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Dell to Offer More Linux PCs

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the one-good-turn dept.

Linux Business 282

head_dunce writes "According to this article, Mark Shuttleworth from the Ubuntu camp says Dell is seeing a demand for the Linux-based PC and, "There are additional offerings in the pipeline." I'm starting to see flashbacks of the days when Microsoft partnered up with IBM to gain control of the desktop market. Will other Linux flavors find their way to the likes of Lenovo or HP, etc, or will Ubuntu claim the desktop market working with other PC manufacturers?"

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Advantage lost (3, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006493)

Dell's got to be hating this.

That massive discount Microsoft gives them over smaller OEMs is Dell's biggest competitive advantage. Now they'll have to compete more directly with local whitebox builders.

They don't have much choice though. The local box builders have already switched to Ubuntu as their OS of choice. Dell has to match them or be swamped.

Re:Advantage lost (5, Insightful)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006519)

Much as I love Ubuntu, I've not heard of any small or even medium sized OEM looking to market to the everyday PC consumer "switching to Ubuntu as their OS of choice".

Re:Advantage lost (1)

sydsavage (453743) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007965)

Here's one off the top of my head here in Phoenix. They were committed to going all linux (SuSE, at the time) at least 3-4 years ago.

http://www.redsevenlinux.com/ [redsevenlinux.com]

Re:Advantage lost (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20006523)

I think if they were to hate anything about this, it would be Mark running his mouth off about their internal company information.

Re:Advantage lost (3, Interesting)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006535)

Which are these smaller OEM's BTW, who have shifted to Ubuntu already?
I am not aware of any?

Can you please elaborate?

Re:Advantage lost (5, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006791)

I am not aware of any?
Can you please elaborate?

Look in your local newspaper.

There'll be a dozen shopfront computer stores advertising pre-built computer systems. They build them in their backrooms and sell them to local families and businesses. Those guys pay wholesale prices of about AU$160.00 for Vista home premium, AU$320.00 for Office 2007 Standard and AU$50.00 for Norton Antivirus.

They can retail a Sempron/Ubuntu home or small office system for less than it costs them in wholesale MS/Antivirus licenses.

That's what Dell (and the second tier vendors) are scared of. If they drop the ball now, and let these little guys get a big enough foothold in the home/SME market, they could be in trouble.

Re:Advantage lost (3, Funny)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007027)

Ha! You didn't count on the fact that my hometown is incredibly tiny, and therefore has no such advertising.

Re:Advantage lost (3, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007073)

Just so you don't feel left out, here's an Aussie example for you to look at... http://www.cheapestpc.com.au/ [cheapestpc.com.au]

Re:Advantage lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20007825)

Zazz had a Athlon 64 with Ubuntu three weeks back. Got one!

http://www.zazz.com.au/pastproducts.php?past=530 [zazz.com.au]

Re:Advantage lost (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007795)

I very much doubt that.

10 years ago, there were lots of such small businesses - but they can't compete with Dell on price and never really could. The thing is, when most of your customers aren't terribly Internet savvy and/or don't feel comfortable with mail order, that doesn't much matter. You're only competing with other, similar stores with similar overheads in your area.

TBH, I'd welcome a return to there being a number of small high-street computer retailers in almost any town - granted, many were appalling, but there were always one or two which were actually pretty good. And mail order doesn't help when you need the item NOW, or it's so small that it will cost more to ship than it's worth.

Re:Advantage lost (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007801)

Not even that, here in Germany the company that owned and now rebranded the european wal-mart stores is every now and then selling 300 euro boxes with lindows or something of that kind, simple celeron, 500 GB disks, full multimedia etc.

Re:Advantage lost (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20007913)

The Scales have begun to swing toward Linux, this is
the catalyzing event for Linux that we have been waiting for.

The next year or so is going to be a lot of fun if Ubuntu takes off well.

Ex-MislTech

Re:Advantage lost (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#20008125)

There'll be a dozen shopfront computer stores advertising pre-built computer systems. They build them in their backrooms and sell them to local families and businesse

It may be different in Australia...

The storefront builders are as defunct as the dodo here.

They are not to be found in the phone book. They are not advertising in the metro news or the local shopping papers. They have long since disappeared from the bulletin boards at the neighborhood mini-marts.

The shift to the laptop may have been the finish.

But the market for PCs in the states has always been strongest at mid-line and not at the bottom - and at the bottom you are competing with Vista at WalMart's OEM price, and at mid-line with HP and Dell.

Re:Advantage lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20007523)

http://www.hgspot.hr/ [hgspot.hr] - 'Ubuntu Linux u HGspotu'
http://www.hgspot.hr/komponente.aspx?grupa=1 [hgspot.hr] - more Ubuntu than Windows configurations (left frame indicates top 3 products to be ubuntu based configurations)

Re:Advantage lost (1)

Poppler (822173) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006573)

Hating it? I don't see their competition selling desktop Linux to home users.

Re:Advantage lost (3, Interesting)

olyar (591892) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006751)

Actually, I would say a much larger advantage is that they have a good name. Businesses want to buy PC's that will work and that come ready to set up quickly. If you buy from Dell (or HP) you know that will be the case. Buy from others and you never know.

Their brand is their advantage, not the few bucks per machine discount they can get from Microsoft. That helps profits, but its not what keeps them in business.

Re:Advantage lost (4, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006927)

If you buy from Dell (or HP) you know that will be the case. Buy from others and you never know.

If by "others" you mean a name randomly chosen from the Yellow Pages, yes. But if it's a local vendor who you can talk to and check his references, it becomes a much safer proposition, and a lot less hassle than dealing with an enormous company that makes you press a dozen buttons on your phone before you can speak to anyone, who is never the same person who you talked with before and so you have to explain your problem over and over again.

Re:Advantage lost (1)

drgs100 (1002474) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007759)

You make very good points but you forget senior managment make these purchasing decisions.

Re:Advantage lost (5, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006855)

Dell's got to be hating this.

That massive discount Microsoft gives them over smaller OEMs is Dell's biggest competitive advantage. Now they'll have to compete more directly with local whitebox builders.

They don't have much choice though. The local box builders have already switched to Ubuntu as their OS of choice. Dell has to match them or be swamped.


And there was me thinking that Dell's biggest competitive advantages were its huge purchasing power on all components, not just operating systems, and its brand-name recognition.

I guess I was wrong. Who knew that Dell was paying the same price for CPUs, RAM, hard drives, etc that outfits run out of the owners' garages were paying?

Re:Advantage lost (3, Interesting)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007559)

The margin on hardware is much smaller than it is on software, MS can give maybe a 70% discount whereas they might be able to get 10% on hardware.

Re:Advantage lost (4, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007701)

The margin on hardware is much smaller than it is on software, MS can give maybe a 70% discount whereas they might be able to get 10% on hardware.

Dell might be able to get 10 percent on hardware?

If you think that the difference between the price that Dell pays for the average piece of hardware and the price that a one-man operation would pay for the same hardware is 10 percent then you're nuts.

Dell undoubtably buys directly from manufacturers. When it buys Intel CPUs, it buys them directly from Intel. When it buys Belkin accessories, it buys them directly from Belkin. When Dell buys, there's no middleman.

When a one-man operation buys Intel CPUs or Belkin accessories then it buys them from a distributor. There might be one, two or maybe even three such middlemen between it and Intel or Belkin. Each middleman takes a cut, which drives the price that the one-man operation pays for the products higher and higher. How much is that cut? Well, 10 percent per distributor would be a fair figure.

(If you want to get a fairer idea of distribution costs, take the cost per 1,000 units that is typically quoted regarding CPUs and compare that to the typical single unit street price. Allow a small (maybe 5-10 percent) profit for the vendor and you'll see that the distribution chain takes a fair chunk along the way.)

And all that's before you talk about how much of each product is bought by Dell. There's a big difference between maybe buying 5 CPUs a week through the channel and buying almost 200,000 a week directly from the manufacturer.

In 2006, Dell accounted for 16.1 percent of the 59 million PCs shipped worldwide. Last year, Dell shipped 950 million PCs.

Are you really telling me that you think that, with that sort of buying power, you don't think that Dell gets deals that give it a more than 10 percent hardware cost price advantage?

Re:Advantage lost (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 7 years ago | (#20008047)

Dell accounted for 16.1 percent of the 59 million PCs shipped worldwide. Last year, Dell shipped 950 million PCs.

that's some weird math ;)

Re:Advantage lost (2, Interesting)

slobarnuts (666254) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006863)

Please, Dell still gets computer parts at a much bigger discount than Bob and Jimbo's Super Tech Computers Inc does. Even if Bob and Jimbo's Super Tech Computer Inc starts to preinstall Linux with their computer, they wont be able to compete price-wise unless they start using cheaper and unreliable parts.

So no, they probably are not hating this. In fact, from their actions "Hey Dude, were gonna sell more Linux Dells", they actually like it.

Dell got a big discount on Ubuntu (2, Informative)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007263)

I have it on good authority that Michael took Mark out to dinner and negotiated a huge 80% discount on the list price of Ubuntu. This was on the basis of the discount that Bill gave him when he took him out to dinner.

Now: 80% discount on $0 is ....

Re:Advantage lost (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007799)

Why would Dell be threatened?

Wouldn't customers stay with them because of their superior support and reliability, and don't forget the "Dude, you're getting a Dell!" guy.

Seriously, even if Ubuntu becomes the Evil Overlord Operating System in fifteen years time that Windows is today I'd still be happy because it proves that the EOOS can be taken down, or at least challenged.

I never liked the argument that one OS allows for easy development because all an OS is is a collection of semi-automatically run applications that help you do things on the computer.

good. (1)

overcaffein8d (1101951) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006521)

glad i waited.

oh, and i really don't know if other OEMs will start to sell Linux... but where will linux go if they don't advertise it? linspire was a good idea-- they advertised, and (some) people bought. [though, i would have marketed it differently]. right now, i fear that it's only /.'ers and the like who even know that dell is selling linux--and what linux is in the first place.

The year of change (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006527)

This is awesome. I haven't felt so happy about the computer world since I was trying to get my commodore64 to flash the boarder colors as quickly as possible. We have Dell selling Linux, (and apparently it's selling well), we have Macintosh sales up 33% from the same quarter last year (and that's even WITH people waiting for Leopard to come out), and Vista adoption is slow. Suddenly it looks as though finally the innovation stranglehold that Microsoft has held over us for many years is coming to an end. I'm not saying Microsoft will go away, but cross-platform compatibility will become the rule, not the exception. It will be easy to choose whichever platform you like, without worrying about not being able to run half your applications. Freedom will be a realistic choice.
I suppose it was really inevitable in the long run, but I am happy to see the walls finally cracking.

Re:The year of change (4, Insightful)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006615)

While I would love to see that come to pass as much as anyone, don't count on it just yet. There is still a very long road ahead and it's going to be painful in many respects and it's still not a sure thing. When five or six major OEMs start to offer a linux distro and the demand stays I'll start to hope, but right now it is just too early to tell.

Re:The year of change (1)

martinlp (904606) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007503)

Your wrong... it is a sure thing. its just a matter of time.

But it is a major event (1)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 7 years ago | (#20008073)

When five or six major OEMs start to offer a linux distro

The main issue is that it is now possible to buy a preinstalled desktop/laptop. Which effectively lowers the treshold considerably for entry by less tech savy customers.

A second, very important point is that the perception changes: Linux on the desktop, and Ubuntu in particular, are now enterprise ready because one of the big names offers them. And with optional support.

Re:The year of change (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006651)

and Vista adoption is slow
It would be very interesting to know how many copies of Vista have been sold that are not OEM pre-installs. The small number of people that I know that have bought PCs with Vista are dissatisfied with them (one returned the PC). The latest complaint that I heard was that IE does not work properly under Vista.

Re:The year of change (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006845)

I actually had a friend who bought Vista shortly after it was released hoping it would fix some computer problems they were having, read about it online some, and returned it. Good thing too, turned out the problems were just poor webcam drivers. Woulda been a shame to waste all that money.

Re:The year of change (3, Informative)

yvajj (970228) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006921)


I'm guessing you're either a linux or mac fan. I have 2 copies of Vista running, one on my laptop and one on my desktop. Both work flawlessly. I have not experienced any problems with IE. I've used both the 64 bit and 32 bit versions of IE without any problem. The only issue I've run into is that there isn't a 64 bit version of Flash, so I'm forced to use the 32 bit version of IE until Adobe release an update. This isn't really a Vista issue.

Can you back up your claim with specific numbers and details of problems, or are you just spouting FUD?

Re:The year of change (2, Informative)

J.Y.Kelly (828209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007285)

Well I had my first experience of Vista last night, setting up a 2GHz Celeron laptop a friend had just bought which came with Home basic.

Whilst everything worked OK and actually looked pretty good I was hugely unimpressed with how slow it was. Opening an application like firefox took 20-30 seconds and logging a user in or out seemed to take forever. Also, even though vista came pre installed it went through innumerable setup routines when first booted (including at least 2 reboots) such that I could have done a linux install in the same amount of time it took me to get to a desktop.

Were it not for my friend wanting to use a load of kids CDROMS on this machine I'd have swapped it over to linux in a heartbeat and they'd have had a much more usable machine.

Re:The year of change (4, Funny)

minus9 (106327) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007323)

A flawless operating system and no more problems with IE. This is truly a great day in history.

Re:The year of change (1)

yvajj (970228) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007401)


I'm not surprised your post is modded up... this is after all slashdot. Maybe you should try reading more carefully... I said it "worked flawlessly", meaning I haven't run into any issues; which is surprising considering that it's the initial release without any service pack yet.

This isn't the same as a flawless operating system. I don't believe there is one, and I'm skeptical that there will be one anytime in the near future.

Vista (or any other MS OS) is no more flawless than Linux or OSX. Each have their share of problems and each have their benefits.

Re:The year of change (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007461)

The only issue I've run into is that there isn't a 64 bit version of Flash, so I'm forced to use the 32 bit version of IE until Adobe release an update. This isn't really a Vista issue.

In much the same way that it's not a Linux issue that there's no native Photoshop, Outlook and various other apps which Windows users frequently raise as the problem preventing them migrating. The Vista updates will seep through in time, no doubt. The 'Microsoft Tax' of pre-installed Vista will see the install base grow with no real effort on Microsoft's part. When the market moves on to deprecate XP, I guess I'll move onto Vista.. But I'm in no hurry. Linux does most of what I want (Windows is for games, Linux for everything else). And although Windows also does most of what I want, it lets me make the personal choice that I'd rather use something with no DRM, that I'm ethically happier with.

Obligatory (2, Funny)

halfloaded (932071) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006669)

Yeah, but does it run... uhhh... Windows?

Re:Obligatory (1)

CoolVibe (11466) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007137)

Sure it does...

- Xen
- VMware
- kvm
- bochs
- qemu
- WINE (well, not an emulator, but hey...)
(and probably some more)

Re:The year of change (1)

uncreativ (793402) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006719)

I share your excitement for Apple's and Linux's recent success, however that excitement needs to be tempered by the reality that Windows is still the default standard desktop OS. One would think that with a lack luster Vista release and improvements on alternatives we would see real changes in market penetrations, but we're only talking about a couple percent of the entire market adopting MS alternatives. MS still has considerable advantages--namely since we do not yet have interoperability, many apps for businesses are only written for windows. Accounting software in paricular is an example. If all applications were written for Windows, Linux, and OSX such that the OS choice would not affect whether your critical application would run, I suspect many businesses would switch to Linux in a heartbeat, with the rest split between Windows and OSX. MS Access is only available on Windows--and many custom/highly specialised applications are written in Access. Exchange is unfortunately still the best option for shared calendaring. In business, the most successful company doesn't always have the best product to sell. Bill Gates was good at business more than technological innovation. Many of those business practices are just good business when you are small, but become barriers to competition once you have obtained a monopoly. MS is still good at business strategy. Does anyone really anticipate Office for Linux? How come we have no Outlook for Mac? Instead you have Entourage that will never have the calendaring features of Exchange. I suspect MS won't write games for OSX or Linux any time soon. With MS's multiple products tied together to the same software platform, it takes a lot to attack that position. Each linux or OSX sale has to overcome multiple MS advantages at once. The only good news is that each conversion does infact attack MS on every front and every product MS makes at once. MS doesn't just lose it's OS, but every other product they make when someone switches away from Windows. You can also be guaranteed MS will not go quietly when the going gets tough.

Re:The year of change (1)

uncreativ (793402) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006733)

before it get's pointed out...oops, entourage does i guess support calendaring/connecting to exchange

Re:The year of change (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006843)

before it get's pointed out...oops

Don't worry, I don't think anyone will be able to read that far.

Re:The year of change (1)

damista (1020989) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006833)

I fully agree with you. MS is far from dead and with what 60? 70? billion dollars in their pockets, they have a lot to throw at us. No, MS is a force that has to be reckoned with for quite some time to come. Sure, history has shown that every empire comes to an end sooner or later but in case of MS I'm afraid it will be later than sooner.

I wouldn't want MS to disappear completely anyway. A Mac or Linux monopoly would be just as bad as the MS monopoly is. My "dream" is a market in which MS holds no more than 50%. This is enough incentive for software companies to write their apps multi plattform and hardware manufactures to offer drivers for all major plattforms and not just Windows.

In regards to your last sentence, I ask myself if MS will be just as blunt as they were during the Win/OS2-war, when they threatened OEMs who dared to offer OS2 as an alternative to not sell them OEM-Versions of Windows at all. They've done it before and got away with it. So why not now? All they will get is a slap on the wrist and a fine that doesn't deserve to be called that. To really hurt MS, fines mus be in the 10 billion plus range. Everything else is peanuts.

Well, we'll see what will happen. In the meantime, I'm happy to see Dell's experiment be a success.

Re:The year of change (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007519)

.... and then I woke up.

Linux wins the low-cost computing game (5, Interesting)

paxmaniac (988091) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006551)

Linux must exploit the low cost angle to get reasonable traction in the PC market. People are starting to realize that they don't actually need the latest and greatest hardware specifications to do 95% of what they want to do with a computer.

The new $200 Asus EEE PC [wikipedia.org] could provide a big boost for Linux if it takes off. The price point makes it extremely attractive as a transportible second computer, and it could find some big markets in schools and universities.

Dell and Ubuntu (or other hardware manufacturers) could start a similar revolution in the desktop market with a very low cost and low specification machine. Especially if it is also compact and stylish.

Re:Linux wins the low-cost computing game (4, Interesting)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006811)

Actually, I think the $200 Asus EEE is more the way to go than cheap desktops. Laptops are already outselling desktops, so a mobile offering makes more sense to focus on.

More specifically, the $200 Asus EEE and things like Intel's Mobile Internet Device may bring in a new era of computer use. (The iPhone can be seen as part of that trend, btw - a small, mobile internet-capable machine; also the Nokia Tablet.) The goal should be an affordable (sub-$300) device with an attractive design, that people can use for email, social networking, web browsing, etc. It could take off among college students, for example. In fact this may be the exact goal of Intel's MID partnership with Ubuntu.

Re:Linux wins the low-cost computing game (4, Funny)

lixee (863589) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006891)

A 200$ 7" 2Gb gadget is no match for the 150$ full-blown Medison celebrity machine. I also hear it comes with a spam-proof email client. Or was it scam-proof? I forget...

Linux Becomming A Commercial Product - Thank God (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20006553)

After so many years of Linux desktops floundering around with developers pointlessly forking projects for their own egos or other useless reasons, a focus on shiny/fun to work on stuff like skinning and pointless 3D effects to 'prove' Linux was 'ahead' of OS X or Windows, and so on.

Now that commercial companies are getting more and more involved with desktop Linux we will start to see shit actually get fixed at a rapid pace. To actually have an open source unix desktop and OS with the polish of OS X and not the mess that KDE and Gnome are right now will be heaven.

Re:Linux Becomming A Commercial Product - Thank Go (1)

nnm.one (1103799) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006931)

Woah, you troll about each and every newsstory. Get a life maybe?

Uhhh.. fuck off with your spin. (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006631)

Major vendor preinstalls Linux.. people are buying it.. all you have to contribute is negative doom-saying.

Are they buying it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20006901)

The media release says "on track to meet projections". That's business code for selling, but not selling well.

Re:Are they buying it? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007499)

Actually Anonymous Coward if my sales were "on track to meet projections" I would call that a win. Disagree if you want but people are buying them like the parent said.

Dumbfuck (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20006639)

I've been mucking with Linux before 1.0. Love the way it evolved, but DROP THE FUCKING RHETORICAL QUESTION. You think everyone's a moron like you?

Linux is variety (3, Interesting)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006671)

My main concern here is how much attention "smaller" linux distros, and possibly even other kernels and POSIX systems are going to receive when Ubuntu suddenly takes 99% of the linux userbase (or rather, makes it through new users). Will we actually see more stuff getting made that's easily compatible with all distros, or is ubuntu going to set up its own funky standardizing system that pushes any other given distro back weeks on releases?

Re:Linux is variety (1)

fooqwah (1088335) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006727)

It's a fair point, but I don't see Ubuntu giving the elbow to other linux distros. Even if it does, the Linux community has a strong sense of exploration, and I think the fact that many people are constantly trying out new distros and moving on to the new 'hot' distro will keep compatibility problems at a minimum

Re:Linux is variety (1)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006799)

But my concern is that the 90% is going to be composed of people who aren't interested in playing around with other distros. Ubuntu users will want Ubuntu and will become incredibly confused when they see anything different. There's also the whole thing with Ubuntu being obsessed with python. It might mean that every single mainstream linux app in the future is going to be developed exclusively in py. :-\

Re:Linux is variety (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20007203)

It might mean that every single mainstream linux app in the future is going to be developed exclusively in py. :-\

Yeah, but I'm sure there's a downside too..

Re:Linux is variety (4, Interesting)

lixee (863589) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006947)

Nonsense. The main problems Linux have are the lack of commercial software support and hardware drivers. If Ubuntu takes off (scratch that, it already did) it'll fix both problems and that's obviously not something distro-specific. Then you're forgetting about the GPL. Last but not least, Ubuntu is Debian based and there's no way the GNU zealot over at Debian (I mean that as a compliment) will ever bend to the will of a corp. EVER!

I trust Mark. The guy transpires good faith. He's wasn't solely after money like Gates. He was the man with the vision (how long till we have nerd-cults dedicated to him?).

Re:Linux is variety (1, Funny)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007083)

(how long till we have nerd-cults dedicated to him?).
well, when i think that my mother believes as it is that jesus was an astronaut...

Re:Linux is variety (1)

nnm.one (1103799) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006955)

"My main concern here is how much attention "smaller" linux distros, and possibly even other kernels and POSIX systems are going to receive when Ubuntu suddenly takes 99% of the linux userbase"

It won't happen, new users will enjoy Ubuntu because everything will be so easy for them since the community is working FOR them, later more advanced users will switch away, Ubuntu is nothing more than piggyback riding the success and greatness of Debians (ok so an exception is 'upstart' and the artwork maybe).

I personally like Fedora, and think that it is far more professional than Ubuntu.

I'm waiting for Microsoft to drop the other shoe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20006695)

You know...I'm waiting for Microsoft to drop the other shoe. I'm waiting for a Microsoft rep to go to Dell's offices and say "You know, we really can't give you the volume discounts that we've been offering you if you continue to sell those Linux laptops". Which will be very quickly followed by Dell saying that they are phasing out their Linux line due to "lack of interest" or some such.

This is what Microsoft did with IBM in the mid-1990s when they tried to make computers with OS/2 preinstalled. [source [usdoj.gov] ]

Now, in terms of the computers Dell is selling, they're quite good. I have a full review of my experiences with the Dell 1420n Ubuntu model up on my blog [blogspot.com] . Summary: Everything works, except for suspend, which kinda-sorta-maybe works. Linux isn't quite ready for the end-user desktop yet; their are still some rough edges, such as needing to edit text files to enable WPA.

The 1420 is a little bulkier than my older Thinkpad 600-series (the late 90s version of their T series), but this is compensated for by being (pretty much) fully Linux supported.

Dell ad dream (-1, Troll)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006697)

The best Ubuntu ad, ever http://quarkblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/05/ub untu.jpg [quarkblog.org] Would Dell dare it? I? I dream on...

Re:Dell ad dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20006735)

Aaawww your link is broken. All I got is 'This page isn't redirecting correctly' and goatse.jpg on the address bar.

I wonder what they're saying in Redmond about this (1)

qweqwe321 (1097441) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006711)

...probably something along the lines of "I'm going to KILL f***ing Dell!"

Mandriva (2, Interesting)

SniperClops (776236) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006753)

I hope Mandriva gets a deal, they make the best distro IMHO. Everything just works on the desktop.

Re:Mandriva (1, Flamebait)

lakeland (218447) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006783)

Is that a troll? Would help if you back up the assertion with something (more than IMHO). Personally I don't care who gets the deal as long as it results in roughly standard-compliant comptuers - e.g. we see more of Dell pushing ATI for decent drivers. More support for decent BIOSs, better ACPI.. there are heaps of areas where a large commodity player could help simply by offering more sales.

Oh, and to copy your trollish stance, I hope Ubuntu gets the deal :-P

Re:Mandriva (1, Funny)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006815)

Both posters above me are obviously trolls. There is no redeeming quality about either of the distros they support. I know this because I use Fedora. Now THAT is a real distro. You copycat wannabees can go crawl back in your little hermit holes and listen to your MP3s. I'm gonna go be smart AND popular.

Re:Mandriva (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006821)

1.They already had one with HP. They could not break into business accounts and it was limited to congigs that were of no interest to the average business. It was also not available in the most rabidly Microsoftic countries like the UK (yep, do we like it or not, but in UK Bill rules the market, if he did not Antonio Bliar would not have tried to start his election campaigns in MSFT building in Reading for the last two elections). I had a number of shouting matches with HP resellers on the subject only to surrender and buy with Winhoze preinstalled and load Debian on it. In addition to that various business discounts usually brought the MSFT preloaded price under the level the price of the systems sold with Mandrake. So it did not make financial sense either.

2. apt-get install light. Debian derived distros have a clear and definitive "unfair" advantage over any RPM based one due to the packaging format being simply better. Ubuntu has got a head start here and Mandrake can do very little about it.

3. Resistance is futile. You shall be packaged. Size of the package base and level of quality assurance. Ubuntu has been able to build on the enormous base of packaged software in Debian and extends it even further. No other linux distro gets anywhere close. Compared to that the RedHat package base is laughable and Mandrake does not get close enough on quality assurance.

Re:Mandriva (1)

nnm.one (1103799) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007013)

RedHat is a more conservative distro where they really test each package so that it doesn't compromise the stability of the system. Now Fedora on the other hand, it has 7500+ packages, I wouldn't call that pathetic since it does include most of everything that one needs and is always bleeding-edge, compared to Ubuntu (even though Ubuntu has almost tree times more packages =/).


Go Fedora! =)

Re:Mandriva (2, Informative)

deftcoder (1090261) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007297)

Debian offers 3 versions: a stable release (currently 'Etch'), a testing release (currently 'Lenny'), and an extremely bleeding edge release (which is always called 'Sid')

Ubuntu is basically Debian Sid, but rebranded with Ubuntu artwork. Essentially, you're running Debian Sid if you use Ubuntu. (Interesting fact: Shuttleworth used to be a Debian developer/maintainer)

Personally, I use the stable version of Debian on servers and other places where security/stability is paramount. But I use the testing version on desktops, where sacrificing very, VERY good security/stability for more up to date programs is more acceptable for me. I really dislike running the unstable release, as it's usually just that.

IMO (0, Troll)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006757)

"...or will Ubuntu claim the desktop market working with other PC manufacturers?"


I hope not. Ubuntu may be good for some, but I found it to be relatively useless once I got past the eye candy.

Re:IMO (2, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007003)

What did you want to use it for? It's done everything I've asked of it (internet browsing, playing media, WoW via Wine, editing documents). What further use do you want it to be? (honest, curious question)

preconfigure (3, Insightful)

man_ls (248470) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006779)

If Dell produced a Linux Ubuntu PC configured to run with multiple monitors from the get-go, I'd buy it just to save myself the trouble.

I'm so fed up of messing up xorg.conf and having to reconfigure it every time I reboot just to get video...

Re:preconfigure (2, Insightful)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006839)

Wha? 1) Why do you have to reboot? Ever? 2) Why do you need to change xorg.conf after the first time? Ever? 3) Are you running the live copy of ubuntu?

Re:preconfigure (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006881)

I don't want to derail this into a "Let's Troubleshoot" discussion (although if you're willing to help...my e-mail is there and I'd love you forever)

1) I reboot after changing what driver I'm using for my cards. They're both ATI cards (X800 PCIe and a like 9250 PCI)....I have 2 of them driving 3 monitors. I've been switching between fglrx (sp) and ati for the driver. I guess I could just restart the X server, but, eh. My way is rebooting.

2) I keep changing it because I have yet to get it right such that multiple monitors has ever worked. And I keep changing it wrong, so I have to sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg because X won't start when I reboot due to configuration being wrong.

3) I'm running the latest stable Ubuntu from their web site, 7.04 for i386

I haven't wiped the partition yet, but man is it frustrating.

Re:preconfigure (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007233)

Derailed. Getting multiple monitors to work with ATI cards/drivers is a pain. Use the ATI drivers. Make sure you're using MergedFB. The Xinerama stuff has never worked satisfactorily for me.

Out of the box == out of the question, but you might prefer restarting your X server while you're messing around with this stuff, as opposed to rebooting. I work from a separate virtual console usually. Ctrl+Alt+Backspace, then startx usually does the trick.

Re:preconfigure (1)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007729)

I don't think 9250 is supported by the official ati drivers anymore :( (The ati vista drivers neither support 9250 I belive)

Re:preconfigure (1)

corvair2k1 (658439) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006887)

In case you haven't noticed, rebooting has to happen fairly often for updates with most linux distributions recently. Probably about once every three times I get updates for Ubuntu or Fedora, I have to do a reboot.

Re:preconfigure (1, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006949)

A reboot is required only when you do a distro upgrade. Like, every 6 months. If you're rebooting any more than that then you've got something seriously wrong with your machine.

Re:preconfigure (2, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007019)

"A reboot is required only when you do a distro upgrade."

No, a reboot is required much more often than a distro upgrade. An example of this would be a kernel security upgrade.

--
BMO

Re:preconfigure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20007021)

Actually, Ubuntu has kernel updates that require system restarts, and it SAYS it requires a system restart when you switch to proprietary video drivers through the restricted drivers manager. Really it only needs an xorg restart in that case.

Re:preconfigure (1)

nnm.one (1103799) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007033)

You ONLY need to reboot when you upgrade your kernel (if you think that it is necessary since it mostly comes with just new drivers and such) AND when you upgrade your distribution (since it also upgrades the kernel).

Re:preconfigure (1)

JayAEU (33022) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007035)

In case you haven't noticed, rebooting has to happen fairly often for updates with most linux distributions recently. Probably about once every three times I get updates for Ubuntu or Fedora, I have to do a reboot.

In that case you must be updating some unstable kernel all the time, since that's the only practical reason for doing a reboot, even on Ubuntu or Fedora.

Re:preconfigure (1)

J.Y.Kelly (828209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007365)

Probably about once every three times I get updates for Ubuntu or Fedora, I have to do a reboot.

I suppose that depends on how often you're getting your updates, but here:

$ wc -l /var/log/yum.log
140 /var/log/yum.log

$ grep kernel.i686 /var/log/yum.log | wc -l
1

So since Fedora 7 came out I've had 140 updates, of which precisely 1 has been a kernel update (which is the only one which would require a reboot). Maybe if you're tracking rawhide they'd be more frequent, but normally they're pretty rare.

Re:preconfigure (1)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006873)

I feel ya, I hate xorg.conf as well. I've installed a bunch of different distros on my computers. Not once in my time with GNU/Linux have I ever had the privilege of getting Xorg to run off any automated xorg.conf script. Not even in Ubuntu. I have crummy luck :(

Re:preconfigure (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006893)

To be fair, Ubuntu is the first Linux distribution I've ever used that was able to both automatically find drivers for my wired Ethernet adapter and my Audigy sound card, and play music and use the Internet, without lots of fuss.

I used to be a technology professional but got out of the field (now I'll be going for a Ph.D. in a social science) and my knowledge has since dwindled.

Re:preconfigure (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006973)

Last I checked, this stuff (dual head autoconf) will be taken care of within the next two Ubuntu releases as updated X.org technologies are put to work. Hand-editing xorg.conf will be a thing of the past, across the board (I mean, regardless of dual-head or not). Anyway, your problem is why I went with a larger monitor rather than the dual setup.

Re:preconfigure (4, Informative)

miro f (944325) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007155)

I have always used nvidia cards.

Since nvidia's 9xxx series of drivers, the graphical configuration utility allows you to hotplug monitors and set up dual head without touching xorg or even restarting the X server.

it's a bit disappointing that the feature isn't there for users of other cards, but it appears X is going through some big changes and hopefully soon enough it will hit the 21st century...

Centos on former Ubuntu Dell (4, Interesting)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006865)

I'm writing this on one of the original Dell Ubuntu laptops. A few days after receiving it, I wiped Ubuntu and put on Centos5 mainly to keep the same software that I use on my servers and other workstations. There was a small glitch in getting the wireless to work, but so far it's been perfect. The laptop hibernates properly, browses wirelessly and wired, and works properly. The annoying stuff that took some configuration were the media keys, MP3 and WMA video playback, and an issue with the sound kicking off and requiring a driver reload via KDE. This wasn't too tough for me to figure out, but I have some experience with Linux. I wouldn't recommend it for the Linux newbie, but heck, that's why it ships with Ubuntu.

I'm not a big fan of Dell home systems (their business machines are much better built), but having a major vendor support Linux is a good thing regardless. By them supporting Linux fixes can get pushed to other systems. The glitches in the Intel 3945 wireless card will be worked out. Maybe the Broadcoms start working without ndiswrapper. Heck, ATI might come around and make a proper video driver set.

I chose to buy this laptop precisely because the hardware is Linux compatible (well, except for the closed Nvidia drivers which are not too bad). If more people did this it gives an incentive for hardware manufacturers to release code and drivers for Linux. That helps everyone.

Thanks for the post! (1)

lakeland (218447) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006935)

I was very interested in how well supported the hardware is or whether dell uses binary blobs. Here we are slowly shifting away from windows to ubuntu on the desktop and we already use Fedora on servers - all on dell hardware - so it will be very helpful if it is well supported hardware.

Re:Centos on former Ubuntu Dell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20006939)

You probably don't care about this, but what about the modem? My understanding is that Dell was providing some version of the Conexant driver as a download, but I'm sure it was in Ubuntu's .deb format or something. I wonder if this driver is the full-speed version that Conexant usually charges for, and I wonder if you could get it going on CentOS or Fedora if you wanted to.

Broadcom drivers (1)

matts-reign (824586) | more than 7 years ago | (#20006997)

As of linux 2.6.17, there is support for broadcom wifi via reverse engineered drivers. I really don't know what quantity of cards it supports, but it works on mine. That is definately "starting to work without ndiswrapper" at least.

What is it about the Linux Desktop GUI that sucks? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20007227)

I've been using Linux for years. And I love the command line interface - on the server. And even then, having an intuitive GUI on the server is helpful for normal day-to-day tasks and troubleshooting.

I even love having the CLI on the desktop. In fact, I make my Windows XP operate as much like the Linux CLI as I can. Use the Run command, and drop shortcuts in your path. Install GNU's UnxUtils in your path, and you've got the entire Unix commands at your CMD fingertips. Very powerful stuff.

In college, I used Linux on a Dell Inspiron 3500 laptop. 300 Mhz, 64 MB RAM. I loaded Red Hat 6, then switched to Mandrake on it. It was running the current version of KDE. And for the most part, it worked.

It was rough around the edges, but the graphical system usually always sorta worked. If XWindows crashed, then I would just CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE it to reset X. Execute startx from the command line and I'm back up and running again - no need to reboot the operating system. So the base OS was stable. I loved that.

The alternative was to use Windows 98. Which ran good as a fresh-off-the-CD installation, but once you started loading 3rd party software, it immediately took a nosedive.

This was around 1999 to 2000.

Flash forward seven years, to 2007, and we've got Ubuntu with the Gnome desktop GUI. And it looks pretty and all, but beauty is only skin deep. Literally. Once you have to start using the GUI and navigating around it, you just want to pull your hairs out.

I just installed Ubuntu on my 4 year old computer, an old AMD Athlon XP 2200 with 1 GB of RAM. And boy is the desktop GUI slow! My Windows XP ran super smooth all these years on that computer. No complaints on its responsiveness.

What I loved most about Ubuntu, was the ease of installing new software. Fire up Synaptics Package Manager, search for your software, select install, click OK, walk away, and it's done! Wow! Now that is something to brag about! I didn't even have to worry about scanning the file for a virus, or even think of where to install it.

Search for Azureus, click install. It searches for dependencies. Java is required. Select Java for installation too. Click OK. 10 minutes later. Done!

Search for DVD decoders, click install. Done! I even found out how to rip my DVD's to XviD using MEncoder the next day. And I never even knew how to rip a DVD previously before. That was easy!

But man, the desktop GUI still sucks.

So now I'm at a crossroads. I need to buy a new computer. And I hate Windows! But I love the Windows GUI. It's clean, simple, and it works. Period. Microsoft did a really good job with the desktop GUI. But, I'm sick and tired of all its insecurities. All of the stupid worms and viruses that I constantly need to worry about, and the pop-ups or pop-unders that hoses Internet Explorer as well as the security of your system. (Don't worry, I use FireFox.) I don't even let anyone use my work's notebook computer, because I'm fearful that they'll browse the internet and accidentally click on a pop-up, and get spyware installed on my business computer. So hands off - only I can use this computer.

And don't even get me started about user restrictions - because in Windows, you need to run as an Administrator to avoid having to deal with all the crap that wouldn't work if you ran as a less privileged user. Ever tried running as a regular user and wanting to change your screen's resolution? Good Luck! Or if you want, you can spend a few hours and try to figure out how Windows Group Policies work, and install a policy for yourself.

What I want is an out of the box, secure OS to use. I can be a regular user, and if I need access to critical system files, I can enter a root password to get there. Linux/Unix is great for this.

So what are my other options?

Apple's famed OSX. And I've been seriously looking at it now. The GUI works like butter. Everything seems to just flow like water with it. You can scroll on the MacBook's touchpad using two fingers. But I could be wrong, since I only spent 20 minutes playing with it. I've been looking at ways I could demo the OS using VMWare. Try before I buy. And plus, I can still run Linux binaries on it!

And there's Windows Vista, but I'm deeply suspicious that it's just more of the same crap from Microsoft. No thanks. I'm done.

So, I greeted Dell's decision to offer Linux with much enthusiasm and fanfare. I've been closely monitoring it, and have even been tempted to buy one of their Ubuntu desktop computers. But man, after my last foray into Ubuntu - I'm just taken aback. The Linux Desktop GUI still sucks after all these years.

I just downloaded KUbuntu the other day. And I'm gonna give that a trial run. Let's hope it works better than the regular Gnome Ubuntu. But it's not supported as the main OS from Ubuntu.

If that fails, then that Mac Mini is starting to look like a really good option for my next computer.

Re:What is it about the Linux Desktop GUI that suc (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007781)

If you think you even need to click on a popup to get infected, your misinformed.

Just visiting any page can get you infected with IE (depending on the security updates you have and the way they are trying to exploit them, ofcourse). The majority doesn't need any interaction with the user.

BTW Apple has been changing parts and pieces of the gui every release and I think it's lost it's consistency. Also Mac OS X is an upgrade treadmill as well. With Apple you'll have to buy a new version every 1 or 2 releases. If you don't you can't run the newer versions of the software that come out. They used to come out every 6 months or so, but now they are at 1 ones a year. With the other OS's you don't need to pay for updates/upgrades (think service packs ?) that often. But then again an official full version of Windows is more expensive.

That's just my opinion ofcourse, I do hope you like KUbuntu. :-)

Linux preinstalled is "no OS" or "Pirate Windows"? (2, Insightful)

Alkonaut (604183) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007429)

What I'd like to know is how many of the boxes sold with preinstalled linux, actually get used as linux boxes.

How many use it just to dodge the license cost, and just install their pirated windows copy? Any guesses? Is linux becoming the "no OS" choice available at other whitebox builders?

KDE (0, Flamebait)

12357bd (686909) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007815)

Maybe I am wrong, but for a maximal sales impact, Ubuntu should use KDE UI by default.

Ahh there it is...! (1)

DerCed (155038) | more than 7 years ago | (#20007887)

Finally 2007 will be the year of Linux on the desktop!

Microsoft Monopoly (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20007997)

Sure sounds like a Monopoly going on with Microsoft. With this article and Macs now being on normal PC hardware and having their own OS, liberals can now STFU about Microsoft being such a huge monopoly now.

In the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20008201)

Does anyone know when (if ever) Dell will start offering linux PCs in the UK?
All my attempts to find anything on the UK site have redirected me to the USA site.
Is it possible to order from the USA site? Any other UKers got any information?
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