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Linux Business Hardware

Dell's New Linux Blog 317

Posted by timothy
from the tentative-steps dept.
comforteagle writes "I've just written up an interesting find: Linux engineers at Dell have started their own Linux site and weblog about Linux at Dell. From the announcement: "Welcome to the Dell Linux Community Web. This site is dedicated to providing any information that may be useful regarding your usage of Linux on your Dell equipment. While Dell primarily works with and officially supports Red Hat Linux, many of our customers choose to run other distributions." And perhaps more importantly it appears that the new site and weblog is run and maintained by the engineers themselves. It certainly has that 'made with vi' look." And kudyadi points to this PC Magazine interview with Michael Dell, in which Dell talks "about Dell's expanding product line, the company's late entrance into the Media Center space, and where the PC giant and the industry go from here." He touches on Linux just a bit, too.
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Dell's New Linux Blog

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  • Also toshiba has one (Score:5, Informative)

    by Yag (537766) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @06:46AM (#8217441)
    Toshiba has an unofficial linux (and also *nix in general) support site at http://newsletter.toshiba-tro.de/main/ this is a lot useful to find machine hardware spec and linux (netware, *bsd) compatibility.
  • by mr_lithic (563105) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @07:28AM (#8217544) Homepage Journal
    This looks promising for those who have tried to deploy Linux on Dell Kit.

    The lack of official support for linux on the Dell Desktop and Laptop Hardware has been one of the biggest impediments to rolling out a Linux User Machine in our enterprise.

    While many of the development machines and older kit are fully integrated with the Linux OS, the new and less expensive kit is a complete pain to get to work.

    One example is the Inspiron 1100 which has a massive problem with the video BIOS and Linux and takes a lot of work to get it right.

    If Dell makes moves in the direction of support linux in the desktop, it can only help sales. I would definitely make Linux Desktop Support a part of a purchasing decision.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @07:39AM (#8217569)
    Nice troll. The message is entirely in the URL. This is not a Dell inside joke...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @07:56AM (#8217602)
    ...and backed up with no evidence.

    Dell's a really open-form company to work for - if you have a great idea, people higher than you are willing to listen and roll with it. Linux is an idea people at Dell will roll with. It might sound crazy, but you really have to look at the way Dell operate as a company; they constantly look for ways to minimize cost for the consumer and maximise profit.

    Now, they might have had a rocky road recently with regards to their Linux support, but that's for a number of reasons. Firstly, they didn't have any in-house knowledge of the product. By knowledge I don't mean a guy that uses it at home, I mean a truckload of support guys on phones, people who write drivers, people who can alter the Dell install and build process to accommodate Linux. Secondly, Linux is a moving target; which distro, what GUI, how do you support other configs, etc. etc... These are both big questions for a company that's been churning out identical Windows boxes year in, year out.

    So, I'd be interested to think why Dell will be pulling the plug on the blog. As someone who's worked for Dell, I'd pretty much guarantee that if the site's there, it's been approved and has resources attached to it. Those pages are corporate Dell pages, not your average blog knocked out by an engineer... someone's taking time and money to get that up there.
  • by LarsWestergren (9033) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @08:06AM (#8217624) Homepage Journal
    If they are so damn Linux friendly they should call Dell in Sweden and talk to them.

    I was looking for a new computer a couple of months ago. Some of the Dell laptop deals looked pretty good. I called them and said "I'm interested in that model. Is it possible to get it with another operating system, say Linux, installed?"
    Dell: "No, I'm afraid that is not possible."
    Me: "Would it be possible to get it with a blank hard drive then?"
    Dell: "No, I'm sorry, we have a deal with Microsoft. You have the choice between Windows XP home or Pro, that's basically it. You know, you could always reformat the harddrive and install Linux yourself if that is what you want."
    Me: "So you will not sell me a computer unless it has Windows on it?"
    Dell: "I'm afraid so."

    I said thanks but no thanks and hung up. Even if Dell gets Windows at a huge discount, I don't want to pay for software I'm not going to use. Nor do I want to add to Microsoft's false sales statistics.

    This is all a very familiar story to all Slashdot regulars I'm sure. I do hope the major PC sellers are starting to come around though.
  • by Requiem Aristos (152789) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @08:12AM (#8217629)
    IBM has a goodly chunk of linux info on their site.

    For example, try this:
    Linux for IBM personal systems [ibm.com]
  • by bruthasj (175228) <bruthasj@@@yahoo...com> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @08:19AM (#8217640) Homepage Journal
    What are you smoking? Here in Asia, there are frontend vendors that are "IBM" distributors. They do provide support here and for all kinds of servers. For example, I've setup 4 different x330 series clusters from 15 up to 28 computer racks and the local IBM has given great support, including but not limited to:

    1. Setting up the OS.
    2. Downloading and recompiling appropriate kernel modules.
    3. Setting up monitoring systems.
    4. Setting up networking and hostnames.
    5. Setting up some services.

    Your problem is not IBM, it's the local vendor company who says they are "IBM".
  • by theTerribleRobbo (661592) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @08:41AM (#8217686) Homepage
    But it's a nice little hack/crack all the same, whoever found it (probably not the grandparent poster, I'd hazard a guess). :-)
  • by root_42 (103434) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @08:47AM (#8217701) Homepage
    So, even Dell offers you *some* kind of installation support for Linux on Desktop Systems and Laptops
    And what about this:

    http://www-306.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/MIGR-48 NT8D.html

    It took me not about 3 clicks from the IBM frontpage to get there. The site mentioned above includes some articles about installing RH Linux on ThinkPads and configuring stuff like Bluetooth. I think that's pretty neat and there are also vendors who sell Thinkpads with Linux preinstalled.
  • by fred87 (720738) <mail @ f r e d e m m ott.co.uk> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @08:47AM (#8217704) Homepage
    After getting the laptop, contact them saying you don't agree with the MS EULA, which entitles you to a full refund for the software.
  • by twistedcubic (577194) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @08:51AM (#8217705)
    Many people I know over 50 years old prefer 800x600. Ever watch an older person squint painfully at a 1024x768 screen? More people than you know use 800x600.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @09:17AM (#8217753)
    Don't believe that Dell is doing anything behind Microsoft's back.

    Dell's strategy is to stay out of MS's way and benefit from the circumstances they find themselves in. It is not a religous war. Anything that sells machines is what Dell likes but they are more than happy to make deals that lower their costs.

    Prior to Linux, Dell had their own SVR3 and SVR4 products and they provided a great deal of early support for what became the XFree86 project. They employed an engineer who for a time was the gcc x86 maintainer. Dell doesn't get itself wrapped up in petty idealogies. It's just trying to sell stuff.
  • It appeared in the current issue of NTK [ntk.net], for one.
  • Re:My crappy Compaq (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @09:44AM (#8217811)
    Have you tried www.hp.com/linux [hp.com] - This site has been up and maintained for quite a few years now.

    HP (Compaq) supports more distributions and has more driver support. I don't understand all the praise for Dell for finally (this is 2004 folks) putting a linux support page out.
  • Have you tried buying an Apple without an OS? You can't, but no-one ever moans about Apple tax...
    Terra Soft [terrasoftsolutions.com], an Apple Authorized OEM VAR (Value Added Reseller) has been granted a unique license to install Yellow Dog Linux on Apple computers and maintain full Apple hardware warranty for home, commercial, education, and government customers.

    You're still right, though - while they sell YDL pre-installed, apparently Mac OS is also still installed and you can dual-boot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @10:19AM (#8217917)

    When Dell stops this [cypherpunks.ca] bullshit, and offers a windows delete credit across their entire product line (without invalidating warranties), then you will finally know that Dell isn't paying lip service to Linux anymore (and pocketing the Microsoft tax), and is no longer flagrant in its utter contempt for its customers.
  • by Junta (36770) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @10:39AM (#8217972)
    I think the parent post is referring to IBM desktops/laptops rather than servers. It is clear as day servers have top-notch linux support from IBM, but I'm not sure on the Thinkpad/Desktop systems that is the case.
  • by gimpboy (34912) <john.m.harroldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @10:43AM (#8217986) Homepage
    did you consider these guys power notebooks [powernotebooks.com]?

    they claim to sell alot of the same laptops as the major vendors less the ms tax. i read somewhere on their site that they buy the laptops from the same place as dell or gateway. the major vendors basically stick their logo on them and sell the laptops as their own. they will even preinstall linux [powernotebooks.com], and they have a bulletin board where they answer linux related questions.

    since it's not a name brand company, you can check out the reviews at reseller ratings [resellerratings.com].

    i guess i should mention that i'm in no way affiliated with this company. i stumbled across them when a friend asked me where he should buy a laptop without windows.
  • by bitmason (191759) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @11:09AM (#8218104) Homepage
    Because "Windows Me is terrible" is one of those pieces of folk wisdom that everyone repeats.

    I've had Me installed on a couple of systems for quite a while. Anecdotally, it's never seemed to be any less stable or more problem-prone than Windows 98 was -- which is to say not nearly as good as Windows XP or Windows 2000 but usable enough. (The systems I still have it running on are "light duty" and it's just never been worth the money/trouble to upgrade.) And, no, I can't upgrade them to Linux because they're running applications that aren't available on Linux.

    As I recall, Windows Me did have some bugs and such when it first came out which gave it a bad reputation. However, I suspect the biggest issue that a lot of people had with it was that it WAS just Windows 98 with a new paint job--i.e. it wasn't really any better.
  • by GaryOlson (737642) <slashdot AT garyolson DOT org> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @11:10AM (#8218116) Journal
    The reason: hardware maintenance contracts. For the annual fee of a Sun maintenance contract, I have purchased a Dell/Linux solution for hardware redundancy (Oracle server). The Sun maintenance contract would have expired in one year; the Dell server has a 3 year warranty. Same 24 hour service for both platforms; but the 3-1 ratio of coverage period is attractive.

    This also provides a 3 year window for benchmarking and comparison. As a research institution, I know users will try the Linux platform just for the geek factor. Their feedback will determine whether I continue with Big Iron, Big Iron with Dell hardware redundancy, or Dell with Dell redundancy.

  • by flight666 (30842) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @11:23AM (#8218188)
    No, take it from somebody who knows, the pages at the Blog site are _not_ "corporate Dell pages". These pages are made by the Linux Engineering team, not marketing. They do not have any resources attached to them outside of whatever free time the engineers in that group scrounge up to maintain it.
  • This isn't news. (Score:2, Informative)

    by someguy42 (609667) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @11:48AM (#8218338)
    This story is hardly news. In fact, this site has been up for quite some time now. Dell's had a Linux on PowerEdge(servers) mailing list for quite some time now, and you can purchase a PowerEdge preloaded with RedHat Enterprise. They even mirror the LKML there. And, interestingly enough, a decent chunk of Dell Employees (myself included) subscribe to these mailing lists.
  • by fucksl4shd0t (630000) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @11:54AM (#8218372) Homepage Journal

    As a Mac/FreeBSD user, who understands that people have to use Windows, I have a question. Why do people hate Windows Me specifically? As a product, I realize it's stupid to upgrade to (Win98 + different salad dressing), but if it was just that I don't see why people would hate it so much. From people I've met, it sounds like installing Me is the worth thing you can put on your box; people would rather use 98. Is it just that the removal of real mode DOS causes more problems than it solves or something?

    Hmm, I'll give it a go, but I may not have it quite right.

    Windows ME uses the same HAL as Windows 2000, but it's strapped onto an 'upgraded' win9x kernel, which is the old DOS kernel, as far as I know. True to form, Microsoft didn't quite get it right, so the HAL itself is extremely buggy and prone to failure. Since they were still kicking around the old DOS kernel, they still didn't have a decent threading model, and shit still interfered with one another. The 'improvements' wound up being more trouble than they were worth. I guess I would liken it to backporting Linux 2.6's HAL to Linux 2.0 and patching it with a bunch of untested crap from Siberia, passing it through 4 beta-testers who all just clicked on "My Computer" and said "Works Great!", and then releasing it.

    From a usability point of view, it's slower than win98 by a long shot, drivers are few and far between (uses Windows 2000's HAL, but can't use Windows 2000 drivers, so ME requires a special set of drivers that don't work in any other version of Windows), and tends to crash if you have too many processes running. It's less stable than win95, more like the old Amiga OS in the 1.2 days without the cute guru meditations.

    Actually, I used it for awhile and didn't experience any of this. Not that I loved it or anything, just that I didn't have any problems that I could directly attribute to WinME. I went to Win2k soon after it, though, because I wanted the NT kernel, and then finally dumped windows entirely for Mandrake Linux. So I haven't really used a Windows computer in 2 years.

  • by stanbrown (724448) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @12:18PM (#8218536) Homepage
    Many years agoa, Dell bought a SysVR4 license, and relased Dell UNIX. I and I'm certain many others bought Dell machines based upon this, and deployed them They hired some very good people to provide support for thier version of UNIX, it was a pleasure to work with these guys. Then one day, after I had not contacted tehm for a while, I discoverd that they had all be fired, and Dell was distancing itslef rom UNIX. I was left with an unsuported OS. This predated Linux, so thier really was no other good choice for an OS for these amchines. I've never bought a Dell product since.
  • by PizzaFace (593587) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @02:30PM (#8219482)
    Dell offers only Red Hat Advanced Server or Red Hat Professional (which is obsolete), so I bought the PowerEdge with no OS. P4-2.4 GHz, 1 GB DDR, 36 GB 10K rpm SCSI for $817 plus tax. SuSE 9 Pro installed without a hitch.

    Dell must be moving a lot of these no-OS boxes. Their official support has been quite RH-centric, but the new website has a page that directly addresses other distros [dell.com]. SuSE recently announced [suse.com] that Dell was working more closely with them, and SuSE has certified [suse.com] a bunch of Dell machines.

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