ports, DVD-Burner, and a license of WinXP Media Center edition.

The machine is rock solid. I added a recent, high-power video card and the stock power supply didn't flinch a bit. This is consistent with a prior Dell machine I used to own (1GHz PIII). The little 200-watt power supply held up and provided stable power no matter what I threw at it, including a Geforce4 Ti4400 (state-of-the-art back then) and filling the machine with 4 hard drives. Meanwhile all my friends were replacing 400-watt power supplies that couldn't keep their machines stable when adding new hardware.

If its your hobby and you get enjoyment out of home-built machines, then thats great and more power to you. But it no longer makes economic sense to DIY machines.

The real question (5, Interesting)

milas (988484) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732482)

Has anyone figured out how much cheaper these computers come than those with OEM Windows? Dell's pricing/models are so scattered I don't even know where to begin.

Re:The real question (1)

lottameez (816335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732552)

I would think that was the only question. Couldn't you just reformat the drive yourself and get to the same state?

Re:The real question (2, Insightful)

Beuno (740018) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732630)

Yes, but you would have payed for Windows, which you won't use.

Re:The real question (1)

amadeobellotti (1055098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733082)

If the systems are exactly the same you will save 60 dollars. Which is pretty good if you don't use Windows at all.

Re:The real question (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732654)

Has anyone figured out how much cheaper these computers come than those with OEM Windows? Dell's pricing/models are so scattered I don't even know where to begin.

Why don't you begin by determining what segment these "blank" systems come from, "home / home office", "small business", etc; and then look at comparable "bootable" systems in that same segment. Staying withing the segment helps to make Dell prices a little more comprehensible. When you go between segments there can be radical changes in things that "geeks" sometimes ignore, warranties for example.

My vague recollection from other sources is that Dell charges something around US$50 for Windows XP.

Re:The real question (4, Informative)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732702)

> Has anyone figured out how much cheaper these computers come than those with OEM Windows?

Well opening a seperate tab on www.dell.com and finding almost the same system with Windows I get a difference of $185 once you make em exactly equal. But they are running a promo hard drive upgrade on the N servies right now and aren't on the normal Dimension I looked at. But it doesn't matter, when the difference is that big it is clear they are actually taking something off the sticker price when you buy an N series. Finally. Guess that makes this a real news item instead of a pathetic dupe.

Re:The real question (2, Informative)

chrylis (262281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732858)

I configured an E520/E520n to identical specs, with the one exception that the Windows version came with a Core 2 Duo (1.86GHz) and the n Series a Pentium D (2.80GHz, and Linux would've used the 64-bit processor). The n Series came out to $959 and the regular to $1089, a difference of $130 for Windows and the Core 2.

My recollection is that they AREN'T cheaper (1)

arete (170676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732744)

My recollection is that they AREN'T cheaper. Been a while, Dell's pricing is always shifty, but... I remember the price of Windows (if you were in a state where you could "return" it) to be something like $47 - but these "bare" boxes to usually cost the same amount as a similar computer WITH Windows... no savings at all. Oh, and not available on the least expensive boxes, as I remember - a Windows box is always the cheapest Dell option.

Now if THAT changed, maybe that would be news.

Re:My recollection is that they AREN'T cheaper (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732872)

They aren't any cheaper. Dell is just trying to save some money by not having to go through all the hoops required when somebody asks for a Windows refund. That costs them more money than the refund itself.

And if you want a laptop without Windows installed, you might try RJ Tech. They seem to have every generic laptop on the market.

You pay more for it. (1)

robbak (775424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732868)

My research is that you are paying $230 _More_

See http://www.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx /dimen_e520?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd [dell.com]

Re:You pay more for it. (1)

ojustgiveitup (869923) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733292)

um...that isn't the same computer at all, the one in the article had a dual amd64 3800 and that one you linked to had a celeron/pentium 4/pentium d ...very different computers.

Re:The real question (1)

jocoollovesyou (1055096) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733070)

I've tried to build a computer ( C521 ; 1 gig ram, 320 gig HD, 17 in monitor...) that had exactly the same components, except that one had Windoze, and the other FreeDos... The computer with FreeDOS was actually MORE EXPENSIVE. The only conclusion that came to my mind is that Windoze is a nuisance and therefore you must pay not to have it.

Trialware (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733442)

The only conclusion that came to my mind is that Windoze is a nuisance and therefore you must pay not to have it.

Some makers of commercial software with a free trial, such as Symantec with its Norton Antivirus, pay makers of Lenovo-compatible PCs running Windows OS to install their products. Some claim that the trialware bounties more than pay for the entire cost of a Windows license.

Good News? (2, Interesting)

Skewray (896393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732486)

They have been doing this for some time. I have heard that Linux is known to port badly to these machines.

Re:Good News? (1)

Skewray (896393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732582)

Actually, I just did some google searches to confirm, and can't find anything. I must be getting senile.

Re:Good News? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732854)

No, you're just a complete idiot. Why would they need to "port" to a DELL machine? Does DELL have magic pixies instead of processors or something? Moron.

Re:Good News? (2, Informative)

Gibberx (631490) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732588)

In my experience, that is simply not true. We have a couple Linux labs for testing our software where I work, and our N series Dimensions have been very cooperative with RHEL 4 and Fedora Core.

Re:Good News? (2, Informative)

JAFSlashdotter (791771) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733232)

They have been doing this for some time. I have heard that Linux is known to port badly to these machines.
There were some [launchpad.net] problems [fedoraforum.org] with [dell.com] the BIOS [redhat.com] on the AMD X2 64, but it looks like those might have been fixed with a BIOS update.

Demonstrates how screwed up the market is (4, Interesting)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732500)

Shows how much Microsoft's monopoly is silently accepted when it's news that someone sells computers without Windows.

Re:Demonstrates how screwed up the market is (1)

jt2377 (933506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732662)

and after they purchased these "open source" computer. they install their pirated Windows Vista on it! Woof!

Re:Demonstrates how screwed up the market is (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732880)

I love the way 64 bit PC's from Dell come with Windows XP Home Edition (32 bit) on them. You can only upgrade the OS to Win64 by paying $1000 extra, and you can't NOT pay for the OS. Maybe I should ask for a refund of this XP Home Edition CD.. too bad I already opened the packaging to use it in QEMU on my Linux box.

Old news (4, Informative)

apilosov (1810) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732502)

This is at least 1.5 years old, probably more.

I've been buying n-series in 2005.

Note (3, Insightful)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732514)

Note: Dell does not support non-Dell installed operating systems.

In short: "We won't even give you tech support for the FreeDOS that comes in the package. All we'll do is replace your hardware if it breaks."

Re:Note (1)

Trelane (16124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732544)

Fine by me. OTOH, sometimes it's not. So I'll buy from LinuxCertified, RCubed, System76, or others when I want things to Just Work, and I'll maybe buy a dell when I don't mind being a hardware-OS support engineer.

Re:Note (1)

jmv (93421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732562)

I see that as an advantage actually. Last laptop I had, the CDROM broke and they (Dell) wouldn't replace it until I checked that the Windows CD that came with the laptop (and took a few days to find) couldn't be read either. That's because "we only support Windows". Now, I have an n-series laptop, so hopefully they can't tell me to "check with windows" before replacing broken hardware.

Re:Note (3, Insightful)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732732)

And this is a problem.. why?

American consumer goes for it (1)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733274)

We won't even give you tech support for the FreeDOS that comes in the package. All we'll do is replace your hardware if it breaks.
And this is a problem.. why?
wow

Dell does not support non-Dell ... (4, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732754)

Note: Dell does not support non-Dell installed operating systems. In short: "We won't even give you tech support for the FreeDOS that comes in the package. All we'll do is replace your hardware if it breaks."

That sounds like support to me. They support what they assembled/installed. Dell support is not a uniform thing, it varies quite a bit from product to product and segment to segment. Give them more money, they will give you more support. Give them even more and they'll send someone to your home/office. Give them alot of money and they'll help you setup your enterprise with custom software and help you keep it running.

Re:Note (1)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733068)

I've found that dell tech support to be relatively useless anyway! Probably flamebait, but I haven't had a good experience with dell customer support to this day. Hence why i steer clear of them in the corporate environment as it's just not worth the Head Fucks.

only 3 models? (2, Funny)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732540)

Does a company the size of Dell really lack the expertise to port this "unformatted disk" technology to the entire line?

Re:only 3 models? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732712)

Too many people would call up saying their computer doesn't work when they select unformatted disk to save $50, or whatever it comes out to without windows. If there's $50 to be saved, then i'm sure there's tons of idiots who have no idea what an operating system is to choose the option of no operating system, just because it saves them money.

Re:only 3 models? (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733186)

Given the amount of business they probably get from people who don't know an unformatted disk from a slipped disk, I'd say it's a good idea.

A long time now... (1)

ack154 (591432) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732550)

Yes [slashdot.org] . We know. And you usually have to go through about 50 pages to find them. Usually buried somewhere in the Business sections. MS doesn't want them to advertise systems without Windows.

We've got both kinds... (2, Informative)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732610)

An ATI graphics card with proprietary drivers or an NVidia graphics card with proprietary drivers; what a choice.

Re:We've got both kinds... (0)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732948)

ATI Drivers have been reverse-engineered. And I think that Dell uses intel chipsets for a lot of its machines.

But... (4, Funny)

juiceg (700027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732642)

Anyone notice that, during the configuration, all the banner ads, logos and "recommendations" all mention Vista? High-larious.

How is this news?! (4, Insightful)

Trelane (16124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732650)

They've been doing this for years. News would be if "No OS" and "Linux" options were available for every system, and even more so for notebooks and the "Home" section. As it currently seems, however, this is not news.

Re:How is this news?! (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733328)

News would be if "No OS" and "Linux" options were available for every system, and even more so for notebooks and the "Home" section.

a show of hands please from the Geeks who believe that the "No OS" system or OEM Linux is a viable product in the domestic consumer PC market.

Re:How is this news?! (1)

Trelane (16124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733446)

If you read my post, you'll note that I said it'd be news, not that it'd be a good idea.

Domestic? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733490)

a show of hands please from the Geeks who believe that the "No OS" system or OEM Linux is a viable product in the domestic consumer PC market.

a show of hands please from the Geeks who believe that the domestic consumer PC market significantly outweighs markets Europe and the Far East, which have shown themselves to be more open to a GNU/Linux software stack.

I'm not so sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732656)

Well, while this is certainly a good thing, Dell have actually been doing this for quite some time. That aside, I fail to see how selling unformatted boxes counts as "selling open source computers" - surely it's just selling PC's without an OS. If they came with an open source OS installed, then sure. But they don't. This headline is really misleading. It's also a very small number of their product line that comes with this option. I wonder how much this ticks of MS, and if there's any danger for Dell that they'll have to start shelling out more for licenses, as a result of a pissed off MS' reaction? Probably not on this scale, but still, you have to wonder if it's worth it for Dell, not that I don't think this should be a standard option.

Re:I'm not so sure (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733594)

I fail to see how selling unformatted boxes counts as "selling open source computers" - surely it's just selling PC's without an OS. If they came with an open source OS installed, then sure. But they don't.

The article states that these computers come with a bootable FreeDOS CD ready for installation. FreeDOS is a free software operating system compatible with applications designed for MS-DOS.

Try purchasing without the monitor -- cannot (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732692)

I bought a Windows X2 AMD Dual-Core 3800+ without monitor for $389, however, when I tried to purchase an n-series with the exact same processor without the monitor, I was not allowed to remove the monitor. Dell tech support said they could not sell the n-series machine without a monitor.

Not any cheaper (2, Interesting)

notoriousE (723905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732700)

these machines arent any cheaper than Dell's other offerings with the same hardware

you are paying the same and not getting the $100 value of xp or so

University machines (0)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732704)

The MSDNAA allows volume licensing of Windows, but alot of colleges have signed a deal with Dell for equipment. CS departments (and maybe others) tend to double-up on Windows licenses since they usually wipe the machines and install an image with the volume license.

Dell needs to sell all their machines without requiring a Windows license... especially since Vista isn't necessary and will cost more than XP.

gripes aside, a more interesting question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732724)

How does the value of one of these no-software Dell PCs compare with one that you build yourself?

They do have volume deals, so it might still be a good deal. But if there's a rebate, forget it (I'm still boycotting them over their refusal to honor their rebate on a Latitude notebook I bought several years ago).

Bypasses aren't just roads. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732772)

An OT problem.

1:Fujitsu Lifebook running W2K with no floppy/cd-rom/DVD, but does have built-in NIC (With PXE 2.0 support) and 56K modem.

I can't get past the login screen (not even in safe mode).

I've tried Knoppix 3.6 (terminal server) and I do get part way in the boot process, but no further.

Ideally I could run a server (TFTPD) on the main machine and serve up an OS with a password bypasser. But I haven't found anything that'll work without jumping trough a lot of hoops. I'm have debated pulling the HDD and doing it that way, but I don't want to break anything.

---
My slashword is "careless". Thank slashdot!

Windows Logo?!? (1)

femto (459605) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732788)

Interesting that when you "configure" the computer the "operating systems" button is still a windows logo. The only option available is "FreeDOS". (I was trawling to see if Dell would let me configure an open-source machine with the windows operating system. They don't.)

Re:Windows Logo?!? (1)

drawfour (791912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732938)

Yeah, I tried that too. I think it would be nice if it was an "option". Then you could see how much it actually costs you do get Windows with a new PC.

As an aside, of the three models, only one of them allowed you to choose "No monitor", which is the Intel system. To go from a 19" LCD (default selection) to no monitor takes $240 off the price, which I think is pretty nice. However, that option was nowhere to be found on the two AMD systems. Considering I already have dual-20" LCD monitors, buying yet another makes no sense. And going from a 19" to a 17" (for the AMD systems) only takes off $40 from the price...

FreeDOS version is way Cheaper (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732822)

FreeDOS configuration with is around 70$ cheaper than Windows version. Windows version is same price for 250GB and 320GB HDD but on FreeDOS version if you chose 250GB HDD then it is almost 160$ cheaper...sweetahhhhhhhhh

Re:FreeDOS version is way Cheaper (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733598)

FreeDOS configuration with is around 70$ cheaper than Windows version. Windows version is same price for 250GB and 320GB HDD but on FreeDOS version if you chose 250GB HDD then it is almost 160$ cheaper...sweetahhhhhhhhh

now go back, spec, and price out the system that has significant home sales.

the one with the free Vista upgrade, the DVD burner, the system that can play "Oblivion," the one that ships free to your doorstep bundled with a new widescreen monitor and printer.

This is news? (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732850)

I noticed these on Dells site several months ago. They call them Open Source becasue they ship with FreeDos and are intended for people to install which ever flavor of Linux they prefer.

Sales data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732922)

Does anyone have any idea whether or not Dell has actually sold a decent number of these? Or does no one much actually buy them?

New name for this type of post... (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732952)

...superDupe(r)! Honestly, this has got to be the most duped post ever.

how PCs shipped without Windows will destroy your (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17732982)

some of you might remember back six years ago:
how PCs shipped without Windows will destroy your life: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/11/23/ms_how_pcs _shipped_without/ [theregister.co.uk]
it's (nearly) illegal to buy PCs without Windows: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/11/28/ms_its_nea rly_illegal/ [theregister.co.uk]

is there a web archive somewhere of http://www.microsoft.com/OEM/nakedPC.htm [microsoft.com] ??

price difference? (1)

UnixSphere (820423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732984)

They cost the same if not more than the PCs that have Windows installed.

Does... (1)

scoot80 (1017822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732994)

this make their computers any better though??

NOT the first time by any means (1)

Biff98 (633281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17732998)

In my experience this is about the 5th or 6th time they've done this. I've ordered PC's from them with everything from RedHat to FreeDOS to nothing at all. Depending on when I ask for the quotes on various machines dictates what kind of PC I actually get. Not at all like what I get when I order a server from Sun.

Umm...what about HP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17733012)

You have the option to choose no OS for small to medium (and up) business machines at HP in the customization options...for laptops no less. I tried writing in about this...but I guess this is just as good.

i bet MS didn't like it much (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733054)

but then dell is a huge customer with the clout to say fuck off.

N-series? (-1, Offtopic)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733076)

Are they from Niger?

Re:N-series? (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733162)

No, they're from Nebraska.

Why would you buy a Dell for linux? (1)

stabiesoft (733417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733090)

I've bought machines (for very reasonable prices) from various vendors such as ASL and Penguin that come with pre-installed linux that just "works". The vendors work around any driver issues such as dual monitor stuff and
you just turn the box on. These vendors actually know what they are selling and have domestic help. Personally, I just toss all those Dell flyers as they just have no value to me.

What they _Could_ be doing. (4, Insightful)

robbak (775424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733110)

Companies like Dell are in a unique position to break the Windows monopoly.
The main problem Open Source developers are having is the near-impossibility of getting hardware documentation. The manufacturers are unwilling (which is something I do _not_ understand!), and we lack the marketing clout to force them.
Dell, Hp /et al/ have that clout. A simple decision - only use hardware for which full specs are available - would force the manufacturer's hands. The developers of xorg, linux, BSD etc would use that to produce full support, and everyone would have a real choice. The companies would not have to pay the MS tax, MS would have an incentive to actually make their products useable, DRM would take a heavy thwacking as people can choose not to have it.

Ah, a perfect world. Well, I can dream, can't I?

Unrelated to Linux (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733146)

This is particular unrelated to Linux, especially since I'd wager a lot of money that Windows goes on 90% of these machines after they're sold. I may very buy some of these guys so I can use my "old" Windows 2000 licenses.

Re:Unrelated to Linux (2, Informative)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733192)

Yup... I happen to work at a university campus which has a licensing agreement with MS, so we're already paying for Windows. These machines would be perfect for us, but we still end up buying regular Dells with Windows preinstalled because there's a wider selection and it's easier to find the configuration we want.

The N-series selection is so limited that it might as well not be there for a large business/university with diverse needs. It does hurt to pay Microsoft twice for each copy of Windows, though.

-Z

Re:Unrelated to Linux (1)

Trelane (16124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733510)

If you install a volume license on these, Microsoft says you're a dirty pirate [microsoft.com] . Quoth Microsoft:
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.

Emphasis mine. Correction to your post, then, in bold:

I happen to work at a university campus which has a licensing agreement with MS, so we're already paying twice for Windows.

:P (1)

vladsinger (1049918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733190)

You had me excited there for a while. Right now, DELL and co. only sell clean PC's stashed in a maze of links for a good reason: Microsoft is leaning threateningly on the "raise MS tax" button...and any attempt to leave the fold will lead to painful rate hikes.

moD d0wn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17733198)

my new open source program (1)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733246)

hey, here is the code of my new open source program, released under the GPLv3:
BLANK
Are you on crack?


Since when a computer with an unformatted hard disk is an open source computer?
Since when a computer that gives you a choice between ATI and NVIDIA as video cards is an open source computer?
It doesn't even seem to come with LinuxBios


I came here somehow thinking that Dell was selling those OLPC laptops... My bad.

I got one a while back (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733250)

January 26, 2004 to be exact, just after the first time this story was posted, that I'm aware of. It was shortly after Microsoft started its Get the Facts campaign. I think it cost more than the Windows variant though. It wasn't as Linux compatible as one would like. There was a bios issue (according to devs) that made 3D acceleration slightly unstable in xfree86, though a workaround was eventually added to x.org. This was probably the only affected Dell model not to get a firmware update to fix the issue. They fixed it in the Dimension 2500C, but not the Dimension 2500 which mine was based on. I went though about a year of just having to avoid 3D, but it all works today.

I've seen worse though. In 2005 I bought a Linspire system [tigerdirect.com] that had an entirely unsupported (at the time) via unichrome video chipset, so 3D acceleration wasn't even a possibility. But at that price, I figured something had to be wrong with it and chose to accept the risk anyway.

I'm not sure what it is with Linux PC sellers shipping systems with linux-incompatible hardware. I also bought a no-OS IBM NetVista that would randomly freeze unless I booted Linux with the noapic kernel option.

Strange... (1)

Darkinspiration (901976) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733278)

I can't seem to find them on the canadian site. Seem like canada is once more ignored. Dam and we are so close to becoming the 51th state....XD.

Testing, testing, 1 ... 2 ..... 3. (2, Insightful)

wamman (197850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733330)

If they are just strapping in an unformatted hard drive, how do they do any QC? Is the POST sufficient to guarantee all the components are good and installed correctly?

I'm sure anyone installing *NIX is capable of re-seating boards and the like, but it still has to cost Mr. Dell money to do the replacement part thing, right?

My lord, I have news to tell you. (0, Offtopic)

edbob (960004) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733352)

When Roscius was an actor in Rome,--

seems pointless (0, Flamebait)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733414)

Kind of like putting a Ferrari engine in a Yugo.

It would be news... (1)

Wicko (977078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17733474)

if it was laptops. That would be interesting, shaving off ~150 in costs.
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