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Pre-Installed Linux Tops Dell Customer Requests 509

Posted by kdawson
from the please-sir-may-I-have-a-penguin dept.
dhart writes "Within only a few days of Dell opening a new customer feedback website, they discovered that the feature most requested (by an almost 2-to-1 margin!) is an option on all new Dell PCs: pre-installed Linux. (And the number 3 request is pre-installed Open Office.) I believe they'll have a harder time now with the tired old mantra 'There's no customer demand for Linux.'"
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Pre-Installed Linux Tops Dell Customer Requests

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  • by suso (153703) * on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:13PM (#18074394) Homepage Journal
    That's cool. But one thing that has always annoyed me about their server configuration utility is that you can select "no operating system, Linux configuration", but there are some hardware options that don't work with that option and so you have to select the microsoft config. So much for getting some extra counts for
    the Linux side
    • by taursir (861098) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:14PM (#18074424)
      It's probably just a money-making or liability ploy. Although, you'd assume that if you're selecting that configuration, you know what you're doing, and they don't have to deal with people going, "OMG, IT WONT START".
    • by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefrNO@SPAMbhtooefr.org> on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:15PM (#18074434) Homepage Journal
      Maybe because of hardware that isn't compatible with Linux?
      • by jlarocco (851450) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:54PM (#18075648) Homepage

        Maybe because of hardware that isn't compatible with Linux?

        I'm not seeing your point. Incompatible hardware is only a problem if you have an existing computer, and you want to run a different OS on it. If you're building the machine, as Dell is, it doesn't make any sense to purposely choose hardware that's incompatible with the OS most people (buying these machines) want to use.

        It could be an honest mistake, but they're probably just being asshats.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:32PM (#18074668)
      "no operating system, Linux configuration"

      is'nt that because the operating system is actually emacs?
    • by rklrkl (554527) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:43PM (#18074814) Homepage
      Funny, whenever my company orders Dell Poweredge servers with the no OS option, that's all I have do (how you can have a "Linux configuration" when there's no OS shipped with it?). Slap on CentOS 4.4 and you have an enterprise level OS (a clone of RHEL 4) for no extra cost. And, yes, the Poweredge hardware is fully supported by the enterprise Linux distros in case you're wondering.


      A quick check shows that the "No OS, RHEL $0" and "No OS, Windows $0" options are only on the US www.dell.com site. If you go via the UK www.dell.co.uk site you far more sensibly just get a single "Not included [included in price]" no-cost/no-OS option.

  • by Wordplay (54438) <geo@snarksoft.com> on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:13PM (#18074406)
    Strangely, the #2 option was pre-installed pictures of Natalie Portman.
  • curious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gravesb (967413) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:15PM (#18074440) Homepage
    I'm all for choice, and I think its pretty stupid of Dell not to have offered this before. However, I wonder how many unique requests there are, and how many people asked for that a 1000 times or so. I use Linux at home, but it sure isn't on a Dell box; I built my own, as I guess a lot of Linux hobbists do. But if this gets Dell to implement that option, then great. More Linux penetration is good. Of course, people have to follow up on it; if they offer it and no one buys it, it just gives them and other retailers a reason not to offer it and will make it harder in the future to get pre-made Linux boxes from the major sellers.
    • I think its pretty stupid of Dell not to have offered this before.

      At least until 2001 Microsoft threatened to completely revoke their OEM licenses if Dell offered any other OS. Microsoft was forced to lighten up just a little bit in their conduct after the anti-trust trial.
    • Re:curious (Score:4, Interesting)

      by smilindog2000 (907665) <bill@billrocks.org> on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:23PM (#18075330) Homepage
      I found an interesting Dell/Linux bit of hype. Dell pushed their new $400 Dimension e521 as a good Linux machine last fall, but it turned out that it wouldn't actually run Linux, due to BIOS bugs on Dell's system. I expected the community to report the bug, and move onto the next machine... wrong. There were at least hundreds of angry linux users out there making a stink... and then the unthinkable happened... Dell listened to the Linux community feedback and FIXED their BIOS! I bought one as soon as I read that. It makes a great Linux box, at least if you run Ubuntu Feisty :-)
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:16PM (#18074448)

    I believe they'll have a harder time now with the tired old mantra 'There's no customer demand for Linux.'"


    It's not so much that there isn't customer demand for LINUX, it's that there isn't a whole lot of customer demand for individual Linux flavors A, B, C, D, E, F, G, etc. It's too much of a PITA to worry about qualifying all that different hardware with all the different distros and then worrying about dealing with Red Hat, Novell and all the different suppliers of what's basically a free OS.

    Now, if they had a service like "I'll send you the Linux distro I want, please preinstall it on the next 500 computers you ship me," that could be big.

    • The request specifically says to offer just the top three free Linux distributions. Such a limitation is probably reasonable; if you know enough to not want one of the three most common versions, you can probably install your own.

      On the other hand, inserting a customer-provided distribution into a limited run would be a nightmare for a company such as Dell; they'd have to maintain that particular flavor for a very small number of potential sales.
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:25PM (#18074582) Homepage
      Oh, that's not the problem. They could easily just pick one distro and only offer it. The problem is that even that one distro involves spending money on qualification, help desk, and so on. Plus then you are pissing of Microsoft, and who knows what kinds of "cooperative marketing" dollars Dell gets from them.

      It's pretty much the same thing as with AMD processors. For the longest time the official line was "There's no customer demand for AMD." Well, obviously there's demand, which is why they are bringing it up in the first place. What they really mean is "There's customer demand, but not enough for it to be worth the cost of supporting more than one platform, plus the loss from making our current single-platform vendor unhappy."

      Basically, just like with selling AMD-based systems, there's no way in hell Dell is going to sell pre-installed supported Linux until the financial incentive to do so is simply undeniable. And even then, they will at first just use the threat of doing so as a lever to get more concessions from Microsoft. If history holds true, expect Dell to be the last major OEM not shipping Linux.
      • Winds of Change. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by twitter (104583) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:19PM (#18075286) Homepage Journal

        ... expect Dell to be the last major OEM not shipping Linux.

        You think? I'm not sure anymore. Just a few weeks ago Michael Dell stood up with Vint Cerf and admitted 1 in 4 M$ computers is part of a botnet. Now his company is publicizing customer demand for Linux. If he was interested in toeing the M$ party line, he would have suppressed the results. The odds are Dell is moving away from being a M$ vassal.

        2007 is the year of Linux. Vista sucks, is not selling and the revolt is on. It's about time!

        • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy.gmail@com> on Monday February 19, 2007 @09:34PM (#18076560)

          2007 is the year of Linux. Vista sucks, is not selling and the revolt is on. It's about time!

          1996 is the year of Linux. 95 sucks, is not selling and the revolt is on. It's about time!
          1997 is the year of Linux. 95 sucks, is not selling and the revolt is on. It's about time!
          1998 is the year of Linux. 98 sucks, is not selling and the revolt is on. It's about time!
          1999 is the year of Linux. 2000 sucks, is not selling and the revolt is on. It's about time!
          2000 is the year of Linux. 2000 sucks, is not selling and the revolt is on. It's about time!
          2001 is the year of Linux. XP sucks, is not selling and the revolt is on. It's about time!
          2002 is the year of Linux. XP sucks, is not selling and the revolt is on. It's about time!
          2003 is the year of Linux. XP sucks, is not selling and the revolt is on. It's about time!
          2004 is the year of Linux. XP sucks, is not selling and the revolt is on. It's about time!
          2005 is the year of Linux. XP sucks, is not selling and the revolt is on. It's about time!
          2006 is the year of Linux. XP sucks, is not selling and the revolt is on. It's about time!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, Dell does do exactly that. It's called CFI, Custom Factory Integration. They do this for hundreds of enterprise customers, where they deploy the customers OS, corporate or other image to the machines at the factory.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zx-15 (926808)
      I doubt that number of linux distros would make much difference. Any popular distro is based on the same kernel, and the only real problem is to get all the hardware working, especially wireless card. Then Dell would have master image for distro A B C D.... and just select the one customer requested, just like the choice between windows 2000 and winxp some time ago. Technically it's not a big of a deal, plus there doesn't have to be numerous distros just the most popular ones ubuntu, fedora, suse that's thr
    • by nmos (25822) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:37PM (#18074754)
      It's too much of a PITA to worry about qualifying all that different hardware with all the different distros....

      I can't speak for anyone else but if I were buying a computer with Linux pre-installed it would just be as a sort of guarantee that there are Linux drivers available for the hardware. For that purpose it really doesn't matter what distro they choose.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thue (121682)
        While it would certainly be better than nothing, it wouldn't necessarily be much of a guarantee. I wouldn't be surprised if they shipped closed sourced drivers which only worked with the specific interface version of the Linux kernel which shipped with the preinstalled Linux OS. Or for example a printer could work with lpr via a closed source driver, but not with CUPS.

        For it to really be a guarantee, the hardware has to have open source drivers and specifications available.
      • by Bill Dimm (463823)
        if I were buying a computer with Linux pre-installed it would just be as a sort of guarantee that there are Linux drivers available for the hardware

        Exactly. I recently bought a workstation with Linux pre-installed, and told the vendor to put it on a very small partition and leave the rest of the disk blank. I did my own partitioning and install on the rest of the disk, and just used their install to verify that things worked before I started messing around.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:48PM (#18074882)
      Disclaimer: I work for Dell.

      Believe me. If you order 500 computers, you can get any commercially available OS for a PC installed. It's called CFI or custom factory integration. Ask your salesperson about it.

      The catch is that Dell will not support the OS unless it is one that is offered by Dell. Only the hardware is supported.

      The difficulty is being able to support every distro of Linux. It's impossible. I say that one is picked, say Ubuntu and support that with proper drivers and support.

      • by MoxFulder (159829) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:25PM (#18075364) Homepage
        Seems perfectly reasonable to me! I'd be happy enough if Dell would simply support the hardware without charging me for a Windows license, which is basically the current situation if you order a Dell box and put Linux on it.

        It would be *really* nice if Dell would do some basic work to document device-driver compatibility for their systems. So if I was configuring a Linux system online, I'd like to see something like:

        Information in bold shows the availability of Linux device drivers for the selected components, based on Linux kernel version 2.6.19, x.org version 1.2.3.4, and CUPS version 5.6.7.8.

        Video Card:
        • NVidia GeForce Yadda Yadda (open-source driver for 2D graphics, closed-source vendor-provided driver for 3D graphics)
        • Intel Extreme Graphics Foobar (open-source vendor-assisted driver for 2D and 3D graphics)


        Wireless Networking:
        • RaLink 802.11a/b/g card (open-source vendor-assisted driver)
        • Intel Centrino foobar (closed-source vendor-provided driver)
        • Broadcom Whatzit (no native Linux drivers, may work with ndiswrapper)



        If Dell could do something like this, I'd give them *huge* props... and I imagine a lot of other Linux folks would to. I'd gladly order my next box or ten from them. It wouldn't even be that hard... I would guess that one guy working, say, 10 hours a week on this could easily document driver availability for all the hardware Dell sells with its desktop systems.
    • by Chapter80 (926879) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:56PM (#18075014)
      Hmm... I've ordered quantities of Dell computers, and supplied the disk image. Never 500. More like 350 (in groups of 50 at a time), and their integration center pre-loads the image that we supplied.

      It happened to be a Windows image, but my impression is that they would have installed any image that we requested, including Linux.

  • by abscissa (136568)
    Just reading through those suggestions, ... I can promise you that 95% are not going to ever happen.

    e.g. no preinstalled earthlink? You think they do that out of kindness to earthlink, or maybe earthlink pays for it?
  • Requests != demand (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:19PM (#18074504) Homepage
    I believe they'll have a harder time now with the tired old mantra 'There's no customer demand for Linux.'"

    Assuming, of course, that this wasn't a campaign launched by F/OSS zealots. For some reason, vocal minorities are often confused with silent majorities. I'll put more faith in this alleged consumer demand when Linux boxes start outselling all other systems by a 2-to-1 margin. In fact, I'd be amazed if they even sold at a 1:2 margin. It would be a pleasant surprise, but a surprise nonetheless.
    • by Xzzy (111297)
      Yeah no kidding. A self-selecting population with a big motive to push their agenda given a direct line to a company's future product offering? Not exactly a scientific test.

      I wonder what percentage of the votes are the results of ballot stuffing.. something extremely common for online communities that discover online polls.
    • by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:39PM (#18074780)
      You're correct in assuming that most people buying machine from Dell probably *are* happy without a pre-installed linux configuration option, but that doesn't mean the statistics in the poll aren't representative of some portion of Dell's actual machine-buying customers, or that the poll results are somehow rigged or invalid. All the statistics say is that, of people not happy with the existing configuration options, the most popular change request is pre-installed Linux, not that most customers would prefer Linux to Windows. Having Windows pre-installed is not a change, and therefore that configuration option is not represented in the statistics.
    • I'll put more faith in this alleged consumer demand when Linux boxes start outselling all other systems by a 2-to-1 margin. In fact, I'd be amazed if they even sold at a 1:2 margin.

      Both are ridiculously high bars to measure up to.

      No one is asking for Windows to come pre-installed, because it already does. It does not require any funny-business for a survey like this to be correct and still only represent some small fraction of total sales. It just means that of the services or products Dell does not curre

    • by evilviper (135110)

      I'll put more faith in this alleged consumer demand when Linux boxes start outselling all other systems by a 2-to-1 margin.

      The 2:1 margin was for REQUESTS. Obviously, since they're selling Windows, nobody is going to REQUEST it.

      So, no, it's not going to sell 2:1, or even 1:2, and it's stupid to think it should, based on this story.

      HOWEVER, this story is misleading, as the "No Extra Software" (on Windows) is divided into two different options, and if vote were combined, would be about 80% of the Linux optio

      • by AusIV (950840)

        HOWEVER, this story is misleading, as the "No Extra Software" (on Windows) is divided into two different options, and if vote were combined, would be about 80% of the Linux option. So, it's decidedly not 2:1.

        Actually if you look at it, slots 2 and 4 are no extra software, but 1, 5, and 6 all make mention of Linux. At the time of this writing, options 1, 5, and 6 total 23,535 votes, options 2 and 4 total 14,243, a ratio of 1.65:1.

    • by jesdynf (42915) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:49PM (#18074896) Homepage

      You put a radio button that reads "( ) OpenOffice, FREE ( ) MS Office, $49.99 Dell Discount Rate" and we'll talk about consumer demand.

    • Unless there is a real option for more than very select versions then there won't be anywhere near the sales of those systems.
      Dell offers Linux or no OS on select models because of Windows Licensing reasons. They've got special BIOS tags in the HP/Dell/etc. machines that make for "easier" installation of XP and Vista- and they have to have different BIOSes for the Linux/No OS boxes. Since the bulk of their line is Windows-Only, they've only made up and verified select models for the other option, which is
    • Well the question, apparently, was about requests not-currently offered by Dell. It's not saying that Dell is getting more requests for Linux than they're getting Windows purchases. It's nothing of that sort. Just, "out of things currently not altered by Dell, what would you like to see most?"

      I'm not surprised that Linux would win this legitimately. Alternative operating systems, including Windows 200/XP now that Vista is out, would certainly be among my top requests. And anyway, even if it it is a "v

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by westlake (615356)
      I'll put more faith in this alleged consumer demand when Linux boxes start outselling all other systems by a 2-to-1 margin. In fact, I'd be amazed if they even sold at a 1:2 margin.

      Walmart.com tried to make a go of every OEM Linux distro known to man.

      January 31st came and went with one lone Xandros box remaining ---buried deep---and thirty Vista systems ready for sale.

  • Um... why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ettlz (639203) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:23PM (#18074550) Journal

    No thank-you.

    • What distro are they going to use? As many as financially feasible? I can hear the Gentoo hordes clamouring already.
    • How old will this distro be?
    • How do I know it's been set up correctly?
    • What if I want a BSD?
    • Do we really want to let people loose on Linux who can't [be bothered to] install it themselves?

    I use Linux more or less exclusively, but I'd never buy a machine with it preinstalled. I've seen how badly a computer supplier can botch a Windows install. Just ship the box blank and accept that some people know more about certain things than you do.

    • As a user who just bought a System76 [system76.com] laptop, which ships with Ubuntu, I'd like to comment. In part, I agree - my computer came with a widescreen monitor and no option for any wide-screen resolution, it took a while to get that straightened out. The swap partition also had not been activated. I don't know that a non-technical user would have noticed either of these, let alone be bothered by them, but I did think it was a bit irresponsible of the distributors.

      On the flipside, I have the comfort of knowing t

    • Hey Brutus! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by copponex (13876) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:54PM (#18074976) Homepage
      Do you ever want mainstream driver support? Stop whining like a child whenever someone offers a service that includes Linux that isn't perfect for your needs. You need to a mature a little bit, and that involves coming to the conclusion that what's best for you may not be what's best for someone else. One thing I'm sure of is that it wouldn't hurt the Linux community to have highly visible desktop Dell support. I suspect you'd rather feel superior about your operating system than help the community that develops it.
    • by LParks (927321) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:54PM (#18074982)
      What if I want a BSD?

      If you want a Blue Screen of Death, then just get one of their Windows options.
    • Re:Um... why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by towsonu2003 (928663) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:08PM (#18075166)

      No thank-you. (...) Just ship the box blank (...)
      If they ship Linux pre-installed, that means they included the proper F*all caps*G hardware that work with Linux... That means I don't have to look for Linux-compatible hardware with the idea "omfg, will they accept my return if it doesn't work?" in my head...


      Now those who modded the parent insightful, please mod me *redundant*...

  • . . . and I'll order a Dell with pre-installed Linux too.

  • I think the #2 request is "no more Indians on the phone". Seriously - check out: http://www.dellideastorm.com/article/show/61748 [dellideastorm.com] http://www.dellideastorm.com/article/show/61833 [dellideastorm.com]

    Now, honestly....I know that this may not be the nicest thing, but the biggest complaint I hear and have myself is that dell hires techs that sometimes I really can't understand at ALL. Come on people, promote this idea, wouldn't you like to hear someone who spoke english as a first language? No offense meant here, but I would just

    • by xlsior (524145)
      I think the #2 request is "no more Indians on the phone".

      They already offer that, it's just phrased as "Gold Technical Support", and costs you an extra $80 or so.
  • by Dan_Bercell (826965) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:27PM (#18074612)
    14,000 votes means only 4666 people voted for it, and I can just imagine how many zelots voted multiple time (this isnt the first pro-linux website that has promoted this link)

    I think the person who posted this link got a little excited over nothing. If anyone really believes that having Linux on the desktop is more important/popular to consumers then being able to speak to a 'John Smith' rather then a 'Abdule Ramakaiaky' for their tech support is out of their mind.
  • Margin Errors (Score:2, Informative)

    by DesertBlade (741219)
    I don't thinks this is 100% accruate. Number 2 is "NO EXTRA SOFTWARE OPTION" with 8016 votes and number 4 is "Build computers not loaded with extra software" with 5102 votes which equals 13118. Which is almost the same as number 1 "Pre-Installed Linux | Ubuntu | Fedora | OpenSUSE | Multi-Boot" with 14641 votes.

    Someone needs to clean up the voting an remove dups. There are some good ideas hopefully Dell will listen.
  • by RLiegh (247921) * on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:30PM (#18074652) Homepage Journal
    Just because a bunch of people on a web board request something, doesn't mean that it's a reflection of what people who are actually going to pay cash money want. It reflects that there's a strong desire for dell to preload linux and OpenOffice.org; but it's not necessarily a given that the people who are making that request are willing to shell out the bucks to buy a dell (especially considering the fact that most people who buy linux computers buy servers, and any desktop user who is competent enough to use Linux isn't going to settle for a prefab box, they're going to build theirs themselves).
    • For a period of several years it often wasn't worth it for me to build a system out of discrete components because (a) pre-built systems were available with the most common hardware configurations I wanted and (b) those systems came with much longer hardware warranties than I could get from the individual component manufacturers, sometimes 2-3 times as long.

      That's why I have a Micron box here, for example, and why I've purchased used IBM boxes in the past. Their IntelliStation line did what I wanted.

      I have
  • i'mm happily tapping away on my System76 Ubuntu system (http://www.system76.com).
  • I believe they'll have a harder time now with the tired old mantra 'There's no customer demand for Linux.'

    Maybe but as a business owner I can tell you that what people say they want and what they are actually willing to fork over money for are often very different things. Dell does $60 billion in revenue [yahoo.com] annually which means Dell needs a huge number of people to buy linux equipped machines for it to be worth the investment. To keep Wall Street happy they'll need to grow around 14% next year. (very rough g

  • by seebs (15766) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:38PM (#18074756) Homepage
    It's ridiculous. While "Linux" may be a large market, each individual Linux is going to appeal only to a subset, and furthermore, users may not know which one they want. How do you know whether you want Linux Home Basic, Linux Home Premium, or Linux Ultimate? Or, if you run a home business, maybe you need Linux Enterprise or Linux Business. If you're not sure, maybe you should try Linux Starter, but I'm not sure you can upgrade.

    No one would ever expect a commercial product to succeed with that kind of internal market fragmentation, I don't see why they think it'll work for Linux.
  • by dokebi (624663) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:38PM (#18074774)
    I think preinstalled OpenOffice would do more to promote Open Source and MS Alternatives than anything else. Linux is still unsuitable for casual users with other casual users as friends. For an average user wanting to run business apps or games, Linux/Wine/QEMU just isn't as friendly nor has the "ask your neighbor" tech support that you'd get running Windows.

    With a default OO install, there will be an instant install base of ODF. It'll do wonders for adoption of the format. Other manufacturers might even follow Dell, seeing how Dell can add functional software with minimal cost, leading to even more adoption. Business users might purchase MS Office anyway, but the home users and small businesses needing basic office needs would benefit in a real way without spending more money.

    So please, vote for OO.o. Having Dell install linux by default might be really cool, but voting for OO.o would help both Open Source awareness and adoption.
    • by Ash-Fox (726320)

      Linux is still unsuitable for casual users with other casual users as friends.

      Yet nine year olds, people in their mid-30s, heck even my sister is able to use Linux here. Sorry, something doesn't add up with your statement.

      For an average user wanting to run business apps or games, Linux/Wine/QEMU just isn't as friendly nor has the "ask your neighbor" tech support that you'd get running Windows.

      Most of the advice I hear from other people tends to be bad anyway, causing more problems...

  • by ThousandStars (556222) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:45PM (#18074830) Homepage
    If we took all the fulminating from Maclots like me about what trash Windows is, we'd probably assume that no one save an idiot would use it. And yet Windows is still the behemoth with more than 90% of the computer market. Judging what Dell's customers want from what those sufficiently energized and invested say on a website isn't perfect.

    Many of Dell's customers may very well want Linux. But you can't generalize from this survey to all of Dell's market is foolhardy.

  • by Bill Dimm (463823) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:46PM (#18074854) Homepage
    I don't think I would want Dell, or anyone else, doing the install for me, since I want to handle partitioning and package selection myself. It would be nice if each model said something like "certified that all hardware works with Linux Distros X, Y, and Z out of the box" so that I wouldn't have to hunt that info down myself.
  • Now, I want Dell to sell (and not just sell, but promote) Linux as much as the next Slashdotter, but I don't think this alone will necessarily convince them to do it. There was an insightful comment posted by compugeek on the suggestion in question:

    This would be great, except that it really wouldn't be that much cheaper. OEM copies of Windows are inexpensive already, and the bloatware that helps Dell keep prices low is not necessarily compatible with Linux.

    Head of nail, meet hammer. I wouldn't be sur

  • Dell Linux (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DeepBlueGlow (1022475) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:51PM (#18074922)
    The best way for Dell (or any OEM) to support Linux would be to start their own distro pre-installed, configured and optimized for the hardware they sell.
  • by frdmfghtr (603968) on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:51PM (#18074924)
    FTA:

    Quality free and open source software drastically lowers the cost of new PCs, and helps prevent software piracy. For example OpenOffice.org, the Microsoft Office alternative, can shave hundreds of dollars off the price of a new PC.


    With PCs starting from $360 to $650, can you really expect to shave "hundreds" off the price of a new PC? The $650 machine doesn't come with Office, and Dell probably only pays $60 or so per Windows license (anybody got firmer numbers?)

    The savings may be modest at best, but at least there would be an option (and I didn't see anyplace that said Dell IS GOING TO offer Linux, just that it is wanted by the respondents).
    • by AusIV (950840)
      Very true. Plus Dell gets paid to pre-install crapware on your computer (see requests 2, 4, and 6 at the moment) to offset some of the costs of the computer. If they're bundling Free software, they won't sell as much crapware, probably raising the cost of the computer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smash (1351)

      FTA: Quality free and open source software drastically lowers the cost of new PCs, and helps prevent software piracy. For example OpenOffice.org, the Microsoft Office alternative, can shave hundreds of dollars off the price of a new PC.

      With PCs starting from $360 to $650, can you really expect to shave "hundreds" off the price of a new PC? The $650 machine doesn't come with Office, and Dell probably only pays $60 or so per Windows license (anybody got firmer numbers?)

      More importantly, how were

  • by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Monday February 19, 2007 @06:56PM (#18075006) Homepage Journal
    It's a Digg-style ranking site. And items one and three were submitted by the same user (dhart). And now he submits a link to Slashdot to boost the ratings farther.

    He calls this an honest representation of customer demand?! When I got linked to by Slashdot, I got 28,000 hits. And that was a Sunday morning. Say bye-bye to any sort of reasonable cross-section of Dell users.

    I love Linux, and haven't run anything But Linux on my personal systems since 2001, but this is very nearly astroturfing. At the very least, it'll strongly bias the demographic on ideastorm.
  • Shill? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday February 19, 2007 @07:04PM (#18075116)
    So 100 motivated geeks spammed their website and made it look as if there's huge customer demand. Duh. That's like those CNN or MoveOn.org polls - only the motivated even go there.

    A better metric would be to have an OS choice list on their config page, with a "sorry we don't support Linux option" displayed once people click it.
  • by elmedico27 (931070) on Monday February 19, 2007 @09:05PM (#18076308)
    Dell Customer Service: "I think our Dimension line would be perfect for you."

    Slashdot Nerd: "Oh yeah? But does it run Linux?? HAHAHAHAHAHAH"

    DCS: "Actually, yes, it does. And we'll install it for you."

    SN: "Oh."

    DCS: "..."

    SN: "..."

    DCS: "..."

    SN: "Can I get a Beowulf cluster of them?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @02:07AM (#18078636) Homepage

    I've been trying to buy a Linux laptop. Unsuccessfully. I'm looking for a low-end system, just enough to give presentations and access systems remotely. My main systems are desktops. I don't need to be able to play movies. I don't need dual boot. I don't need much compute power or a big screen. I do need WiFi capability to public access points, and VGA output to projectors. One would think this would be easy.

    So first I try Fry's, which used to have Linux machines on sale. No more. Everything is Windows or Mac. I try Best Buy. No joy, even after a talk with the Geek Squad guy.

    Online, we have LinuxCertified [linuxcertified.com]. No obvious business address on the web site, always a bad sign, and a criminal offense in California. Low-grade domain-only SSL cert. Phone number not answered during working hours. Not looking good.

    There's an article about a $498 Linux laptop from WalMart, but it's been discontinued. WalMart no longer seems to have any Linux laptops.

    There's EmperorLinux [emperorlinux.com], but their laptops start at $1145 and go up to $6000. Their $1145 machine is a Dell 520, which Dell sells for $599. $400 extra for Linux?

    So now we're down to the blogger/enthusiast sites. One guy [mcelrath.org] has a list of Linux laptop vendors. Going down the list, it doesn't look good. The HP link is dead. The Dell link leads to Dell's French site, and even that's selling only Windows laptops.

    But some of the links aren't dead. MGE PC Online [mgepconline.com] will actually sell a Linux laptop. It's a bit overpriced; $805 for the cheapest Celeron machine. But you get Red Hat Fedora preloaded. ShopRCubed [shoprcubed.com] has Linux laptops that start at $840. Their advertising is deceptive; they advertise a model with "Intel Dual Core Technology" for $799, but in fact that's the price with an Intel Celeron. Adding WiFi and a Ubuntu install brings you up to $840.

    There's American Computer [accpc.com], or ACC PC, or CompAmerica, or whatever. Very low base prices, but they don't install Linux; they just sell you a bare machine and claim "Also Certified to run the Linux Operating System."

    Let's try Google's "Froogle" system. There we get some Linux laptops. There's a discontinued Acer model that's out of stock. There's a Pentium II laptop on eBay for $80. ("Boots Linux; some keys don't work") Nothing useful there.

    Face it. There are no major commercial vendors of Linux laptops any more. There are a few resellers buying machines, adding Linux, and increasing the price. That's it.

  • by NekoXP (67564) on Tuesday February 20, 2007 @04:49AM (#18079480) Homepage
    This just means all the people who wanted to demand something of Dell - more RAM, shinier cases, please go AMD - demanded Linux too half the time.

    The people who signed up on the site to make their little ideastorms aren't representative of Dell's entire customer base even in the slightest.

    You can bet there is a post on every Linux distro forum linking Dell's site telling people to go and suggest preinstalled Linux of some flavor. That skews the results too much. Internet polls just don't work, it's a fact. For statistics to be useful you first have to know what you are going to do with them once you've got the data (i.e. have a goal that needs statistics, don't collect statistics for shits and giggles) and when you do collect the data you need to be suitably impartial. There are good ways of collecting data about customer needs the same way there are good ways to interview employees for a job (psychometric testing ftw)

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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