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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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  • Unless they are independently thinking Directors, your suggestion, while very good, will not likely ever happen.

    • To be frank, what suggestion? A separate autonomous entity not confined to normal Dell practices? What exactly does that mean? Or more importantly, what makes anyone think Dell hasn't already worked through hundreds of permutations to follow through on their word. No offense, but I see more clouds than trees and grass here.

      Instead of telling Dell just to read a book, maybe some actual constructive analogous examples from the book would have been better.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pak9rabid (1011935)
      Fuck dell, HP, or any of the other big PC mfgs...if you want a computer w/Linux pre-installed, there are other (better) companies out there that will happily meet this demand. System76 comes to mind (http://www.system76.com). Let's support the little guy who has the experience in doing this, as opposed to the big guys who will half-ass it all the way.
  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @05:41PM (#18255238) Homepage Journal
    The Linux community wants Dell to just start selling PCs with Linux preinstalled. 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. Just put a bunch of distro choices in the "Operating System" box.

    Dell, of course, doesn't want to start selling PCs with Linux preinstalled until they have found a suitable hardware configuration.. cut a deal with someone to outsource the support to.. etc, etc. As such, this means the Linux community has to wait and every day Dell doesn't just start selling the damn PCs is another day of flaming they will get.
    • by laffer1 (701823) <luke&foolishgames,com> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @05:55PM (#18255400) Homepage Journal
      Support for new hardware in the Linux kernel is much faster than it used to be. Surely dell's lowend (read older) systems should work. Perhaps this might even encourage dell not to use substandard versions of common hardware. They won't have to add support for hardware if it has a normal PCI ID. I have a feeling the linux community would be even willing to help write drivers for their hardware.

      Tech support is another story. Dell is trying to move everything to india and I don't think there are enough Linux fans in india to staff their helpdesk. I just can't imagine the typical workflow steps are going to work with a linux box right now.

      The linux community needs PC vendors to ship systems. Why not focus on the second, third and forth vendors? For instance, say HP, Gateway and Lenovo are the next three vendors and they all ship boxes. Linux users will buy from them and dell's marketshare might drop forcing them to adopt linux. Of course I'm assuming there is a demand. In reality, we just need one vendor to adopt open source that is rather large. If they start moving machines, the other companies will hop on board.
      • by Quantam (870027) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:13PM (#18255584) Homepage
        Support for new hardware in the Linux kernel is much faster than it used to be. Surely dell's lowend (read older) systems should work. Perhaps this might even encourage dell not to use substandard versions of common hardware. They won't have to add support for hardware if it has a normal PCI ID. I have a feeling the linux community would be even willing to help write drivers for their hardware. Tech support is another story. Dell is trying to move everything to india and I don't think there are enough Linux fans in india to staff their helpdesk. I just can't imagine the typical workflow steps are going to work with a linux box right now.

        Now that was a useful post. It points out two important things the Linux community can do to help Dell get this project off the ground as quickly as possible:
        1. Help with writing drivers for any Dell hardware that's too obscure to already have Linux drivers.
        2. Help with generating a single comprehensive online knowledge base that outsourced tech support people could use when helping users with Linux problems.
      • by k12linux (627320)

        I just can't imagine the typical workflow steps are going to work with a linux box right now.

        How hard could it be to put an image on a bootable Linux system recovery CD? That seems to be the recommended fix 90% of the time anyhow. An intelligent system recovery that let you choose to leave config directories and/or home directories alone would not be that hard either. And unlike a Windows recovery CD the CD image could be downloadable. Heck, a one-click install CD for just about any distro with Dell e

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Door in Cart (940474)

        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].
      • by FatAlb3rt (533682)
        Dell is trying to move everything to india and I don't think there are enough Linux fans in india to staff their helpdesk.

        ?? Do you know how many zeros are in 1 Billion?

        Then again, even with that many people, they sure don't take home many Olympic medals. [shrugs]
    • by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @05:59PM (#18255452)
      The Linux community may say that, but what use is preinstalled Linux to a Linux user?
      By the time you are able to use Linux, you've surmounted the (many) inconvenient barriers to entry, already know how to install it to your preferences, and know how to pick hardware.
      Entry-level users need massive handholding, something that does not make sense for Dell to offer.
      Instead, just ask for the FreeDOS option. Your box will boot to "something" for test purposes, then you can nuke it and load your OS of choice.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Leto-II (1509)
        I think people also keep forgetting that Dell's FreeDOS option doesn't mean they preinstall FreeDOS. They send a FreeDOS install CD. The system is blank and cannot boot as shipped. The only thing installed is the Dell diagnostic system, the rest of the hard drive is empty space.
        • Good info, as this would be what *I* want.

          Even boxes I've purchased from Linux vendors I reinstall from scratch.

          I don't need an OS installed AT ALL and I don't want to pay a Windows tax. And yes, I'd expect a Windowless box to be a whee bit cheaper.

          • by Stickerboy (61554)
            "I don't need an OS installed AT ALL and I don't want to pay a Windows tax. And yes, I'd expect a Windowless box to be a whee bit cheaper."

            You might be waiting a while, then, considering how much pay-for-preinstall crapola is out there for brand-name Windows desktops. The "Windows tax" is more than offset nowadays by the multitudes of companies willing to shell out cash to Dell to stick their demos, trials, adware or spyware in the box as added... features.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by mackyrae (999347)
        Er, what? Installing is the hardest part of Linux. If that's done by Dell, anyone can use it. Heck, my mom says Linux is easier than Windows.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LotsOfPhil (982823)

      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.
      • I saw your post and I thought to myself "sweet, I can get a Dell with something other than Windows preinstalled". So, I followed your link. I saw the Dell Precision M90 workstation (which is really a laptop?) and clicked on "Customize It" at which point I was brought to a screen where I could choose either 32-bit Windows XP/Vista or 64-bit Windows XP/Vista. No other options. *sigh*
    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:17PM (#18255622) Homepage

      Well, the fact is that there are lots of suitable hardware configurations-- being such a large OEM, the Linux community actively seeks to support Dell machines already. Most Dells you buy will run Linux, so Dell would just have to check hardware support and make sure they aren't offering Linux with hardware that doesn't offer Linux support. That shouldn't take too long.

      Support seems like a bigger problem. Sure, they could sell the machines without supporting them, but what's the sense in that? If you are willing to buy a Linux machine without any support, then surely you can buy a machine without an OS and install Linux yourself.

      Personally, if I were Dell, I'd be looking into making their own Dell-Linux distribution. Sure, it would probably be Debian-based with a little rebranding, but the point is that they could have the software under their own control. They'd be able to optimize it for their own hardware and drop support for whatever they don't want to support, or whatever.

    • by Znork (31774)
      "Dell, of course, doesn't want to start selling PCs with Linux preinstalled..." ... because they'd lose 'marketing incentives' and kickbacks, ie, get a price hike for Windows but called something else to make it less illegal, from Microsoft if they did.

      Frankly, the rest is just bullshit excuses. Dell knows the rest isnt a problem; they could easily sell a laptop without OS and support, and publish a detailed hardware listing or simply test-load a modern dist on the hardware to evaluate compatibility.

      This is
      • by QuantumG (50515) *
        I don't disagree with you, except to say that selling a computer without support is not what Dell is about. They love those support contracts.. it's what gives them a good brand name. Selling a computer that half works is hardly in their interests is it?

    • by d3ac0n (715594)
      All Dell hardware will work "out of the box" with Ubuntu Linux.

      The only exceptions are the Dell Proprietary wireless cards, and the ATI video cards.

      Wireless: Dell also carries Intel wireless cards which use chipsets that are fully supported by Linux. It could simply include them rather than the Dell cards in a Linux certified box.

      Video: Dell could easily get a contract with Nvidia to supply desktop video cards since Nvidia already supplies Dell with mobile video for workstation class laptops.

      So that solv
  • Example: Please put Linux on Dell hardware.
    Other example: Dell sucks for not using linux !!1!eleventy!

    Either way, its feedback, what did they expect?
    • by dan828 (753380)
      Well, they probably didn't expect to be featured on Slashdot every few days and have the results skewed by a bunch of Linux loving slasdotters. As it is, they do have a Redhat option on their servers in the Mid and Large business offerings.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @05:50PM (#18255330)

    Clearly, there is a huge pent-up demand for pre-installed GNU/Linux systems from Dell.


    Ummmm... no. That isn't clear at all. A few fan-boys does not sufficient demand make.

    Don't get me wrong, I run Linux myself. I just don't think that there are enough people who care one way or the other to make it worth Dell's time.

    Reality is hard and grainy. Sorry.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by jedidiah (1196)
      Linux is already a significant part of Dell's server business. They even acknowledge Linux in that market. What's so d*amned hard about them doing the same in their desktop business? They don't have to do much really, just have an option that won't be actively Linux hostile. Dell consumer PC support isn't anything to write home about anyways.

      Even just a "I will be installing linux on this myself" checkbox would be helpful.
  • Heh. More like Sh!t Storm. Or The Perfect Storm. Honestly, how did Dell not have a clue that there were loads of Linux using technophile out there that already had a beef against them and would jump at the chance to scold them publicly for any percieved slight? BTW- I'm a linux user myself so I think it's all a little funny. Poor Dell. Cry me a river.
  • by nmos (25822) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @05:55PM (#18255402)
    My understanding of the situation so far is basically as follows:

    Some people posted on Ideastorm that they'd like Dell to offer Linux pre-installed. Dell responded that they wern't quite ready to go that far yet but they would work toward making sure their hardware was Linux compatable so people could buy Dell with some confidence that it will work with their whatever flavor of Linux they want.

    What exactly is wrong with that?
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      For the majority of their systems (unless you want to buy their one or two models that come with FreeDOS), you're still paying for Windows.
      • by Albanach (527650)
        Actually, no - the cost of windows is at least subsidised and very possibly covered completely by the software that comes installed. They don;t provide six months of AOL, a google toolbar, anti virus software with a two week subscription and thirty other trial apps because they think you want them, it's because they get paid to put them on there.

        So you can take the machine with a non transferable windows license or pay the same to have it with no OS - it's not because Dell are out to rip you off, it's be
        • by schwaang (667808)
          This FUD again? On systems I've spec'ed recently, I can manually de-configure *all of that garbage* except the AOL trial. There's NO F'ing way AOL pays Dell enough to cover the cost of Vista Home Premium.
          • by nmos (25822)
            On systems I've spec'ed recently, I can manually de-configure *all of that garbage* except the AOL trial. There's NO F'ing way AOL pays Dell enough to cover the cost of Vista Home Premium.

            Well, the last time I did that I STILL ended up with at least half a dozen pieces of random trialware on the machines when they arrived. I don't know how much large OEMs pay for Vista but with XP the conventional wisdom was that they were paying somewhere between $30 - $60. I don't think it's inconceivable that all that
    • by jedidiah (1196)
      What's wrong with that?

      What's wrong with that is that a "commitment" like that to any of their serious corporate customers would get the corporate equivalent of the the response they've already gotten from the Linux community.
  • No offense, but perhaps the problem here is that the numbers don't work out, not that the most sophisticated computer retailer in the world needs your condescending "help"?

    In this case, one rather obvious objection is that Dell's name and reputation are tied to their subsidiary's performance, so they can't just jump into some half-baked new scheme to sell "GNU/Linux" systems.

  • Why Again? (Score:5, Informative)

    by endianx (1006895) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:01PM (#18255476)
    Why do we want Linux on Dells again?

    Linux is downloadable and easy to install. Or if bandwidth is a problem, you can get it on CDs for just the cost of shipping. So it seems to me all we really need is an option to buy a Dell without a pre-installed OS.

    I have heard people say they want this for hardware compatibility reasons. Like if Linux came on a Dell, then all the hardware would be compatible. It seems to me though, the solution is not for Dell to use parts that Linux supports, but for Linux to support the parts that Dell is using (to any reasonable extend).

    So the only reason you are left with for wanting Linux on Dells is so that the average consumer will see that they have alternatives to Windows. There will come a time where you will want your average computer user using Linux, but this is not that time. It isn't ready yet. For most things, something like Ubuntu works fine, but your average person isn't going to know what to do if their wireless card isn't working, or if they don't have support for MP3s, etc. Editing a bunch of configuration files and such is not an option. They want to click a few things and have everything work.

    Linux is catching up to Windows and Microsoft is doing everything they can to sabotage themselves. Don't be impatient. If people try it now and have a horrible experience with it, it could be years (if at all) before they try it again.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by QuantumG (50515) *
      Normal people will actually consider buying a Dell with Linux preinstalled if they have some kind of guarentee that they will be able to use their computer to do what they want to do. aka, play movies, read email, browse the web and edit documents/spreadsheets. The Linux desktop is almost there, but preinstalled is a requirement.
         
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by slamb (119285) *

      I have heard people say they want this for hardware compatibility reasons. Like if Linux came on a Dell, then all the hardware would be compatible. It seems to me though, the solution is not for Dell to use parts that Linux supports, but for Linux to support the parts that Dell is using (to any reasonable extend).

      Dell can use their volume as negotiating power with hardware vendors. If the Linux people say "hey, we own your hardware like everyone else who bought a Dell, and we'd like to support it", the ha

    • Re:Why Again? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Haeleth (414428) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:21PM (#18255684) Journal

      I have heard people say they want this for hardware compatibility reasons. Like if Linux came on a Dell, then all the hardware would be compatible. It seems to me though, the solution is not for Dell to use parts that Linux supports, but for Linux to support the parts that Dell is using (to any reasonable extend).
      It already does. But you know full well that isn't the problem, because in your very next paragraph you go on to complain:

      For most things, something like Ubuntu works fine, but your average person isn't going to know what to do if their wireless card isn't working, or if they don't have support for MP3s, etc. Editing a bunch of configuration files and such is not an option. They want to click a few things and have everything work.
      Or have everything preinstalled, at which point it will just work without them having to click anything! That is the whole point of wanting preinstalled Linux: Dell could trivially arrange for the wireless card to be set up already; Dell could trivially arrange for MP3 and DVD playback to work out of the box (by the simple expedient of paying the license fees required to make it legal).

      If the big problem facing Linux today is that it's too damn hard to get it working, then is it not blatantly obvious that the solution is to sell computers that are already properly configured?
    • by sootman (158191)
      > So the only reason you are left with for wanting Linux on Dells is so that
      > the average consumer will see that they have alternatives to Windows.

      Actually another reason--and probably an even bigger reason--is for people who want to run Linux at work, but work for large companies which only buy from Dell--companies with large IT departments who only want to buy things that have vendor support. Yes, I know, you can pay a dozen companies for Linux support, but the key here is to buy a supported compute
    • by wrook (134116)
      For me, I just want someone to preinstall *a* distro, check to see that all the hardware is working and then ship it to me. This is better than me sending it back if I find something that doesn't work. For me, it doesn't mean that I necessarily want all configurations to support linux. I just want linux available preinstalled (and tested) on the configurations that do. This saves me time (and therefore money) figuring it out for myself.

      However, having said that, I don't care what distro they pick. Once
    • Linux is easy to download, and easy to install as long as you understand how to burn a disk from an ISO and install an operating system. Do you know how to partition hard drives? Do you know how much swap space you need? You might, but does your grandmother? Could your grandmother get 3d acceleration working with Xorg?

      Further, if Dell sells Desktop machines with Linux pre-installed, that means they'll also support Linux (to some degree). This means that they'll probably put some amount of pressure on

      • by jZnat (793348) *

        Linux is easy to download, and easy to install as long as you understand how to burn a disk from an ISO and install an operating system.

        Or you could, you know, buy a CD/DVD with a Linux distro on it, or you could get one for free at Ubuntu ShipIt [ubuntu.com]. Installing it is as simple as putting the CD in your disc drive, rebooting, [double-]clicking the "Install" icon on the desktop, and following the very easy install process.

        Do you know how to partition hard drives? Do you know how much swap space you need?

        Every newbie-friendly distro auto-partitions your disks by default. Some of them even have an option to resize your current partitions so you don't lose any of your data.

        Could your grandmother get 3d acceleration working with Xorg?

        Since my grandmother is a heavy gamer who must have

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spitzak (4019)
      You act as though there is no good reason to have Linux pre-installed. And then in the very next paragraph you say:

      your average person isn't going to know what to do if their wireless card isn't working, or if they don't have support for MP3s, etc

      Now are you deliberately being dense?

      I thought I'd leave it at that, but just in case you cannot see what should be blatently obvious: the reason for pre-installed Linux is to solve the exact same problem you quoted.
    • Re:Why Again? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by el americano (799629) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:13PM (#18256328) Homepage
      "Why do we want Linux on Dells again?"

      To make Linux available to people who won't intall an OS. To increase the number of people using Linux. To improve hardware support. To break the Windows monopoly.

      "...your average person isn't going to know what to do if their wireless card isn't working, or if they don't have support for MP3s"

      This is the point of pre-installing. The wireless card is selected to work. MP3s and DVDs will play if the licensing is handled by Dell and built into the price of the PC. Just offering Linux compatible hardware is not enough. I wouldn't buy Dell for that, and most businesses wouldn't buy Linux Destop machines either.

      "Editing a bunch of configuration files..."

      Config files?! I'm not using config files for my e-mail, browser, office apps, multimedia, desktop environment, etc. For someone who tried Linux recently, you certainly have antiquated ideas of its current state.

      • by mbrod (19122)

        To improve hardware support.

        BINGO !

        That is absolutely the top reason why having a few more million people getting computers with Linux installed (even if they aren't experts) is a good thing. The hardware manufacturers are already doing a good job at Linux compatibility but if they know a lot of regular users need compatibility they will do the Linux work as part of their normal release process. As opposed to work done after the fact in a way that might not be as thorough.

      • Config files?! I'm not using config files for my e-mail, browser, office apps, multimedia, desktop environment, etc. For someone who tried Linux recently, you certainly have antiquated ideas of its current state.

        Just for the record, I installed Ubuntu edgy at the weekend, and I had to edit config files manually three times.

        xorg.conf to get my (ATI) graphics card to display the correct resolution, and fstab twice, once to set a windows share to mount at boot, and once to get my Ipod to work.

        Admitte
        • Of course a pre-installed Linux would come with the video card working. I added iPod support to Amarok from the GUI. Windows share?! Also added from the GUI... but can't make permanent. Ok, you got me there. That would be a nice option. Still, OP's example was "click and work", which is what you get with no required config file editing.

          I'm not pretending that life isn't sometimes difficult with unsupported hardware (e.g. iPod), but my family, who uses e-mail, web, instant messaging, documents, digital photo
          • by Toby_Tyke (797359)
            I added iPod support to Amarok from the GUI.

            I use an all gnome desktop as far as possible, so that wasn't an option for me.

            'm not pretending that life isn't sometimes difficult with unsupported hardware (e.g. iPod), but my family, who uses e-mail, web, instant messaging, documents, digital photo management, and not much else, would have all their needs met, be more secure, and require less maintenance with a Linux Dell.

            The problem, as I see it, is that there's always one show stopper. My wife wil
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by oztiks (921504)
      I think its funny how this whole game is played.

      Why after all this time has Dell decided to even look at Linux this way? They don't care what geek customers want, they only care about sales and profit, Vista does the job they need it too and they get paid well to sell it, its not as if Dell is getting hammered by its shareholders to come up with solutions other then Windows because sales are at an all time low.

      It comes down to the fact that Vista didn't prove to be this solution that everyone expected becau
  • 1) They are preparing (hopefully) for support for whatever Linux distros are going to be made available. Not that anyone is going to call and actually *need* support for their Linux box, other then a defective hardware component. But the perception to them will be; "how do we support a non-Windows system?" A hardware *only* support structure would be just fine here, but their thinking too much in the box. [sic] "People *might* call with actually Linux config questions" and they'll not be ready to handle e
  • The Easiest Way (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dokebi (624663) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:20PM (#18255658)
    The easiest way to promote open source software would be for Dell to install OpenOffice on all their systems. This would cost them very little--no new OS to certify, no hardware to test, plus it wouldn't eat into their "crapware subsidy".

    But, this will greatly increase the market share of OO.o, and home users and small businesses would reap real benefits from using a real office suite, rather than MS-Works.

    Perhaps other PC makers will follow, to "compete" with Dell on this "Free Office Suite," and _they_ might install it on their systems.

    I started using open source software from Mozilla Browser and OpenOffice on Windows. I was able to switch to Linux not only because I have tried to wean myself off of MS formats, but because I invested myself into platform neutrality. Having OpenOffice installed by default would do more than anything to promote this kind of independence, even if the user never actually ends up using Linux. I think this helps the open source movement even more than having a linux-OS option, because once people invest with their data, it is hard to go back to some other closed format.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fireboy1919 (257783)
      it wouldn't eat into their "crapware subsidy"

      Actually it would. Microsoft Office Crapware Edition comes loaded on most of prebuilt computers. It's a trial use version of Office.

      I bet Microsoft is doing something for them for the privilege of putting that thing on there. I bet that Microsoft wouldn't be willing to do whatever that is if something better than Office Crapware was also installed.
  • 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 mpapet (761907) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:27PM (#18255766) Homepage
    Look at it from the typical corporate PHB mutual admiration/derision society perspective.

    Firmware Engineering: Oh no! I've got HOW MANY new drivers to port? I need more money, more head count!

    Q/A: Oh no! What's my schedule to test these new drivers? I need more money, more head count!

    Product Management: Ugh! I have to SKU up these new products? Graphics design is going to have to give me new blah/blah/blah. What about all of our OEM software partners? They aren't linux compatible. We need new product managers that are Linux geniuses.

    Software Dev: Wait none of our apps are Linux compatible. Need more head count. Need to hire linux experts to do this.

    Marketing: We need to buy lots of market research! We need to hire linux market experts! We're doing so much already!

    Manufacturing: You want what? You've got the wrong guy in your office. The server assembly manager is the guy you need to speak with. He does expensive-but-kind-of-free-Red-Hat, not me. Wait, you want Optiplex's and Dimensions to have Linux? It can't be done. I'm not set up for it. I need more people and more money to expand operations to accommodate your new-fangled production ideas.

    Support: Our Indian support center doesn't have the scripts needed to support, wait you said MANY versions of Linux? No. No way. Too complicated.

    Legal: We need to enter into a contract with these Linux people. Wait, many linux people? I thought there was only one Linux. Need more head count to manage these new contracts. We need to research if this conflicts with any agreements we already have. Need to hire legal consultants that are experts in Linux. Hmmm plus all this "free" software written for hippies hasn't been vetted by the courts.

    Purchasing: Where do we buy this Linux from?

    Sales: All right! Linux on Dell! Let's do it! Who's with me?!?

    What you are asking for (lower priced, OS-free hardware they will support) they will not give you. Besides, you will force distro's into a winner/loser software monoculture of it's own making that is best avoided at all costs. This is where the little guy thrives. Hmm, let's see http://www.sub300.com/port.htm [sub300.com] or maybe www.linspire.com, or http://system76.com/ [system76.com]?
  • HP is about to unseat Dell has the big box manufacturing king. HP has worked in the past with hardware driver support and even the Debian distrobution. Why not ask HP to do what Dell can't or won't? I'm sure HP would love to take even more market share from Dell, and if they can get another customer they will. If you're a small business using Linux now is the time to leverage the new market share shift.

    You like it when people use the word leverage. =p
  • Dell's IdeaStorm [CC] 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?

    1 Dell sees real potential in "certified" Linux system sales to its larger business and institutional customers.

    2 Unsatisfied, the BadVista fanatic spams Dell with adolescently argued posts demanding parity for OEM Linux in the general consumer market.

    No matter that even Walmart has fled the fi

  • 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?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DaMattster (977781)
      I think this is one of the best ideas that I have heard to answer the problem of too many distributions. However, Dell would then need to employ a team of Linux OS developers and the cost would ultimately be passed on to the consumer. That said, this extra cost may only surface for a short time until sufficient product revenue happens. And, you kill the problem of compatibility. I think the reason Dell did not act sooner on open source was fear of the support behemouth that would be required. Michael D
  • Pricing differences (Score:2, Interesting)

    by raznorw (756555)
    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
  • This idea is a good one provided that this autonomous division is given ample exposure by Dell. The risk in this kind of business model is that there will be not enough media exposure or advertising and just die off. The success is also heavily dependent upon good leadership in a very fragmented market. Unfortunately, Linux is a fragmented market with consumers coming up with excellent arguments for and against the use of, say, Ubuntu versus others. If I had my two cents, I'd love to see Dell consider P [pcbsd.org]
  • I believe they still sell Linux for their servers but that is it.

    I.T. does now want Linux besides in the computer room. I think Dell even offered Linux for some workstation but demand was not high.

    Its not like they will support it for Dimension users. However making it linux compatible with drivers for linux in case the geeks want to dual boot or wipe Windows off it seems more doable but even that is expensive. It will add support costs and Dell does not like people opening up their boxes and doing things t
  • ...an operating system is an operating system, and will be used to bolster a company's profit margin, not reduce the cost to the consumer.

    This is a problem I made comments on in the past: people just don't get how an operating system can be 'free', companies take advantage of this. Until the consumer wises up, Linux is just a neat way for PC manufacturers to make more cash on each box sold.
  • This whole thing isn't about selling with Linux installed. It's about selling hardware without a selling a bundled, pre-installed OS at all. It's about offering choices to customers so they can buy what they want. It's about a computer manufacturer selling *computers* and not selling a license distribution system for content providers and software vendors.
    • by westlake (615356)
      This whole thing isn't about selling with Linux installed. It's about selling hardware without a selling a bundled, pre-installed OS at all. It's about offering choices to customers so they can buy what they want. It's about a computer manufacturer selling *computers* and not selling a license distribution system for content providers and software vendors.

      It's about driving your company into Chapter 11.

      It's about pursuing a Geek fantasy that has no relation to the reality of the mass consumer market.

      • by salesgeek (263995)
        It's about pursuing a Geek fantasy that has no relation to the reality of the mass consumer market.

        Dell does not manufacturer 1000's of PCs at a time for shipment to retailers. They are the poster boy for mass custom configuration direct from the manufacturer - so offering a no OS option should not be a big deal for them.
  • Pre-installing an open source OS on a computer doesn't disruptive innovation [wikipedia.org].
  • would be sufficient for me. I don't like the 'Windows tied selling', which is kinda illegal in many states anyway.
  • Your solution isn't radically different than what Dell does now which is sell Linux configurations which are marginally different than nearly equivalent Windows models, except at a much higher price. I don't want to pay more for a Dell computer with no OS or Linux, I want to pay less. If Dell can't offer me a 'no OS' machine for a lower price than the same machine with Windows, I will continue to do what I do now; buy the parts from Newegg or my local computer shop and put them together myself. An indepen
  • Q1 : Why do we want Dell selling preinstalled Linux PC's and where is his target market ?

    A1. we want to see wide Linux adoption
    A2. we are just tired to put together our own Linux compatible computers
    A3. we are tired of checking for hardware compatibility for laptops
    A4. only Dell or some other powerful PC vendor like IBM/Lenovo could make some pressure on the hardware manufacturers to make Linux drivers or give specifications which on the end could make a better hardware support

    Q2 : Why Dell does
  • Instead of just shouting at the company to sell pre-installed GNU/Linux systems, how about helping them find a way to do it?

    I'm not sure that's a good use of our time. Honestly, why do we care if Dell pre-installs Linux? I'd settle for being able to buy hardware configured with the components I want and no operating system. If I'm installing Linux I don't want Dell doing it for me anyway. I want my my distro setup my way.

    With all the activation hoops and anal probe WGA, MSFT can no longer use the e

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