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Why You Can't Buy a Naked PC 367

Posted by Zonk
from the put-some-clothes-on dept.
ZDOne writes "A piece up on ZDNet looks at the issue of naked PCs. ZDNet UK phoned around all the major PC vendors and not one of them would sell a machine without Windows on it. IT professionals are being forced to adopt Microsoft's operating systems — even if they tell their PC supplier they want a system free of Microsoft software. On the other hand, even if it's almost impossible to buy a PC without an operating system installed, companies like Dell and HP are now committed to supporting Linux as well. 'Murray believes there is a market for Linux in the UK but is also aware of the issues facing any large supplier who wants to make Linux boxes available. "It means diverting production lines and that is a lot of money and so we have to prove the business case," he said. However, he made it clear that he is enthusiastic about the idea and wants to make it work. "We just have to show it is worthwhile," he said.'"
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Why You Can't Buy a Naked PC

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  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:45PM (#18380217) Journal
    I don't get it. You get the Win for "free" (or less) due to the nagware installed. Why not just get the pc with linux-capable components, let the advertizers pay for your unused copy of windows, and install your favorite flavor of linux (or whatever you plan on using)?

    I have yet to get a new pc I didn't re-image or install from scratch anyway. If I used linux I'm certain I wouldn't like the vendor's setup any more than I like their win installs. Too many custom setting to get these kinds of things to work they way we use them. If the windows is effectively free, and you have to do a reinstall anyway, why not just ignore it?

    Oh, right - it's far more appropriate to whine about it.
    • by JesseL (107722) on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:48PM (#18380247) Homepage Journal
      How do you figure you're getting windows for free? I guarantee that the vendor is paying Microsoft for the license (even if it's heavily discounted), and they're not going to just swallow that cost - it will get passed on to you.
      • by Hektor_Troy (262592) on Friday March 16, 2007 @05:00PM (#18380417)
        Great, just great ... another groups of people who won't swallow.
      • by CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) on Friday March 16, 2007 @05:06PM (#18380509) Journal
        Its discounted sure, but there is also a lot of other revenue they make when Windows is preinstalled. Google (or some other search provider) pays to have thier search engine set as the default, AOL pays to have thier crapware installed. McAfee pays to have thier 60 free-trial installed. etc, etc, etc.

        I don't know that any real numbers have ever been released, but many analysts I've read think the main PC sellers actually make money just by including Windows because of all the other stuff they install on the PC with it.
        • by JesseL (107722) on Friday March 16, 2007 @05:14PM (#18380619) Homepage Journal
          The last few new Dells I've dealt with had a bare minimum of crap installed, Google Desktop was pretty much all there was.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by rapidweather (567364)
            I had a Dell laptop in my facility that the owner complained of too much software, all wanting to start up and have an icon in the tray, resulting in slow performance.
            This was a dual core, with 2 GB of RAM, and Windows XP media edition.
            He wanted the hard drive formatted, and then a reinstall of XP from the restoration CD. I did that, formatted the main XP partition, and proceeded with the reinstall.
            Had to boot up my livecd linux to get all the drivers from Dell that were not on the restoration partitions,
            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by The_Wilschon (782534)

              The laptop came with a 17 inch widescreen, and the 128 MB ATI card driver suggested that I use the maximum resolution, but I opted instead for 1024x768 since everything would be easier to see. The owner changed that right off, and all I could do was point out the very small text, and the reasoning for my resolution choice.

              You do realize that font sizes are not fixed permanently set in stone forever by edict from on high? If the text is too small, make it bigger by increasing the font size. Don't comprom

              • by Hortensia Patel (101296) on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:47PM (#18382003)
                If the text is too small, make it bigger by increasing the font size. Don't compromise the resolution of everything on the system just to make the text bigger.

                In an ideal world, you'd be absolutely right. In the current one, not so much. I have an old Dell laptop with a 15.4" screen at 1920x1200, and WinXP really doesn't cope all that well. Changing the DPI setting (the "correct" solution) broke pretty much everything. Keeping the standard-but-wrong DPI and cranking up font sizes used to mostly work except for dialog boxes, which go badly messed up. At some point MS gave up and changed their policy via an update; now, dialog box text is always sized for 96dpi and cannot be enlarged.

                Ironically, the only thing that manages layout flawlessly and respects font size prefs is Eclipse's SWT toolkit. MS stuff is absolutely nowhere.
                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by Ant P. (974313)
                  That's one thing I found pretty funny about Windows - the UI hasn't progressed at all in usability since 1994, it just causes more epileptic seizures.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by ultranova (717540)

                  Ironically, the only thing that manages layout flawlessly and respects font size prefs is Eclipse's SWT toolkit. MS stuff is absolutely nowhere.

                  This is hardly surprising, after all, SWT has been made to be cross-platform so there's less assumptions it can make about the underlaying system and more things it needs to query the system for. It is also immediately obvious when it makes such assumptions, since it will break on some supported platform, so the bugs can't accumulate over time. I'd imagine Swing

          • by meme lies (1050572) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:57PM (#18381593)
            The last few new Dells I've dealt with had a bare minimum of crap installed, Google Desktop was pretty much all there was.


            Where they bought through the "Home" or "Business" sections of Dell's site?

            Because (and this is no secret, and not limited to Dell) the computers sold to "home" and "student" users are the ones loaded with garbage. The business models are pretty much clean, for obvious reasons. And the deals are usually better, too...

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by xSauronx (608805)
            christ. i work for a wirless isp doing installations, part of which often involves configuring a static ip and dns servers. simple enough, but often infuriating.

            one today had a new dell they had hardly ever turned on. it showed. 4 programs popped-up when windows started, nagging the fuck out of me, and norton popped up while i tried to setup their email account in outlook, and something else popped up when the connection was active and i opened a browser to demonstrate the service to the customer. meh.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Copid (137416)
          This is one of the reasons why I can't stand the default install on any off-the-shelf computer. Normally, it takes a while before enough useless shit has made its way onto a Windows install to "ripen" it to the point where it's easier to reinstall than to fix it. If you buy a machine from Compaq or some similar company, it already comes most of the way eroded for you. I have a hard enough time training users not to install 50 different search toolbars, pointless background tasks, redundant time sync to
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by PitaBred (632671)
            Try buying machines from Dell/HP/IBM's business divisions rather than the consumer PC's. They tend to be much leaner on the crapware.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by dynamo (6127)

            I can't stand the default install on any off-the-shelf computer
            Get yourself a mac and it will actually be in a useful state to build upon when you get it. No crapware, no ads, no huge glaring security issues, even if you decide to connect the machine to a network.


            In the meantime, enjoy martyrdom.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Ryan274 (1067758)
        You might not get windows for free, But:

        - Nag-ware - Dell/HP are PAID to include them
        - Bulk Purchasing - They buy HUGE quantities of PC parts, and thus get them way below retail cost
        - Cheap Licenses - I've bought a $400 Dell PC with Windows XP, So I really doubt they weren't paying the $125 for the OEM version (or that was the price in Aug/06 in Canadian Dollars)

        Take these three together and the cost of a Dell/HP pc with windows will work out about the same as building a PC from parts without an OS.
    • by panda (10044) on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:50PM (#18380269) Homepage Journal
      You can buy servers from Dell with no pre-installed operating system. I know 'cause I've recently bought two.

      Interestingly enough, when you choose the no operating system option, the server suddenly costs $799 less than with Windows 2003 R2 installed.

      I don't know how you do math where you are from, but where I'm from $799 isn't free.

      Oh, and that's U.S. dollars, just to clarify.
      • You can buy servers from Dell with no pre-installed operating system.
        So what Dell client machines connect to these servers? Do those need Windows?
        • You can buy servers from Dell with no pre-installed operating system.
          So what Dell client machines connect to these servers? Do those need Windows?
          See www.dell.com/nseries [dell.com]. No, they don't need Windows.

          I'm not sure why this always comes up; Dell has been selling these for years.
          • by bconway (63464) *
            It comes up because the same PC with XP Home (configured shortly before Vista release) costs $20 less than one without an OS. Most people aren't keen on paying $20 plus the cost of a Windows license for... nothing.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by PitaBred (632671)
              You can either have your advertising subsidized Windows crapware, or you pay a bit more for the hardware. Why do you want to have your cake AND want to eat it? It doesn't work that way.
        • by Znork (31774)
          If you know what you're looking for you can find the Dell N series [wikipedia.org].

          Sometimes they are slightly cheaper than their Windows counterpart, other times if you look carefully you might see things like smaller disk by default, CD instead of DVD, then when you configure them you'll note they lack the same offers and savings that their exact same windows counterpart enjoy. In the end, when I've tried it, several times the machine without Windows ended up more expensive than the same one with. Which makes the exercis
          • The reason the N-Series PCs are more expensive, as others have noted, is because Dell gets paid bounties for customers signing up for AOL or McAfee, etc. They can't make this extra money from customers if they can't install this extra nag(crap)-ware. Personally, at least when it comes to desktops, I would rather spend the extra hour or two to build my own from parts I order myself (likely for less than I would pay Dell [slashdot.org]), and not pay MS or add to their claims at market dominance [adage.com].
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by init100 (915886)

            If they added 'FreeDOS', 'Linux', or 'No OS' to the 'Operating System' choice option the whole deal would be quite a lot more obvious and available. If that's what they're actually interested in.

            But then, people might really start asking questions they don't want to answer.

      • Funny, I just ordered 2 dell servers sans OS as well. If you have a lot of OS install disks hanging around, it's a great option, especially since they were running some kind of special. I ended up buying two for under a grand, and I usually prefer to roll my own.

        Fair warning, though, when you don't buy any extras, it makes them really sad. [slashdot.org]
      • by Joe5678 (135227)
        The GP's point was that they don't give you a "No OS" option because they get paid to install all the extra crap on top of windows (toolbars, media players, etc). They wouldn't be able to install this extra garbage if they didn't have an OS.

        Dell obviously doesn't install this garbage on their servers, that's probably part of the reason for the full $799 cost of the server OS.

        I'm not sure I buy into the fact that all the extras end up negating the cost of the OS in the end, but if you're going to argue, at
    • Other than Microsoft being able to claim that Windows runs on 99.99% of the PCs sold, you're absolutely correct. We Linux guys are picky enough we know exactly which distro and what version of that distro, and which of all the available packages we want installed - and we'd probably rather do it ourselves, anyways. So yeah, there's little point in whining, except for that statistics thing.
      • We Linux guys are picky enough we know exactly which distro and what version of that distro, and which of all the available packages we want installed - and we'd probably rather do it ourselves, anyways. So yeah, there's little point in whining, except for that statistics thing.
        And the tendency of too many hardware manufacturers to 1. not provide Linux or *BSD drivers, 2. not describe their hardware in enough detail to allow the free software community to develop and maintain its own drivers, 3. silently replace the chipset with an incompatible chipset in a revision of the same make and model of hardware, and 4. promote such incompatible hardware to OEMs. Buying a PC with preinstalled Ubuntu OS at least makes sure that your PC contains Linux-compatible hardware.
        • Buying a PC with preinstalled Ubuntu OS at least makes sure that your PC contains Linux-compatible hardware.

          You'd think. So why does every seller of pre-installed linux desktops that I've found sell them with a video card that requires proprietary drivers?

          In fact, with a few minutes of googling around I couldn't find a single pre-installed linux box that advertised integrated intel video--despite the fact that it's more than adequate for non-gaming use, and it's the only current option I know of that i

    • by Pope (17780)
      It's not free at all, you're paying for it as part of the cost of the system.
    • by catbutt (469582)
      You really think the "nagware" is paying for your copy of Windows? As in, Dell (or whoever) doesn't have to pay Microsoft a dime for Windows?

      Wow. Just wow.
      • by bfields (66644)

        You really think the "nagware" is paying for your copy of Windows? As in, Dell (or whoever) doesn't have to pay Microsoft a dime for Windows?

        The second doesn't follow from the first--they could be paying Microsoft but still coming out ahead in total (after taking into account income for the various ISP-advertising icons, etc.).

        But I wouldn't be at all suprised if Microsoft was close to giving away the OS on a low-end PC ("Home" Edition, Microsoft Works, ...). The advantages they get from such complete

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday March 16, 2007 @05:13PM (#18380595)

      I don't get it. You get the Win for "free" (or less) due to the nagware installed.

      Actually, the best estimates I've seen place Dell's price for an OEM copy of Windows Vista home at about twice the price Dell is paid for installing nagware. As the computer company you are dealing with gets smaller their Windows discount gets smaller and this delta grows even larger.

      Why not just get the pc with linux-capable components, let the advertizers pay for your unused copy of windows, and install your favorite flavor of linux (or whatever you plan on using)?

      Because if they could sell in volume without Windows it would be cheaper yet (drastically cheaper if they lined up Linux nagware) and because without the vendor pre-installing and testing Windows any guarantee that it is "linux capable" is subject to being an exaggeration or just plain wrong. For example, at a previous company we bought Dell towers in bulk that we destined to run Linux, OpenBSD, and NetBSD. We already owned a site license for Windows with plenty of free seats. We still had to pay for licenses for those machines even though we did not want them. Also, being Dell, despite having the same model number and being part of the same shipment, only about 1/3 of the machines actually had all parts that were the same as the test boxes we were shipped and had all the drivers we needed. Out of a few hundred machines we got 3 different video cards, several controllers, hard drives, CD-drives, etc.

      I have yet to get a new pc I didn't re-image or install from scratch anyway. If I used linux I'm certain I wouldn't like the vendor's setup any more than I like their win installs. Too many custom setting to get these kinds of things to work they way we use them. If the windows is effectively free, and you have to do a reinstall anyway, why not just ignore it?

      You and I are going to image anything we get. The average consumer does not know what an OS is and would never attempt to install one. More importantly, the vendor having to ship with Linux and support it insures all the hardware will have drivers and you have a source for those drivers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865)
      You are PAYING for that copy of Windows.

      Also, I have no idea what they are talking about with regarding to having to divert production lines. I can order a cheeseburger minus the tomato and they don't have to make it on a separate production line. They just... don't put that on it.
      • by fishbowl (7759) on Friday March 16, 2007 @05:18PM (#18380653)
        >I can order a cheeseburger minus the tomato and they don't have to make it on a separate production
        >line. They just... don't put that on it.

        In case you are too young to remember, Burger King actually built their market niche on that problem. The other big Hamburger restaurant had developed a model where the food was prepared in advance and special orders were a problem. Burger King came along with a whole marketing angle based on making the burgers fresh, and they promoted it with one of the catchiest jingles in all of advertising history :-)
        • by Surt (22457)
          >>I can order a cheeseburger minus the tomato and they don't have to make it on a separate production
          >>line. They just... don't put that on it.

          >In case you are too young to remember, Burger King actually built their market niche on that problem. The other big Hamburger restaurant had developed a model where the food was prepared in advance and special orders were a problem. Burger King came along with a whole marketing angle based on making the burgers fresh, and they promoted it with one of
        • The other big Hamburger restaurant had developed a model where the food was prepared in advance and special orders were a problem.

          Virtually every fast food burger joint has this capability, and during peak times they keep a stock of "pre-made" food. Of course, a "peak" is a fairly rare occurance; I don't remember the last time I went to anyplace that wasn't a Thruway Roy Rogers and got a burger from under a heat lamp.

    • by Ngarrang (1023425)
      Nothing is free in the computer world. If it is free to you, the consumer, someone ELSE paid for it.

      *shrug*

      If you are a corporate customer and you buying a bulk lot of systems, as I have many times in the past, I got pretty much whatever I wanted. Two or three years ago, I purchased two lots of 50 PCs from MPC. I told my rep to send me one system to create my build. He did. The "gold system" arrived per my physical spec, bare hard drive. Google, Yahoo!, whoever didn't make diddly squat on my purchase.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by element-o.p. (939033)
      This was mentioned in a previous thread, but it's something I've known for years, so I'll repeat it anyway. When you get a computer with Linux preinstalled, you get a chance to see what hardware is inside the case (lspci, lsusb) and you get a chance to see what kernel options/device drivers are being used with that hardware (less /usr/src/linux/.config and lsmod).

      While yes, a decent Linux sys admin could almost certainly figure out how to build the computer without that information, if you've got the in
    • You know, you don't HAVE to buy a machine from Dell or anyone else. Someone with enough motivation to learn how can purchase the proper parts and build their own PC or server.

      It's really not too hard to do, and if you plan it out and buy some components on sale, you can probably do the same or better on price than if you bought a system... sure there's your time, but it's an investement in yourself..at worst, hobby time.

      Then you're free to install your OS of choice.

      Any if you really want to, you can keep co
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:45PM (#18380223) Homepage Journal
    I blame Bush, the Religious Right and the Christian Coalition. As soon as you talk about anything being naked, they're hitting the speed dial to call their lawyers...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Not just Bush, the Religious Right and the Christian Coalition.

      If anyone talked about seeing Ballmer naked, we'd all be hitting the speed dial to call our lawyers... :-O
  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <.valuation. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:49PM (#18380263)
    If Dell or Gateway won't sell a naked PC, then let that be their folly if such strategy fails. In the meantime, do a bit of research and find smaller vendors that will sell a PC sans OS. Here's a small company that sells many brands of laptops with no OS by default: www.powernotebooks.com. If it wasn't for the Intel Macbook line coming out, I would have gone with something from them.

    Put your money where your mouth is, do business with those small companies and they'll eventually become big ones if the demand is great enough. Dell once started out as a small company and selling computers with Windows worked for them.
    • Right on! I'm so sick of the whiners here. I've yet to buy from Dell or any other major brand... all my PCs have been brandless (often even cheaper than the packaged stuff). If you don't want it Win on it, don't frigging buy it there.
    • by itsdapead (734413)

      Plus, I'd wager that the typical person who wants (and knows they want) Linux is also less likely to be seen dead buying from Dell or Gateway, and more likely to assemble their own PC.

      I stopped worrying about such firms years ago when (fortunately before I'd parted with cash) one of their phonedroids informed me that I'd void the warranty if I set it up to dual boot WinNT and Win98 (forget Linux!)

  • by BSDetector (1056962) on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:50PM (#18380273)
    Can someone tell me where/how I can buy an Apple-branded computer without an Apple-supplied O/S?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Brandybuck (704397)
      No fair bringing the real world into this! We insist that you can't buy a computer without Windows, so your facts are irrelevant!

      Seriously, notice the use of the acronym "PC". It's a semantic trick to exclude non-Windows systems from the analysis. Even now that Macs are x86, they're STILL don't qualify as PCs. People will always find some way to exclude the facts to support their beliefs. One current belief, quite popular in Linux [sic] circles, is that people are forced to use Windows. Those of us who don'
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dwandy (907337)
      If this discussion was about buying a Microsoft PC without Windows on it ... then you might have a point.

      This is about independent companies seemingly unable to offer an alternative when alternatives exist.

      Ford, GM, et.al offer tires from one than one manufacturer, stereos from different manufacturers etc...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zsau (266209)
      Why is this relevant? Microsoft doesn't sell computers. Apple do. It's no surprise that Apple-branded computers run Apple's OS. Microsoft-branded computers I'd fully expect to run a Microsoft OS. But ... where can I get such a thing from?

      Dell, OTOH, let me buy a laptop with either Intel Integrated Graphics, or an nVidia graphics card (even tho it's otherwise the same model!). Why shouldn't I think it reasonable to be able to buy a laptop with the operating system I prefer, too?
  • by Boadi (1010283) on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:51PM (#18380279) Homepage
    Anyone above the age of 18 should be allowed to decide for themselves whether they want to see a naked pc. Wait...
  • by Mr. Hankey (95668) on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:52PM (#18380293) Homepage
    Dell sells the n series with FreeDOS. That's about as close to a naked PC as you can get. They also sell workstation-class systems (the Precision series) with Linux pre-installed, we buy them at work. You can even download drivers that work from their site, as I found out recently with a Precision 690 running WS4. Their sound drivers went in, and after removing the included non-functional driver everything worked great. I can't complain. HP also sells Linux systems, and we have a few.

    Aside from those vendors, and numerous others that specialize in Linux, I build my own systems for home use. Not a one of them has ever come with Windows.
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday March 16, 2007 @05:05PM (#18380481) Homepage Journal
      The ACTUAL reason, since you CAN buy PCs with operating systems other than Windows (as you say) is that they don't want to let a PC go out the door without an operating system on it. That lets them prove that it works, and it gives them SOME means of troubleshooting (although I don't know what tools FreeDOS has for, say, checking PCI IDs and the like. But it could have something, I wouldn't know.)
      • I find your arguement less then convincing. They can have a Hard Drive with windows or whatever on it for testing and then swap in a hard drive with the OS of choice for the user (or no OS). Fact is, they are conspiring to make sure people adopt certain operating systems. Take HP for instance. They will let you configure anything about a laptop you want to buy including memory, hard drive, wireless card, processor, even the type of LCD screen. But you say you want XP instead of Vista? Nope, sorry...on
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:53PM (#18380309)
    I think it's a bit more complicated. Sure we know that, historically, Microsoft has engaged in anti-competitive practices like "the Microsoft Tax". But I would think that Dell, HP, and the others are probably equally scared of people like my friend "Joe". He's cheap as (fill in your preferred perjorative here), and if he could save a few bucks buying a PC without an OS he'd do it. Problem is, he is not tech savvy in the least - so he'd get some cut-rate version of Windows one way or the other, try - and fail - to install it, then spend hours on the phone with Dell arguing over "why their computer is broken". I've tried helping him with tech problems over the phone before, and I'll tell you - it's like pulling teeth getting just basic information from him.

    When the vendors claim they don't want to sell naked PCs because of the potential support nightmare, I believe them. It's not the Slashdot crowd that's the problem; but there are 100 "Joe"s for every 1 Slashdotter.
    • by feepness (543479)
      Problem is, he is not tech savvy in the least - so he'd get some cut-rate version of Windows one way or the other, try - and fail - to install it, then spend hours on the phone with Dell arguing over "why their computer is broken". I've tried helping him with tech problems over the phone before, and I'll tell you - it's like pulling teeth getting just basic information from him.

      If I have to listen to one more friend/family member tell me "It doesn't work." when I ask them what's wrong I will go crazy. P
  • A medium sized company I used to work for sold PCs and parts. If you did not want to pay for Windows, then they wanted to sell you parts so you could build the PC. This became policy after they got real cozy with MS and their service reps came to visit. They went from being a Red Hat partner ( in Raleigh NC) to no naked PCs/ no linux sold, installed or serviced.

    Generally though, if someone really wants a naked pc, they are probably capable of building it from parts. MS just seems to try to make sure tha
    • by hurfy (735314)
      Yup, seen that before. I know several places have barebones kits that come without O/S and something else usually missing. Buy one of these and add a CDROM or whatever.

      or

      My local shop will build me one with no O/S. Buy local :)

      or

      http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtool s/configdetails.asp?Base=2371075 [tigerdirect.com]

      I might try this next time, looks like they actually send you a disk to install yourself on a naked PC if i pay for windows. But the ones i just bought with XP were pretty clean (after unchecking a f
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by julesh (229690)
      Generally though, if someone really wants a naked pc, they are probably capable of building it from parts.

      Capable, yes. Able to justify it to their employer in a commercial environment? Probably not. It would go something like this:

      "You want to do what?"
      "Instead of buying these PCs from Dell, which come with a copy of Windows we don't need, I want to buy parts and assemble them into computers myself."
      "How much money do we save?"
      "About fifty dollars per machine."
      "How long will this take?"
      "Including testin
  • Ok, that's not a good answer for everybody. I suspect I am not alone here in this philosophy and I usually save about $400+ for quite a bit more then Fry's the model of the week. If something breaks I just replace it or upgrade it.

    I am about to send my Pavilion laptop back to HP for service, it will take a week and a half and the only reason is that it will cost me nothing in time or materials to put in a new motherboard.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Ok, that's not a good answer for everybody. I suspect I am not alone here in this philosophy and I usually save about $400+ for quite a bit more then Fry's the model of the week. If something breaks I just replace it or upgrade it.

      This is only possible if you spend a lot of money on the PC. If you're going with something low-end, which these days is a dual core (or at least it's over 2 GHz) and has a gig of ram, you're far better off buying prebuilt. I mean, pick up the paper any day of the week and you ca

  • What the summary actually wants to do is to buy a naked pc from some well-known pc resellers at a price below a Windows-equipped pc.

    There's a million reasons why this wont happen. Most of which comes down to the expense to do so in a big pc reseller like dell. What role does the pc reseller have left?

    In this _very_ specific case it is the consumer that has to do a little searching for a naked pc.

    And yes, it will be more than an os-equipped PC. Microsoft, for once, is not directly to blame.
    • While M$ is the biggest one, there are other software vendors who are paying Dell/Gateway/HP etc to put their program on your new computer.

      A PC wholesale to say CompUSA or Fry's is usually about half or less what you pay that means a $800 laptop was bought for maybe $350 into Dell's pocket. Not much is it?

      Dell doesn't pay the M$ tax, Microsoft pays Dell to put the OS on it, so that $350 may have just jumped to $380/$400 then there is Adobe, and tons of other demos and what not. Maybe they have moved that re
    • There's a million reasons why this wont happen. Most of which comes down to the expense to do so in a big pc reseller like dell. What role does the pc reseller have left?

      It's worth pointing out that in the Mini-ITX market, resellers don't have too much of a problem in that regard.

      And the colourful CD from VIA that gets included typically has Linux/BSD stuff on it, too. How cool is that? ;-)
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:58PM (#18380379) Homepage Journal
    It's kind of like lingerie. A lot of the fun is getting it naked. If it just shows up to your door without anything, it just seems too clinical and a little tawdry.

    Yep. I'm a geek.
  • by SixDimensionalArray (604334) on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:58PM (#18380385)
    I think the first thing that must be changed is the concept that you are "buying a naked pc". That implies that without the operating system, the PC is naked! Why isn't a PC without it's case screwed on considered a naked PC?

    Basically, vendors don't seem willing to believe that people have the know-how to buy some hardware and then somehow make it work, which kind of makes sense. For example, I'm sure few people would buy a PC without the BIOS installed, and Dell and the like aren't going to cater their huge business to the hobbyists who would flash a PC with their own BIOS, for example.

    On the other hand, why they can't make a small stipulation to sell X% of units raw to folks that are DIY'ers, is beyond me.. they could even sell it with a disclosure that they don't support ANY operating system in their contract, however their hardware has been tested with XYZ operating systems.

    -6d
  • Sadly Windows == PC to most people. Maybe someday it will change. I hope so.
  • MythTV is getting quite mature but since you can't "naked" version of any "Home Theater PC" offered by any vendors it makes it very hard to build them for anyone but yourself. You are invariably forced to build each one of them from scratch so each "version" is subtly different. In some ways, "do it yourself" is great for cutting costs but in other ways, like "gift giving" it becomes very hard to justify.
  • by stratjakt (596332)
    Roll your own, or go to a local comp shop, have them roll it, or go to one of a million sites online and purchase it.

    Why should Dell, Gateway, or anyone else have to offer you this? How does there refusal to do so "force" IT professionals into Windows?

    I really don't get the logic. Maybe they should, maybe if they thought it was profitable, they would There's no money in it. The site you are reading is owned by a failed linux box provider, they should know more than anyone why Dell doesnt promote or sell
  • I buy lots of bits from Novatech, a company based in the south of England. They list their pre-built PCs with a "naked" option and are transparent about the price of having Windows pre-installed.
  • The PC sellers don't make much money on the hardware, they make their big bucks on support and extended warranties.

    They are too "Linux ignorant" to support Linux, IE field tech support calls, hell they barely can handle supporting M$. But your typical PC owner is dumber than the cue card readers at the tech support centers and they think the person reading cue cards in India or Pakistan are GODS of technology. What's the typical solution to a PC problem? Put in the system restore disc, wipe it clean and
  • Every time I buy a new laptop it has Windows pre-installed.
    My solution is simple: the first thing I do is to put up an online auction with no starting price or reserve price and every single time I've gotten 90% of the official OEM price or better even when there are dozens of sellers.
    Then I simply remove the license sticker and mail it to the winner - 'problem' solved.
    Getting $100 back from a $600 laptop gives a nice discount too.

    Is reselling software forbidden in some countries or why this simple option h
  • I live in the UK and have recently purchased a 'naked' Laptop from Transtec [transtec.co.uk]. I also had the option to have it supplied with SuSE. The naked and SuSE machines were cheaper than the Windows ones (once you get the hardware configuration the same). I understand that they will supply desktops without Windows as well.

    They are a smaller supplier, but not tiny. They are an approved supplier for some central government departments.

    If the big companies don't want to sell me a naked or Linux machine then that is

  • by b17bmbr (608864) on Friday March 16, 2007 @05:23PM (#18380735)
    I'd wager that there's not enough consumer demand (or business consumers) for naked PC's. but there are other factors as well. one, there is but one windows, and dell, et al., can taylor it to their machines and make it work at least out of the box. no, they don't have the control over it as they would linux, but they have enough. when you screw with the machine, it's you screwing with it. and help is much easier, and cheaper, when there's a single OS. imagine having to figure out the distro, the kernel, etc. it'd be a disaster.

    that linux is "free" in all senses for you and me, doesn't make it free for dell, etc. to add an OS would be very expensive and to provide none (for every comptuer), would terribly diminish their product. the OS for dell is a complementary good without which, they couldn't sell their product. not to defend MS or dell, but the truth is, MS is well within their rights to demand that dell sell a copy with every machine to get a volume discount, ability to modify it, etc. but the bottom line is that there just isn't enough interest to justify naked PC's. however, notice Dell's server line. you can get them, which ought to tell you something.
  • by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Friday March 16, 2007 @05:34PM (#18380871) Journal
    In 1994 I tried to buy a bare desktop PC from Dell or Gateway. Since it was to replace my old dead IBM PC (dead after 13 months), I didn't need a new OS. But both Dell and Gateway insisted I buy a new license of Windows anyway.

    These days when I buy a laptop, it comes with Windows. When the laptop dies, I can't transfer the license to another PC. They simply don't even provide OS or recovery CDs/DVDs.

    So much for the DOJ's Anti-trust agreement with Microsoft. Nothing has changed.
  • Because I bought it used [wisc.edu]. It wasn't the very latest and greatest, but it works just fine, thanks. And yes, they really did sell it to me without an OS.
  • by iPaul (559200) on Friday March 16, 2007 @06:13PM (#18381229) Homepage
    For a minute I thought I had to get dressed to buy a PC.
  • A company I used to work for would always order Dell systems because we got good pricing and decent service. Of course, the systems that came in would be wiped clean with a fresh image of Windows 2000 Pro with our volume license. Effectively we ended up double-paying for Windows to get what we needed.

  • at least in Germany. There still are lots of medium - sized PC traders ("box shifters") and when I go to buy a computer there I pick a base model, change power supply, hd, ram etc and the OS is just another of those features, if I want it I buy it, else: no problem.
    It's another story at the "media market"-type big retailers but I dont have to buy there and really, those who do won't want anything else but win* and in fact deserve to suffer from vista.

    Dell, Gateway, HP? Read about them...
  • 'Bare bones PCs' (Score:3, Informative)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:16PM (#18381775)
    My guess is that the writer could not find any PCs without MS Windows, because he typed the wrong search terms into Google. There is no shortage of 'bare bones PCs' on the web.
  • It's an opportunity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Friday March 16, 2007 @10:33PM (#18382805) Homepage

    At some point in every sea change, the big established market makers will make a mistake. That mistake will sometimes allow a new type of business to get a toe-hold. The more the old industries know, the more likely they are to get stuck in their ways.

    We're at an interesting point in technology. Interest in non-Windows operating systems is on the rise. Vista happens. Companies want/need an alternative they can get in bulk. People like me...and a lot of you...could easily set up an entire office on Ubuntu, if we could bid the job by the unit we might even be competitive. More people would sell hardware if they could call up and get a room full of blanks and configure a custom OS installation and service local markets.

    If HP, Dell or whoever isn't supplying the machines, start a company that only supplies no-OS machines. Microsoft can't whine it encourages piracy after five years of product activation. Publish your hardware specs, coordinate drivers.

    Your customers will be geeks, hobbyists and companies where...people like us work. You won't have the AOL crowd trying to buy PC's from you. Give them to Dell and HP and Microsoft. Do you really want to do work for the general public? The best use I've seen for them is Soylent Green. Restore some natural selection in the gene pool.

    Work out your configurations with an overseas supplier. Opportunities like this don't come along every day in technology. Take advantage. Start small, don't go into debt. Anyone know Mandrin? Email me, let's try it. WTF?

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:02AM (#18383277)
    Why not just order the box without a hard drive and then put one in yourself. What would Dell do if you tried to order one of their machines without a hard drive, I wonder? Would they still try to charge for the OS if they can't sell you the one component vital to its existence?

    I note on their website that you cannot order a box without a hard drive, which means you'd have to talk to a real-live human in order to get it done. Though, I suspect that whoever I talked to on the phone would have to call their manager over and then collectively scratch their heads on such a request.

    --Calling over the manager and lots of head-scratching tend to be common whenever I try to do things in this world. I think this must be the case for anybody who refuses to play sheep at the game of life; there are simply no regular options available for people who are not asleep. Luckily, no matter how much control a corporate body puts into the their systems, I've so far always managed to find ways towards freedom of choice, usually at the expense of somebody's peaceful state of servitude, for which I make no apologies.


    -FL

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

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