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Turns Out Ubuntu Dell Costs $225 More 361

Posted by kdawson
from the implemented-and-reneged dept.
An anonymous reader writes "One week ago this community discussed the apparent price advantage of Ubuntu Dell over Vista. The article linked to a Dell IdeaStorm page with the status: 'Implemented.' Today the status has changed on that page to 'Reneged: Ubuntu Dell is $225 More Than Windows Dell.' The full price of a Ubuntu Inspiron 1420N is indeed $50 cheaper than the identical hardware configuration with Vista — except that a $275 free upgrade to 2GB memory and a 160-GB hard drive is available for Windows only."
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Turns Out Ubuntu Dell Costs $225 More

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  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @07:56AM (#19823765) Homepage Journal
    Haven't people been saying the footprint of Linux is a shitload less than Windows bloat.
    You simply don't need the extra on linux.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Which makes having it so much more enjoyable.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:01AM (#19823813)
      I'm guessing you never used KDE _
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sqldr (838964)
      You simply don't need the extra on linux

      For what, exactly? 160gb of hard drive space is good if you're a warez hoarder, and 2gb of ram is good if you're compiling software.

      If you're just using it as an internet terminal, then both operating systems are bloated. eg. ubuntu will automatically start cupsd, even if you don't have a printer. If you're obsessed with bloat, then you could spend a week fine-combing gentoo or bsd, or try something like syllable, but ubuntu users want something that will "jus
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Knuckles (8964)
        ubuntu will automatically start cupsd, even if you don't have a printer

        Which can be easily disabled from the Services config in Administration menu.
    • For simple, basic functionality, that's true, but for what most would consider a comfortable and reasonably useful system, that extra space/memory is still necessary.

      WoW on Ubuntu takes the same space/memory as WoW on XP/Vista, even if Linux might be able to reliably get away with half the memory of vista while using what a normal user would call a comfortable session manager (i.e. KDE or Gnome, not Console1, Console2, Console3 or TWM...)

      And a 300MB div-x file takes 300MB, no matter what OS, etc.
  • Astounding. (Score:5, Funny)

    by EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:02AM (#19823819)
    There's two things I need every morning - a cup of coffee, and a blatant "flame Microsoft" Slashdot article. Bravo.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Idbar (1034346)
      People complain too much. They can get a computer with twice memory and twice HDD, thanks to Dell partners and install "FREE" linux on it. But, no, they complain, because the pre-installed Ubuntu is not cheaper!

      Let's talk about half-full / half-empty glasses.
  • by Lightjumper (532700) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:03AM (#19823827) Homepage
    and download and install Linux on it.. Maybe Dell should include a free linux cd with it..
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Evets (629327) *
      I think that's the point. It improves Vista's sales numbers while showing that the Linux product has very weak sales.

      Why would anyone not buy the Vista version if a quick download and a 30 minute install nets you bargain basement upgrades?
      • by Yo Grark (465041)
        Big Store support. Dell wouldn't support me if I did that.

        I will never get used to all the damn registry edits (ok config edits) at the command line level to do things.

        I'd love to call Dell and ask, why can't I copy files to \\root?

        I used to have more time to play around learning, now I just want it to work the way I expect it to.

        Damn aging.

        And before you flame me, this post was dumbed down for the sake of a redneck calling into dell.

        Yo Grark
    • by FredDC (1048502)
      I'm sorry, but I think this is complete and utter bullshit!

      By telling people to just buy Vista, you are only allowing Microsoft's hold on the software industry to continue. This is all about free choice, and I for one am glad that there are people out there who are keeping an eye on these things and pointing them out to Dell and its customers.

      I don't care if it's an oversight by Dell, or part of a major conspiracy by Microsoft against Linux or whatever. The point is that this gives Microsoft an unfair advan
      • by oliverthered (187439) <oliverthered@hotm a i l . c om> on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:32AM (#19824011) Journal
        Last time I checked you could disagree with the EULA, send the Vista disk back to M$ and get your money back and then install ubuntu. Why not do that?
      • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:32AM (#19824015)

        By telling people to just buy Vista, you are only allowing Microsoft's hold on the software industry to continue. This is all about free choice, and I for one am glad that there are people out there who are keeping an eye on these things and pointing them out to Dell and its customers.

        I'm not eating $225 for 'free choice.' Incidentally, I don't want Ubuntu anyway. What I want is a laptop that I know will work with Linux. As long as the Windows and Linux versions have the same hardware, I'll buy either one since I'm going to wipe and reinstall anyway.

        The point is that this gives Microsoft an unfair advantage over other OS providers and it must be dealt with.

        Love the use of the passive voice there - who's doing the 'dealing'? Not sure what is 'fair' anyway. Do you mean it's a violation of Sherman anti-trust? If not, you're just whining.

        If you want Vista, fine! But if you don't want it, you shouldn't have to buy it. It's that simple!

        And I 'should' have a pony. Unfortunately, the world doesn't work on 'should.' The fact is, Dell does get a lot of revenue from pre-loaded crapware, cost savings by making essentially identical Windows computers in volume, etc. The best you have to hope for is the Linux version doesn't cost *more*, and I do agree $225 is excessive. However, the wipe/reinstall option is always available.

        • And I 'should' have a pony. Unfortunately, the world doesn't work on 'should.' The fact is, Dell does get a lot of revenue from pre-loaded crapware, cost savings by making essentially identical Windows computers in volume, etc. The best you have to hope for is the Linux version doesn't cost *more*, and I do agree $225 is excessive. However, the wipe/reinstall option is always available.

          If the Windows version is actually cheaper (and this is not just a temporary glitch in Dell's weird pricing system), by all

        • I don't understand the 'wipe reinstall' argument.

          if you are even THINKING of wiping out an o/s - it begs the question of WHY even patronize a company that you have to fight with from day-1?

          vendors should EARN your business. its NOT the other way around, folks.
          • if you are even THINKING of wiping out an o/s - it begs the question of WHY even patronize a company that you have to fight with from day-1?

            Because I'm looking for the cheapest tool to do the job, not a cause to fight for. Additionally, as I mentioned - I don't want Ubuntu anyway, so the wipe is going to happen. As such, I don't give a rat's ass whether the OS I just wiped was Windows or Linux. So long as the Linux version exists, and is sold on the same hardware so I know Linux will run on it, give me

    • Then I thought, wouldn't this screw your tech support for this computer, if you needed it? You'd call them up, then they would assume you have Vista, not Ubuntu, and might refuse to support Ubuntu. (Of course, this is all theoretical, since the last time I called Dell tech support, I wanted to reach through the phone and pinch the guy's head off.) Just sayin'.
    • by Alchemar (720449)
      I see a lot of replies about just buying the Vista version and installing Linux would artificially boost Vista numbers. I would be much more worried about having to reinstall Vista just to get tech support if you have a hardware failure. Laptops are the one item I will actually purchase the extended warrenty and there is a decent chance I will need to use it. Last time I had to get hardware replaced by Dell, I had to jump through all the stupid hoops for a week before they would replace the failed harddr
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sumdumass (711423)
        One of the reasons they make you do the stupid things over the phone before replacing the hardware is because a lot of time the stupid things work.

        Not everyone with a computer is as competent as you are. Also, there is no way to tell how competent you are outside of listening to you explain it. As most of us already know, certifications and degrees don't necessarily mean you know your stuff. Although the the lack of them are used as reasons not to give out raises and such quite often.

        Generally, what I do is
        • what i would like to see is the support center scripts to have a "Caller is a Geek" break point and then either escalate the call or jump down to page 124 of the script.

          (note in my last job i actually talked to an Indian person and he said that even if you switch to Indian it doesn't help)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mspohr (589790)
      Rather than Dell having different 'models' of computer with Vista and Linux, what I would like to see is have an option for every Dell to 'customize' it with Linux instead of Vista. When you buy a computer, they currently let you customize it by choosing various hardware and software options. The 'Operating System' customization screen currently only offers the option of different Vista flavors. It would be nice to have a Linux OS option on that page (with an appropriate credit on the cost). This would
  • Fluctuating price (Score:5, Informative)

    by MoonFog (586818) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:04AM (#19823837)
    Seems like it's hard to determine the exact difference. From a post in the linked article:

    The price has been updated and the Ubuntu system is now $25 cheaper, thought the RAM Upgrade to 2GB will expire tomorrow. The price discrepancies, and promotions, fluctuate too much..."
    And from a blog linked to from the linked article:

    Update 07/11/07: The given components and prices on the 1420 Notebook have been updated. The price difference is now $25, in favor of the Ubuntu system. Note that the RAM Upgrade expires tomorrow for the 1420N. Among frequent price and component discrepancies, price fluctuations, and Windows favored promotions, Im not sure if Dell is serious about selling open-source [as Dell calls them] systems, rather than generating publicity. Considering that expected sales are at 1% of total systems shipped, and Microsoft could break Dell in half by increasing Windows License costs or decreasing co-marketing funds, I have no choice but to assume the latter.
  • by Sunkist (468741) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:12AM (#19823891) Homepage
    Other than stating the upgrades to windows are FREE! You still save $45. What I am missing?

    Inspiron Notebook 1420 N
    Intel® Core(TM) 2 Duo T5250 (1.5GHz/667Mhz FSB/2MB cache)
    Ubuntu version 7.04
    2GB Shared Dual Channel3 DDR2 at 667MHz
    Size: 160GB2 SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)

    Price: $774

    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)
    FREE! 2GB2 Shared Dual Channel3 DDR2 at 667MHz
    FREE! 160GB4 SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
    24X CD writer/DVD Combo Drive
    Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
    Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Mini-Card

    Price:$819
    • by MoonFog (586818) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:23AM (#19823963)
      Those were the prices quoted in the original Slashdot story that was about Ubuntu computers being $50 cheaper. A post further down talks about configuring it and it "now" is $225 more (free hardware upgrades etc) and then ANOTHER post even further down mentions that it's back to being $25 cheaper.. I'm getting a headache just trying to follow this.
  • DUH! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:13AM (#19823903) Homepage
    I love how these "revelations" happen far later when the rest of us that looked at it saw right away that the "specials" or "instant rebates" only apply to the windows machines.

    There has been people here on Slashdot posting for a few months that the Open source and now linux laptops are in fact more expensive by around $200.00.

  • Statistics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ilovegeorgebush (923173) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:13AM (#19823905) Homepage
    "Torture numbers, and they'll confess to anything." ~Gregg Easterbrook

    I'm quite impressed how the (quite obvious) spin was placed on this claim. It's only $275 more if you WANT to upgrade.
    Still, i'm definitely disappointed in Dell; i'd have liked that upgrade for free too...(Although Vista would need it to Pagefile usage, whereas Ubuntu would use it for the hoards of FOSS that's available...)
    • by BobMcD (601576)

      I'm quite impressed how the (quite obvious) spin was placed on this claim
      I noticed that too, but did you notice the spin opportunity that was missed?

      "Dell can't sell Vista against Ubuntu without throwing in free upgrades?"

      Is zealotry just getting lazy these days or what?
  • Or rather Dell is getting a kickback from microsoft that is paying for the upgrade.
    • You think Microsoft is giving Dell kickbacks worth around $200 to gain an extra sale of an OS probably worth well under $100 at trade rates? Interesting logic you've got there, but I don't recommend management as a career path!

      • by topham (32406)
        No; Microsoft is giving a kickback to Dell to prevent Linux from gaining market share by poisoning the price.

      • 200 retail != 200 cost.

        Don't forget that you pay for those thingies 200 bucks. But that has to mean in turn that whoever sells them to you has to pay less for them, or he's basically a moron in a free market economy world.

        Also, with software licenses a license you wouldn't sell is no loss when you give it away. Imagine I wrote software and sell it. You don't care about that software. It's for, let's say, OS/2. And I assume you don't use OS/2 (if you do, imagine it's for something else). So you wouldn't buy
  • by Mr. Roadkill (731328) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:29AM (#19823997)
    Dell are hardly known for offering sane or consistent pricing across models or market segments - try browsing their website some time as a home user, then as various classes of business customer. Why should it come as any surprise that they've omitted a special offer from a machine with a non-standard OS?

    Personally, I have no plans to upgrade to Vista any time soon - at least not at home. If faced with the prospect of getting a machine with Ubuntu at $X, or a machine with double the RAM and a bigger hard drive with Vista at $X, I'd take the machine with Vista, thank you very much. Shrink the partition as far as practical, install Ubuntu, and you're ahead - you've got the higher-spec machine, AND the ability to boot into something that the Dull PhoneMonkeys won't hang up over. Okay... that's a path a geek would take, not a regular consumer, but I doubt at this time that there would be very many non-geeks opting for Ubuntu over windows anyway on a new Dell.

    Besides... if you're going to criticise Vista, you should at least have first-hand experience of what it is that you're criticising.
  • by Dekortage (697532) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:36AM (#19824039) Homepage

    So Dell's base 1420 with Ubuntu costs $747 [dell.com] with these specs:

    • 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
    • 2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz
    • 160GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
    • 24X CD Burner/DVD Combo Drive
    • Intel® 3945 802.11a/g Mini-card
    • No Camera
    • 56Whr Lithium Ion Battery (6 cell)
    • Integrated High Definition Audio

    Meanwhile, Dell's Windows equivalent has exact same specs, except for these differences:

    • Genuine Windows® Vista Home Basic Edition instead of Ubuntu
    • Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Mini-Card instead of the Intel 802.11a/g card

    And the Windows version costs $869 [dell.com]. So the Ubuntu version is $122 cheaper and has a better WiFi card.

    Remind me again... what did you step in?

    • CORRECTION (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dekortage (697532) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:39AM (#19824063) Homepage

      Sorry, I transposed numbers on the Ubuntu price -- the machine is $774, not $747, so the difference is $95, not $122.

      My apologies. But Dell's Ubuntu system is still cheaper.

    • And, checking the Windows price again, it's dropped $50 from when I checked it before (for a price difference of $45).

      I give up. Maybe if I check again in 20 minutes, Dell's Windows systems really will cost less than Ubuntu.

    • by scottv67 (731709)
      Intel® 3945 802.11a/g Mini-card
      ...and has a better WiFi card.


      I take it that you've never had to support the Intel ProSet software in a large business environment. I would never use "Intel" and "better" in the same sentence when describing Intel's wireless NICs. Yes, it's baby-and-the-bathwater time: I hate Intel wireless NICs because their ProSet software is so sucky. We are going to be taking a serious look at the Juniper (used to be Funk) Odyssey Access Client to replace the crappy ProSet soft
      • by Dekortage (697532)

        I take it that you've never had to support the Intel ProSet software in a large business environment.

        No, I haven't, so I will defer to your expertise in this. I was simply commenting on the apparent feature differences: the Intel card covers 802.11 flavors "a" and "g", while the Dell only supports "g" (according to the specs I pulled from the Dell site).

  • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:39AM (#19824055) Journal
    Isn't this a no-brainer?

    1. Buy the PC that gives you the best hardware for the lowest price. If that means taking a Windows PC that has "free" extra memory and a bigger hard disk drive then do it.

    2. Shrink the Windows partition (that extra disk space is a boon), install Ubuntu and/or other operating systems of your choice.

    3. Go about your business as normal.

    4. If you ever have to speak to Dell tech support, you have the additional benefit of being able to tell them that you're using a Windows system (true), and them not giving you the cold shoulder when you tell them that you're using Ubuntu, etc.

    5. If you sell your PC at sometime in the future you give yourself a more attractive package to sell and thus recoup more of your initial sale price. More RAM, more disk space, Windows Vista Home all have a value, and the Vista Home alone may make a huge difference to the resale price on eBay. Remember, 90 percent of PC users won't even have heard of Linux, so why cut them out of your resale equation?

    Dell is simply trying to protect its standard business model, which includes making money from pre-installing offers from third parties (such as ISPs and AV vendors) on their Windows installations. There's no reason why you can't let them do that and still benefit from their reluctance to abandon that model.

    Saving $50 (or is it now $25?) if it means half as much memory and half as much disk space (1GB/80GB vs 2GB/160GB) seems to be a false economy.
    • by mgblst (80109)
      Yes, lots of things are "no-brainers", when you completely miss the point. How is that working out for you?

      The fact is that we were all happy to see that Dell were selling Linux boxes at a reasonable discount. Then we felt betrayed when they offer these "free" upgrades for the windows machines.
  • by codepunk (167897) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @08:42AM (#19824081)
    1. Does not come with all that crap ware installed add $200 in savings for a great deal of time cleaning the trash off of the system.

    2. Add office professional (ships with open office) I am sure that is at least a $200 savings.

    3. Scratch having to take the machine into a shop every three months to clean all the spyware, crap etc out of the machine to make it actually work again. There is another few hundred bucks $200

    I did not even list the other software it ships with and the equivalents would likely run you into the thousands.
    • by Bios_Hakr (68586)
      1. When Linux becomes prevalent, Dell will start adding Yahoo toolbars and links to websites on the desktop. And for the time being, if you know what Linux is, you probably know how to use Add/Remove Programs on Windows and delete shortcuts from the desktop.

      2. OO works on Windows and Linux. I'm not sure how having a Windows laptop automatically adds the cost of Office.

      3. Bad habits of the user will remain no matter the tool. I run Windows and Linux and I don't have spyware on either. If I bork a Wind
  • Of the replies I've read here so far, everyone is over looking one thing. Someone made a joke about Microsoft giving Dell kickbacks.

    Well, of course Microsoft gives Dell kickbacks. So does Yahoo, so does AOL, so does McAfee or Norton, and so does everyone else who has their software pre-installed on Dell's Windows machines. You think Dell puts all that crapware there out of the kindness of their heart, or because they think its useful? Hell no, they put it there because they are being paid to put it ther
  • Makes sense, doesn't it? I mean, you only need that HD space and ram if you use a system that wastes it carelessly.
  • Given that MS are probably not going to be $50 worse off because you buy a PC without Windows (I can't believe that Dell don't have some sort of fixed-price license agreement) I'd get the one with Windows on the grounds that if I ever did need to run Windows (often hard to avoid under our Windows-loving Overlords) getting a "full" copy costs 3x as much as a bundled copy.

    If, however, you see this as a matter of principle then there are plenty of smaller suppliers/system builders who do price Windows separat

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @09:25AM (#19824411) Homepage
    Dell's prices fluctuate more rapidly and more widely than the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Identical systems may vary by significant amounts depending on whether you talk to a "home office" or "small business" rep... or whether you talk to them on Tuesday or Wednesday... or whether you get the price on the Web or over the phone or in a mailing.

    I'm not sure anyone knows what a Dell costs unless they are a business negotating a deal for a few thousand of them.
  • No biggie (Score:3, Informative)

    by PalmKiller (174161) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @09:29AM (#19824453) Homepage
    It makes sense, you gotta have 2gb of ram for vista to even perform marginally well...and it requires more disk space too.
  • by World.Pop(MPAA) (998700) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @09:56AM (#19824743)
    Being relatively a noob to Linux I decided to purchase a desktop with Ubuntu from Dell and have nothing but great things to say about it. I usually build my own computers, which is an easy process for me using Windows because it's easy to guarantee combatibility with the OS. But now with Vista out, my fears of losing all my purchased apps, plus a desire not to get locked into another cost ineffective software solution lead me to trying Ubuntu.

    In the past, I've tried different distrobutions (SUSE, Mandrake, Red Hat, Slackware, among others) and have always taken it off my system because some annoying little hardware incompatibility caused me problems. So, while Dell may be charging a little extra for Ubuntu, I think there's something to be said about getting a Linux computer that will "just work" right out of the box.

    I also have to mention that I don't feel cheated. I have a great system, 20" Widescreen Flat Panel, 2 GB of RAM, Core 2 Duo (1.X can't remember), the NVIDIA GFX (7300 Lite or something) card, 250 GB SATA HDD, DVD+-RW Dual Layer and another DVD-ROM as well. As some of the other posters had mentioned, this may have not been the "perfect deal" but I only paid about $1000 for the whole system. To me this is a sight better than paying $900 for the same machine using Vista and then having to repurchase Dreamweaver, Flash and Fireworks; does VS 2005 work on Vista?

    Funny enough though, while Vista's having all these compatibility issues with the previous generation's software, I'm using the old Studio 8 suite on Linux under WINE and it's running faster than it did in Windows.
  • Actually, I don't see any problem with Dell "charging" for Ubuntu, or at least not giving back the full $50 (or whatever they paid for their OEM Vista license) when you install Ubuntu. If they are actually supporting their Linux laptops, then they are presumably going to need to add people to their support staff who know Linux. Long term it should be cheaper, but that might take a while.

    Cheaping out on an otherwise free memory upgrade doesn't make any sense though, unless they're just trying to hide the

  • by ProppaT (557551) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @10:38AM (#19825143) Homepage

    Some anti-MS or pro-Linux person, whichever, was obviously sitting on Dell's website waiting for this to be the case.

    Anyone who goes to Dell's site or follows any of the bargain sites (fatwallet, slickdeals, techbargains, etc) knows that Dell deals change on a daily basis. One day you'll be able to buy a PC cheap without a monitor, the next day the purchase will require purchase of a monitor, the next day they'll throw in a RAM upgrade out of nowhere. I know last week there was a deal for a Linux box for around $250 off of Dell's site. They do this to keep people checking back. When someone sees a deal that looks good, they'll eventually make an impulse buy.

    This isn't news worthy at all.
  • Not anymore. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Urza9814 (883915)
    I was actually shopping for an Ubuntu laptop for my girlfrind last night and noticed this, but as of this morning they are offering the upgrades on the Ubuntu version as well.

    She's gonna be getting a vista one anyways and just reformatting it though. The only available 15" screen with Ubuntu doesn't give you any decent hardware to choose from.
  • There is something wrong with the tag line. If they want to offer the free upgrade on a windows machine only, then it doesn't say that the Ubuntu configuration costs more. You just don't get the free upgrade. Did you really need the upgrade in the first place??? Remember the Linux boxes are very much more conservative in demands than Windows is so that kind of "moots" that out.

    Misleading tag.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Wednesday July 11, 2007 @12:12PM (#19826387) Homepage Journal
    1. Price for upgrade to 160 GB due to how much space WinVista burns up on your hard drive with virus-prone stuff you won't realize is installed - $0

    2. Price for upgrade to memory due to how lousy an OS WinVista is - $0

    3. Realizing you got more by choosing Ubuntu Linux instead - Priceless

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