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Dell Linux Details 288

Posted by kdawson
from the at-last dept.
jon_anderson_ca writes "Dell, through their direct2dell website, has released some details of their soon-to-be-available Linux machines. Among the highlights: Only hardware that works with Linux is offered; open-source drivers are used where possible; binary drivers for Intel wireless cards, etc.; and no support for proprietary media codecs. Seems reasonable, but it's too bad that Click2Run isn't in Ubuntu 7.04 for the sake of those wanting to (legally) play DVDs, use AVI files, etc." The direct2dell site divulges no details on what models will be offered with Linux. For those we turn to linuxquestions.org, where proprietor Jeremy published a scoop last week: "We will be launching a Linux based OS (Ubuntu) on the E520, 1505 and XPS 410 starting next Thursday, 5/24."
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Dell Linux Details

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  • by Animats (122034) on Monday May 21, 2007 @08:52PM (#19216139) Homepage

    The base Dell 1505 laptop is $699, with some low-end version of Windows Vista preinstalled. If the Linux version costs more than that, Dell isn't serious about this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spoop (952477)
      But with Windows on a $700 laptop, I'm sure they install all kinds of crapware that brings the cost down, which they obviously can't do with Linux. I wouldn't be surprised if the actual cost to Dell for Windows and Linux is the same.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        why do you think you can't pre-install crapware on linux ?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by scumdamn (82357)
          I think you can't because customers wouldn't stand for it. You COULD install it on Linux, but not if you're targeting your offering to Linux nerds as opposed to Linux n00bs. (And I say this as a Linux nerd.)
      • by lawpoop (604919) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:40PM (#19216499) Homepage Journal
        Seriously, how much can each craplet defray the cost of a new computer?

        I don't know what the numbers are, but I would bet there is at least 1,000 installs for every eventual purchase of an app. If you paid $5 to have your app pre-installed, that would be $5,000 dollars before you got your first $79.99 sale.

        The actual amount that each app brings down the cost of a laptop has got to be in the cents range.
        • by drsquare (530038) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @03:17AM (#19218207)
          And you're basing this conclusion on numbers you've completely made up?
        • by SEMW (967629) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:24AM (#19219527)

          I don't know what the numbers are, but I would bet there is at least 1,000 installs for every eventual purchase of an app
          I think you're overestimating the average user and underestimating the psycology used.

          Grandma buys a Dell computer. Grandma uses it happily for three months. After three months, Norton pops up a window with an Alarming Yellow Exclamation Mark telling her that her antivirus protection "Will Expire in 5 Day(s)" and that unless she pays $20, her computer Will Be Vulnerable To Newly Discovered Viruses And Other Security Threats! Now, Grandma's read about computer viruses in the papers. She's never heard of AVG, Avast, or ClamAV.

          So Grandma presses the button and pays $20. From her perspective, what else could she do?

          No, I don't have any figures either, but I suspect that percentage subscription renewals from preloaded apps are a hell of a lot larger than you think.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by lawpoop (604919)

            So Grandma presses the button and pays $20. From her perspective, what else could she do?

            OK, but does she do this for every pay-ware app installed?

            Let's assume that the developers make $20 off of a purchased app. We can't assume 100% sales. Let's just say that it's 50%. I think that's a more than generous number. So, the developers cannot afford to pay more than $10 per computer to put their app on it, without losing money ( and this is a year later, after the subscription has run out).

            So you knock $10 off of the cost of the computer.

            Now, do all of the pre-installed apps get purchased? No

      • by MLS100 (1073958) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @12:01AM (#19217413)
        Don't give up hope, maybe McAfee runs under Wine!
      • by Stocktonian (844758) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @03:37AM (#19218339) Homepage
        Does anyone else think that offering only 3 models is a little underwhelming?

        Only one laptop model? I can tell you it's because Dell's hardware just isn't compatible enough. Sure it's good enough to get by with Linux on it but they're not likely to stump up the costs for development of a laptop that is 100% compatible.

        And for everyone who thinks they can just swap out components that don't behave well, I'm afraid I can tell you from person experience it's not that simple. You need to get the factory on board to make it happen and most of the time Linux compatible components aren't cheap. I'll take it all back if Dell start producing a line of laptops and desktops that work 100% with Linux.

        My company has taken the time to create 4 specifically Linux OEM laptops, so we know how hard it is. When people say they expect it to be cheaper too it's just getting ridiculous. The hardware choices you need to make for really good compatibility just do cost more. WiFi is the best example, once you've changed from a generic card to an Intel card you've lost the saving you make by not paying a Windows Licence. And that's before you even have to start worrying about the right Intel chip! I can't wait to see these laptops, turn on the WiFi, 3D desktop and put it into suspend mode. Then when it wakes up we'll see how compatible these things really are.

        I commend Dell for trying, but I think before everyone gets too excited we need to wait and see how much effort they actually put in.
    • by Jimmy King (828214) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:09PM (#19216283) Homepage Journal
      I would think we could look at their current Linux supported offerings, the PowerEdge line, to get an idea.

      Base price is no OS.
      + $261 for RHEL5 w/ 1 year support
      + $785 for RHEL5 w/ 3 year support
      + $105 for Suse 10 EL w/ 1 year support
      + $262 for Suse 10 EL w/ 3 year support
      + $599 for Windows Server 2003 Standard
      + $974 for Windows 2003 SBS

      This seems pretty in-line with what the pricing was when the company I work for bought a Linux compatible Optiplex last year.

      With that in mind, I would imagine that the Ubuntu desktops will also be less expensive than the same desktop with Windows on it.
      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:18PM (#19216345) Homepage
        The difference is that the PowerEdge line is servers. You can't install crapware on a server. Any admin (I would hope) would promptly wipe the drive anyway and start over from scratch if you included anything close to crapware (or even if you didn't, just because they wanted to do everything from scratch). You can't compare the pricing on their servers to the pricing on their desktop machines, because they serve entirely different purposes, and entirely different markets.
        • You can't install crapware on a server. Any admin (I would hope) would promptly wipe the drive anyway and start over from scratch if you included anything close to crapware (or even if you didn't, just because they wanted to do everything from scratch).

          I think any admin worth a damn would want to install from scratch just to be sure it could be done again if need be. There has to be a contingency plan for it, and the only way to know for sure you can do it, is to do it.

          Since the alternative of going into A

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @09:31AM (#19221199)

          The difference is that the PowerEdge line is servers. You can't install crapware on a server.

          Sure you can. Dell offers Windows pre-installed!

      • by Darundal (891860)
        Difference is that there is a cost for a license for those Operating Systems, whereas Ubuntu has no cost for a license for the OS.
        • by tepples (727027)

          Difference is that there is a cost for a license for those Operating Systems
          There is no cost for a CentOS license, and CentOS contains nearly the same software as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. With RHEL or SUSE, you get x years of support for $280*x (RHEL) or $100*x (SUSE).

          whereas Ubuntu has no cost for a license for the OS.
          But how much does its support cost?
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by glittalogik (837604)
            As far as the average home user goes, just about anything you need can be found within 10 minutes on the forums [ubuntuforums.org] or various tutorials and how-tos via google.

            Paid support from Canonical (source [ubuntu.com]):

            9-5: $250/yr (USD)
            24x7: $900/yr (USD)
    • by fishthegeek (943099) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:23PM (#19216395) Journal
      I'm suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder on the idea that the Linux laptop should be cheaper. On one hand it is financially cheaper for Dell to offer the machines without Windows. On the other hand Dell is probably offering more of a value to most people by vetting the hardware against the software before delivery.

      Some of us have had the joy of getting wireless or sound working over the course of a week. Heaven help anyone trying to get power management on a laptop working well. I'm typing this on a 30 day old Acer and what power management I have working is a gross and inelegant hack. I jumped on ideastorm like a couple of other people did and said my peace. Having done that I intend to sell this laptop on craigslist, and buy a Dell preloaded with Feisty and I will pay the difference if I need to. I have the sneaking suspicion that most of the posts on ideastorm are "me too" posts or kids wanting to feel 1337. I hope I'm wrong. I hope that most of the posters are willing to put their money where their mouth is. I believe that having Dell add the value of making a good laptop with a great (and hardware vetted) OS will be worth what they ask. I feel a little naive for suggesting that Linux folks should trust Dell but Dell just might actually price their laptop fairly and I for one will pay for easy Feisty goodness. Look at System76, they sell Ubuntu preloaded and I can promise that they will never be the lower cost option.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @08:58PM (#19216183)
    Is Dell going to have their own repository? If people can get software from every repository it is possible that they will get something that doesn't work with the hardware. If Dell had its own repository then they would gain the same advantage that Apple has; the software would be guaranteed to work with the hardware. That would save them a bunch in support. That could make Linux much more attractive to Dell.
  • Proprietary Codecs? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday May 21, 2007 @08:58PM (#19216187) Homepage
    Which proprietary codecs aren't specifically supported? There's a version of LinDVD you can get for Mandriva that AFIAK is completely legal. What about talking with apple and getting some Quicktime codecs. What about other Codecs like MP3 that aren't included in some distros, yet are included in others? Either way, I don't really think it will be a bad thing. Anybody ordering a Linux machine will know how to get their own codecs, or will know someone who does (this will be the person telling them to get the computer). I don't see any noticeable percentage of people buying a linux machine who won't be at the direction of somebody who linux-knowledgable. However, I think that if they don't include things like MP3 playing capability then it's a garauteed failure for all such users, no matter the percentage.
    • I have been running a 64 AMD computer with the 64 bit Ubuntu operating system. I use firefox and there is still no 64 bit flash with little hope that there will be one in the near future. There are a lot of sites that use flash such as youtube so there is a lot of video that one can not view with that set up.
      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:24PM (#19216401) Homepage
        There's a couple options for you.

        1) Install a 32 bit browser, along with a bunch of 32 bit libraries. Downside is this takes up extra disk space for the 32 bit libraries, and your browser is only 32 bit. Upside is the rest of your computer is 64 bit, and I don't really think there's a real need to have your browser running in 64 bit.

        2) Wine at Adobe until they release 64 bit flash for linux. I think this will be a while, considering they completely skipped version 8 for Linux, and I'm pretty sure version 9 is still in beta.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by simcop2387 (703011)
          actually version 9 is out of beta now IIRC and the reason (that they state anyway) that there is no amd64 version of the flash player is because the JIT type code they have for flash isn't 64bit safe still, don't know if thats true though, if it is, its at least a semi-reasonable excuse, but its still something they should work on.
        • by njchick (611256)
          Dell is not going to install Wine. I guess you meant Whine.
        • by MadTinfoilHatter (940931) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:45PM (#19217307)

          2) Wine at Adobe until they release 64 bit flash for linux. I think this will be a while, considering they completely skipped version 8 for Linux, and I'm pretty sure version 9 is still in beta.

          First a slight correction: Adobe flash v9 came out of beta in January this year.
          Then an addition of a third available option:

          3) You can install the Netscape plugin wrapper http://www.gibix.net/projects/nspluginwrapper/ [gibix.net] which allows you to use 32-bit plugins on a 64-bit browser. It works with Netscape and Mozilla browsers.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by ceeam (39911)
          > Wine at Adobe...

          And then - when you're seriously drunk - shout at them: Youuu baasterdss (hick)... When arrre you goin' to make siss... siss... sissty-fooourr bit Flassshhh pluginnnn... (throw up)
      • by wall0159 (881759)
        Another poster mentioned the option of installing a 32-bit firefox and libraries.

        But there's a better option:
        Install Flash9 in 64-bit firefox using ndiswrapper. See the Ubuntu forums:
        http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=341727 [ubuntuforums.org]

        It might look a little daunting, but I found it pretty straight-forward, and my browser has been rock-solid.
        In summary, I'm running flash inside a 64-bit browser in 64-bit Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (orig under Edgy Eft)

        YMMV, but I think it rocks! Good luck :-)
      • by zsau (266209)
        At least you have a way around it. Those of us running GNU/Linux on PowerPCs are stuck in the cold and we've got even less hope than you do. When a site uses Flash, I have two options: Don't visit it, or use another computer. I usually pick the former.

        (Disclaimers: For Youtube and similar sites, its often possible to use an online tool that extracts the .flv Flash video file, but this only works when flash is used as a media player. When people are using Flash the way it ought to be used, that doesn't help.
      • by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2@@@earthshod...co...uk> on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @05:52AM (#19218945)
        YouTube movies are in flv, which is basically a bastardised MPEG format. You don't need Flash player. There's a GreaseMonkey script which will allow you to watch them using mplayer. FLV isn't even a proprietary codec (ffmpeg knows about it. In fact, the whole toolchain for converting your camera's AVI files into something you can host on a website is entirely Open Source. Only the player is proprietary, and the GNASH developers are working on that. I'm currently working on a site with embedded video clips, and I will make them accessible to GNU/Linux users without Flash player.)

        I'll grant you, it's not obvious -- and that's not entirely unrelated to many people having vested interests in keeping alternatives to what they sell non-obvious. When was the last time you saw a site with PDFs mention that you could use anything other than Adobe Reader to view them? (Ones designed by me with on-the-fly PDF-munging technology [again, the toolchain to do this is 100% i-tal] and smart links to kpdf, xpdf, evince or foxit reader depending on your browser and OS don't count.)

        The problem begins and ends with closed-source, proprietary software. Always has, always will. Short of passing a law against caged software (which I don't believe is impossible for some small country sometime in the near future) the best thing you can do is support the Free Software movement. Use Free Software, suggest improvements (don't just say "this sucks", say "this would be better if ....."), donate money, time or hardware to an existing project, start a new project. If you want to put the "and other" into "non-violent and other direct action", there are quite a few things you can do which won't do any harm to life or tangible property, just bogus "intellectual property".
    • >Which proprietary codecs aren't specifically supported?

      They don't want to pay royalties to the companies that own the proprietary codecs. Although it's free for a home user to use some of these codecs, you need to pay $$$ to distribute others in software form. So, for instance, for if you want to play MPEG under linux, technically you should be downloading / paying for MPEG TV (http://www.mpegtv.com/download.html). That's also why it's standard for SuSe, Mandrake, Red Hat, etc., not to include propri
      • by CastrTroy (595695)

        It's about them wanting to put Linux out there in the cheapest way possible...
        Heaven forbid they spend a couple extra bucks to put out something that's a little more usable for the non-so-savvy user so that they might actually have a good experience. I think it may even save them a few bucks from not having users call all the time asking why they can't play MP3s on their new linux boxes.
    • by mattmacf (901678)
      From TFA:

      At this time, we are not including any support for proprietary audio or video codecs that are not already distributed with Ubuntu 7.04. These include MPEG 1/2/3/4, WMA, WMV, DVD, Quicktime, etc. We are evaluating options for providing this support in the future.

      I personally don't like this idea at all. If there's serious corporate backing behind Linux, I feel like Dell would do best to pay the license fee for at least some particular codecs (e.g. mp3). However, I don't feel like it would be a f

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drayzel (626716)
      I do not work for Dell, but I happen to have a friend that works for one of their outsource providers. He read some of the internal docs related to the Ubuntu launch and asked me about the Codecs and such as he was unfamiliar with the way things work in Linux land From what I could gather there will be no DVD decoding or MP3 software installed, techs are instructed not to help customers install or locate any such software. Part of the script is "Although the hardware is capable of reading DVDs we do not su
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by drayzel (626716)
        Forgot to clarify that there will be a special que for Linux support at Dell. which is a good thing as the majority of the techs I know at that location would choke the second a customer mentioned linux.
    • by wellingj (1030460) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:29AM (#19219581)
      I just installed Debian Etch on my new Thinkpad. Debian is one of the most free distros around.
      mp3 mpg avi divix all worked out of the box. I had to install [blogspot.com] 1 package and DVD is now working.
  • Latitudes... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jhnphm (892864)
    Too bad the Latitudes don't seem to be offered- the inspirons are craptacular- I would never get one of those, but I would get a Latitude.
    • Along a similar vein, I had cause to delve inside an XPS 400 series last weekend (water damage cleanup from the Greensburg, KS, USA, tornado).

      The guts in an XPS 410 appear to be almost identical to the Precision 380 (now 390) which is a pretty decent piece of kit and can handle at least a stock 8800GTX with the addition of a $5 USD PCIe power adapter. We use a lot of 380/390 gear at work, so I can provide one half of the puzzle; anybody have good access to an XPS 410 and want to share the results of lspci
  • by adez (967740) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:03PM (#19216225)
    Erm, nevermind.
  • restricted extras (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ash-Fox (726320) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:09PM (#19216277)

    Seems reasonable, but it's too bad that Click2Run isn't in Ubuntu 7.04 for the sake of those wanting to (legally) play DVDs, use AVI files, etc."
    Because start menu -> Add/remove programs -> Ticking 'ubuntu restricted extras' to get proprietary codecs, flash, java etc. is so much harder than 'Click2Run'.
    • by Pausanias (681077)
      For DVD playback? No, you will not get libdvdcss2 (the library required to play DVDs in Ubuntu) by any standard means in Ubuntu, because it is illegal in the US according to the idiotic DMCA. So, no, you will have to jump through the standard hoops (Automatic/3rd party repositories/etc) to get DVD playback.

      DVD playback is a huge problem for Linux. Until they figure out a way to fix it, it will be the #1 obstacle to linux adoption on the desktop.
  • Hmmm, not good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GFree (853379) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:17PM (#19216335)
    If Dell isn't going to be supplying support for proprietary media codecs (regardless of how easy it is to add them yourself), then this suggests to me Dell wasn't prepared to pay licensing costs to make this happen. I hope they provide instructions, or perhaps a script that runs the first time you boot into your Linux box that can auto-install these codecs, otherwise this will piss off a lot of people.
    • by scumdamn (82357)
      If you search the Dell knowledge base for "Ubuntu DVD" after it ships you'll have the answer to this question.
    • Re:Hmmm, not good (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Compholio (770966) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:34PM (#19216467)

      I hope they provide instructions, or perhaps a script that runs the first time you boot into your Linux box that can auto-install these codecs, otherwise this will piss off a lot of people.
      Supposedly they'll be shipping 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) which has a codec wizard [ubuntu.com]
      • by QuantumG (50515)
        I love that screenshot.

        GStreamer extra plugins
        Codecs to play mp3, sid, mpeg1, mpeg2, AC-3, DVD (without encryption)

        GStreamer ffmpeg video plugin
        Codecs to play mpeg, divx, mpeg4, ac3, wmv and asf files

        GStreamer plugins for aac, xvid, mpeg2, faad
        Codecs to play

        Average user:

        "What the fuck is a GStreamer?!? Hmm.. Guess I'll just install the first one.. oh wait, no, the second one says divx and wmv files, maybe that's what I want."

        Then they probably notice the box down the bottom which gives them a description of what the package contains.. and it says what?

        GStreamer plugins from the "ugly" set.
        GStreamer is a streaming media framework, based on graphs of filters which operate on media data

        "Huuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhh? What the hell does that mean? This is way too complicated.. I don't think this GStreamer thing is what I want to install."

        A Wizard that assumes you are a wi

        • by mhall119 (1035984)
          You only get that particular wizard if you know what codecs you are going to need before you need them. Otherwise Ubuntu will install the correct packages for you the first time you attempt to open a file that needs them, you don't even need to know the package name.
    • by trawg (308495)
      Of course, the converse might be true - if they do include a way to auto-install codecs it might piss off the people that own the patents for these various media types.

      mp3 and mpeg4 video are the first that come to mind. Given Microsoft's recent declaration that they're going after patent violators it seems only a matter of time before MPEG-LA and other media licensing organisations think they should start going after people that are using legally questionable media software like ffmpeg, mplayer, xvid, lame
  • Lose, Lose (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tyleroar (614054) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:29PM (#19216435) Homepage
    I'm sick of reading all these comments about how horrible it is that Dell isn't going to include the proprietary codecs to play DVDs or mp3. It's not completely legal to do so now without paying a license fee. And if Dell did pay a licensing fee to include, people would be complaining about why it costs just as much as Windows does. And besides, it is VERY easy to look up instructions on how to add the capability to play those codecs online, and most people that care enough to specifically order a Linux Dell, are already going to know how to do this.
    • Yes, but if Dell intend people to break the (ridiculous, but existent) law to play MP3s, then that seems odd: doesn't that open Dell up to a lot of liability? (contributory infringement, that sort of thing)
    • by ceeam (39911)
      Uhm, what are you talking about people? My Feisty downloaded all drivers automatically (with a prompt) on first attempt to play MP3, DivX, etc from the _standard repository_. Maybe I enabled universe or multiverse though. Are they not "on" by default? - I don't remember.
  • by d_jedi (773213) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:31PM (#19216449)
    That tag seems to apply here..
    No DVD support, no proprietary codecs? Good grief. I would have hoped Dell would have at least paid the $2 or so for the licensing fees for this stuff!

    If this is any indication, it doesn't look like pre-installing Linux will be the panecea some think it will be to beat Windows on the desktop..
    • by jonwil (467024)
      All the gold in Ft Knox would not be enough to get a license from the DVDCCA that would make DVD players based on libdvdcss (which is how pretty much all of the "illegal" media players that play DVDs on linux currently do it afaik) legal to distribute.

      The only option for DELL would be to write (or license from somewhere else) a closed source binary linux DVD player.
    • I can't help but feel that you think the lack of DVD support and/or the lack of some of the codecs is going to be an absolute deal breaker for most of the people who might buy this. As many others have pointed out, the support's easy to find and install. However, what you're not even considering is that not everybody who buys these will want or need that support. Some of them will go to business people who want a laptop that just works and is guaranteed to stay free of viruses, trojans, addware and other
  • by bl8n8r (649187) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:45PM (#19216523)
    I've never liked Dell, but they seem to be doing it right.

    * The default software from the Ubuntu media will be installed
    * hardware options thoroughly tested by the Linux team
    * restricted drivers where there is no equivalent open-source driver.
    * wiki page that gives technical details
    * recommend Linux users buy Dell printers that have PostScript engines in them.
    * We are evaluating options for providing (mp3/wma/etc codecs) this support in the future.

    They're not rolling their own distro (hello Oracle), they're checking out the hardware focusing on GPL drivers wherever possible, documenting via wiki, recommending Postscript supported printers, and they aren't ruling out the *legal* mp3 support down the road. They seem to just be saying "We are trying to figure something out with this mp3 royalty mess". Not to mention, they *must* be pissing off Microsoft big-time. I bet Balmer has chairs tatooed with the Dell execs names on them, just waiting for the right time. That's not like Dell either, historically. They are usually just another little m$ bitch when Bill cracks the whip. Maybe this is a new era for Dell.
    • by Redacted (1101591) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:10PM (#19216687)
      Maybe they saw how Apple is making a metric assload of money selling a UNIX derivative, closely tied to decent hardware, and want a piece of it?

      It's pretty far out there, but what if Dell are positioning themselves as an Apple for Linux - good hardware, guaranteed compatibility, support for installed packages, etc. I know a lot more people would consider Linux on the desktop/laptop if a name-brand, respected company like Dell were offering it.

    • by Poppler (822173) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:23PM (#19216779) Journal
      Even better, they're going to push hardware vendors to write Linux drivers:

      For hardware options not offered with this release, we are working with the vendors of those devices to improve the maturity and stability of their associated Linux drivers. While this may not happen overnight, we do expect to have a broader range of hardware support with Linux over time.

      • by QuantumG (50515)
        Hopefully Dell will start funding some Open Source developers to work on these drivers.. nothing gives you better driver support than having it integrated with the kernel.
    • by kestasjk (933987)

      That's not like Dell either, historically. They are usually just another little m$ bitch when Bill cracks the whip. Maybe this is a new era for Dell.

      That's one interpretation.

      The other one is that they never were at Microsoft's bidding and weren't offering Linux simply because not enough people wanted Linux to warrant the expense. Now that Linux is getting more popular they are offering it.

      Another interpretation is that Microsoft is no longer Dell's bitch; perhaps Microsoft stopped giving Dell discounts.. But I think the last interpretation is more realistic.

      • they see that MS is insanely jealous lately of anybody that is also making money.

        Playstation->Xbox
        iPod->Zune
        Google->???? ("I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to f***ing kill Google.)

        I'm surprised they haven't gotten jealous of intel yet and started making their own chips:) Anyway, MS is already in the hardare business with Xbox/360 - a long shot to anything competitive to dell I know, but still, don't stick all your eggs in one basket - don't trust your business to a 3rd par
    • by StikyPad (445176)
      They are usually just another little m$ bitch when Bill cracks the whip. Maybe this is a new era for Dell.

      We can probably thank Vista for that, since it offers so little in terms of functional improvement that MS is hard pressed to sell it without help from hardware retailers. Retailers, especially large ones like Dell and HP, now have a lot more leverage in their relationship with MS.
  • by dara (119068) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:23PM (#19216777)
    Well if this is the lineup ("We will be launching a Linux based OS (Ubuntu) on the E520, 1505 and XPS 410 starting next Thursday, 5/24." from Jeremy's Blog), I guess I have to wait longer. I'm only interested in WUXGA - the 15.4" Latitude D830 would have been nice, but I'd have considered the E1705 too. If I have to buy an unsupported model and install Linux myself, there is less incentive to pick Dell in the first place.

    I seconded ideas on ideastorm that suggested Dell get rid of this stupid division between Latitude and Inspiron, but who knows if that will ever happen. Just a single line of well built laptops in a few different screen sizes is all we need (it works for Apple and if Dell wants to entire the retail market seriously, it would help to have a reduced model line).

    Dara
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I've got a Dell Inspiron 9400 which I believe is the E1705 (depending on market) and tried the Ubuntu 7.04 live cd.
      Everything worked perfectly with no extra effort.
      It prompted me when it reached the desktop that it needed to use a binary driver to make the wireless work, and work it did.
      It prompted me that it needed to use a closed source driver to make the nVidia 7900 GS work, and work it did.
      I stuck a SD Card into the side card reader and it promptly mounted and allowed me to move files on and off.
      The sou
      • by Falladir (1026636)
        Other things that are frequently bothersome:

        Suspend/hibernate
        extra media buttons (volume mute)

        Do you have those working? Was it easy?
    • by jmv (93421)
      I live in Australia and just bought a D820 n-series, which means the only OS it came with was a FreeDOS CD. And it has a WUXGA display as well. I'm quite happy with it -- now that the kernel handles Core2 without crashing.
  • Anyone here planning on picking up one of the linux pre-installed machines when they go on sale? I'm legitimately curious.
    • I already have a couple E1505s. It was a PITA to get the video working properly (ATI) and the Dell wireless card in one never really worked even with ndiswrappers. I spoke with sales support today and the E1505 with an Nvidia chipset is not offered anymore. Big shame because that would have been a perfect system for me. But if the price is decent and xorg fully supports the Intel 950 chipset, I'll probably end up getting another one despite it all.

      The Dell home customer support is probably the worst I've ev
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by deadlocked (864900)
      Not nescessearly when they go on sale, but my next laptop will be a Dell for sure. Not because it is distributed with Ubuntu, but because I now can install the distro of my choice and know the hardware is supported
  • Really... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlurredOne (813043) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:50PM (#19217341)
    I know that this does not apply to all of the threads in here, but I need to get something out.

    Is there anything that any hardware or software vendor can do that will make the /. community happy? This isn't meant as flamebait or a troll, it is a genuine questions. Dell is taking a step in the right direction by offering Linux on select systems, and some of you seem to be taking this as a personal afront because Dell doesn't cater to all of your whims. This is the start of them offering Linux publically on their systems. It will take some time for Dell to get everything worked out. Please, if you want Dell to continue to offer Linux on their systems, don't criticize them for the initial offering, support them. Go onto the Direct2Dell site and let them know what you would like in future releases. Contribute to the process, don't complain when something that you never asked for isn't included.

    Noone gets it right the first time, and if they did, we would still be using the alpha of Ubuntu.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xtracto (837672)
      No, there is no way to do it. The /. community (Or if you want to put it this way, the Open Source community) is very heterogeneous. When you talk about a "slashdoter" you find from the mom-basement geek to the PhD in Chemical Engineering (or even professor), some of us are more interested in the actual funcitonality and see things as this as good, while others are more concerned with the philosophy and as such they do not like closed source drivers, etc. And yet others are interested in the capitalistic vi
  • That DVD playing functionality should be included "out of box", I don't think it's much more difficult than opening synaptic, typing your password, and installing VLC. I agree it should be included in the distribution by default, but it's one of the only things an end user will need that ISN'T pre-included.

    1. Open Office, a full office suite.
    2. The Gimp, a photoshop clone.
    3. Gaim (now Pidgin), instant messaging for every client, msn, aim, icq, yahoo, soon also MySpace)
    4. Firefox, arguably the best browser
  • Yeah, but will it run Windows?
    ...
    ...wait wait, ok ok, just... please don't hurt me!
  • Dell aren't really selling these for the Linux hobbyist market, but are selling them as a proof of concept for the soho/business user who is looking for alternatives to Windows. Hopefully the USP will be that said user will be able to call a support line if something goes wrong and someone will be able to give answers that will resolve a problem. 7.04 does seem to be a mistake when 6.06 is the distribution with long term support but without screwing Synaptic down it would be hard for a casual desktop user n

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