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Helping Dell To Help Open Source

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

Linux Business 177

Glyn Moody writes "Dell's IdeaStorm is turning into a fiasco — for Dell, and for open source as well. Instead of just shouting at the company to sell pre-installed GNU/Linux systems, how about helping them find a way to do it? Here's a suggestion that I've posted on the IdeaStorm site: that Dell set up an independent business unit for GNU/Linux systems, just like The Innovator's Dilemma tells us to do when faced with a disruptive technology."

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Board of Directors (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255212)

Unless they are independently thinking Directors, your suggestion, while very good, will not likely ever happen.

Re:Board of Directors (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255474)

To be frank, what suggestion? A separate autonomous entity not confined to normal Dell practices? What exactly does that mean? Or more importantly, what makes anyone think Dell hasn't already worked through hundreds of permutations to follow through on their word. No offense, but I see more clouds than trees and grass here.

Instead of telling Dell just to read a book, maybe some actual constructive analogous examples from the book would have been better.

Re:Board of Directors (2, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256864)

Fuck dell, HP, or any of the other big PC mfgs...if you want a computer w/Linux pre-installed, there are other (better) companies out there that will happily meet this demand. System76 comes to mind (http://www.system76.com). Let's support the little guy who has the experience in doing this, as opposed to the big guys who will half-ass it all the way.

Why does it have to be Dell? (0)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255214)

Re:Why does it have to be Dell? (3, Insightful)

spirit of reason (989882) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255256)

It doesn't have to be Dell, but having the support of perhaps the largest consumer PC vendor is a plus.

Re:Why does it have to be Dell? (0, Offtopic)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255322)

You're aware that Dell is a "box shifter"? Their support is ... basic ...

A pc is collection of commodity hardware components, Dell buy them from the same place as everyone else. Really the only reason to buy Dell is price, and others can do them for about the same, and provide more personal support too.

 

Re:Why does it have to be Dell? (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255368)

Do you know where I can get those motherboards they have that has the self diagnostic codes?
I haven't seen that anywhere.

Re:Why does it have to be Dell? (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255676)

Are you referring to POST (Power-On Self-Test) codes? All motherboards throw out POST codes that are basically self-diagnostics as they boot up. You can buy POST cards at various locations. Most (all?) MSI motherboards come with a POST reader that hooks up to the internal USB port and mounts in an expansion slot. All POST readers that I've seen flash numbers during boot. If the boot process hangs at some point, there will usually be a number stuck on the POST display. Look that number up in the book that comes with the reader (or online), and there you have your problem description.

Most (all?) PCs will also emit a particular sequence of long and short beeps depending on what the problem is if they get hung up in the boot process. You can look these up online as well.

Re:Why does it have to be Dell? (2, Informative)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255680)

You might have better luck looking at server motherboards. I know that most Supermicros show POST codes so if the machine keeps hanging mid-POST you can look up what it was testing and fix it. Tyan's motherboards have the same feature, I think. IBM's servers have Light Path Diagnostics (LPD) which is the same thing but includes lights inside the chassis for when you don't even get video. So if you've got a bad stick of RAM, you can pop the case and a LED will be lit next to the faulted DIMM.

Of course, you can't buy just an IBM motherboard, but you can buy Supermicro and Tyan motherboards. With PCI-E catching on in the server market, you should even be able to put in a real video card and use it as a desktop. Just be prepared to spend $250 for the motherboard alone.

Re:Why does it have to be Dell? (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255324)

Why does it have to be Dell?

Because, "Dude, you've got a Dell!"

The simple fact of the matter is that EfficientPC is some no-name company that no one trusts. For whatever reason, at least here in the US, Dell is seen as a good name brand computer. People won't put faith in something delivered by a company that insists on a horrible color scheme and poor web design.

Dell is a big name in the PC business and by having them push out pre-installed Linux machines it shows the rest of the industry (aside from the ever so unsightly EfficientPCs) that it should also hop on the bandwagon. I just wish the Linux userbase wasn't such a bunch of self-absorbed fuckers when it comes to accepting new people or companies.

Re:Why does it have to be Dell? (5, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255522)

The simple fact of the matter is that EfficientPC is some no-name company that no one trusts. For whatever reason, at least here in the US, Dell is seen as a good name brand computer. People won't put faith in something delivered by a company that insists on a horrible color scheme and poor web design.
Just happened to be the 1st one that appeared in Google. There are loads of companies selling Linux based systems.

more:
http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/23168/ [lxer.com]
http://www.linux.org/vendor/system/index.html [linux.org]

Dell is a big name in the PC business and by having them push out pre-installed Linux machines it shows the rest of the industry (aside from the ever so unsightly EfficientPCs) that it should also hop on the bandwagon. I just wish the Linux userbase wasn't such a bunch of self-absorbed fuckers when it comes to accepting new people or companies.
Said the guy who's so concerned by name and brand.

The irony is that you have it backwards, it's the small companies who fill the niches, take away business from the large ones because they provide services that people are willing to pay for, they grow into medium sized companies. The large incumbents follow suit, 5 years later, because they eventually see that the market has moved.

You don't persuade a business to do something by begging them to sell you something. You persuade them by buying that something from someone else who is quite happy to sell you that something. There are dozens ... hundreds of companies who'd love to sell you a pre-installed, pre-configured Linux system, very competitively priced. Who else do you think "the industry" is?
 

Re:Why does it have to be Dell? (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255554)

I'm not concerned with brand-name anything. Businesses are.

The irony is that you have it backwards, it's the small companies who fill the niches, take away business from the large ones because they provide services that people are willing to pay for, they grow into medium sized companies.

Uhh, you're missing the entire point. Dell is well known and businesses trust them. If they start pushing out pre-installed Linux, others will trust them as well based on name recognition alone.

Dell are irrelevant. (0)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256032)

Uhh, you're missing the entire point. Dell is well known and businesses trust them. If they start pushing out pre-installed Linux, others will trust them as well based on name recognition alone.
No, I'm not, Linux is already in pretty much every large company. You name it, it'll have Linux all over the place already. Most of the medium and many small companies have it as well. It isn't a matter of trust or name/brand recognition. Linux is already there. Whether Dell sells Linux pre-installed or not is completely irrelevant.

You seem to have the view that the big players make up most of the market... They don't, they make up easily countable sections of the market but it's the small one man and similar sized businesses you condescendingly call no-name companies who make up the majority.

 

Re:Dell are irrelevant. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18256626)

You seem to have the view that the big players make up most of the market... They don't, they make up easily countable sections of the market but it's the small one man and similar sized businesses you condescendingly call no-name companies who make up the majority.

You sir, are an idiot and not worth listening to. Go the fuck away.

Re:Why does it have to be Dell? (3, Informative)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255782)

You don't persuade a business to do something by begging them to sell you something. You persuade them by buying that something from someone else who is quite happy to sell you that something.
Absolutely! But there is something to be said about shouting louder than all the others when it comes to marketing - Dell has a megaphone here. I think Dell is already _persuaded_ though by their interest in rolling out a linux desktop:

Persuasion through HP purchases [businessweek.com] :

Unlike Dell, which depends largely on the desktop and corporate markets for sales, HP is cashing in on high-growth areas, including emerging markets, the consumer area, and laptops.
Emerging markets? See below.

Tangible side benefits [earthweb.com] from HP linux rollout:

In fiscal 2006, $25 million in hardware sales in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) were directly related to HP's Debian support.[...]HP support is set for the Debian Sarge release, which debuted in June 2005. Wade noted that HP is working toward certifying its hardware against the upcoming Debian Etch release, which is set for a 2007 rollout.
Dell may have a megaphone for all us linux users to rally around, but HP already has a small mob gathering around theirs.

Re:Why does it have to be Dell? (0)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255540)

Dell offers FreeDOS on at least some machines, they have offered Linux in the past. No one jumped on any bandwagon behind either OS.

Re:Why does it have to be Dell? (3, Interesting)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255948)

"Dell offers FreeDOS on at least some machines, they have offered Linux in the past. No one jumped on any bandwagon behind either OS."

While factually correct I don't think either of these moves by Dell was anything approaching altruistic, let alone an honest effort to promote software written outside of Redmond. Did you ever try to navigate from Dell.com to one of these machines? Nigh on impossible. Also, once you do find one, did you also notice that the price was *higher* than if you had ordered the exact same machine with Windows? What is the motivation here for the customer? Also, as I recall, the only Linux distro ever offered by Dell was Redhat Enterprise, which is a very expensive distribution and it was only offered on their business line machines. Why not use something like CentOS (if it must be RH based) and pass the savings on to the customer? Or, better yet, use a totally free distribution and pass the savings on. Dell's "attempts" at selling no-OS/Free-OS machines was half-hearted at best; more than likely a public relations move to appease a certain software company concerned with anti-trust issues.

Dude... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18255236)

...in Soviet Russia, a Dell's getting you!

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255238)

The Linux community wants Dell to just start selling PCs with Linux preinstalled. Doesn't matter to the community if they can't find a distro that has support for all their hardware. Doesn't doesn't matter if Dell can't offer any support yet. Just put a bunch of distro choices in the "Operating System" box.

Dell, of course, doesn't want to start selling PCs with Linux preinstalled until they have found a suitable hardware configuration.. cut a deal with someone to outsource the support to.. etc, etc. As such, this means the Linux community has to wait and every day Dell doesn't just start selling the damn PCs is another day of flaming they will get.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (3, Insightful)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255400)

Support for new hardware in the Linux kernel is much faster than it used to be. Surely dell's lowend (read older) systems should work. Perhaps this might even encourage dell not to use substandard versions of common hardware. They won't have to add support for hardware if it has a normal PCI ID. I have a feeling the linux community would be even willing to help write drivers for their hardware.

Tech support is another story. Dell is trying to move everything to india and I don't think there are enough Linux fans in india to staff their helpdesk. I just can't imagine the typical workflow steps are going to work with a linux box right now.

The linux community needs PC vendors to ship systems. Why not focus on the second, third and forth vendors? For instance, say HP, Gateway and Lenovo are the next three vendors and they all ship boxes. Linux users will buy from them and dell's marketshare might drop forcing them to adopt linux. Of course I'm assuming there is a demand. In reality, we just need one vendor to adopt open source that is rather large. If they start moving machines, the other companies will hop on board.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (4, Insightful)

Quantam (870027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255584)

Support for new hardware in the Linux kernel is much faster than it used to be. Surely dell's lowend (read older) systems should work. Perhaps this might even encourage dell not to use substandard versions of common hardware. They won't have to add support for hardware if it has a normal PCI ID. I have a feeling the linux community would be even willing to help write drivers for their hardware. Tech support is another story. Dell is trying to move everything to india and I don't think there are enough Linux fans in india to staff their helpdesk. I just can't imagine the typical workflow steps are going to work with a linux box right now.

Now that was a useful post. It points out two important things the Linux community can do to help Dell get this project off the ground as quickly as possible:
1. Help with writing drivers for any Dell hardware that's too obscure to already have Linux drivers.
2. Help with generating a single comprehensive online knowledge base that outsourced tech support people could use when helping users with Linux problems.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (1)

k12linux (627320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256548)

I just can't imagine the typical workflow steps are going to work with a linux box right now.

How hard could it be to put an image on a bootable Linux system recovery CD? That seems to be the recommended fix 90% of the time anyhow. An intelligent system recovery that let you choose to leave config directories and/or home directories alone would not be that hard either. And unlike a Windows recovery CD the CD image could be downloadable. Heck, a one-click install CD for just about any distro with Dell enhancements would be totally legal.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (3, Informative)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255452)

The Linux community may say that, but what use is preinstalled Linux to a Linux user?
By the time you are able to use Linux, you've surmounted the (many) inconvenient barriers to entry, already know how to install it to your preferences, and know how to pick hardware.
Entry-level users need massive handholding, something that does not make sense for Dell to offer.
Instead, just ask for the FreeDOS option. Your box will boot to "something" for test purposes, then you can nuke it and load your OS of choice.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (2, Informative)

Leto-II (1509) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255604)

I think people also keep forgetting that Dell's FreeDOS option doesn't mean they preinstall FreeDOS. They send a FreeDOS install CD. The system is blank and cannot boot as shipped. The only thing installed is the Dell diagnostic system, the rest of the hard drive is empty space.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (1)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255742)

Good info, as this would be what *I* want.

Even boxes I've purchased from Linux vendors I reinstall from scratch.

I don't need an OS installed AT ALL and I don't want to pay a Windows tax. And yes, I'd expect a Windowless box to be a whee bit cheaper.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (1)

Flossymike (461164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255996)

As I have noted down several times, I think the way to go is for Dell to supply particular models with a live CD which 'just works'.

This would even help Dell in support of thier Windows paying customers to as in would ease support in terms of determining if a particular problem a customer was experiencing was hardware or software in nature.

This option would be good for long term gnu/linux users too as they can buy in confidence that the hardware is supported with the kernel on the live cd, but also leaves them free to choose their distro of choice to install.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256208)

That's a useful idea, particularly because the live CD could also hold Windows (for buyers who already have a legal OS) drivers.
It could boot to Memtest, boot to Linux (a Dell-themed Knoppix variant?), hard drive diagnostic utilities, etc. There are plenty of multiboot live CDs on the net for examples.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (2, Informative)

Bungie (192858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256972)

Dell already has a Diagnostic CD, though it doesn't boot linux. It runs tests on all of their hardware through a GUI interface. Usually you can boot to it from the resource CD or the utility parition on their systems.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (2, Informative)

mackyrae (999347) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256728)

Er, what? Installing is the hardest part of Linux. If that's done by Dell, anyone can use it. Heck, my mom says Linux is easier than Windows.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18255498)

If Dell just put a penguin on their website that meant "Linux ready", that would be enough for me to shop there with any concern (other than the fact that I'd be buying a Dell).

If they included a free Linux CD (that worked without any effort) with a "You are on your own if you use this" sticker on it, that would be more than enough.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (2, Interesting)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255552)

Doesn't matter to the community if they can't find a distro that has support for all their hardware. Doesn't doesn't matter if Dell can't offer any support yet.

I am using one of these precisions. [dell.com] These are supported machines sold by Dell with RedHat preinstalled. All my hardware works.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (1)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256062)

I saw your post and I thought to myself "sweet, I can get a Dell with something other than Windows preinstalled". So, I followed your link. I saw the Dell Precision M90 workstation (which is really a laptop?) and clicked on "Customize It" at which point I was brought to a screen where I could choose either 32-bit Windows XP/Vista or 64-bit Windows XP/Vista. No other options. *sigh*

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255622)

Well, the fact is that there are lots of suitable hardware configurations-- being such a large OEM, the Linux community actively seeks to support Dell machines already. Most Dells you buy will run Linux, so Dell would just have to check hardware support and make sure they aren't offering Linux with hardware that doesn't offer Linux support. That shouldn't take too long.

Support seems like a bigger problem. Sure, they could sell the machines without supporting them, but what's the sense in that? If you are willing to buy a Linux machine without any support, then surely you can buy a machine without an OS and install Linux yourself.

Personally, if I were Dell, I'd be looking into making their own Dell-Linux distribution. Sure, it would probably be Debian-based with a little rebranding, but the point is that they could have the software under their own control. They'd be able to optimize it for their own hardware and drop support for whatever they don't want to support, or whatever.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't.. (0)

ComputerSlicer23 (516509) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256128)

Sure, it would probably be Debian-based with a little rebranding

I've never seen anyone misspell RedHat so badly...

I'm fairly sure Dell isn't going to base their Linux off of a non-commercially supported Linux. Call it a hunch, Dell will want someone to call or do the heavy lifting for them just so they don't have to have all that talent in house. Just like neither Oracle nor IBM include any non-Commercial Linux on their list of supported platforms. Heck, IBM and Oracle include what I think of as small players ahead of Debian. Or at least they used to, probably because I'm U.S. centric, TurboLinux and Connectiva always seemed like smallish distro's. I believe they are/were large in Asia and South America.

Kirby

"shouting" (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255286)

Example: Please put Linux on Dell hardware.
Other example: Dell sucks for not using linux !!1!eleventy!

Either way, its feedback, what did they expect?

Re:"shouting" (1)

dan828 (753380) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256904)

Well, they probably didn't expect to be featured on Slashdot every few days and have the results skewed by a bunch of Linux loving slasdotters. As it is, they do have a Redhat option on their servers in the Mid and Large business offerings.

Lovely (1)

Verte (1053342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255290)

Great idea. Microsoft's OEM licensing requires a separate production line for machines if they don't want to pay the cpu-tax, but this might get around that.

You lost me on the first sentence (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18255330)


Clearly, there is a huge pent-up demand for pre-installed GNU/Linux systems from Dell.


Ummmm... no. That isn't clear at all. A few fan-boys does not sufficient demand make.

Don't get me wrong, I run Linux myself. I just don't think that there are enough people who care one way or the other to make it worth Dell's time.

Reality is hard and grainy. Sorry.

Re:You lost me on the first sentence (1, Redundant)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255458)

Linux is already a significant part of Dell's server business. They even acknowledge Linux in that market. What's so d*amned hard about them doing the same in their desktop business? They don't have to do much really, just have an option that won't be actively Linux hostile. Dell consumer PC support isn't anything to write home about anyways.

Even just a "I will be installing linux on this myself" checkbox would be helpful.

Re:You lost me on the first sentence (1)

uncanny (954868) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255624)

well, right now when you call india, i mean "dell tech support" it takes approximately 4 hours to get the simplest thing with windows fixed. Imagine how much harder it is going to be to get good tech information out of them concerning linux for the regular user. there is a difference between running linux on a server and a home computer.

Re:You lost me on the first sentence (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255994)

Thus the suggestion of a "I will be installing Linux on this myself" checkbox.

Re:You lost me on the first sentence (1)

penix1 (722987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256942)

Or even better, export it to the distro maker instead of India. A simple phone switch can handle that. Really, this is the silliest excuse I have ever heard. As part of their agreement with whatever distro they choose, make OS support the distro's job. It may cost more than a free download but you are already paying for the machine anyway.

B.

Re:You lost me on the first sentence (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18256160)

You missed the poll where hundreds of thousands of people asked Dell to do this, didn't you?

Not Very Well Thought Out (0, Offtopic)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255366)

Why doesn't Dell [. . .] set up a completely autonomous division, dedicated solely to meeting the demand for such systems - one that is not obliged to follow any of Dell's traditional practices.


This would no longer be "Dell" in any significant way. It'd be a beige-box vendor specializing in Linux systems. Doesn't that exist? What problem does that solve for Dell? What problem does that solve for Dell's customers?

-Peter

It solves one problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18255756)

The reason a company should set up a completely independant division is this: usually an entrenched market player's business practices and corporate structure make it impossible to make a profit from a disruptive technology. The point is that the disruptive technology will drive the entrenched market companies out of business. The only thing left will be the independant division that was set up to take advantage of the disruptive technology. (The author of The Innovator's Dilemma makes the point persuasively and gives lots of examples where entrenched market leaders have been driven out of business by disruptive technologies.) So, something of the original company survives and that is the problem that is solved.

A counter example that I can think of is IBM. It completely re-made itself and is not the company that it was twenty years ago.

Re:Not Very Well Thought Out (1)

rajafarian (49150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255798)

This would no longer be "Dell" in any significant way... What problem does that solve for Dell?

The problem of Billy Boy getting pissed and retaliating!

Re:Not Very Well Thought Out (2, Interesting)

defile (1059) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256090)

This would no longer be "Dell" in any significant way. It'd be a beige-box vendor specializing in Linux systems. Doesn't that exist? What problem does that solve for Dell? What problem does that solve for Dell's customers?

Well, that's one way to do it.

Another, possibly more successful way, is for Dell to find a few of the big Linux cheerleaders in Dell, have them incorporate a startup, e.g. Dell Linux, Inc., give them an exclusive license to use the Dell brand where it relates to Linux, and have a few directors from Dell, other companies sit on its advisory board. Also $3M seed money. Dell retains 51% ownership, allocates the remaining 49% to the founders.

Dell Linux, Inc. runs exactly like a startup with a handful of people. EVERY order is important. Tech support can be escalated to the founders. They feel out the landscape and explore the marketplace. If they earn $1M in their first year, for Dell that's negligible, but for Dell Linux, Inc. that's an enormous success.

6 years from now if Linux is a major cash cow and Dell Linux, Inc. is earning $500M a year, a few people with a vision got rich and Dell re-integrates the spin-off into its parent company. If it takes much longer, well, Dell at least still has an answer to the Linux question and doesn't have to annoy the rest of the broader company with Linux troubles. If it goes nowhere, Dell kills it or sells it off.

"Idea Storm" (1, Funny)

Recovering Hater (833107) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255392)

Heh. More like Sh!t Storm. Or The Perfect Storm. Honestly, how did Dell not have a clue that there were loads of Linux using technophile out there that already had a beef against them and would jump at the chance to scold them publicly for any percieved slight? BTW- I'm a linux user myself so I think it's all a little funny. Poor Dell. Cry me a river.

What's the problem again? (4, Insightful)

nmos (25822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255402)

My understanding of the situation so far is basically as follows:

Some people posted on Ideastorm that they'd like Dell to offer Linux pre-installed. Dell responded that they wern't quite ready to go that far yet but they would work toward making sure their hardware was Linux compatable so people could buy Dell with some confidence that it will work with their whatever flavor of Linux they want.

What exactly is wrong with that?

Re:What's the problem again? (1, Informative)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255470)

For the majority of their systems (unless you want to buy their one or two models that come with FreeDOS), you're still paying for Windows.

Re:What's the problem again? (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255832)

Actually, no - the cost of windows is at least subsidised and very possibly covered completely by the software that comes installed. They don;t provide six months of AOL, a google toolbar, anti virus software with a two week subscription and thirty other trial apps because they think you want them, it's because they get paid to put them on there.

So you can take the machine with a non transferable windows license or pay the same to have it with no OS - it's not because Dell are out to rip you off, it's because they don't make cash out of supplying you with windows.

Re:What's the problem again? (1)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256398)

This FUD again? On systems I've spec'ed recently, I can manually de-configure *all of that garbage* except the AOL trial. There's NO F'ing way AOL pays Dell enough to cover the cost of Vista Home Premium.

Re:What's the problem again? (1)

nmos (25822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256758)

On systems I've spec'ed recently, I can manually de-configure *all of that garbage* except the AOL trial. There's NO F'ing way AOL pays Dell enough to cover the cost of Vista Home Premium.

Well, the last time I did that I STILL ended up with at least half a dozen pieces of random trialware on the machines when they arrived. I don't know how much large OEMs pay for Vista but with XP the conventional wisdom was that they were paying somewhere between $30 - $60. I don't think it's inconceivable that all that trialware pays for at least a large part of the cost of Windows and maybe all of it.

Re:What's the problem again? (1)

Falstius (963333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256616)

I configured identical Windows and FreeDOS machines on the Dell website a few weeks ago and the price difference came out to $35. That is a reasonable number for the cost to Dell for windows minus the money they get for pre-installing crapware. Oh and I guess it includes MS Works too, but I think that falls under the crapware category.

If they offered a no windows option on more than 3 systems however, it would be much more attractive. Or offer to install a licensed copy of RHEL and let RH handle the support.

Re:What's the problem again? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255486)

What's wrong with that?

What's wrong with that is that a "commitment" like that to any of their serious corporate customers would get the corporate equivalent of the the response they've already gotten from the Linux community.

Re:What's the problem again? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18256308)

"Dell responded that they wern't quite ready to go that far yet but they would work toward making sure their hardware was Linux compatable so people could buy Dell with some confidence that it will work with their whatever flavor of Linux they want.

What exactly is wrong with that?"

You would presumably still have to pay the f***ing Windows tax, like it or not.

Mod me insightful (or maybe obvious??)

Re:What's the problem again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18256310)


Some people posted on Ideastorm that they'd like Dell to offer Linux pre-installed.


More like sat around and spammed the site with "use Linux dude!" comments. Go look and see the Linux (and occasional Apple) fanboy comments littering threads that have nothing to do with OS choice.

Embarrassing.

Re:What's the problem again? (1)

AncientPC (951874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256828)

Dell already installs plenty of bloatware when it comes to pre-installed Windows machines, I would hate to think of a Dell version of Linux.

No offense... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255456)

No offense, but perhaps the problem here is that the numbers don't work out, not that the most sophisticated computer retailer in the world needs your condescending "help"?

In this case, one rather obvious objection is that Dell's name and reputation are tied to their subsidiary's performance, so they can't just jump into some half-baked new scheme to sell "GNU/Linux" systems.

Re:No offense... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18255534)

Perhaps the problem is that you're a Porsche driving moron that keeps fucking mouthing off on Slashdot instead of keeping his fucking mouth shut like you've been told numerous times before.

Fuck you Otter you idiot.

Why Again? (5, Informative)

endianx (1006895) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255476)

Why do we want Linux on Dells again?

Linux is downloadable and easy to install. Or if bandwidth is a problem, you can get it on CDs for just the cost of shipping. So it seems to me all we really need is an option to buy a Dell without a pre-installed OS.

I have heard people say they want this for hardware compatibility reasons. Like if Linux came on a Dell, then all the hardware would be compatible. It seems to me though, the solution is not for Dell to use parts that Linux supports, but for Linux to support the parts that Dell is using (to any reasonable extend).

So the only reason you are left with for wanting Linux on Dells is so that the average consumer will see that they have alternatives to Windows. There will come a time where you will want your average computer user using Linux, but this is not that time. It isn't ready yet. For most things, something like Ubuntu works fine, but your average person isn't going to know what to do if their wireless card isn't working, or if they don't have support for MP3s, etc. Editing a bunch of configuration files and such is not an option. They want to click a few things and have everything work.

Linux is catching up to Windows and Microsoft is doing everything they can to sabotage themselves. Don't be impatient. If people try it now and have a horrible experience with it, it could be years (if at all) before they try it again.

Re:Why Again? (1, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255586)

Normal people will actually consider buying a Dell with Linux preinstalled if they have some kind of guarentee that they will be able to use their computer to do what they want to do. aka, play movies, read email, browse the web and edit documents/spreadsheets. The Linux desktop is almost there, but preinstalled is a requirement.
   

Re:Why Again? (2, Insightful)

slamb (119285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255592)

I have heard people say they want this for hardware compatibility reasons. Like if Linux came on a Dell, then all the hardware would be compatible. It seems to me though, the solution is not for Dell to use parts that Linux supports, but for Linux to support the parts that Dell is using (to any reasonable extend).

Dell can use their volume as negotiating power with hardware vendors. If the Linux people say "hey, we own your hardware like everyone else who bought a Dell, and we'd like to support it", the hardware vendors don't really care. They already have the money, and they say "there aren't that many Linux people anyway". If Dell says "we'll ship your hardware in millions of machines...but only if you help these Linux guys out," it's a different story.

The same effect seems to be working well for the OLPC project. Hardware vendors apparently become much more flexible when you tell them a purchase of millions of machines is on the line.

Re:Why Again? (5, Insightful)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255684)

I have heard people say they want this for hardware compatibility reasons. Like if Linux came on a Dell, then all the hardware would be compatible. It seems to me though, the solution is not for Dell to use parts that Linux supports, but for Linux to support the parts that Dell is using (to any reasonable extend).
It already does. But you know full well that isn't the problem, because in your very next paragraph you go on to complain:

For most things, something like Ubuntu works fine, but your average person isn't going to know what to do if their wireless card isn't working, or if they don't have support for MP3s, etc. Editing a bunch of configuration files and such is not an option. They want to click a few things and have everything work.
Or have everything preinstalled, at which point it will just work without them having to click anything! That is the whole point of wanting preinstalled Linux: Dell could trivially arrange for the wireless card to be set up already; Dell could trivially arrange for MP3 and DVD playback to work out of the box (by the simple expedient of paying the license fees required to make it legal).

If the big problem facing Linux today is that it's too damn hard to get it working, then is it not blatantly obvious that the solution is to sell computers that are already properly configured?

Re:Why Again? (1)

endianx (1006895) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255852)

I'm not sure it is blatantly obvious, but yes that is a good idea.

The ultimate solution would be for Linux to be more easily configured. But I suspect that most people buying dells are not exactly power users and they would be perfectly happy with what they are given.

A version of Linux specifically tailored for a Dell could do a lot to bring people over to Linux. When I heard the idea I was thinking, like, standard issue Ubuntu, which I don't think would be a good idea.

Re:Why Again? (0, Flamebait)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255708)

Why do we want Linux on Dells again?

Because the Linux community has this fixed (and unsupported) idea that Joe Sixpack is pounding on the door of Best Buy and Circuit City begging, begging, to buy a Linux PC.

Re:Why Again? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18255904)

Because the Linux community has this fixed (and unsupported) idea that Joe Sixpack is pounding on the door of Best Buy and Circuit City begging, begging, to buy a Linux PC.

Or maybe....
The Windows community is delusional when they think that people aren't fed up with the virus, spyware, and general flakyness with thier Windows based PCs and are willing to try something different.

Re:Why Again? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255712)

> So the only reason you are left with for wanting Linux on Dells is so that
> the average consumer will see that they have alternatives to Windows.

Actually another reason--and probably an even bigger reason--is for people who want to run Linux at work, but work for large companies which only buy from Dell--companies with large IT departments who only want to buy things that have vendor support. Yes, I know, you can pay a dozen companies for Linux support, but the key here is to buy a supported computer from a vendor you're already doing business with. It's much, much easier to get things done in the corporate world when you can say "Let's buy this new product from this company we already deal with (and know, and trust, and we have support agreements, and they take our POs)" rather than "Let's do this new thing AND get a new company to do it!" I couldn't convince my boss to buy a support contract from RedHat--or even IBM--in a million years, but if Dell sold a computer with Linux on it I could order one tomorrow.

Re:Why Again? (1)

sharperguy (1065162) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255722)

"your average person isn't going to know what to do if their wireless card isn't working" Of course, if all the hardware worked when you get it because dell only put linux supported hardware on it, this would not be an issue.

Re:Why Again? (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255830)

For me, I just want someone to preinstall *a* distro, check to see that all the hardware is working and then ship it to me. This is better than me sending it back if I find something that doesn't work. For me, it doesn't mean that I necessarily want all configurations to support linux. I just want linux available preinstalled (and tested) on the configurations that do. This saves me time (and therefore money) figuring it out for myself.

However, having said that, I don't care what distro they pick. Once they have demonstrated that it works in *one* distro, I can reinstall another distro knowing that *somehow* I will be able to get it working (even if it doesn't come working out of the box).

In the past I've tried to get local computer builders to do this for me, but they want to charge several hundred dollars for it. That's too expensive for me. I don't begrudge them wanting to charge so much if it's a one-off deal (well, actually I do -- they claim it will support Linux with "no problems" but won't spend 15 minutes installing the damn thing at a reasonable price -- but that's a different issue altogether). But the benefit for Dell doing something like this is that it might be possible to reduce the cost due to the volume involved (depending on if there *really* is demand for this...)

I guess that's the thing... It's worth something to me to have someone else do the research to know what will work and to demonstrate that it does. But it's only worth about $50-$100 (to me). Otherwise I'll deal with it (knowing that the risk of non-working parts is rapidly diminishing these days). If Dell did this for me at a reasonable price, I would almost certainly buy my next box from Dell (although that's probably about 2 years away at the moment).

Re:Why Again? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255880)

Linux is easy to download, and easy to install as long as you understand how to burn a disk from an ISO and install an operating system. Do you know how to partition hard drives? Do you know how much swap space you need? You might, but does your grandmother? Could your grandmother get 3d acceleration working with Xorg?

Further, if Dell sells Desktop machines with Linux pre-installed, that means they'll also support Linux (to some degree). This means that they'll probably put some amount of pressure on their hardware suppliers to support Linux. Also, Dell supporting Linux means they'll also have an economic incentive to support the Linux community, and will likely provide some economic support to some programmers to provide the functionality and fixes that Dell needs.

Now, of course, I use words like "probably" and "likely" and "some", which will lead some people to comment. "Dell might not put pressure on hardware vendors," or "Dell might provide some economic support, but probably not much!" Well, I don't know how much, but at the very least, Dell shipping Linux would help the Linux community and increase Linux adoption in several small ways.

And let's not forget that large companies that are invested in the success of Linux have been a big component of Linux's success so far. Not long ago, there was a submission to Slashdot [slashdot.org] that demonstrated that companies like Redhat, IBM, and Novell do, in fact help fund Linux development. (I always thought that point was obvious, but some people don't believe it)

Re:Why Again? (2, Insightful)

spitzak (4019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256132)

You act as though there is no good reason to have Linux pre-installed. And then in the very next paragraph you say:

your average person isn't going to know what to do if their wireless card isn't working, or if they don't have support for MP3s, etc

Now are you deliberately being dense?

I thought I'd leave it at that, but just in case you cannot see what should be blatently obvious: the reason for pre-installed Linux is to solve the exact same problem you quoted.

Re:Why Again? (3, Insightful)

el americano (799629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256328)

"Why do we want Linux on Dells again?"

To make Linux available to people who won't intall an OS. To increase the number of people using Linux. To improve hardware support. To break the Windows monopoly.

"...your average person isn't going to know what to do if their wireless card isn't working, or if they don't have support for MP3s"

This is the point of pre-installing. The wireless card is selected to work. MP3s and DVDs will play if the licensing is handled by Dell and built into the price of the PC. Just offering Linux compatible hardware is not enough. I wouldn't buy Dell for that, and most businesses wouldn't buy Linux Destop machines either.

"Editing a bunch of configuration files..."

Config files?! I'm not using config files for my e-mail, browser, office apps, multimedia, desktop environment, etc. For someone who tried Linux recently, you certainly have antiquated ideas of its current state.

tr0ll (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18255526)

of Jordan Hubbard bloodfarts. FreeBsD Are looking very members' creative Risk looking even provide sodas,

sell pre-installed GNU/Linux systems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18255606)

Why? How does that get me FreeBSD on the box w/o me loading it myself?

Couple of big problems for Dell (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255612)

1) They are preparing (hopefully) for support for whatever Linux distros are going to be made available. Not that anyone is going to call and actually *need* support for their Linux box, other then a defective hardware component. But the perception to them will be; "how do we support a non-Windows system?" A hardware *only* support structure would be just fine here, but their thinking too much in the box. [sic] "People *might* call with actually Linux config questions" and they'll not be ready to handle even a small amount of support in that space.

2) They have the 'n' series for the consumer channel, and for years they've had OSless systems available on the business side of things. The problem is the consumer side and I'll bet a dollar to a donut that Microsquat is climbing up their collective assen to "not support anything but Windows, or OSless boxen for consumers. Period."

I had another one, but I forget now. I'm installing my new Sun Ultra 25 desktop and really could care less about the Dell at this point. 8^) Woot!

The Easiest Way (4, Insightful)

dokebi (624663) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255658)

The easiest way to promote open source software would be for Dell to install OpenOffice on all their systems. This would cost them very little--no new OS to certify, no hardware to test, plus it wouldn't eat into their "crapware subsidy".

But, this will greatly increase the market share of OO.o, and home users and small businesses would reap real benefits from using a real office suite, rather than MS-Works.

Perhaps other PC makers will follow, to "compete" with Dell on this "Free Office Suite," and _they_ might install it on their systems.

I started using open source software from Mozilla Browser and OpenOffice on Windows. I was able to switch to Linux not only because I have tried to wean myself off of MS formats, but because I invested myself into platform neutrality. Having OpenOffice installed by default would do more than anything to promote this kind of independence, even if the user never actually ends up using Linux. I think this helps the open source movement even more than having a linux-OS option, because once people invest with their data, it is hard to go back to some other closed format.

Re:The Easiest Way (2, Insightful)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256088)

it wouldn't eat into their "crapware subsidy"

Actually it would. Microsoft Office Crapware Edition comes loaded on most of prebuilt computers. It's a trial use version of Office.

I bet Microsoft is doing something for them for the privilege of putting that thing on there. I bet that Microsoft wouldn't be willing to do whatever that is if something better than Office Crapware was also installed.

Re:The Easiest Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18256318)

I followed the same path.

Windows -> +Firefox -> +OpenOffice.org -> -Windows -> +Ubuntu -> errr... PROFIT!!!!

Sun seems to handle it (2, Interesting)

aphaenogaster (884935) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255728)

Sun will sell you a 900 dollar workstation with unix installed. Solaris of course. However, they will support that machine AND the os if you put a supported version of linux or Windows on it. Why can't dell do this? Because dell s.... and sells to people that enjoy commercials that use the word 'dude'.

Look At It From Dell's Perspective (4, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255766)

Look at it from the typical corporate PHB mutual admiration/derision society perspective.

Firmware Engineering: Oh no! I've got HOW MANY new drivers to port? I need more money, more head count!

Q/A: Oh no! What's my schedule to test these new drivers? I need more money, more head count!

Product Management: Ugh! I have to SKU up these new products? Graphics design is going to have to give me new blah/blah/blah. What about all of our OEM software partners? They aren't linux compatible. We need new product managers that are Linux geniuses.

Software Dev: Wait none of our apps are Linux compatible. Need more head count. Need to hire linux experts to do this.

Marketing: We need to buy lots of market research! We need to hire linux market experts! We're doing so much already!

Manufacturing: You want what? You've got the wrong guy in your office. The server assembly manager is the guy you need to speak with. He does expensive-but-kind-of-free-Red-Hat, not me. Wait, you want Optiplex's and Dimensions to have Linux? It can't be done. I'm not set up for it. I need more people and more money to expand operations to accommodate your new-fangled production ideas.

Support: Our Indian support center doesn't have the scripts needed to support, wait you said MANY versions of Linux? No. No way. Too complicated.

Legal: We need to enter into a contract with these Linux people. Wait, many linux people? I thought there was only one Linux. Need more head count to manage these new contracts. We need to research if this conflicts with any agreements we already have. Need to hire legal consultants that are experts in Linux. Hmmm plus all this "free" software written for hippies hasn't been vetted by the courts.

Purchasing: Where do we buy this Linux from?

Sales: All right! Linux on Dell! Let's do it! Who's with me?!?

What you are asking for (lower priced, OS-free hardware they will support) they will not give you. Besides, you will force distro's into a winner/loser software monoculture of it's own making that is best avoided at all costs. This is where the little guy thrives. Hmm, let's see http://www.sub300.com/port.htm [sub300.com] or maybe www.linspire.com, or http://system76.com/ [system76.com] ?

Re:Look At It From Dell's Perspective (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18256726)

Right on, Mpapet. The fan boys all want to say "Go to Linux", but they rarely think beyond the instant gratification of having a major computer manufacturer justify thier "tech superiority". If Dell, or any other major PC manufacturer, jumps on the free OS bandwagon it will be because it makes cents. Not sense, as the market is rarely rational... but because it will make a profit. I know some of you bristling at the concept of a profit model, but ultimately that's what companies do. They provide a good or service to a market that demands it. If the goods or services cost more than the market is willing to pay, then the product isn't made.

But, but Linux is FREE you say? How can it not be cheaper??? Well, the software is. But as Mpapet so ably described, if you have to rip up the groundwork to include it, that costs money. Money, that may or may not be returned by the market. This isn't a decision to make lightly. Most computer users aren't techical, nor do they want to be. A computer is an appliance, just like my TV or refridgerator. When was the last time you had to tweak the configuration of your freezer? As a result, customers percieve any fault of the "appliance" is the responsibility of the manufacturer. If Dell or HP or Lenovo sell it, thier customers will call asking for help with it.

I'd also like to add, if one of the big three started selling Linux it would become almost instantly mainstream. If more users are using Linux based OS more really bad software will be written and SOLD to run on it. If more people are using it, virus and malware authors will have economic incentive to attack those boxes. Go back and REALLY look at Microsoft's reports on error generation in thier last three OS revs. It's not the OS that causes the problems: It's the multitudes of users installing bad software, without any concept of how (or even if) it affects the system. To thier credit, that's one thing Apple really did well: they were able to minimize the number of crapplications written for it. Of course, they also minimized much of the usefulness and value of having a computer (especially in the early days)... and it's why there still isn't any software to speak of and among the reasons why they have a tiny marketshare. And as my fellow /. readers know, all of the purported benefits of OS X are slowly disappearing as they target the #2 marketshare OS.

Linux may be better, but listening to the Linux fan-boys is alot like listening to the hydrogen car crowd: "Stop using petroleum products, it's bad!!! Hydrogen is clean and the exhaust is water. If you don't switch to hydrogen, you are evil!" And perhaps I am evil, but I'm not chunking down that kind of cash to feel good and have a product I can't use. Until there's hydrogen pump in most service stations, I'm not gonna adopt. You make big changes because there is an unequivocal benefit to doing so.

Right now, I don't see the benefit. I'm just not going to exchange a working solution for limited compatibility with hardware and software (even among comparable versions of OS), and an OS whose only real security is obscurity. But that's my take. However, I can pretty much guarantee the big manufacturers are scrambling to find out if there's sense (and cents) in offering you a free OS.

Dell shouldnt install distro, but an uberinstaller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18255858)

as described on http://freedomdrive.org/ [freedomdrive.org]

non-Windows O/S on Dell (1)

FreeBSD evangelist (873412) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255874)

Sun now has a Hardware Certification Test Suite (HCTS). You can download the suite, and run the exaustive test on your proposed hardware. You then send the results back to Sun, do some paperwork and you are allowed to sell that hardware configuration as "Solaris Ready". I can't see a reason Dell shouldn't do that since Sun and Microsoft buried the hatchet. I'd much rather have Solaris 10 with containers, Dtrace, the ZFS, etc. than Linux on my Dell machines anyway. In fact, I do.

http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/hcl/hcts/index.html [sun.com]

Why Dell when there is HP? (1)

Mongoose (8480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18255902)

HP is about to unseat Dell has the big box manufacturing king. HP has worked in the past with hardware driver support and even the Debian distrobution. Why not ask HP to do what Dell can't or won't? I'm sure HP would love to take even more market share from Dell, and if they can get another customer they will. If you're a small business using Linux now is the time to leverage the new market share shift.

You like it when people use the word leverage. =p

You begin by defining Dell's market (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256066)

Dell's IdeaStorm [CC] is turning into a fiasco -- for Dell, and for open source as well. Instead of just shouting at the company to sell pre-installed GNU/Linux systems, how about helping them find a way to do it?

1 Dell sees real potential in "certified" Linux system sales to its larger business and institutional customers.

2 Unsatisfied, the BadVista fanatic spams Dell with adolescently argued posts demanding parity for OEM Linux in the general consumer market.

No matter that even Walmart has fled the field.

3 IdeaStorm collapses into chaos.

4 Dell goes back to selling the OEM Windows system as the mass-market PC of choice for the middle class.

5 The end.

Re:You begin by defining Dell's market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18256292)

You missed:

0 Time for Dell to re-negotiate Microsoft's per-machine fee for Windows approaches

3.5 Microsoft agrees to a 1% drop in their fee (saving Dell bazillions)

insane on its face (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256200)

dell is a huge company, renowned for its sales prowess, and they need HELP ?
this is insane on its face.

That you have to buy linux boxes from small companies no one has heard of instead of dell says that there is no market; when there is a market, dell will simply buy linux vendors, the way they bought alienware.

this is how the real non/. world works: small companies struggle to make a product in a niche market, and when the market gets big enought, the small company gets bought.

A more important thing to think about is why linux is such a disaster on the desktop. If could be linux has made the classic mistake of letting the competition - wintel - define the rules. It could be that linux is simply not a good fit for the desktop; not everything works for everything. It could be that the linux mindset is failing to recognize what is needed (drivers, fewer distros, less emphasis on cutting edge).
the classic definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing an expect diffrent results. linux has been doing the same thing for a while, with zilcho exceptance on the desktop.
Time to rethink the strategy

easy: respin an existing distro (3, Interesting)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256252)

they could even call it 'dellinux'

and control updates.

and control package sets.

they already have a bunch of linux stuff: http://linux.dell.com/ [dell.com] so why not just make the final step?

theres a ton of completely open source distros managed and maintained entirely by volunteers, so why couldnt a multinational like dell do the same?

Re:easy: respin an existing distro (2, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256458)

I think this is one of the best ideas that I have heard to answer the problem of too many distributions. However, Dell would then need to employ a team of Linux OS developers and the cost would ultimately be passed on to the consumer. That said, this extra cost may only surface for a short time until sufficient product revenue happens. And, you kill the problem of compatibility. I think the reason Dell did not act sooner on open source was fear of the support behemouth that would be required. Michael Dell was quoted as saying he loved, "The web footed wonder." Once again, it was business economics that was the decision maker.

Pricing differences (2, Interesting)

raznorw (756555) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256330)

Anyone else do a side-by-side comparison of the dimension E520N (linux) and say the XPS 410 (windows).

One interesting thing I noticed is that the price for the monitors are different. $240 on the linux box vs. $180 on the windows... (for the standard 19 inch E197FP Analog Flat Panel that comes with each machine).

The other monitors listed also have price differences beyond just the $60 between these two.

i.e. The 24 inch UltraSharp(TM) 2407FPW Widescreen Digital Flat Panel is $710 for the windows box, $800 for the linux, and $629 if you order separately from the monitors page...

Things to consider before you order from dell :)

Decent Idea (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256372)

This idea is a good one provided that this autonomous division is given ample exposure by Dell. The risk in this kind of business model is that there will be not enough media exposure or advertising and just die off. The success is also heavily dependent upon good leadership in a very fragmented market. Unfortunately, Linux is a fragmented market with consumers coming up with excellent arguments for and against the use of, say, Ubuntu versus others. If I had my two cents, I'd love to see Dell consider PC-BSD. [pcbsd.org] I have had an easier time installing PC-BSD. Realistically, how many distributions could one company support? By offering a choice of distributions that is too broad, more people would need to be hired, trained, and retained that have expertise in various Linux distributions. Linux experts do not come cheap and the extra cost would ultimately be passed on to the consumer through higher hardware prices for support and hardware. Therefore, the consumer seeking open source may pay more. This is unfortunate market economics in a David versus Goliath struggle. This is a type of dilemma that every business faces when introducing a new product. Dell may have faced this difficulty before, during the radical change from Windows 3.11 to 95.

Dells not that far from usable under Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18256566)

Having installed over years many different Dells, Laptops, Desktops and servers models under Linux,
my conclusion is that most issues are solved fairly easily up to having a not perfect but decently working machine ...
except if it's a Laptop with an unsupported screen because it has:
1) an unsupported graphic card (sadely common)
2) a screen with a non standard resolution (sadely common also on laptops) so that no bios mode exists

So, my simple advise to Dell would be:
Just make sure that any laptop model has a bios mode for the native screen resolution, whatever it is

When this is achieved, some distro will work resonably well thanks to rule of thumb, so going futher with
preinstalled, certified and so on might not work the extra effort because one of the key advantage of Linux
is diversity among distributions.

you insensitive c7od! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18256770)

SERVES TO REINFORCE user5. BSD/OS

Dell tried Linux before and it was unsuccessfull (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256834)

I believe they still sell Linux for their servers but that is it.

I.T. does now want Linux besides in the computer room. I think Dell even offered Linux for some workstation but demand was not high.

Its not like they will support it for Dimension users. However making it linux compatible with drivers for linux in case the geeks want to dual boot or wipe Windows off it seems more doable but even that is expensive. It will add support costs and Dell does not like people opening up their boxes and doing things to them where it might cost htem money in support or hardware replacements in case it becomes broken by a (l)user.

Re:Dell tried Linux before and it was unsuccessful (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256866)

I tried to buy a Dell Linux laptop and a Dell Linux desktop, but all they would let me buy was a Dell Server or a Dell Workstation.

If I wanted to buy a Linux server or workstation, that would be different.

But I don't.

Caveat emptor. Don't sell us stuff we don't want, sell us what we want!

Re:Dell tried Linux before and it was unsuccessful (0, Troll)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256924)

Well that is probably good because I hate Dells and they are kia's of the computer world. :-)

Seriously my compaq laptop has great linux support and it runs very cool. You want a vendor who uses standard parts and Dell likes to modify things like their nvidia cards and laptop chipsets so the Linux drivers and even Windows drivers wont run. .... and of course Dells own proprietary drivers are years old and are not updated. It sucks for gamers and Linux users.

Anyway try a laptop with an intel chipset. HP actively supports Linux and the windows tax is not much since they do not even include a restore disk. This is just my own opinion though and most geeks like dual booting windows so this is why they do not offer linux only.

F$CK LINUX!!! (0, Flamebait)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256950)

No seriously, why try to get Linux installed? If you're a FOSS fan, start at the beginning: Open Office, Gimp, GAIM, Firefox, Thunderbird, Shareaza, Zsnes.....

Why not just preinstall all the FOSS apps that are really going to allow people to look at beryl/compiz and say, "Hey! That's bad ass, but can I still have the Gimp? Oh, I CAN?!?!!"

I can't think of ONE advantage to allowing Linux preinstalled (maybe desktop linux still isn't ready for primetime?), but I can think of literally hundreds of advantages to familiarizing people with Firefox, Thunderbird, and the other really outstanding FOSS apps that exist in both Linux AND Windows.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about an all FOSS world too (Linux obviously being a piece of that), but all the office, teaching, construction, mechanic, and other non techie types *I* know LOVE Firefox, but still find Linux scary, difficult to use, and incompatible with important programs, like "San Andreas". Frankly, at this point I agree with them.

FOSS WILL win, but it will take time, and FireFox, Open Office and the like are way ahead of promoting it over Linux at this point. Hell, if anything, most of the Linux distros I've seen and used go a long way to NOT promoting FOSS.

rhY

Commercialize it (1)

ninevoltz (910404) | more than 7 years ago | (#18256996)

I can see it now, a new TV commercial with some really catchy techno music blaring and a closeup of this strange looking computer desktop flashing through different applications that the average user could relate to, while some hot chick quickly explains what you are looking at. Joe user will say to himself, what the heck is that? I gotta check that out! Pique the public's curiosity, and things might happen. The average person has no idea what Linux really is!
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