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Dell PCs with Ubuntu Are A Little Less Expensive

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the penguin-pass dept.

388

Chandon Seldon writes "Contrary to many earlier reports, it turns out that Dell's prices for its Ubuntu PCs are cheaper than similar Windows Vista PCs for all three Models. Ars Technica reports: 'So it turns out that not including Windows saves the consumer $50 from the regular list price. This amount is not too far off from what a large OEM like Dell would pay for a volume discount for Windows Vista Home Basic (the regular OEM price is about $95). Many value PC sellers try to make up for the cost of a Windows license by bundling demo and trial versions of software such as AOL (affectionately known as "crapware"), for which they receive money from software companies looking to increase their distribution levels. Dell is no exception to this practice, although on their web site it allows customers to select the option of not including various applications.' For direct comparisons, Nat Tuck of Umass-Lowell has put together a simple page showing prices for Ubuntu and Windows-based PCs."

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388 comments

shocking (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19271531)

a free OS is cheaper than a not free one- im shocked

Re:shocking (1, Redundant)

prelelat (201821) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271647)

Have you ever noticed all the trial software on a dell computer? That is advertisment paid to dell that is partially used to bring down the cost. So without that the price of the computer would be more as Dell isn't making money off of the advertisment. At least thats what I'm told.

Piracy (4, Funny)

ThJ (641955) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272177)

I think what's going to happen is that Windows geeks will buy a Dell machine with Ubuntu installed, wipe the drive, and install a pirated copy of Windows.

Re:shocking (1)

el americano (799629) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272277)

This is mentioned a lot, but I've never seen an estimate of how much they get paid. I assume it's a small fraction of what they pay for an OEM Windows license, but since it's free money (i.e. there's no user backlash) they continue to visit this on their Windows buyers, and likely soon on their Linux buyers too.

This is well and good but.. (5, Interesting)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271551)

What will be the most important marker of Dells little Linux venture is product placement. If these linux systems end up on a back page people may not hunt for them.

Re:This is well and good but.. (5, Insightful)

tb()ne (625102) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271701)

They are on a back page. If you go to Dell's web site and navigate to buy an E1505 laptop, Ubuntu is not an OS option anywhere along the way. I had to type Ubuntu in the search box to find the page where I could see/configure one.

Re:This is well and good but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19271741)

I noticed that as well and I am hoping it will change if not this may not be a very long lived program.

Re:This is well and good but.. (4, Informative)

Poppler (822173) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272199)

I was about to post a rant about how it was obscured as well, but right now, Dell has a promotion for Ubuntu PCs on their front page. OK, so it's one of four images shown seemingly at random, but having a promotion shown to 25% of people who visit dell.com isn't bad.

Ubuntu == Red-Headed Step Child (5, Informative)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272379)

I tried to find it this morning too.

1. There was a page on Dell's site saying displaying photoshopped pc's with a brown ubuntu splash screen, but the link took you to freedos systems. (?)

2. Search the phrase Dell linux and one of the links will take you to PC's with Red Hat.

3. Going through Dell's front door www.dell.com gets you absolutely zero indication they have Linux, much less ubuntu as an option.

I found the link to buy a ubuntu/dell pc in an article. This suggests some combination of typical corporate inertia and maybe, just maybe a Microsoft distribution agreement that discourages alternatives.

Re:This is well and good but.. (1)

saboola (655522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272577)

Looks like its randomly on the dell front page. I just hapenned to get it on the first try:

Dell Ubuntu Ad [dell.com]

Re:This is well and good but.. (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271721)

I agree. If I go to Dell's site and select Home System->XPS->XPS410 I only get the option for Windows when it ask me to choose an operating system.

I guess I just didn't find the back page that actually offers Ubuntu.

Re:This is well and good but.. (1)

ruewan (952328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271901)

Yup, they generated a lot of noise about Ubuntu and hid it underneath a rock. Like you say I think they should just have a select OS option. If they are worried about customers selecting Ubuntu and not knowing what it is they can always put a Ubuntu info section just like they have a Vista info section.

Re:This is well and good but.. (5, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272045)

Right, and then every pleb will pick Ubuntu cos its cheaper. 10 mins after pleb gets their new machine and plugs it in they are on the phone to Dell support moaning that they can't install MS Office, their games or whatever software they have.

Re:This is well and good but.. (1)

Ravnen (823845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272109)

Their thinking is probably that anyone who wants Linux will look for it, and anyone who doesn't know doesn't want it, but might not be able to understand the difference from a brief description. If users expecting Windows started buying PCs with Ubuntu because it's cheaper, it could lead to all sorts of negative customer service and publicity issues for Dell.

Re:This is well and good but.. (1)

sleigher (961421) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272543)

From the front page of www.dell.com it took me exactly 4 clicks to get to the list of PC's available with ubuntu pre-installed. I refreshed(ctrl-F5) the screen twice to get to the Ubuntu splash screen. Then clicked the ad. Then clicked shop for Ubuntu. It was VERY easy if you just read the page it takes you to. I would say I was at the list of Ubuntu PC's in under 30 seconds.

Re:This is well and good but.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19271857)

Well, that and the 'Dell recommends Windows Vista' line at the top of every page....

Who... fscking... cares (-1, Offtopic)

aztektum (170569) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271561)

Why is 50 bucks such a big deal? It seems to be a penis size contest. The fact that Dell is actually SHIPPING these systems is the only part that should matter and it's been discussed enough as it is.

And it doesn't even matter that much. It's not like suddenly I'm going to suggest everyone who asks me (which happens a lot) buy an Ubuntu Dell. I will still send them to somewhere like Powernotebooks.com for laptops and a local vendor I have good ties with for desktops and they can buy their own OS, skip dealing with the crapware... Argh

Multiple reasons. (2, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271619)

#1. It's $80 and why send money to Microsoft if you aren't buying Microsoft software?

#2. It's Dell. They have nationwide support. If you move, you can still get support.

#3. It'd Dell. They move a LOT of boxes. This will be incentive for those hardware vendors to support Linux to get in on this market.

Re:Multiple reasons. (2, Interesting)

Ravnen (823845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272159)

At least as important, I think, is if Dell actually work to ensure there are Linux drivers for the hardware they're selling. Linux hardware support on laptops is often so bad that it's effectively unusable. If Dell restrict their Linux offerings to a few specific hardware configurations that already have good hardware support, I don't think it will make much of a difference to the market.

PRE-LOADED!!! :) (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272435)

Yep. And even better than having the drivers available is having the drivers PRE-LOADED!

Re:Who... fscking... cares (2, Insightful)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271693)

Well, getting the same laptop at $599 instead of $649 is a nice little savings. It's not huge. The real reason that this is important however is that there needs to be some incentive for people other than those of us who already use Linux to buy a Ubuntu PC from Dell. So now the choice is you can either a.) stick with the familiar Windows system or b.) save a little cash. If they were priced the same there would be very few new people trying the Ubuntu PCs and sales would be too low for it to really be profitable to Dell to offer them at all, and they'd probably eliminate them from the lineup again in a year or two.

That's my take on it anyway.

I do (1)

vrimj (750402) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272497)

I am not a tech type person. The idea of dealing with finding hardweare drivers for a laptop to install linux on my own is just scary. All the same when I read the EULA for Vista I knew I would not be using it. I need a new laptop soon and had resigned myself to paying for an apple just to avoid Vista and have an OS that was still supported. I suspect that these laptops are for people like me, savvy enough to use with the new interfaces, but not yet read to install Be happy, this means I wont show up and beg for help at your local LUG.

Re:Who... fscking... cares (3, Insightful)

blindd0t (855876) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271765)

"Who fsking cares" is exactly the right question. My parents, grandparents, and many of my peers who know very little about computers don't care what operating system they are using on a computer. To them, a computer is a computer just the same, regardless of the operating system. The bottom line for them is the costs involved. How reliable is the computer? How long will it be until another computer must be purchased? How much up-front cost is required for the initial purchase?

To my mother, who I am proud to say has been using Linux since Ubuntu 6.06 was released, Linux seems more reliable. She still clicks on those goofy advertisement images that look like they have real buttons, but guess what - her machine doesn't need to be reformatted within a week after that takes place! So in her eyes, the machine is more reliable.

To my grandmother, she only wants to be able to talk to family via email. Why does she need to spend any more than the bare minimum? Will this machine be more likely to be usable until she is no longer physically capable of using a computer? That is more likely to be true with Linux than Windows while keeping the OS up-to-date.

And why not take this a little further... What if I'm a small company in need of some "thin client" computers. Why should I pay even a little extra for an operating system on 20 computers, when I can get it for free and completely avoid those fees (which would be a significant price difference, no doubt).

(Though this does not apply to the dell desktops directly, these could be used for this purpose...) John/Jane Doe wants to start a new business where a web-based application with a database is required. Why should he/she need to pay for a Windows server environment and Microsoft SQL Server licenses? The benefit here is clearly that a good deal of additional money can be focused on the business requirements, and not initial licensing costs.

Of course, I could present many more real-life examples I'm aware of... While that may not be a majority of the market, it is a solid start to appeal to these constituent groups, and it could to be quite lucrative long-term. Your needs are one thing, but I'm merely suggestion not being egocentric and suggesting we think of others' needs instead. Doing this will clearly benefit the entire community long-term.

Re:Who... fscking... cares (4, Funny)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272549)

Will this machine be more likely to be usable until she is no longer physically capable of using a computer? That is more likely to be true with Linux than Windows while keeping the OS up-to-date.
Heh, kind of puts "free upgrades for life" into a whole new perspective, doesn't it?

Tagline could be "Ubuntu: you'll die before it does."

Re:Who... fscking... cares (1, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271989)

Why is 50 bucks such a big deal?

Well, if for no other reason, it's interesting because the ol' "Microsoft Tax" canard is one of those foundation building blocks of MS hatred. How many times have you read, right here, that even if a major direct-to-consumer dealer/manufacturer WERE to ship boxes with Linux onboard, that Teh Evil Micro$oft would still be making sure that machine sold for MORE than an OEM-Windows-equipped box would. This is interesting because it lets some of the hot air out of that particular troll.

Not really a troll (1)

Luft08091950 (1101097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272301)

"How many times have you read, right here, that even if a major direct-to-consumer dealer/manufacturer WERE to ship boxes with Linux onboard, that Teh Evil Micro$oft would still be making sure that machine sold for MORE than an OEM-Windows-equipped box would. This is interesting because it lets some of the hot air out of that particular troll." I don't believe that when people said that Microsoft would force PCs that are not being sold with their OS to be at least as expensive as the ones sold with their OS that they were trolling. It has been true in the past but things are changing for the better. The parent post seems to be saying that the whole thing is a non-issue and we should be talking about it. I couldn't disagree more. I've noticed more and more on slash-dot a growing attitude (or maybe strategy) that the obvious advancement of Open Source shouldn't be talked about. It makes me feel like there is a "STFU" campaign. Like proprietary software vendors are loosing ground and they don't want anyone to look at that fact.

Re:Who... fscking... cares (3, Interesting)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272149)

ah, shucks, I was hoping to spend some of my mod points on this thread. But I had to respond. You may not recommend Dells to your friends, but I, like you, have a lot of people ask me for recommendations. I will now specifically tell them about Dell Ubuntu machines and recommend them highly. Unfortunately, there aren't any good deals in my local area to justify a local pc/notebook recommendation.

Well, people, time to cough up the dough (5, Insightful)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271573)

After all the comments that Dell should sell Linux machines, and that they shouldn't charge more for them than the Linux one, it is time to put your money where your mouth is and start buying these beauties. I, for one, know that if they ever offer it here on good ol' Europe I'll be buying one as my replacement laptop. Not only buy them, but recommend them for people that are buying their first computers and never had contact with Windows. If they are going to give any serious use for the computer (that meaning, no mass marketed games), they will not miss anything on Windows. Peace.

Re:Well, people, time to cough up the dough (2, Interesting)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271655)

In a way it might have been better if it were placed at the same price point as windows. A better profit margin on the Linux PC's might inspire dell to give them a very visible face..

Re:Well, people, time to cough up the dough (1)

neersign (956437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272499)

If they are the same price, then what would the benefit of buying a box with Linux preinstalled be? One of the selling points of Linux is that it is less expensive than Windows, and the total cost of the computer should show that. If it costs the same as it does coming with Windows, then I can see more people simply buying the windows option just so they can have Windows if they want it in the future or so they could possibly sell it (not sure if that's legal or not, but wouldn't stop many I'm sure). The price difference is needed to attract customersIt would be much nicer if Dell would put the Windows, FreeDOS, and Ubuntu options right next to each other so a direct comparison could be made between the cost difference, but I think the argument about unsuspecting customers picking Linux by accident does hold some wieght. I still think a link on the side much like their "looking for windows xp?" link would be a good idea so people don't have to explicitly type in a url like dell.com/linux or dell.com/open to find these computers.

Re:Well, people, time to cough up the dough (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272609)

If they are the same price, then what would the benefit of buying a box with Linux preinstalled be?

Security and Stability.

Re:Well, people, time to cough up the dough (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272579)

Not really. Something like that would only hurt the people trying to get their refunds for the MS crap they didn't want but were forced to buy. It would also be used as fodder by MS in their "Get the Facts" crap about the cost of linux.

Re:Well, people, time to cough up the dough (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272019)

Provided they start selling in Norway before I find that my present system is insufficient to meet my needs I will with high probability get a notebook from a vendor with good Linux support. If the price is fair that may very well be Dell. So, well, IF they ship to Norway, and IF they have better Linux support than my alternatives here, and IF they are priced fairly I will buy one. However, lets get one thing clear. We owe them nothing. If their Linux machines are good and fairly priced they will sell on their own merit. If not, Dell messed up. I will buy whichever notebook has the best Linux supported hardware within my budget. If that is a Dell, then it will be a dell. If it is a thinkpad, it will be a thinkpad. Tho I do admit, I am willing to tilt the scale by about $100 if I can avoid giving my money to Microsoft. Call me a zealot but the more I hear about Microsoft the more keen I am not to support that kind of behavior. MSFT is the software market version of the high school bully, which explains pretty well why geeks around the world would love to give them the finger at every opportunity.

Re:Well, people, time to cough up the dough (1, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272033)

After all the comments that Dell should sell Linux machines, and that they shouldn't charge more for them than the Linux one, it is time to put your money where your mouth is and start buying these beauties.

I'm not buying a laptop until quad-core units roll out.

It's not enough to put Linux on a laptop I don't want and expect me to buy it.

If you want to pay for me to buy a laptop I don't want, though, that would be okay.

Re:Well, people, time to cough up the dough (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19272151)

They're shipping with a gnome desktop. As far as I'm concerned that's as bad as running windows. I think I'll pass.

Re:Well, people, time to cough up the dough (4, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272255)

Why -- can't you spell "sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop", or something?

Re:Well, people, time to cough up the dough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19272423)

... it is time to put your money where your mouth is and start buying these beauties.
Until Dell wakes up and fixes its crappy (IMHO) customer service operations, I don't care what operating system it has. I'm not buying it and I'm not recommending it to anyone else.

Re:Well, people, time to cough up the dough (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272653)

Ok, I just bought one!

Anyway (-1, Troll)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271585)

As I see the situation: those are are technically minded and wanted to taste something different have experimented with Linuzzz at this time and are able to download and install the thing /almost) without help, so they are not the target of this new item.

Those who are not so technically minded and buy the thing candidly thinking that they will come home and install World of Warcraft or Photoshop and use iTunes will be having a hard time with this...

So really, why don't pay, say 10 USD more to get Windows and THEN if you like to be cool, get the Linuzz pain and install it?

I must say that I'm really skeptic about this whole thing.... but who knows... After all we all know that THIS is the year of Linuzzz on the desktop.

Re:Anyway (4, Insightful)

jomas1 (696853) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271725)

As I see the situation: those are are technically minded and wanted to taste something different have experimented with Linuzzz at this time and are able to download and install the thing /almost) without help, so they are not the target of this new item.



Those who are not so technically minded and buy the thing candidly thinking that they will come home and install World of Warcraft or Photoshop and use iTunes will be having a hard time with this...



So really, why don't pay, say 10 USD more to get Windows and THEN if you like to be cool, get the Linuzz pain and install it?



I must say that I'm really skeptic about this whole thing.... but who knows... After all we all know that THIS is the year of Linuzzz on the desktop.

I can now buy a 64 bit computer with 4 gigs of RAM that is guaranteed to work with Linux for $1000. This will allow me to have one machine that can comfortably run 1 desktop-friendly virtual machine and several developer-friendly virtual machines using Xen or VmWare. Last week I would have to wonder if my $1000 "bargain" would have caused me lots of grief because of Linux incompatibilities. Dell just eased my mind and made a grand off of me.

Re:Anyway (1)

TheBig1 (966884) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271911)

Could you please post the computer (model, additions, etc) that you purchased? I am in the market for a new laptop myself, and am looking for one like you mentioned here (similar requirements, for VM's, etc). While the Ubuntu Dell laptop is too underpowered for my liking, I am considering a Dell to support them for their Linux support...

Thanks

Re:Anyway (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271945)

check out system 76 [system76.com] . all ubuntu prebuilts. and i hear their support is excellent.

Re:Anyway (1)

jomas1 (696853) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272127)

Could you please post the computer (model, additions, etc) that you purchased? I am in the market for a new laptop myself, and am looking for one like you mentioned here (similar requirements, for VM's, etc). While the Ubuntu Dell laptop is too underpowered for my liking, I am considering a Dell to support them for their Linux support...

Thanks
Ok, it's $1000 because I already have a monitor and because of the typical Dell instant discounts.

Dell Dimension E520N
Upgrade Processor to most expensive option Intel® Core(TM) 2 E6420 Duo Processor(4MB L2 cache,2.13GHZ,1066FSB)
Select Ubuntu 7.04 w/o support
Select no monitor
Upgrade to 4 gigs of RAM
Select standard HardDrive 250 GB
Select DVD Burner upgrade
Select Standard Graphics option
Select Standard Sound Card
Select No Speakers

Total $909

Re:Anyway (1)

TheBig1 (966884) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272191)

Oh, I misunderstood you - I thought that was for a laptop w/ 4GB. I thought it was too good to be true! 8-)

Cheers

Re:Anyway (1)

tanguyr (468371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271849)

Those who are not so technically minded and buy the thing candidly thinking that they will come home and install World of Warcraft or Photoshop and use iTunes will be having a hard time with this...

That's kind of unlikely, given that the windows and linux versions are not on the same page, so you really have to *want* to buy a linux machine. I'm sure there will be a few people out there who will do what you describe, but, really, anybody that dim would have problems with any operating system.

Re:Anyway (2, Insightful)

icebones (707368) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271855)

this is the main reason I'm havn't switched. I put together an old dell cpx for my new business and wanted, really wanted to just install Ubuntu on it and be done. You know, start the biz on open source from the start. But my primary application was going to be dreamweaver which doesn't run on linux. I looked for a good linux alt, but there isn't one. the best i could come up with was NVU and it doesn't come close. So I installed an old copy of 2000 on it and went on, wondering just how much longer i will have to wait to finally rid myself of M$.

Re:Anyway (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272305)

Hopefully you'll only have to wait 1.5 to 2 years is my guess. Especially if the Dell boxes start to take off.

Re:Anyway (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272643)

Those who are not so technically minded and buy the thing candidly thinking that they will come home and install World of Warcraft or Photoshop and use iTunes will be having a hard time with this...


World of Warcraft runs under Wine and Cedega, but to be honest if you are looking for a gaming machine you are probably unlikely to go for a machine with a GMA950 card anyway ( thou again, World of Warcraft does run on it, albeit with lower performance than other cards ). Unless you actually work in the publishing industry the GIMP is probably a good enough replacement for Photoshop, and if you really do need Photoshop and nothing else then you are probably well aware what you need to run it. iTunes is a problem, but to be honest that is due to the DRM and there are alternatives, such as http://www.emusic.com/ [emusic.com] , which are both cheaper and give you songs in a more portable format.

I wouldn't be overly concerned. In worst case scenario you will end up buying a Windows license, so worst comes to worst you pay a bit more than having windows pre-installed and you get a computer without the OEM crapware. Quite a few Windows users would probably prefer that tbh.

Comparisons? (5, Interesting)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271605)

Comparing identical models is interesting, and it's good to know the size of the 'Windows Tax' is around $50 (as many suspected), but this figure isn't an objective truth, for several reasons:
  • Ubuntu can run well on cheaper hardware than Vista (mainly RAM and video, if you want Aero). So comparing the same hardware means one OS will run better than the other. (Note: on the other hand Ubuntu needs more expensive hardware in some areas, like Wifi, due to lack of good drivers for cheap Broadcom devices. But this is negligible, and also drivers are now coming out.)
  • Comparing to Vista Home Basic may not be entirely fair, if most users in fact purchase Home Premium ($30 more via Dell, I believe). Indeed some have said that Home Basic is hopelessly crippled. But this is of course debatable.

Re:Comparisons? (1)

Ravnen (823845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272001)

Ubuntu can run well on cheaper hardware than Vista (mainly RAM and video, if you want Aero). So comparing the same hardware means one OS will run better than the other.
I don't think Vista Home Basic includes Aero, which is why it has lower hardware requirements, including half the RAM and lower video card requirements, than the more expensive versions of Vista.

Re:Comparisons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19272017)

"Ubuntu can run well on cheaper hardware than Vista (mainly RAM and video, if you want Aero)."

Bullshit. You're comparing apples to apple juice. Compare Vista with Aero to Ubuntu with Beryl or an appropriate compositing engine, with all the appropriate bells and whistles turned on, and then compare Vista with "Windows Classic" to Ubuntu without the compositing and transparency. Then back it up. You can't just say "well I think Linux is faster". The standard Slashdot crowd will simply accept it, but those of us who don't blindly subscribe to the groupthink would like some support, otherwise your argument is useless.

crapware (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19271625)

Many value PC sellers try to make up for the cost of a Windows license by bundling demo and trial versions of software such as AOL (affectionately known as "crapware")

Nearly every copy of Linux that I tried installs all kinds of programs that I have no use for. How is this any different? Obviously the makers of Linux are being paid by the develepers to add in these "demo" versions, but they're to dumb to put in the links to go buy the full versions.

Re:crapware (0, Redundant)

RaNdOm OuTpUt (928053) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271897)

Details, please.

Re:crapware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19272611)

Do a desktop Ubuntu install. OpenOffice gets installed by default. I would much rather teTeX, thanks.

Yes, I know package management is just a sudo apt-get away.

oh goody... (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271627)

windows users have the option of configuring their PC so it's more expensive. that makes me feel a lot better about the price of a prebuilt with Ubuntu.

no wait, no i'm still pissed that the default windows prebuilt would be cheaper.

Re:oh goody... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19271915)

What if MS just offered their OS for free.

I bet the women around here would still whine.

What you pay for ... (4, Insightful)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271639)

What you pay for is garanteed hardware compatibility.

No modem, no driver problem (3, Interesting)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271903)

And one way they achieved compatibility with Ubuntu was to pull out the modem!
As far as I can see, there's no way to configure a modem into the non-laptop models.

Re:No modem, no driver problem (4, Funny)

glwtta (532858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271997)

As far as I can see, there's no way to configure a modem into the non-laptop models.

A what?

Re:No modem, no driver problem (2, Funny)

Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272069)

Modulator-demodulator.

It's a fancy sound card, it makes all sorts of cool tones and whistles.

Re:No modem, no driver problem (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272025)

Dell should have a link to buy an external modem if you really need one /that/ badly.

Ideally an RS-232 one.

Re:No modem, no driver problem (1)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272213)

I'd be just fine with a softmodem so long as Dell can provide a Linux driver for it. Of course that's the issue at hand.

And Dell does offer an internal modem in the FreeDOS version of the E520N.

Re:No modem, no driver problem (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272293)

Intel's softmodems work well in Linux. I have direct experience with the 536EP, and I expect the 537EP would be the same.

Proprietary driver, though. That's why I'd prefer an RS-232 modem if I was still stuck on dialup; then at most I'd just need to know the proper initialization string.

Re:No modem, no driver problem (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272225)

If it's not a laptop, you can add a modem later for five bucks. Big dealy, yo.

Re:No modem, no driver problem (2, Insightful)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272555)

If it's not a laptop, you can add a modem later for five bucks. Big dealy, yo.

The whole point is guaranteed compatibility (i.e. "hassle free"). We want Dell to use their might to improve the driver situation for Linux.

BTW, I totally understand that in the amazingly short time-frame Dell launched this, it's not realistic to expect that they could solve a problem that the Linux community has been just living with for years. Kudos to Dell for what they've accomplished so far.

But I still hope they find a sane way to offer a compatible modem.

50$ is just the start (4, Insightful)

tanguyr (468371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271671)

Once you start adding the price of office and other commercial software with a solid foss alternative the gap widens even more. Of course, that's if you don't count the cost of your time spent managing your computer and its software. Depending on how familiar you are with one OS or the other, that could be a lot. Most importantly, linux should not be promoted as " just" a low cost alternative to windows. Keep in mind that it's also higher quality ;) (i can hear the hackles rising from here)

Re:50$ is just the start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19272321)

Customized E520 with identical configuration without monitor Ubuntu was $140 cheaper than Windows

No 3D in laptops. (0)

strredwolf (532) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271695)

Where's the ATI or NVidia cards? All we have now is the Intel cards for the E1505N, and right now they're only good for 2D.

Re:No 3D in laptops. (2, Insightful)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272015)

I think the goal was to have good open source drivers, ATI and nVidia haven't quite stepped up to the plate on that yet. I hope this may cause them to put a little more effort into either open sourcing their drivers, or improving their closed source ones.

Re:No 3D in laptops. (2, Informative)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272145)

If you want a state of the art games machine, Ubuntu is the wrong base anyway. Sure, the latest NVidia and ATI graphics cards are far more powerful, but the Intel cards have quite enough oomph for anything you will want to run on Linux desktop in practice, even Beryl.

I am personally delighted that Dell is offering good practical machines that should just work. People who buy these should end up as happy customers. In the long term, that is good for both Dell and Linux.

Re:No 3D in laptops. (1)

Lothsahn (221388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272275)

Did you even check out the site? Both desktops offer an NVidia 7300 w/TurboCache. In fact, it's the default configuration for the XPS model.

Not exactly a screaming fast card, but it's got 3D capability.

He said LAPTOPS, knucklehead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19272439)

Talk about the pot accusing the kettle of not checking things out!

Available outside US? (2, Interesting)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271697)

Dell has being offering Windowless PCs for a long time, but only from their US website.
Just wondering if this is also the case for the Ubuntu deal?

Re:Available outside US? (1)

levell (538346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271933)

This is US only at the moment. Hopefully they'll roll it out to the UK and elsewhere soon!

Re:Available outside US? (2, Informative)

umStefa (583709) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272491)

Well I know for fact that Dell's with Linux are NOT available in Canada.

Like comparsion with Vista Home Premium (1)

Gonarat (177568) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271731)

I'm glad that Nat had to use Vista Home Premium in most of his examples -- I imagine that most people would want Home Premium if they were going to use Vista.

I also wonder what the price difference would be if XP Media Edition or XP Pro were still available.

The nice thing about Ubuntu for the home user is that most everything you need is either available or easy to install. I have been using Ubuntu dual boot with XP Pro on my laptop, and the only complaints I have is that wireless support could be better (although this has improved with 7.04), and that Linux drivers are not available for everything. I'm glad that Dell is offering Ubuntu as an option -- I think Vista could use some competition, especially on the price.

Re:Like comparsion with Vista Home Premium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19272039)

Actually you get Vista Media Center with the premium version, that is more than worth the price to get the OS upgrade.

Last I checked Ubuntu didn't seem to have a working Media Center.

am I the only person (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271853)

who's not seeing these products for sale at dell.com ? Also, as someone else has mentioned, a measly $50 saving is pretty worthless unless you're trying to cram the price right down. I which case you'll be buying the cheapest computer. Which they're not offering Ubuntu on; clever.

Not compelling enough (0)

tb()ne (625102) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271865)

I went to configure an E1505N laptop. With a 2.0 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM, and 120 GB HD it totaled just under $1000. At that price, I'm more inclined to get the comparable MacBook ($1300) which is better in a number of ways (thinner, slightly faster CPU, built-in camera,...) and can run Ubuntu through VMware. Hopefully, Dell will break into the linux market with these offerings and eventually have a larger/better selection in the future.

wow no way! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19271893)

in related news: fire is hot

Can you geeks make up your minds? (3, Interesting)

Manitcor (218753) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271927)

First it's

"wahhhh no OEM vendor will put *nix as an option on machines, whaa we have limited support, waahhh if we were more mainstream regular users would see how great *nix is"

Then it's

"Yaaaa go Dell, offering us what we want, give us the choice and we will show you that there is a market for linux."

Now it's

"Who cares if dell is offering linux, i can install it myself for free anyway or I can put together a better computer with bubble gum and bailing wire and make it run off a watch micro-processor. Regular people don't want linux blah blah blah"

You folks need to make up your minds. I think this is a great thing personally. I run both Windows and *nix systems and I used to be all about putting together my own PC's but now I have a life and other priorities rather than piecing together a custom system or digging up the information necessary to install some obscure video driver to make my selections work with my distro. I welcome being able to buy a pre-build and compatible *nix system from a vendor whom I can choke and yell at for anything gone wrong (hardware wise).

And you know what? That's what average folks want. In order to adopt linux as a home platform in Joe 6-pack's home you need that brand, you need that support and you need that gaurentee. Yes some people are afraid of changes and upgrade issues but its only more aggravated by the whole "the Internet is your support" mantra. Joe 6-pack doesn't want to read a 5 message boards to find out he needs to hand install some driver or app to get the feature he wants or to fix his machine. Granted a properly configured *nix environment should be rock stable but Joe 6-pack has been living in an MS world and needs to feel comfortable that he will have the same level of support he always has had.

Right now dell is offering these machines on a limited basis and is targeting the market segment that asked for these machines in the first place. If we don't step up to the plate and show Dell that this is a worthwhile idea then it will be scrapped before it has a chance to get going.

Personally I've been in the market for a new box and getting one ready to go with a warranty and a single support department to deal with makes the decision a lot easier and a lot less time consuming.

Yes I did save some money over a windows machine but that was never really the point of getting Dell to sell these things.

Re:Can you geeks make up your minds? (4, Insightful)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272071)

Thats the thing about a community, they seldom speak wit hone unified voice.

Re:Can you geeks make up your minds? (3, Insightful)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272073)

I have this same qualm to some degree. I think it's stupid to put Ubuntu on desktops. Anyone who is interested in Linux will most likely be interested in building their own computer. Where it gets interesting is on the laptop. I can't build one of my own, so I am interested in buying one that supports Linux. Since I would have to buy a manufactured one anyways, the Dell is quite attractive for its compatibility. Unfortunately, I would like to see some more powerful laptops in the lineup. The current single model isn't really up to par.

Re:Can you geeks make up your minds? (1)

Manitcor (218753) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272169)

I can certainly agree with your sentiment about their single laptop offering. I am throwing my wallet in the ring on one of the desktop systems for now and will patiently wait to see if they offer more options on laptops. My current system has about 1 year of life left in it and then it will either be a Linux based laptop or an Apple. Here is to hoping Dell actually sees the support they are expecting and expand the line.

Re:Can you geeks make up your minds? (2, Funny)

f00man (1056198) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272373)

Make up OUR minds? The only thing we slashbots agree on is that free beer is good.... unless it's that watered down American swill. In that case, we'll brew our own, thank you.

I'll buy one... (3, Interesting)

jonnyj (1011131) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271931)

...when they're offered for sale in the UK. It's a no-brainer. Dell's laptops are usually priced competitively and the $50 saving will add to that competitive edge. But, most of all, it'll take away the anxiety... Will the wireless work? Will I struggle to get the screen resolution right? Will the onboard ethernet show up? What about suspend?

In the light of this announceent, it'll be hard for me to justify buying my next laptop from anyone other than Dell.

DELL is selling Linux! (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19271995)

I would just like to step away from the conversation for a moment and just focus on one thing. DELL is selling Linux! This is a milestone for FOSS and I just wanted to point that out.

Re:DELL is selling Linux! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19272461)

Dell Has Been selling linux that isn't news. What's news is that the coolest most hip linux is now being sold on home user class hardware (As opposed to the workstation class hardware on the business side)

Due to different hardware (2, Interesting)

Tharkban (877186) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272009)

When I looked at the same configuration for the laptop 1505N vs 1505 the price difference was about $100 but was explained more by the lack of the ATI graphics card in the linux model. The hardware differences are that the linux model does not include the ATI graphics card and includes the more expensive Intel wireless card.

Re:Due to different hardware (1)

Lorkki (863577) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272651)

From the notes beneath the configuration details:

Here, the graphics card difference is much larger, although the X1400 is still in the "Very Low End" range for Graphics - this is worth $50 at most, which is still less than the $80 difference. And, of course, the Intel card is better in that it actually works well on Ubuntu.

Not just $50 (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19272059)

I don't care very much about saving $50. What I care about is that it is Ubuntu Linux that just plain works out of the box.

"Linux is only free if your time is worthless." Remember that? Well, that goes for Windows too: you need to figure the cost of your time into the cost of Windows. For me, the real savings here is to just buy a laptop that will just work, and I won't need to buy antivirus and antispyware software, and run them faithfully, and administer that Windows box.

I love Ubuntu because once it's set up, it just works. Now we can buy computers already set up. Sweet.

Now you have a reasonable alternative to a Mac for relatives who aren't computer savvy. Anyone who is intimidated by administering antivirus and such, this is perfect.

Im seeing a lot made of the price difference (4, Interesting)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272093)

People are already commenting on how everyone should be able to choose between Vista/XP or Ubuntu so they can see the $50 savings on the configuration part of the process. That is not a good thing for Dell/Ubuntu because it will only cause problems. This deal was made to sell Ubuntu Dells to people who wanted that, not to give people a money saving option.

Know this...A ton of people buy dells everyday and out of those, many are buying their first computer or are generally considered novice users. Now Dell is also a sort of bargain type place, so people may be more frugal, not all, but certainly a good amount. Stay with me here...

So now you have people customizing their computer, choosing Ubuntu to save $50, $80 whatever it is, getting the computer at home and then having the realization they just got what they paid for. They will not be happy. Dell will have to field that support call from people who are CLUELESS to what Linux or an OS is. Many of those support calls will end with, "you probably want to buy Windows" and as a result, that computer user just had a nightmare experience and will never consider a Linux distro again. This is not a 'what if' scenario, this will happen and happen often if people are given the choice right off like people here want to see.

The point is this, if they list Ubuntu at $50 cheaper than windows to everyone with soliciting the Ubuntu option, it will be the end of this deal and it will not take long. The only way it would work is if Dell could manage to turn a profit from selling a machine loaded with Ubuntu, fielding all the support calls and then selling Windows at a higher cost to unsatisfied customers for a net gain that is worth that effort. So please, stop asking for equality in the OS choice screen during customization. If you get greedy like that, the whole program is probably going to go under. Be happy they are selling the boxes to you, not to your neighbor who does not know how to spell Linux.

Re:Im seeing a lot made of the price difference (1)

sherriw (794536) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272449)

Wow.... well said. Very well said.

The headline price is critical (2, Interesting)

mtippett (110279) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272141)

The headline price for the different operating systems are the critical steps in deciding which one to go down and look at.

Vista E520 - http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetail s.aspx/dimen_e520?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19 [dell.com] - $369
FreeDos E520n - http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx ?c=us&cs=19&kc=6V440&l=en&oc=DDCWAN3&s=dhs [dell.com] - $679
Linux E520n - http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx ?c=us&cs=19&kc=6V440&l=en&oc=DDCWAV3&s=dhs [dell.com] - $599

The first pass, 'Damn, that Linux is expensive, even more expensive than Vista', the reflexive response is that these are the same models and to assume that you customize up, not down.

Re:The headline price is critical (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272617)

After following your links... and then going to actually customize the Vista E520, you realize that there is no monitor included in that $369 price. Then you customize the Linux E520n and realize it comes with an 17" analog flat panel monitor... which when you remove it, makes the Linux E520n $409. Yes, it is still $40 more, but I don't care to go through the list to make a true apples to apples comparison. In fact, you can't, the E520n comes with a Core 2 Duo E4300 and the Vista E520 comes with Pentium D Celeron. Okay, since I'm on lunch... I found the Vista E520 model that offers the Intel E4300. It starts at $679 with the same monitor (remember the E520n starts at $599). Removing the monitor brings it to $549. Vista E520n with Intel E4300: http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx ?c=us&cs=19&l=en&oc=DDCWAA3&s=dhs [dell.com] - $679 Ubuntu E520n with Intel E4300: http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx ?c=us&cs=19&kc=6V440&l=en&oc=DDCWAV3&s=dhs [dell.com] - $599 Still not apples to apples comparison.. but close than FUD.

That's great but.. (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19272263)

Does it run Linu... oh.. nm...

Say what you like.... (2, Interesting)

Interested Bystander (1106793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272307)

competition is a good thing. I hope this works out well. The company I work for is a big backer of Linux, but I am stuck with WinXP because that is what I am told to use. I am sure that some of the apps I have to use would not work. Ubuntu distro is soon to be on my box at home and my employer is promising training in Linux this October.

Small glitch on the page (1)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272329)

I went to the page a UMass-Lowell, and then priced out the Dimension E505 at Home Premium and 1GB ram at $429, and $399 w/ Home Basic. I don't see where the extra cost he reports comes from. (I confirm his other prices -- it costs roughly $50 to add Vista to any of the others.)

That $50 difference.... (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272521)

will go nicely towards games to play on those PCs. Oh wait....

Where is it? (2, Interesting)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 7 years ago | (#19272675)

I go to www.dell.com and I do not see anywhere to select Linux. Can anyone even get to it from the main page?

It may be a bait and switch. "Here you can get a Linux desktop by following this link." Posts link on a few sites, "Look we only had 50 sales, no one wants linux."

Can anyone get to the page from the main dell.com site?
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