×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Dell Linux Details

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the at-last dept.

Linux Business 288

jon_anderson_ca writes "Dell, through their direct2dell website, has released some details of their soon-to-be-available Linux machines. Among the highlights: Only hardware that works with Linux is offered; open-source drivers are used where possible; binary drivers for Intel wireless cards, etc.; and no support for proprietary media codecs. Seems reasonable, but it's too bad that Click2Run isn't in Ubuntu 7.04 for the sake of those wanting to (legally) play DVDs, use AVI files, etc." The direct2dell site divulges no details on what models will be offered with Linux. For those we turn to linuxquestions.org, where proprietor Jeremy published a scoop last week: "We will be launching a Linux based OS (Ubuntu) on the E520, 1505 and XPS 410 starting next Thursday, 5/24."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

288 comments

But will they be cheaper? (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216139)

The base Dell 1505 laptop is $699, with some low-end version of Windows Vista preinstalled. If the Linux version costs more than that, Dell isn't serious about this.

Re:But will they be cheaper? (3, Insightful)

spoop (952477) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216169)

But with Windows on a $700 laptop, I'm sure they install all kinds of crapware that brings the cost down, which they obviously can't do with Linux. I wouldn't be surprised if the actual cost to Dell for Windows and Linux is the same.

Re:But will they be cheaper? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216217)

why do you think you can't pre-install crapware on linux ?

Re:But will they be cheaper? (-1, Flamebait)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216315)

They will include crapware... gnome! But with windows crapware, they get paid for it. Paid crapware more than covers the cost of windows.

Re:But will they be cheaper? (2, Interesting)

VernonNemitz (581327) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216405)

I don't care how much junk software they add, so long as Micheal Dell has read "World Domination 201" [catb.org] and decides to offer for sale a disk full of licensed codecs. Dell has the clout to put such a disk together, faster than Linspire.

Re:But will they be cheaper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216815)

Flamebait, huh?

Pardon me a moment...Ha! Ha!

Re:But will they be cheaper? (2, Informative)

scumdamn (82357) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216385)

I think you can't because customers wouldn't stand for it. You COULD install it on Linux, but not if you're targeting your offering to Linux nerds as opposed to Linux n00bs. (And I say this as a Linux nerd.)

Re:But will they be cheaper? (3, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216499)

Seriously, how much can each craplet defray the cost of a new computer?

I don't know what the numbers are, but I would bet there is at least 1,000 installs for every eventual purchase of an app. If you paid $5 to have your app pre-installed, that would be $5,000 dollars before you got your first $79.99 sale.

The actual amount that each app brings down the cost of a laptop has got to be in the cents range.

Re:But will they be cheaper? (3, Informative)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216283)

I would think we could look at their current Linux supported offerings, the PowerEdge line, to get an idea.

Base price is no OS.
+ $261 for RHEL5 w/ 1 year support
+ $785 for RHEL5 w/ 3 year support
+ $105 for Suse 10 EL w/ 1 year support
+ $262 for Suse 10 EL w/ 3 year support
+ $599 for Windows Server 2003 Standard
+ $974 for Windows 2003 SBS

This seems pretty in-line with what the pricing was when the company I work for bought a Linux compatible Optiplex last year.

With that in mind, I would imagine that the Ubuntu desktops will also be less expensive than the same desktop with Windows on it.

Re:But will they be cheaper? (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216345)

The difference is that the PowerEdge line is servers. You can't install crapware on a server. Any admin (I would hope) would promptly wipe the drive anyway and start over from scratch if you included anything close to crapware (or even if you didn't, just because they wanted to do everything from scratch). You can't compare the pricing on their servers to the pricing on their desktop machines, because they serve entirely different purposes, and entirely different markets.

Windows from Scratch (1)

The Monster (227884) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217259)

You can't install crapware on a server. Any admin (I would hope) would promptly wipe the drive anyway and start over from scratch if you included anything close to crapware (or even if you didn't, just because they wanted to do everything from scratch).
I think any admin worth a damn would want to install from scratch just to be sure it could be done again if need be. There has to be a contingency plan for it, and the only way to know for sure you can do it, is to do it.

Since the alternative of going into Add/Remove Programs and wacking the crapware is never really 100% in Windows (where supposedly uninstalled programs tend to leave droppings in the Registry), the only way to be sure is to nuke it from orbit.

Re:But will they be cheaper? (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216933)

Difference is that there is a cost for a license for those Operating Systems, whereas Ubuntu has no cost for a license for the OS.

Re:But will they be cheaper? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217135)

Difference is that there is a cost for a license for those Operating Systems
There is no cost for a CentOS license, and CentOS contains nearly the same software as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. With RHEL or SUSE, you get x years of support for $280*x (RHEL) or $100*x (SUSE).

whereas Ubuntu has no cost for a license for the OS.
But how much does its support cost?

Re:But will they be cheaper? (5, Insightful)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216395)

I'm suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder on the idea that the Linux laptop should be cheaper. On one hand it is financially cheaper for Dell to offer the machines without Windows. On the other hand Dell is probably offering more of a value to most people by vetting the hardware against the software before delivery.

Some of us have had the joy of getting wireless or sound working over the course of a week. Heaven help anyone trying to get power management on a laptop working well. I'm typing this on a 30 day old Acer and what power management I have working is a gross and inelegant hack. I jumped on ideastorm like a couple of other people did and said my peace. Having done that I intend to sell this laptop on craigslist, and buy a Dell preloaded with Feisty and I will pay the difference if I need to. I have the sneaking suspicion that most of the posts on ideastorm are "me too" posts or kids wanting to feel 1337. I hope I'm wrong. I hope that most of the posters are willing to put their money where their mouth is. I believe that having Dell add the value of making a good laptop with a great (and hardware vetted) OS will be worth what they ask. I feel a little naive for suggesting that Linux folks should trust Dell but Dell just might actually price their laptop fairly and I for one will pay for easy Feisty goodness. Look at System76, they sell Ubuntu preloaded and I can promise that they will never be the lower cost option.

Re:But will they be cheaper? (0, Troll)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216953)

On one hand it is financially cheaper for Dell to offer the machines without Windows.

This assumes that OEM Linux can succeed for Dell where it failed for Walmart - in delivering mass-market sales. Marketing is expensive. Maintaining a dual inventory and support structure is expensive. The product with the 1% market share gets the axe.

f1rst fucking post! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216145)

suck my pussy you open source hippies!

rob is a faggot!

Re:f1rst fucking post! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19217287)

ok. I've always wanted to try eating pussy.

Support NIGHTMARE (2, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216161)

Customer: Hi, I want to watch erm, a video, which I downloaded.
Dell (best read with Apu's accent): I see that you are having a Dell Linux computer.
Customer: Yes.
Dell: What I can do for you sir is to tell you that you cannot watch a WMV file.
Customer: Um, but my kid sent it to me from HIS computer.
Dell: Please hold.
Customer: *fume*
(5 mins later)
Dell: Sir, I want you to take the system recovery disk and reinstall your operating system software.
Customer: Why?
Dell: Please hold.
Customer calls friend/child/etc on the other phone: Hey do you have a Windows Vista CD I can borrow?
(1 min later)
Customer: Great thanks.
*click*
Dell: Sir? Sir?

Re:Support NIGHTMARE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216275)

Customer calls friend/child/etc on the other phone: Hey do you have a Windows Vista CD I can borrow?
only if they're an idiot. incidentally are you aware of Vista's DRM fettish? btw if your gonna say something stupid post as anonymous coward- it saves karma.

Re:Support DREAM (4, Informative)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216801)

Heh, you must not use Ubuntu 7.04.

Here's how it would actually work...

Customer gets WMV file from his kid.
Customer double-clicks WMV file, or right-clicks and selects "Open with Movie Player"
Ubuntu: This file requires additional codecs to play, would you like me to install them?
Customer: Yes please
(wait 1 minute)
Ubuntu: All done, enjoy your movie!
Customer happily watches their WMV.

The next day, Customer sends his Windows kid some awesome Theora file...

And yes, you can play Theora in WMP (0, Troll)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217163)

Ubuntu: This file requires additional codecs to play, would you like me to install them?
Replace "Ubuntu" with "Linspire, a distribution of Ubuntu", and that's about right. Linspire's CNR press release [cnr.com] states its plan to make proprietary codecs available through CNR.

The next day, Customer sends his Windows kid some awesome Theora file...
Kid goes to Google or Yahoo! or MSN, looks up windows theora player [google.com], and finds the Theora plug-in for Windows Media Player [illiminable.com].

Fast articles... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216181)

not...
"starting next Thursday, 5/24." So this week....
This article was on Digg last week it is just too bad that retarded article comparing trolls to building contractors was chosen over it, this needs to be known out in the public as much as he fiasco with the Indy race car incident.

Anyways this is good news it just makes me wonder about the future and codecs not being installed for legal reasons.
What other legal options might limit certain programs being installed or from being used right out of the box on Dell Linux machines?

"That's one small step for man, one giant step.. err*dohh* leap for mankind"

Is it going to be completely Ubuntu? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216183)

Is Dell going to have their own repository? If people can get software from every repository it is possible that they will get something that doesn't work with the hardware. If Dell had its own repository then they would gain the same advantage that Apple has; the software would be guaranteed to work with the hardware. That would save them a bunch in support. That could make Linux much more attractive to Dell.

Re:Is it going to be completely Ubuntu? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216229)

Oh-hoh-hoh-hoah
Oh-hoh-hoh-hoah
Oh-hoh-hoh-hoah
Oh-hoh-hoh-hoah

Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting
Those kicks were fast as lightning
In fact, it was a little bit frightening
But they fought with expert timing

There was funky China men from funky Chinatown
They were trapping them up
They were trapping them down
It's an ancient Chinese art
And everybody knew their part
From a fainting, to a slip
And a kickin' from the hip
Everybody was Kung Fu fighting
Those kids were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit fright'ning
But they fought with expert timing

There was funky Billie Jim and little Sammy Chong
He said, here comes the big boss, let's get it on
We took the bow and made a stand
Started swaying with the hand
A sudden motion made me skip
Now we're into a brand new trip

Everybody was Kung Fu fighting
Those kids were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit fright'ning
But they did it with expert timing

Oh-hoh-hoh-hoh,ha
Oh-hoh-hoh-hoh,ha
Oh-hoh-hoh-hoh-ha
Keep on, keep on, keep on
Sure enough
Everybody was Kung Fu fighting
Those kids were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit fright'ning
Make sure you have expert timing
Kung Fu fighting, had to be fast as lightning...

Re:Is it going to be completely Ubuntu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216265)

wtf?

Re:Is it going to be completely Ubuntu? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216805)

It's actually very simple to deal with multiple repositories and hardware compatibility: "If it didn't come from the Dell repository, we don't support it."

Re:Is it going to be completely Ubuntu? (4, Insightful)

SavvyPlayer (774432) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217029)

Ubuntu is updated every 6 months, and Dell has chosen the more cutting-edge 7.04 version over 6.06 for which Canonical had promised support for 3 years on the desktop and 5 years on the server. With Windows, Dell has been accustomed to supporting a relatively stagnant Windows kernel. To commit to supporting a Linux kernel that evolves every dozen weeks or so, and a software distro that evolves every 6 months will require active participation on Dell's part -- regular contributions to testing (n+1) and participation on the Ubuntu launchpad.net site. If Dell is going to contribute at that level it might as well simply become another full ubuntu mirror. Exciting prospects indeed.

Proprietary Codecs? (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216187)

Which proprietary codecs aren't specifically supported? There's a version of LinDVD you can get for Mandriva that AFIAK is completely legal. What about talking with apple and getting some Quicktime codecs. What about other Codecs like MP3 that aren't included in some distros, yet are included in others? Either way, I don't really think it will be a bad thing. Anybody ordering a Linux machine will know how to get their own codecs, or will know someone who does (this will be the person telling them to get the computer). I don't see any noticeable percentage of people buying a linux machine who won't be at the direction of somebody who linux-knowledgable. However, I think that if they don't include things like MP3 playing capability then it's a garauteed failure for all such users, no matter the percentage.

Re:Proprietary Codecs? (1)

RicktheBrick (588466) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216365)

I have been running a 64 AMD computer with the 64 bit Ubuntu operating system. I use firefox and there is still no 64 bit flash with little hope that there will be one in the near future. There are a lot of sites that use flash such as youtube so there is a lot of video that one can not view with that set up.

Re:Proprietary Codecs? (3, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216401)

There's a couple options for you.

1) Install a 32 bit browser, along with a bunch of 32 bit libraries. Downside is this takes up extra disk space for the 32 bit libraries, and your browser is only 32 bit. Upside is the rest of your computer is 64 bit, and I don't really think there's a real need to have your browser running in 64 bit.

2) Wine at Adobe until they release 64 bit flash for linux. I think this will be a while, considering they completely skipped version 8 for Linux, and I'm pretty sure version 9 is still in beta.

Re:Proprietary Codecs? (2, Interesting)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216479)

actually version 9 is out of beta now IIRC and the reason (that they state anyway) that there is no amd64 version of the flash player is because the JIT type code they have for flash isn't 64bit safe still, don't know if thats true though, if it is, its at least a semi-reasonable excuse, but its still something they should work on.

Re:Proprietary Codecs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216505)

is because the JIT type code they have for flash isn't 64bit safe still

The interesting thing is that Java has had native 64 bit implementation for years and years, yet still hasn't gotten around to making 64-bit plugins, not even for solaris on sparcs. I wonder if there's something else going on that for some reason nobody wants to mention, like maybe the specs for the plugin process simply isn't portable to 64 bit apps?

Re:Proprietary Codecs? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216597)

Now that JAVA is GPL, there is nothing stopping someone else producing a 64 bit browser plugin (unless the relavent bits of JAVA aren't open source yet)

Re:Proprietary Codecs? (1)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217257)

it can be done, there's even a 64to32 plugin that will let you use 32bit plugins in a 64bit gecko browser, i never had much luck with it though.

Re:Proprietary Codecs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216503)

I have been running a 64 AMD computer with the 64 bit Ubuntu operating system. I use firefox and there is still no 64 bit flash with little hope that there will be one in the near future. There are a lot of sites that use flash such as youtube so there is a lot of video that one can not view with that set up.

I'm not a big fan of the Microsoft/Novell/Dell garbage and I personally would never buy a Dell because of it but there may be a couple of good things that come out of this. Since there will be more Linux based machines out there it might be more incentive to develop a 64-bit flash player/plugin for Linux. Or Youtube might have more incentive to put out video in a non-proprietary format (doubt it). Or some new whiz kid who gets interested in Linux because it came on his new Dell writes an open source flash player that supports all Linux architectures (I think this actually violates the flash player license even thought I don't see how that is legal). Or ...

Re:Proprietary Codecs? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216633)

ffmpeg already supports flv for both playback and encoding I believe.
As for an open source flash player, there is nothing to stop someone doing that as long as they don't use the Flash spec document from Adobe to do it. (see GNASH for the example that is the most usable at this point)

Re:Proprietary Codecs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216745)

ffmpeg already supports flv for both playback and encoding I believe.

Yes, but Youtube wraps it in their SWF player and as far as I know there is no way to easily pick out just the *flv files. I could be wrong on that.

Re:Proprietary Codecs? (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216837)

Another poster mentioned the option of installing a 32-bit firefox and libraries.

But there's a better option:
Install Flash9 in 64-bit firefox using ndiswrapper. See the Ubuntu forums:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=341727 [ubuntuforums.org]

It might look a little daunting, but I found it pretty straight-forward, and my browser has been rock-solid.
In summary, I'm running flash inside a 64-bit browser in 64-bit Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (orig under Edgy Eft)

YMMV, but I think it rocks! Good luck :-)

nspluginwrapper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216965)

I think you meant "nspluginwrapper".

Re:Proprietary Codecs? (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216389)

>Which proprietary codecs aren't specifically supported?

They don't want to pay royalties to the companies that own the proprietary codecs. Although it's free for a home user to use some of these codecs, you need to pay $$$ to distribute others in software form. So, for instance, for if you want to play MPEG under linux, technically you should be downloading / paying for MPEG TV (http://www.mpegtv.com/download.html). That's also why it's standard for SuSe, Mandrake, Red Hat, etc., not to include proprietary codecs in the default install of the free versions (unless you download from a server (e.g. Penguin Liberation Front) from a country that doesn't have copyright nazis). And in the case of playing DVDs, FAIK the MPAA won't allow it...

I believe even Slackware doesn't include many codecs in it's default install for this reason.

So it's not about just adding a package to the default image they install. It's about them wanting to put Linux out there in the cheapest way possible...

Re:Proprietary Codecs? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216419)

It's about them wanting to put Linux out there in the cheapest way possible...
Heaven forbid they spend a couple extra bucks to put out something that's a little more usable for the non-so-savvy user so that they might actually have a good experience. I think it may even save them a few bucks from not having users call all the time asking why they can't play MP3s on their new linux boxes.

Re:Proprietary Codecs? (1)

mattmacf (901678) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216439)

From TFA:

At this time, we are not including any support for proprietary audio or video codecs that are not already distributed with Ubuntu 7.04. These include MPEG 1/2/3/4, WMA, WMV, DVD, Quicktime, etc. We are evaluating options for providing this support in the future.
I personally don't like this idea at all. If there's serious corporate backing behind Linux, I feel like Dell would do best to pay the license fee for at least some particular codecs (e.g. mp3). However, I don't feel like it would be a failure by any stretch of the imagination that these codecs are not provided standard. For anyone intelligent enough to purposely buy an Ubuntu box will be able to find their answer in google rather trivially. Anyone who can't manage that is likely not going to be able to download mp3s onto the box in the first place.

Another (slightly tangential) thing I'd be curious to see would be whether or not samba is running by default on an Ubuntu box. While having Windows networking available by default would be nifty, I don't know if the patent/security issues would permit it. Anyone with insight on this?

Latitudes... (2, Insightful)

jhnphm (892864) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216191)

Too bad the Latitudes don't seem to be offered- the inspirons are craptacular- I would never get one of those, but I would get a Latitude.

Re:Latitudes... (1)

theGreater (596196) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216563)

Along a similar vein, I had cause to delve inside an XPS 400 series last weekend (water damage cleanup from the Greensburg, KS, USA, tornado).

The guts in an XPS 410 appear to be almost identical to the Precision 380 (now 390) which is a pretty decent piece of kit and can handle at least a stock 8800GTX with the addition of a $5 USD PCIe power adapter. We use a lot of 380/390 gear at work, so I can provide one half of the puzzle; anybody have good access to an XPS 410 and want to share the results of lspci -vv?

I think supported linux on an entry-level workstation that scales up to quad core could be quite interesting. You can run anything from Pentium D and 512 MB of RAM on your secretary's desk, right up to a quad-core 4GB behemoth with GPGPU in your engineering department....

-theGreater.

But can it run.... (5, Funny)

adez (967740) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216225)

Erm, nevermind.

Re:But can it run.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216329)

I just might be the only one that thinks that's hilarious...

Re:But can it run.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216561)

Yes, you're the only one.

restricted extras (5, Informative)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216277)

Seems reasonable, but it's too bad that Click2Run isn't in Ubuntu 7.04 for the sake of those wanting to (legally) play DVDs, use AVI files, etc."
Because start menu -> Add/remove programs -> Ticking 'ubuntu restricted extras' to get proprietary codecs, flash, java etc. is so much harder than 'Click2Run'.

Re:restricted extras (1)

schotty (519567) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216531)

Its Click N Run, not Click2Run.

And yes, as a former user of Linpsire (will return possibly when 6 is released), CNR is currently the easiest and simplest way to acquire software. Although Ubuntu's software manager is damn nice, it's still not where CNR is today.

Re:restricted extras (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216625)

It's Linspire, not Linpsire.

Re:restricted extras (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216951)

Its Click N Run, not Click2Run.
I used quotation marks around Click2Run, guess why.

Re:restricted extras (1)

Pausanias (681077) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216997)

For DVD playback? No, you will not get libdvdcss2 (the library required to play DVDs in Ubuntu) by any standard means in Ubuntu, because it is illegal in the US according to the idiotic DMCA. So, no, you will have to jump through the standard hoops (Automatic/3rd party repositories/etc) to get DVD playback.

DVD playback is a huge problem for Linux. Until they figure out a way to fix it, it will be the #1 obstacle to linux adoption on the desktop.

Re:restricted extras (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217191)

DVD playback is a huge problem for Linux....

but only in the US. The rest of us have no problems with DVD playback, listening to MP3 or whatever.

Re:restricted extras (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217219)

DVD playback is a huge problem for Linux.
Do most people have their PCs hooked up to a television set?

Hmmm, not good (4, Insightful)

GFree (853379) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216335)

If Dell isn't going to be supplying support for proprietary media codecs (regardless of how easy it is to add them yourself), then this suggests to me Dell wasn't prepared to pay licensing costs to make this happen. I hope they provide instructions, or perhaps a script that runs the first time you boot into your Linux box that can auto-install these codecs, otherwise this will piss off a lot of people.

Re:Hmmm, not good (1)

scumdamn (82357) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216353)

If you search the Dell knowledge base for "Ubuntu DVD" after it ships you'll have the answer to this question.

Re:Hmmm, not good (3, Insightful)

Compholio (770966) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216467)

I hope they provide instructions, or perhaps a script that runs the first time you boot into your Linux box that can auto-install these codecs, otherwise this will piss off a lot of people.
Supposedly they'll be shipping 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) which has a codec wizard [ubuntu.com]

Re:Hmmm, not good (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216537)

I love that screenshot.

GStreamer extra plugins
Codecs to play mp3, sid, mpeg1, mpeg2, AC-3, DVD (without encryption)

GStreamer ffmpeg video plugin
Codecs to play mpeg, divx, mpeg4, ac3, wmv and asf files

GStreamer plugins for aac, xvid, mpeg2, faad
Codecs to play
Average user:

"What the fuck is a GStreamer?!? Hmm.. Guess I'll just install the first one.. oh wait, no, the second one says divx and wmv files, maybe that's what I want."

Then they probably notice the box down the bottom which gives them a description of what the package contains.. and it says what?

GStreamer plugins from the "ugly" set.
GStreamer is a streaming media framework, based on graphs of filters which operate on media data
"Huuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhh? What the hell does that mean? This is way too complicated.. I don't think this GStreamer thing is what I want to install."

A Wizard that assumes you are a wizard, brilliant!

Re:Hmmm, not good (1)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216967)

You only get that particular wizard if you know what codecs you are going to need before you need them. Otherwise Ubuntu will install the correct packages for you the first time you attempt to open a file that needs them, you don't even need to know the package name.

Re:Hmmm, not good (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216855)

What I would like to see happen is for Dell to pay licensing, Novell paid Real to allow them to include Realplayer for MP3 support, thus SLED has MP3 support out of the box. There are even Banshee and Amarok packages that utilize the Helix (realplayer) backend for just this purpose.

I can guarantee that if Dell just installs a stock Ubuntu installation with Gnome, people will have a lot of problems. Particularly in the system management area, gnome is very lacking, and Novell includes their YAST system on top of Gnome for this reason. If Dell doesn't include a similar system it will reflect badly on both Dell and Ubuntu but also Linux in general.

Re:Hmmm, not good (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216987)

Of course, the converse might be true - if they do include a way to auto-install codecs it might piss off the people that own the patents for these various media types.

mp3 and mpeg4 video are the first that come to mind. Given Microsoft's recent declaration that they're going after patent violators it seems only a matter of time before MPEG-LA and other media licensing organisations think they should start going after people that are using legally questionable media software like ffmpeg, mplayer, xvid, lame, etc.

Re:Hmmm, not good (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217205)

Yea, but most of that software is developed outside of the country where the patents apply, some of it in countries that don't even recognize software patents. Thats not even considering that some of these companies don't have a right to patent certain things. Going after people who develop WMV codecs for instance, can only hurt Microsoft, and in my opinion this is an interoperability issue, Microsoft doesn't have a right to bitch about people coding for a platform they refuse to support.

The same holds true for other codecs, however there IS a valid MP3 codec for linux in the form of the helix engine, and packages are available from Realplayer that dont actually force you to use their player.

DVDs are another issue, and i would go so far as to claim that CSS would not have been cracked so quickly if they had just released a player of some kind for Linux, it could have been open source for the most part with the CSS closed source, or just simply closed source entirely.

MPEG4 on the other hand i consider to be a standard at this point, and licensing should not be necessary. MPEG-LA is well supported already and it does them no good to go after open source codecs, it does however hurt the format.

Re:Hmmm, not good (1)

Dacelo Gigas (1077179) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217141)

If Dell isn't going to be supplying support for proprietary media codecs (regardless of how easy it is to add them yourself), then this suggests to me Dell wasn't prepared to pay licensing costs to make this happen. I hope they provide instructions, or perhaps a script that runs the first time you boot into your Linux box that can auto-install these codecs, otherwise this will piss off a lot of people.

Yes, but mostly just the support reps.

However, it may make quite a few people happy. Imaging an overworked IT person at a small business. They can order a Dell PC without a bunch of crapware installed. Sure, no media codecs, but for some businesses, that may be a bonus. If it isn't on there, they don't have to support it. If people want to play MP3's at work, they can bring their iPod.

Dacelo Gigas

Why can't we install the dvd player? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216429)

how hard is it to install VLC? Really?

Lose, Lose (5, Interesting)

tyleroar (614054) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216435)

I'm sick of reading all these comments about how horrible it is that Dell isn't going to include the proprietary codecs to play DVDs or mp3. It's not completely legal to do so now without paying a license fee. And if Dell did pay a licensing fee to include, people would be complaining about why it costs just as much as Windows does. And besides, it is VERY easy to look up instructions on how to add the capability to play those codecs online, and most people that care enough to specifically order a Linux Dell, are already going to know how to do this.

Re:Lose, Lose (1)

schotty (519567) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216587)

I agree. But where I would be complaining is when CNR for Ubuntu is relased and it isn't offered by default from Dell. CNR is aimed at the general computer user, and really does make linux shine. Those of us that can give numerous anecdoted on compiling 2.0.x kernels obviously don't feel a need to buy it since we can run a CLI based apt/yum/pkgadd command and get our software the original way.

But yes, I see it moronic to force codecs down our thoats since the first wave of owners of these new Dell Linux machines are going to be the nerds that can add them within the first 5 minutes anyway. But I can understand the counterpoint, I just think its not the best thing at this time. For all we know, that is something in the works (ala CNR) or a Fluendo license of some sort.

Re:Lose, Lose (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217243)

Fluendo MP3 decoder is technically free, and its source is MIT licensed, they simply request a distribution agreement.

Helix engine is also available, Novell does this by using Realplayer and the Helix-banshee package.

Defective by design? (2, Insightful)

d_jedi (773213) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216449)

That tag seems to apply here..
No DVD support, no proprietary codecs? Good grief. I would have hoped Dell would have at least paid the $2 or so for the licensing fees for this stuff!

If this is any indication, it doesn't look like pre-installing Linux will be the panecea some think it will be to beat Windows on the desktop..

Re:Defective by design? (1)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216493)

Codec schmodec. Anyone buying Feisty preloaded already knows what to do right now. This will not be true forever but it is true now. I wouldn't blame Dell for not buying the licenses. First they have no idea whether or not those laptops will sell and second they are trusting the community to show them the way. When they sell laptops they will invest but not so much in the initial offering. I just want working hardware out of the box. I'll take care of the codecs, and besides when CNR is integrated codecs will not be an issue and they will be legal.

Come on guys & gals, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Re:Defective by design? (1)

LevonB (1099459) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216575)

People. This is not going to be Linux's big win on the desktop. Dell Linux sales are not going to rival the sales of Windows or Apple any time soon. I personally wonder if Dell will make any money on this initiative directly. However, as Linux has the interest of many IT people, supporting it captures the attention and respect of many people who can influence IT budgets now and in the future.

Re:Defective by design? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216717)

All the gold in Ft Knox would not be enough to get a license from the DVDCCA that would make DVD players based on libdvdcss (which is how pretty much all of the "illegal" media players that play DVDs on linux currently do it afaik) legal to distribute.

The only option for DELL would be to write (or license from somewhere else) a closed source binary linux DVD player.

97 billion USD can buy a big chunk of the MPAA (4, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217279)

All the gold in Ft Knox would not be enough to get a license from the DVDCCA
The bullion depository at Fort Knox [wikipedia.org] holds 147 million troy ounces of gold. At 660 USD per ounce, that makes 97 billion USD. This is more than enough to buy a controlling interest in The Walt Disney Company, News Corporation, and Viacom Inc., and spin out their film divisions.

Re:Defective by design? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216901)

I can't help but feel that you think the lack of DVD support and/or the lack of some of the codecs is going to be an absolute deal breaker for most of the people who might buy this. As many others have pointed out, the support's easy to find and install. However, what you're not even considering is that not everybody who buys these will want or need that support. Some of them will go to business people who want a laptop that just works and is guaranteed to stay free of viruses, trojans, addware and other junk. As long as they have something like OpenOffice that can read/write MS Office files they won't care, because it will do what they need. Not everybody thinks that multi-media is a crucial capability in a cheap laptop.

Models listed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216457)

As a Dell employee I can say the models listed in the summary were pulled directly from a Dell internal email. I would imagine that email was sent around to many people outside the company and that is where the list comes from. As far as I know those are the accurate models that will be offered first.

Sounds like they're doing it right (5, Informative)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216523)

I've never liked Dell, but they seem to be doing it right.

* The default software from the Ubuntu media will be installed
* hardware options thoroughly tested by the Linux team
* restricted drivers where there is no equivalent open-source driver.
* wiki page that gives technical details
* recommend Linux users buy Dell printers that have PostScript engines in them.
* We are evaluating options for providing (mp3/wma/etc codecs) this support in the future.

They're not rolling their own distro (hello Oracle), they're checking out the hardware focusing on GPL drivers wherever possible, documenting via wiki, recommending Postscript supported printers, and they aren't ruling out the *legal* mp3 support down the road. They seem to just be saying "We are trying to figure something out with this mp3 royalty mess". Not to mention, they *must* be pissing off Microsoft big-time. I bet Balmer has chairs tatooed with the Dell execs names on them, just waiting for the right time. That's not like Dell either, historically. They are usually just another little m$ bitch when Bill cracks the whip. Maybe this is a new era for Dell.

Re:Sounds like they're doing it right (5, Interesting)

Redacted (1101591) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216687)

Maybe they saw how Apple is making a metric assload of money selling a UNIX derivative, closely tied to decent hardware, and want a piece of it?

It's pretty far out there, but what if Dell are positioning themselves as an Apple for Linux - good hardware, guaranteed compatibility, support for installed packages, etc. I know a lot more people would consider Linux on the desktop/laptop if a name-brand, respected company like Dell were offering it.

Re:Sounds like they're doing it right (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19217123)

Apple's os has as much in common with unix as newt does with a human. They've bastardized the OS beyond unix recognition, they move all the config files to XML, they massively violate layers and any "separation of church and state" with their ZFS, they have security vulnerabilities worse than solaris 10 years ago, they're slow and break things on par with ms on patches/updates, and it runs slow.

None of these problems existed in FBSD prior to OSX, and they still wouldn't if FBSD wouldn't have desperately clutched to the first girl that would fuck him (whoops I mean first os that used it's code base) and supplicated to all of its wants all the while the spirit and KISS nature of Unix being ass-raped.

Re:Sounds like they're doing it right (1)

Redacted (1101591) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216733)

Maybe they saw how Apple is making a metric assload of money selling a UNIX derivative, closely tied to decent hardware, and want a piece of it?

What if Dell are positioning themselves as an Apple for Linux - good hardware, guaranteed compatibility, support for installed packages, the whole deal? I know a lot more people would consider Linux on the desktop/laptop if major, well-known company like Dell were offering it.

Re:Sounds like they're doing it right (5, Informative)

Poppler (822173) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216779)

Even better, they're going to push hardware vendors to write Linux drivers:

For hardware options not offered with this release, we are working with the vendors of those devices to improve the maturity and stability of their associated Linux drivers. While this may not happen overnight, we do expect to have a broader range of hardware support with Linux over time.

Re:Sounds like they're doing it right (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216799)

Hopefully Dell will start funding some Open Source developers to work on these drivers.. nothing gives you better driver support than having it integrated with the kernel.

Re:Sounds like they're doing it right (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217137)

That's not like Dell either, historically. They are usually just another little m$ bitch when Bill cracks the whip. Maybe this is a new era for Dell.
That's one interpretation.

The other one is that they never were at Microsoft's bidding and weren't offering Linux simply because not enough people wanted Linux to warrant the expense. Now that Linux is getting more popular they are offering it.

Another interpretation is that Microsoft is no longer Dell's bitch; perhaps Microsoft stopped giving Dell discounts.. But I think the last interpretation is more realistic.

Re:Sounds like they're doing it right (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217251)

They are usually just another little m$ bitch when Bill cracks the whip. Maybe this is a new era for Dell.

We can probably thank Vista for that, since it offers so little in terms of functional improvement that MS is hard pressed to sell it without help from hardware retailers. Retailers, especially large ones like Dell and HP, now have a lot more leverage in their relationship with MS.

Hardware compatibility first... (1)

rajkiran_g (634912) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216547)

As long as every bit of the hardware is supported, there should not be any problems.

From TFA,

We use partial open-source or closed source ("restricted" in Ubuntu terms) drivers where there is no equivalent open-source driver. This includes Intel wireless cards and Conexant modems.

I hope that the "restricted" drivers work along the lines of the nvidia driver where the source of the kernel module would be available which would provide an interface to the binary driver. That way, users would be free install a different distro/kernel of their choice. A purely binary driver that would only work with the specific kernel version shipped by Dell might not be very helpful.

BTW, in India, Dell is offering laptops with the option of having no OS pre-installed. My colleague got one a few months back and saved about Rs. 3,000 (about 75 US$)

This Thing Will Fail (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216609)

I was quite enthusiastic about this, especially since I am an Ubuntu user. But without MP3 and DVD support out of the box people aren't going to bite. Dell and Canonical had better get their shit together soon if they want this to work.

Re:This Thing Will Fail (1)

koreth (409849) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216751)

Business users don't need MP3 and DVD playback. As long as the box will open up a web browser and connect to all the web-based intranet apps their employees need, they're good to go.

Re:This Thing Will Fail (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216781)

Good point, however is that how they are being marketed? I suppose it is a foot in the door that might get people hooked on linux at work, but you must admit that today a computer sans DVD and MP3 support is useless to a lot of people.

Re:This Thing Will Fail (1)

grolschie (610666) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217027)

I was quite enthusiastic about this, especially since I am an Ubuntu user. But without MP3 and DVD support out of the box people aren't going to bite. Dell and Canonical had better get their shit together soon if they want this to work.

If you really were an Ubuntu user, then you'd know how stupidly easy it is to get codecs installed. It's similar to how DVD player manufacturers sell region locked DVD players, but sometimes included typed up instructions on how to region-free the player included in the box. Others release the info to the community.

Re:This Thing Will Fail (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217099)

Of course I know about the joys of automatix. However I think that us computer geeks really don't understand that what is painfully obvious to us is sometimes another language (literally) to others.

Don't flame people for actually acknowledging what needs to be done for Linux to actually work as a mainstream desktop OS.

Binary drivers for Intel Wireless cards? Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19216731)

All of the Intel wireless cards have Free and Open Source drivers. ipw2100, ipw2200, ipw2945, and iwlwifi. They use binary-only firmware, but not binary-only drivers.

Re:Binary drivers for Intel Wireless cards? Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19217121)

I don't draw a distinction between binary firmware and binary software. If I don't have the freedom to modify it, I don't want it.

Re:Binary drivers for Intel Wireless cards? Why? (2, Insightful)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217293)

So, tell me exactly what about the firmware for the intel wlan cards you were planning to modify? The driver is where you would implement frame grabbing or packet injection so tell me exactly what you would accomplish with the firmware source....

I agree that its a good goal to have things open source but in areas that it doesn't matter, you are wasting your time and a lot of peoples effort.

No complaints (1)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216757)

I'm writing this on Ubuntu running on a Dell 1705...absolutely out of the box performance.

If your worried about drivers, things costing too much etc, what you, as an open source user should do is contribute! Contribute to the cause and the price will improve, the drivers will improve, and then you'll be able to complain about other things.

Damn, no WUXGA laptop (3, Interesting)

dara (119068) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216777)

Well if this is the lineup ("We will be launching a Linux based OS (Ubuntu) on the E520, 1505 and XPS 410 starting next Thursday, 5/24." from Jeremy's Blog), I guess I have to wait longer. I'm only interested in WUXGA - the 15.4" Latitude D830 would have been nice, but I'd have considered the E1705 too. If I have to buy an unsupported model and install Linux myself, there is less incentive to pick Dell in the first place.

I seconded ideas on ideastorm that suggested Dell get rid of this stupid division between Latitude and Inspiron, but who knows if that will ever happen. Just a single line of well built laptops in a few different screen sizes is all we need (it works for Apple and if Dell wants to entire the retail market seriously, it would help to have a reduced model line).

Dara

Re:Damn, no WUXGA laptop (2, Informative)

Mountaineer1024 (1024367) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216911)

I've got a Dell Inspiron 9400 which I believe is the E1705 (depending on market) and tried the Ubuntu 7.04 live cd.
Everything worked perfectly with no extra effort.
It prompted me when it reached the desktop that it needed to use a binary driver to make the wireless work, and work it did.
It prompted me that it needed to use a closed source driver to make the nVidia 7900 GS work, and work it did.
I stuck a SD Card into the side card reader and it promptly mounted and allowed me to move files on and off.
The sound works flawlessly.
The DVD burner works.
The touchpad works.
An external hdd and mouse worked.
I'm not sure what else anyone can want.

Correction (1)

Tama00 (967104) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216817)

"for the sake of those wanting to (legally) play DVDs, use AVI files, etc.""

I think that line can be misunderstanding. It is not illegal for you under Linux to play DVD's or use AVI, its only illegal to distribute their codecs without a license to do so and we all know licenses cost money. If Ubuntu had to pay for the license then it would probably have to charge for a binary copy of Ubuntu. This is where Linspire comes in with click and run, they paid for the license and so they can give you the CD with the codecs on them.

Although its legal for you to download the codec yourself for your own use. You just cant go making a product and putting their codec on it without a license even if the product is free.

They called it Click'N'Run last time I checked it (1)

gummyb34r (899393) | more than 6 years ago | (#19216833)

but it's too bad that Click2Run isn't in Ubuntu 7.04
for the sake of those wanting to (legally) play DVDs, use AVI
files, etc.


They called it Click'N'Run last time I checked it. It was renamed?
Doubt it...

FYI there is already a nice frontend for adding software - it is
easy and straightforward to add proprietary codecs/drivers and
opensource software. It has a popularity based star-rating as well
as a short package description. One can search for a name match etc.
So I havn't noticed the lack of C'N'R feature. Ubuntu 7.04 is a good
choice for a desktop OS imo.

How many here will buy? (1)

dioscaido (541037) | more than 6 years ago | (#19217095)

Anyone here planning on picking up one of the linux pre-installed machines when they go on sale? I'm legitimately curious.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...