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Ubuntu Dell $50 Cheaper Than Vista Dell 389

Posted by kdawson
from the all-that-and-a-better-os-too dept.
rhinokitty writes "Dell recently announced that their Ubuntu systems will be $50 cheaper than similar systems running Vista (Home Basic Edition). This will be a good fork in the road for those people who need a little extra push to take hold of their dreams and run Linux."
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Ubuntu Dell $50 Cheaper Than Vista Dell

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:23PM (#19739367)
    Please... If it was really anyone's dream to run Linux, I don't think $50 more on a Dell PC is going to stop them.
    • by Mistlefoot (636417) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:30PM (#19739443)
      Dreams. Ubuntu is the best. It runs this laptop without a Battery!!! And without a battery $50 isn't much savings. lol

      I'm guessing this is a typo....but from the article -

      $774 Inspiron 1420 (Ubuntu)
      Intel® Core(TM) 2 Duo T5250 (1.5GHz/667Mhz FSB/2MB cache)
      Ubuntu version 7.04
      Anti-glare, widescreen 14.1 inch display (1280x800)
      Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
      1GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz
      80GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
      24X CD Burner/DVD Combo Drive
      Intel® 3945 802.11a/g Mini-card
      Integrated High Definition Audio

      $824 Inspiron 1420 (Vista)
      Intel® Core(TM) 2 Duo T5250 (1.5GHz/667Mhz FSB/2MB cache)
      Genuine Windows® Vista Home Basic Edition
      Anti-glare, widescreen 14.1 inch display (1280x800)
      Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
      1GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz
      80GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
      24X CD writer/DVD Combo Drive
      Intel® 3945 802.11a/g Mini-card
      56Whr Lithium Ion Battery (6 cell)
      Integrated High Definition Audio
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:31PM (#19739453)
        Wow, no batteries! I can't believe they snuck power generation into the kernel. Tesla would be proud.
    • by catwh0re (540371)
      ..or build it yourself and save a few hundred dollars.
      • by sconeu (64226) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @01:01AM (#19740045) Homepage Journal
        With a LAPTOP?????
        • by catwh0re (540371)
          If the make-or-break difference is $50, then they're probably not buying a laptop. Even so, you can get cheaper laptops at other vendors than Dell.

          But to keep the fuse burning:
          NOW THAT WOULD BE TAKING HOLD OF MY DREAMS!!!1111SIN(90)
          • I think that the point is that it's no longer more expensive to get a Linux box from Dell than it is to get a windows box from Dell, nuke the Windows partition (and thus lose even hardware support) and install Linux. -- or get the same box sans OS*, and install Linux yourself.

            I will note that even just resizing the Windows partition for your 120GB hard drive to make room for a 20GB Linux install is enough to cause the Dell nuke-Windows-and-reinstall script to freak out and stop.

            (* Yeah, I'm discounting FreeDos as a legitimate OS -- Have you ever even heard of someone [other than a FreeDos developer] actually leaving their FreeDos partition permanently on their machine and using it as anything other than a launching point for installing another OS and/or claiming HW support from Dell?_

  • Is Ubuntu a good distro in this case, given as it's already installed? I mean, from the standpoint of a non-geeky computer user.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fonik (776566)
      My little brother just installed Ubuntu on his home machine. He's in the 8th grade and his windows installation had to be wiped after the ISP threatened to shut down his internet service because of all the botware. I'd say it's a pretty easy distro.
    • Re:Is Ubuntu good? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tribbin (565963) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:35PM (#19739487) Homepage
      It's the distro I install for all my friends.

      When I reinstall Windows for a friend, I put Ubuntu on their computer next to windows and tell them to boot it if windows fails again.

      It takes a couple of months before they really need to fall back on it. And in the meanwhile, at moments when they feel brave, they take a peek in the rabbithole.

      And they confirm; Ubuntu does a great job for a fresh user.
    • by mpapet (761907)
      In Ubuntu's case, the GUI looks familiar and there isn't any need whatsoever for a firewall and anti-virus software, even though that's available too. If your needs are like most, you won't miss a thing.

      There are two steep learning curves:

      1. Putting the finishing touches on most of the applications included. An example is the kmail spam filter bogofilter. Sure, there's a gui to sort of get it going, but you'll discover it doesn't really work until you set up the wordlist.db and a cron job to feed the wor
    • Re:Is Ubuntu good? (Score:5, Informative)

      by grcumb (781340) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @12:15AM (#19739747) Homepage Journal

      Is Ubuntu a good distro in this case, given as it's already installed? I mean, from the standpoint of a non-geeky computer user.

      I've installed Ubuntu on computers used by well over a thousand new computer users. Common tasks were picked up with as much ease as I've witnessed with first-time Windows users.

      A few things that new users tend to find useful:

      • The system menus are way easier to find your way around. Software is located in the Applications menu, and it's organised by purpose rather than brand name. Links to your hard drive, USB disk and CD ROM are in the Places menu. System-related tasks are in the System menu. You get the idea.
      • USB disks, CDs and other removable media pop open folders when inserted, much as they do in Windows.
      • The default interface is much cleaner and simpler than in Windows. Folders are simpler - which is not to say easier - to navigate. (This is useful for non-geeks, but can prove frustrating for power-users.)
      • Automatic updates are just as easy as - if not easier then - Windows, and all of your software is covered.
      • Upgrades are free. 8^)

      Those are just the first few things that spring to mind. I'm sure others can add to this list.

      Those who are accustomed to Windows will be accustomed to certain conventions, and this will rankle a little bit at first. But once you get used to the fact that, for example, the Start button is on the top of the screen rather than the bottom, you quickly find a lot to like.

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@g m a il.com> on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:27PM (#19739417) Homepage Journal
    Many Linux users are willing to buy their own rigs, or have been content to purchase Windows and then either dual-boot or just format and install Linux.

    I don't think this move will equate to widespread acceptance of Linux on the desktop for the home. You're not going to shop Dell's site as a Windows lover with no Linux experience and say, "since Dell is selling Linux, I think I'll give it a try and buy a computer without Windows!"

    It is nice that people will save money, however, there is a potential large impact of this move.

    Several IT departments in all kinds of large corporations struggle with trying to get corporate suits to accept Linux in the workplace. And while large companies like RedHat or Novell will sell support, corporations like familiarity and standardization. If said corporation has a corporate contract with Dell, and Dell is officially standing behind Ubuntu and selling Ubuntu preinstalled, and you can see it as a cost-cutting move to the suits at the same time, then this might help spread the acceptance of Linux in the workplace.
    • If said corporation has a corporate contract with Dell, and Dell is officially standing behind Ubuntu and selling Ubuntu preinstalled, and you can see it as a cost-cutting move to the suits at the same time, then this might help spread the acceptance of Linux in the workplace.
      But didn't we recently find out that Dell is explicitly not selling Ubuntu machines to business customers, only to home and home office buyers?
    • by TheSHAD0W (258774)
      Many Linux users are willing to buy their own rigs, or have been content to purchase Windows and then either dual-boot or just format and install Linux.

      That was back when Windows didn't cost $250+. Even Vista Basic is expensive, and may prove worthless in a few years. The high prices are providing fuel for a real move to Linux - as many have predicted.
      • Except the actual cost to you here is $50. If you intend to install Linux, I doubt you're rushing down to Best Buy to pay $250 for Vista. If you buy a new rig today, you get Vista preinstalled, pretty much if you want it or not. The $50 in difference in price isn't huge. For those that are comfortable with Linux alone can take advantage of the discount, and be content that they aren't financially supporting the boys in Redmond, but neither Dell nor you were paying Microsoft $250 for Vista when you're bu
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timmarhy (659436)
      i'd liken it to the first tiny crack in the damn. no water comming out yet, but dell openly selling linux pc's would have been unthinkable even 3 years ago.
    • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @04:14AM (#19741021) Homepage
      But there are several trends coming together. Each individual one may not count for much, but the sum total is still starting to look interesting.
      • The average price of new computers is falling.
      • The price of Windows, both in pure dollars and in requirements is rising sharply.
      • Linux is getting easier and easier for the non-geeks to use.
      • You can get pre-installed Linux from vendors people have heard of. This matters.
      • There's a large amount (though not as large as I'd like) of articles and news-coverage of consumer-hostile "features" in Vista.
      • There is a distinct lack of *advantage* for a consumer moving from XP to Vista, in other words, MS has done next to *nothing* worthwhile for a consumer in the last 5-6 years.
      • Vista has horrible hardware-support. Of the 5 usb-gadgets that my wife uses, 2 failed to work with Vista. For one, an Epson-scanner, the status is: "Drivers will be released in february". Meanwhile, Linux supports more hardware out-of-the-box than any other operating-system ever has. (though not more than XP plus additional drivers)

      None of these are deal-breakers, really. And most people will certainly buy the "default" choice, Vista, without really giving it second thougths. But *some* will start thinking.

      Linux certainly won't displace Windows on the desktop this year, or the next. But it'll continue doing what it's been doing quietly for years already: growing.

  • by katterjohn (726348) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:28PM (#19739421)
    .. they're too confused about all the different editions of Vista ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tribbin (565963)
      I hope you see the irony of your comment?

      With the grand choice you have in Ubuntu alone, the apps, and other distro's.
      • by fonik (776566) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:44PM (#19739547)
        At least with Ubuntu the customers can switch around for free. With windows you have to pay more if you find your license doesn't cover a feature you need, like multilingual support or remote desktop.
      • by DrYak (748999) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @07:17AM (#19741889) Homepage

        With the grand choice you have in Ubuntu alone, the apps, and other distro's.


        You know these "There's too much choice in Linux, it's too hard to make selection" whine-trolls we see around aren't very accurate.

        It's not 1995 anymore. The time when either you had to pick manually everything up or when the default installation included 3 different products all in crash-prone alpha version (because all the application where recent and none functioned 100% of the time requiring you to mix the use of all 3 to cover your needs) is over.

        Yes, for each task in Linux there exist at least several dozens of possible candidate application.

        *BUT* for most mainstream application, if you just Yes-click-trough the installation (something that the EULA-trained Windows user is very used to) you just get a basic set of everything you need. Most distro will provide with 1 default desktop (Gnome or KDE in most cases, depending on your religion), 1 browser (usually Firefox. Or Konqueror) 1 email program (Thunderbird, or Evolution, or KMail) 1 Office suite (OOo or Abiword+Gnumeric+etc. or KOffice).

        No need to choose a solution a default choice has been pre-maid to help you. Just hit the icon in the menu and let the default application startup.
        Want something else ? Then only you have to fire up the software package manager (Yast, Synaptic, RpmDrake, Anaconda etc. or whatever starts when you click on the icon labelled "Add/Remove software").
        And even here, there's still an easy route :
        - Most installator provide a "task oriented" mode. Want to make a web server ? Just check the box next to the webserver "Activity" and the installator will take care to provide you a default set of tools.
        - Only when you need a specific package will you have to hunt it in the list.

        And all that is when installing a distro yourself. Now, I'm sure that Dell has already put the trouble to make sure that every Ubuntu laptop ships with a perfectly functional set of basic application covering all the needed tasks. User don't have to hesitate between 4 different word processors or a dozen of different web-browsers (include a couple of text-mode only).
        Just clic on the menu entry that says "E-Mail".

        For the lazy user, everything will be, I suppose, set to go. That "burden of choice" some bloggers always complain about is left only for those who actually care to make very specific choices.
    • by glwtta (532858) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:44PM (#19739543) Homepage
      "Let's see... do I need Premium or Ultimate? Oooh! Gutsy Gibbon!!!"
      • Mod parent insightful more than funny. Although I love the names and the creativity, "Vista Premium" sounds a hell of a lot better than "Feisty Fawn" when I'm seriously encouraging its' use to another person. I just generally go with "Ubuntu 7.04," but most people think that means version 7, revision 4. (April-2007, if you didn't know)
    • by kypper (446750)
      Except the AIDS version [penny-arcade.com].

      People are pretty much solid on that one.
    • by toleraen (831634)
      All two of them that Dell is selling (to the home user)? If they can't figure out the difference between the two versions of Vista, they don't have a chance in hell at figuring out how to use Ubuntu.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:31PM (#19739445)
    I'm sorry, but i gotta say "...who need a little extra push to take hold of their dreams and run Linux." is the single-most pathetic thing i've read on the entire internet, ever.
  • I believe it has great symbolic value.

    And I don't believe anybody would consider buying it to save money.

    It would be even better if DELL would use another 50 dollar per sale for developers of the software of DELL's choice. That would give buyers a nice cosy Ubuntu feeling and it would be great marketing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MidnightBrewer (97195)
      I think it's nice that Linux users save $50, but I think this will have zero effect on Windows users. People aren't going to switch because it's cheaper; rather, they're more likely to say, "You get what you pay for," and see the $50 extra as a vote for Windows' quality.
  • $50? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mystery00 (1100379) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:34PM (#19739473)
    I don't think that is a big enough incentive, people that have been brainwashed by M$'s propaganda about how great Vista is aren't going to suddenly turn and say "ZoMG! This OS is $50 cheaper! Forget Vista!"

    A $50 difference will do nothing in terms of persuasion for the common man, the people that buy Ubuntu pre-installed are only the ones that have done the research and know at least a bit about what they've doing, and what they want, the rest know Windows, and M$'s advertising.

    What Ubuntu needs from Dell, isn't a $50 price difference, but some available INFORMATION, look here: www.dell.com/

    I don't know about you, but all I see are Vista loaded machines, I didn't check every page, but nobody is going to buy an Ubuntu loaded machine if it's buried somewhere at the back of the site, or the store.
    • Baby steps... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kebes (861706) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @12:05AM (#19739679) Journal
      You're right, of course. A $50 difference is not that persuasive. However, at least the Ubuntu machine isn't more expensive than the equivalent Vista one. After all, there was considerable worry that Dell would keep the Ubuntu price higher (for a variety of reasons, such as contracts with MS or kickbacks from craplet installs, etc.).

      So, I see Dell's offering of Ubuntu machines as a small step in the right direction. And the fact that they are a bit cheaper than the Vista equivalent is also a step in the right direction.

      I highly doubt many consumers will be randomly browsing the Dell website and say "damn, those Ubuntu machines look awesome!"... but at least these prices allow those in the know to suggest to others: "If you're looking for a new computer, consider getting a Dell Ubuntu machine. Ubuntu is very stable and secure and you don't need the most expensive computer to run it. In fact, it's a bit cheaper than the equivalent Windows machine!"

      Will this give Linux a 15% marketshare overnight? No. But it's a step towards breaking the current OS monoculture... and that's a good thing.
      • by Miseph (979059) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @12:30AM (#19739869) Journal
        But... but... it isn't solving anything overnight! Totally unacceptable! Incremental change is for the weak and stupid and non-Slashdot readers! None of this pussy ass "right step" shit, we need everything to happen right now and any change short of that is not only inconsequential but should be derided and fought tooth and nail for the M$ propaganda/sell out itg is.
    • Re:$50? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fonik (776566) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @12:11AM (#19739723)
      Heh, yeah.

      I like the part of the www.dell.com/open site where it asks you if you are there by mistake and suggests you go back to looking at Windows machines.

      The main thing to note is that when you choose open source you don't get a Windows® operating system. If you're here by mistake and you are looking for a Dell PC with Windows, please use the following link.

      Shop Dell PCs with Windows
      They even put the link to their Windows machines BEFORE the link to the Ubuntu machines. If you were selling cars and someone showed interest in an import, would you ask, "Are you SURE you want to buy one of THOSE?" Their machines work great, but the website is serious WTF material.
    • So, why exactly should dell care whether you buy ubuntu or vista? presumably it makes at least $1 on vista, so, really.. i mean really. why the hell should dell push ubuntu to people who would not have asked about it anyway? dell is not part of your evangelizing cult. they are a business. they will happily supply people who want linux with the opeating system if that keeps them from buying PCs elsewhere, but they aren't going to bend over backwards about this in order to reduce their own revenue from ot
  • by Meor (711208)
    I'd pay 50$ dollars to never read a man-page or hear "RTFM" by a Linux zealot again.
  • Target market (Score:4, Insightful)

    by idesofmarch (730937) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:49PM (#19739577)
    Is this the PC for Vista/XP pirates? I mean, why pay an extra $50 when you don't have to?
  • You mean open source isn't more expensive? Could Microsoft be wrong? Next thing you'll be telling me is that Vista isn't the greatest OS in history.
  • Not bad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by no-body (127863) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:55PM (#19739623)
    at all...

    Go to dell.com, type in Linux as search, click on suggested link (ignore the recommended M$ stuff)
    - select Ubuntu,
    "XPS 410 N"
    click through "adding features",
    leave everything as default and...:

    "1Yr In-Home Service, Parts + Labor - Next Business Day"

    I like it!

  • by bheer (633842) <`rbheer' `at' `gmail.com'> on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @11:56PM (#19739633)
    Wow, rhinokitty can sure lay on the purple prose. What's next, Linux will help me leverage my key skills and maximize my full potential, making my chakras spin in unison to bring me closer to a fully actualized human being?

  • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @12:00AM (#19739657) Journal
    ...if I'm spending thousands on a new laptop, I'll still take the OS if it's optional. I can pick up Ubuntu for nothing later on. Vista would cost me hundreds.

    This isn't a push in the right direction, it's a slap in the face!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @12:24AM (#19739809)
      Except the hardware won't work. Most Dell other than their Linux machines use ATI and Broadcom, which are a HORRIBLE combination.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Trelane (16124)
        Mod parent up! (Lack of) hardware support due to PCs being "Designed for Windows" is the reason Linux has its reputation for being hard to install.
      • by syousef (465911)
        Nice troll but you can get Vista or Ubuntu on the same hardware. Providing the drivers are available for download it's not hard. I just bought an Inspiron 9400 with Vista Ultimate. It arrived Monday. I've got it dual booting XP with all hardware recognised as of this morning. There was a little messing with boot loaders and recovery discs and I did have to download the drivers, but since the machine was no longer offered with XP and I had a spare legit license I risked having trouble installing (after googl
        • by arth1 (260657)
          But what about us who wants neither Windows or Ubuntu? Who wants to install our own OS, and not pay extra to support those who need to call the company with questions?
          I don't want to pay for the support for an OS I won't use (and if it's an OS I use, I'd rather get my support from specialists at full price than outsourced people reading from a script).

          Is it too much to ask to be able to buy a PC without any OS, and instead get specs that haven't been dumbed down for the masses?

          Regards,
          --
          *Art
          • by Sancho (17056)
            You can get FreeDOS, which is almost as good as not getting any OS. I mean, there's pretty much nothing you can do with it, anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MojoStan (776183)

      Subject: I hate Vista but for $50....

      ...if I'm spending thousands on a new laptop, I'll still take the OS if it's optional. I can pick up Ubuntu for nothing later on. Vista would cost me hundreds.

      Perhaps, but I don't think it's "hundreds." According to the story's scoop, that $50 only gets you Vista Home Basic. Also, it's an OEM version, which means you cannot transfer the license to another computer (like you can with retail versions). An OEM version of Vista Home basic costs $90 to $95 at everybody's favorite egg store [newegg.com].

      Also, I think there's significant value in a preinstalled Linux distro that's been tested and confirmed to work with all of the hardware (especially notebooks). Even for supposed

    • You can buy Vista OEM from any decent shop at about that price. They do have to sell it with hardware, but they'll count a $10 USB drive as that.

      The Vista license you get from Dell will only work with that specific Dell model.
  • $50 bucks cheaper? Who thinks that this is going to make a single person buying a Dell change their mind? $50? One tank of gas? 1/12 of an iPhone (with no service)? 6% of the purchase price? That might not even cover shipping. You gotta be kidding me if anybody would look at this and say, "hmmm... well then... 50 bucks, huh? Well, sure, I might as well learn an entirely new operating system and find replacements for all of my programs that won't work if there's $50 at stake!"

    Slashdot has officiall
    • by Trelane (16124)
      Dude, you're not even a Linux guy. You have no room to whine.

      I think the Linux users are pretty happy about saving $50 for not having to buy Windows. I know I am.

    • by rm999 (775449)
      50 dollars AND you don't have to uninstall Vista and then install Ubuntu. Sounds like a decent deal to me.
      • by Sancho (17056)
        The rhetoric in here is really getting thick.

        Uninstall Vista? Please. The Ubuntu partitioner does it for you.

        Now personally, I'd probably reinstall Ubuntu anyway. I just don't trust OEMs not to put crapware on it, even in Linux. What I get for buying Linux pre-installed on the Dell is a reasonable expectation that all of the hardware should work, nothing more.

        But maybe that's just me.
  • Trialware (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kylehase (982334)
    Let's take a look at some prices:
    • Dell bulk OEM price about $50 ?
    • Dell incentives from trialware/crapware $50 ? (I hear it's better these days)
    • Net $0
    • Ubuntu price $0
    • Dell incentives from trialware/crapware $0
    • Net $0

    So IMO a $50 savings for Ubuntu is actually impressive.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Hal_Porter (817932)
      Do you have any figures for Dell OEM pricing or incentives from trialware or crapware?

      The cost per Vista Home Basic OEM is about $99 to end users.

      http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070124-8696 .html [arstechnica.com]

      But volume discounts are not illegal as far as I know, so they probably still charge Dell less than the OEM price if they do thousands of installs. Googling around turns up quotes for Vista like "$50 for Home Basic rising to to $100 for Home Premium", but no hard figures and nothing on the record from an OEM.
  • Put up or shut up. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RomeReactor (1091245) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @12:28AM (#19739849)
    This is _exactly_ what most people that wanted Linux pre-installed in their PCs said they wouldn't do: whine about details. Why can't I get a better battery? Why is it only 50$ cheaper? Why is it gray?... We wanted this; now it's time we show we can backup our statements with cash. Vote. Wallet. Now.

  • Here's a good 3 part article on Linux gaming:

    http://kahvipapu.com/blog/2007/06/16/linux-gaming- part-one-first-person-shooters/ [kahvipapu.com]

    It focuses on Open Source games but it also lists many of the other titles that are available for Linux.

    Most of these games, if not all, are also available on Windows, of course. The first game listed, Warsow [warsow.net] is an excellent Open Source FPS, whether you're on Linux or Windows. No Mac client, though I'm sure an interested Mac developer could rectify that.
    • by Kawahee (901497)

      No Mac client, though I'm sure an interested Mac developer could rectify that.
      I think they're too busy playing Photoshop CS3 already...
  • by Repossessed (1117929) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @12:49AM (#19739987)
    Doing a quick one over of the systems available, for a 15 inch screen, you're looking at 1,194 dollars for a minimum Vista notebook with full performance. (2 gigs of RAM, and a 2 GHz dual core processor). A 15 inch Ubuntu notebook, will cost you just 599 dollars. Thanks to the low hardware requirements of Linux systems. (It's quite literally twice as powerful as the desktop I'm typing from now.) There's a couple caveats there, in that I'm not sure if the optical drive and hard drive are comparable between the two. (i'm too lazy too check). And that for a desktop, the price difference won;t be as bad. (An acceptable processor and RAM for Vista gets very expensive for the notebooks, not as much so as for the desktops.) I'm also not sure how long this will last, Dell is still shipping the old 1505s for Ubuntu, the price will probably go up if they start using 1520s instead. (There's no appreciable difference in specs that I can find, though this may change once better Intel processors come out (the 1520 uses a different socket type.)). Oh, and if you want the fancy graphics stuff for Vista, you're going to need another 230 dollars (30 for the software and 200 for a 256 megabyte graphics card.) I'm not sure how much of a hardware upgrade it would take to run the 3D desktop options for Linux though, so I have no point of comparison to make there.
  • I can't believe that a Linux distro, even at one-of prices, costs them only $50 more than Vista, even at maximum quantity discount prices. I'm guessing they're expecting a lot more support problems with Ubuntu (not in and of itself, but as a Linux install) and charging more up front to offset that.

    OTOH, if I could have gotten Ubuntu installed on this $399 Dimension system when I bought it a year ago, I'd have paid the same. But then I've done my own Linux support since Slackware 1.0. I just don't see too ma
    • I can't believe that a Linux distro, even at one-of prices, costs them only $50 more than Vista ...

      Er, um, no. They're now charging $50 less for Ubuntu than for Vista. -- I take this to mean that they're expecting to make it a Profit source, relative to Vista.

      Remember, they're making it available for free, but they're not providing support (you get to go to 'the community' for support, or buy support directly from Canonical). All they have to provide support for is the hardware, and Ubuntu makes it a lot easier to diagnose hardware problems than Windows does. (and Vista is probably gonna be a lot w

  • by moosesocks (264553) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @01:24AM (#19740161) Homepage
    I've been a pretty strong opponent of Linux on the desktop for a long, long time now.

    The first distro installed was Debian 2.2 off of floppy disks, so I've been at this for quite a while. I'd try it out, work with the desktop for a few weeks, and inevitably move back to Windows. I went through the motions with this for a few years, trying out Red Hat, Mandrake, Slackware, and Gentoo in the process. Each time, I reverted back to Windows.

    I eventually got a mac, and that was that. I had my unix, and I had my desktop, and I was happy. At school, I would occasionally use the computer labs (running Fedora Core + KDE) to compile some code, or whip up a quick TeX document. It was usable to me, but clearly not ready for the average user (that's what my mac's for)

    Fast forward to last month. My mac at work was acting up, and because I only use it to run MATLAB through a remote X server, I figured that I'd give the Ubuntu PPC port a try.

    On first impressions, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's just as good as, if not better than Windows for desktop usage. The default install is simple and very well polished. I eventually switched to Xubuntu, which was also extremely simple. The settings/preferences panel is top-notch, and the package manager is flawlessly integrated into the OS.

    I still like MacOS for my home computer, if only because of iLife, and all the multimedia and photo/video editing apps that Linux doesn't have yet. However, Ubuntu is a very viable competitor to Windows, even for somebody who's never used Linux before.
  • by MojoStan (776183) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @01:27AM (#19740183)
    TFA [ideastorm.com] refers to $50 savings for an Ubuntu Inspiron notebook over a Vista Home Basic notebook.

    However, I just did a quick comparison of Ubuntu vs Vista Home Basic on Dell's new Inspiron desktops (Ubuntu 530N [dell.com] vs Vista 530 [dell.com]), configuring them as closely as possible, and the Ubuntu desktop was $150 cheaper. Did I miss something in the configuration? Here's what I configured (copied/pasted from the last page before adding to the shopping cart):

    • Inspiron 530 with Vista Home Basic ($479)
      Intel®Pentium® dual-core processor E2140 (1MB L2,1.60GHz,800 FSB)
      Genuine Windows Vista Home Basic
      No Monitor
      512MB Single Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz - 1DIMM
      160GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache
      48X CDRW/DVD Combo Drive
      256MB NVIDIA Geforce 7300LE TurboCache
      Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
      Dell USB Keyboard and Dell Optical USB Mouse
      56K PCI Data Fax Modem
      Microsoft Works 8. DOES NOT INCLUDE MS WORD
      1 Yr In-Home Service, Parts + Labor - Next Business Day
      Free 3GB DataSafe Online Backup for 1Year
      Adobe Software Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 7.0
      Integrated 10/100 Ethernet
    • Inspiron 530N with Ubuntu ($329)
      Intel®Pentium® dual-core processor E2140 (1MB L2,1.60GHz,800 FSB)
      Ubuntu Desktop Edition version 7.04
      No Monitor
      512MB Single Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz - 1DIMM
      160GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache
      48X CD-RW/ DVD Combo Drive
      256MB NVIDIA Geforce 7300LE TurboCache
      Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
      Dell USB Keyboard and Dell Optical USB Mouse
      1 Yr In-Home Service, Parts + Labor - Next Business Day
      No Modem Option
      Integrated 10/100 Ethernet
      No Productivity software pre-installed
    Notes: Integrated Intel GMA 3100 and free 56K modem were available options for Windows but not Ubuntu (I'm assuming it's a driver issue for Ubuntu). For some strange reason, the Ubuntu system is configured with an optional $170 LCD (I removed it for the comparison). The warranty/support for the Ubuntu system covers hardware only and software support can be purchased from Canonical (or you can use their forums for free). The Vista system's warranty includes some software support, of course.
  • You can't build your own Laptop. I ordered an Ubuntu Laptop.

    But I ordered it because it was the cheapest laptop with a Linux-Preload.
  • by 2Bits (167227) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @02:00AM (#19740331)
    From our own experience, what Dell is doing is just half-hearted attempt, at best, to gather some good press. Their offer of Linux-based laptop is ridiculous. And anyone who thinks that the move may be the beginning of Linux world domination, well, hate to break it to you, that's pipe dream.

    We had bought a few Dell laptops in the last six months, and every one of them is so-called Linux-based laptop. When we open the box, here's the list of what we found:

    - The machine and components, the usual suspects (no surprise here)
    - one CD containing a partial list of different drivers for ... guess... that's right, Windows. And I said partial list because you still need to go out tracking some of the most important drivers, such the graphic driver, sound driver, etc. (I'll explain later)
    - one CD of junk softwares that you will never use, for ... guess again... that's right, Windows.
    - 3 CDs of Red Flag Linux (yeah, in China, that is).

    I booted up the machine, half of them came with DOS installed, but you can't do anything much as there's no driver for anything anyway. The other half came with absolutely nothing installed. Empty disk.

    Ok, just for the heck of it, to see if they actually tried to install the linux distro themselves. I installed Red Flag Linux, it installed fine, but missing a few drivers, or won't detect properly. I had to mess with it for a while to get it to work, but still the graphics is not working optimally.

    Ok, so far, I don't think any buyer is going with Linux here.

    So, I installed Windows XP. And the drivers CD is missing some serious drivers, I ended up with a system which was not any better than with Linux. I looked up the support web site, enter the serial number, and the system told me the serial number of that machine does not exist. Who cares, I just downloaded a bunch of drivers to try out, those drivers that are published for the models close to the one I have. Doesn't work.

    After half a day of messing around, I called tech support. Nice guy, actually. He told me that the drivers downloaded from the web site don't work, because I have a "pirated" copy of Windows XP. Ok, fine, give me those that work then. He emailed a few links to get those missing drivers. None of these links showed up on their web site.

    Go figure. With that kind of so-called "support", I doubt Joe Sixpacks is going to have Linux on that machine.
  • by EjectButton (618561) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @02:53AM (#19740633)
    While it is a good first step that Dell is selling Ubuntu machines, and not charging you (as much) for a license that you aren't even purchasing, HP has been doing this for quite a while though they don't seem to get much press for it.

    If you look at hp laptops and desktops in their "business" section many of them will list "FreeDOS" as an available os, or if they have a "Configure PC" link under the model often times it means you can choose between Windows and FreeDOS in the configuration options. One difference may be that if you get a FreeDOS pc from HP, format the drive and put Linux on it HP probably isn't going to give you any software support whereas maby Dell (or Canonical?) offers some level of support included in their price. Though if you are willing to forgo softwate technical support and just want hardware warranty coverage (for example if you are a large institution purchasing many computers is bulk) you can get a larger discount for non-windows machines from HP than Dell. The price varies but for most of their business notebooks and desktops the difference between a model with Windows XP/Vista and that same model with FreeDOS is usually $75-$150

    Hopefully Dell's apparent success in selling Ubuntu desktops (and the publicity that has come with it) will push HP into doing something similar, I am a bit surprised Dell beat them to the punch on this one considering HP has:
    been encouraging the use of Debian on the server end for a while
    http://h20331.www2.hp.com/services/cache/442406-0- 0-0-121.html [hp.com]

    Already provides good driver support for Linux with regard to printers
    http://hplip.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

    And the current "Linux CTO" is a former Debian project leader
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bdale_Garbee [wikipedia.org]

    I would expect to see more announcements like this in the near future from the OEMs. Whatever argument the OEMs still had against selling desktop Linux and thereby irritating Microsoft was recently dealt a significant blow by Microsoft's announcement that they would begin selling their own machines http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/06/ 28/181204 [slashdot.org]
    which from the OEMs perspective has changed Microsoft from an annoying element that everyone has to deal with and who gets a cut of their profit, to a company that is now moving towards being a direct competitor.
  • C For Effort (Score:3, Interesting)

    by christurkel (520220) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @09:08AM (#19742651) Homepage Journal
    I just ordered one of laptop from Dell, due in a week or so. I knew where to look and what to get. Then I did it as if I was Joe Clueless who heard about Ubuntu and wants to look at Dell and what they offer.
    Take a look at the front page of Dell.com. What do you see? Lots of products but no mention of Ubuntu. Let's look at a laptop, I see many options. I look and pick one. The option for this Ubuntu thing must be here. I pick a laptop. I look. Comes with Windows Vista Home Edition. Huh? Maybe its under "Build yours". I try that.
    I click a couple of options and see "Operating Systems" Maybe this is it? I click on it. It gives me a choice between Windows Vista Home and Home Premium.
    What he doesn't realize that its back on the product page under "Essential Links"...Open Source PCs. Click on that and you get a choice between "Shop Ubuntu" or "Shop for FreeDos" which are under "Shop for Dell PCs with Windows"
    I know that Dell Ubuntu products are aimed at tech enthusiasts and Open Source fans but if Dell hopes to be successful beyond a niche market they need to try a lot harder.
  • My mother (Score:3, Informative)

    by deblau (68023) <slashdot.25.flickboy@spamgourmet.com> on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @10:18AM (#19743329) Journal
    I helped my mother price a Dell Ubuntu against Vista, and we came out $200 less. She's probably going to go Linux.

    Do your own homework.

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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