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Dell to Sell Machines with Ubuntu Pre-Loaded

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the a-decision-is-made dept.

Linux Business 562

kotj.mf writes "Cnet is reporting that Dell will shortly announce a partnership with Canonical to offer Ubuntu pre-loaded on certain consumer-oriented desktops and notebooks. The announcement comes after a groundswell of support for pre-installed Linux on Dell's IdeaStorm site. 'The company is starting its business by trying to appeal to users of desktop computers. From there, Canonical Chief Executive Mark Shuttleworth has said, the company plans to head to the server market, where the real Linux bread and butter can be found. [Dell spokesman Kent] Cook wouldn't comment on whether Dell plans to offer Ubuntu on its servers as well.'."

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562 comments

Vista (5, Insightful)

rhennigan (833589) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940027)

I think we owe this to Microsoft. This would never have happened were it not for Vista.

Re:Vista (5, Informative)

borizz (1023175) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940087)

I don't agree. What has Vista got to do with it? Linux (and Ubuntu) gained a user base large enough to gather some attention.

Re:Vista (0)

physicsnick (1031656) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940201)

The reason Vista made this happen is because the general population hated Vista *so much* that they just stopped buying computers. That's very bad for Dell's business, which sent them looking for alternatives.

We definitely owe it to Microsoft. This is our chance to open up the desktop market; here's hoping we don't screw it up.

Re:Vista (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940335)

As much fun as it is to read clueless posts on Slashdot (Especially clueless posts about business), Michael Dell didn't wake up in January and say "Gee, you know, I think we'll start selling Ubuntu!". You can be sure that Canonical and Dell have been in talks about this for a very long time. If they've been in negotiations for less than 24 months, I'd be impressed. These sorts of things don't happen over night, and Vista had nothing to do with it.

Re:Vista (4, Interesting)

physicsnick (1031656) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940531)

You can be sure that Canonical and Dell have been in talks about this for a very long time
Do you really think Dell waited for Vista's release before figuring out it would be bad for business?

Vista had been in beta-testing for a year and a half. The negative press about Vista has been rolling in for YEARS. Dell knew full well it would be a disaster long before the release. So yes, they probably started talks with Canonical well over a year ago, and I stand by my statement that it was heavily influenced by Vista.

Re:Vista (3, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940475)

The reason Vista made this happen is because the general population hated Vista *so much* that they just stopped buying computers.

Don't confuse the slashdot population versus the general population. The general population never even got enough of a whiff of vista to stop buying PCs with it on it.

That's very bad for Dell's business, which sent them looking for alternatives.

It's called XP. If you think for one second that users who migrated from XP to vista and hated vista are more willing to go to an "unknown" OS versus going back to XP you are out of your mind. And frankly, aside from what's been posted here I don't know many people who have a problem with vista. I have a few friends running it and the only complaint I've heard at all is that one guy can't run an eight year old game on it. He's admitted to not really looking into getting it working outside of the standard install.

This is our chance to open up the desktop market; here's hoping we don't screw it up.

Yeah, good luck with that. Seriously. I have nothing against Linux but the fanboism is really starting to stink up the place. Do you honestly think that the Windows user who can't be bothered to download Linux is going to jump at the chance to buy a machine with it on? At least with the download Joe Sixpack has a Windows disk to fall back on if Linux turns out to be something that he simply doesn't want. With the Dell offer he's either going to have to put up with an OS that he was already too lazy to download or he's going to have to go Windows on a retail basis. Guess what kind of bitching and moaning that's going to cause.

There is enough stuff out there today for Joe to get his taste of Linux if he's interested. You may get people to buy these machines but don't count on many "switchers". Somehow I doubt the more vocal fanbois in this cause are going to take up the banner of actually shelling out the bucks. Mouthpieces normally stop when their toe touches the waters, so to speak.

Re:Vista (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940589)

I have nothing against Linux but the fanboism is really starting to stink up the place.
You should have been around here four or five years ago. I think the Linux fanboism started dying down with the addition of the Games section of Slashdot.

That said, I'm a hardcore Linux user of seven years, with no real temptation to use Windows, apart from the occasional LAN party I have to sit out on. Nobody plays enough Unreal or id games to keep me occupied. I miss the days when all anyone wanted to do was play Quake.

Re:Vista (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940675)

i'm having a parade tomorrow. perhaps you could drop by and piss all over it.

Re:Vista (2, Insightful)

mbrod (19122) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940499)

Business hated it too. They don't want to have upgrades forced upon them any more than consumers do. They want the freedom to upgrade when they want. Also M$ moving from VS6 to .NET breaks development plans of a lot of legacy business systems. That pissed them off too. So the momentum is coming from both the consumer and business.

We do owe it to M$, for not playing nice. There are a lot of other players who are willing to play nice and take their place.

Re:Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940359)

I'm far from an expert, but if I had to guess, I'd say that Vista being only a marginal improvement over XP, with a much bigger pricetag and with much bigger hardware requirements, makes it less appealing, but that alone wasn't the tipping point.
Linux strives and success in the desktop area as well as the speed up of open standards adoption by goverment and private entities, were serious contributions too.

Vista was a good contributor to the cause, but it's ultimatly the result of all those factors combined at the right time.
I'm assuming more vendors will follow Dell and start offering linux pre-intalled on desktops, that even in a really small margins, about 5-10%, should create a real competition in the OS market, forcing software and hardware developers to support multiple platforms and Ultimetly adopt open standards for interoperation.
I think it's called the firefox effect.

Why Ubuntu ? Why not MyBuntu ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940133)

Why Ubuntu? Why not MyBuntu? Why not MyBuntu? Huh? Huh? Ubuntu makes me think of Uranus, and I don't want to think of Uranus.

Re:Why Ubuntu ? Why not MyBuntu ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940441)

While you're thinking of Myanus, why not try Gaybuntu [gaybuntu.com]?

Re:Vista (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940227)

It is because of Microsoft, but not in the way slashies hope.

Dell just created a bargaining chip in pricing negotiations Windows licenses for their bread and butter business.

Yep. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940047)

A friend I know that works for Dell found a time line for selling selling systems with Ubuntu a few weeks ago. I would have rather seen OpenSuse but such is life.

Re:Yep. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940135)

we already have a winner!

i predicted this when the initial cries about linux on dells started. dell didn't want it because of the whining from the linux community and my prediction is already proven and the boxes haven't even left the warehouse!

boo hoo! i want this distro, i want that distro. boo hoo!

linux is a suckers game. thanks for playing.

Re:Yep. (1)

grommit (97148) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940337)

I'd hardly call "I would have rather seen OpenSuse but such is life." whining.

I'd rather have seen OpenSUSE too but Ubuntu is an acceptable distribution IMO. Sure, there's plenty of people in the Linux community that are blindingly passionate about what distribution is best for "the masses" and, oddly enough, I see it from Ubuntu users more than other distributions. The fact is, no business decision is going to satisfy all of your potential customers. Dell saw that with it's Vista rollout. The windows community whined about not having XP available and Vista had barely left the warehouses!

Re:Yep. (2, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940223)

Yeah, openSUSE. And then there'd be a flamewar about how Dell is still in bed with Microsoft.

Really, I expected it to be openSUSE for just that reason. Now, the question is how much Microsoft will retaliate with respect to Vista licences in the future.

Seeing as I don't buy computers (I buy parts and then assemble them), this doesn't affect me much, but all the same it's good that people are getting more choices.

Re:Yep. (1)

shaggykl (187717) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940709)

Microsoft doesn't have much leverage with respect to Vista licenses. The best way to retaliate would be to refuse to allow Dell to install XP any more.

Re:Yep. (1, Troll)

towsonu2003 (928663) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940275)

I would have rather seen OpenSuse but such is life.
For god's sake, STFU. They're selling Linux desktops...

Re:Yep. (0)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940545)

Hey OpenSuse's hardware detection seems to work a lot better than Ubuntu's. I do like Ubuntu's default desktop better but the bloody thing can not connect to my WAP from my notebook or detect my monitor on my on my desktop. Now if Ubuntu would just adopt SAX2 then I would a happy man. BTW SAX2 is FOSS.
Hopefully that will not be an issue for the systems from Dell but imagine the bad PR Linux will get if people buy Linux Notebooks that can not connect to their WAP or can not set the correct resolution for their monitors!
Just so you understand the comment that I would have rather had OpenSuse means exactly what your post means but without the profanity. I would have rather seen them go with OpenSuse but Ubuntu isn't a terrible choice.

Re:Yep. (4, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940367)

Sometimes you just have to take leadership and make a choice. It may not be the perfect choice, but it's a final decision that will get things rolling forward. I already know there will be a billion posts arguing why another distribution is better than another, but the point is moot. Ubuntu is a great distro. There are other distros out there that are great too. Distrowatch ranks it at #1 in popularity. Also, the choice of Ubuntu will make many in the community happy as Ubuntu isn't controversial with its licensing. A high quality, popular, FOSS distro. They could have made other choices, but I think Ubuntu will make the most amount of people happy, is an extremely safe decision, and they only have to support a single distro.

Re:Yep. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940661)

Yew in retrospect I should have posted. I would have preferred OpenSuse but Ubuntu is a good choice as well. I am often shocked how personally people take things like distros.
Maybe they should have picked Gentoo :) just imagine how much fun an installed version of Gentoo would be :)
Calm down people I am just kidding. Yes Ubuntu is fine.

Re:Yep. (2, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940611)

And I'd have prefered FreeBSD.

The fact of the matter is, at least they are moving in a right direction, and as far as non-windows operating systems go, Ubuntu is probably their best best to gain popularity.

And if it works on Ubuntu, you can believe it'll work on FreeBSD within a month - the drivers will be much easier to make/port, and it'll be a good target for the FreeBSD devs.

Actually, that can be said for many OSS operating systems, for that matter.

So who's going to buy them? (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940051)

People on the Internet (places like Slashdot in particular) have been begging Dell for this for years. Now, it's time to see how many of those people were doing it just on principle or to be part of the crowd, and how many did it because they actually were planning on purchasing such a box.

Dell may offer this, but I guarantee they won't be advertising it as heavily as they do their Windows boxes, so the only real way for it to work, at least to start off, is for all these people that were begging for Dells with Ubuntu loaded on them to go out and buy a Dell with Ubuntu loaded on it. Joe Blow won't be buying these yet, not until there are enough early adopters out there to generate a buzz.

Re:So who's going to buy them? (4, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940165)

Personally, I have resisted the siren call of Dell for a long time. This changes my mind. I need a new machine and this could be just the ticket -- it was either that or refurb an old HP with a new HD and a copy of Feisty Fawn. I like the idea of it pre-loaded.

Re:So who's going to buy them? (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940485)

As do I.

Does Dell use proprietary power supply connectors and all, or do they use standard components?

Re:So who's going to buy them? (1, Insightful)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940593)

I like the idea of it pre-loaded.

Why? So you don't have to bother with the details of how it is set up?

Don't get me wrong, I just talked about wanting to see this a couple days ago, [slashdot.org] but if you already know how to do something, what does it matter to you that it is pre-loaded?

Re:So who's going to buy them? (1)

frying_fish (804277) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940333)

I would, if I had the money to buy a new machine. However last year I bought a laptop from dell precisely for the use of sticking linux straight on it, hasn't failed me yet and is running ubuntu, so hopefully it will still take off.

Re:So who's going to buy them? (1)

yabun (1095653) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940543)

Who? Not that many people. You won't save any money buying a Dell w/ Ubuntu. (Cost of Windows) - (What Dell makes preinstalling crapware) = it's a wash Those who run Linux already know how to get it and install it on their computer. And since you never know if you'll want Windows for some reason (a cool game), a lot of people will feel better having that license key sticker on the side of their case in case they change their mind. It makes Dell look good, good press. But the proof will be in the sales and I'm not optimistic.

Re:So who's going to buy them? (1)

MartinG (52587) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940569)

Me for one. I've been needing a new laptop for a few months, but I've been specifically waiting to see what happens with the Dell & Linux situation before buying. As long as they actually get them on sale reasonably soon they have my business.

Incidentally, I am considered (rightly or wrongly) by many of my friends and family as the "expert" when asking advice on what computer hardware to buy. It would be stretching it to suggest all my friends and family would use linux because they won't, but I would be more likely to recommend Dell to them now just because I now like them more as a company since they are Linux friendlyy. So Dell will benefit from this decision in more ways than just getting direct business from Linux users.

Re:So who's going to buy them? (1)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940597)

I will honestly say NO .. I probably will not be buying these. Dell for many years now has been selling N-Series machines which are suppose to be "cheaper" then Windows preloaded machines since your "not" purchasing the Windows license..

Truth is that those N-Series machines generally cost the same if not more then the regular machines. Many times I have seen the same exact machines, same specs, and the "more expensive" windows machine is $20 cheaper and comes with a free LCD.

Just checking prices today ..

Dell e521, x64 Dual Core, 512 Meg Ram, 80 Gig HD, 17" LCD Monitor

With Vista $379

With "Free Dos" $439

WTF?

Re:So who's going to buy them? (1)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940681)

My bad or rather Dell's bad ...

The "Cheaper" $439 "Free Dos" System comes with only a 15" LCD. If we want to compare these boxes straight up we need to add the $40 option for the 17" LCD taking the "Cheaper" $439 Free Dos machine to $479.

And Dell wonders why people are not buying there computers anymore. There pricing is just screwed.

Re:So who's going to buy them? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940609)

My Lady's HP finally died the death of a thousand dogs amen and one of my goals was to find a system with Linux support because I think moving to Vista is a bad, horrible idea at this point. Dell seemed to have the best prices on a consistent basis for preloaded, warrantied systems. Now they're shipping Ubuntu? Sold.

Re:So who's going to buy them? (1)

smcdow (114828) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940613)

I've actually been needing to replace my Debian-based closet server, and I am probably going to use Ubuntu for the new one. I've been putting it off (for months now), 'cause it'll mean a day of installing, transferring files, etc., etc., and I just don't feel like futzing with it.

So, yeah. Up-to-date H/W with a supported Ubuntu factory install? I'm going to take a very close look.

Will people buy it?? (5, Insightful)

Hokie06 (986634) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940059)

Now lets see if half of those people that voted for Linux on the ideastorm site actually buy a machine. Because if this flops it will seriously hurt Linux in the mainstream market.

What? (2, Interesting)

OECD (639690) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940081)

The company is starting its business by trying to appeal to users of desktop computers. From there, Canonical Chief Executive Mark Shuttleworth has said, the company plans to head to the server market, where the real Linux bread and butter can be found...

What? If servers are where the money is, why not start there? If I was a stockholder I'd be concerned about that approach.

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940123)

It's kind of silly to say that Dell isn't already making tons of money on the Linux server market. After all, Dell sells tons of server hardware with no OS pre-loaded. Quite a lot of those servers end up with Linux on them. Most companies will have their own images of Linux that they use for their servers, so preloading it is a waste of time. Any pre-loaded image will just get blown away anyway.

Re:What? (1)

jdunn14 (455930) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940137)

Well, just a guess, but I'd say customers who want to buy Linux are likely geeks willing to tinker. On the other hand, a business may have higher demands that things work out of the box. If this is the case then testing compatibility through desktop systems might make more sense.

the Apple store .. (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940245)

'What? If servers are where the money is, why not start there? If I was a stockholder I'd be concerned about that approach'

A Dell/Ubuntu desktop gets higher visibility. What would really allow it to take off is when the average users can walk into the high street computer shop and buy one. Dell should create franchises around 'Dell shops' something like the Apple stores and sell a total stack from the desktop to the server. They should also consider getting into the Digital Multimedia market.

was Re:What?

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940521)

CIO: "Let's see now, you're a startup incorporated two months ago, with no past experience building a Linux distro and no track record of reliability or usability. I've asked my tech people about you, but you're generally unknown to them. You want us to trust our enterprise servers to you?" *hysterical laughter* "No."

as opposed to:
CIO: "I see you've for the last few years have built a generally acclaimed Linux distribution focused on the desktop and usability. and fairly stably as desktop distributions go. Those of my techs that have tried it gives it high prise. Now you're telling me you'd like to expand on this to provide more server-oriented solutions? Of course I expect a good price and tight follow-up from your support since your new in this market, but you've got your foot in the door."

Re:What? (1)

Myddrin (54596) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940637)

This is a common approach.

Both Apple and Microsoft got their start selling to the consumer/early adopter market, and then their products (Apple II and MSDOS) started trickling into the business world. Back in the late 70's/early 80's the business world was dominated by minicomputers, with "microcomputers" (the PC/Apple II/etc) largely being marketed towards hobbyists. Then as the hobbyists started using them to do business work, companies started buying them. (Sometimes to the chagrin of the established technical staff.) There is (and I couldn't find it) an old Apple ad about sneakily doing your work on an Apple.

Of course, it doesn't always work. This was also Netscape's original approach, get the user hooked on the browser at the consumer level and sell the browser and server software to the corporate clients as consumers start wanting to use the software at work. The quality of the free apache server and the browser war with MS screwed this approach completely.

While there is obvious risk (as exemplified by Netscape), you get to save on sales & marketing, as your hobbyist/early-adopter users start pitching your product for you at a grass roots level.

Heck, some additional anecdotal evidence, back in the late-90's a company I was working at was thinking about switching to Exchange (which pretty much meant a move from Novell to Windows NT) simply because one user insisted on using Outlook. And his reason? That's what he used at home.

Nice to hear... (1, Interesting)

Mizled (1000175) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940083)

Nice to hear! My next notebook purchase might be Dell just so I'm guaranteed the hardware will work out of the box without having to use ndiswrapper or any other weird methods to get drivers to work. Cheers!

Re:Nice to hear... (1)

schnipschnap (739127) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940281)

Oh yeah? How do you know they aren't going to support their hardware by such methods? On the same note, in case they'll ship with proprietary graphics technologies (nVidia and AMD), I don't think they'd ship anything else than the stock driver from the companies' respective sites.

Surprising (1)

daves (23318) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940095)

I would have bet a bunch that they would only support Suse. Part of an embrace and extinguish campaign. This is good news.

Ubuntu on servers? NO THANK YOU. (0, Troll)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940097)

Ubuntu on servers is a bad, bad idea. It'd be like running your hardware on Debian Sid all of the time with neither thought nor care as to the consequences.

Debian servers--cool. Hed Rat servers--sure, why not. Ubuntu? Please god no. Leave Ubuntu on the desktop, where it does a good job.

Re:Ubuntu on servers? NO THANK YOU. (4, Informative)

PaisteUser (810863) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940477)

Ubuntu on servers is a bad, bad idea. It'd be like running your hardware on Debian Sid all of the time with neither thought nor care as to the consequences.

I tend to agree with most of your statement. I wouldn't run Feisty on a server, but I would/do run Dapper 6.06 LTS, it's been in the market over a year. I've been running it on a couple production servers for 6 months now, haven't had a single issue with it. At least Ubuntu server doesn't install X by default either, I'm looking at you SuSE and Red Hat.

Re:Ubuntu on servers? NO THANK YOU. (4, Informative)

Zonk (troll) (1026140) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940483)

Ubuntu on servers is a bad, bad idea. It'd be like running your hardware on Debian Sid all of the time with neither thought nor care as to the consequences.
Using Ubuntu releases like Edgy and Feisty on a server is a bad idea a they're only supported for 18 months. However, Ubuntu now does LTS (Long Term Support) releases, first of which being Dapper. Support is 3 years for desktops and 5 years for servers. more info [ubuntu.com].

I've been using it on one of my servers (samba,cups,apache,java,postgresql) and it works quite well. So far, it's been significantly nicer to deal with than the CentOS 4.x install it replaced.

Linux needs no Windows Tax (4, Interesting)

rayde (738949) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940125)

i remember seeing dell machines that offered linux instead of windows in the past.. but the prices were the same or HIGHER for linux! Dell will need to address this, and offer these dellbuntu boxes at lower price. the OS is free! if they need to include a price to cover support costs, it should still not be equal to or greater than the cost of including Vista!

Re:Linux needs no Windows Tax (5, Insightful)

physicsnick (1031656) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940267)

The problem with Windows machines is that you don't just get Windows; you get Windows and a pile of craplets, which companies are paying Dell to supply to you. Windows can have a negative price tag on low-end computers because the cost is offset by all the garbage your computer comes filled with.

Re:Linux needs no Windows Tax (1)

shaggykl (187717) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940639)

Dell can give me a cd with the craplets on it, so it can still get it's money from the craplet companies, and offer me a lower-priced computer. :-)

Re:Linux needs no Windows Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940315)

And they need to not include costs for support either. People keep saying, "well people need to buy these now." But fuck that, I don't want to run ubuntu and I would just as soon buy a computer with windows pre-loaded and blow it away as buy one with ubuntu and blow it away if there isn't a significant price advantage.

Yes, I hate ubuntu MORE than windows.

Re:Linux needs no Windows Tax (2)

katani (1090285) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940377)

It has to do with the AOL trials, demo programs, etc. that Dell loads on the Windows PCs. The companies that publish the software pays Dell to load their crappy software on new consumer PCs. I suspect part of this goes to subsidize the price of the computer. Linux currently has no companies pushing crapware on it, so it will be more expensive. When/if Linux goes mainstream, though, you'll have commercial companies paying Dell and others to install their crappy linux software demos. When this happens, the price of a new Linux-preloaded machine will go down, but you'll have to contend with crapware the same way you do under Windows today.

Re:Linux needs no Windows Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940473)

People have been buying dell computers with the intention of putting linux on it for a while now. Though they are selling boxes with Ubuntu, the price can remain the same because people who are going to buy would buy it will whether or not they have to pay the same as a windows box. This will mean the margin for profit is higher on the ubuntu boxes than the windows ones. Let's just wait until competition brings the prices down.

Yeah, I see the craplet disadvantage, I don't see why they can't just port there craplets to linux.

Why not pre-installed Dual Boots? (2, Insightful)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940479)

Dell will need to address this, and offer these dellbuntu boxes at lower price.

Agreed. Moreover, if Dell is REALLY interested in sparking the interest of "Joe Sixpack" in test driving Linux, I'd recommend they offer an option to have a desktop/laptop preconfigured to Dual Boot for the same price as a Windows Only machine. I agree with some of the other posters in that it's unlikely that your average user is going to be terribly interested in Linux preinstalled (unless there's a considerable price difference). If, however, there is the option to have a dual boot machine for the same price as a Windows Only machine, and both are equally supported by Dell, average PC users might take the plunge and try it out. What would they have to lose?

Re:Linux needs no Windows Tax (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940503)

I have a Dell not 10 feet from me that is from one of the "Linux Compatible" lines that had the option of coming with Linux pre-installed. If you ordered it with Linux pre-installed, yeah, it cost about as much as it did with Windows. That was with RHEL or SuSE Enterprise, the expensive ass support package, etc. You also had the option of ordering it with no OS installed, which is what we did, at a discount of a couple hundred dollars (I don't remember the exact cost) that you're not spending on either a support license from RH or SuSE or a software license for Windows.

minimum commitments payments .. (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940561)

'i remember seeing dell machines that offered linux instead of windows in the past.. but the prices were the same or HIGHER for linux!'

That's because the OEMs has to contract to sell a minium number of per system 'licenses' per quarter. If they fail then the short fall goes onto next quarters bill.

'COMPANY hereby agrees to pay MS for each Period (A) the minimum commitments amounts [edge-op.org] for the Period as set forth in Exhibit B, and (B) the amount by which cumulative royalties during a Period exceed minimum commitment amounts for that Period'

'(iv) To the extent that cumulative minimum commitment payments during a Period exceed cumulative royalties for such Period, such excess shall be known as "prepaid" royalties" and shall be recoupable against future royalties only during the initial Term of this Agreement and only for the Product(s) licensed herein. Prepaid royalties are not recoupable against payments made to Authorized Replicator.

was Linux needs no Windows Tax (Score:5, Interesting)

Re:Linux needs no Windows Tax (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940667)

It still is that way. I just bought a Latitude 131L. with windows it was $200.00 cheaper as that windows machine had a Mysterious "instant rebate" that the Open source line of laptops did not have.

They price them the same but then put a "rebate" on the windows ones.

All about the benjamins (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940149)

If others like Dell had better business sense, they'd look to stray away from MS or at least offer an alternative to it. They'd save from having to purchase (even via partnership sweetheart deals) MS' product line. What I could end envisioning though, is a slew of botnets and bruteforcing ssh hosts [infiltrated.net] because of things like this though.

Re:All about the benjamins (1)

physicsnick (1031656) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940323)

What I could end envisioning though, is a slew of botnets and bruteforcing ssh hosts because of things like this though.
As opposed to the situation we have now?

Re:All about the benjamins (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940397)

I actually have 50+ machines monitoring brute forcers... Rates have fluctuated give or take 2% for the past three months which means things aren't getting better, but they aren't getting worse.

Re:All about the benjamins (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940403)

If others like Dell had better business sense, they'd look to stray away from MS or at least offer an alternative to it. They'd save from having to purchase (even via partnership sweetheart deals) MS' product line.
It's never as easy as one initially thinks.

Like it or not, MS is too saturated in the business world for it to truly go away.

Retailers like Dell will have to sell and support MS products because businesses still use them. After all, I'd imagine a large percentage of Dell sales come from company purchases so discontinuing MS entirely would screw them over.

While some small and medium companies (as well as a few brave large corporations) can leave MS, it's hard and thus rare. It's not just a simple matter of dropping Windows workstations, Office, and Outlook... but the rest of the company's infrastructure. I've seen corporations that use all of the following at once: SQL server, MS web servers, .Net, countless Excel macros, specialized lab software only available on Windows, etc.

Changing all of that stuff over is just a huge endeavor, something that a company might not want to undertake. Sure, it will save money in the long long run but it is a huge upfront cost of time and money.

Re:All about the benjamins (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940429)

If others like Dell had better business sense, they'd look to stray away from MS or at least offer an alternative to it.

Because OEM Linux was a big win for Walmart in retail...

Dell jumps the shark? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940153)

We recently had news that Dell was thinking of changing the way they sell. Not just direct sales any more. Sounds to me like Dell is having trouble with their business model. All this could be clever business moves or it could be death throes.

Re:Dell jumps the shark? (1)

foodnugget (663749) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940343)

Augmenting their direct-sales practice is not necessarily out of desperation. Adding stores could increase sales, and if they think it will, then they should!

I don't, however, see how they'd succeed where gateway et al. failed.

Even the local compu-brew has a hard time keeping on without screwing grandma for a new mouse and keyboard.

Re:Dell jumps the shark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940481)

They could just ramp up mall kiosks. They are pretty cheap to operate.

Call me crazy.. (3, Interesting)

foodnugget (663749) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940175)

So we're expecting a flood of people complaining about how they are offering one specific distro, and none others. The big worry here was that few people would be happy with whatever 1 distro was picked, and picking many, and subsequently supporting them, would be a problem.
so my question: As I feel about it - I was under the impression that the idea behind getting linux pre-loaded was that you simply aren't paying for an OS you don't want. IIRC, it has been awhile, or it has never been possible, to get a blank HD with your system from dell. Personally, I think this would be the best option. Linux, configured totally-not-the-way-I-want -it would be one step better, as I'm not shelling out the $235345 for windows, which I'm just going to delete anyway.
Don't get me started on how when a relative or co-worker buys one of these things, you have to format the computer just to get rid of all of the annoyware that comes with it. (Mcafee! Musicmatch jukebox? Qualcomm service agreement? WTF is this agreement that comes pre-installed and pre-agreed to? )
Am I under the wrong impression here, or can we be happy just to not have windows pre-loaded, and not be paying for something that is going to get deleted?
Do we really have to argue about whether or not Ubuntu was the way to go? I can't imagine a single person in this crowd who would be happy with the way dell will set it up, and if the argument is that it will introduce linux to the masses, well, I just don't see that happening. The only people who don't already know what they're doing who wind up ordering a dell box with linux already on it are only going to order it because of the cost discount.
Then they'll do one of two things:
Ask you to show them how to use it (ugh)
pirate/buy windows.
So, my original question: We're happy because this primarily means not paying for windows when we're not using it, right? What other benefits are there?

Re:Call me crazy.. (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940649)

I was under the impression that the idea behind getting linux pre-loaded was that you simply aren't paying for an OS you don't want. [...] We're happy because this primarily means not paying for windows when we're not using it, right? What other benefits are there?

Biggest benefit to Linux users: knowing all your hardware will work. A much bigger deal than having the software preinstalled.

Additional benefit: not paying for Windows, and not supporting Microsoft's sales numbers etc at the same time.

It may not come with a cost discount, because Dell gets paid to preload craplets on your system when they install Windows.

Drivers (3, Funny)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940179)

Do they plan to sell this on less capable machines because the drivers just aren't available for the latest and greatest of options? Or, will they still sell you a machine with the hottest hardware, but no ability to use it?

Re:Drivers (2, Insightful)

waxapple (1011943) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940361)

I'm running Ubuntu Feisty Fawn at the moment on a Dell Inspiron 6400 with an ATi x1300 graphics card, and it works (almost) perfectly. The only thing no working is the card reader, I imagine Dell will use a different brand of card reader, or the company will eventually make drivers for it on linux.
Fair enough, it took a bit of configuring to get the wireless card and the 3D graphics functioning correctly, but Dell will do that at the factory as part of their automated install proccess. I'm sure they'll have looked into it; once it's done once all that's needed is a script slipstreamed into the install proccess.
It's no big deal for me at the moment. On Vista, my scroll bars on the touch pad didn't work, at all, which was far more annoying.
If Dell are building laptops with Ati graphics cards in them, Ati will probably be working to develop their drivers further anyway.

Re:Drivers (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940515)

and it works (almost) perfectly.

Yeah, that has been the state of Linux when talking about drivers since I first installed it and could not get into internet because there were no drivers for my Winmodem... yeah, silly me to buy what was on the market :(

Re:Drivers (1)

waxapple (1011943) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940559)

> yeah, silly me to buy what was on the market :( That's what I thought after paying the upgrade fee for Vista.

Re:Drivers (1)

neersign (956437) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940517)

along the same lines as your comment, I don't think "modern hardware" really is an issue. Sure, there are some pieces of hardware with less than stellar driver support, but there is not reason that Dell cannot sell the exact same computers they already sell, but simply throw Linux on them instead. If anything, I hope this spurs hardware manufacturers to pay attention to Linux and provide driver support (ATI, as you mentioned, is one that a lot of people would like to see better support from).

Re:Drivers (1)

puppetluva (46903) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940711)

A third option is that they will support Linux on a range of machines, with full support for the hardware.

In fact, the community should encourage them to do just that - support Linux with foster open drivers that work well. The community that cares about Linux should follow through with help and with our purchase dollars if they follow through.

Keep in mind, these guys can lean on hardware companies to support Linux better. This could help us do something we haven't been able to do on our own -- coordinate market forces to influence companies that only respond to economic demand.

Year of the Linux Desktop (0, Offtopic)

brianez21 (945805) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940215)

This is the year of the Linux Desktop, and I think we owe it to both Dell and Ubuntu!

What's been missing from linux so far... (4, Insightful)

mstahl (701501) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940241)

...is a hardware platform that consumers are guaranteed will work with a particular distribution of Linux. It doesn't even matter which one it is as long as it comes, out of the box, ready for use. That's the only thing that, so far, Windows has always had up on any distro of Linux.

But perhaps..... (3, Insightful)

8127972 (73495) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940249)

.... this is more about painting Microsoft into a corner by first flipping back to selling XP on some of their systems, and now this. I suspect that Dell is going to be in a very interesting position when they go to re-negotiate their OEM agreement with Microsoft where they can try and dictate the terms that they want.

Dude, you got Ubuntu. (4, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940251)

Sorry, but it just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Re:Dude, you got Ubuntu. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940501)

Yeah, but it sounds great in Farsii.

Re:Dude, you got Ubuntu. (1)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940567)

Sorry, but it just doesn't have the same ring to it.

True enough but, on the bright side, at least we'll not have to trek to Mordor to dispose of it anymore.

On the other hand...if crapware subsidises the cost of the MS installed OS and Dell then reimburses the cost of that OS [bbc.co.uk] if you don't plan to use it...I can't help but consider it a better ploy to buy the subsidised option and then do a wipe/install.

Admittedly I base this on the rationale of cost rather than ease of use, which is oft-times the vastly more important metric.

Price difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940283)

Anyone knows how much the price difference would be between the Windows Vista, XP and a Linux preloaded desktop?

Thanks.

Why not both? (2, Interesting)

kanweg (771128) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940327)

HDs are big these days. Why not sell both Windows and Linux on it? I think it would be commercially way more attractive to customers. And if Window's license doesn't allow that, EU pay notice and start your investigation!

Bert
I'm happy with the Ubuntu, although I'd rather have it as a laptop (space!)

I like it but I won't be buying it. (2, Interesting)

Randall311 (866824) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940383)

Because let's face it I'm cheap. These machines will come at a premium compared to the pre-loaded bloatware boxes because that bloatware and windows itself subsidies much of the cost of the hardware itself. I will continue to buy bloatware boxes and wipe them clean and install Linux afterword because I'm going to do what's right by me. Thank you Microsoft and friends for helping pay for my new hardware, now get lost.

Linux on Dell (5, Funny)

oneandoneis2 (777721) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940495)

http://geekblog.oneandoneis2.org/index.php/2007/03 /29/linux_on_dell [oneandoneis2.org]

(To the tune of "Road to Hell")

Well I'm here to place an order
But there's a choice I don't know
It's weathered every crisis you can think of
And I came here to buy Vista
But the Windows joy I know
Is priced beyond belief way down in the shadows
And the need for anti-virus
Chokes the smile on every face
And common sense is screaming, "What the Hell!?"
This ain't no technological breakdown
Oh no, this is Linux on Dell

And I don't need to ask for credit
And there's nothing they can do
But watch the E.U.L.A.s, flying away from you
Oh look out world, take a good look
What goes down here
You must learn not to have fear of the G.P.L.
This ain't no vendor lock-in-forced upgrade
Oh no!
This is Linux
This is Linux
This is Linux on Dell

And to think... (2, Insightful)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940497)

... I just spent $800 on a laptop for the wife (from Dell with XP on it)... had this been out a week earlier, I woulda gone Ubuntu (planning on it anyway...)

News.com doesn't know how to count Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940623)

"Of the 160.5 million operating-system licenses shipped in 2006, Windows accounted for 92 percent, compared with 4.1 percent for Mac OS X and 3.8 percent for Linux, Gillen said. "We're not seeing any breakout momentum for Linux on desktop," he said."

Guess what guys - you can download Linux for free, and use it, no license required - as do a hell of a lot more than 3.8 million people. A license only comes into the equation when/if you distribute the software and any modifications you have made.

Get a clue already.

Re:News.com doesn't know how to count Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940697)

So what do you think the actual figures are? Honestly, I think News.com has it about right. No one is making a big deal about Linux on the desktop right now.

This still isn't going to make me buy a Dell (1)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940629)

....or use Ubuntu, but I hope at least it will spur on driver development that can feed back into the mainstream kernel and maybe get some software houses to port software to Linux.

Now we just have to wait and see if the Microsoft-subsidised Vista machines are cheaper!

Drivers? (1)

pr0xie (902743) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940633)

This is great news on the drivers front. Will this mean that laptops will have the wireless pre-configured and working (even when you turn the radio off using the hot keys)? I think this is great news from that front. If they will have systems with the wireless and video drivers working flawlessly this will be a step forward to getting linux in the hands of average computer users.

yo4u insens1tive clod! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18940657)

inco8patibilities Rivalry, and we'll The hard drive to In the sun. In the oofended some steadily fucking

This is it (1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 6 years ago | (#18940693)

Mark my words. The turning point has been reached. Linux popularity has reached critical mass. Microsoft is in trouble serious trouble.

Watch as it spreads like Firefox from this point forward.
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