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Linux Business Software Linux

Dell To Linux Users — Not So Fast 356

Posted by kdawson
from the still-with-the-Windows-tax? dept.
PetManimal writes to tell us that after all the hubbub over Dell's note about manufacturing Linux-friendly Dells and choosing distros, the company is now telling users not to expect factory-installed Linux laptops and desktops anytime soon. According to the article, Dell says that lining up certification, support, and training will 'take a lot of work.' "The company said today that the note was just about certifying the hardware for being ready to work with Novell SUSE Linux, not an announcement that the computers would be loaded and sold with the operating system in the near future..."
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Dell To Linux Users — Not So Fast

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  • huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    What is there to certify? The SUSE Linux people knows what works with their OS. Pick some hardware from that list, build it, ship it.
    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by wxgrunt (1069500) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:34PM (#18177382)
      Sadly there is trouble with Dell hardware/software even in their 'big business' server sales. We recently bought $60,000 worth of hardware from them - first time our group bought from Dell, and got machines with closed source, YOU CAN'T RELOAD THE OS WITHOUT OUR PROPRIETARY BINARIES software. After talking to some very responsive people in tech support (and politely explaining that we wouldn't buy Dells again without a test machine) they told us that the problem was the LSI SCSI controller software. Different customer service people (all of whom were polite and seemed to listen) kept asking us about the customer satisfaction rating we gave (2 out of 10), but were unable to dig up a 32-bit version of the OS we wanted to run on our Xeon 1950's. Hadn't been certified. They don't quite get it.
      • by Erris (531066) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:49PM (#18177494) Homepage Journal

        Sadly there is trouble with Dell hardware/software even in their 'big business' server sales. ... our group bought from Dell, and got machines with closed source, YOU CAN'T RELOAD THE OS WITHOUT OUR PROPRIETARY BINARIES software.

        Ugh, $60,000 worth of disposable equipment.

        Wouldn't it be nice if they had just picked some scsi cards that have free software drivers? How nice it would be if Dell used it's market might to ask for specifications or free drivers instead of how non free companies usually do it - asking the maker to keep things secret.

        • by clonehappy (655530) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @12:17AM (#18177708)
          <asbestos chainmail>

          Not to sound like a broken record around here, but why would Dell go out of their way to find components that work on an OS that is in direct competition with the one that ships with (currently) 100% of their hardware?

          Something about not biting hands that feed you?

          </asbestos chainmail>
          • by Erris (531066) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @01:53AM (#18178188) Homepage Journal

            Not to sound like a broken record around here, but why would Dell go out of their way to find components that work on an OS that is in direct competition with the one that ships with (currently) 100% of their hardware?

            For three simple reasons:

            1. Their users want it.
            2. Their users want it.
            3. Their users want it.

            You sell what your users want or you go out of business. What they sell now, contrary to their claim, does not really work with any of their hardware. Indeed, M$ is the source of all bogus compatibility problems, the people who gave you Winmodems and destroyed Alpha (remember 64 bit computing ten years ago?), who trashed Netscape and gave you rampant botnets, who crapped out OpenGL and gave you DirectX version 1 through 10 in far fewer years. I could go on and on, but you get the point. Hardware and software makers like simple and stable interfaces, M$ has done everything in their power to thwart real standardization. Their users know this and want something else.

            Something about not biting hands that feed you?

            Yes, it's strange but it's really customers that feed Dell, not M$. The only reason Dell does not give their customers what they want is because they are afraid of M$ biting them in the ass, which is already sore from their mistaken loyalty to Intel. As Vista tanks and other vendors start doing well, you will see how backward your thinking was. The fact they are even mentioning gnu/linux means Dell knows where their friends really are.

            Ask me again and I'll tell you the same until I see different.

        • Hey, the guy said he bought it with closed source, or did they buy them initially with windows? If they did with windows and decided to switch Os's mid stream. Is its fault.

          1. IT guy could have asked dell before hand. Could have researched on the web. Found out which companies had support if not open source drivers for the dell.

          Personally, servers need to special drivers, no graphics.

          Wait there is more. from the dell Site. On the 1950.

          Microsoft&#174; Windows&#174; 2000 Server
          Microsoft&#17
  • Woops! (Score:5, Funny)

    by One Louder (595430) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:17PM (#18177264)
    Hmmm, sounds like somebody at Dell got The Phone Call.
    • Re:Woops! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Sneakernets (1026296) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:21PM (#18177298) Journal
      More like, somebody at Dell got The Chair.
      • Re:Woops! (Score:5, Funny)

        by ashridah (72567) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @12:00AM (#18177574)
        Was it a comfy chair?
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Bob54321 (911744)
          Any chair that is lodged in some part of your body due to its use as a projectile tends not to be comfy... In fact, I cannot think of an exception to that rule.
        • Re:Woops! (Score:4, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:04AM (#18178248)
          He was poked with the SOFT CUSHIONS!!!!
        • Comfy? (Score:4, Funny)

          by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @04:45AM (#18179058)

          Was it a comfy chair?
          No... this time the 'Bald Avenger®' used a hand made Italian throwing chair (an excellent chocie) designed to fracture but not fatally shatter the skull of the target (aka. Mr. Dell) thus teaching him a lesson without causing permanent injury. Next time of course the gloves will come off... the Bald Avenger will hit Mr. Dell with the 'smirk of repentance' which will burn his soul out and send it to the deepest pit of Recycle-Bin-Hell where Clippy, the angel of darkness, will punish Mr. Dell for his disloyalty by driving him insane with a never ending flood of useless suggestions...

          Disclaimer: The above message is intended to make absolutely no sense at all, if it failed in this the author would like to apologize in advance.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Phil246 (803464)
      or the flying chair...
    • by Simon80 (874052)
      I'd agree, but Dell didn't need the phone call, the headline from the last article was totally false to begin with.
    • by westlake (615356)
      Hmmm, sounds like somebody at Dell got The Phone Call.

      Michael Dell announced a low-key program to certify Linux distributions for corporate clients who wanted a custom factory install. It's only the Geek off on his own power trip who could spin this into a victory for OEM Linux in the consumer market.

  • Dude! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:17PM (#18177268)
    Dude, you're getting a false hope!
  • Dell is continuing to talk with the makers of other Linux distributions about certifying the hardware for those Linux distributions, he said. "When you talk about an operating system, if Dell is going to install it and test it, it takes a lot of work" before getting it ready for the marketplace, including having training and support in place.

    It's as much work as you want to make it.

    The simple solution is to ship a hardware testing CD with the box and let whatever distribution provide the "support" for anyon

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TeraCo (410407)
      Sure, but the only people who that sort of deal would appeal to are people who would buy it with no OS at all and then install their own OS.

      People who want linux preloaded also want professional grade support.
      • If you can validate the hardware the "professional support" will come from the distribution.

        This is Linux, not Windows. There's no need to stay with Microsoft's support methods. Either the hardware is flawed or there is something in the software that isn't right. And the people best able to address that would be the support staff at the distribution you're running.
      • by Omega Hacker (6676) <omega@nospaM.omegacs.net> on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:39PM (#18177408)

        People who want linux preloaded also want professional grade support.

        And they're going to Dell for this?!?!?!?!?

        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          People who want linux preloaded also want professional grade support.

          And they're going to Dell for this?!?!?!?!?
          Does Dell give their Corporate customers the same kind of service they give to Joe Blow?

          Anything Linux that Dell rolls out will get trialed with one of their Corporate customers before it ever hits retail.
      • by Compholio (770966) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:41PM (#18177426)

        People who want linux preloaded also want professional grade support.
        Not necessarily, I voted for it and I can honestly say that as long as they sell a reasonably complete "works with linux" package I'd be happy. I would prefer that I can select an option to have it preloaded with Ubuntu and all the proprietary drivers but I definitely don't need "professional grade support". I plan on buying a new system this summer and I'm hoping that I can get it pre-built (cost of individual components relative to a pre-built system is getting kinda ridiculous). When I looked for systems that meet my needs on Dell's website I ran into the following problems:

        1) No high-end AMD systems (their instruction set is better supported on Linux)
        2) High-end systems do not provide an option for high-end nVidia cards (their drivers work better on linux)
        3) All high-end systems require purchase of MS Windows

        These problems are unacceptable and force me to look for alternative manufacturers. If you know of someone that will actually build a good linux system (desktop system, thank you very much) then let me know, otherwise I'm going to end up doing it myself again - and honestly, that's getting irritating.
        • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @12:18AM (#18177714)
          Not necessarily, I voted for it and I can honestly say that as long as they sell a reasonably complete "works with linux" package I'd be happy. I would prefer that I can select an option to have it preloaded with Ubuntu and all the proprietary drivers but I definitely don't need "professional grade support"

          Fine for you.

          But Dell has to provide meaningful technical support to make a go of OEM Linux in the consumer market.

          You don't tell retail customers to Google for answers, you don't sent them to the IRC chat rooms. You provide the level of support that is appropriate for users new to Linux or you will drown in a flood of red ink.

          • by iplayfast (166447)
            Well, one of the ways Distros make money is selling support. Do you see how this might work? Dell sells the hardware, along with a Distro preloaded, that comes with a support package from that Distro. Sounds pretty straightforward to me.

        • by tftp (111690)
          What stops you from buying the parts and building any box you like? And if somehow a trip to Fry's (or your local equivalent) is too scary, I'm sure you can find a few /.ters who will help you for a moderate fee, certainly for less than you'd have to pay to Dell.
          • What stops you from buying the parts and building any box you like?

            Cost, apparently. Try re-reading his post more carefully.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by tftp (111690)
              Yes, he says something about that - but that's incorrect. Dell, last time I checked, does not sell high end computers for less than you can put one together. I compared about 2 months ago, and parts cost about $750, whereas the prebuilt box is at least $1200 - and that is assuming that I like each and every part that is in it (which is !likely.)

              My $750 includes T6600 and 2 GB of RAM - fact, because I type this on such a box, and I just checked. My video card ($80, included in the price) is NVidia GeForce

      • So outsource the support! Let Dell make a deal with Novell (or better yet, RedHat or Canonical) for that company to support Linux on Dells, with the support contract included in the purchase of the computer.

    • The simple solution is to ship a hardware testing CD with the box and let whatever distribution provide the "support" for anyone installing it.

      It may be a while before they are ready for the home market. There seems to be some compatiblilty issues with the all in one printers they try to include in the sales.
  • by StickyWidget (741415) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:27PM (#18177334)

    Before we do this, you love me don't you???? Couldn't resist. I'm so getting flamed for this one...

    Dell needs to continue listening to its customers, and give me Linux on my Dell (dude). The first step for this should be a Linux hardware forum where they discuss possible chipsets and identify possible incompatibilities before they occur. An open forum by such a large manufacturer may also put some pressure on chip and card manufacturers to open source their drivers.

    The Widget of Sticky

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:54PM (#18177522) Homepage Journal
      As much as we've liked bashed up on Novell lately, they happen to be the best people to do this kind of hardware certification as they have explicitly stated that they are against binary drivers; hopefully they will recommend Dell ship Intel 3d hardware and this will make NVIDIA and ATI sit up and notice. Oh, and I don't think that winmodem will be acceptable either.
      • by The Bungi (221687)
        If they make it only slightly easier than brain surgery with a butter knife to install a fucking accelerated driver even, that would be super. I spent three days trying to go from "nv" to "nvidia" on Ubuntu and holy shit, that's not going to fly out there with Joe Windows. Most people don't care about "freedom" or "binary blobs", they want their computers to be responsive.

        I don't know what version of KDE ships with Edgy, but it's pretty much unusable without an accelerated driver. GNOME is not so bad, but

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ElleyKitten (715519)
          Ignore the other poster, some people like to make things harder. Just get EasyUbuntu [freecontrib.org] (just download it and double click to install) and when you run it it will have a number of checkboxes (for Flash, Skype, stuff like that). Check the one that says nvidia drivers. Click apply. You might have to enter your password somewhere in there, but it's pretty straightforward.
    • An open forum by such a large manufacturer may also put some pressure on chip and card manufacturers to open source their drivers.

      Dell does not need to wait to chose hardware that already has free drivers. This would be a great service to their customers who will get hardware that's certified to work with free software. Right now Dell is a crap shoot for free software users, with more losers than winners and users have to do all the homework for themselves. If you go through all that trouble, you migh

  • by Kannaida (1069502) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:31PM (#18177364)
    I'm not a Linux user (yet). I just started looking into a distro to install, and I'm swimming in some unknown waters here. I can kinda sympathize. Not that I'm a huge Dell fan. I bought 2 5 years ago and was never really happy with their customer support, but as a well known, well established PC vendor, they have to have people on hand that can support a Linux environment. They've spent years as an M$ only vendor, so it's not like they have a bunch of Linux guys who can just show up and say "sure, I'll do customer support". They need to know that their support people can handle the calls. Bash Dell all you want (I won't disagree) but they still have to maintain what they sell, and so they need some level of confidence in the people who are supporting their computers. It's not like Windows where you can count on most of the users being no smarter than a tech-support person with a script to read, if they're going to be serious about sending out a box with Linux, they need to be able to support it. It's much more than "is our hardware supported". They need to be ready for when someone who's never even seen linux calls in and needs some help. Personally I know where to go, but I can just imagine some of the people I know thinking "Linux is the next big thing, I need one of those" and then scratching their head and wondering what they got themselves into. From what I've gathered from my Linux using friends, tech support is going to be a lot more than just "restart".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dbIII (701233)

      I'm not a Linux user (yet). I just started looking into a distro to install,

      You can run knoppix off the CD without installing anything. If you have used nothing but MS Windows it is a very different way of doing things - so I suggest giving it a try before installing anything.

      The other thing to remember is unlike MS Windows there is documentation for just about everything (except for very new stuff and gnome for some reason) - so the RTFM responses to questions on mailing list are not just people being an

    • by ryanov (193048)
      I recommend the Kubuntu or Ubuntu LiveCD. Take a look at the screenshots to see which you might prefer (Ubuntu is GNOME for a window manager, Kubuntu is KDE).
    • It's not like Windows where you can count on most of the users being no smarter than a tech-support person with a script to read....

      I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I found Microsoft's support much better than Dell's. Although, maybe that's because I got their customer support for corporate users.... Even still, that's comparing it to Dell's customer support for corporate users as well....

  • by jhfry (829244) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:33PM (#18177372)
    Most of the previous posters are saying that certification is a waste of time or simple. It is not... the process of certification is not that simple.

    Essentially certification means that the hardware will operate as expected/designed. Sure the kernel will support the network card... but will it support it when someone wants to make some off the wall settings that are supposed to work?

    Not to mention, with the level of integration and customization done by Dell and their OEM suppliers, using a supported Broadcom NIC, for example, does not mean that it will operate correctly in Linux.

    Besides... it gives linux credibility. I know I have purchased hardware thats on the linux HCL and run into compatibility issues or hardware that is supported but has limited functionality. Things have come a long way, but they are far from perfect.
    • by Erris (531066)

      Most of the previous posters are saying that certification is a waste of time or simple. It is not... the process of certification is not that simple.

      Yeah, look at all the quality work that's gone into Vista drivers. HAAAaaaaaaaaa!

      Michael Dell could ship hardware that has free software support today if he wanted to. It might even cost more than cheap junk Windoze machines, but it should not cost more than the same hardware with Windoze. Anything less is just FUD.

      • by jhfry (829244)
        "Michael Dell could ship hardware that has free software support today if he wanted to. It might even cost more than cheap junk Windoze machines, but it should not cost more than the same hardware with Windoze. Anything less is just FUD."

        The hardware would cost no more... however the bundled cost to the consumer would. Dell can afford to make less than no money on the hardware by getting kickbacks for bundling 3rd party software. At the moment, there is no market for 3rd party bundles on Linux as the aver
  • by tolldog (1571) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:34PM (#18177378) Homepage Journal
    Maybe they are just waiting for some poll that isn't flooded by people who really love linux but have no plans on buying a Dell.

    Yes, its good they are considering Linux on their machines. But how many people will actually buy it? How big is the market for Dell to bother with selling it? Most people using Linux in the workplace already have their preferred Linux hardware vendor. Most people that are Dell shops are MS exclusively. That leaves the companies that have mixed vendors and home and personal use.

    Verifying hardware and drivers and support staff will take time and money. They can't switch overnight, not Dell. They are too big to do it quickly. If they don't do it right the first time, they will alienate everybody that may have been interested in the past as well as losing the money they spent on failing. If they take their time and do it right, they can start eating in to HP and other hardware vendors that ship with Linux certified.
    • by shaitand (626655) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @12:14AM (#18177692) Journal
      'Most people using Linux in the workplace already have their preferred Linux hardware vendor. Most people that are Dell shops are MS exclusively.'

      I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that Dell wouldn't be interested in investing the time and effort in stable linux support on their hardware in order to sell to their existing customers. They are doing this in hopes of gaining a piece of the millions of computers running linux.

      'Verifying hardware and drivers and support staff will take time and money. They can't switch overnight, not Dell. They are too big to do it quickly. If they don't do it right the first time, they will alienate everybody that may have been interested in the past as well as losing the money they spent on failing. If they take their time and do it right, they can start eating in to HP and other hardware vendors that ship with Linux certified.'

      On that point I couldn't agree more. When this is done and it is successful it will be a huge milestone for Linux. First Linux was considered a joke for actual use. It wasn't polished like windows and wasn't considered stable and secure like traditional unix. Then it creeped into the server and now it is a proven and even common server solution. Now Linux is generally considered the ideal choice for the backroom unless vendor lockin ties your business to a windows only feature. In recognition of this Dell offers server systems with Linux pre-installed. This will be the next step that means that means the time of Linux on the business desktop is here. It will take awhile to fill this segment. Just like it took awhile for Linux to move from internet related servers only to being accepted for every server room function. Eventually the secretary will be running Linux and it will be informally trickling into the home user desktop.

      Every year they claim it is the year of the linux desktop. What people seem to forget is that Linux will never go out of business. The linux on the desktop cause has no need for this year to be the year. Five, ten, or twenty years from now is just as good as this year. Every year the linux desktops outpace the proprietary systems in development and close compatability gaps. Every year the desktops become more polished and suitable for new classes of users. Every year the battles in the real desktop war, that of mindshare, continue to be won and the current desktop monopoly retreats a bit more.
    • Most people using Linux in the workplace already have their preferred Linux hardware vendor.

      I run linux at work on several machines, and have a preferred hardware vendor, Dell. I have installed linux on dell laptops, desktops, and rackmount servers. I just get them shipped with no OS. No big deal. I have never had a single hardware problem. If it came with linux pre-installed, sure why not, but it won't sway my actions one way or the other.
  • by mdsolar (1045926) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:35PM (#18177386) Homepage Journal
    Dell used to get linux support through Linuxcare http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinuxCare [wikipedia.org] and, if I recall they also had a contract with Redhat. If these left a bad taste, they may want to try to do it in house. In that case, it would take some time to build a team.

    If that is the problem, start suggesting a group that could just step and handle the workload.

    Sun doesn't own the Sun, no one does. http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]
    • by StickyWidget (741415) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:49PM (#18177490)
      No, Dell won't do Linux in house. It would be a waste of money. The idea is to pay someone to design a computer system, pay someone to identify and create the default OS and OS configuration, pay someone to identify what software should be part of this endeavor, pay someone to put in all the nifty dell graphics and popups, and then pay someone to create a default install image (with some minor changes per drive to allow licensing, unique identifying, parchesi, etc).

      Big companies do jack on their own these days, its (almost) all hired out consultants, and for good reason. Consultants are competitive, when you put an order out for bid a consultant will shave every dollar they can off the price to make sure they get the contract. This is why the open source model is so fantastic, the money in providing Open Source Services instead of Open Source Products is incredible, and it even allows for innovation (though if it's gonna be distributed, it has to come with the source). Constant, competitive, powerful innovation drives Open Source to be the BEST OF BREED, and that's who companies should hire.

      The Widget of Sticky
      A.K.A, The Adhesive Thingamajigger

    • they may want to try to do it in house. In that case, it would take some time to build a team.

      It would be nice if Dell started doing support. With calls spanning two weeks and three continents (I talked to people in the USA, Singapore, India and Australia) and being faxed all the details of another client just in an attempt to purchase a spare battery I have little confidence in their abilities in this way.

  • better be good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gsn (989808) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:36PM (#18177396)
    This really does worry me - if the linux Dell's do come out and are cheaper with SUSE or whatever distro they go with, I'm sure your everyday Joe will buy it. I worry that everyday Joe will then get stuck if he can't get something working with a GUI. I'm not trolling. I've seen people download windows programs and expect them to run in Linux when they double click setup.exe Its worse if they call the "Windows guru" whose never touched linux and cannot help. If Joe gets really frustrated he "upgrades" to Windows and vows never to try Linux again.

    Let Dell take their time because if this is going to work its going to have to be seamless and familiar. I'd actually be thrilled once Dell picks out a distro because thats a big impetus to standardize a lot of things to it, GUI, installer and package manager especially. If you can get a standard cross distro installer and package format, unfortunately like InstallShield, that correctly adds entries for menus, and just works then Linux is really ready for the desktop.
  • Why SUSE? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by delire (809063) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:40PM (#18177412)
    SUSE doesn't have any real community momentum these days and - at least from what I hear - is still plagued by spiralling dependency problems. Have they or are they going to sort this stuff out?

    The documentation and community around Ubuntu is so strong that they'd surely get far less phone-calls if they chose this distribution, while 're-selling' Ubuntu's commercial support option if the customer desired it. In other words, ship with Ubuntu soon/now and just outsource the support to either the community or the paid pros? I'm sure if Dell was to start shipping with Ubuntu pre-installed Mark would consider edging something like 'Feisty' into LTS status.

    I would be surprised if the only reason they wouldn't do something like this is to meet MS half way, as their SUSE vendor. It's obvious the most noise regarding Linux on Dell points toward Ubuntu.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a daily Ubuntu user, I've just seen users that try it stick to it for a sustained period, whether coming from SUSE, Windows, Fedora or OS X.
    • Re:Why SUSE? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mikachu (972457) <jjburke@NOSpam.hunter.cuny.edu> on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:57PM (#18177552) Homepage
      Why SUSE? Two answers, both simple.

      One, they are partnered with Microsoft, so they won't lose the deals they get from MS for their Windows-based systems, which will undoubtedly outsell their Linux-based systems, at the very least for a long time.

      Two, SUSE is one of the few distros that has paid support. Unfortunately, as hard as it may seem to believe, people actually tend to PREFER paid support. Mostly because it means end-users can have people kissing their ass as they try to find the any key. Also, I'm sure it's easier for Dell to figure out who's full of it when they get applicants for Linux support because "experience in Ubuntu" doesn't mean quite as much as "worked at Novell".

      Disclaimer: I'm both a Windows (2000 and XP) and Kubuntu user, but most certainly not a Dell user.
      • by delire (809063)
        As I said above, I think it's only because of this partnering with Microsoft. Canonical already offers the option of paid support [ubuntu.com] and now, certification. How long can a rationale of partnering with Novell or RH on that basis really hold anymore? Other vendors like this one [system76.com] are actually proving that going with the most popular distribution makes economic sense. Who's choosing SUSE for their Perhaps the real motivation for going with SUSE is that they don't actually want Linux on Dell to work, at least too w
    • I tried Ubuntu, briefly, on CD. Purty, but the sound of my drive in terminal thrash mode didn't inspire confidence. (Older hardware with limited ram, but it runs Slackware on HD or Knoppix on CD just dandy, thanks.)
  • Dell will only provide free software pre-installed when they start to loose marketshare to companies that provide installation and support of GNU/Linux on desktops and laptops. Why not buy your next computer from system76 [system76.com]?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There is a lot more ugly stuff going on behind the scenes than most of us can imagine and this is probably just one of many ways Microsoft threatens computer vendors:
    http://news.com.com/Did+Microsoft+want+to+whack+De ll+over+its+Linux+dealings/2100-1014_3-6153904.htm l [com.com]
  • by stox (131684) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:42PM (#18177438) Homepage
    to write the support scripts. Not until they can blame 99% of the problems on the customer will they be prepared to offer support for it. All they excuses they've collected for Windows will be of little use for them, they'll have to start from scratch.
  • Damn Dell (Score:4, Funny)

    by GFree (853379) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:55PM (#18177530)
    Obviously they don't have the lobes for Linux.
  • by Erris (531066)

    It will be just as long before I consider buying any of your computers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356)
      It will be just as long before I consider buying any of your computers.

      Like you'll be missed.

      There isn't a shop, restaurant, bank, professional office, hospital, school, library or public facility of any kind within twenty miles of here that isn't running a Windows OS on a Dell PC.

  • by Animats (122034)

    Told you so [slashdot.org]. Microsoft won't let Dell do it. Microsoft controls the terms of Dell's OEM discount on Windows. Microsoft imposes many requirements for that discount. Why do you think you see "Dell Recommends Windows Vista" all over the site?

    • by Jekler (626699)
      What does your rant have to do with Dell needing time to shore up support venues for Linux? Dell hasn't said that "Sorry, Microsoft won't let us do it." They said it's just going to take time to build a solid chain of support.
  • by toby (759) * on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @12:15AM (#18177702) Homepage Journal
    "How about a nice cup of Shut The Fuck Up About Linux..."
  • the hardware works PROPERLY with Linux out of the box, it's okay... no one expected Dell to break Microsoft's heart anyway...
  • That would be a huge win. However, I think Ballmer would lose his mind if this happened.

  • All they are doing is defining the minimum time frame for me to give them money. If it takes them a year to build and support Linux systems, it'll be a minimum of 1 year before they get money from me. If it takes them 20 years, it'll be a minimum of 20 years before they get money from me. I'm sure they'll let me know when it is they would like some money.
  • "not an announcement that the computers would be loaded and sold with the operating system in the near future"

    Retailers hate to announce new features more than just a little bit into the future for fear of someone who was ready to buy today putting off their purchase for any considerable length of time. They don't mind if there is a hard date for consumers to look forward to and start saving up, like if they announced this would start in April. But with no definite time frame some purchasers might
  • Throw in 2 CDs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GrEp (89884) <crb002 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @12:48AM (#18177892) Homepage Journal
    If you want linux you probably won't like Dell's factory settings anyway.

    They should just include a Suse CD and make a deal with Microsoft to include a CD with a 30 day trial copy of Vista.

    Microsoft is happy, linux users are happy, everybody is happy.
  • by Grinin (1050028) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @01:43AM (#18178150) Homepage
    Before OEMs can even think about pre-installing an OS they need to create an infrastructure that is going to work. The software needs to have a functional software installer/distribution method, and patches and updates need to work without too much user interaction.

    Today for instance I was attempting to install my nVidia drivers onto my OpenSuSE 10.2 install, and it is giving me a very difficult time. Without the drivers, I can run the desktop at 1024x768 on my LCD. Once I install them, it doesn't recognize my monitor, and refuses to give me any other resolution but 800x600 at 50Hz.

    Things like that simply HAVE to work from the get go. People are used to popping in a CD, or clicking a few buttons, and their products work. They will not take the time to jump onto IRC and talk to some really angry geeks who think they are gods of computers and try out any terminal commands.

    I think Dell is on the right track at least because this puts some pressure on the other OEMs to tap into the market. Basically whichever OEM finishes the infrastructure first (my money is on Dell by way of India and China) gets the prize.
  • Had the enter key pop off on my laptop. They sent a new one within 2 days. The instructions were missing so the guy talked me through replacing the keyboard while I was on the phone. (It turns out to be pretty simple, but I didn't know that at the time).

    So between broken keyboard and fixed 2 days.

    Support staff seemed very friendly and knowledgable.

    Of course this was a hardware problem so software may be a different story. But I think preloading linux with a major distro shouldn't be a problem. Send out a s
  • Novell-Microsoft (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @01:52AM (#18178184) Homepage

    "The company said today that the note was just about certifying the hardware for being ready to work with Novell SUSE Linux, not an announcement that the computers would be loaded and sold with the operating system in the near future..."

    Not necessarily a stupid move, since distributing that operating system quite possibly violates (or will violate) the GPL. If copyright infringement lawsuits result from the Novell-Microsoft deal, Dell would likely want to hold Novell at arm's length.

  • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @02:54AM (#18178504) Homepage
    Ok, so I can understand they need some time to get Linux properly tested on their laptops, I don't mind that. How about their number 5 popular idea at ideastorm then: "No OS Preloaded".

    Surely it doesn't take a lot of time to manage to deliver a laptop or computer just with a plain-old *empty* hard-disc ? I don't see what testing or certifying or whatever should be needed to do that. It's also what most nerds would want anyway, because you can bet whatever linux-variant Dell opts for ain't going to be precisely the one you want anyway.

    A "naked" variant for all their computers would be a good first step, and should be easy.

  • by pugdk (697845) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @03:07AM (#18178554) Homepage
    Will Dell PCs with linux be cheaper than the SAME model with windows or will everyone still be eligible for the Microsoft tax? If there is no price decrease on models bearing linux this is all a hoax, then you're paying for something you're not getting (windows) and still lining the pockets of Microsoft.

    Most likely the price will be the same, because a PC without Windows promotes piracy!!!11 Right.

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