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Linux Preinstalled Dell Available Soon

samzenpus posted about 7 years ago | from the dude-you-got-open-source dept.

Operating Systems 305

An anonymous reader writes "According to a BetaNews article, Dell confirmed on Wednesday plans to offer Linux pre-installed on select desktop and notebook systems, beyond its current Linux-based servers and Precision workstations. No specific time frame was given for the expanded Linux plans, although the company said in a blog posting that it will provide an update in the coming weeks regarding the effort. It will detail 'information on which systems we will offer, our testing and certification efforts, and the Linux distribution(s) that will be available,' Dell said, adding that, 'The countdown begins today.'"

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305 comments

So... (4, Insightful)

The Bungi (221687) | about 7 years ago | (#18525101)

Does this mean that Dell will have to stop selling Windows? Or that they'll go bankrupt? Or will their offices be burned down to the ground? What was the reason for this not happening before again?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525163)

Does this mean that Dell will have to stop selling Windows?
Nope; but they might loose a chunck of their discount from MS.

Or that they'll go bankrupt?
Nope; their business will be the same. They are not currently in a bankrupt state (at present); I see no reason their financial status should change. If their financial status does change; it won't be because they offered a few Linux workstations.

Or will their offices be burned down to the ground?
Are you planning anything? Or do you know something about Ballmer that extends beyond chairs?

What was the reason for this not happening before again?
30,000 users (If I remember correctly) had a chance to speak at once via their "Idea Storm idea gathering session.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 7 years ago | (#18525165)

"What was the reason for this not happening before again?"

A perceived lack of ROI, I would guess. Whether that perception was accurate will be determined once they've been offering the Linux PC's for a while and can weigh their profits against support costs.

Re:So... (1)

nacturation (646836) | about 7 years ago | (#18525463)

What was the reason for this not happening before again?
Probably for this reason [yahoo.com].
 

Re:So... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18526009)

No [yahoo.com]. There are PLENTY of Windows based companies with that same graph in the first half of the decade - and Linux companies, Internet companies, etc. This one [yahoo.com] is even more interesting - note that each company in that one has had one split since 2000.

Sorry, but your theory holds no juice.

(Hint: Next time, make a point... THEN substantiate it with graphs & pictures)

Re:So... (2, Informative)

jstomel (985001) | about 7 years ago | (#18525591)

Lack of demand. Lets admit it, the vast majority of people who want to run linux build their own computers, no? Now that linux is becoming an office workstation option for at least a reasonable number of goverment and private sector workplaces, it becomes feasable for dell to keep a full time linux specialist on tech staff. They aren't really trying to sell this stuff to geeks, this is strictly aimed at the office.

Very unwise move from Dell... (0, Troll)

The_Abortionist (930834) | about 7 years ago | (#18525637)

Ok. Just yesterday [slashdot.org] we saw that HP automatically voids the warranty if a computer has run Linux. This is because the Linux power usage control is so poor that it has caused some laptops to melt.

How will Dell be able to support Linux, if no one is responsible for it??

Re:So... (5, Interesting)

tinkertim (918832) | about 7 years ago | (#18525665)

Does this mean that Dell will have to stop selling Windows? Or that they'll go bankrupt? Or will their offices be burned down to the ground? What was the reason for this not happening before again?


All good questions.

I'm sure the lack of interest in Vista has something to do with this. When MS is about to release a new OS, they talk to hardware vendors and share some market predictions. They expected to sell XX copies, which in turn translated to Dell means "We'll sell xx new PC's due to Vista". Its not just Dell, it was everyone, but Dell is the example.

Dell of course did not sell nearly as many PC's as they expected, sees part of their market headed for Ubuntu and RHEL and needs to follow the trend.

I don't know, however if they are violating some part of their resale agreement with Microsoft and its a very good question. Is MS just 'staying' this because they know it was Vista that ultimately lead to this happening, or are they going to really bitch about it?

As for their offices burning down, I guess that depends on how many employees are using Dell Laptops.

As for why now? Why not a year ago? I think it was due to 2.4 and earlier 2.6 kernels not going so well on their hardware. I also think the growing server market had a bit to do with it.

Finally Yes Dell could go bankrupt, but I doubt offering Linux as an option will have contributed to that if it happens. After all, its not the condom's fault that you forgot to put it on :)

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | about 7 years ago | (#18525861)

I'm sure the lack of interest in Vista has something to do with this.

Why would a typical Dell customer who isn't interested in Vista, be interested in Linux ?

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

Cylix (55374) | about 7 years ago | (#18525885)

Why do people do the things they wouldn't normally do?

Marketing!

That's right folks, we are poised to market linux to any and every one of those poor fools who couldn't even use a toaster.

It's the next big thing!

Or perhaps there has been enough stink about it to get them to at least sale the idea. I'm sure it won't cost that much and it will probably push a few more units.

Hell, even I would have liked this last year when I purchased several new systems. Given how goofed up the process is on some of the top end stuff it would just be kinda nice to have them out the door and pre-installed. Especially when performing a build out on a project and the last thing you want to do is worry about your servers installation needs.

Dell-Ubuntu (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525107)

I wonder if Shuttleworth is working his business skill magic to get Ubuntu on these machines.

Re:Dell-Ubuntu (1)

serge587 (1038264) | about 7 years ago | (#18525805)

It will be interesting to see which distro(s) will be offered and how heavily dell will customize them (drivers etc...).

Great (5, Insightful)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | about 7 years ago | (#18525111)

Now just tell me it costs less than, or at least the same as, the same PC with Windows pre-installed.

Re:Great (5, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | about 7 years ago | (#18525153)

Unless the Linux world comes up with a way to give Dell all the kickbacks and payoffs that the Windows world does, I don't see how Dell could possibly offer a Linux machine for less than, or even the same price as, a Windows machine. I hope Dell can prove me wrong, but I ain't holding my breath for it.
 

Re:Great, and maybe possible (5, Interesting)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 7 years ago | (#18525695)

Perhaps a PC could be given three prices, so the purchaser has a proper choice:

1. Windows, without promotional crapplets
2. Windows, with promotional crapplets
3. Linux, with drivers

Clearly, options 2 and 3 would be lower cost than option 1. I expect that options 2 and 3 would be similar in cost, even if the Linux option included a DVD with the distribution, drivers, and a collection of FOSS packages. The trade-offs in pricing would be visible in a way that customers might understand, although the crapplet collection would probably be described as "bonus enhanced-value mega-cool selected premium packages" to mask its negative value. People who truly want Windows might opt for the reduced-crap option, even if its price is higher (especially if they experienced the crapplet search & destroy obstacle course after an earlier purchase).

With luck, we will never see the fourth pricing option which lurks malevolently in the background:
4. Linux, with bonus enhanced-value mega-cool selected premium packages

Re: Great (4, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 7 years ago | (#18525709)

Unless the Linux world comes up with a way to give Dell all the kickbacks and payoffs that the Windows world does, I don't see how Dell could possibly offer a Linux machine for less than, or even the same price as, a Windows machine. I hope Dell can prove me wrong, but I ain't holding my breath for it.
At various places on Dell's website you can find workstations with Linux installed right now, and with a base configuration cheaper with Red Hat Enterprise Linux than with any of the versions of Windows listed.

Re:Great (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 7 years ago | (#18525955)

If you mean licensing kickbacks then it a non-issue since the licensing cost for Linux is $0.00. If you are referring to the crap Dell preloads on the machines then that shouldn't be a concern either. You can already choose to get the machine without the preinstalled crap when you buy a Dell. Since they don't increase the price when you select that option on a windows based system then there is no reason they should increase the price for a Linux based system that doesn't come with the crap.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525971)

Same way they get extra money through windows. Pre-installed spyware and adware. I wipe all oem versions of windows and install my own legal version of windows. All of the problems inherent with windows just seems to disappear...

Re:Great (1)

iamacat (583406) | about 7 years ago | (#18525317)

Why so? For many users, a well configured Linux distribution with CrossOffice is better than Vista with confusing DRM and susceptibility to malware. If there are tested drivers, proper power management support, a recover disk, at home support option and so on, wouldn't you pay a bit more to give a maintenance-free computer to your relative? Are we arguing that Linux is inferior to Windows and therefore should cost less? Superior products generally come at a premium. True, basic Linux source code is free. But full hardware+software support/upgrade guarantee and proprietary software on top of the OS are not necessarily so.

Re:Great (2, Insightful)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | about 7 years ago | (#18525413)

Are we arguing that Linux is inferior to Windows and therefore should cost less?

No, I'm saying it may be cheaper to buy the same PC with Windows on it then delete Windows and install Linux yourself. Chances are they will sell the very same PC with Windows on it.

Re:Great (2, Interesting)

iamacat (583406) | about 7 years ago | (#18525603)

Sure, you can also build your own PC or change oil in your car by yourself. People who don't enjoy compiling NVIDIA kernel module on their own might pay a few extra bucks to get it done instead.

Re:Great (2, Insightful)

gormanly (134067) | about 7 years ago | (#18525887)

Yes, if you use a free, community-supported distro and are happy with that, know your way around it and don't mind upgrading to the next release every few months, then it may be cheaper. Assuming you have some sysadmin skills and your own time has no value.

However, if you're in the market for a new laptop, if might be worth asking yourself if a few extra currency units on a kilo-currency unit investment means so much to you that you'd rather buy something you don't want (and possibly actually hate using) from a company you intensely dislike, when doing so deprives a Linux vendor of the revenue it'd earn if you bought its product, thus undermining the very community you claim to be a part of. If you pay for your Linux distro, the community wins. Engineers get paid. Support organisations get built up. Knowledge expands, and we become mainstream in the desktop sphere. Thence, world domination.

And from a more selfish p.o.v., if you want something stable, predictable and supported by ISVs, an OS that you can put on to the machine and never upgrade (much more important with laptops than desktops) for the life of the machine... guess what? That'll cost you. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

I order all our Dell workstations with Red Hat Enterprise Linux preinstalled (one of 2 reasons I have for choosing Dell), and it'll be great to be able to do the same with laptops. (This post brought to you by a Dell XPS M1210 running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 WS.)

Re:Great (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 7 years ago | (#18525969)

'True, basic Linux source code is free. But full hardware+software support/upgrade guarantee and proprietary software on top of the OS are not necessarily so.'

Given. But there is no particular reason they should cost more than the same for a windows system.

I'm so excited! (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | about 7 years ago | (#18525113)

I just hope Dell offers lots of distributions and gives the option of lots of different Linux support services. That's the great thing about Open Source.. there's an actual market for support services.. you're not stuck with the manufacturer. Dell could become the shop for desktop Linux.

Re:I'm so excited! (5, Funny)

Kristoph (242780) | about 7 years ago | (#18525131)

Oh the joy, I can just see it now ...

Dell: Hello, can we help you?
Me: Hi, I am having some problems installing Linux on my new Dell laptop. I need some information about the video card so I can set up X.
Dell: Ok, umm ... sure ... you said Lyn-ucks?
Me: Yes?
Dell: Ok, umm ... can you spell that please?

Re:I'm so excited! (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 7 years ago | (#18525311)

Sha.. as if the Indian who answers your call can spell.

Seriously though. There's some wonderful tricks people do with call centers these days. You call up, enter your serial number or whatever and they put you through to the appropriate support group.. So, say you get Ubuntu on your Dell and go with the Canonical support, you'll get put through to the Canonical call center (also in India) and they'll have an appropriate script to fix your problem and get you off the phone as fast as possible.

It's funny how technical support call centers have become implementations of the chinese room thought experiment.

Re:I'm so excited! (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | about 7 years ago | (#18525443)

forgive me for my ignorance- what is the chinese room thought experiment?

Re:I'm so excited! (1)

nacturation (646836) | about 7 years ago | (#18525493)

forgive me for my ignorance- what is the chinese room thought experiment?
Go to google.com, type in "chinese room thought experiment", hit "I'm feeling lucky".
 

Re:I'm so excited! (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | about 7 years ago | (#18525495)

If I put you in a room and tell you to answer questions in chinese, when you don't speak a word of chinese, but I give you these nifty books which contain a whole lot of rules that you can follow to translate one chinese character into another chinese character, which result in you producing the right answers, can you, or the room, or you and the room, be considered to "understand" chinese?

is there a politician in the room? (5, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | about 7 years ago | (#18525137)

If in fact "no specific time frame was given", then how the fuck can "the countdown begins today"? Counting down to an undetermined date is like counting up to inifinity. And I have a feeling Dell knows this. This way they can talk the talk without having to actually walk the walk and either lose money or anger Microsoft.

Re:is there a politician in the room? (2, Interesting)

oztiks (921504) | about 7 years ago | (#18525347)

I'd rate you funny not insightful :)

But this is the thing, anger Microsoft yes, but what will the repercussions of this anger be? the only thing they'll do is entice Dell by sweetening their already sweet ass deal.

I stick to this being just a silly ploy to screw Microsoft down a little more as the need for Windows becomes less and less a necessity in the marketplace and merely just another option for people to use. Regardless if Dell supports Linux or not the playing field with MacOS, Linux and Windows is becoming more and more on the same level as times goes.

Larger business is welcoming these changes and why not? any smart business will always keep their options open, who wants to be stuck relying on another businesses success for their own operation and to function correctly? I know for sure that my business doesn't want to be put in such a position. Look at Norton for instance they relied on a need that Windows provided, now they have been burned by this need, proper business ethics points the finger at Microsoft and say "BAD BOY DON'T DO THAT!", Microsoft says "HA! I don't care I'm invisible" and now other company's large and small a like will see that ethics and understand they cant rely on Microsoft to not work against them at any possible time.

Yeah i know ms fan boys will spout how wrong i am etc, etc but that record is old and busted now because Linux desktop is a reality and its not as hard it has been in the past. Businesses are seeing its viablity and if the larger company's start supporting it, it will become as easy as Windows to use (if not easier.) Heck Ubuntu is very easy to use as it is, it just needs that little push and WAYYYY it goes :)

Re:is there a politician in the room? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525615)

Counting down to an undetermined date is like counting up to inifinity.

This article was submitted by Chuck Norris, you insensitive clod!

Re:is there a politician in the room? (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 7 years ago | (#18525989)

Technically you are correct. But this week Dell is making a statement implying they are in a hurry to get this out there and satisfy demand. Last week they said 'we might consider doing this, maybe, we've got to talk to vendors'.

Let the cheering being... (4, Interesting)

X-treme-LLama (178013) | about 7 years ago | (#18525155)

I know that most of the crowd around here will be thrilled.. But I do wonder how broad the market actually is for this.. Obviously Linux is growing, and depending on distro becoming more user friendly all the time... The server market is a given, but linux is already doing well there.. 100,000 responses != 100,000 sales.. I'm sure many of the responses were already fans and users.. But that might be counter-acted by people who would buy but didn't comment, or might not even be aware.

The lack of the MS tax will be great, but I have to wonder how many 'regular joes' and 'mom and pops' will try it out. We all know the stories about people setting up their parents with it, but that comes with an implied, and personal support system. And if their Linux Tech Support is anything like their Windows Support the help available may be less than stellar. I sure hope it catches on, even a little competition for MS is a good thing, and introducing people to OSS is fantastic. I also wonder if they'll have the models available at brick and mortar retailers, and if they'll actually push them.

I think the sales figures will be very interesting to watch, especially for non-enterprise customers. The figures I'd be especially interested in would be the people who were happy with their purchase, and the real numbers behind that might be impossible to come by..

Re:Let the cheering being... (1)

dexomn (147950) | about 7 years ago | (#18525241)

I suppose the phone bill to india will still be cheaper than a windows license in the long run.

Re:Let the cheering being... (4, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | about 7 years ago | (#18525285)

The last two research labs I worked at both have sales and support contracts with Dell; when we need a new computer - from a server to a workstation to a laptop - unless we have specific reason otherwise, we buy Dell. And they all come with Windows.

Of course, the previous lab was perhaps 80% Linux, and the current one is 50% (and the in-house IT group installs a dual-boot Linux by default on every Windows machine). And in fact I know there's been growing grumbling about this kind of exclusive deal when they aren't offering what we're using (no, the OS is not the whole issue but it's a fairly big part).

In this kind of environment, sales of the Linux version would easily be more than half of all machines, including laptops. Now of course, this is not a very common environment on one hand, but we go through computing equipment like a TV preacher goes through hairspray on the other, so the field of research is not totally insignificant even for a large corporation.

Re:Let the cheering being... (1)

jkrise (535370) | about 7 years ago | (#18525291)

Most important will be to see whether they offer it on the SAME IDENTICAL hardware configs that can run Windows.... XP or Vista. If they come up with a separate Linux-only hardware line, that would be a mere PR spin for Dell, a minor loss for Microsoft, and a major blow to the customer.

Re:Let the cheering being... (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 7 years ago | (#18526001)

I want to see this too but it might not be feasible. Hardware devices that are low on hardware and high on software emulated hardware are commonly found in dirt cheap systems. These devices typically won't work under linux.

Re:Let the cheering being... (4, Interesting)

solanum (80810) | about 7 years ago | (#18525383)

I work for an organisation with several thousand employees and which has an exclusive deal with Dell (for desktops at least). Few of those employees use Linux, but I have installed it on my desktop and laptop with not too many problems. Before working here I would never have considered buying Dell, but I have actually been pleasantly surprised with the build quality. Next time I am in the market for a laptop at home (have toshiba at the mo which came with winxp home), I may well be persuaded by a Dell machine if they offered a machine that was the same build but guaranteed to work with Linux.

My point is that whilst the market may not be huge, Dell doing this could gain themselves a much larger part of that market by making these offerings, so it may well be successful for them.

Re:Let the cheering being... (5, Insightful)

smartr (1035324) | about 7 years ago | (#18525405)

One thing I haven't seen is a Windows coming with OpenOffice, Firefox, The Gimp, and Audacity preinstalled. Sure, anyone could go download those for free, but how many 'regular joes' know to do so? Every new install of Windoes I've seen has come preloaded with crapware. Most 'mom and pops' won't want to actually buy a full version of Microsoft Office, so OpenOffice preinstalled fits their needs much better. I honestly think that when people see how much "more" a prebuilt linux system has to offer, there will be some very happy customers. If Dell doesn't lose too many income earning deals with software companies because of this, this will be a huge win for Dell.

Re:Let the cheering being... (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | about 7 years ago | (#18525417)

Most linux users that I have encountered build their own machines, so don't encounter the Microsoft tax anyway.

This might appeal to some new Linux users, but I don't see it. I think of it more as a starting point, or PR move, I doubt this will do much to dent their windows based pc sales.

My current recommendation for people who want computers and aren't insisting on a windows machine is that they go out and buy a mac. I've got ten PCs myself, nine of which run Linux (predominately without an X server running), and one (the one I use for games/document writing) runs windows XP.

Stop wondering (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 7 years ago | (#18525535)

I know that most of the crowd around here will be thrilled.. But I do wonder how broad the market actually is for this..

Can we please cut down on the "but I wonder" posts. Never mind what gets posted, there's always a bunch of folks there to "wonder" about the opposite happening, never mind what's the talk about. Just as some sorta hobby.

Why wonder, when you can wait and see? If Dell offers Linux computers, this is good. It can't possibly be bad, if nobody buys 'em Dell will stop offering them. Nothing more.

Re:Let the cheering being... (1)

wwahammy (765566) | about 7 years ago | (#18525619)

I saw something in this announcement (or a blog entry from Dell about the announcement) that noted that most of the people who wanted Linux were with current forum support services. That they mentioned that implies to me they're looking to not actually provide support to the OS.

Yep, but 5% marketshare is huge! (1)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | about 7 years ago | (#18525647)

Sure, mom&pop are not going to buy Linux (unless their geeky son says "mom and dad, buy this and i'll give you unlimited support" ;). But there are lots of potential buyers:

- IT departments
- Education sector
- Nerds of all ages and walks who prefer the console-for-gaming, computer-for-linux combo

If this turns out well, they could achieve the holy grail times two: Steal marketshare from their competitors AND gain credibility in the nerd brainshare.

Come on, does Dell look less or more cool after this?

Re:Let the cheering being... (2, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 7 years ago | (#18525849)

I know that most of the crowd around here will be thrilled.. BUT I do wonder how broad the market actually is for this..

The server market is a given, BUT linux is already doing well there..

I'm sure many of the responses were already fans and users.. BUT that might be counter-acted by people who would buy but didn't comment, or might not even be aware.

The lack of the MS tax will be great, BUT I have to wonder how many 'regular joes' and 'mom and pops' will try it out.

We all know the stories about people setting up their parents with it, BUT that comes with an implied, and personal support system.

I sure hope it catches on, even a little competition for MS is a good thing [...] I also wonder if they'll have the models available at brick and mortar retailers, and if they'll actually push them.


Sorry just couldn't stop myself reformatting your comment a little :D
Emphasis and formatting mine up there, the text is left as in the original post.

In a single post, you managed to give:

5 positive points

about the news and immediately refute them all.

You also wondered about:

3 things

Are we after some sort of record?

For some reason, I really want to see... (5, Funny)

bluemonq (812827) | about 7 years ago | (#18525171)

...a commercial with a stoner penguin saying, "Dude, you're getting a Dell!".

Hmmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525195)

After just crapping on everyone wanting Linux they are now offering exactly what? I could have sworn not more than about a day ago someone getting the short stick on their warranty because they installed Ubuntu. So where does this leave us, um the computer takes a crap because we didn't build it ourselves so we take out the hd and use the stupid system restore disk and then call complaining about it being a piece of crap? If they cant support what they sell dont buy from them. I have nothing against oem but short of fracking it up with a firmware/bios update I dont see how you can screw hardware up unless you overclock the crap out of it... most companies neither endorse or support doing that anyway and usually tell you it voids the crappy warranty anyhow. So why bother? I build my own computers I know what is supported and usually how far I can overclock if I wish. If RAM makers started saying using linux voids the warranty would you buy their products? Why are OEMs any different. Its like saying a using a $10,000 workstation with 2 nvidia quadro's voids the warranty because your not using the onboard video on the motherboard. I like things that just work, add a video card system boots, add a raid card ditto, replace the cpu and it doesnt thats just OEM, well at least what I've seen in the past few years hardware supports it but the bios doesn't because they don't profit. I want a HP, Dell, Gateway with a full tower case, 800watt PS, Hotswapable 400GBx6 in two Raid5 arrays with 4GB Ram, a core2duo E6600 with 2-GB/lan cards, and a UPS to match for a video editing workstation. I want linux or OSX, a system that I reboot every few months and If I have a hardware issue fix it that day. Is that too much to ask for? I still have a 1Ghz athlon with 1GB RAM for a fileserver that works fine running linux. Am I asking too much?

Re:Hmmmm. (1)

Melfina (872932) | about 7 years ago | (#18525565)

*twitch*

After just crapping on everyone wanting Linux they are now offering exactly what? I could have sworn not more than about a day ago someone getting the short stick on their warranty because they installed Ubuntu.

That was Compaq, iirc

Betcha they'll wait for Ubuntu Feisty (5, Interesting)

JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) | about 7 years ago | (#18525201)

I've been playing with the late alpha (Herd5) Feisty and now beta and lemme tell you, saying it's got "potential" is an understatement. WiFi support is worlds better, hardware autodetection is improved and the new auto-installer for codecs as they're needed flat-out rocks.

As long as you're not doing RAID and you're cautious about 3D desktop stuff, Feisty Beta is really ready to now for semi-experienced Linux users and has strong potential as "The Chosen One" of distros. It should eat significant market share as people with older Win98 boxes are forced to upgrade to *something* due to lack of ongoing security support. And it'll tempt a lot of XP folk disgusted with malware issues.

This has to be Dell's top choice and it's due for production release late April '07.

Re:Betcha they'll wait for Ubuntu Feisty (4, Insightful)

l3v1 (787564) | about 7 years ago | (#18525299)

Well, I'va also been "playing" with feisty beta, on a dell with internal wifi and on an ibm t series with pcmcia wifi. Thing is, wifi didn't work automatically on either of them. It wasn't rocket science to make them work by hand, I know Debian inside out, still, what will take Dell that unspecified amount of time is probably to test their laptop line to see which is the best dell laptop + given linux distro combination. I hope they will come up with a good one, otherwise it will be anything but a success.
 

Re:Betcha they'll wait for Ubuntu Feisty (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | about 7 years ago | (#18525379)

Uhh.. who cares about autodetection? You're buying a PC with Linux preinstalled. Dell will give the hardware to Canonical.. they will get their tech monkeys to tweak Ubuntu until it works as best as they can possibly get it to work.. then they'll make a disk image that Dell can put onto their production line.

Or were you just using this story as an opportunity to flog Feisty?

Re:Betcha they'll wait for Ubuntu Feisty (4, Informative)

JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) | about 7 years ago | (#18525649)

Two points here:

* I've played with a LOT of distros looking for one that can be supported among low-tech-level end users. Feisty, even in Beta, is the best I've seen. It has a hell of a lot of potential.

* What are the alternatives? They could go with a commercial distro like Red Hat, Linspire or Suse, but that means more OS costs than a base Vista install. If they do one of the free variants of those (Fedora or OpenSuse) there are stability issues - trust me, I *loved* Fedora Core 6 and if it was just for my personal use, I'd have stuck with it, but the autoinstaller sometimes loads stupid stuff. OpenSuse 10.2 was more stable but the European repositories were often down. I haven't tried Freespire but those magic numbers "1.0" for a version don't inspire confidence. That leaves what, Mepis as a low-end commercial distro? How much support is there for Mepis as opposed to Ubuntu?

Pretty much every Linux geek out there has at least some experience with Ubuntu at this point. That alone is reason to consider Ubuntu. Canonical is going to want this deal to go down, bad. Ubuntu is almost unique as being a free-to-download distro that still has a corporate development base.

My personal favorite distro is actually Zenwalk. Fast as hell Slackware fork with basically all the hard stuff already done. Awesome distro, but...just a few too many minor glitches to load it on "Grandma Millie's" P4 box and expect not to get panic phone calls once a week or so.

It's not us geeks that are the acid test for Linux, it's "Grandma Millie". Like a lot of my fellow political activists who are being hammered by Windows malware. I'm sick of doing bughunts for these folk when they get infested or zombified, flat fed up, and I can't see any better Linux alternative than Ubuntu.

Re:Betcha they'll wait for Ubuntu Feisty (1)

pinkocommie (696223) | about 7 years ago | (#18525507)

I've been messing with it for the past week too with exactly the opposite result. Although admittedly I was looking to setup RAID.

Attempt 1) RAID didn't work from the standard install
Attempt 2) Got the DVD with the alternate install included, Created the Linux Raid Partition, had to back out of a screen to alter a partition throwing the error cannot stat /dev/md0
Attempt 3) Tried to reinstall , wasn't able to delete /dev/md0 since it was in use... (this is from the installer)
Attempt 4) Tried to reinstall, deleted the entire partition table, recreated the RAID, the install failed with corrupt file errors (the DVD was verified when I burned it)
Attempt 5) Just to make sure the DVD was bad I tried a regular install on a single disk without RAID and it actually installed but on a reboot gave a GRUB Error 15
Attempt 6) Downloaded the alternate CD and installed using that with RAID selected, the install went through, on reboot got a GRUB Error 16 (which according to the docs, said happens if you have a windows partition which I didnt, suggestions were to run a disk check), had the disk sync and ran fsck , the subsequent reboot still had the same problem, booted with the live CD to see if I could mess with the grub.conf , needed to install mdadm (apt-get install mdadm) for it but despite my network cards (wired and wireless) being detected they were unable to get an IP Address.
I had read great things about Ubuntu here and how close it was coming to being good enough and wanted to give it a spin and switch over if possible. Doesn't seem highly likely at the moment at least. (Downloading Open Suse 10.2 at the moment despite current revulsion over the Novell/MS deal :P)

Re:Betcha they'll wait for Ubuntu Feisty (1)

JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) | about 7 years ago | (#18525575)

Raid and Feisty aren't getting along well yet. That's a given as of two days ago last I checked the Ubuntu Feisty forum. I know they're working on it :).

Re:Betcha they'll wait for Ubuntu Feisty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525711)

Mark Shuttleworth, is that you?

Re:Betcha they'll wait for Ubuntu Feisty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525801)

I know it's not linux problem, but still as long as it's a trick to make video out work (without hand editing files) and problems with drivers for small portion of video cards (say ati)
i would happily use linux for work, web hosting and development, freebsd for firewalls and ids and windows for media. Yes i can write documents and browse internet on any of them

sigh... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 7 years ago | (#18525227)

I have to wonder how many 'regular joes' and 'mom and pops' will try it out. We all know the stories about people setting up their parents with it, but that comes with an implied, and personal support system. And if their Linux Tech Support is anything like their Windows Support the help available may be less than stellar
good point. I doubt that mom and pop would do very well trying to figure out how to install something and if the family IT expert isnt handy, guess who they are calling? Dell's linux techsupport... only what... 50$/hour or something like that? havent had to deal with theirs but HP yes. the real problem is that you only need linux preinstalled if you do a worse job at it than they do- which limits this to people who really aren't ready for linux yet.

Re:sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525281)

I don't know if there's enough cause to worry yet.

Dell's like the boy who cried Linux - I'll believe it once a workstation attacks me with the command line.

Re:sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525643)

Easy, Preinstall Linux as how M$ preinstall windows. do you think the average moms and dad know how to install windows?
Support for preinstalled linux should be the same as support for preinstall windows.
people are already ready for linux as much as they are ready for windows 95 or 98. Funnily, if you shove it down their throat like M$ did, you would find most people will actually find no difference between a linux desktop and a windows desktop.

Greedy Gorilla... (1, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | about 7 years ago | (#18525263)

They're actually waiting for the next version of the ever-so-popular you-know.... GNU/Linux distribution. Although Greedy Gorilla would be a nice moniker for Vista....

Future Dell Windows Installs (5, Funny)

gemada (974357) | about 7 years ago | (#18525269)

Hopefully the only Windows they will soon be installing at Dell headquarters are chair-proof windows.

Bad news (0, Troll)

El Lobo (994537) | about 7 years ago | (#18525283)

Now that we clearly don't have a monopoly on the OS sold on Dell, how do we justify Linuzzz failure on the Desktop? Bad move Dell! The best thing that Linuzzzz user need is just MS monopoly. Please don't get our coolness and elite status away from us. Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Now, if only... (2, Interesting)

benuski (995395) | about 7 years ago | (#18525323)

...they'd start making laptops with cases that don't threaten to break every 5 minutes, I'd consider buying another one after my current one. But if they don't, I'm still going to seriously consider buying a Thinkpad.

Can only be a good thing. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525333)

I believe regular people will buy these and have no troubles using Linux. Dell will install links for Firefox, Open Office and Thunderbird. They will just need to plug in their broadband connection to either their router or computer and away they go. I'm somewhat concerned about dial-up users as I've found out finding a compatible Linux ISP can be a pain so I could not imagine what they would go through. In the end they will figure it out or ask someone how to do it for them just like they did for Windows.

In related news, advice? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525363)

Dell Australia (actually, malaysia or wherever they are outsourcing to) denied me my attempted return of my vista license. I had not accepted the EULA that comes up when you start the notebook for the first time.

I asked them to send me the EULA after they denied me on the phone (there was no comprehension of the issue), this is the response I received:

As per our conversation, we are unable to refund or exchange the Microsoft Windows Vista Operating System as the license is already tied to your computer, service tag #: BLAHBLAH

And any exchange or refund of the license would be in breach of licensing agreement.

Microsoft Vista is a good platform where technology is moving forwards and the markets are now gearing towards Microsoft Windows Vista.


Any advice or let it go? - how amusing is that final sentence!

Re:In related news, advice? (1)

wwahammy (765566) | about 7 years ago | (#18525639)

Have you called Microsoft? At least on retail products I think they provide a 45 day money back guarantee. Don't know how it works with OEM version but its worth a shot.

Re:In related news, advice? (1)

zsau (266209) | about 7 years ago | (#18525679)

And any exchange or refund of the license would be in breach of licensing agreement.

Doesn't the Windows EULA say that if you don't agree, you get a refund? Or has that been removed?

Re:In related news, advice? (3, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | about 7 years ago | (#18525699)

This is completely besides the point, but wouldn't you consider just resizing the Vista partition? In previous stories, others mentioned trouble with warranties when calling the helpdesk without a working Windows installation.

Re:In related news, advice? (2, Informative)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | about 7 years ago | (#18525797)

Any advice or let it go? - how amusing is that final sentence!

I hope you have a photo or other copy of the license, and stay focused. You will get people trying to run you around in circles so keep a log of who you talk with, when and about what - that will make it easier to escalate. Anyway, here are some examples:

So, Linux will be preinstalled on Dell computers? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525377)

So, Linux will be preinstalled on Dell computers?

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those!

I, for one, welcome our new Dell overlords!

In Soviet Russia, Linux preinstalls you on a Dell computer!

1) Preinstall Linux on Dell computers.
2) ???
3) Profit!!!

"Talk is cheap. Show me Dell." --Linus Torvalds.

Re:So, Linux will be preinstalled on Dell computer (2, Funny)

benuski (995395) | about 7 years ago | (#18525409)

Cliche overload! My brain has been slashdotted...

Re:So, Linux will be preinstalled on Dell computer (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525421)

"Hello, this is Linus Torvalds, and I pronounce Linux as Dell!"

Now it's up to the linux users (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 7 years ago | (#18525387)

Now it's up to the linux users to actually buy those Dell systems they've been begging to come pre-installed with Linux for so long, to prove it wasn't just meaningless bitching and that they actually want Dells with Linux.

Wrong direction (4, Insightful)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | about 7 years ago | (#18525391)

Dell confirmed on Wednesday plans to offer Linux pre-installed on select desktop and notebook systems
But why on earth aren't they "planning to offer" the bare hardware with no OS pre-loaded at all?
Seriously, why?

Re:Wrong direction (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 7 years ago | (#18525581)

Because their whole business is adding value to "just hardware". If you want just hardware, go buy it direct from Taiwan.

Re:Wrong direction (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | about 7 years ago | (#18525819)

So the value Dell adds to hardware is not just Windows OS installation.
I would buy Dell because of quality, pre- and post-sales services, warranty (on bare hardware) and so on.
I'll buy from China or Taiwan when I jsut want to save as much as possible. In my opinion.

Re:Wrong direction (1)

coffee_bouzu (1037062) | about 7 years ago | (#18525909)

Um... Dell does offer some bare hardware.

Dell 'Open-Source' Laptops [dell.com] Well, the laptops do come with FreeDOS installed but I have a hard time believing that there are a lot of people out there running FreeDOS by itself. Personally, I consider these to be OS-less.

Servers also come without an OS. [dell.com] I know that the SC430s have PCIe slots and I THINK that you could pop a video card in there for a good workstation if you wanted (but I haven't done that as I am using it as a server).

I thought they offered desktops, too but I'm not finding the link. They do offer RHEL on workstations, though [dell.com]

Granted, they may not great options but they do exist. What I want to know is why it would cost more for me to buy a Latitude D420 with FreeDOS than it does to buy one with Windows preinstalled. I understand that Dell gets kickbacks for installing other vendor's software, but I don't understand how the kickbacks they receive create more money per computer sold than a licence for Windows.

You mean Dell's N-series... (1)

plasticsquirrel (637166) | about 7 years ago | (#18525947)

Dell has sold systems practically the same as this for years, as other Slashdotters have noted in previous related stories. The "N" series of desktops comes with only FreeDOS on it, and they're very affordable. FreeDOS is installed as a tiny, minimalist operating system for legal purposes, and it's put on with the full expectation that it will be wiped out by your OS installer of choice.

Dell's Open Source Desktops [dell.com]

Preinstalled with Novell Suse Linux? (5, Interesting)

yoobb (848814) | about 7 years ago | (#18525407)

Will the Dell be preinstalled with Novell Suse Linux? With the previous wheeling and dealing between Microsoft and Novell, that would seem to make the most sense (in a twisted way). The only other conventional alternative I can see is Red Hat. I doubt Dell would preinstall a Linux distribution that doesn't have strong corporate backing like Novell or Red Hat.

For everyone who says that this is a ploy by Dell: (3, Insightful)

lilomar (1072448) | about 7 years ago | (#18525425)

For everyone who says that this is a ploy by Dell: What do they have to do exactly? I have heard nothing but doubt on Dell's sincerity since this whole thing started, and as far as I can tell, Dell has done every thing possible to do what was originally asked of it on IdeaStorm. It has also lived up to all of it's promises about going forward with Linux on their computers. So, give them a break. Just wait and see if they keep their promise or not before you start talking about how they are just doing it as some evil Microsoft plan to take over the world (or the rest of it anyway).

And of course it will be (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | about 7 years ago | (#18525517)

Micro-Suse. Seriously, with all the BS that's gone down over the past few years and the new souls M$ purchased for the low low price of 30 pieces of silver, do you really think it will be anything else?

I was thinking about buying imac, but now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525621)

apple gives me a nice and expensive option to have all osx, windows and linux possible, but dell is going to offer a "blank" machine which is hopefully much cheaper.

I can see it how... (5, Funny)

Barkmullz (594479) | about 7 years ago | (#18525653)


Dell: How can I help you today?
Me: I bought this computer with Linux on it from you guys, and now I am having problems with X.
Dell: RTFM, n00b!

Format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525697)

The very first thing that needs to be done with a new system is a full format. That is to clean off all of the junk that is pre-installed, as well as setting appropriate settings during install. That includes systems pre-installed with either Windows or Linux. Places like Dell could save me time by not installing any OSes.

Themes (1)

jlebrech (810586) | about 7 years ago | (#18525719)

If they want some kind of advertising payoff they could make "advert" themes for Gnome/kde/Emerald, and if they still want the junkware. They could run it on Wine, or even modify the source code for apps to generate some kind of ad revenue. One of the major gripes would be antivirus vendors who prebundle their software, as they wouldn't have a use to be on Linux. As the clueless windows use will just pay up for a yearly subscription when he comes across the first virus intercepted by the virus scanner.

Contrary to the ./ article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18525735)

...shouldn't the anonymous reader read something, or is the article mounted read-write?

s/anonymous reader/Anonymous Coward/
...would fix it :P

Preloaded Linux or open hardware? (3, Insightful)

chamalulu (639459) | about 7 years ago | (#18526011)

Personally, I do not care much if Dell ships laptops with Linux.

What would make me positively surprised is if any large computer manufacturer would provide hardware with a guaranteed open specifications. If I get it with or without OS is irrelevant.

Closed hardware and no specs makes me a dull boy.

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