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Dell To Linux Users — Not So Fast

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the still-with-the-Windows-tax? dept.

Linux Business 356

PetManimal writes to tell us that after all the hubbub over Dell's note about manufacturing Linux-friendly Dells and choosing distros, the company is now telling users not to expect factory-installed Linux laptops and desktops anytime soon. According to the article, Dell says that lining up certification, support, and training will 'take a lot of work.' "The company said today that the note was just about certifying the hardware for being ready to work with Novell SUSE Linux, not an announcement that the computers would be loaded and sold with the operating system in the near future..."

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356 comments

The penguin is struck down again! (0, Flamebait)

kiyoshilionz (977589) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177242)

As if I needed another reason to not buy a Dell.

hah-hah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177302)

Hah-hah

Re:The penguin is struck down again! (2, Informative)

reset_button (903303) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177314)

Why is this a reason not to buy a Dell? If I want to be confident that I will be able to run Linux on my machine with no driver issues, I buy Dell. The servers are all Linux-friendly, because you can buy them with Linux loaded. Also I've never heard of any issues with laptops or desktops. You can even ask their sales people about Linux support, while other manufacturers won't talk to you about it. As a Linux user, I would go straight to Dell.

Re:The penguin is struck down again! (5, Interesting)

sl1thy (1069466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177404)

"Also I've never heard of any issues with laptops or desktops" Then you've never looked very hard. I own a Dell laptop and can say that the overall experience under Linux isn't the same as Windows because of Dell. Dell has custom tweaks in the ATI driver that provides better performance (aside from that fact that Linux ATI drivers suck) as well as adjustments for the LCD that I can't change in Linux. Don't even get me started on my Dell wifi card which is based on a broadcom chipset. Since 2.6.17, I have had native kernel support, but there are still some APs that I can't connect to, for example APs that use shared WEP keys.

Re:The penguin is struck down again! (1)

ryanov (193048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177850)

Should not have ordered the Dell with the Broadcom chips since they offer IPW. You can even probably swap out the chipset (though I'm not sure if it's MiniPCI or whether it's onboard).

Re:The penguin is struck down again! (0, Troll)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177360)

What is there to hate about Dell? You most likely hate them because of there home user support. If you worked with enterprise level networks with Dell servers you would see how great there support is. I have a 4 hours contract to where if something breaks they ship me the part and it is in my hands within 4 hours. Now tell me what there is to hate about Dell?

Re:The penguin is struck down again! (3, Insightful)

Kannaida (1069502) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177666)

While I respect that, I also see the reason... Servers typically mean a larger client, which typically means more money. Money = good = Dell happy. I imagine if my 2 dell systems cost more than the $5k (U.S.) I spent on them (combined), I'd be getting a bit more customer support too. If they put Linux on their machines, they need to deal with the thousands (or, more likely, millions) of customers who bought one system and demand customer support. Financially it's a nightmare. Putting Linux on their boxes doesn't mean "enterprise" it means supporting the masses that think "Linux will make me look cooler" in a home user support role. I've been through numerous software and hardware scenarios where being a "home user" just isn't lucrative enough for some decent support. But, if you tally up the numbers, who's more likely to give you a bad reputation? Thousands of pissed off (home) consumers or hundreds of happy (enterprise) consumers? Who do *you* think the U.S.'s (notoriously one sided) media is going to showcase? And then, there's market share. How can a company, who's ultimate responsibility is the dollar, justify offering Linux? Microsoft can say "in the past Y years we sold N copies of Windows" while all Linux can say is "X number of people downloaded our OS" without being able to (financially) justify that they were *all* new users (or at least a majority)? As long as Linux is free it will be hard to say how much of a share they have in the computing world. I pray it's always free, and hearing of institutions going OSS is great (like so many governments) but shy of that, it's hard to put a price on the users who use Linux and will buy a Linux based system. Financially it may add up, but there just aren't enough numbers to prove it.

That might change in the future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177908)

Maybe Dell is waiting for Symantec and others to release all the craplets [www.cbc.ca] required for a typical Dell installation?

huh? (2, Insightful)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177260)

What is there to certify? The SUSE Linux people knows what works with their OS. Pick some hardware from that list, build it, ship it.

Re:huh? (5, Informative)

wxgrunt (1069500) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177382)

Sadly there is trouble with Dell hardware/software even in their 'big business' server sales. We recently bought $60,000 worth of hardware from them - first time our group bought from Dell, and got machines with closed source, YOU CAN'T RELOAD THE OS WITHOUT OUR PROPRIETARY BINARIES software. After talking to some very responsive people in tech support (and politely explaining that we wouldn't buy Dells again without a test machine) they told us that the problem was the LSI SCSI controller software. Different customer service people (all of whom were polite and seemed to listen) kept asking us about the customer satisfaction rating we gave (2 out of 10), but were unable to dig up a 32-bit version of the OS we wanted to run on our Xeon 1950's. Hadn't been certified. They don't quite get it.

That's why Dell Linux would be nice. (4, Interesting)

Erris (531066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177494)

Sadly there is trouble with Dell hardware/software even in their 'big business' server sales. ... our group bought from Dell, and got machines with closed source, YOU CAN'T RELOAD THE OS WITHOUT OUR PROPRIETARY BINARIES software.

Ugh, $60,000 worth of disposable equipment.

Wouldn't it be nice if they had just picked some scsi cards that have free software drivers? How nice it would be if Dell used it's market might to ask for specifications or free drivers instead of how non free companies usually do it - asking the maker to keep things secret.

Re:That's why Dell Linux would be nice. (5, Interesting)

clonehappy (655530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177708)

<asbestos chainmail>

Not to sound like a broken record around here, but why would Dell go out of their way to find components that work on an OS that is in direct competition with the one that ships with (currently) 100% of their hardware?

Something about not biting hands that feed you?

</asbestos chainmail>

Woops! (4, Funny)

One Louder (595430) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177264)

Hmmm, sounds like somebody at Dell got The Phone Call.

Re:Woops! (5, Funny)

Sneakernets (1026296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177298)

More like, somebody at Dell got The Chair.

Re:Woops! (4, Funny)

ashridah (72567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177574)

Was it a comfy chair?

Re:Woops! (2, Funny)

Bob54321 (911744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177664)

Any chair that is lodged in some part of your body due to its use as a projectile tends not to be comfy... In fact, I cannot think of an exception to that rule.

Re:Woops! (2, Funny)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177300)

or the flying chair...

Re:Woops! ...Wait, what? (1)

cloricus (691063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177736)

I thought the Linux community was basically avoiding Novell until all of their Microsoft flag waving was sorted out. I know I have been... :|

Re:Woops! (1)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177310)

I'd agree, but Dell didn't need the phone call, the headline from the last article was totally false to begin with.

Re:Woops! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177698)

No...the check finally cleared.

Re:Woops! (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177772)

Hmmm, sounds like somebody at Dell got The Phone Call.

Michael Dell announced a low-key program to certify Linux distributions for corporate clients who wanted a custom factory install. It's only the Geek off on his own power trip who could spin this into a victory for OEM Linux in the consumer market.

The Wrath of Pope Bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177796)

The Church of Bill will not allow Blasphemy and Pagans to wreck their beliefs. Bishop Dalmer made the call to Mr Dell informing him that the Vatican in Seattle was highly upset. Pope Bill Was especially concerned that their teachings were being warped by Pagan beliefs. More to come.

Dude! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177268)

Dude, you're getting a false hope!

Dell will not betray Microsoft. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177292)

Dell is continuing to talk with the makers of other Linux distributions about certifying the hardware for those Linux distributions, he said. "When you talk about an operating system, if Dell is going to install it and test it, it takes a lot of work" before getting it ready for the marketplace, including having training and support in place.

It's as much work as you want to make it.

The simple solution is to ship a hardware testing CD with the box and let whatever distribution provide the "support" for anyone installing it.

All Dell would have to do would be to contact Linus (who would delegate it) to check that the hardware is supported by the current kernel. Problem solved.

Re:Dell will not betray Microsoft. (2, Insightful)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177308)

Sure, but the only people who that sort of deal would appeal to are people who would buy it with no OS at all and then install their own OS.

People who want linux preloaded also want professional grade support.

If you can validate the hardware ... (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177376)

If you can validate the hardware the "professional support" will come from the distribution.

This is Linux, not Windows. There's no need to stay with Microsoft's support methods. Either the hardware is flawed or there is something in the software that isn't right. And the people best able to address that would be the support staff at the distribution you're running.

Re:Dell will not betray Microsoft. (5, Insightful)

Omega Hacker (6676) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177408)

People who want linux preloaded also want professional grade support.

And they're going to Dell for this?!?!?!?!?

Re:Dell will not betray Microsoft. (4, Interesting)

Compholio (770966) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177426)

People who want linux preloaded also want professional grade support.
Not necessarily, I voted for it and I can honestly say that as long as they sell a reasonably complete "works with linux" package I'd be happy. I would prefer that I can select an option to have it preloaded with Ubuntu and all the proprietary drivers but I definitely don't need "professional grade support". I plan on buying a new system this summer and I'm hoping that I can get it pre-built (cost of individual components relative to a pre-built system is getting kinda ridiculous). When I looked for systems that meet my needs on Dell's website I ran into the following problems:

1) No high-end AMD systems (their instruction set is better supported on Linux)
2) High-end systems do not provide an option for high-end nVidia cards (their drivers work better on linux)
3) All high-end systems require purchase of MS Windows

These problems are unacceptable and force me to look for alternative manufacturers. If you know of someone that will actually build a good linux system (desktop system, thank you very much) then let me know, otherwise I'm going to end up doing it myself again - and honestly, that's getting irritating.

Re:Dell will not betray Microsoft. (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177714)

Not necessarily, I voted for it and I can honestly say that as long as they sell a reasonably complete "works with linux" package I'd be happy. I would prefer that I can select an option to have it preloaded with Ubuntu and all the proprietary drivers but I definitely don't need "professional grade support"

Fine for you.

But Dell has to provide meaningful technical support to make a go of OEM Linux in the consumer market.

You don't tell retail customers to Google for answers, you don't sent them to the IRC chat rooms. You provide the level of support that is appropriate for users new to Linux or you will drown in a flood of red ink.

Re:Dell will not betray Microsoft. (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177734)

What stops you from buying the parts and building any box you like? And if somehow a trip to Fry's (or your local equivalent) is too scary, I'm sure you can find a few /.ters who will help you for a moderate fee, certainly for less than you'd have to pay to Dell.

Re:Dell will not betray Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177818)

And provide 3 year on site support? That's awesome!

Send me some names. I want 4 hour turn around as well. Face it, I buy dell hardware because of their support contracts, I the servers sans OS and I haven't had issues with linux in many years.

Re:Dell will not betray Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177906)

It's as much work as you want to make it.

Perhaps you are wrong. They always sell the cheapest shit they can. And even the cheapest shit comes with Windows drivers - they don't always work right, they may have bugs, but, hey, that's what Dell support (direct from India and, oh, so helpful) is all about. Whenever a customer calls, the first answer is "You need more RAM." which leads to further sales. Then, on the second or third call, when extra RAM doesn't help, maybe, just maybe, the vendor will have the driver issue fixed.

Dell; bah! Dell tech support; fuck 'em, just fuck 'em!

WAIT? LINUX IS WORK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177320)

".. will take a lot of work"

I think I speak for all Dell users when I say,
"work?! windows does everything I need"

Back to drooling on myself.

Re:WAIT? LINUX IS WORK? (1)

Sillygates (967271) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177788)

the closest thing to a network management tool microsoft has released is mmc. With *nix you get, at the very least ssh and a shell, which is enough to control everything that runs after the beginning of the init process. Pair that with a server management card and you have everything you need, you never have to touch the box again.

in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177324)

read the original announcement again. they never said anything about shipping systems with linux pre-installed. all they said was they were looking into making sure systems would "just work" if you decided to install it yourself.

now if they'll just stop making the "open source" systems more expensive than the ones with windows pre-installed...

Re:in other words... (1)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177662)

I would happily pay extra for a system that I knew would work with Free Software drivers. Looking around for compatible hardware and jiggering the system so that it works with binary-only drivers takes my time, and my time is worth something.

Why does dell have to support it? (2, Interesting)

purify0583 (1063046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177326)

Couldnt Dell just use hardware that is compatible with SUSE (the SUSE people probably have a list somewhere...), and then pass the burden of software support along to SUSE? If your program doesnt install correctly on your Dell, you call MS, not Dell. If your HD dies, then you call Dell. And I'm guessing that their customer base will not be needing that much support, because the people who buy a Dell with linux pre-installed are probably the same people who buy a computer preloaded with MS, nuke the drive, and install their favorite linux distro all by themselves. I dont understand why tech support would be the thing holding Dell back. Maybe this is a cop-out?

Re:Why does dell have to support it? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177450)

That's the way they do business. They don't want to get into the bottom end, el-cheap-o market. Providing plain ol' hardware not only puts them in that market, but it also cuts out most of their profit incentive for doing it in the first place. Besides, people will HOWL when they get a Dell box with some kind of Linux on it, have problems, and Dell takes them to take a flying leap. That's like asking Toyota to sell you some tricked out car, and you're ok without a warranty. You can't run a company like that.

Re:Why does dell have to support it? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177534)

'If your program doesnt install correctly on your Dell, you call MS, not Dell.'

bzzzt wrong. Dell and every other major vendor ships an OEM copy of windows with their machine. Support for windows and all the other oem software shipped with the machine is provided by Dell. If you call MS they will want per incident fees.

'I dont understand why tech support would be the thing holding Dell back. Maybe this is a cop-out?'

It isn't like Dell is saying that Linux isn't coming. They just have a certification process to make sure the hardware is well supported before they ship anything preloaded on their systems. They do the same thing before offering hardware with any particular version of windows as well.

Dell Tech Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177330)

I think I'm most excited at the possibility of Dell tech support actually having some real computing knowledge (using the command line for starters!). Although I'm a little skeptical that users can phone up and read out TCP/IP settings or a list of loaded kernel modules... and have the Dell tech support person actually understand a single word.

Imagine the horror of being in Dell's Linux tech support team, and having to field questions from clueless users...

Cust: "HELP! My internets is not working!"
Tech: "Ok, so just load up a new terminal, and type in..."
Cust: "Is that under network neighborhood?"

Re:Dell Tech Support (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177578)

or the Dell Dude says click on the "Network Status" icon and when it opens up start reading me what it says
(in the background it opens up a secure shell and tries to check in)

Linux users coming on too fast for Dell... (5, Interesting)

StickyWidget (741415) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177334)


Before we do this, you love me don't you???? Couldn't resist. I'm so getting flamed for this one...

Dell needs to continue listening to its customers, and give me Linux on my Dell (dude). The first step for this should be a Linux hardware forum where they discuss possible chipsets and identify possible incompatibilities before they occur. An open forum by such a large manufacturer may also put some pressure on chip and card manufacturers to open source their drivers.

The Widget of Sticky

Re:Linux users coming on too fast for Dell... (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177522)

As much as we've liked bashed up on Novell lately, they happen to be the best people to do this kind of hardware certification as they have explicitly stated that they are against binary drivers; hopefully they will recommend Dell ship Intel 3d hardware and this will make NVIDIA and ATI sit up and notice. Oh, and I don't think that winmodem will be acceptable either.

Pressure is already on. (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177550)

An open forum by such a large manufacturer may also put some pressure on chip and card manufacturers to open source their drivers.

Dell does not need to wait to chose hardware that already has free drivers. This would be a great service to their customers who will get hardware that's certified to work with free software. Right now Dell is a crap shoot for free software users, with more losers than winners and users have to do all the homework for themselves. If you go through all that trouble, you might as well build your own box from cheap parts.

Dell has already turned on the pressure. Just mentioning that they will do this will have vendors lining up.

I don't know, but... (4, Insightful)

Kannaida (1069502) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177364)

I'm not a Linux user (yet). I just started looking into a distro to install, and I'm swimming in some unknown waters here. I can kinda sympathize. Not that I'm a huge Dell fan. I bought 2 5 years ago and was never really happy with their customer support, but as a well known, well established PC vendor, they have to have people on hand that can support a Linux environment. They've spent years as an M$ only vendor, so it's not like they have a bunch of Linux guys who can just show up and say "sure, I'll do customer support". They need to know that their support people can handle the calls. Bash Dell all you want (I won't disagree) but they still have to maintain what they sell, and so they need some level of confidence in the people who are supporting their computers. It's not like Windows where you can count on most of the users being no smarter than a tech-support person with a script to read, if they're going to be serious about sending out a box with Linux, they need to be able to support it. It's much more than "is our hardware supported". They need to be ready for when someone who's never even seen linux calls in and needs some help. Personally I know where to go, but I can just imagine some of the people I know thinking "Linux is the next big thing, I need one of those" and then scratching their head and wondering what they got themselves into. From what I've gathered from my Linux using friends, tech support is going to be a lot more than just "restart".

Re:I don't know, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177608)

More importantly: they'll have to prepare themselves for TONS of returns!

I can already see what 95% of their calls will be like:

Customer: Hi? I'd like to install game XYZ on my PC and it won't work!
Dell Tech: It's a windows-only game, and your PC doesn't have Windows
(that flew way over his head)
Customer: Uhhmm. How about (Photoshop/Quicken/iTunes/MS Office/Dreamweaver/... long list)?
Dell Tech: It's a windows-only program, and your PC doesn't have Windows
Optional - Repeat the last two steps as often as you want
Customer: WTF is this shit? Why doesn't stuff work anymore? Fucking useless POS! I want my money back!

Either that, or Dell will be selling them an "upgrade" to Windows. Either ways, there will be tons of pissed off customers.

And don't say it won't happen. I've known a guy who bought a Mac. I had told him his old stuff (all windows apps/binaries) wouldn't run, and that it didn't have Windows for an OS. He didn't listen. He bought it, plugged it in, and 5 minutes after he phoned me - just after realizing nothing worked anymore (nothing he was used to/wanted to use/any of the software he had - and didn't even know how to use the damn thing). It went right back in the box. The same will happen with Linux...

Sorry but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177764)

your friend is an idiot.

Re:I don't know, but... (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177830)

I'm not a Linux user (yet). I just started looking into a distro to install,

You can run knoppix off the CD without installing anything. If you have used nothing but MS Windows it is a very different way of doing things - so I suggest giving it a try before installing anything.

The other thing to remember is unlike MS Windows there is documentation for just about everything (except for very new stuff and gnome for some reason) - so the RTFM responses to questions on mailing list are not just people being annoying. One final thing is distributions really don't matter after the first setup - drivers are in the kernel so can be installed on any distribution for the same platform and most applications are cross platform enough that they'll run on other versions of *nix let alone other distributions.

Re:I don't know, but... (1)

Kannaida (1069502) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177864)

I'm actually looking into Ubuntu. So far it just seems like the most user friendly "get into Linux" way to go. I'm not saying it's where I'll be in 2 years, but I think it may be a good start. It's well supported (so far anyway), I know people who have / do use it, and from what I gather, the GUI is fairly intuitive for an M$ user. I don't find my job "threatened" per-say, but I do find a lot of opportunity learning to develop in a Linux environment (and oss in general), and I'm one who is slow to change. Ubuntu seems like a fairly small step in, what I consider to be, the right direction. Ubuntu also offers a "run off the CD" option. And since I've got a wife to bring along, it may be the easiest way to go. I don't now, but I hope.

Re:I don't know, but... (1)

ryanov (193048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177898)

I recommend the Kubuntu or Ubuntu LiveCD. Take a look at the screenshots to see which you might prefer (Ubuntu is GNOME for a window manager, Kubuntu is KDE).

Certification is a "Good Thing" (4, Insightful)

jhfry (829244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177372)

Most of the previous posters are saying that certification is a waste of time or simple. It is not... the process of certification is not that simple.

Essentially certification means that the hardware will operate as expected/designed. Sure the kernel will support the network card... but will it support it when someone wants to make some off the wall settings that are supposed to work?

Not to mention, with the level of integration and customization done by Dell and their OEM suppliers, using a supported Broadcom NIC, for example, does not mean that it will operate correctly in Linux.

Besides... it gives linux credibility. I know I have purchased hardware thats on the linux HCL and run into compatibility issues or hardware that is supported but has limited functionality. Things have come a long way, but they are far from perfect.

Re:Certification is a "Good Thing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177498)

Sun builds x86 computers that are 'certified' (support provided) to run flavors of linux, windows, and solaris. What the hell is dells problem? Perhaps it is the quality of its components? The quality of its subcontinent support system? How can sun manage all three?

Re:Certification is a "Good Thing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177554)

The real problem is Dell makes chipset and board revisions without changing model numbers, and these often break driver compatibility. Running Linux on Dells is a nightmare in bulk. You get it running on one, think you can buy 12 more of the same, and it doesn't work. Dell need more discipline in their production line, and they don't have it. Writing their own Windows device drivers, they haven't needed it (though it might save them a lot of aggravation and money on support if they did).

Bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177570)

Ok: If Dell is going to spend a shitload of time and money testing all these different configurations then why the hell aren't they going to ship the software preinstalled?

Think about it.

You say:
Certification is hard blah blah blah.

Then I say:
If that is so possible and Dell is willing to spend all this mythical time and money on certification, but they aren't willing to make a install image that they pre-load onto a disk?

It doesn't make sense. There is something else going on.
I suspect that Microsoft may have something to do with it, but more likely is that their certification proccess is shit and it's a hell of a lot cheaper to put a 'certified' icon on their website then actually supporting Linux on hardware configurations.

They are going to install Suse and confirm that all the hardware has basic functionality. That is what their certification program is going to be.

Look at what http://system76.com/ [system76.com] can do.

It's a small business that makes sure that the hardware works with Ubuntu. If a driver is not aviable for a paticular peice of hardware they make sure that one is made. A open source driver. If not then they don't buy the hardware to sell to you.

Linux is pre-installed. Linux is supported and you get support for 1 or 3 year contracts.

If they can do it then why can't Dell?

Re:Certification is a "Good Thing" (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177598)

Most of the previous posters are saying that certification is a waste of time or simple. It is not... the process of certification is not that simple.

Yeah, look at all the quality work that's gone into Vista drivers. HAAAaaaaaaaaa!

Michael Dell could ship hardware that has free software support today if he wanted to. It might even cost more than cheap junk Windoze machines, but it should not cost more than the same hardware with Windoze. Anything less is just FUD.

No sockpuppet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177858)

Not posting as twitter [slashdot.org] tonight? Too much negative moderation, huh?

Re:Certification is a "Good Thing" (1)

jhfry (829244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177884)

"Michael Dell could ship hardware that has free software support today if he wanted to. It might even cost more than cheap junk Windoze machines, but it should not cost more than the same hardware with Windoze. Anything less is just FUD."

The hardware would cost no more... however the bundled cost to the consumer would. Dell can afford to make less than no money on the hardware by getting kickbacks for bundling 3rd party software. At the moment, there is no market for 3rd party bundles on Linux as the average user would never subscribe or upgrade from the installed LE version.

I'd imagine that Dell makes a hundred or so dollars just on the bundles from the AntiVirus and a some of the other S#!t they install on a consumer level machine.

In fact, if you pay the premium for an optiplex business class machine, the only 3rd party application that comes preinstalled (as of a few months ago) is the Google toolbar. While the machine is arguably better engineered, it typically has older hardware and has undergone far fewer revisions... thus I'd imagine the R&D cost is lower for the optiplex line then the dimension line... yet dimensions are better than 25% cheaper for equivilent specs and don't generate nearly as many returns, support calls, or other expensive hassles. So why are optiplex machines more expensive, it's the lack of bundling.

ATTN: Windows/Linux refugees! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177602)

The only thing more pathetic than a PC user is a PC user trying to be a Mac user. We have a name for you people: switcheurs.

There's a good reason for your vexation at the Mac's user interface: You don't speak its language. Remember that the Mac was designed by artists [atspace.com] , for artists [atspace.com] , be they poets [atspace.com] , musicians [atspace.com] , or avant-garde mathematicians [atspace.com] . A shiny new Mac can introduce your frathouse hovel to a modicum of good taste, but it can't make Mac users out of dweebs [atspace.com] and squares [atspace.com] like you.

So don't force what doesn't come naturally. You'll be much happier if you stick to an OS that suits your personality. And you'll be doing the rest of us a favor, too; you leave Macs to Mac users, and we'll leave beige to you.

Maybe they are just waitng... (4, Interesting)

tolldog (1571) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177378)

Maybe they are just waiting for some poll that isn't flooded by people who really love linux but have no plans on buying a Dell.

Yes, its good they are considering Linux on their machines. But how many people will actually buy it? How big is the market for Dell to bother with selling it? Most people using Linux in the workplace already have their preferred Linux hardware vendor. Most people that are Dell shops are MS exclusively. That leaves the companies that have mixed vendors and home and personal use.

Verifying hardware and drivers and support staff will take time and money. They can't switch overnight, not Dell. They are too big to do it quickly. If they don't do it right the first time, they will alienate everybody that may have been interested in the past as well as losing the money they spent on failing. If they take their time and do it right, they can start eating in to HP and other hardware vendors that ship with Linux certified.

Re:Maybe they are just waitng... (4, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177692)

'Most people using Linux in the workplace already have their preferred Linux hardware vendor. Most people that are Dell shops are MS exclusively.'

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that Dell wouldn't be interested in investing the time and effort in stable linux support on their hardware in order to sell to their existing customers. They are doing this in hopes of gaining a piece of the millions of computers running linux.

'Verifying hardware and drivers and support staff will take time and money. They can't switch overnight, not Dell. They are too big to do it quickly. If they don't do it right the first time, they will alienate everybody that may have been interested in the past as well as losing the money they spent on failing. If they take their time and do it right, they can start eating in to HP and other hardware vendors that ship with Linux certified.'

On that point I couldn't agree more. When this is done and it is successful it will be a huge milestone for Linux. First Linux was considered a joke for actual use. It wasn't polished like windows and wasn't considered stable and secure like traditional unix. Then it creeped into the server and now it is a proven and even common server solution. Now Linux is generally considered the ideal choice for the backroom unless vendor lockin ties your business to a windows only feature. In recognition of this Dell offers server systems with Linux pre-installed. This will be the next step that means that means the time of Linux on the business desktop is here. It will take awhile to fill this segment. Just like it took awhile for Linux to move from internet related servers only to being accepted for every server room function. Eventually the secretary will be running Linux and it will be informally trickling into the home user desktop.

Every year they claim it is the year of the linux desktop. What people seem to forget is that Linux will never go out of business. The linux on the desktop cause has no need for this year to be the year. Five, ten, or twenty years from now is just as good as this year. Every year the linux desktops outpace the proprietary systems in development and close compatability gaps. Every year the desktops become more polished and suitable for new classes of users. Every year the battles in the real desktop war, that of mindshare, continue to be won and the current desktop monopoly retreats a bit more.

Re:Maybe they are just waitng... (1)

A_linux_covert (615046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177752)

By god I will buy more than one, but not the freak'n latitudes. Just give me a bare inspiron class laptop with hardware that is open enough for linux drivers to be available for. I am sick to death of having to fight the hardware to run a perfectly acceptable OS. I am certain I am not alone. If the hardware is open and people have a choice not to pay for an OS they don't need dell might be suprised. I have no use for the dinky n series, and will continue to jump through the hoops to make things work on higher end hardware if I must. But if Dell wants a loyal customer, then make my life easy and sell a laptop that works with linux out of the box. Why is this such a hard concept to grasp for the pro MS folks. No one is telling them they have to run linux, but there is a thread on Dell's idea site were they are upset because of the slashdot effect. Well dammit, maybe people actually want this and would buy Dell gear if it were so.

Dell's linux support problems (2, Informative)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177386)

Dell used to get linux support through Linuxcare http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinuxCare [wikipedia.org] and, if I recall they also had a contract with Redhat. If these left a bad taste, they may want to try to do it in house. In that case, it would take some time to build a team.

If that is the problem, start suggesting a group that could just step and handle the workload.

Sun doesn't own the Sun, no one does. http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Dell's linux support problems (4, Interesting)

StickyWidget (741415) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177490)

No, Dell won't do Linux in house. It would be a waste of money. The idea is to pay someone to design a computer system, pay someone to identify and create the default OS and OS configuration, pay someone to identify what software should be part of this endeavor, pay someone to put in all the nifty dell graphics and popups, and then pay someone to create a default install image (with some minor changes per drive to allow licensing, unique identifying, parchesi, etc).

Big companies do jack on their own these days, its (almost) all hired out consultants, and for good reason. Consultants are competitive, when you put an order out for bid a consultant will shave every dollar they can off the price to make sure they get the contract. This is why the open source model is so fantastic, the money in providing Open Source Services instead of Open Source Products is incredible, and it even allows for innovation (though if it's gonna be distributed, it has to come with the source). Constant, competitive, powerful innovation drives Open Source to be the BEST OF BREED, and that's who companies should hire.

The Widget of Sticky
A.K.A, The Adhesive Thingamajigger

Dell's support problems in general (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177910)

they may want to try to do it in house. In that case, it would take some time to build a team.

It would be nice if Dell started doing support. With calls spanning two weeks and three continents (I talked to people in the USA, Singapore, India and Australia) and being faxed all the details of another client just in an attempt to purchase a spare battery I have little confidence in their abilities in this way.

Dell has no balls. (1, Insightful)

johnnnyboy (15145) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177392)

I'm very dissapointed. Just when I thought when Dell was going to grow some pubic hairs they prove again to their customers that they don't have the guts.

It would be nice to have a laptop guaranteed to have all of its buttons work like dvd/cd buttons, lcd contrast, hybernate and suspend!
I would have definitely bought from Dell if they went through it!

It's a missed oportunity really, they could have supported ubuntu and pre-installed a nice glossed version with all the beryl trimmings and gdesklets turned on and guaranteed all the features and buttons on it will work.

It would have presented to be a nice alternative to windows vista and the mac!

Dell you have no balls... sorry you've got no balls man.

that sucks man ... to live life with no balls. that's not funny man.... no balls. shit.

Re:Dell has no balls. (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177486)

It's a missed oportunity really, they could have supported ubuntu and pre-installed a nice glossed version with all the beryl trimmings and gdesklets turned on and guaranteed all the features and buttons on it will work.

Jeez, you're a simple one, aren't you? This kind of thing costs a LOT of money to professionally develop and do it right (Thousands of Linux developers haven't gotten this right in a decade, yet). They have to make a BUSINESS decision as to whether it's worth the money to do this.

Patience. Dell just has a full plate atm. (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177896)

FTA,

"When you talk about an operating system, if Dell is going to install it and test it, it takes a lot of work" before getting it ready for the marketplace, including having training and support in place.

and...

He is looking for ways to re-energize the company's sales and financial performance after several disappointing quarters.

I agree with you Dog. This move would be a huge risk, and with some investors [networkworld.com] suing Dell already over perceived Intel kickbacks, this whole PR move by Dell with desktop linuxes could be nothing more than a preemptive PR strike of their own concerning claims about Microsoft kickbacks. It seems nonsensical on the surface, but maybe Suse and RedHat are making waves on their own which just isn't reported. I dunno. Who knows. Maybe Dell investors are just looking for some ripe apples to start falling off the Dell orchard here, and any NEW news is better than no news when it comes to investing. Linux is just that news.

Personally, I think Dell can mitigate any risks here by just selling preloaded "legacy" hardware linux systems at substantial cost reductions. Surely Dell has a large inventory of two to three year old systems collecting dust in their warehouses. Cheap e-machines were a hit way back when, and they were basically nothing more than email/tube clients anyways. Just imagine a beowulf cluster of Dell linux machines sold across America at _half_ their cheapest current model offerings. Linux has a stable and proven track record on "older" systems. Sounds like a good entry level market to me, and a great way to pump up sales figures at the same time. Linux support is not an issue - there are so many ways to materialize an acceptable linux support contract (with caveats and limitations). With all the RHEL and Ubuntu certs to be had (and hired for Dell tech support), what's the dealio? Well, you get the picture. You can fill in all the possible blanks here. It's feasible, and doable, imo. It just requires some _small_ risk - no need to plunge naked head first into an icy arctic fishing hole just yet.

Re:Dell has no balls. (1)

drix (4602) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177548)

Just get a Mac! Seriously! I'm not trying to troll or start a flamefest here, but the Mac user experience on a laptop (bold for all you would-be flamers out there) is light years ahead of Linux or Windows. Let's face it, Linux laptop support has never been a top priority. And even using OEM equipment from Dell, HP, IBM, etc., I've never had a laptop that was perfectly stable, power management worked 100% of the time, and always came out of hibernate and suspend, all the buttons worked, the screen never went funny, got the stated battery life ... until I started using a MacBook. To say nothing about the actual design of the laptops themselves, which beats the crap out of every other maker out there. I would never pay the Mac tax for a desktop, because Linux + KDE or Gnome easily gives it a run for its money at 1/4 the cost. But laptops are a whole other story.

better be good (5, Insightful)

gsn (989808) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177396)

This really does worry me - if the linux Dell's do come out and are cheaper with SUSE or whatever distro they go with, I'm sure your everyday Joe will buy it. I worry that everyday Joe will then get stuck if he can't get something working with a GUI. I'm not trolling. I've seen people download windows programs and expect them to run in Linux when they double click setup.exe Its worse if they call the "Windows guru" whose never touched linux and cannot help. If Joe gets really frustrated he "upgrades" to Windows and vows never to try Linux again.

Let Dell take their time because if this is going to work its going to have to be seamless and familiar. I'd actually be thrilled once Dell picks out a distro because thats a big impetus to standardize a lot of things to it, GUI, installer and package manager especially. If you can get a standard cross distro installer and package format, unfortunately like InstallShield, that correctly adds entries for menus, and just works then Linux is really ready for the desktop.

Why SUSE? (2, Interesting)

delire (809063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177412)

SUSE doesn't have any real community momentum these days and - at least from what I hear - is still plagued by spiralling dependency problems. Have they or are they going to sort this stuff out?

The documentation and community around Ubuntu is so strong that they'd surely get far less phone-calls if they chose this distribution, while 're-selling' Ubuntu's commercial support option if the customer desired it. In other words, ship with Ubuntu soon/now and just outsource the support to either the community or the paid pros? I'm sure if Dell was to start shipping with Ubuntu pre-installed Mark would consider edging something like 'Feisty' into LTS status.

I would be surprised if the only reason they wouldn't do something like this is to meet MS half way, as their SUSE vendor. It's obvious the most noise regarding Linux on Dell points toward Ubuntu.

Disclaimer: I'm not a daily Ubuntu user, I've just seen users that try it stick to it for a sustained period, whether coming from SUSE, Windows, Fedora or OS X.

Re:Why SUSE? (0, Troll)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177516)

In other words, ship with Ubuntu soon/now and just outsource the support to either the community or the paid pros?

What happens when a customer gets a "RTFM" from the "community"? Dell get a big black eye. What happens when the paid pros can't cut it? Again, Dell gets a big black eye. When you have a brand, you can't just farm it out it anybody.

Re:Why SUSE? (4, Insightful)

Mikachu (972457) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177552)

Why SUSE? Two answers, both simple.

One, they are partnered with Microsoft, so they won't lose the deals they get from MS for their Windows-based systems, which will undoubtedly outsell their Linux-based systems, at the very least for a long time.

Two, SUSE is one of the few distros that has paid support. Unfortunately, as hard as it may seem to believe, people actually tend to PREFER paid support. Mostly because it means end-users can have people kissing their ass as they try to find the any key. Also, I'm sure it's easier for Dell to figure out who's full of it when they get applicants for Linux support because "experience in Ubuntu" doesn't mean quite as much as "worked at Novell".

Disclaimer: I'm both a Windows (2000 and XP) and Kubuntu user, but most certainly not a Dell user.

Re:Why SUSE? (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177766)

I tried Ubuntu, briefly, on CD. Purty, but the sound of my drive in terminal thrash mode didn't inspire confidence. (Older hardware with limited ram, but it runs Slackware on HD or Knoppix on CD just dandy, thanks.)

The Market (1)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177430)

Dell will only provide free software pre-installed when they start to loose marketshare to companies that provide installation and support of GNU/Linux on desktops and laptops. Why not buy your next computer from system76 [system76.com] ?

Re:The Market (1)

kernelpanicked (882802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177526)

Why not? Because they're ridiculously overpriced. To build out basically the same system I already have came to nearly $800. The onle I have (that I built myself), ~ $500 and we're not talking insane specs here.

Ratel Value Ratel Value $768.00
- Operating System Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft) Linux
- Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13 GHz FSB 1066 Mhz L2 2 MB
- Memory 1 GB DDR2 667 MHz (2 x 512 MB)
- Hard Drive 80 GB SATA II 300 Mbps - 7200 RPM 8MB Buffer
- CD/DVD Drive CD-RW / DVD
- Second CD/DVD Drive no second optical drive
- Wireless no wireless option
- Graphics 128 MB nVidia GeForce 6200LE PCI-Express x16
- LCD Monitor no monitor option
- Speakers no speakers option
- Floppy Drive Include Floppy Drive
- Keyboard and Mouse no keyboard and mouse option
- Portable Flash Drive no flash drive option
- Hardware Warranty 1 Yr. Ltd. Warranty and Technical Support

Re:The Market (1)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177782)

Aren't there plenty of Dell models that cost more than what it would cost to build an equivalent system? When you buy a computer from an OEM, you are paying for testing (the hardware and software is known to work with each other, so you shouldn't need to spend hours hunting around for drivers and configuring devices) and support (warranties, trouble shooting, and additional help). If you don't need those things, feel free to build your own system. If you do, compare the support you get with dell to the support you get with system76.

Microsoft threatening Dell (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177436)

There is a lot more ugly stuff going on behind the scenes than most of us can imagine and this is probably just one of many ways Microsoft threatens computer vendors:
http://news.com.com/Did+Microsoft+want+to+whack+De ll+over+its+Linux+dealings/2100-1014_3-6153904.htm l [com.com]

It takes a long time... (5, Funny)

stox (131684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177438)

to write the support scripts. Not until they can blame 99% of the problems on the customer will they be prepared to offer support for it. All they excuses they've collected for Windows will be of little use for them, they'll have to start from scratch.

More choice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177464)

As a Dell investor, I think Dell needs to take advantage of the so-called Long Tail. Some people want Linux, so take their money! Give people what they want, not what manufacturers want to give them. AMD should have been brought in long ago. Linux should have been brought in long ago. As long as the inventory management works great, why not?

Dell should be the truly free market. This is the ideal it is built upon.

who gives a fuck (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177474)

linux users are a bunch of dick smoking faggots anyway.

Re:who gives a fuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177568)

Ironic... Troll = someone who tries to start a flame war with obviously offensive remarks. Flamer = someone who is openly gay (at least in the vernacular I know of)... so... troll = flame war starter = flamer... If you don't see the connection, than you should probably "shop" elsewhere.

THE PENGUIN IS DYING. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177482)

THE PENGUIN IS DYING.

Damn you mdash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177484)

You pushed too hard again, didn't you? Now we all have to suffer.

Hey slashdot, fix your RSS feed [w3.org] !

Damn Dell (3, Funny)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177530)

Obviously they don't have the lobes for Linux.

It's all about marketing because they say so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177544)

They are just a large corp. saying this is what are customers want, they don't really care it's all about profit and market share thats what counts for them. Linux in any decent disto supports 99% of the computers, devices, whatever thats out there. Linux supports more out of the box that windows ever will. Say I buy a new video capture card chances are Linux will automatically find it in most modern distribution even if its not totally setup correctly, Windows on the other hand goes Driver..Driver.?? " I know it's a video capture device but I u u can't talk to it uhhh driver.....

Point is Dell is only in it for the money. I have a very old laptop it runs windows XP and Ubuntu dual boot, linux not only is faster it doesn't ask me for drivers at all, Windows thou can'[t detect the the usb correctly, the battery, or the wireless card i'm using.

If they really cared about their customers they would offer the option of Linux or Windows on every system they make. But they won't probably never will because of the profits they get from using Microsoft software there is to much to lose. Its millions a year for them and they won't have it.

Thats my take. I mean really linux hardware support is the best I've ever seen it's peer supported and community driven it's hard to find a device that won't work.

Linux User to Dell. (1, Insightful)

Erris (531066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177616)

It will be just as long before I consider buying any of your computers.

Didn't you hate them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18177794)

You've said in the past you don't buy Dell computers. In fact you've said you "hate" Dell or some such. So what's with the posturing?

Re:Linux User to Dell. (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177888)

It will be just as long before I consider buying any of your computers.

Like you'll be missed.

There isn't a shop, restaurant, bank, professional office, hospital, school, library or public facility of any kind within twenty miles of here that isn't running a Windows OS on a Dell PC.

Told you so. (1, Troll)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177660)

Told you so [slashdot.org] . Microsoft won't let Dell do it. Microsoft controls the terms of Dell's OEM discount on Windows. Microsoft imposes many requirements for that discount. Why do you think you see "Dell Recommends Windows Vista" all over the site?

Re:Told you so. (1)

Jekler (626699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177844)

What does your rant have to do with Dell needing time to shore up support venues for Linux? Dell hasn't said that "Sorry, Microsoft won't let us do it." They said it's just going to take time to build a solid chain of support.

Msft to Dell, on the red telephone: (4, Funny)

toby (759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177702)

"How about a nice cup of Shut The Fuck Up About Linux..."

Question for you (1, Insightful)

sottitron (923868) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177706)

Do you really want Dell craplets in your Linux Distro anyway?

Re:Question for you (1)

BartlebyScrivener (903011) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177828)

Amen. I've seen this Dell/Linux business everywhere for a week. Go to ExtremeTech or wherever, buy the tinkertoys from NewEgg, put them together, and load Linux from a CD. Twice the machine for half the price.

Easy solution! (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177710)

Just ship them with a Knoppix CD in the coffee-cup holder. No one will know the difference!

as long as (1)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177724)

the hardware works PROPERLY with Linux out of the box, it's okay... no one expected Dell to break Microsoft's heart anyway...

Providing linux isn't the problem... (1)

vonsneerderhooten (254776) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177744)

It's supporting linux

If they can get a penguin logo on every PC (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177810)

That would be a huge win. However, I think Ballmer would lose his mind if this happened.

My Wallet to Dell -- Not So Fast (1)

Jekler (626699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177866)

All they are doing is defining the minimum time frame for me to give them money. If it takes them a year to build and support Linux systems, it'll be a minimum of 1 year before they get money from me. If it takes them 20 years, it'll be a minimum of 20 years before they get money from me. I'm sure they'll let me know when it is they would like some money.

Might hurt short term sales a little (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177890)

"not an announcement that the computers would be loaded and sold with the operating system in the near future"
 
Retailers hate to announce new features more than just a little bit into the future for fear of someone who was ready to buy today putting off their purchase for any considerable length of time. They don't mind if there is a hard date for consumers to look forward to and start saving up, like if they announced this would start in April. But with no definite time frame some purchasers might hold off indefinitely and then get irritated at the delay and purchase a different brand. So it makes good business sense to jump on this misunderstanding right away just as much as it makes sense to begin this process of trying to provide something some of their potential customers want.

Throw in 2 CDs (3, Insightful)

GrEp (89884) | more than 7 years ago | (#18177892)

If you want linux you probably won't like Dell's factory settings anyway.

They should just include a Suse CD and make a deal with Microsoft to include a CD with a 30 day trial copy of Vista.

Microsoft is happy, linux users are happy, everybody is happy.
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