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Linux Preinstalled Dell Available Soon 305

Posted by samzenpus
from the dude-you-got-open-source dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to a BetaNews article, Dell confirmed on Wednesday plans to offer Linux pre-installed on select desktop and notebook systems, beyond its current Linux-based servers and Precision workstations. No specific time frame was given for the expanded Linux plans, although the company said in a blog posting that it will provide an update in the coming weeks regarding the effort. It will detail 'information on which systems we will offer, our testing and certification efforts, and the Linux distribution(s) that will be available,' Dell said, adding that, 'The countdown begins today.'"
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Linux Preinstalled Dell Available Soon

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  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Thursday March 29, 2007 @01:47AM (#18525101) Homepage
    Does this mean that Dell will have to stop selling Windows? Or that they'll go bankrupt? Or will their offices be burned down to the ground? What was the reason for this not happening before again?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ClosedSource (238333)
      "What was the reason for this not happening before again?"

      A perceived lack of ROI, I would guess. Whether that perception was accurate will be determined once they've been offering the Linux PC's for a while and can weigh their profits against support costs.
      • Re:So... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <marc DOT paradise AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 29, 2007 @10:34AM (#18528079) Homepage Journal

        "What was the reason for this not happening before again?"

        A perceived lack of ROI, I would guess. Whether that perception was accurate will be determined once they've been offering the Linux PC's for a while and can weigh their profits against support costs.
        Exactly it -- and I think that the very real result will be lackluster sales, causing them to turn around and say, "See? There's no market for this." I love linux - I run it on three home servers, one home desktop, and on a VM here at work (not allowed to run it on my desktop). However, I won't rush out to buy a preloaded system -- why bother? I build all my own PCs, and I suspect most people who use linux workstations do the same. And the people who we want to get linux to -- those poor, unaware Windows users -- will continue to be unaware of the offering. For them, the operating system doesn't exist; a computer /is/ Windows to them. Unless Dell actively markets it not as Linux, but as an easy-to-use desktop system for the average home user, these folks will remain happily oblivious. Anyone want to bet those odds?
    • Because Linux now is not Linux yesterday. And because of Stockholders. And because it's pretty close to free for them.
      • by fyngyrz (762201) *
        Because Linux now is not Linux yesterday.

        ...and along that line of thought, please, some decent wifi drivers and hardware in the laptop, thank you, thank you. g/n would be lovely, but even good g would make some of my employees happy.

    • What was the reason for this not happening before again?
      Probably for this reason [yahoo.com].
       
      • Re:So... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2007 @05:16AM (#18526009)
        No [yahoo.com]. There are PLENTY of Windows based companies with that same graph in the first half of the decade - and Linux companies, Internet companies, etc. This one [yahoo.com] is even more interesting - note that each company in that one has had one split since 2000.

        Sorry, but your theory holds no juice.

        (Hint: Next time, make a point... THEN substantiate it with graphs & pictures)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jstomel (985001)
      Lack of demand. Lets admit it, the vast majority of people who want to run linux build their own computers, no? Now that linux is becoming an office workstation option for at least a reasonable number of goverment and private sector workplaces, it becomes feasable for dell to keep a full time linux specialist on tech staff. They aren't really trying to sell this stuff to geeks, this is strictly aimed at the office.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by IrquiM (471313)
        No, we don't build our own if we can get them from dell cheaper!
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tinkertim (918832) * on Thursday March 29, 2007 @03:50AM (#18525665) Homepage

      Does this mean that Dell will have to stop selling Windows? Or that they'll go bankrupt? Or will their offices be burned down to the ground? What was the reason for this not happening before again?


      All good questions.

      I'm sure the lack of interest in Vista has something to do with this. When MS is about to release a new OS, they talk to hardware vendors and share some market predictions. They expected to sell XX copies, which in turn translated to Dell means "We'll sell xx new PC's due to Vista". Its not just Dell, it was everyone, but Dell is the example.

      Dell of course did not sell nearly as many PC's as they expected, sees part of their market headed for Ubuntu and RHEL and needs to follow the trend.

      I don't know, however if they are violating some part of their resale agreement with Microsoft and its a very good question. Is MS just 'staying' this because they know it was Vista that ultimately lead to this happening, or are they going to really bitch about it?

      As for their offices burning down, I guess that depends on how many employees are using Dell Laptops.

      As for why now? Why not a year ago? I think it was due to 2.4 and earlier 2.6 kernels not going so well on their hardware. I also think the growing server market had a bit to do with it.

      Finally Yes Dell could go bankrupt, but I doubt offering Linux as an option will have contributed to that if it happens. After all, its not the condom's fault that you forgot to put it on :)

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy.gmail@com> on Thursday March 29, 2007 @04:40AM (#18525861)

        I'm sure the lack of interest in Vista has something to do with this.

        Why would a typical Dell customer who isn't interested in Vista, be interested in Linux ?

        • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Cylix (55374) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @04:47AM (#18525885) Homepage Journal
          Why do people do the things they wouldn't normally do?

          Marketing!

          That's right folks, we are poised to market linux to any and every one of those poor fools who couldn't even use a toaster.

          It's the next big thing!

          Or perhaps there has been enough stink about it to get them to at least sale the idea. I'm sure it won't cost that much and it will probably push a few more units.

          Hell, even I would have liked this last year when I purchased several new systems. Given how goofed up the process is on some of the top end stuff it would just be kinda nice to have them out the door and pre-installed. Especially when performing a build out on a project and the last thing you want to do is worry about your servers installation needs.
        • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by schotty (519567) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @06:29AM (#18526289) Homepage
          Word of mouth.

          Really, Linux isn't that unknown. Especially when all the geeks/nerds/admins are running around with Linux orientated Con shirts and laptops with Ubuntu or Fedora on it. I have converted my share. All have been told I can reinstall windows for them for free if things don't work out. Zero requests to do so. Most have been followed up with too.

          And thats just me.

          More companies are using it. Schools are starting to switch. Some people do notice this, and spark interest. Just pretend now you are a tech noob, and hear about this Ubuntu thing. What do you get when you google that? One of the better Linux homepages IMHO. Enough to at least spark interest or curiousity. And most people have their resident geek to ask about. Thats how over half of the people I know are on Linux (mostly Linspire and Ubuntu) found out about it. Some blurb somewhere and drilled me.

          However, that being said, some real advertising beyond IBM is needed. Especially with the context of the IBM ads. They are aimed at us and the PHB and the army of Sr Admins that control what toys get bought and when. When Ubuntu or Linspire get ads with a Dell or Gateway, then the real momentum will begin.
        • Not typical. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday March 29, 2007 @10:41AM (#18528175) Journal
          I know plenty of people who are attracted to Dell because they're finally making solid machines, and because if you watch their homepage for awhile, you can occasionally find really nice sales. I like to build my own computer, but if I can get an equivalent Dell for half the price of the components, and not have to put it together myself and hope it works, I call it a win.

          And I'm a Linux user.

          But suppose I was an XP user. Right now, Linux can have better support for pre-Vista software via Wine -- Vista is actually broken enough that it depends on your software whether it's easier to go to Wine or to Vista. And, remember all those problems nVidia was having with Vista? I'm not sure if those are resolved yet, or what other problems there might be, but Linux support from nVidia has been rock solid -- and thus, actually better than Vista right now.

          So, oddly enough, I would recommend Linux over Vista for gaming, although you're really better off with XP. I fully expect this to change, though -- Vista SP1 will probably fix every problem I've described here.
      • by Teun (17872)

        I'm sure the lack of interest in Vista has something to do with this.

        Sooner quite the opposite!
        A (The) flood of support calls on Vista might have been the trigger.
  • Dell-Ubuntu (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I wonder if Shuttleworth is working his business skill magic to get Ubuntu on these machines.
  • Great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @01:50AM (#18525111) Homepage
    Now just tell me it costs less than, or at least the same as, the same PC with Windows pre-installed.
    • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

      by davmoo (63521) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @02:00AM (#18525153)
      Unless the Linux world comes up with a way to give Dell all the kickbacks and payoffs that the Windows world does, I don't see how Dell could possibly offer a Linux machine for less than, or even the same price as, a Windows machine. I hope Dell can prove me wrong, but I ain't holding my breath for it.
       
      • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @03:57AM (#18525695) Journal
        Perhaps a PC could be given three prices, so the purchaser has a proper choice:

        1. Windows, without promotional crapplets
        2. Windows, with promotional crapplets
        3. Linux, with drivers

        Clearly, options 2 and 3 would be lower cost than option 1. I expect that options 2 and 3 would be similar in cost, even if the Linux option included a DVD with the distribution, drivers, and a collection of FOSS packages. The trade-offs in pricing would be visible in a way that customers might understand, although the crapplet collection would probably be described as "bonus enhanced-value mega-cool selected premium packages" to mask its negative value. People who truly want Windows might opt for the reduced-crap option, even if its price is higher (especially if they experienced the crapplet search & destroy obstacle course after an earlier purchase).

        With luck, we will never see the fourth pricing option which lurks malevolently in the background:
        4. Linux, with bonus enhanced-value mega-cool selected premium packages
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by tijmentiming (813664)
          5. Dualboot Windows and Linux. (Or with VMWare)
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Perhaps a PC could be given three prices, so the purchaser has a proper choice:

          1. Windows, without promotional crapplets
          2. Windows, with promotional crapplets
          3. Linux, with drivers

          Clearly, options 2 and 3 would be lower cost than option 1

          3) will cost at least as much as 1), and both will be more expensive than 2). The subsidized windows machine will cost the least due to the crapplets as well as economy of scale. The Linux machine will probably be more than the crapplet-free Windows machine because a) fr

      • Re: Great (Score:5, Informative)

        by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @04:00AM (#18525709)

        Unless the Linux world comes up with a way to give Dell all the kickbacks and payoffs that the Windows world does, I don't see how Dell could possibly offer a Linux machine for less than, or even the same price as, a Windows machine. I hope Dell can prove me wrong, but I ain't holding my breath for it.
        At various places on Dell's website you can find workstations with Linux installed right now, and with a base configuration cheaper with Red Hat Enterprise Linux than with any of the versions of Windows listed.

      • by shaitand (626655)
        If you mean licensing kickbacks then it a non-issue since the licensing cost for Linux is $0.00. If you are referring to the crap Dell preloads on the machines then that shouldn't be a concern either. You can already choose to get the machine without the preinstalled crap when you buy a Dell. Since they don't increase the price when you select that option on a windows based system then there is no reason they should increase the price for a Linux based system that doesn't come with the crap.

    • by iamacat (583406)
      Why so? For many users, a well configured Linux distribution with CrossOffice is better than Vista with confusing DRM and susceptibility to malware. If there are tested drivers, proper power management support, a recover disk, at home support option and so on, wouldn't you pay a bit more to give a maintenance-free computer to your relative? Are we arguing that Linux is inferior to Windows and therefore should cost less? Superior products generally come at a premium. True, basic Linux source code is free. Bu
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Are we arguing that Linux is inferior to Windows and therefore should cost less?

        No, I'm saying it may be cheaper to buy the same PC with Windows on it then delete Windows and install Linux yourself. Chances are they will sell the very same PC with Windows on it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by iamacat (583406)
          Sure, you can also build your own PC or change oil in your car by yourself. People who don't enjoy compiling NVIDIA kernel module on their own might pay a few extra bucks to get it done instead.
        • by plague3106 (71849)
          Of course then you lose your support options.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gormanly (134067)

          Yes, if you use a free, community-supported distro and are happy with that, know your way around it and don't mind upgrading to the next release every few months, then it may be cheaper. Assuming you have some sysadmin skills and your own time has no value.

          However, if you're in the market for a new laptop, if might be worth asking yourself if a few extra currency units on a kilo-currency unit investment means so much to you that you'd rather buy something you don't want (and possibly actually hate using)

      • by shaitand (626655)
        'True, basic Linux source code is free. But full hardware+software support/upgrade guarantee and proprietary software on top of the OS are not necessarily so.'

        Given. But there is no particular reason they should cost more than the same for a windows system.

  • I'm so excited! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday March 29, 2007 @01:51AM (#18525113) Homepage Journal
    I just hope Dell offers lots of distributions and gives the option of lots of different Linux support services. That's the great thing about Open Source.. there's an actual market for support services.. you're not stuck with the manufacturer. Dell could become the shop for desktop Linux.

    • by Kristoph (242780) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @01:57AM (#18525131)
      Oh the joy, I can just see it now ...

      Dell: Hello, can we help you?
      Me: Hi, I am having some problems installing Linux on my new Dell laptop. I need some information about the video card so I can set up X.
      Dell: Ok, umm ... sure ... you said Lyn-ucks?
      Me: Yes?
      Dell: Ok, umm ... can you spell that please?
      • by QuantumG (50515)
        Sha.. as if the Indian who answers your call can spell.

        Seriously though. There's some wonderful tricks people do with call centers these days. You call up, enter your serial number or whatever and they put you through to the appropriate support group.. So, say you get Ubuntu on your Dell and go with the Canonical support, you'll get put through to the Canonical call center (also in India) and they'll have an appropriate script to fix your problem and get you off the phone as fast as possible.

        It's funny ho
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ajs318 (655362)
          I know it's bad form to respond to sigs, but you can install Debian (and Ubuntu) .deb packages on Slackware reasonably easily. First, use ar to extract the files from the .deb. You will get three files. The first, "debian-binary" can safely be ignored (all it contains is a version number to help the Debian packaging utilities). The second, "control.tar.gz" contains various scripts for pre- and post- installation and removal operations, and dependency-control information. These may be worth a butchers
      • Oh the joy, I can just see it now ...

        Dell: Hello, can we help you?
        Me: Hi, I am having some problems installing Linux on my new Dell laptop. I need some information about the video card so I can set up X.
        Dell: Ok, umm ... sure ... you said Lyn-ucks?
        Me: Yes?
        Dell: Ok, umm ... can you spell that please?

        Dell: ... using Nato Phonetics mind you...
        Me: Uh... Phonetics??
        Dell: Yes Phonetics... you know Lima, Indigo, November...
        Me: Mmm... Ok... I don't know phonetics but I'll try... Lima, Indigo, November..... wait... let me seee.... http://www.google.com/ [google.com] ..... phonetics.... Ah here it is: Uniform, Xray.
        Dell: Excellent Sir! Now please spell out your full name and address, the model name of your Dell computer, it's serial code, the Linux operating system version and your corporate credentials... Using phonetics

  • by davmoo (63521) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @01:58AM (#18525137)
    If in fact "no specific time frame was given", then how the fuck can "the countdown begins today"? Counting down to an undetermined date is like counting up to inifinity. And I have a feeling Dell knows this. This way they can talk the talk without having to actually walk the walk and either lose money or anger Microsoft.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by oztiks (921504)
      I'd rate you funny not insightful :)

      But this is the thing, anger Microsoft yes, but what will the repercussions of this anger be? the only thing they'll do is entice Dell by sweetening their already sweet ass deal.

      I stick to this being just a silly ploy to screw Microsoft down a little more as the need for Windows becomes less and less a necessity in the marketplace and merely just another option for people to use. Regardless if Dell supports Linux or not the playing field with MacOS, Linux and Windows is b
    • Start with -1 and count down. ;)
    • by shaitand (626655)
      Technically you are correct. But this week Dell is making a statement implying they are in a hurry to get this out there and satisfy demand. Last week they said 'we might consider doing this, maybe, we've got to talk to vendors'.
  • by X-treme-LLama (178013) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @02:01AM (#18525155) Homepage
    I know that most of the crowd around here will be thrilled.. But I do wonder how broad the market actually is for this.. Obviously Linux is growing, and depending on distro becoming more user friendly all the time... The server market is a given, but linux is already doing well there.. 100,000 responses != 100,000 sales.. I'm sure many of the responses were already fans and users.. But that might be counter-acted by people who would buy but didn't comment, or might not even be aware.

    The lack of the MS tax will be great, but I have to wonder how many 'regular joes' and 'mom and pops' will try it out. We all know the stories about people setting up their parents with it, but that comes with an implied, and personal support system. And if their Linux Tech Support is anything like their Windows Support the help available may be less than stellar. I sure hope it catches on, even a little competition for MS is a good thing, and introducing people to OSS is fantastic. I also wonder if they'll have the models available at brick and mortar retailers, and if they'll actually push them.

    I think the sales figures will be very interesting to watch, especially for non-enterprise customers. The figures I'd be especially interested in would be the people who were happy with their purchase, and the real numbers behind that might be impossible to come by..
    • by JanneM (7445) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @02:28AM (#18525285) Homepage
      The last two research labs I worked at both have sales and support contracts with Dell; when we need a new computer - from a server to a workstation to a laptop - unless we have specific reason otherwise, we buy Dell. And they all come with Windows.

      Of course, the previous lab was perhaps 80% Linux, and the current one is 50% (and the in-house IT group installs a dual-boot Linux by default on every Windows machine). And in fact I know there's been growing grumbling about this kind of exclusive deal when they aren't offering what we're using (no, the OS is not the whole issue but it's a fairly big part).

      In this kind of environment, sales of the Linux version would easily be more than half of all machines, including laptops. Now of course, this is not a very common environment on one hand, but we go through computing equipment like a TV preacher goes through hairspray on the other, so the field of research is not totally insignificant even for a large corporation.
    • by jkrise (535370)
      Most important will be to see whether they offer it on the SAME IDENTICAL hardware configs that can run Windows.... XP or Vista. If they come up with a separate Linux-only hardware line, that would be a mere PR spin for Dell, a minor loss for Microsoft, and a major blow to the customer.
      • by shaitand (626655)
        I want to see this too but it might not be feasible. Hardware devices that are low on hardware and high on software emulated hardware are commonly found in dirt cheap systems. These devices typically won't work under linux.

    • by solanum (80810) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @02:45AM (#18525383)
      I work for an organisation with several thousand employees and which has an exclusive deal with Dell (for desktops at least). Few of those employees use Linux, but I have installed it on my desktop and laptop with not too many problems. Before working here I would never have considered buying Dell, but I have actually been pleasantly surprised with the build quality. Next time I am in the market for a laptop at home (have toshiba at the mo which came with winxp home), I may well be persuaded by a Dell machine if they offered a machine that was the same build but guaranteed to work with Linux.

      My point is that whilst the market may not be huge, Dell doing this could gain themselves a much larger part of that market by making these offerings, so it may well be successful for them.

      • by shaitand (626655) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @05:19AM (#18526017) Journal
        'My point is that whilst the market may not be huge, Dell doing this could gain themselves a much larger part of that market by making these offerings, so it may well be successful for them.'

        Not to mention that the market is growing. Dell is in a perfect position for early adoption. Dell knows they need to capture this market BEFORE the demand is entirely there. That way as the demand grows they maintain their market dominance.

        There are other factors too. Dell is the largest PC vendor. Manufacturers might not cave to kernel volunteers wanting specification but they will cave to Dell. A customer the size of Dell is enough to justify linux support for your device even without any other demand. The is probably true of software in many cases. Increased hardware and software availability will mean increased adoption and a growing market.

    • by smartr (1035324) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @02:49AM (#18525405)
      One thing I haven't seen is a Windows coming with OpenOffice, Firefox, The Gimp, and Audacity preinstalled. Sure, anyone could go download those for free, but how many 'regular joes' know to do so? Every new install of Windoes I've seen has come preloaded with crapware. Most 'mom and pops' won't want to actually buy a full version of Microsoft Office, so OpenOffice preinstalled fits their needs much better. I honestly think that when people see how much "more" a prebuilt linux system has to offer, there will be some very happy customers. If Dell doesn't lose too many income earning deals with software companies because of this, this will be a huge win for Dell.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Terrasque (796014)
        Sure, anyone could go download those for free, but how many 'regular joes' know to do so?

        From the amount of spyware they manage to download and install, I'd say "most of them".
        They're just landing on the wrong webpages.
      • by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @10:29AM (#18527999) Homepage
        I got a computer from tigerdirect.com a couple years ago with windows, OOo, and firefox. I thought I was screwed at the time because I assumed the "complete MS compatible office suite" they advertised was MS Office or MS Works at least, but it is how I, Joe Sixpack himself, discovered Open Source. That same computer now has debian.
    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      Most linux users that I have encountered build their own machines, so don't encounter the Microsoft tax anyway.

      This might appeal to some new Linux users, but I don't see it. I think of it more as a starting point, or PR move, I doubt this will do much to dent their windows based pc sales.

      My current recommendation for people who want computers and aren't insisting on a windows machine is that they go out and buy a mac. I've got ten PCs myself, nine of which run Linux (predominately without an X server runnin
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sydb (176695)
        I've got ten PCs myself, nine of which run Linux

        That's nothing, I've got fourteen, all of which run Linux.

        But seriously, put your dick away, it's smaller from this angle than you might think.

        I used to build my PCs but after you've cut your hands to shreds on the sharp edges of metal cases often enough, you realise that there is a value-add in pre-built machines. Corporate desktops in particular, like SFF Compaqs, are much easier to handle and upgrade, and I think they look nicer than your typical hobbiest t
    • Stop wondering (Score:5, Insightful)

      by suv4x4 (956391) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @03:18AM (#18525535)
      I know that most of the crowd around here will be thrilled.. But I do wonder how broad the market actually is for this..

      Can we please cut down on the "but I wonder" posts. Never mind what gets posted, there's always a bunch of folks there to "wonder" about the opposite happening, never mind what's the talk about. Just as some sorta hobby.

      Why wonder, when you can wait and see? If Dell offers Linux computers, this is good. It can't possibly be bad, if nobody buys 'em Dell will stop offering them. Nothing more.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by antdude (79039)
        I wonder about suv4x4. [grin] :P
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by suv4x4 (956391)
          I wonder about suv4x4. [grin] :P

          Ok, good. SUV matches the initials of my name, I don't drive a SUV, I drive a biodegradable bike that farts plant seeds, as I already pointed out in another post regarding powerful radars and confused whales.
    • by wwahammy (765566)
      I saw something in this announcement (or a blog entry from Dell about the announcement) that noted that most of the people who wanted Linux were with current forum support services. That they mentioned that implies to me they're looking to not actually provide support to the OS.
    • Sure, mom&pop are not going to buy Linux (unless their geeky son says "mom and dad, buy this and i'll give you unlimited support" ;). But there are lots of potential buyers:

      - IT departments
      - Education sector
      - Nerds of all ages and walks who prefer the console-for-gaming, computer-for-linux combo

      If this turns out well, they could achieve the holy grail times two: Steal marketshare from their competitors AND gain credibility in the nerd brainshare.

      Come on, does Dell look less or more cool after this?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by suv4x4 (956391)

      I know that most of the crowd around here will be thrilled.. BUT I do wonder how broad the market actually is for this..

      The server market is a given, BUT linux is already doing well there..

      I'm sure many of the responses were already fans and users.. BUT that might be counter-acted by people who would buy but didn't comment, or might not even be aware.

      The lack of the MS tax will be great, BUT I have to wonder how many 'regular joes' and 'mom and pops' will try it out.

      We all know the stories about people

  • by bluemonq (812827) * on Thursday March 29, 2007 @02:05AM (#18525171)
    ...a commercial with a stoner penguin saying, "Dude, you're getting a Dell!".
  • by JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @02:14AM (#18525201)
    I've been playing with the late alpha (Herd5) Feisty and now beta and lemme tell you, saying it's got "potential" is an understatement. WiFi support is worlds better, hardware autodetection is improved and the new auto-installer for codecs as they're needed flat-out rocks.

    As long as you're not doing RAID and you're cautious about 3D desktop stuff, Feisty Beta is really ready to now for semi-experienced Linux users and has strong potential as "The Chosen One" of distros. It should eat significant market share as people with older Win98 boxes are forced to upgrade to *something* due to lack of ongoing security support. And it'll tempt a lot of XP folk disgusted with malware issues.

    This has to be Dell's top choice and it's due for production release late April '07.
    • by l3v1 (787564) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @02:29AM (#18525299)
      Well, I'va also been "playing" with feisty beta, on a dell with internal wifi and on an ibm t series with pcmcia wifi. Thing is, wifi didn't work automatically on either of them. It wasn't rocket science to make them work by hand, I know Debian inside out, still, what will take Dell that unspecified amount of time is probably to test their laptop line to see which is the best dell laptop + given linux distro combination. I hope they will come up with a good one, otherwise it will be anything but a success.
       
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by QuantumG (50515)
      Uhh.. who cares about autodetection? You're buying a PC with Linux preinstalled. Dell will give the hardware to Canonical.. they will get their tech monkeys to tweak Ubuntu until it works as best as they can possibly get it to work.. then they'll make a disk image that Dell can put onto their production line.

      Or were you just using this story as an opportunity to flog Feisty?

      • by JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @03:45AM (#18525649)
        Two points here:

        * I've played with a LOT of distros looking for one that can be supported among low-tech-level end users. Feisty, even in Beta, is the best I've seen. It has a hell of a lot of potential.

        * What are the alternatives? They could go with a commercial distro like Red Hat, Linspire or Suse, but that means more OS costs than a base Vista install. If they do one of the free variants of those (Fedora or OpenSuse) there are stability issues - trust me, I *loved* Fedora Core 6 and if it was just for my personal use, I'd have stuck with it, but the autoinstaller sometimes loads stupid stuff. OpenSuse 10.2 was more stable but the European repositories were often down. I haven't tried Freespire but those magic numbers "1.0" for a version don't inspire confidence. That leaves what, Mepis as a low-end commercial distro? How much support is there for Mepis as opposed to Ubuntu?

        Pretty much every Linux geek out there has at least some experience with Ubuntu at this point. That alone is reason to consider Ubuntu. Canonical is going to want this deal to go down, bad. Ubuntu is almost unique as being a free-to-download distro that still has a corporate development base.

        My personal favorite distro is actually Zenwalk. Fast as hell Slackware fork with basically all the hard stuff already done. Awesome distro, but...just a few too many minor glitches to load it on "Grandma Millie's" P4 box and expect not to get panic phone calls once a week or so.

        It's not us geeks that are the acid test for Linux, it's "Grandma Millie". Like a lot of my fellow political activists who are being hammered by Windows malware. I'm sick of doing bughunts for these folk when they get infested or zombified, flat fed up, and I can't see any better Linux alternative than Ubuntu.
    • I've been messing with it for the past week too with exactly the opposite result. Although admittedly I was looking to setup RAID.

      Attempt 1) RAID didn't work from the standard install
      Attempt 2) Got the DVD with the alternate install included, Created the Linux Raid Partition, had to back out of a screen to alter a partition throwing the error cannot stat /dev/md0
      Attempt 3) Tried to reinstall , wasn't able to delete /dev/md0 since it was in use... (this is from the installer)
      Attempt 4) Tried to reinstal
      • Raid and Feisty aren't getting along well yet. That's a given as of two days ago last I checked the Ubuntu Feisty forum. I know they're working on it :).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      It should eat significant market share as people with older Win98 boxes are forced to upgrade to *something* due to lack of ongoing security support.

      I see this argument all the time. I'm not saying that there aren't tons of people still on Win98. The problem is, it's working for them and the need to upgrade has been there since the XP days.

      Now, even if these people would think that upgrading to Ubuntu is a viable option (versus just keeping Windows 98, which works fine for them! Those aren't upgra

  • They're actually waiting for the next version of the ever-so-popular you-know.... GNU/Linux distribution. Although Greedy Gorilla would be a nice moniker for Vista....
  • by gemada (974357) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @02:25AM (#18525269)
    Hopefully the only Windows they will soon be installing at Dell headquarters are chair-proof windows.
  • Now, if only... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by benuski (995395)
    ...they'd start making laptops with cases that don't threaten to break every 5 minutes, I'd consider buying another one after my current one. But if they don't, I'm still going to seriously consider buying a Thinkpad.
    • Say what? I've had my Inspiron since December 2005 and it's in the same shape now as then. No cracks, scratches, dead pixels, etc. And I've lugged it to the states [via airports] and europe a bunch of times (as well as to/from work).

      Maybe, perhaps, you're just careless with your laptops? Ever consider a sturdy metal laptop case? I had for my first laptop [a Compaq Presario] and it took a nice beating (dropped down stairs, off tables, etc).

      Tom
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2007 @02:42AM (#18525363)
    Dell Australia (actually, malaysia or wherever they are outsourcing to) denied me my attempted return of my vista license. I had not accepted the EULA that comes up when you start the notebook for the first time.

    I asked them to send me the EULA after they denied me on the phone (there was no comprehension of the issue), this is the response I received:

    As per our conversation, we are unable to refund or exchange the Microsoft Windows Vista Operating System as the license is already tied to your computer, service tag #: BLAHBLAH

    And any exchange or refund of the license would be in breach of licensing agreement.

    Microsoft Vista is a good platform where technology is moving forwards and the markets are now gearing towards Microsoft Windows Vista.


    Any advice or let it go? - how amusing is that final sentence!
  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @02:46AM (#18525387) Homepage
    Now it's up to the linux users to actually buy those Dell systems they've been begging to come pre-installed with Linux for so long, to prove it wasn't just meaningless bitching and that they actually want Dells with Linux.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by schotty (519567)
      I definitely will. I just don't have time to build my own anymore, much less ensure that each part is compliant. If it comes with the OS, it at least will work (perhaps not the best quality, but will work).

      Yes I am getting lazy in some areas I used to have a much larger passion in. Have a kid, and start your own repair shop. Can you say "No f-ing time?"

      If the price is fair its a done deal. System 76 matches the criteria too :D They do have some compteition already.
  • Wrong direction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @02:46AM (#18525391) Homepage Journal

    Dell confirmed on Wednesday plans to offer Linux pre-installed on select desktop and notebook systems
    But why on earth aren't they "planning to offer" the bare hardware with no OS pre-loaded at all?
    Seriously, why?

    • by QuantumG (50515)
      Because their whole business is adding value to "just hardware". If you want just hardware, go buy it direct from Taiwan.
      • So the value Dell adds to hardware is not just Windows OS installation.
        I would buy Dell because of quality, pre- and post-sales services, warranty (on bare hardware) and so on.
        I'll buy from China or Taiwan when I jsut want to save as much as possible. In my opinion.
    • Dell has sold systems practically the same as this for years, as other Slashdotters have noted in previous related stories. The "N" series of desktops comes with only FreeDOS on it, and they're very affordable. FreeDOS is installed as a tiny, minimalist operating system for legal purposes, and it's put on with the full expectation that it will be wiped out by your OS installer of choice.

      Dell's Open Source Desktops [dell.com]
  • by yoobb (848814) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @02:49AM (#18525407)
    Will the Dell be preinstalled with Novell Suse Linux? With the previous wheeling and dealing between Microsoft and Novell, that would seem to make the most sense (in a twisted way). The only other conventional alternative I can see is Red Hat. I doubt Dell would preinstall a Linux distribution that doesn't have strong corporate backing like Novell or Red Hat.
  • For everyone who says that this is a ploy by Dell: What do they have to do exactly? I have heard nothing but doubt on Dell's sincerity since this whole thing started, and as far as I can tell, Dell has done every thing possible to do what was originally asked of it on IdeaStorm. It has also lived up to all of it's promises about going forward with Linux on their computers. So, give them a break. Just wait and see if they keep their promise or not before you start talking about how they are just doing it as some evil Microsoft plan to take over the world (or the rest of it anyway).
    • Until Dell actually releases one of these so-called pre-installed Linux computers, it's all just hot air. Dell (or anyone) can huff and puff and take surveys until they're blue in the face, but that doesn't prove anything. People are getting so excited and worked up about something that doesn't exist and doesn't even have a time line for Christ's sake!

      Those of us who are skeptical are waiting to see the proof, just like we were all waiting to see Novell's proof that never came. Posturing means nothing un
  • Micro-Suse. Seriously, with all the BS that's gone down over the past few years and the new souls M$ purchased for the low low price of 30 pieces of silver, do you really think it will be anything else?

  • by Pliep (880962)
    So I guess Dell is finally ready for the desktop.
  • by Barkmullz (594479) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @03:45AM (#18525653)

    Dell: How can I help you today?
    Me: I bought this computer with Linux on it from you guys, and now I am having problems with X.
    Dell: RTFM, n00b!

  • by chamalulu (639459) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @05:19AM (#18526011)

    Personally, I do not care much if Dell ships laptops with Linux.

    What would make me positively surprised is if any large computer manufacturer would provide hardware with a guaranteed open specifications. If I get it with or without OS is irrelevant.

    Closed hardware and no specs makes me a dull boy.

  • by Mjlner (609829) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @05:34AM (#18526087) Journal
    will a preinstalled linux prevoid the warranty? [slashdot.org]
  • Not the first time (Score:3, Informative)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @07:04AM (#18526407) Homepage

    This isn't the first time Dell offered Linux. The last time they made a half-hearted effort then made a big show of saying no one wanted it. The Linux machines were almost impossible to find on their web site, didn't have any support options and they charged more for not putting Windows on the box. Some test.

    So I'm wondering if this is an actual effort to offer Linux boxes or another PR stunt? I don't trust Dell any farther than I can pee into a hurricane. They speak with the stench of Redmond on their lips.

  • by gelfling (6534) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @07:26AM (#18526481) Homepage Journal
    Large companies have a very difficult time supporting more than one OS. It's about depth of staffing and skill. Of course if one assumes that Linux won't require as much support than I suppose there's an opening there. But if you imagine that Dell will preload any of your 20 favorite distros you are tripping. It will be SuSE and Red Hat. Period. And after some time they will eliminate one of them. Another year or two they'll discover that they're spending 20% as much as Windows to support 5% the customer base of Windows and then they will pull the plug on this.
  • I call BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by massysett (910130) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @08:41AM (#18526847) Homepage
    This whole Dell preinstalled Linux thing strikes me as a sham to get something out of Microsoft, like lower Windows license prices.

    The best thing Dell could do for Linux is simply make sure its hardware works. Put some engineers in a "Linux lab." They would make sure that all Dell computers, or just select Dell models, work well with Linux. That would mean that these models would have supported wireless and multimedia buttons that work. They would have video cards with open source drivers. Dell's Linux Web page would be much improved over its current version. It would have detailed instructions on how to make sure that suspend to RAM works with Dell laptops. It would have detailed instructions on how to get a selected Dell remote control to work with MythTV. Dell engineers would make sure the hardware has drivers, writing patches for the kernel if needed (then upstream would gladly help maintain the new code.)

    If Dell did all this, there would be no question on "what distro to support." EVERY distro would then support Dell! Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Red Hat, SUSE, etc. would all take the necessary steps to get the Dell models supported in their distro. After all, with the detailed Dell information on the Dell site, integrating support would be dead simple! There would then be strong community sentiment in favor of Dell. Dell would be the best hardware maker for Linux. Everybody wins.

    Linux preinstalled is not all that important. The emphasis on preinstalled is the old, Windows/Mac way of thinking. If the kernel supports the hardware, then ANY distro will work with Dells! Installing any distro would take just a few clicks. Sure, some people will want preinstalled. For that, Dell could just have "Certified Linux Partners" that would preinstall whatever distro they want. Then the partner gets the support calls, not Dell. Dell would have lots of partners and sell computers, without getting end user support hassles. Again, everybody wins.

    Dell must realize all this. Their IdeaStorm is nothing more than PR BS. If they really wanted to support Linux, they would just improve hardware support. Write some drivers. Post some instructions. Instead they're doing a big public song and dance. I predict they will wave this website at MS during price negotiations. MS will drop the price. Then that's all we'll hear of this preinstalled BS. But that won't preclude TRUE Linux support like I've outlined here, and hopefully that will be forthcoming.
    • Re:I call BS (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cerberusss (660701) on Thursday March 29, 2007 @01:07PM (#18530285) Homepage Journal
      Speak for yourself. I'd *love* a pre-installed Linux. The last 6 years I've been running Linux on the desktop at work and at home, and frankly, I can't see the fun anymore in installation and spending hours to get the last hardware supported.

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