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Linux Business Businesses

Helping Dell To Help Open Source 177

Posted by kdawson
from the skunkworks dept.
Glyn Moody writes "Dell's IdeaStorm is turning into a fiasco — for Dell, and for open source as well. Instead of just shouting at the company to sell pre-installed GNU/Linux systems, how about helping them find a way to do it? Here's a suggestion that I've posted on the IdeaStorm site: that Dell set up an independent business unit for GNU/Linux systems, just like The Innovator's Dilemma tells us to do when faced with a disruptive technology."
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Helping Dell To Help Open Source

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  • by LotsOfPhil (982823) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:10PM (#18255552)

    Doesn't matter to the community if they can't find a distro that has support for all their hardware. Doesn't doesn't matter if Dell can't offer any support yet.

    I am using one of these precisions. [dell.com] These are supported machines sold by Dell with RedHat preinstalled. All my hardware works.
  • by aphaenogaster (884935) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:24PM (#18255728)
    Sun will sell you a 900 dollar workstation with unix installed. Solaris of course. However, they will support that machine AND the os if you put a supported version of linux or Windows on it. Why can't dell do this? Because dell s.... and sells to people that enjoy commercials that use the word 'dude'.
  • by TheLinuxSRC (683475) * <slashdot@@@pagewash...com> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:45PM (#18255948) Homepage
    "Dell offers FreeDOS on at least some machines, they have offered Linux in the past. No one jumped on any bandwagon behind either OS."

    While factually correct I don't think either of these moves by Dell was anything approaching altruistic, let alone an honest effort to promote software written outside of Redmond. Did you ever try to navigate from Dell.com to one of these machines? Nigh on impossible. Also, once you do find one, did you also notice that the price was *higher* than if you had ordered the exact same machine with Windows? What is the motivation here for the customer? Also, as I recall, the only Linux distro ever offered by Dell was Redhat Enterprise, which is a very expensive distribution and it was only offered on their business line machines. Why not use something like CentOS (if it must be RH based) and pass the savings on to the customer? Or, better yet, use a totally free distribution and pass the savings on. Dell's "attempts" at selling no-OS/Free-OS machines was half-hearted at best; more than likely a public relations move to appease a certain software company concerned with anti-trust issues.
  • by defile (1059) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:54PM (#18256090) Homepage Journal

    This would no longer be "Dell" in any significant way. It'd be a beige-box vendor specializing in Linux systems. Doesn't that exist? What problem does that solve for Dell? What problem does that solve for Dell's customers?

    Well, that's one way to do it.

    Another, possibly more successful way, is for Dell to find a few of the big Linux cheerleaders in Dell, have them incorporate a startup, e.g. Dell Linux, Inc., give them an exclusive license to use the Dell brand where it relates to Linux, and have a few directors from Dell, other companies sit on its advisory board. Also $3M seed money. Dell retains 51% ownership, allocates the remaining 49% to the founders.

    Dell Linux, Inc. runs exactly like a startup with a handful of people. EVERY order is important. Tech support can be escalated to the founders. They feel out the landscape and explore the marketplace. If they earn $1M in their first year, for Dell that's negligible, but for Dell Linux, Inc. that's an enormous success.

    6 years from now if Linux is a major cash cow and Dell Linux, Inc. is earning $500M a year, a few people with a vision got rich and Dell re-integrates the spin-off into its parent company. If it takes much longer, well, Dell at least still has an answer to the Linux question and doesn't have to annoy the rest of the broader company with Linux troubles. If it goes nowhere, Dell kills it or sells it off.

  • by doktorjayd (469473) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:05PM (#18256252) Homepage Journal
    they could even call it 'dellinux'

    and control updates.

    and control package sets.

    they already have a bunch of linux stuff: http://linux.dell.com/ [dell.com] so why not just make the final step?

    theres a ton of completely open source distros managed and maintained entirely by volunteers, so why couldnt a multinational like dell do the same?
  • Pricing differences (Score:2, Interesting)

    by raznorw (756555) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:14PM (#18256330) Journal
    Anyone else do a side-by-side comparison of the dimension E520N (linux) and say the XPS 410 (windows).

    One interesting thing I noticed is that the price for the monitors are different. $240 on the linux box vs. $180 on the windows... (for the standard 19 inch E197FP Analog Flat Panel that comes with each machine).

    The other monitors listed also have price differences beyond just the $60 between these two.

    i.e. The 24 inch UltraSharp(TM) 2407FPW Widescreen Digital Flat Panel is $710 for the windows box, $800 for the linux, and $629 if you order separately from the monitors page...

    Things to consider before you order from dell :)
  • dell (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Ozgur Uksal (1037188) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @08:35PM (#18257216)
    Sun will sell you a 900 dollar workstation with unix installed. Solaris of course. However, they will support that machine
    AND the os if you put a supported version of linux or Windows on it. Why can't dell do this? Because dell s.... and
    sells to people that enjoy commercials that use the word 'dude'.

    ozgur uksal http://www.adobe.com/ [adobe.com]
  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @09:36PM (#18257668) Homepage

    I was saying, "If I were Dell, I'd make my own distro". Now, sure, of course, Dell will probably go with someone else's distro (i.e. Redhat or Novell), but personally, given Dell's resources, I would build my very own, either from scratched or based on a very good/versitile distro like Debian. I would start with an open source operating system and build it up specifically to support my hardware, changing it to fit my vision of what I wanted my computers to be.

    In essence, rather than tacking on someone else's distribution, I would go the Apple route and take full control of hardware and software, but be more open in order to win the geek vote. It would be a dangerous move, but if I were the CEO of a company like Dell or HP, I'd have people working on a home-grown Linux distro (perhaps in secret).

  • by Door in Cart (940474) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:36AM (#18258738)

    and I don't think there are enough Linux fans in india to staff their helpdesk.
    India actually has more interest in Linux than anywhere else in the world according to Google Trends [google.com].

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