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Linux Business Hardware

Is Dell Just Testing the Market? 287

Posted by Cliff
from the sneaking-thru-the-back-door dept.
sarig_magik asks: "It seems that Dell is testing the Linux desktop market worldwide, and their choice of desktop is Linspire 4.51. I wonder how Microsoft will view Dell, now? Could this be a real attempt to gain a foothold before any of the other distributors do? We know the hardware vendor, but can anyone comment on the choice of OS?" Although Dell is offering a system with a preloaded Linux Desktop, they aren't doing it here in the US, but through their Italian partner, Questar. While the choice of Linspire as a desktop may leave a few of you underwhelmed, this does seem to be a step in the right direction. Is Dell testing the market? Of course they are. How well do you think they will do?
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Is Dell Just Testing the Market?

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  • Like it or not, MS still has a strong hold on the corporate enviroment. While I think it's a good thing that Dell is going this route, it'll only have marginally decent results.
    • by metacosm (45796) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:09AM (#9686356)
      You downgraded the news from "great" to "ok"... I am going to one up you and mark it "utterly meaningless".

      Why? Because the news is flat out wrong, Dell is not doing anything of the sort, someone who happens to buy computers from Dell is doing it.

      Real Story On It [theregister.co.uk]

      I gotta wonder if the original poster on this wanted it to be misleading, or just lacked the ability to google before pushing it over to the slashdot editors.
      • The two commentaries -- not news stories -- we have published are based on evidence we have uncovered. We have confirmation from high sources directly involved in this story that Dell is assembling Linspire-run computers in Ireland and shipping them wherever they're wanted in the world. Dell did not return our calls for comment last week, when the two columns were posted. We'll be publishing a followup on NF.

        /cp
        NewsForge

  • It's a good start (Score:5, Insightful)

    by agraupe (769778) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:28AM (#9685877) Journal
    Dell (IMO) is a good manufacturer for the "average" computer, and the brand recognition is quite high. I think Linspire is a good choice for a pre-installed distro. Most Linux geeks (who would prefer, say, Gentoo or Debian or whatever) would want to install it themselves anyway. Linspire is a good "first-time" distro, or so I've heard. The people who need the OS to be installed when they buy the computer will like what Linspire has to offer.
    • by tindur (658483) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:35AM (#9685966)
      If some kind of Linux is installed on the box when it's bought it should be trivial to install some other distribution. It probably isn't stuffed with Windows only hardware.
      • Re:It's a good start (Score:3, Interesting)

        by agraupe (769778)
        That's a good point. I didn't think about that. Still, I have linux installed on two dell machines (soon to be a third) and I find they don't use Windows-only hardware. I also ran Knoppix on some *really* old dells at school (before the BIOS were password-protected), and they worked fine. Remember that Dell has been offering linux for servers for a while now.
    • by southpolesammy (150094) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:35AM (#9685972) Journal
      This is very true. While we might view optimization and total control as desirable attributes, the n00b Linux user who is testing the waters outside the Microsoft pool is likely to be overwhelmed by this requirement, and will probably not stay long enough to give Linux a good test drive.

      While Linspire might not be ideal for the hard core folks, it's a good first choice for people who want to find out what all the buzz is about and see what it's like to live in a world free of virii and pop-ups, without having to worry about the administrative overhead of a Debian or a Gentoo install. Let them get comfortable first before suggesting such a quantum leap like that.
      • While we might view optimization and total control as desirable attributes, the n00b Linux user who is testing the waters outside the Microsoft pool is likely to be overwhelmed by this requirement, and will probably not stay long enough to give Linux a good test drive.

        I agree with this assessment, for the average non-techie home user, Lindows is probably fine, and once they get a grip on it, may feel more confident about moving on the a "real" Linux distro. But...

        I never found my first Linux distro, RH

        • That's because you were a windows user before.
          Now imagine someone who has never had a computer. (6 billion people minus 600 million computers still leaves 5.4 billion people (and that's not taking into account the fact that many americans/europeans use one at work and one at home))

          Is that person going to be OK with linspire?

          What if there were 600 million linspire users out there? you know, in the same vein as "there are 40 million AOL users out there".

        • The graphical installer didn't seem any more challenging than Windows, and when it was done, everything was there: browser, OpenOffice, games... What's the big deal?



          Err ... you are not a typical Joe Sixpack?

        • by dpilot (134227)
          I fear Lindows, because it's basic installation is 'run as root' in order to simplify things. IMHO this is no better than Win9X or WinNT with the first/prime user set up as Admin, and perhaps worse because new Lindows users will be even more ignorant that they were on Windows. They will be more susceptible to human-engineering attacks because they'll have less experience, and because they think they're getting better security just by moving away from Windows.

          IMHO, Lindows should have set up root and a defa
        • Actually, Red Hat and SuSE would be fine as well. They are fairly easy to work with, and allow the user to get comfortable as well, while keeping the dirty parts contained and controlled to keep the support fairly innocuous.

          My guess is that the choice of Linspire had more to do with the higher TCO including support that Dell would have to pony up and pass on to the customer if RH or SuSE were chosen. I can imagine that having to buck up like that might be more damaging to people's desire to try out Linux
    • by calcfreak (796523)
      True. Dell is a pretty well known brand, so many schools use it. A 3rd grader is not likely to know about chrooting, so linspire is a good choice. One day, I was bored enought to watch the Linspire intro video clip, and it was pretty user friendly, although not as power user oriented as Gentoo and Debian are. Besides, its UI is very similar to Windows, so it has a small learning curve.
    • by swordboy (472941) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:10AM (#9686367) Journal
      It should be noted that Questar is loading Linux on these Dell "white boxes". Dell has nothing to do with this decision. FWIW, Dell offers a "white box" [com.com] service to mom&pop shops that don't want to build their own PCs. Once you become a distributor, you simply roll your own packages and sell the PC as your own brand. Questar is simply a white box distributor.

      ANYONE can go out and do this. It doesn't mean that Dell has anything to do with selling Linux. This is secondary.
    • But do you think the average user should be running an operating system that recommends you run as root? AND thinks that setting a password is optional?
  • Not Very Well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gumph (706694) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:28AM (#9685879)
    I think Linspire is too unknown/controversial.
    If I was buying a new linux distro, I would go with Either Redhat (known and trusted) or Suse (rising star) not some recently name changed article
    IMHO of course
    • Re:Not Very Well (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Short Circuit (52384)
      unknown/controversial

      There's a combination you don't see every day.

      I'd actually support a subscription model for Linux desktops. You don't necessarily pay for the software. You pay some local guy to come around every Friday to play Bridge and update your software. (He'll bring this week's updates on CD. And he'll happily train your child or grandchild in Linux system administration.)

      Give Linux a friendly face.
    • Re:Not Very Well (Score:3, Informative)

      by chris_mahan (256577)
      > Redhat (known and trusted)

      I would like to emphasize that the poster most likely meant the distro rather than the company behind it.

      Suse == Novell.

      I would stick with Debian.

      Back to the story:

      Linspire is a great choice. What Dell is testing is not whether its computers work, but whether Linspire on its computers work.
      If I were Dell (which I am not) I would test Linspire and entertain the thought of aquiring it. That way, I could put a useable OS in the machine without paying an OS tax.
    • The thing is, that the number of people who have never bought a linux distribution vastly outnumber those, like you or I, who have. Linspire is after that market, not us.

      I will continue to happily use (and participate in developing) Debian, but think Linspire might work for complete end-user types who are just not interested in what their computer runs as long as it does what they want. I might be more bothered by the non-free aspects if it were aimed at other hackers and developers, because of the netwo
    • Where's the controversy? They got thrown into court by Microsoft, the ones who claim trademark to Windows and every likeness, and they were pressured to get rid of the name Lindows. I'm by no means a supporter of Microsoft, but making a product that looks and feels exactly like another and even has a simliar sounding product name is wrong no matter what side of the OS fence you're on. I was always tought that two wrongs don't make a right.

      I think this would be a wonderful thing to be launched in the US.
  • Legal problems (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shackma2 (685062)
    Maybe Dell does not want to deal with the possibillity of legal trouble by offering Linux in the US. Who knows the contracts that microsoft has over dell.

    Also remember the legal trouble Linspire had when it was Lindows.

  • by shoppa (464619) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:29AM (#9685897)
    Dell offered Red Hat Linux circa 2001 along with their desktop machines. We bought several dozen machines this way. Then, of course, this option mysteriously disappeared. (I think it may have only ever been available for corporate customers to begin with).

    Yes, the new option is different. What I see is not so much "testing" but something being there and then disappearing, and then something different being there and disappearing. I'm not going to count on Dell supporting any particular distro, but I think that it is nice to be able to buy a machine without a Microsoft tax.

    • Yeah, I was wondering if I was the only one old enough to remember the 20th century. Remember when every big PC vendor was announcing some partnership with a Linux startup? Dell and Red Hat! HP and Eazel! Compaq and Ximian! Dell and Eazel! HP and Ximian! Pretty much nothing came of it -- so little, in fact, that these new stories are reported with "The unthinkable has happened!"

      Anyway, to answer the submitters question: Dell doesn't sit around trying software until they find something they like and want to

    • by Polkyb (732262) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:40AM (#9686036)

      Dell still do offer a RedHat solution here in the UK, but, only for the server market. You cannot get Linux on a desktop, however, they have recently started shipping desktops with FreeDOS, so you don't HAVE to buy Windows

    • by chris_mahan (256577) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:41AM (#9686048) Homepage
      You can buy the machines without os (or rather, the DrDOS OS) from their website.
      Dell.com | Small business | Destop | N-series Desktop

      (http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/compar e. aspx/desktops_n?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd)

      I have bought some, and they work great.

      PS: I never though I would be posting, on /., instructions on how to buy Dells.

  • by Richthofen80 (412488) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:30AM (#9685901) Homepage
    Because it comes with the Linux distro pre-installed, is the computer $99 less because it hasn't paid the 'microsoft tax'?

    its a good marketing move to sell to people who don't want to buy / have Windows XP.
    • by Proc6 (518858) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:34AM (#9685963)
      You think Dell pays Microsoft $99 for each copy of Windows they install?
      • No, but you can be sure that Dell charges their customers at least that much for it. Have you ever seen how much Dell wants to add some memory to a system? I was looking at a Dell _once_ until I saw them try to charge me more then double the cost for an extra 256MB of RAM then what I could get it for on the net.
    • No, we've been through this a million times. Dell doesn't buy their Windows licenses at CompUSA, added support costs for desktop Linux far exceed the cost of OEM Windows and the last thing Linux needs anyway is users who hit a checkbox to save a few dollars and then complain because AOL won't work.
  • by foidulus (743482) * on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:30AM (#9685902)
    or maybe in this case I should say penguin *rim shot*
    Anywho, there is probably no way Dell could survive if it invoked the ire of Microsoft and MS refused to sell them licenses(or at least reduced cost ones). However, I think that Dell is pretty confident that MS will not do this unless they REALLY want the anti-monopolists breathing down their neck...
    Maybe then the DOJ could do it's job
    • It's not like Microsoft is any position to cut off the worlds leading supplier of desktop computers either. Microsoft NEEDS Dell. Since Microsoft is so dependent on cross-selling revenues (all of the software they sell on TOP of the OS), cutting off a major supplier really isn't an option.
  • Check back in a year (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TopShelf (92521) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:30AM (#9685905) Homepage Journal
    Presumably, this is more of a test run to work through operational issues (providing Linux support, drivers, etc.). Look for a more serious effort in a year or so. And don't forget Sun, aren't they pushing a Linux desktop now, too?
    • But Dell already has this experience with regard to providing this kind of support...They sold desktops and Servers not long ago with Redhat installed...this is probably a localized deal with their Italian partner Questar...the MS feelings in Europe are different compared to the feelings in the U.S. and the market in Italy is probably more ripe for such an offer.
  • Old news ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by supergiovane (606385) <arturo,digioia&ing,unitn,it> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:30AM (#9685916)
    ... wrong news [theregister.co.uk].
  • by WizzleWizzleWizzle (697435) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:31AM (#9685929)
    I thought Dell said they had nothing to do with the VAR that was loading Linspire and selling the PCs in Europe other than selling them machines?

    Story Here [linuxworld.com]

  • by th1ckasabr1ck (752151) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:33AM (#9685946)
    These folks -- and there are many -- won't have to deal with partitioning their disks to install the system. They won't have to worry about selecting drivers -- if they know what drivers are. They won't have to go through a tedious installation process. In fact, they won't have to worry about installing a new system, period.

    If they every decide to install new hardware they might. Although I have no idea how often the average Dell consumer actually upgrades their machine instead of just waiting to buy a new one?

    • you're right. Most people do not have any idea that you even can upgrade a computer. To them, it's like a microwave oven. They use it until it breaks, then they buy another one.

      • Where the hell are all these people? I've never met a person who thinks of computers as microwave ovens. Even the biggest neophytes understood that you can exchange components. Same with this 'average user' who finds everything 'too difficult' to the extent that clicking on a red icon makes him/her cry because he/she is used to a blue icon. I've never met one.

        Is this an American phenomenon or something?
        • >Is this an American phenomenon or something?

          Definitely.

          I've had people tell me that they bought a new computer after their old computer stopped working. Came to find out that the monitor had died.
    • I've used Dells at work and at home for about 10 years. The first thing that gets upgraded is always the graphics card (after 6 -18 months; after 2 years, the graphics bus architecture changes, and then the whole system has to be replaced), then maybe a TV tuner card. I did have to add a second CD-RW drive on one system, but that was only because the original system came with a CD-ROM drive. If I had a more recent system, I would have probably replaced the CD-RW with a DVD-RW drive.

  • What Dell could do is offer ALL of their machines without the Microsoft tax.
  • by sixteenraisins (67316) <william.purpleandblack@com> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:35AM (#9685965) Homepage
    The writeup may be a little misleading; Dell isn't the entity behind installing Linspire on these machines, it's Questar:

    A PC dealer in Europe has begun selling Dell desktops equipped with Linux, but Dell emphasized that the systems were customized by the dealer and that this isn't the first time this has happened.

    That article can be read here [com.com] at Cnet [cnet.com].

  • Testing the Waters (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pete-classic (75983)
    I worked for Dell from '98 to early '00. During that time they went from "testing the waters" to fairly comitted (with an "apliance" that came in two flavors: Linux and Netware). Then sort of back to testing the waters.

    Now its '04 and they are testing the waters.

    I think that it would be better to say that they are perpetually ready to "go Linux" if and when it makes sense, but MS still pretty much has them by the short hairs.

    -Peter
    • Microsoft doesn't have Dell by the short'n'curlies - people just don't want to buy linux desktops. it's purely market-driven, not ideology-driven. I mean, linux is the most accessible OS out there. It's everywhere. You can download it from any website, or even get it on a magazine cover CD, yet it has under 2.5% of the desktop share. People LOVE cheap things, yet a COMPLETELY FREE operating system is paling into insignificance. If Linux is the windows-killer as those on /. would have us think, why isn
  • by oneiros27 (46144) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:35AM (#9685973) Homepage
    Dell is not using Linspire. That is completely the doing of their reseller, and Dell has distanced themselves from Linspire.

    See the article at C|Net from last week on the matter [com.com]
  • by hcdejong (561314) <`ln.tensmx' `ta' `sebboh'> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:36AM (#9685983)
    According to this [theregister.co.uk], Questar is just a reseller, not a partner. From the article:
    Questar is simply buying Optiplex 170L desktops from Dell as might any other business or individual customer. Is there any thing more to their "agreement" than that? No, Dell told The Register today: "Questar is a direct Dell customer and that is the extent of the relationship."
  • by johnhennessy (94737) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:37AM (#9685998)
    I thought Dell distanced themselves from this last week, claiming that third parties can load whatever OS they want onto their hardware.

    This WOULD be news if Dell was offering Linux support along their Windows support, but a third party that buys a Dimension/Optiplex and sells it with Linux really isn't ground breaking news.
  • by bfg9000 (726447)
    ... I've tried L'Inspire (apparently some sort of French Linux distro) when my buddy bought it. It was nice, in a mindless sort of way, but within a week of using it I formatted my HD and reinstalled Debian. The stupid limitations of Linspire got irritating real fast. If Dell's testing the waters, they won't get an accurate result using Linspire, because Linux geeks will be the first to buy a Linux CD when offered the choice of Win vs. Lin. Only later will regular users start to choose Linux.

    Maybe Dell WA
    • Linspire is Lindows. They changed the name to in an attempt to throw off the lawsuits brought on them by Microsoft.

      Linspire has those limitations because it's designed for a linux newbie, maybe even someone who's never used a computer before. If you're an experienced linux user, you won't like Linspire.

  • Paranoia mode (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vectrex (16314) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:39AM (#9686022) Homepage
    1) Dell is friend with Microsoft
    2) Microsoft has some serious security issues
    3) Microsoft has no clear "target" to say, "hey Linux too has security issues"
    4) Microsoft ask Dell to start shipping Linux
    5) ...but make sure they use a really lame, unsecure distro (everyone is root!)
    6) Microsoft steathly release an exploit/virus/whatever that target Dell's Linux machines
    7) voila! Bingo! Next on CNN, "Linux is target of a mass viral infection! Microsoft has the solution!"
    8) A page show up on microsoft.com talking about how Linux is bad, etc...

    Really, it makes sense...

    OK, I'll put back my foil hat now. Kthxbye.
  • Maybe they should use Xandros [xandros.com]? It is just as easy to use as Linspire and they also have a business desktop with a desktop management server to make for easy deployment and management. SuSE/Novell may also be a good option if they come out with some type of management for easier deployment. While Red Hat has a great server, they have no real integration for management or deployment of business desktops, so I don't think they are a good option for the enterprise right now.
  • Although hidden under the 'small business' banner, and never on the cheapest PCs, DellPrecision 450n/650n offers RH workstation rlse v.3. It seems Dell's bargain w/MS was to not directly market consumer grade PCs (yet).
  • If RH hadn't dropped "RHL" in order to "focus on the enterprise", they'd be in a position to make tons of money with hardware partners such as Dell just like Microsoft does!!!I rant about RHL being EOL'ed constantly, but I still can't believe they did it. It will go down as the single most stupid OSS managment decision of all time. RH had mindshare, they had the grassroot Linux movement... hell they were Linux in the USA. They threw all of that out the window.
  • The last time I bought a server and workstations from Dell, I asked for a quote with Windows and with Linux. Linux was more expensive. I asked the salesman why. He said, "Because Linux is more expensive than Windows." You can get Linux for nothing. He wouldn't sell the machines to me without an OS, "because of their agreement with Microsoft." I retorted that the agreement was not legal, and had been ruled as such in court. He replied, "Oh yes it is. I used to work for Microsoft."
  • Im not so sure (Score:2, Informative)

    by jford235 (677581)
    whats so great/new about this. You can get OS-less PowerEdge 400SC [dell.com] starting around $250(with instant and send-in rebates).
  • Linspire (Score:2, Informative)

    by rogerborn (236155)
    I switched from Windows to Linspire and it is a good change for me. It works like Windows, but it seems to have a lot more features than Windows did.

    I lost a lot though. No more unannounced updates by M$. No more virii attacks. No more trojans that take over my computer and trash my workday.

    I am a writer, so I used Office, plus I used Photoshop and ran a website, cut CDs for my music, etc. - all the standard stuff most people use.

    Linspire had a matching free app for all that I do, and it came loaded with
    • Just wait 'til it goes wrong, you want to play a game, or watch a movie. Then you'll get exactly what you paid for ;)
  • by Brian Blessed (258910) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:49AM (#9686119)
    It seemed obvious that something was wrong with this story the first time it was discussed on /. because there were no links to Dell.

    The Register confirms that this move has little to do with Dell:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/07/dell_vs_qu estar/ [theregister.co.uk]

    - Brian.
  • by Himring (646324) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:49AM (#9686120) Homepage Journal
    They need to get back on track and help contribute to that 1 billion windows installs. We'll never make that 2010 deadline if they keep this shit up....
  • by DarkMavis (767874) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:50AM (#9686133)
    I'd like to know how many /. users have acutally used Linspire/Lindows. It seems to me that there is a large negative cloud that follows this distribution but the cloud isn't substantiated by actual use. The main negative issue that seems to always come up is the "runs as root" issue. Well, that's been resolved. When you first log in, you can choose to create a user other than root. Plus, look at the bigger picture. Linspire is designed with the END USER in mind. Not your typical linux user who likes to re-install their system frequently or likes to wrestle with dependencies when installing applications. I've been using Linspire since last November. It hasn't been perfect but I'll tell you, it's been the best linux distro I've ever used. The combination of a Dell system and an easy-to-use DESKTOP linux distribution is win-win. Heck, any PC being sold with linux preloaded is a win for the open source community. Remember, it's not a competition between linux distros, it's a competition between Linux, MacOS, and MS Windows.
    • ...back at version 3 (or before), when the flaws that everyone parrots existed. It was a nice distro regardless.

      Installing it was as easy as putting the disc in, turning the computer on, making at most TWO very clear choices, and when it finally booted to the desktop, things looked pretty good.

      I believe the "user runs as root" flaw has since been abolished, and I hear it is now pretty easy to turn it back into Debian once installed.

      I don't know if it is one of the best distros, but once it escapes its st
    • I have played with most Linux distros at one point or another, and Lindows was OK. If it weren't for the cheapo Walmart offering JDS, it would probably be the one I chose for the grandparents to use. As you stated it was easy to use - not everyone needs 4 browsers, 5 coding languages, 6 text editors, a web server, etc. The only distro I was unimpressed with was Turbo Linux (caldera owned @ the time).
    • Look - it's /. Any OS that isn't the exact distro each user has will get slated for no real reason, because "it's not what I use". Windows gets bashed for lots of stuff that hasn't been true for 5 years, as does Apple. /. is intrinsically prejudiced, and we have to remember that when talking about ANYTHING here :)
  • Feedback loops (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Artifakt (700173) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:52AM (#9686147)
    Loop 1
    1. Microsoft selected which OEM makers would be allowed steep discounts on its bundled software for about the last decade.
    2. This pruned the small, Mom & Pop OEMs, speeding up the process of a few bigger industry members becoming dominant.
    3. Even though Microsoft generally did business with all the remaining larger OEMs, raising the threshold startup costs for new competitors entering the market made the competition one limited to the existing ones, which helped trigger and speed up the OEM shakedown that has left Dell in a dominant position.
    4. Dell, being number 1, becomes powerful enough to push back at Microsoft, at least a little.
    5. Micosoft profits fall as they have to cut a better deal with Dell.

    Loop 2
    1. Microsoft delays production of Longhorn and other software repeatedly.
    2. Newer, faster computers not needed to run newer, bigger programs.
    3. Industy wide OEM sales become sluggish, Dell doesn't have the profit margin to push very hard at Microsoft, but Microsoft can't afford to gouge Dell with the whole industry tepid.
    4. If Microsoft succeeds in selling bigger, shinyier software that raises OEM sales numbers, Dell gains more power to break away. If Microsoft fails, Dell sales become flat, with no margin to be shaved off to increase MS profits.
  • by travail_jgd (80602) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @10:52AM (#9686164)
    I think the first big vendor[1] to properly commit to shipping Linux-based systems has the opportunity to make a killing.

    Anyone can sell a cheap x86 box (Windows or Linux) to Joe Sixpack.

    The first big vendor that offers a complete Linux system can really rack up the profits. By system I mean modem, networking, scanner and printer. The vendor would be in a position to (somewhat) honestly claim "if you don't buy from us, good luck getting it to work." Reinvest the MS-tax in Crossover Office, so they can advertise compatibility with Office, Photoshop, etc[2].

    [1] Big == national, with an advertising budget to reach non-geeks.

    [2] Having Office compatibility makes switching to Linux easier to swallow for Joe Sixpack -- even if he never uses it.
  • Dell just recently clarified the situation in an artivcle on zdnet.com located here [com.com].
  • Microsoft discount (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gr8_phk (621180) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:02AM (#9686274)
    They are probably trying to get a better price from Microsoft. Those preloaded copies of Windows cost a lot. While they are Intel only they often evaluate the offerings from AMD and Intel knows it and offers fair prices to them. Now they're going to play Linux against MS and hope for better pricing there too.

    Competition reduces cost - economics 101.

  • Or is it just a bundle with a zero priced OS. Thanks to the BSA, shipping an OS with a PC is mandatory in some parts of the world.

  • The fact that Dell is supporting any linux distribution is what's significant here.

    By supporting linux as the OS as a vendor, you automatically guarantee hardware support for at least one distribution.

  • by InodoroPereyra (514794) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:11AM (#9686381)
    IMHO, Desktop Linux IS already there, with the caveat of doing a bit of research before buying peripherals (most hardware is supported but not all of it is).

    From a Business point of view, the Giants (IBM, Sun, Dell) seem to be sharpening their teeth to get ready to provide Linux Desktop solutions for big corporations and Government departments worldwide. IBM and Sun have actually been doing it, and actually deploying solutions, and Novell just jumped in. Intel IS lagging behind IMHO. Not that I care :-)

  • (shortly before abandoning it). If you want Linux it, you go out and get it yourself, exactly the flavour that you need. I certainly don't want to be railroaded into paying for a Lin*whatever desktop any more than I want to pay for a Windows install.
  • but no AMD? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ari_Haviv (796424)
    I find it interesting dell will try an obscure distro of linux but they still won't come out with any PC with arguably superior AMD cpu's. It's not so radical- after all HP also offers AMD
    • I wouldn't say superior, but fiercely competitive. Superior in some tasks, inferior in others.

      There aint much sexier than AMD 64 processors or the Intel Dothan processors though. Both kick ass.

      I keep hoping one of these Dell AMD machine rumors will come true, obviously a lot of other manufacturers have done it, and if Dell did, it could seriously change public opinion of AMD. Many people are still afraid of AMD, and think Dell is an example of what PCs should be. If dell used AMD it'd be a huge public
  • by Fenis-Wolf (239374) <jbuddeNO@SPAMa2tech.us> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @11:15AM (#9686416) Homepage
    Is this a 'test' run? I doubt it. More than likely I'd guess that this is a clever move by Dell to put some pressure on Microsoft.

    Dell is a major PC manufacturer, so by 'offering' Linux as an 'alternative' they could be leaning on Microsoft for some sort of better deal, perhaps a slight lessening of the cost for each copy of Windows they buy? We all know in this day and age 'Cost is King' and every dollar they save will likely help them save loads of new computers.

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  • Could this be a real attempt to gain a foothold before any of the other distributors do?

    No, because other companies like HP and IBM, just to name a couple, have been selling and supporting Linux workstations for some time already.

  • Uh...you can order several single and dual processor Dells with Red Hat Enterprise preloaded. Dell Workstations [dell.com]
  • default root login (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kabloom (755503)
    Does Linspire still have the default root login thing I heard so much about? How's their security compared to other distros?

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