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Dell Opens a Poll On Linux Options

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the you-asked-for-it dept.

Businesses 404

narramissic writes "In response to overwhelming user demand for Linux, Dell has posted a survey on a company blog that asks 'PC users to choose between Linux flavors such as Fedora and Ubuntu, and to pick more general choices such as notebooks versus desktops, high-end models versus value models and telephone-based support versus community-based support.' Votes will be collected through March 23, and Dell plans to use the feedback to begin selling Linux-based consumer PCs." The poll is pretty minimal. Wonder how much it will really guide Dell's choices.

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No Poll? (2, Funny)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338381)

No comments and the poll is already down.

Re:No Poll? (3, Funny)

26199 (577806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338425)

This just in: Slashdot Closes a Poll on Linux Options :)

Dude! (5, Funny)

soloport (312487) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338471)

"Dude! You Slashdotted Dell!"

Re:Dude! (4, Funny)

McNihil (612243) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338951)

They needed some help in realizing what overwhelming really means.

Re:No Poll? (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338497)

It worked for me.

Re:No Poll? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338507)

Running a poll on a weak server gives automatic protection against slashdot ballot stuffing.

I guess that's a wrong address (1)

repunck (1051650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338533)

But at least they're "sorry"! (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339081)

http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/cor p/linux/ [dell.com]

The page you requested may no longer exist on Dell.com

        * There may be a misspelling in the URL you have entered
        * The page or file you are looking for has been moved, retired or is no longer available

"Dell recommends Windows Vista(TM) Business." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338649)

That's nice to know.

Re:No Poll? (1)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338843)

I was able to fill out the poll but hitting submit failed :(

Smells like a trap. (5, Insightful)

Ariastis (797888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339139)

My guess is, Dell is doing this to push/force Microsoft into according it better pricing bonuses. The half-hearted way they are doing this just smells too fishy for me. Customers have requested No-OS computers for years and Dell has always ignored them.

Slashdotted of course (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338387)

Sigh..... isn't always that way?

Re:Slashdotted of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338467)

maybe Dell rep's troll /. and preempted the /. effect by taking down the poll?!?!

Whoops (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338399)

Huh. We slashdotted Dell? Maybe their blade servers aren't up to scratch after all...

Re:Whoops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338463)

Huh. We slashdotted Dell? Maybe their blade servers aren't up to scratch after all...

Maybe they should be running linux...

Re:Whoops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338691)

They already have another poll for that. Now only if you can find it.

Re:Whoops (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338465)

I'm just waiting for the "lols! Dell runs Microsoft IIS on their webservers!" comments.

Re:Whoops (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338679)

lols! Dell runs Microsoft IIS on their webservers!

Re:Whoops (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338717)

Yep. They must have cheaped out and went with mysql instead of a real enterprise DB like MS SQL Server.

Slashdotted (5, Funny)

chrisbtoo (41029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338405)

Maybe that'll help guide Dell's opinion of whether people want Linux on their PCs.

Re:Slashdotted (1)

f0dder (570496) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338457)

Poll took a hit from a .. chair.

Re:Slashdotted (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338965)

Now all we need is a Linux poll to find out what they think of Dell users.

Naaa. (0)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338431)

I want 'em all.

A choice of several distros (blobs not preferred), on a wide variety of hardware.

If they need to start out with a more limited selection, fine, but expand as they go along, please.

Re:Naaa. (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338549)

You realize they can't support other distributions right?
They can't even ensure that they'll work properly.

Fully testing a distribution on a given piece of hardware probably takes a man-month.

Trying to fix issues that don't work increases that time line.

The best they could do is set up a standard test- run it against a given distribution and give it a percentage pass rating.

Would you seriously pay them $890 for a laptop with a version of linux that passes 97% of tests and they'll show you a list of the 3% of the tests that fail so you can decide if you want to figure out and fix them or not on your own. Myself- I want everything to just work. And that means they can really only use a couple standard flavors.

Re:Naaa. (4, Insightful)

The_K4 (627653) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338743)

As opposed to them selling me a Windows Laptop that I can then load Linux onto and GUESS at what works and what doesn't? The scenario that you propose is vastly better then today!

Dell? (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338807)

No, as opposed to you buying a Linux laptop from a company that sells Linux laptops. I don't see what everybody's obsession is with wanting to buy a Dell. Is it a status symbol to have a computer box that says "Dell" on it?

Re:Dell? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338887)

Like WHO?

The only "linux on laptop" companies I know about take standard big-brand-name laptops renames them, puts Linux on them and then doubles the price.

Why bother with the middleman?

I'll just buy the original Dell or Compaq.

explanation (5, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338911)

It's because once Dell starts offering linux, then the DRIVERS for all the various hardware and games, etc, will follow and *everyone* who runs linux in general will benefit. Dell and HP are the big kahunas with desktops, the entire industry will sit up and take notice that "Linux has arrived" once their linux offerings are common place. The peripheral industry is not impressed enough with the small tier 3 linux -capable computer vendors right now, a lot of them just totally ignore linux or offer some token crappy drivers, etc., but with Dell they will have to take notice and do something about it.

Re:Dell? (5, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339055)

Is it a status symbol to have a computer box that says "Dell" on it?

No, it's because they're cheap, and are of basically predictable quality.

Most of the companies that specialize in "Linux laptops" that I've ever seen, charge a significant premium. In some cases, more of a premium than top-of-the-line Apple hardware. But more than that, it's hard to tell what you're buying. If I order a Dell, I have a good idea of what I'm going to get. With a no-name laptop, which is what most of the Linux ones start off as, it's harder to say. I can't go down to Best Buy and hammer on one of their keyboards to see whether it sucks or not. I can't go ask 5 out of every 10 of my friends what they think of theirs. That's a problem.

It hasn't really been a problem to get a computer that will run Linux in a while, if you're willing to pony up bucks. The reason people are so interested in Dell, is that it would mean (hopefully) cheap, known-quality Linux machines, being sold right next to Windows ones. That's a big deal, particularly for the vast field of people who are 'on the fence' about "that whole Linux thing."

Well, they've GOT to pick something... (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338583)

The problem is that it's impractical for Dell, or any other company, to support every distribution and version of GNU/Linux that's out there. It's also impractical for them to test every hardware configuration with all of those distributions. They've got to pick one. Or two. Or five. Or whatever practical number their support people can handle. (Which I'm guess will end up being one or two at the most.)

Personally, I think they should go with Ubuntu, as it is extremely popular and arguably the most user-friendly distribution. If you want a different distribution, you're free to install it, and it will probably work since you know that the Ubuntu drivers will work on their hardware. But if you get a Dell with Linux, along with their support and guarantee that it will work on their hardware, you'll have to go with the distribution they've actually tested and that they support.

That's the problem, not the solution. (5, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338613)

This is really part of the problem. It costs Dell a ton of money to install a different default OS, or at least they claim that it does, and I've no basis to argue with them, so as a community, we need to be able to be satisfied with one distribution.

One of the reasons that Dell et al have always used as an argument against installing Linux by default, is that Linux users are too hard to please, and the market is too balkanized. With Windows, you have (well, you did, pre-Vista) Home, and Professional, and you can charge extra for installing Professional. With Linux, you have Ubuntu, Novell, Fedora, and god knows what else, and you really can't charge extra for installing one or the other without alienating users.

I think they need to pick ONE easy-to-use "beginners Linux" distribution, like Ubuntu or Lindows, and then offer a 'bare drive' option for users who want something else. Let's face it; if you are enough of a Linux user to have developed a preference between distributions, you can install the damn thing from an ISO. As long as the hardware is compatible and has Linux drivers available, you ought to be able to put anything you want on there.

The argument for pre-installations is really about novice users who can't be bothered to install an OS onto a fresh machine, and just want something that's going to work with minimal fuss. They need a distribution that's as idiot-proof and "polished" as possible, and that's what the criteria for choosing it should be.

Re:That's the problem, not the solution. (0, Redundant)

harp2812 (891875) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338703)

I think they need to pick ONE easy-to-use "beginners Linux" distribution, like Ubuntu or Lindows, and then offer a 'bare drive' option for users who want something else. Let's face it; if you are enough of a Linux user to have developed a preference between distributions, you can install the damn thing from an ISO. As long as the hardware is compatible and has Linux drivers available, you ought to be able to put anything you want on there.

The argument for pre-installations is really about novice users who can't be bothered to install an OS onto a fresh machine, and just want something that's going to work with minimal fuss. They need a distribution that's as idiot-proof and "polished" as possible, and that's what the criteria for choosing it should be.

And me without any mod points. This needs to wind up (+5 Insightful) pretty damn quick!

They will never bare option. (1)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338985)

Working for Dell, I found out you can blast a system with the standard green XP SP2 disk, no matter how old or new it is. I suspect its even the same with the purple Vista Ultimate disk but I could be wrong.

They must be going off the bios of the Dell. Its stupid, but I guess it saves Dell money, though it negates the bare drive option as I am sure Microsoft would be pissed if they offered it.

Re:That's the problem, not the solution. (1)

GiovanniZero (1006365) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339031)

The argument for pre-installations is really about novice users who can't be bothered to install an OS onto a fresh machine, and just want something that's going to work with minimal fuss. They need a distribution that's as idiot-proof and "polished" as possible, and that's what the criteria for choosing it should be.

That's not the only reason. Theres also the question of driver compatibility. The nice thing about offering a linux line is that even if it comes with Ubuntu you can be pretty sure that you'll have driver support for most other distros. That's nice.

Re:That's the problem, not the solution. (1)

markxsd (718350) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339133)

Kadin2048, you have it dead right.

A basic install already set up for the windows convert, but underneath it hardware that will let me install my flavour of the month distro. Just give me hardware that doesn't need a degree in plumbing to get working with my favourite distro and I will be eternally grateful!

A choice of all distributions. (5, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338617)

By offering NONE ... pre-installed ... but offering options on boxes so that they include only 100% Linux-friendly hardware. Which would be tested against the current kernel (and the kernel tested with would be documented).

AND NOT COSTING MORE THAN AN EQUIVALENT WINDOWS BOX.

Box A
Windows config - $500

Linux config -
- remove modem (save $5)
- replace modem w/Linux compatible (kernel 2.6.18) (add $15)

- remove wireless card (save $10)
- replace wireless card w/Linux compatible (kernel 2.6.20) (add $25)

And so on. Support "Linux", not "Red Hat". Ship the hardware and let the buyer get support from the distribution s/he prefers.

Re:A choice of all distributions. (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338709)

I like your post better than mine, but after reading the above replies to mine, I would be happy with Linspire on a selected laptop and a low-end desktop, too.

Really I'm not that hard to please...

Re:A choice of all distributions. (5, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338713)

And so on. Support "Linux", not "Red Hat". Ship the hardware and let the buyer get support from the distribution s/he prefers.

Not gonna happen. Not in a million, billion, trillion years. Dell has to maintain some semblance of quality and reputation. People who don't know what they're getting into, and buy a Dell box with some kind of Linux, are going to be sorely disappointed in Dell once they realize what their support options are. Also, how is Dell going to handle warranty issues? How can they possibly troubleshoot a PC is it has god-knows-what software on it?

Back to the ubiquitous car analogy: Toyota isn't going to sell you a car without tires. It's a hell of a lot more headache than it's worth.

Re:A choice of all distributions. (1)

andy753421 (850820) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338739)

I would say they should still pre-install something but make sure there's no licensing costs associated with it. A lot of people will simply not want to hassle of installing a distro, for the rest of us it let's us cross install without having to burn another CD :)

Re:A choice of all distributions. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339007)

"Box A
Windows config - $500

Linux config -
- remove modem (save $5)"
No can do, it's on the Mobo, no savings.

"- replace modem w/Linux compatible (kernel 2.6.18) (add $15)"
Takes a slot. The more slots you takem the more slots they need. However, this will probably not be an issue since most people only use a slot for a video card.

"- remove wireless card (save $10)"
Also onboard, no can do.

"- replace wireless card w/Linux compatible (kernel 2.6.20) (add $25)"

Now you have taken two slots more then before...

"And so on. Support "Linux", not "Red Hat". Ship the hardware and let the buyer get support from the distribution s/he prefers."

I totally unreasonable response, and show how ignorant people can be of the industry.
Here, lets try this:

Dell calls up maker of the onboard modem chip:"Were going to be buying a million mobos. We are happy with your ship, but will ahve to switch to another mobo if you don't suppliy linux drivers, or open up so the Linux community can make them" ...wait 2 weeks...
oh look, modem drivers.

rince and repeat with wireless card.

Far more likley to work then adding more cards.

Onward!

This is not for you, it's for people who want there computers to just work. That's the installation Dell needs.
If you don't know Linux, you need is to be very easy. If you do know linux, then you can put whatever the hell you want.
Dell Needs to have a support base for phones calls, and it is cost prohibitive to support many installations.

Many people on /. will be surpirsed to learn that the 'cost' of windows on a machine is hardly a drop in the bucket. The real expense is the help desk.

Re:Naaa. (1)

gsn (989808) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338945)

No. This does not make any sense to a business period. It also defeats one of the biggest gains that Dell adopting Linux will have, which is to set a standard that a lot of other distros will begin to follow. There is nothing wrong with diversity but before Linux can be reasonably adopted on the desktop there needs to be more homogeneity than there is now. I want click n'run to be a standard cross distro. Standard media suite. Standard game suite. Standard guis for anything system related and dare I say it a standard window manager.

Re:Naaa. (2, Insightful)

livewire98801 (916940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338983)

I don't think it's THAT important that they have any paticular distro. As long as they have hardware that is certified to run with open-source drivers or fully capable vendor closed-source drivers (like the current nVidia driver), I don't care what distro they put on it. Put SuSe on it, and I'll reformat the drive and put Fedora or Ubuntu on it like I would now with Windows. The major difference will be my confidence that it will work with Linux.

The biggest problem we have now is that you never know if all the hardware in a machine will work with Linux, the distro is pretty much irrelevant until you start using it. My notebook is from HP (dv8000t), and it works great with any distro I've put on it, since 2.6.14. I bought it without knowing this. When I was making my purchase, if there had been a manufacturer that put out a machine in the same price range with a simalar screen size and was certified for Linux, they would have gotten my money instead.

Keep in mind that this experience is only regarding notebooks, I've never purchased a brand-name desktop.

Obquote (2, Funny)

geeber (520231) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338433)

In response to overwhelming user demand for Linux

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Re:Obquote (2, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338657)

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

I do not think that joke means what you think it means.

(Dell's servers seem pretty overwhelmed at the moment)

Re:Obquote (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339113)

In response to overwhelming user demand for Linux


I do not think that word means what you think it means.


Oh, come on, don't be so cynical. They might be just sweeping up the last few parts of the market now that they've got the mainstream crowd, and I know they ignored requests for more linux for a long time. Still... it does count as a "response" :)

p.s.: yesh, I know you were probably referring to "overwhelming" ;)

Bummer for HP and others (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338449)

HP and others are busy selling Linux systems and making money. Now, I am expecting that Dell will charge extra for Linux, rather than less.

Shouldn't be a hard choice. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338451)

Personally, I choose Debian for my servers and Ubuntu for my desktops. I choose Debian for my servers, so I can have the most stripped system to which I can add things on a platform I know very well. I use Ubuntu for my desktops because it has an enormous support community, frequent releases and the packages are not nearly as out of sync as straight Debian.

Fedora is too tied to RedHat for my tastes and seems to only really be the choice of corporations these days. I'm not even sure what their community is like, compared to that of Debian and Ubuntu.

Anything other than those three is currently too small and obscure. There is a lot of fractioning in the distro world right now, but the majority seem to go to Ubuntu, then Redhat and then Suse and straight Debian.

I am very curious as to how they would pick a Linux and properly provide support for it without preventing you from being able to upgrade your kernel whenever you want or adding any of the bazillion packages out there that you want. It's very easy to hork your linux system, even if you know what you're doing. As much as I love linux I remain very skeptical about the average user implementing it as a desktop solution if they like to play around or have serious needs that cant' allow for plenty of downtime and research to resolve minor problems.

Re:Shouldn't be a hard choice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338889)

> the majority seem to go to Ubuntu, then Redhat and then Suse and straight Debian.

Is there a gay Debian too ?

If my local bookshop is any guide... (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338975)

Ubuntu 4 books, Fedora 2, Debian 2. The problem with the Fedora books is that they seemed to be tied to a specific version e.g. 'Fun with FC4'

Linux is scary for the first time user but Ubuntu is surprisingly resilient. I'm running Feisty upgraded from Hoary with no previous debian experience.

I'm sure Canonical would love the extra business if Dell outsourced support to them.

Why can't they bundle books on their on-line store with titles on open office, ubuntu etc?

They need to pick hardware that has open source drivers. For the rest, they ought to get someone to write friendly wizards for hardware hot-plugging. "I notice you've plugged an external monitor into your system. Would you like me to configure xorg.conf for you?"

Re:Shouldn't be a hard choice. (1)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339035)

Think of it this way. Linux is a kernel, like popcorn. As long as users can put whatever they want on their popcorn, you can't ensure they won't complain that their licorice-basil topping tastes horrible on your popcorn.

Apple's OS X (and Microsoft Windows) is like Doritos (yum, Doritos). Doritos arrive fully loaded. Now, if you really want, you can load MORE stuff unto the Dorito by dipping it, and you can even scrape away some of the cheese-like topping, but not much. Most people eat Doritos right out of the bag and do not dip or top. That's why you buy a Dorito. After all, if you wanted to top it yourself, you'd buy corn chips.

That's what this poll is about. Does Dell sell popcorn on servers for geeks or does it sell Doritos on desktops for moms 'n' dads? Vote early and often for your favorite choice, but my layman's guess is that the results will show "overwhelming support" for linux on servers.

Take the easy way - dump it on Linus. (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339073)

I am very curious as to how they would pick a Linux and properly provide support for it without preventing you from being able to upgrade your kernel whenever you want or adding any of the bazillion packages out there that you want.

Pretty much the same way they provide "support" for Windows.

Take your installer disk and re-install the system and it will be back to the same way you received it. Too bad about your data.

Come on. The distributions can do better than that without even trying. Dell doesn't provide any support beyond returning your system to the configuration you received.

As for upgrading your kernel and breaking things ... that would mean that the drivers in the kernel were broken ... and that would be the fault of the developer who submitted the buggy patch. If anything, having a few thousand Dell boxes out there means that testing on those boxes would happen sooner and the bugs would be found BEFORE the kernel was released.

Almost every Linux distribution out there has a package management system that means that the problems Windows users have will be non-existent on Linux.

You've claimed to use Debian and Ubuntu. How easy is it to remove an application? That's how easy tech support is for Linux. On known hardware.

Re:Shouldn't be a hard choice. (1)

livewire98801 (916940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339087)

I've seen this support issue raised several times in these discussions, and I'm curious as to why. You can easily exclude someone from support based on their OS choice. As it is, if I put Linux on my computer, I don't get vendor support. I DO get vendor warranty, as that covers the hardware.

I think the bigger issue here is getting the HARDWARE support for Linux on common hardware. Let the support issues sort themselves out based on market penetration. I would like to see major vendors only distribute hardware with decent Linux driver support. This would work out perfectly, as right now people put Linux on when they want it. If people order hardware they know will run under Linux, and specify "no OS" or whatever that vendor includes as their distribution, then maybe Dell, HP, and Toshiba will start building Linux support into their business model.

Did anyone see the poll options? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338487)

Was Slackware listed?

Re:Did anyone see the poll options? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338519)

redhat, novell, ubuntu, fedora, and that's all i have from memory. Slack definately was not.

Re:Did anyone see the poll options? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338665)

suse was the last one. they also had an option for 'other'.

Looks like the server's down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338523)

Should have bought a Dell! ...wait.

Support? (4, Interesting)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338529)


I love Linux and all, but what kind of support would be offered compared to Windows support? I have no experience with Windows support (don't use it), but when I call my ISP and other companies, they ask questions like "What version of Windows are you using?" By being a Linux and Mac guy, I find myself self supported much of the time, which is OK most of the time, but when the internet is down or something that is not OS dependant, I have issues from time to time, and its next to impossible to talk with support people sometimes.

Now, I'm not talking about me. I've run Linux on a number of Dells (hundreds), but I don't need Linux support, but for "normal" people or whatever, what kind of support will they get?

Re:Support? (1)

grey.armorer (1075015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338669)

Support for those, who don't like reading FAQs and other docs. Not everybody spend evenings compiling X.

Re:Support? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338919)

Been using Linux since '94. Never had to compile X even once.

Try another false strawman.

Re:Support? (1)

grey.armorer (1075015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339137)

What false you speak about? ... don't read FAQs ... it's a clue. Don't take that so serious.

None Please (or DOS if you must) (4, Interesting)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338561)

I personally do not want any flavor pre-installed. FreeDos is fine thank you. There are just too many options and partitioning preferences that I would typically reinstall anyways.

I can install Redhat via a USB drive in 10 minutes so the advantages of pre-installation are minimal.

What I really care about is not paying the Microsoft tax!

Wrong link (1)

repunck (1051650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338629)

Errr (1)

repunck (1051650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338701)

Without the trailing slash

Re:None Please (or DOS if you must) (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338727)

If it comes preinstalled then you know the hardware is working. You can take a system image (hopefully you will get a disc with one anyway) so if you roach the system you can reload it and see how THEY got everything working. It's very helpful to have it preinstalled even if you're just going to repartition.

Re:None Please (or DOS if you must) (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338735)

I mostly agree with you, but I also want hardware that can be supported by Linux without pulling out my hair. No winmodems, for example. For that reason, I'd be happy with any version of Linux installed which I can then replace.

Re:None Please (or DOS if you must) (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338879)

I have sometimes wondered about the validity of the Microsoft tax, at least as far as windows is concerned. The cost per license to an OEM as large as Dell is probably rather small (certainly compared to the retail price of Windows). By having Windows installed, Dell is able to also bundle all kinds of bloatware that they get paid to include. I'm guessing the two are close to balancing out. Anyone have any numbers?

Don't get me wrong: I'm not advocating for the presence of either Windows or bloatware on a new machine. I'm just not convinced that it is affecting the pricetag much overall.

If the license cost and bloatware payoff are comparable to Dell, then one could figure that a Dell machine without Windows or bloatware could have a comparable unit cost to a current, Windows-based machine. Note I'm not talking about price to consumers anymore - there are non-recurring engineering costs to figure into the pricetag like configuring the hardware and software together and establishing a support system.

Re:None Please (or DOS if you must) (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338923)

For all those Linux and PC gurus here, perhaps a "blank HDD" would be nice, no OS, no software, no annoying support applications.

However, you have to be aware that there are still, tons of regular users that rather have something already installed an ready to work, and even the possibility of a recovery CD in case the mess something up.

I rather have a friendly Ubuntu installed, and if that's the case replace it with something else. Hopefully, They won't charge "extra" for the effort of delivering a "working linux PC" since that defeats the whole purpose of your called Microsoft Tax.

Re:None Please (or DOS if you must) (1)

xaositects (786749) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339003)

But would you be buying a Dell for your home? I'm thinking you'd prolly build your own computer, like most of us on here. The people (aside from businesses buying high-end servers) who would normally buy proprietary systems are those who lack either the time, knowledge, or patience to build their own and most of those people would prolly not have those qualities in reference to installing their own OS either, especially when faced with the wide variety of Linux distributions available to them.

Options (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338591)

You know everyone has been complaining that Dell doesn't offer Linux. Then they open a poll, they then get flamed for not having enough options. There is no way to make everyone happy, there just aren't enough Linux trained support techs to support everything. On their servers they only support a limited amount of distros and if the customer wants to using something other than those then it's best effort maybe that will be the case with the desktops. I know some people on the support side and, even in the enterprise world you hear some really stupid questions come in and you wonder why they are even running Linux...imagine that in the consumer space.

a survey? (1)

grey.armorer (1075015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338599)

everybody needs Linux, but they want a survey? ugh. need more action...

hmm (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338681)

telephone-based support versus community-based support.

Witch one do you think dell likes better?

Re:hmm (1)

grey.armorer (1075015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338767)

Witch one do you think dell likes better?
They better have a chan at freenode.

1 is the highest! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338715)

Ohhh reallly!

My vote (2, Insightful)

mstahl (701501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338725)

Wonder how much it will really guide Dell's choices.

My vote: not that much.

Sincerity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338779)

Dell recommends Windows Vista(TM) Business.

Free phone support?! (1)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338781)

The survey only listed "Fee based Phone support" as a support option. What about with windows where you get free phone support for 1 year or whatever it is nowadays?!

Re:Free phone support?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338949)

That reminds me of a poll I added today to my site http://www.iphonetunes.net/ [iphonetunes.net] . Will people buy the iPhone. They are also the underdog in the phone market like GNU/Linux is in the PC market. It can take a while to break monopolies even you have great products.

Laptops please (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338789)

My workplace already gets Precision workstations from Dell with RHEL on them. Although to be honest we swapped vendors for the last round because quad Opterons were the better choice at the time. RHEL isn't a particularly good desktop OS for my needs (low popularity, license/reinstall headache) but Ubuntu works well enough on the same hardware.

What Dell really lacks is laptops with obvious Linux support. It's still a pain in the ass to look through their website and pick up a laptop that you know has working 3D drivers (ATI blows), wireless, and hibernation support. You can go look around for third party reviews and match model numbers but that leaves you looking off site (and evaluating against competitors) and Dell has a huge turnover in model revisions.

Gotta love the opening (1)

wfWebber (715881) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338805)

"Linux Learnings. We're listening". Especially since it comes right after "Dell Recommends Vista Business". Maybe they're not listening well enough?

Re:Gotta love the opening (1)

shis-ka-bob (595298) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338839)

Yah, I saw that too. Is Dell trying to tell us something or do they just have a default page head on their portal?

Why Linux? (3, Funny)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338813)

What about Emacs?

Survey Contents (4, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338833)

The page loaded for me (but wouldn't submit). Here are the questions, for the curious. And yes the first line was really at the top of the page - an unexpected joy of automation :)

Dell recommends Windows Vista(TM) Business.

Linux Learnings: We're Listening

Thanks for visiting the Dell Linux Survey webpage. Please answer the following questions to help us determine how to best prioritize our resources for this effort.
(Survey will be open March 13-March 23)

1) Would your Dell system with Linux factory installed be for home or office use?
        Home Use
        Office Use
        Both

2) Which systems should we prioritize on for Linux factory installation? (Rank Order: 1=highest, 6=lowest)
        Inspiron notebooks
        Dimension desktops
        XPS notebooks
        XPS desktops
        Latitude business notebooks
        OptiPlex business desktops

3) What types of activities will you perform on your Dell system with Linux factory installed? (Rank order: 1=highest, 9=lowest if not using for specific listed purpose, leave blank)
        Basic productivity
        Email
        Web browsing
        Photo editing and management
        Gaming
        Music
        Video editing
        Software development
        Other:

4) Which languages should we prioritize on?
        English
        Japanese
        French
        German
        Spanish
        Mandarin
        Other:

5) For a tested & validated Linux install, what type of software support would you require?
        Existing community support structures for Linux that already exist with Dell participating more
        Email and online support forums through Dell
        Fee-based OS phone support
        Other:

6) Which Linux distribution should Dell prioritize on?
        Commercial: Novell/SuSE Linux Desktop
        Commercial: Red Hat Enterprise Desktop
        Community Supported: Fedora
        Community Supported: OpenSUSE
        Community Supported: Ubuntu
        Other:

Screw You Dell (5, Funny)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338853)

How are you leave off Debian GNU/Linux from the distribution list. Are you people just a bunch of idiots or what? It's obvious you Dellosers don't even know the history of GNU/Linux because Debian was the FIRST GNU/Linux distribution and continues to be the best GNU/Linux distribution. You'd have to be a complete moron to make a list of GNU/Linux distributions and leave off Debian GNU/Linux. It's obvious that Dell has no interest in supporting REAL free software, only a bunch of fake anti-freedom distros like Red Hat "Linux" (sic).

Dell you can go to hell, I am never going to buy your products again!!!

Re:Screw You Dell (5, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338997)

Gee, I wonder why Dell is hesitant to embrace the Linux community?

Re:Screw You Dell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18339043)

Whoa.

Sounds like someone needs to lay off the Kool... AID.

Use on-disk Live-CD-like install environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338855)

Dell should simply burn a KNOPPIX-like image onto the disk and boot into a live linux session just like the current Ubuntu live CD. Have icons on the desktop with labels like "Install RedHat", "Install SUSE", "Install Ubuntu" and so on. Ask each distro to provide the necessary installation program and data! The original live partition can also act as a rescue/disk editing mode.

I want FreeBSD (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338869)

Or, maybe, DragonFlyBSD [dragonflybsd.org] . A complete OS targeting i386 platforms, with fewer GNU-licensing issues to worry about.

Re:I want FreeBSD (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338981)

Or, maybe, DragonFlyBSD [dragonflybsd.org] . A complete OS targeting i386 platforms, with fewer GNU-licensing issues to worry about.

What GNU licensing issues?

Re:I want FreeBSD (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339111)

What GNU licensing issues?

I'm not biting. Check a few days-worth of earlier SlashDot articles for the GNU-related troubles, that Novell either has already or may have in the future, should FSF turn more zealous.

Re:I want FreeBSD (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339103)

DragonFly???

Great business decision Dell. :) Pre-install an operating system with barely more users than developers.

Be realistic.

Doh! It's the servers, stupid! (1)

Ian.Waring (591380) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338933)

It doesn't exactly take brain of texas to work out it's servers where Linux already dominates, so if they want market share, they go for... desktop PCs. Brain transplant please - the survey is far from credible...

Ian W.

I just bought a laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18338947)

from HP (Compaq). At the specs I wanted, the HP was $50 less than the Dell, but if Dell had offered full linux drivers (not a bcm4318 that with poor reverse engineered drivers or ndiswrapper, and working suspend), I would have bought the Dell.

First vendor to offer competitive laptops with full linux support gets my money in 3-5 years when I'm looking for a replacement.

Problem worth considering... (4, Interesting)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338967)

What's going to happen when Dell releases a flavor that can't play MP3s, or some media files, out of the box? I wonder if the idea of it being Linux is going to be...for lack of a better way of putting it...scary enough to the average user to dissuade them from selecting it as an option even if it saves 'em money.

Linux will cost you more, so why bother? (0, Troll)

bluskye (647861) | more than 7 years ago | (#18338987)

No Windows eh? Ok, pay the cost difference for not having crapware that subsidizes your cost of the machine. You are just fucking yourselves by requesting Linux/No OS option ... tack on another $30 or so to the cost of the machine. There shall now be a Linux Tax. Oh, you linux users didn't know how business works? Should have taken some business courses in school instead.

What I would like to see from Dell (3, Interesting)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339005)

As a Linux user, there's really only two things I would like to see from Dell (or any PC manufacturer). One is the option of buying a computer with either a free OS or no OS (some more casual users (the type that Linux needs to be attracting if it wants to grow its user base) might prefer their favorite distro pre-installed, but I'm more likely to want to set everything up myself). Second, I want to know if the hardware will work well with open source drivers.

The first is tricky for PC manufacturers from a political standpoint; they don't want to offend Microsoft. (I am curious if anyone has a good answer to this: supposing Microsoft were to raise their per-OS lisencing fees as retaliation against a PC manufacturer for selling a non-Microsoft OS, would they get sued for anticompetitive practices, or would they get away with it? Could they retaliate in other, more subtle ways?)

The second is also tricky because many of the better graphics cards don't have open source drivers. (At least, not drivers that support 3d accelleration, which is usually why people buy high-end graphics cards in the first place.) If Dell were to say "sure, we support Linux, just use the binary-only Nvidia driver", that approach isn't going to make a lot of Linux users happy.

Re:What I would like to see from Dell (1)

xaositects (786749) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339089)

Ubuntu seems to handle Nvidia and ATI setup pretty well. At least I haven't had any problems with it (as long as I use the Ubuntu packages).

One flavor should be fine. (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339025)

Bundle it with Ubuntu. Something easy for people to pick up and play with. It's not like all the fans of other linux distros don't know how to reformat and partition a hard drive. If the hardware works with Ubuntu chances are it'll work with any other flavor of linux, so who cares which one they officially support?

Slashdot Linux anyone? (1)

realcoolguy425 (587426) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339115)

I just had a really stupid idea. I know it's silly, but here's a what if. What if a large part of the linux slashdot community decided to get together, roll a distro that was as idiot proof as one could make. I mean truly idiot proof. Targeted for users who don't know what they're doing. (everyone who knows what they're doing can change anything/everything anyway). So who wants to make /.nix? /inux? /.nux? slashdot/inux?...

Reason being as easy as I think linux distros are, I'm sure there are people who wouldn't be able to makes heads or tails of them. So to support them I'm guessing some videos would have to be placed right on the desktop that demonstrates basic usage. Have some more advanced documents packaged in there that are EASY to read. I think there really truly is a market for this, but I'm not sure if as great as the current distros are, if any of them are really targeted the truly new user?

The real benefit to the community however is going to be the backing of DELL to try and get some of these drivers made. The whole community benefits. Like most users are going to comment, it really doesn't matter what distro, as long as the devices work. However from Dell's point of view, it comes down to how many more support calls are there going to be because of this? They realize the market is there for Linux, they're just trying to test the waters before they jump in. I hope this works out well for everyone.

ASPX??? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18339119)

Anyone else find it funny that they're doing a Linux survey with an ASPX page.

It's a change of the times.... (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18339123)

I will actually consider getting a Dell for my next computer if they include Linux. Not because I want to avoid the hassle of installing a Linux distribution, but because they have to have better support for the hardware in their machines. Maybe less problems with winmodem drivers?

On a side note, why wasn't there an option for gentoo? I hope the haven't been reading slashdot [slashdot.org] lately.
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