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Linux Business Software The Almighty Buck Linux

Dell to Offer More Linux PCs 282

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the one-good-turn dept.
head_dunce writes "According to this article, Mark Shuttleworth from the Ubuntu camp says Dell is seeing a demand for the Linux-based PC and, "There are additional offerings in the pipeline." I'm starting to see flashbacks of the days when Microsoft partnered up with IBM to gain control of the desktop market. Will other Linux flavors find their way to the likes of Lenovo or HP, etc, or will Ubuntu claim the desktop market working with other PC manufacturers?"
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Dell to Offer More Linux PCs

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  • Advantage lost (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday July 26, 2007 @11:58PM (#20006493) Journal
    Dell's got to be hating this.

    That massive discount Microsoft gives them over smaller OEMs is Dell's biggest competitive advantage. Now they'll have to compete more directly with local whitebox builders.

    They don't have much choice though. The local box builders have already switched to Ubuntu as their OS of choice. Dell has to match them or be swamped.

    • Re:Advantage lost (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ZakuSage (874456) on Friday July 27, 2007 @12:04AM (#20006519)
      Much as I love Ubuntu, I've not heard of any small or even medium sized OEM looking to market to the everyday PC consumer "switching to Ubuntu as their OS of choice".
    • Re:Advantage lost (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2007 @12:04AM (#20006523)
      I think if they were to hate anything about this, it would be Mark running his mouth off about their internal company information.
    • Re:Advantage lost (Score:4, Interesting)

      by b1ufox (987621) on Friday July 27, 2007 @12:06AM (#20006535) Homepage Journal
      Which are these smaller OEM's BTW, who have shifted to Ubuntu already?
      I am not aware of any?

      Can you please elaborate?
      • Re:Advantage lost (Score:5, Informative)

        by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday July 27, 2007 @12:54AM (#20006791) Journal
        I am not aware of any?
        Can you please elaborate?

        Look in your local newspaper.

        There'll be a dozen shopfront computer stores advertising pre-built computer systems. They build them in their backrooms and sell them to local families and businesses. Those guys pay wholesale prices of about AU$160.00 for Vista home premium, AU$320.00 for Office 2007 Standard and AU$50.00 for Norton Antivirus.

        They can retail a Sempron/Ubuntu home or small office system for less than it costs them in wholesale MS/Antivirus licenses.

        That's what Dell (and the second tier vendors) are scared of. If they drop the ball now, and let these little guys get a big enough foothold in the home/SME market, they could be in trouble.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Your.Master (1088569)
          Ha! You didn't count on the fact that my hometown is incredibly tiny, and therefore has no such advertising.
        • by jimicus (737525)
          I very much doubt that.

          10 years ago, there were lots of such small businesses - but they can't compete with Dell on price and never really could. The thing is, when most of your customers aren't terribly Internet savvy and/or don't feel comfortable with mail order, that doesn't much matter. You're only competing with other, similar stores with similar overheads in your area.

          TBH, I'd welcome a return to there being a number of small high-street computer retailers in almost any town - granted, many were app
        • by pimpimpim (811140)
          Not even that, here in Germany the company that owned and now rebranded the european wal-mart stores is every now and then selling 300 euro boxes with lindows or something of that kind, simple celeron, 500 GB disks, full multimedia etc.
          • Not even that, here in Germany the company that owned and now rebranded the european wal-mart stores is every now and then selling 300 euro boxes with lindows or something of that kind, simple celeron, 500 GB disks, full multimedia etc.

            But it doesn't necessarily mean anything. It is quite possible not a pro-Linux move, just a lower-the-total-cost move.

            AFAIK, in the UE there's generally a law implemented in many member countries, saying you must sell retail PC's with a "working" OS on them. So some retailers

        • by westlake (615356)
          There'll be a dozen shopfront computer stores advertising pre-built computer systems. They build them in their backrooms and sell them to local families and businesse

          It may be different in Australia...

          The storefront builders are as defunct as the dodo here.

          They are not to be found in the phone book. They are not advertising in the metro news or the local shopping papers. They have long since disappeared from the bulletin boards at the neighborhood mini-marts.

          The shift to the laptop may have been the fi

        • Due to their volume, big-name vendors like Dell, HP, and Lenovo can put together a hardware/software platform for significantly less than what the shopfront guys can.

          The shopfront guys HAVE to move to Linux to become price competitive with a big-name Windows system.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by clodney (778910)
            To be price competitive, yes. To be competitive, no.

            In the Minneapolis area there are still a number of boutique system builders. Walk in, pick out a motherboard, case, processor, memory, etc., and either take it home or watch them build it for you.

            This is good on several levels. First, these people actually know what they are doing, and are capable of doing diagnostics and repairs. Second, a system you get from them is not bogged down with craplets and shovelware. Third is the whole immediate gratifica
    • by Poppler (822173)
      Hating it? I don't see their competition selling desktop Linux to home users.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by olyar (591892)

      Actually, I would say a much larger advantage is that they have a good name. Businesses want to buy PC's that will work and that come ready to set up quickly. If you buy from Dell (or HP) you know that will be the case. Buy from others and you never know.

      Their brand is their advantage, not the few bucks per machine discount they can get from Microsoft. That helps profits, but its not what keeps them in business.

      • Re:Advantage lost (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 1u3hr (530656) on Friday July 27, 2007 @01:24AM (#20006927)
        If you buy from Dell (or HP) you know that will be the case. Buy from others and you never know.

        If by "others" you mean a name randomly chosen from the Yellow Pages, yes. But if it's a local vendor who you can talk to and check his references, it becomes a much safer proposition, and a lot less hassle than dealing with an enormous company that makes you press a dozen buttons on your phone before you can speak to anyone, who is never the same person who you talked with before and so you have to explain your problem over and over again.

        • by GweeDo (127172)
          I work for a small/medium size company (around 160 employees nationwide, but the bulk are in one area) and we go through Dell. Saying they make you press a dozon buttons on the phone to speak with anyone is just a lie. I have the direct extension to my account rep and can get her quickly any time during the day.

          While Dell does have their problems, getting a hold of support and account reps is not one of them for Small Business purchases.
    • Re:Advantage lost (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Friday July 27, 2007 @01:09AM (#20006855) Journal
      Dell's got to be hating this.

      That massive discount Microsoft gives them over smaller OEMs is Dell's biggest competitive advantage. Now they'll have to compete more directly with local whitebox builders.

      They don't have much choice though. The local box builders have already switched to Ubuntu as their OS of choice. Dell has to match them or be swamped.


      And there was me thinking that Dell's biggest competitive advantages were its huge purchasing power on all components, not just operating systems, and its brand-name recognition.

      I guess I was wrong. Who knew that Dell was paying the same price for CPUs, RAM, hard drives, etc that outfits run out of the owners' garages were paying?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by VagaStorm (691999)
        The margin on hardware is much smaller than it is on software, MS can give maybe a 70% discount whereas they might be able to get 10% on hardware.
        • Re:Advantage lost (Score:5, Insightful)

          by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Friday July 27, 2007 @04:14AM (#20007701) Journal
          The margin on hardware is much smaller than it is on software, MS can give maybe a 70% discount whereas they might be able to get 10% on hardware.

          Dell might be able to get 10 percent on hardware?

          If you think that the difference between the price that Dell pays for the average piece of hardware and the price that a one-man operation would pay for the same hardware is 10 percent then you're nuts.

          Dell undoubtably buys directly from manufacturers. When it buys Intel CPUs, it buys them directly from Intel. When it buys Belkin accessories, it buys them directly from Belkin. When Dell buys, there's no middleman.

          When a one-man operation buys Intel CPUs or Belkin accessories then it buys them from a distributor. There might be one, two or maybe even three such middlemen between it and Intel or Belkin. Each middleman takes a cut, which drives the price that the one-man operation pays for the products higher and higher. How much is that cut? Well, 10 percent per distributor would be a fair figure.

          (If you want to get a fairer idea of distribution costs, take the cost per 1,000 units that is typically quoted regarding CPUs and compare that to the typical single unit street price. Allow a small (maybe 5-10 percent) profit for the vendor and you'll see that the distribution chain takes a fair chunk along the way.)

          And all that's before you talk about how much of each product is bought by Dell. There's a big difference between maybe buying 5 CPUs a week through the channel and buying almost 200,000 a week directly from the manufacturer.

          In 2006, Dell accounted for 16.1 percent of the 59 million PCs shipped worldwide. Last year, Dell shipped 950 million PCs.

          Are you really telling me that you think that, with that sort of buying power, you don't think that Dell gets deals that give it a more than 10 percent hardware cost price advantage?
          • by richlv (778496)

            Dell accounted for 16.1 percent of the 59 million PCs shipped worldwide. Last year, Dell shipped 950 million PCs.

            that's some weird math ;)
            • Sorry, you're right. This is what happens when you do maths in your head after pulling an all-nighter.

              The number should be 9.5 million. All the other numbers are correct though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Dell's three biggest competitive advantages are Microsoft's discount, purchasing power on components, brand name recognition, and surprise. Dell's *four* biggest competitive advantages are Microsoft's discount, purchasing power, brand, surprise, fear, and ruthless efficiency. Dell's *five* biggest advantages are the discount, purchasing power, brand, surprise, fear and ruthless efficiency... and an almost fanatical devotion to Michael Dell... Our *six*... no... *Amongst* Dell's competitive advantages... a
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by slobarnuts (666254)
      Please, Dell still gets computer parts at a much bigger discount than Bob and Jimbo's Super Tech Computers Inc does. Even if Bob and Jimbo's Super Tech Computer Inc starts to preinstall Linux with their computer, they wont be able to compete price-wise unless they start using cheaper and unreliable parts.

      So no, they probably are not hating this. In fact, from their actions "Hey Dude, were gonna sell more Linux Dells", they actually like it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        The one advantage of Bob and Jimbos is that you can get "exactly" what you want. And all you have to do is ask for it. With Dell and others, it's often very hard to configure a computer that has everything you want, and only what you want. They insist on shipping every computer with a keyboard and mouse. Even if I never plan on using them. Then they go and install a bunch of crapware. I still buy my computers from Bob and Jimbo, because it means I can get a clean computer, with just windows, an actual
        • My experience with small companies is that they don't actually give you what you paid for and it's almost impossible to return the computer when you discover what's missing. Large companies have a national reputation they have to protect, the small fry can just wait for the next sucker.
    • I have it on good authority that Michael took Mark out to dinner and negotiated a huge 80% discount on the list price of Ubuntu. This was on the basis of the discount that Bill gave him when he took him out to dinner.

      Now: 80% discount on $0 is ....

    • by Gerzel (240421) *
      Why would Dell be threatened?

      Wouldn't customers stay with them because of their superior support and reliability, and don't forget the "Dude, you're getting a Dell!" guy.

      Seriously, even if Ubuntu becomes the Evil Overlord Operating System in fifteen years time that Windows is today I'd still be happy because it proves that the EOOS can be taken down, or at least challenged.

      I never liked the argument that one OS allows for easy development because all an OS is is a collection of semi-automatically run applic
    • by dlZ (798734)
      They don't have much choice though. The local box builders have already switched to Ubuntu as their OS of choice. Dell has to match them or be swamped.

      I'm a local box builder, and I wish I could switch to Ubuntu as my OS of choice for new machines, but then I wouldn't do any business. I hate to say it, but people come in, and ask for Windows right off the bat. A lot of people don't even know about Linux. The other day we had a get together, and someone jumped in when I said I don't have Windows boxes i
    • I am not sure DELL will lose the massive discount. If it does, then it will start pre-loading FireFox and OpenOffice in the Windows machines.

      No vendor likes to compete on price alone. Every vendor would like to have some kind of product differentiation in the market place to set himself apart. One of the most important product differentiation a PC maker could have would be to tout "my PCs use the safer browser FireFox!" in the ads. The claim may or may not be true. The claim could be contested by other ve

    • by Godji (957148)
      Nonsense. It's their brand that sells, not their prices (which are high). I'm about to buy a Dell laptop because it's a Dell. Being a Dell it will have a good build quality, it will be quiet, it will be durable, fantastically supported, and Linux-friendly. If it were 50 bucks more expensive (read: no discount on the Windows crap), I'd still buy the Dell. BTW, I'm not buying for myself, otherwise I'd buy one with FreeDOS or Linux and avoid the issue altogether.
  • The year of change (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Friday July 27, 2007 @12:05AM (#20006527) Journal
    This is awesome. I haven't felt so happy about the computer world since I was trying to get my commodore64 to flash the boarder colors as quickly as possible. We have Dell selling Linux, (and apparently it's selling well), we have Macintosh sales up 33% from the same quarter last year (and that's even WITH people waiting for Leopard to come out), and Vista adoption is slow. Suddenly it looks as though finally the innovation stranglehold that Microsoft has held over us for many years is coming to an end. I'm not saying Microsoft will go away, but cross-platform compatibility will become the rule, not the exception. It will be easy to choose whichever platform you like, without worrying about not being able to run half your applications. Freedom will be a realistic choice.
    I suppose it was really inevitable in the long run, but I am happy to see the walls finally cracking.
    • by chuckymonkey (1059244) <charles.d.burton@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Friday July 27, 2007 @12:18AM (#20006615) Journal
      While I would love to see that come to pass as much as anyone, don't count on it just yet. There is still a very long road ahead and it's going to be painful in many respects and it's still not a sure thing. When five or six major OEMs start to offer a linux distro and the demand stays I'll start to hope, but right now it is just too early to tell.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ex-MislTech (557759)
        There is still a very long road ahead and it's going to be painful in many respects and it's still not a sure thing. When five or six major OEMs start to offer a linux distro and the demand stays I'll start to hope, but right now it is just too early to tell.

        The big OEMs are in bed with M$, I work for one of the biggest, not naming names...

        Their fear is the little guy that "loathes" M$ and wants to take M$ down,
        little guy IT has no MBA's to feed, no massive megalithic monster to maintain with
        giant building
    • by whoever57 (658626)

      and Vista adoption is slow
      It would be very interesting to know how many copies of Vista have been sold that are not OEM pre-installs. The small number of people that I know that have bought PCs with Vista are dissatisfied with them (one returned the PC). The latest complaint that I heard was that IE does not work properly under Vista.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by yvajj (970228)

        I'm guessing you're either a linux or mac fan. I have 2 copies of Vista running, one on my laptop and one on my desktop. Both work flawlessly. I have not experienced any problems with IE. I've used both the 64 bit and 32 bit versions of IE without any problem. The only issue I've run into is that there isn't a 64 bit version of Flash, so I'm forced to use the 32 bit version of IE until Adobe release an update. This isn't really a Vista issue.

        Can you back up your claim with specific numbers and details of pr
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by J.Y.Kelly (828209)

          Well I had my first experience of Vista last night, setting up a 2GHz Celeron laptop a friend had just bought which came with Home basic.

          Whilst everything worked OK and actually looked pretty good I was hugely unimpressed with how slow it was. Opening an application like firefox took 20-30 seconds and logging a user in or out seemed to take forever. Also, even though vista came pre installed it went through innumerable setup routines when first booted (including at least 2 reboots) such that I could h

          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            My boss just bought a new laptop for the guy we hired and we had the same rebooting issue. Reading the screen, it said it was testing system performance, probably to tell whether or not it can run Aero. But that should have been done at the factory. When you get a computer, all you should have to do is enter your name, and everything should be working. My brother bought a Mac Mini last year, after my recommendation, because he wanted a small unobtrusive computer that didn't have so many security problem
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by tguyton (1001081)
            I had a similar experience a couple days ago. My friend had a brand new Thinkpad R61 with 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo and 2GB of RAM. He said he was having problems with his display and his network card. I booted up the system and was appalled by the fact that it took this new installation of Vista Home basic even longer to start than my 5 year old XP box. Now I've read all the "zOMG teh vista has popups on EVERY CLICK!" comments on /. and was pretty sure that much exaggeration was going on, but I quickly discove
        • by minus9 (106327) on Friday July 27, 2007 @03:00AM (#20007323) Homepage
          A flawless operating system and no more problems with IE. This is truly a great day in history.
        • by malkavian (9512)

          The only issue I've run into is that there isn't a 64 bit version of Flash, so I'm forced to use the 32 bit version of IE until Adobe release an update. This isn't really a Vista issue.

          In much the same way that it's not a Linux issue that there's no native Photoshop, Outlook and various other apps which Windows users frequently raise as the problem preventing them migrating. The Vista updates will seep through in time, no doubt. The 'Microsoft Tax' of pre-installed Vista will see the install base grow

        • by rjshields (719665)

          Can you back up your claim with specific numbers and details of problems, or are you just spouting FUD?

          Let me get this straight, you think that just because you didn't have any problems with IE based on 2 installations of Vista, the GP must be spouting FUD? Is it that you think that your Vista experience verifies that Vista/IE would work flawlessly on the almost infinite number of different possible hardware and software configurations, or don't you think that these factors would make a difference?

        • James Fallows had problems [theatlantic.com], and that post has links to his other posts. He's a relatively famous journalist and technofile; see his first article about computers here [theatlantic.com]. The Atlantic has given him a real tech column -- as opposed to Mossberg's -- that he's been writing for the last few months, and I'd provide a link were they not behind a walled garden.

          If that's not enough, you can read the TechWorld [techworld.com] article he links to.

    • Obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

      by halfloaded (932071)
      Yeah, but does it run... uhhh... Windows?
      • by CoolVibe (11466)
        Sure it does...

        - Xen
        - VMware
        - kvm
        - bochs
        - qemu
        - WINE (well, not an emulator, but hey...)
        (and probably some more)
    • by uncreativ (793402)
      I share your excitement for Apple's and Linux's recent success, however that excitement needs to be tempered by the reality that Windows is still the default standard desktop OS. One would think that with a lack luster Vista release and improvements on alternatives we would see real changes in market penetrations, but we're only talking about a couple percent of the entire market adopting MS alternatives. MS still has considerable advantages--namely since we do not yet have interoperability, many apps for
      • by uncreativ (793402)
        before it get's pointed out...oops, entourage does i guess support calendaring/connecting to exchange
        • by rjshields (719665)
          There's always evolution and ximian-connector, if they're still around. Last time I used them they were full of bugs, mind.
    • by trifish (826353)
      .... and then I woke up.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by east coast (590680)
      Suddenly it looks as though finally the innovation stranglehold that Microsoft has held over us for many years is coming to an end.

      There is no such thing as innovation stranglehold.

      I'm not saying Microsoft will go away, but cross-platform compatibility will become the rule, not the exception. It will be easy to choose whichever platform you like, without worrying about not being able to run half your applications. Freedom will be a realistic choice.

      Cross platform compatibility of what? As I see it Ap
  • Not surprising... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Psychopundit (731570) on Friday July 27, 2007 @12:06AM (#20006537)
    Based on this guy's experience, it looks like they've already killed off one of the Ubuntu Inspiron notebooks (hopefully for something newer). http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/board/m essage?board.id=sw_linux&thread.id=11156 [dellcommunity.com]
  • by paxmaniac (988091) on Friday July 27, 2007 @12:09AM (#20006551)
    Linux must exploit the low cost angle to get reasonable traction in the PC market. People are starting to realize that they don't actually need the latest and greatest hardware specifications to do 95% of what they want to do with a computer.

    The new $200 Asus EEE PC [wikipedia.org] could provide a big boost for Linux if it takes off. The price point makes it extremely attractive as a transportible second computer, and it could find some big markets in schools and universities.

    Dell and Ubuntu (or other hardware manufacturers) could start a similar revolution in the desktop market with a very low cost and low specification machine. Especially if it is also compact and stylish.
    • by kripkenstein (913150) on Friday July 27, 2007 @01:02AM (#20006811) Homepage
      Actually, I think the $200 Asus EEE is more the way to go than cheap desktops. Laptops are already outselling desktops, so a mobile offering makes more sense to focus on.

      More specifically, the $200 Asus EEE and things like Intel's Mobile Internet Device may bring in a new era of computer use. (The iPhone can be seen as part of that trend, btw - a small, mobile internet-capable machine; also the Nokia Tablet.) The goal should be an affordable (sub-$300) device with an attractive design, that people can use for email, social networking, web browsing, etc. It could take off among college students, for example. In fact this may be the exact goal of Intel's MID partnership with Ubuntu.
    • by lixee (863589) on Friday July 27, 2007 @01:16AM (#20006891)
      A 200$ 7" 2Gb gadget is no match for the 150$ full-blown Medison celebrity machine. I also hear it comes with a spam-proof email client. Or was it scam-proof? I forget...
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Friday July 27, 2007 @12:21AM (#20006631) Homepage Journal
    Major vendor preinstalls Linux.. people are buying it.. all you have to contribute is negative doom-saying.

  • Linux is variety (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sykopomp (1133507) on Friday July 27, 2007 @12:28AM (#20006671)
    My main concern here is how much attention "smaller" linux distros, and possibly even other kernels and POSIX systems are going to receive when Ubuntu suddenly takes 99% of the linux userbase (or rather, makes it through new users). Will we actually see more stuff getting made that's easily compatible with all distros, or is ubuntu going to set up its own funky standardizing system that pushes any other given distro back weeks on releases?
    • Re:Linux is variety (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lixee (863589) on Friday July 27, 2007 @01:28AM (#20006947)
      Nonsense. The main problems Linux have are the lack of commercial software support and hardware drivers. If Ubuntu takes off (scratch that, it already did) it'll fix both problems and that's obviously not something distro-specific. Then you're forgetting about the GPL. Last but not least, Ubuntu is Debian based and there's no way the GNU zealot over at Debian (I mean that as a compliment) will ever bend to the will of a corp. EVER!

      I trust Mark. The guy transpires good faith. He's wasn't solely after money like Gates. He was the man with the vision (how long till we have nerd-cults dedicated to him?).
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Through the GPL it will always be made compatible. I think a dominant player for a short while can make significant imrovements to entrenched cruft. A consequence of the OSS model is that it's really difficult to get a lot of people to change something at the same time, even when it's for the better. Someone with a little "benevolent dictotorship" that says "we're going to change it in our distro, you might want to keep up" may prove useful.
  • Mandriva (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SniperClops (776236)
    I hope Mandriva gets a deal, they make the best distro IMHO. Everything just works on the desktop.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by lakeland (218447)
      Is that a troll? Would help if you back up the assertion with something (more than IMHO). Personally I don't care who gets the deal as long as it results in roughly standard-compliant comptuers - e.g. we see more of Dell pushing ATI for decent drivers. More support for decent BIOSs, better ACPI.. there are heaps of areas where a large commodity player could help simply by offering more sales.

      Oh, and to copy your trollish stance, I hope Ubuntu gets the deal :-P
    • by arivanov (12034)

      1.They already had one with HP. They could not break into business accounts and it was limited to congigs that were of no interest to the average business. It was also not available in the most rabidly Microsoftic countries like the UK (yep, do we like it or not, but in UK Bill rules the market, if he did not Antonio Bliar would not have tried to start his election campaigns in MSFT building in Reading for the last two elections). I had a number of shouting matches with HP resellers on the subject only to s

    • The best distro I've found so far is Linspire, you know the one that actually comes with licenses for dvds and mp3s
  • preconfigure (Score:3, Insightful)

    by man_ls (248470) on Friday July 27, 2007 @12:51AM (#20006779)
    If Dell produced a Linux Ubuntu PC configured to run with multiple monitors from the get-go, I'd buy it just to save myself the trouble.

    I'm so fed up of messing up xorg.conf and having to reconfigure it every time I reboot just to get video...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Wha? 1) Why do you have to reboot? Ever? 2) Why do you need to change xorg.conf after the first time? Ever? 3) Are you running the live copy of ubuntu?
      • In case you haven't noticed, rebooting has to happen fairly often for updates with most linux distributions recently. Probably about once every three times I get updates for Ubuntu or Fedora, I have to do a reboot.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by QuantumG (50515)
          A reboot is required only when you do a distro upgrade. Like, every 6 months. If you're rebooting any more than that then you've got something seriously wrong with your machine.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by bmo (77928)
            "A reboot is required only when you do a distro upgrade."

            No, a reboot is required much more often than a distro upgrade. An example of this would be a kernel security upgrade.

            --
            BMO
        • by JayAEU (33022)

          In case you haven't noticed, rebooting has to happen fairly often for updates with most linux distributions recently. Probably about once every three times I get updates for Ubuntu or Fedora, I have to do a reboot.

          In that case you must be updating some unstable kernel all the time, since that's the only practical reason for doing a reboot, even on Ubuntu or Fedora.
    • Re:preconfigure (Score:5, Informative)

      by miro f (944325) on Friday July 27, 2007 @02:16AM (#20007155)
      I have always used nvidia cards.

      Since nvidia's 9xxx series of drivers, the graphical configuration utility allows you to hotplug monitors and set up dual head without touching xorg or even restarting the X server.

      it's a bit disappointing that the feature isn't there for users of other cards, but it appears X is going through some big changes and hopefully soon enough it will hit the 21st century...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MMC Monster (602931)
      The bar is always rising. First it was "If Linux would install on my system painlessly...", then it was "If Linux could play popular media types, such as flash and mp3s...", then it was "If Linux could be sold by a national chain that could be trusted...", now it's "If Linux could work with multiple-monitors without configuration..."

      Linux has won. Easy multiple-monitor support is probably going to land in the next version of Ubuntu. Regardless, people will find something else to complain about.
  • by digitalhermit (113459) on Friday July 27, 2007 @01:11AM (#20006865) Homepage
    I'm writing this on one of the original Dell Ubuntu laptops. A few days after receiving it, I wiped Ubuntu and put on Centos5 mainly to keep the same software that I use on my servers and other workstations. There was a small glitch in getting the wireless to work, but so far it's been perfect. The laptop hibernates properly, browses wirelessly and wired, and works properly. The annoying stuff that took some configuration were the media keys, MP3 and WMA video playback, and an issue with the sound kicking off and requiring a driver reload via KDE. This wasn't too tough for me to figure out, but I have some experience with Linux. I wouldn't recommend it for the Linux newbie, but heck, that's why it ships with Ubuntu.

    I'm not a big fan of Dell home systems (their business machines are much better built), but having a major vendor support Linux is a good thing regardless. By them supporting Linux fixes can get pushed to other systems. The glitches in the Intel 3945 wireless card will be worked out. Maybe the Broadcoms start working without ndiswrapper. Heck, ATI might come around and make a proper video driver set.

    I chose to buy this laptop precisely because the hardware is Linux compatible (well, except for the closed Nvidia drivers which are not too bad). If more people did this it gives an incentive for hardware manufacturers to release code and drivers for Linux. That helps everyone.
    • I was very interested in how well supported the hardware is or whether dell uses binary blobs. Here we are slowly shifting away from windows to ubuntu on the desktop and we already use Fedora on servers - all on dell hardware - so it will be very helpful if it is well supported hardware.
  • What I'd like to know is how many of the boxes sold with preinstalled linux, actually get used as linux boxes.

    How many use it just to dodge the license cost, and just install their pirated windows copy? Any guesses? Is linux becoming the "no OS" choice available at other whitebox builders?

  • by OzTech (524154) on Friday July 27, 2007 @06:16AM (#20008343)
    It isn't about the cost, it's about the software or in particular the desktop software and how easy it is to install and get running, although perhaps of more importance is the availability and range of software (ne: programs) available, and how reliable they are.

    As soon as Unix/Linux people realise this and look beyond their own nose (ne: favourite flavour of GNU/Linux), they will realise that the API is the real jewel. The reason that Microsoft beat IBM at its own game with the OS2/Windows war was because it won the API war. They convinced, or scammed (depending upon your point of view) programmers to write to the Win31 API and OS/2 was killed. Providing development tools such as Visual Basic and Access which removed the whole API schema just made their task a whole lot easier.

    Forget the fancy esoteric languages and "scripted" (ne: interpreted) tools, because they are not what is needed to wrestle the end user away from Windows. What is required is a common platform (display, communications, and file API's to name just a few). Sure, let the system level person choose between a Gnome or KDE desktop. Let them run either RedHat, Suse, or Ubuntu (insert flavour of the week) but provide a common interface to of them all via a simple and straight-forward API. Then provide the killer application development tools like Visual Basic and/or Access which will let newbie programmers write their killer app with no knowledge of computers or programming and then GNU/Linux may just stand a chance.
  • but can you run Windows on them?
  • Dell's in this for the money. They wouldn't have offered linux support if they didn't think it would help them sell more hardware, get better PR, etc. That's fine. But how much demand would there be for Dell's linux boxes if HP, Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer also had linux offerings? Answer: not nearly as much. That makes me curious what sort of behind-the-scenes deals Dell cut w/ Canonical w/ regards to the latter supporting other PC manufacturers' efforts to support linux. Obviously they can't stop it e

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