Beta
×

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

Thank you!

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

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

Ubuntu On Dell After Four Months

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the steady-as-she-goes dept.

Linux Business 378

mrcgran sends us to LXer for an interview with John Hull, a manager of the Linux Engineering team at Dell, where he reports on how the Ubuntu machines have been working out for them so far. "Embracing Ubuntu Linux on our desktops and laptops seems to have really raised Dell's visibility within the Linux community. We have been supporting, testing, developing for, and selling Linux for 8+ years here at Dell, but before the Ubuntu announcement, a lot of people didn't know that we did any of that... Previous to our Ubuntu product announcement... we would have a conversations with vendors about pushing Linux support for their hardware, but without a Linux product offering from Dell for that hardware, it was very difficult to convince them to release Linux drivers. That has certainly changed now... The original sales estimates for Ubuntu computers was around 1% of the total sales, or about 20,000 systems annually. The program so far is meeting expectations. Customers are certainly showing their interest and buying systems preloaded with Ubuntu, but it certainly won't overtake Microsoft Windows anytime soon."

cancel ×

378 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Dude! (5, Funny)

longhairedgnome (610579) | about 7 years ago | (#20993561)

Your getting linux!

1% of PC Sales? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20993581)

Is that total units shipped or just consumer units?

Within the retail sector... (5, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 7 years ago | (#20993585)

...Dell have raised the awareness of Linux to the point where potentials are actually asking if Windows or Linux is installed. Eighteen months ago, that wouldn't have happened. Eighteen months ago people asked if a machine had XP, 2003, ME, 2K, or whatever version of Windows, but hardly ever Linux. I'm a Linux user myself, by preference (and politic, and budget), and advocate it wherever I can. I'm not saying it's for everybody, it might not be, but if you want a toaster, get a toaster. If you want a toaster that deep fries your sunday roast with all the trimmings, give Linux a go. :)

Re:Within the retail sector... (2, Interesting)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20993619)

If you want a toaster that deep fries your sunday roast with all the trimmings, give Linux a go. :)
If you want something that can install most programs you'll want to install, don't go Linux. I'm enjoying my Linux, but I am having trouble installing things that I can't find in a repository (although repositories do make it damn easy to install and update programs).

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | about 7 years ago | (#20993717)

You know, I don't really find it very hard to install Ubuntu packages. Synaptic isn't that nice, but apt-get install is really pretty simple.

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | about 7 years ago | (#20993739)

Hmmm... ignore previous comment. I misread the parent poster.

Re:Within the retail sector... (3, Insightful)

iamdjsamba (1024979) | about 7 years ago | (#20993745)

I know i'll probably get slaughtered for this, but I agree with this statement completely.

I'm completely pro open source, and started off with Ubuntu as my first linux distro about a year ago, as everyone was raving on about it. Really impressed with the package manager, but I was completely lost when it came to installing stuff that wasn't in there.

I'm on Mandriva now, which is a massively improved user experience, where most of my stuff worked perfectly out the box (except my wireless, which took a bit of work, but I got there eventually). However, I'm now in a position where I want to install subversion and tomcat, and it's really not easy. Windows wins in this situation, because of the ease of automated installers. Which is a great shame, and I know I'll get lambasted because I haven't done enough research or put the effort into to learning the basics of installing on linux properly, but for it to ever be accepted in the mainstream by your average Joe, things like that need to "just work".

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

oliverthered (187439) | about 7 years ago | (#20993833)

Try Linspire, it setup my wireless without any problems (and they've released a new version since then)
You even get codecs and dvd support without breaking the law, and installing apps is a doddle.

Re:Within the retail sector... (5, Insightful)

zergl (841491) | about 7 years ago | (#20993839)

However, I'm now in a position where I want to install subversion and tomcat, and it's really not easy. Windows wins in this situation, because of the ease of automated installers. Which is a great shame, and I know I'll get lambasted because I haven't done enough research or put the effort into to learning the basics of installing on linux properly, but for it to ever be accepted in the mainstream by your average Joe, things like that need to "just work".

Tomcat and SVN probably isn't part of what average Joe will use.

While it's true that "professional" or "power user" software isn't that easy to setup (messing around in the configs with an editor, etc.), I don't think it would bother the ordinary desktop user very much, because he'll probably never need it.

OTOH, installing everyday software like OOo, Gimp, Firefox, small little games etc. is extremely easy on linux in comparison to windows. Browse repository, install and forget. With the added bonus that the software you get is very probably free of malware of any kind (if you use $DISTRO default repository) and same goes for updates to that software.

Re:Within the retail sector... (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 7 years ago | (#20994019)

With the added bonus that the software you get is very probably free of malware of any kind (if you use $DISTRO default repository)
So if I am the maintainer of a Free application, how do I make it notable enough to be included in $DISTRO default repository so that users of $DISTRO can easily install it? Or is there another preferable deployment method for maintainers of lesser-known packages on common GNU/Linux distributions?

Re:Within the retail sector... (4, Informative)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | about 7 years ago | (#20994147)

Yes, simple;

RPM. Most users can download an RPM, double click on it, and it'll get installed properly.

I'm 99% sure that Ubuntu or Debian people can do similar things with DEBs. Of course, the downside with the package approach is you have to have one package per distro (take a look at Skype; skype isn't in any linux repositories, but it supplies 4-5 RPMs and a binary tarball).

If you prefer something that is more like a Windows installer, use autopackage [autopackage.org] . Autopackages are distro neutral. Here's the quote from their website:
# What is autopackage?
For users: it makes software installation on Linux easier. If a project provides an autopackage, you know it can work on your distribution. You know it'll integrate nicely with your desktop and you know it'll be up to date, because it's provided by the software developers themselves. You don't have to choose which distro you run based on how many packages are available.
For developers: it's software that lets you create binary packages for Linux that will install on any distribution, can automatically resolve dependencies and can be installed using multiple front ends, for instance from the command line or from a graphical interface. It lets you get your software to your users quicker, easier and more reliably. It immediately increases your user base by allowing people with no native package to run your software within seconds.


As you can see from the screenshots [autopackage.org] , autopackage is pretty dead-easy for end users.

There are also next-generation packaging utilities that are overtaking Windows MSI-type things, including openSuSE's one-click-install, and KDE's klik://, but neither of these has taken hold with enough Linux distros yet (you have to be using SuSE 10.3, or install a package on older SuSEs, and klik:// requires a kio-slave).

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

Trelane (16124) | about 7 years ago | (#20994239)

commercial users can also use InstallShild, with all its point-n-click GUIness. Or the loki installer. There are probably others, but these are the 2 I know of offhand.

Re:Within the retail sector... (2, Insightful)

VagaStorm (691999) | about 7 years ago | (#20994191)

Now, if every linux game was as easy to install as Americas army, it would all have been a walk in the park. Unfortunately, even installing games that has a linux port can be hard at times.... I had to find out patch, alter the code(I have no right alt on my keyboard) and recompile sdl to get nwn working as I wanted the last time I installed it :p But unlike windows that seems to become stranger evry version, linux becomes simpler every time one of the larger distros makes a major release, which seems to happen at least once every 1-2 months :D

Re:Within the retail sector... (4, Informative)

Jussi K. Kojootti (646145) | about 7 years ago | (#20993893)

I'm not saying your complaints aren't valid, but the examples you use are fairly bad. I'm pretty sure both tomcat and subversion are available in the repos of all major distros. Example in ubuntu:

aptitude install subversion tomcat5.5
Do you have actual examples of "joe average" applications that are not available (things that could legally be available)?

Re:Within the retail sector... (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 years ago | (#20994267)

I was able to do what you did with the Ubuntu click and drool interface as well.

I then went to install subversion on windows. Ubuntu install was 100 times easier than windows as I had to search for a version that was acceptable. I finally settled on TortiseSVN which was nice.

Overall install on my ubuntu and my Fedora Core 7 box took very little time. Ubuntu was the least time and least effort. windows ended up the most as you had to find the software and then install it. fedora was as simple as your example, ubuntu was easier as it was in a list of icons I can click on.

Re:Within the retail sector... (2, Interesting)

MMC Monster (602931) | about 7 years ago | (#20993921)

Yeah, you'll probably get blasted for that post. :-)

Really, though, package installation is incredibly easy in most distributions now, with repositories handling all dependencies. In Ubuntu, for instance, there is an "Add Programs" icon in the Applications Menu by default, that lists the most popular applications and separates them into categories so there is no information overload. If you know the exact name of the package to install (such as subversion or tomcat), open up synaptic and choose the package there. Either way, all dependencies are automatically taken care of and installation is entirely automatic (once you enter your administrator password).

Re:Within the retail sector... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20993947)

However, I'm now in a position where I want to install subversion and tomcat, and it's really not easy.
Subversion should be dead easy, there's no chance that your distro doesn't provide a package. (In fact, many distros include it by default.) Just look for it in your distro's package manager, you'll find it, and it should be a simple install.

As for Tomcat, that's not a problem with Linux, that's a problem with Java. Even if you do find a package, it'll be tied directly to a specific version of Java, and you'll have endless compatibility problems between Java and various "standard" Java libraries that only work with certain versions of Java. Assuming you can get Java running on Linux (fat chance), installing Tomcat is as simple as extracting the tarball someplace, but that Java requirement is going to kill it for you.

Just give up on Tomcat, and either run it under Windows if you absolutely require Java (Sun only really supports Java under Windows anyway, no matter what they claim), or use a technology that's more suited to Linux like Ruby on Rails or PHP or Perl or pretty much anything via CGI.

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#20994011)

As a fellow Mandriva user, I have to point you to Easy URPMI [zarb.org] set up the PLF as well as the standard main and contrib update sources, and most packages can get installed automatically.

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

garaged (579941) | about 7 years ago | (#20994045)

ignoring the fact that is trivial to install both subversion and tomcat on ubuntu or debian, I would try to remind you how long did it took for you to master the windows installing process ?

Most time its click next several times, but frequently there are little issues, some "obscure" desicions on the process, that "normal" users don't know how to do, or have hard time choosing the correct one.

That's why you need a technicall support team on every company, because desktop users usually do it wrong, even when the installer makes it dead easy.

After a few months using linux you will get the feeling to make things right, and you will even learn enough to make variations, personalizations, and the like, you will actually know how to do things, instead of learning how to adapt to the "little details" of windows software.

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about 7 years ago | (#20994285)

What? I aggressively "non-administrate" my use_everyday Dapperx64 box. On principle. Lusrs have no business scr*wing with their OS. Ubuntu has performed admirably for a year. Self-installed, self-configured and self-updated , both itself and nearly every app. Yep I installed GRASS myself and didn't bust-a-gut.

Re:Within the retail sector... (5, Informative)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 7 years ago | (#20993783)

If you're on Ubuntu there are places such as http://www.getdeb.net/ [getdeb.net] where you can get popular programs that aren't in the repositories yet.

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

fluffman86 (1006119) | about 7 years ago | (#20993939)

I wish I had mod points: +1 Informative, people!

GetDeb is great...I use it all the time. Also, a lot of projects now offer .deb's or even repositories to keep you up-to-date. Miro, Wine, and Google's Picasa and Earth are just a few applications that come to mind.

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20993953)

If you take a gander at my sig you'll see I'm not using Ubuntu ;)

Re:Within the retail sector... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20994085)

If you take a gander at my sig you'll see I'm not using Ubuntu ;)
You are using SuSE, which has poor coverage in their repositories (official repos very bad, unofficial mildly better).
You list this problem as it would be linux-spesific, when in fact it's sUsE spesific problem.
My experiences come from the time when I was using SusE (9.0 -> 9.2), but your experience indicates that it's still the case.

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

fast penguin (910736) | about 7 years ago | (#20994211)

Even easier. Fire Yast -> choose Community Repositories. On Gnome, you can find Yast under the Control Center. The gtk version is a bit buggy in this tool, in that you have to double-click to see repo descriptions (sorry about that; yast tools writers never test on yast-gtk :/). Dunno about KDE, but Yast was pretty visible as in the last version's kickoff.

Re:Within the retail sector... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20994141)

You've only solved half the problem. I used getdeb.net to get Pidgin 2.3 for 7.04, but I can't upgrade directly from GAIM 2.1 because the ubuntu-desktop meta-package has a dependency on GAIM 2.1 and...well, you get the idea. I have to keep GAIM 2.1 and Pidgin 2.3 installed alongside each other to keep the package manager happy.

Linux distribution have developed an over dependency on package management as a cure-all instead of trying to fix a few of the underlying problems. Namely, poor standardisation, a poorly defined baseline and poor componentisation.

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#20993991)

Here's my question though. What can't you find in the repositories? I'm on Mandriva, and with the URPMI and PLF repositories, I don't think I've ever come across a program I couldn't find in the repository. There are exceptions. VMWare isn't there (I think) but then again it actually has a really nice installer, so I don't think it needs to be in the repository. I'm not sure of the state of the repositories on Ubuntu and others, but do people really have a problem finding packages for programs?

Re:Within the retail sector... (5, Informative)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 7 years ago | (#20994103)

Not really. It's more to do with the fact that once a version of Ubuntu is released you only get security updates in the repository. So for example there is no Pidgin in Ubuntu Feisty because that was released after Ubuntu Feisty was.

The reason they only provide security updates is because they don't want a situation where continuously updating stuff in the repositories breaks other programs. Instead Canonical will take a snapshot of all the new programs and work really hard testing that snapshot and sorting out all the bugs, release that out the door and start working on the next version.

So if you want Pidgin or another must have updated program on Feisty then you go to getdeb.net [getdeb.net]

Ubuntu Gutsy is being released on 18th this month (2 days) so that'll have a ton of updated programs, features, etc.

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 7 years ago | (#20994287)

Yes, it is not the 3-click install procedure that Windows users are used to, but that fact has saved me a lot of headaches in terms of helping people who use Linux. When helping a Windows user, the first question I ask after, "Is everything plugged in," is always, "What software have you been installing?" Spyware has become popular on Windows because of the simplistic installation process, and despite all the antivirus, antispyware, and other protection schemes, it remains a serious issue. That issue just isn't there for Linux users (well, not entirely true, but it is significantly diminished).

Aside from that, in my experience most home users really don't need to install software that isn't in the repositories anyway. Web/Office/Entertainment is there already, with the exception of gaming (which will be there eventually). Unfortunately, first-time Linux users view this as a weakness, and experienced Linux users view anyone who thinks software should be easier to install as a fool. The truth is that it is a trade-off: convenience is traded for security.

Re:Within the retail sector... (3, Insightful)

Luterek (1174623) | about 7 years ago | (#20993743)

It's great that they are offering Ubuntu, but it is only available on one desktop system not the entire line-up and you need to go to a specific section of their website. I wish I could click customize and when the OS section comes up choose Ubuntu.

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#20994037)

That's probably because of the driver situation with Linux. They can't garauntee that Linux works with every hardware configuration, so they create some configurations that do work under Linux, and let you buy from those. Although I think it would be nice if their ordering system figured out that yes, you system was compatible with Linux, and let you choose it, or point out which items aren't compatible with Linux, and offer alternatives.

Re:Within the retail sector... (3, Interesting)

Trelane (16124) | about 7 years ago | (#20994187)

They can't garauntee that Linux works with every hardware configuration, so they create some configurations that do work under Linux, and let you buy from those. Although I think it would be nice if their ordering system figured out that yes, you system was compatible with Linux, and let you choose it, or point out which items aren't compatible with Linux, and offer alternatives.
Sounds plausible, except that they already do this. Some peripherals require Vista or some version of Vista, and you get a little warning if you choose them without having selected whatever is required.

Re:Within the retail sector... (1, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 7 years ago | (#20993901)

If you want a toaster that deep fries your sunday roast with all the trimmings, give Linux a go. :)

Oh come on, Linux's thermal management isn't that bad, is it?

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 7 years ago | (#20994035)

Dunno, never had an issue with heat. On saying that I'm paranoid about anything that may interfere with the normal operation of the hardware, hence preventive measures are always at the top of my list <patpats his aluminium heatsink>.

Re:Within the retail sector... (4, Funny)

zyxwvutsr (542520) | about 7 years ago | (#20994069)

if you want a toaster, get a toaster
I want a toaster with working WiFi drivers. Know where I can get one?

Re:Within the retail sector... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 years ago | (#20994127)

Problem is in the retail sector joe Sixpack has the moron at Circuit city or Best Buy as their sales consultant.

That's like asking the chick at Burger King this morning if you should get major elective surgery. Until there are bullshit detectors for consumers to use when talking to sales people they will be stuck with the moron that sounds like he knows what he is talking about but in reality to the trained ear is a complete idiot.

My favorite that bust me out laughing in the next asile when a couple was talking to a "expert" at Best buy about laptops...

"You want to buy the acer here as it's one of the highest quality. It's also upgradeable! when you want to run vista just bring it back and we can switch that celeron processor for a AMD dual core processor."

I though I was going to die.

Technically... (1)

Eevee1 (1147279) | about 7 years ago | (#20993589)

It's 40,000 sales that MS missed out on. 20,000 sales that weren't with Windows on Dell 20,000 sales that were Ubuntu on Dell. So, how many chairs will Ballmer throw?

Re:Technically... (4, Funny)

thsths (31372) | about 7 years ago | (#20993647)

> So, how many chairs will Ballmer throw?

I think this calls for a three seater leather couch.

Re:Technically... (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | about 7 years ago | (#20993685)

LOOK OUT!! Here comes the kitchen sink!

Re:Technically... (2, Funny)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 7 years ago | (#20993809)

But does Linux really run on the kitchen sink?

Re:Technically... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20993741)

Actually I bough 3 Ubuntu Dells for my buseness...and, i formatted the hard drives and installed 3 xp licenses I had here. it was not ***so much cheaper*** than buying 3 xp dells directly, but I really didn't need 3 licenses more. So that's 3 chairs less, actually.,

Re:Technically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20993915)

Wow, the Microsoft shills are all over this story.

Re:Technically... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20993949)

Actually I bough 3 Ubuntu Dells for my buseness...and, i formatted the hard drives and installed 3 xp licenses I had here. it was not ***so much cheaper*** than buying 3 xp dells directly, but I really didn't need 3 licenses more. So that's 3 chairs less, actually.

Your point is perfect, though. How much running around and acreaming about those scurvey Pirates (Yaaaaarrrrr!) has Microsoft been doing lately, while tightening Windows Genuine disAdvantage. How many fleets of new machine orders with complementary Windows(tm) tax have resulted in redundant licenses that sit unused?

Seems to me Linux on Dell has at least three big wins:

  • Less chance of site-license offices paying the Windows tax multiple times
  • Better hardware drivers for Linux, at least for components used by Dell
  • Better exposure for modern Linux (this is not your father's Slackware)

Re:Technically... (1)

plague3106 (71849) | about 7 years ago | (#20993911)

So one purchase of a desktop with linux costs MS two sales? Interesting figure.

Linux compatibility (4, Informative)

reset_button (903303) | about 7 years ago | (#20993603)

Our lab has been buying Dell servers for a few years now, because they certify the machines as being Linux compatible. Instead of checking the hardware specs against the list of available Linux drivers, I can buy knowing that things will just work. Kudos.

okay... (2, Interesting)

quest(answer)ion (894426) | about 7 years ago | (#20993605)

all well and good, but linux or no, i still have serious reservations about buying a system from Dell.

the negative experiences i've had with dell are really not linked to the OS; they're all hardware issues and service issues related to the hardware. show me that they'll support linux equally on the software side *and* that they've stepped up their hardware support, and this will be a bit more interesting.

yeah, this is great news as far as the visibility of the linux community is concerned, but IMO, this changes very, very little about the pre-built PC market.

i'm still gonna build my next linux box.

Re:okay... (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 7 years ago | (#20993641)

show me that they'll support linux equally on the software side *and* that they've stepped up their hardware support, and this will be a bit more interesting.

They've supported Linux on the server side for a very very long time. It's only specific distributions, but what do you expect?

And their hardware support is about as good as anyone's. It went down hill on the consumer side a couple years ago when they outsourced to Inda, but most people did the same thing. However, if you have a business account, you still get American support and they're great. If any of my hardware breaks, they have a new part (and a technician if I want one) on-site within 4 hours.

Re:okay... (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | about 7 years ago | (#20994097)

Yes but you have to pay more money for that. It used to be all customers would be routed to the United States. After 2am cst you would then be routed to India. Dell wanted to save a buck so they laid off all the US workers and shipped the whole operation to India so they can pay them $2.50 an hour instead of the American $10.59. I think it would have been a good choice for them to keep their support in the US and let Gateway, HP, and Compaq (this was before hp bought them) move their service to India and Dell could say their whole operation is US based. But now they just provide bad tech support. Or good tech support for a fee.

Re:okay... (1)

jaxtherat (1165473) | about 7 years ago | (#20993659)

you know, people keep saying that, but I've been working with Dell servers for a year now, and certainly they are no Sun in terms of sexiness, but I haven't had any problems at all yet... I have had a few issues with Dell workstations at random having noisy cooling fans, but that it has happened to me before with other manufacturers too.

Re:okay... (1)

R_Dorothy (1096635) | about 7 years ago | (#20993843)

They are much better these days. Five or six years ago they were a royal PITA with substandard quality hardware and drivers that varied between machines with the same model number.

My experience with workstations was that there was a high failure rate in the first 12 months but then the survivors would then have a normal life expectancy.

Re:okay... (1)

Generic Guy (678542) | about 7 years ago | (#20994197)

I've been working with Dell servers for a year now, and certainly they are no Sun in terms of sexiness, but I haven't had any problems at all yet...

When Dell first entered into the "server" market, and for a couple of years after, their hardware tended to be riddled with stability problems. It took them a while to figure out that putting a desktop motherboard and drives into a bigger chassis didn't really make it a server.

But I've always found Dell to have decent, if boring and not very upgradable, PCs that work well for an office environment. And the business account support is still pretty decent. I can't imagine the consumer help support could be any worse than their competitors, aside from maybe Apple.


(Insert story about how my boss once wanted to install one of those 3D fish screen savers, only to find the built-in graphix sucked too hard. Videocard purchase was authorised, but found that the Dell motherboard had no AGP slot. The board had the mask and pinouts for one, Dell just never soldered in a 25-cent connector. Morale: Watch out if you intend to purchase a 'cheap' Dell and then upgrade.)

Re:okay... (2, Insightful)

MoonFog (586818) | about 7 years ago | (#20993671)

Not everyone is capable of building their own computer, and when a large vendor like this gives Linux a shot, chances are that more people who would normally not adopt Linux will look towards it as a proper alternative instead of a geek system.

Your experiences with Dell and their hardware applies to Windows boxes as well usually, and Dell may influence other vendors to try Linux in the same way, thus the issues with support may get remedied in the long run as well.

I for one... (2, Insightful)

AmaDaden (794446) | about 7 years ago | (#20993607)

Thank our Ubuntu pushing over lords. This kind of demand from a major vendor is just the kind of visibility that Linux needs for hardware makers to finally start working on Linux drivers on their own. With any luck soon suporting linux will be standard and not some kind of "giving to the weirdos" for hardware makers.

Before the Ubuntu announcement (2, Insightful)

MoonFog (586818) | about 7 years ago | (#20993623)

You had to ask for Linux in a very different way. Now, they are offering a proper desktop alternative, which wasn't the case before, so when he says they've had Linux for 8+ years, it doesn't tell the whole story. There's a difference between offering Linux, under the table more or less, and offering it as an actual alternative to Windows when you're ordering your new laptop.

Nonetheless, kudos to Dell and here's to hoping more vendors pick up this trend.

Re:Before the Ubuntu announcement (2, Funny)

laejoh (648921) | about 7 years ago | (#20993721)

You had to ask for Linux in a very different way.

Yes, correct, you had to wink!

Distribution matters (1)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | about 7 years ago | (#20993629)

ISTR that the distribution that they offered previously was RedHat, probably because it was the "corporate standard". Now that they are offering a friendlier distro, the interest is moving out of the data center and onto the desktop.

It doesn't have to take over... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20993665)

To be honest, I don't think it has to take over, nor do I think it will. Even Firefox didn't take over IE, but it did have some impact, and Microsoft changed its crappy CSS support to a _slightly_ better one. If Linux achieves ~20% or so it will be much harder for Microsoft to push its proprietary standards, and everyone benefits.

Re:It doesn't have to take over... (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | about 7 years ago | (#20994291)

Firefox did take over IE in a couple of European countries and it is above in 40%+ marketshare in a lot of others.

Well it IS ubuntu (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20993669)

Perhaps Dell should also consider selling these machines with a no OS option? Afterall, by the time a customer has gone to the trouble of replacing Gnome and removing Mono, they may as well have just imaged the drive themselves.

Windows is a one size fits all solution, linux isn't and despite a minority 'turn it into windows' mentality (Hi Miguel) most long-term users think this is a good thing.

Re:Well it IS ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20993985)

I don't think a lot of the target audience for Ubuntu would be too quick to think about removing Gnome or Mono.

I've been advocating Ubuntu to students for a while now, and helping with installs and set-up. The most common question I get is 'Why bother?'. Once they see Beryl/Compiz in full flight, and a few software installs easily done through apt-get, they're sold (nVidia users at least, a few ATI card users were less than impressed at the hoop jumping to get things running nicely).

Personally, I figure that if they get the initial wow factor then there's enough interest for them to keep it and play around, maybe even try other distros when they're more comfortable with the OS as a whole. With Gutsy's release, and some out of the box eye candy it'll be even easier.

As far as students go though, Ubuntu's friendliness and a pretty desktop manager make all the difference. Shiny matters, and gives a nice roll-on effect as they show it off on their laptops to their often not so savvy friends.

kudos to the ubuntu team. Whether you use it or another distro, it's making linux a viable alternative for people who wouldn't have considered it otherwise.

Re:Well it IS ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20994229)

> I don't think a lot of the target audience for Ubuntu would be too quick to
> think about removing Gnome or Mono.

Sure but that wasn't the point I was making.

> other distros when they're more comfortable with the OS as a whole.

Precisely my point. Ubuntu is an attempt at a one size fits all linux distro but that isn't why experienced users are running linux.

What about dual boot? (2, Insightful)

PianoComp81 (589011) | about 7 years ago | (#20993679)

What I'd like to see Dell offer is the chance to get both Ubuntu and Windows installed by the factory as a dual-boot system. While I normally use Linux, I need Windows for a few games still. I know, I know, I'm never satisfied. While I'm glad Dell is selling desktops with Linux now, a dual-boot offer would be a great improvement.

Re:What about dual boot? (5, Informative)

djfake (977121) | about 7 years ago | (#20993875)

I bought a Vista box (since the license it probably cheaper and the warranty better server) from Dell: Was this easy or what? I just did a "shrink" to the massive C: in Vista, then booted off of Ubuntu CD and started the install, selecting "guided using freespace" when partitioning. After a reboot, grub had automatically configured Vista into the bootloader. I then edited /boot/grub/menu.lst to set it as the default.

The other way around (adding Vista to a Linux Box) is slightly more complicated:

http://my.opera.com/djfake/blog/dell-preloaded-with-ubuntu [opera.com]

Or you could buy an Intel Mac and use boot camp, that's ea$y enough too! c

dual boot? virtualize! (1)

snsh (968808) | about 7 years ago | (#20993887)

Why dual boot when you can virtualize? Preinstall an Ubuntu VM on top of Windows OS.

At the cost of a gigabyte of RAM and disk space, it makes hardware drivers a snap, and gives the consumer more flexibility.

Unless you're running arcade games on Ubuntu, I don't see much reason to dual-boot.

What about the cost? (1)

tryptych (1023927) | about 7 years ago | (#20994119)

What's the point of that? You would end up paying for MS whether you used it or not, as the Windows price will be added to the price of the box. Ubuntu is FREE. Also, it is general practice by Dell not to sell virgin (unloaded) machines, so if you want to load it yourself with Windows, you can now.

Please stop the fapping. (0, Flamebait)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | about 7 years ago | (#20993681)

As exciting as this (potentially) increased Linux user base can be.. everyone needs to put their junk away and consider the fact that an additional 25,000 users a year is not going to sway the market or convince hardware makers that linux drivers should be routinely distributed. Moving from 1.0% to 1.00125% of the market is not a convincing argument.

Re:Please stop the fapping. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20993759)

an additional 25,000 users a year is not going to sway the market or convince hardware makers that linux drivers should be routinely distributed
 
Maybe you should read the article. Or even the summary, where the interviewee states, point blank, that this has convinced hardware makers to distribute Linux drivers.

Re:Please stop the fapping. (0, Flamebait)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | about 7 years ago | (#20993801)

Maybe you should have read TFA:

We would have a conversations with vendors about pushing Linux support for their hardware, but without a Linux product offering from Dell for that hardware, it was very difficult to convince them to release Linux drivers. That has certainly changed now that we offer Ubuntu Linux, and we are making much more progress in our vendor discussions.
So a quote from a Linux Engineering Mgr from Dell that there is "much more progress" equates to "this has convinced hardware makers to distribute Linux drivers." He stated this "point blank"? Wow. What's next? A truck or two in the desert in Iraq would mean they have stockpiles of WMD's?

Re:Please stop the fapping. (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 7 years ago | (#20993845)

Maybe not hardware makers, but I have noticed a lot more bug reports coming into launchpad [launchpad.net] from users with Dell hardware which feels like there is a Dell baby boom happening in the Ubuntu community.

Re:Please stop the fapping. (1)

Daengbo (523424) | about 7 years ago | (#20994005)

Not a big issue, but it's 25,000 for four months, not a year, putting the yearly estimate at 75,000. This is small beans for Dell, but no one should sneeze at 75,000 computers in a niche market using only three SKUs. They probably count for an extra US$60M in revenue.

Re:Please stop the fapping. (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | about 7 years ago | (#20994039)

From the summary:

The original sales estimates for Ubuntu computers was around 1% of the total sales, or about 20,000 systems annually. The program so far is meeting expectations.

Re:Please stop the fapping. (1)

Daengbo (523424) | about 7 years ago | (#20994201)

Yeahm then. Back to reading comprehension 101. You can mark me down -1 uninformative

Yeah, but where can I buy it? (1)

Big Nothing (229456) | about 7 years ago | (#20993697)

Surfing around Dell's website I am unable to find the Linux computers. Maybe it's just me, but it should be there, right next to the big button that lets you buy computers with WinXP instead of Vista.

I tried telling Dell this in their fancy questionaire, but it seems the questionaire won't work with Opera.

Re:Yeah, but where can I buy it? (3, Informative)

atomic-penguin (100835) | about 7 years ago | (#20993773)

It's under Desktop->Open-Source PCs or Laptop->Open-Source PCs on the Higher Ed. portal I'm looking at.

Re:Yeah, but where can I buy it? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 7 years ago | (#20993913)

http://www.dell.com/ubuntu [dell.com] - I just randomly typed it in and it worked. :)

Re:Yeah, but where can I buy it? (2, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 7 years ago | (#20994021)

If you go to Ubuntu.com [ubuntu.com] there's a link on the right side of the page to buy preinstalled Ubuntu systems from Dell [ubuntu.com] , which sends you to Dell's site.

I know several other people have given various links, but I prefer Ubuntu's own link because it links to Dell's sites for the UK, France, and Germany as well as the US, making it more generally useful. It also provides an overview of the support options you can get from Canonical through Dell.

Re:Yeah, but where can I buy it? (1)

Big Nothing (229456) | about 7 years ago | (#20994157)

Okay - that's four comments so far on how I can find the Ubuntu PC's; but that's not my point. _I_ can find the PC's. _I_ know that there are Ubuntu computers available, so I can search for Linux or Ubuntu, I can try the URL dell.com/ubuntu or I can find my way from the Ubuntu homepage. But the Average Joe won't. They won't know that the PC's without Windows Tax is buried under "Open Source PC's".

It's all about marketing and obviously, Dell isn't making much effort to market the Linux boxes. On the web site you have Windows Vista marketing and Windows XP marketing - why not Linux marketing?

Ubuntu Preloads (4, Interesting)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | about 7 years ago | (#20993731)

I have a Ubuntu Preload Under warranty from Dell. It runs Feisty Fawn, I love it. I have one little problem. if you load up even a different Linux, you void your warranty, because they have a few proprietary drivers in the machines for some of the hardware, like the Win-modem. So. Here is an interesting question. How do you upgrade from Fiesty Fawn to Gutsy Gibbon without voiding your warranty?

Not in the Netherlands (4, Informative)

Twisted Willie (1035374) | about 7 years ago | (#20993757)

Dell doesn't offer any sytems with Ubuntu preinstalled in the Netherlands. I was looking for a new laptop for my parents, and I managed to convince them to go Linux. So I went to the Dell website, but alas, no such luck. Still, knowing that their hardware will work with Ubuntu was enough for me to go Dell anyway.

Re:Not in the Netherlands (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 7 years ago | (#20993821)

I've been looking for a new laptop too.... I borrowed my new one (bought in january) to my sister and I'm unlikely to see it back anytime soon. So, I thought, let's give Dell/Ubuntu a shot. Well, only in UK, FR and DE. We in the Benelux are outta luck.

Re:Not in the Netherlands (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20993857)

You should buy one from germany.
If germans can come to netherlands to smoke pot, surely you can go there to buy an Ubuntu machine.

Re:Not in the Netherlands (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 7 years ago | (#20994101)

Keyboards are different... :-( While not all that bad, it can be very annoying. On a daily base I get to fight with the Swiss French/Swiss German, the Belgian, the French and the German layout. If I'm lucky I might even get a US/UK layout to round off the day.

Good for them! (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | about 7 years ago | (#20993775)

It's nice that the community is supporting Dell in this. I personally made sure a friend bought his new laptop from Dell just because of this. My next desktop will certainly be a Dell.

If they really want to get the ball moving they should tune up their customized installation of Ubuntu and have Walt Mossberg review it again.

Dell and Debian (2, Informative)

jchawk (127686) | about 7 years ago | (#20993803)

Dell for sometime has provided pretty decide web support for Debian. The web pages I've come across have always been enough to get me started when needing to setup a new server. :-)

well... (0)

cosmocain (1060326) | about 7 years ago | (#20993827)

....for sure it won't overtake windows. there's just one logical argument for that:

you don't get ubuntu systems with MS WORKS preinstalled. hell, that's ONE monster or a downside.

So what! I expect it to work, so where's the beef? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20993855)

I think Dell still has some work cut out for them before anything "real" happens on their Linux front.

A product has to solve a real world problem AND offer some measurable benefit. So to offer Linux on Dell hardware - server of desktop - solves ONE of the real-world Linux problems: hardware compatibility. But in my view this should only be just the beginning, a good first step. What I am personally looking for is additional benefits on top of plain simple compatibility. Offer me a Linux Laptop that works in all hardware aspects as well as a MacBook, then top it with proven (i.e benchmarked) performance increase. More runtime and bandwidth, faster startup times, additional gadgets or security features, etc. Offer me a software update service that is top-notch (i.e. a distro mirror operated by Dell) and betters the community system. Offer me a software bundle that drives all my hardware seamlessly, i.e. if the Ubuntu distro doesn't have the webcam tool to compete with "Photo Booth", hire 5 programmers and develop it. It's demonstrated real-world betterment over the competition that will sell me for a Dell - compatibility, freedom and $50 off is not enough. So until that time comes, my Linux boxes will be whitebox PCs where I choose the components and my laptop will be a MacBook with a full 'port' install.

--AS

laptops as a loss leader for selling servers (3, Interesting)

nadaou (535365) | about 7 years ago | (#20993861)

Dell selling a few Linux-on-Laptops at the consumer end makes a lot of sense when you consider they want to grab a bigger chunk of the server market, where Linux holds a great portion of the market share. Get people used to the idea of Linux on Dell, then when they are in the market for a server they come back to what they know. The super reliable Linux experience makes Dell look good. Same angle as RedHat supporting FedoraCore.

What happened? (2, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | about 7 years ago | (#20993943)

I'm kind of interested in hearing what's caused the turnaround for Dell over the past year or two.

Dell has more or less had a reputation of being deep in the pockets of Microsoft and Intel. It was no secret that Intel was giving Dell huge perks for not selling systems with AMD chips, and I'd be surprised if Microsoft wasn't offering similar perks for keeping Linux off of consumer desktops.

Now, we're seeing dell open up a lot more options to consumers.

So what happened? Did the payola from Intel and Microsoft stop? Was there a management shakeup? Are they trying to re-focus their image as a serious business vendor to step into the void left by IBM? Or are they just emphasizing "choice" to avoid losing any more ground to Apple (this theory strongly lends itself to their decision to distance themselves from MS because of the Vista backlash)

Or maybe they're finally waking up to the fact that "nerd cred" seriously does sell computers. I would credit OS X's acceptance within the community as being instrumental to the sort of success Apple's been seeing over the past few years -- OS 7,8, and 9 left them with a pretty bad reputation that they needed to shed themselves of. When the guy who's fixed your PC multiple times recommends getting a mac, it lends some serious credibility to the brand. Given that Dell's a pretty generic brand, I doubt that anyone has serious qualms about buying from them, but it's a whole lot better than having a negative brand-reputation, or being badmouthed by everyone in the industry. (See also: Article yesterday about AOL losing $100 billion)

What about Tech Support? (1)

phobos13013 (813040) | about 7 years ago | (#20993983)

So, has anyone actually bought one of these machines from Dell? Have they employed a legion of call centers to address Linux-related issues and problems (mostly (l)user-created I'm sure)? I doubt actually a legion would be needed considering they have a small market share and most users who buy a Linux box would be more adept at self-diagnosing problems. But, I would be interested to see statistics on how many calls come in about Linux boxes and how many come in on Win boxes.

Do they have trained folks who know Linux commands and system organization or do they follow a series of point-and-click diagnose screens like most Win Tech Support centers. I would be interested to hear about this...

Re:What about Tech Support? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 7 years ago | (#20994195)

I don't think Dell supports technical problems. I think you have to buy that as an extra. They'll cover hardware of course.

So your options are..
1) No technical support only hardware - free
2) Tech support from Canonical [ubuntu.com] - Different prices

Re:What about Tech Support? (1)

R_Dorothy (1096635) | about 7 years ago | (#20994223)

So, has anyone actually bought one of these machines from Dell?

I have but it worked out of the box so I haven't needed to contact support.

Recommends Vista (1)

Skiron (735617) | about 7 years ago | (#20994007)

"Customers are certainly showing their interest and buying systems preloaded with Ubuntu, but it certainly won't overtake Microsoft Windows anytime soon."

I recently bought a Dell Inspiron 6400 pre-installed Ubuntu (and very good it is too), but looking at the comment above, it is not hard to wonder why, as every time you look at Dell Linux machine options, plastured alone the top is 'Dell recommends Microsoft Vista'.

It is almost as if they are going through the 'Linux' motions half-heartedly.

Typical example found HERE [dell.com]

Re:Recommends Vista (1)

ambrosen (176977) | about 7 years ago | (#20994027)

Why it says that 'Dell recommends Microsoft Vista'?

Because if they don't put that on every page, their licensing costs for Vista go right up, I reckon. I could be wrong, of course.

Re:Recommends Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20994089)

Since the linux version of the 530 is $549, and the Vista Home version (same config) is $479, I would think they'd be trumpeting the Linux version. An extra $70 profit, plus don't have to pay for the Vista license. What a racket...

A missed opportunity (4, Insightful)

Toreo asesino (951231) | about 7 years ago | (#20994115)

I, for the first time actually got a friend setup on Ubuntu a couple of weeks ago. Normally, being of the Microsoft persuasion, I'd recommend Windows if nothing else for its generally universal familiarity if nothing else (all the other PC's in the house were WinBoxes), but the machine she was given was free and not very good. The Windows installed on it was Win ME that wouldn't get even to the desktop unless in safe mode, so it had to go, but it was not capable of running XP to any degree of sanity (128 mb ram, celeron processor, etc), and indeed there was the licensing issue too.

A perfect opportunity for Ubuntu I thought! Or not, as it turned out.

I downloaded and burnt the latest CD image and installed it. Everything was installed fine, except the network card was not detected, rendering the machine even less useful than the butchered ME installation that was on it before. She only wanted to browse the net and read GMail basically, so without a network connection, the laptop was now as good as a large paper-weight.

Now, this is by no means a flame against Ubuntu at all. Before it turned out Ubuntu was compatible, I was thinking to myself that if there's one area Ubuntu could really grow in is the "too old to run Windows x/y/z" which sets the hardware requirement bar higher & higher with each release.

Despite what Microsoft say, Vista is not suited to all PC's - but arguably, Ubuntu is suited to run on almost anything assuming you don't mind common commercial apps/games aren't going to run for newbies (for obvious reasons).

So, if I had one suggestion for Ubuntu/Linux is please, get it to run on shite hardware! Refurbished machines are overlooked if you ask me as many people really can't be bothered to buy new hardware, and Windows really isn't so suited for them in many cases.

Re:A missed opportunity (1)

Tikkun (992269) | about 7 years ago | (#20994289)

Unfortunately, hardware doesn't always magically work as much as we'd like it to (this applies to Windows and well as Linux, OSx gets a bye because it runs on essentially 1 or 2 platforms). Due to this, there will be times when you need to manually install drivers when driver support is not available. Although this isn't convenient, this is no more incorrect than taking your car to an auto mechanic to install break pads, change the oil, etc.

Just because you don't know enough about how to do something, doesn't mean that it isn't possible or that it doesn't work. My first suggestion would be to look at the system requirements for software prior to installing it. You can find the system requirements for Ubuntu desktop at http://www.ubuntu.com/products/WhatIsUbuntu/desktopedition [ubuntu.com]

Not in norway. :-( (2, Insightful)

arcade (16638) | about 7 years ago | (#20994193)

I was hoping to get a Ubuntu laptop here in Norway.

So far - no such luck. I'm looking forward to that day, so that I can just order one. But until they ship it, it's difficult.

Hey DELL! We norwegians want Ubuntu on our laptops too!

Still kind of iffy on Dell notebooks w/ Linux (1)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | about 7 years ago | (#20994235)

I bought a 1720 about a month ago with a Dell Wireless-n minicard and I've still not been able to make wireless work properly. I'll admit I'm still new to Linux, but I've managed to get everything else to work the way I want it. I've followed every tutorial on the net I can find and tried Ubuntu, Fedora, and Suse. Nothing seems to work.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?