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Dell Drops Ubuntu PCs From Its Website 473

Posted by timothy
from the too-hard-to-spell dept.
Barence writes "Dell has stopped selling consumer PCs preloaded with Ubuntu from its website, and doesn't know when they're coming back. A search for Ubuntu on the Dell UK website returns only one laptop — the Dell Latitude 2100 from the company's business range. Dell insists that it's continuing to sell Ubuntu systems, but only over the phone, and has no idea when — or even if — the Ubuntu PCs will return online. 'We've recently made an effort to simplify our offerings online, by focusing on our most popular bundles and configuration options, based on customer feedback for reduced complexity and a simple, easy purchase experience,' Dell told PC Pro. 'We're also making some changes to our Ubuntu pages, and as a result, they are currently available through our phone-based sales only.' The move comes after Dell put a page on its website advising customers only to go for Ubuntu if they were interested in open-source programming."
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Dell Drops Ubuntu PCs From Its Website

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  • Sounds like Asus (Score:5, Informative)

    by SpzToid (869795) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:33AM (#33012742)

    At a major Taiwanese PC tradeshow, the CEO of ASUS abruptly canceled his presentation about new Asus products. Asus immediately began towing the line regarding Microsoft products and co-promotion following that. Dell's recent promoting cohabitation with Ubuntu sounds like exactly the same thing.

    http://blogs.computerworld.com/microsoft_strikes_back_at_linux_netbook_push [computerworld.com]

  • by Nutria (679911) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:52AM (#33012816)

    http://www.dell.com/ubuntu [dell.com] is still functional in the US.

  • Dell Vostro v13 (Score:1, Informative)

    by minderaser (28934) <minderaser@nospaM.freeshell.de> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:56AM (#33012832)

    The Vostro v13, at least, still can be bought with Linux pre-installed on Dell's website http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/vostro-v13?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd&~ck=mn [dell.com]

    Note, too, that the Ubuntu one is $449 while the lowest priced Windows one is $558. The only difference in hardware is the Windows one has a web cam (oh la-la). That being said, I ordered mine with Linux and it has a web cam anyway.

    If they really do drop Linux I'll drop them as well. Linux pre-installed was a primary reason I chose Dell.

    (By the way, the Vostro v13 is totally sweet. Plenty fast enough for me, great looking, light, and small without being stupid netbook small. Highly recommended. No, I don't work for Dell.)

  • by Big Jojo (50231) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:18AM (#33012920)
    I wanted a 64-bit ubuntu laptop from dell but they were pushing 32-bit single cores. So I got a non-ubuntu laptop and just installed ubuntu myself. Some issues with wireless rmain ... even though this model was documented on the ubuntu website as fully supported.
  • Re:Sales (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:19AM (#33012928)

    Probably not that many:
    because they won't let people buy them [theopensourcerer.com]

    if they refuse to sell them then their sales figures will be low.

  • by IANAAC (692242) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:24AM (#33012948)

    Mention to my Dad, or many of my less tech-savy friends the concept of 'sudo' and they'll just glaze over.

    "Run As Administrator".

    But his eyes would probably still glass over at that too.

  • by markdavis (642305) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:25AM (#33012950)

    And almost EVERY page on Dells site says "Windows® . Life without WallsTM . Dell recommends Windows 7." Even on the Linux related page I was trying to read, a damn Javascript popup appeared that said that "Dell recommends IE8".

    Even when I clicked on a Linux Mini 10, it immediately placed the "Dell recommends Windows 7." on every single following screen (not to mention that the price for the Linux version was exactly the same as the MS-Windows model, and with nothing else included".

    Nothing like feeling welcome.

  • No Dell, Oh well... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:26AM (#33012958)

    buy from someone else

    http://system76.com/ [system76.com]
    http://zareason.com/ [zareason.com]

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:33AM (#33012998) Journal

    I think that's what they do, when i bought my sister's Inspiron 10v with Ubuntu last year, the price was only about $20 less for the Ubuntu model IIRC. Mind you the factory-supplied Ubuntu installs are still stuffed to the gills with crapware, i just wiped it and reinstalled from scratch since it needed upgrading anyways.

    And I remember clicking on a link about how to choose your OS and reading that you should "choose Windows because $typical_marketing_spiel, or Ubuntu if you're into open-source programming." |:-|

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:49AM (#33013076)

    You can. Just tell them that you'd like it without an OS, reduced my current latitude's price by €90 or so

  • by viralMeme (1461143) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:31AM (#33013272)
    I'm curious, is there a precedent for a third company pressuring Dell to drop Linux, under threat of retaliation?

    "We should whack them, we should make sure they understand our value .. I want them to understand that every day they lead with Linux over Windows in Unix migrations they turn our field against them (take the southeast region mail thread as an example). I want them to think very very carefully [zdnet.co.uk] about when and which forums they decide to push Linux very, very hard. Today, they do not. When they do, you can bet, behavior will evolve"

    "HP discontinued its Linux SKUs beginning on November 18th. This is based on joint marketing effort [groklaw.net] that spans six months to promote low cost Windows SKU's with $30 extra channel incentives that focus on white box resellers"

    It'll be interesting watching the MicroAstroturfers try and put a positive spin on the above statements.

    http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/1872/dellbeforeafter.png [imageshack.us]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:58AM (#33013458)

    You can. They're called .deb packages. Download, double click and GDebi installs it (and still pulls in dependencies for you!) and you're done. However, you are installing a random package from a random website and you don't know if it will work or if the dependencies it needs are available. The package manager gives you a centralized and searchable listing of packages, and most of them are sure to work with the system, unlike a random .deb off the net.

    Your argument is empty and false because you can do precisely what you want to do, exactly as you seem to want to do it - It's just not the best way.

  • by Kijori (897770) <{ward.jake} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:35AM (#33013708)

    Microsoft Windows is really so much harder to use than Ubuntu. Everything on Ubuntu just works, and you have to fuss with windows to get it to do what you want, keep it from getting a virus, hunt all over the web to get software updates.....

    I think the only reason Dell does this is because Windows is setup like a toll booth where you have to pay extra to get it to do anything useful or keep it running. With the Ubuntu Boxes they don't sell any add-on software because Ubuntu already has everything it needs to work.

    I've been using Ubuntu since 2006 and this claim is, frankly, laughable. Go to the shop and buy some shrinkwrap software - chances are it won't work on Ubuntu. Now buy yourself a new webcam, printer and scanner; unless you checked beforehand at least one of these is likely not to work, and it's unlikely that any of them will work perfectly. These issues might seem trivial to someone who's used Ubuntu for a long time and either knows what works or at least knows to check, but for a new user it's a big deal.

    Second, Ubuntu users are generally assumed to be computer-literate and to have deliberately chosen Ubuntu, which implies that they know the ins and outs of Linux distributions and technologies. This leads to help files that are unintelligible to anyone who doesn't know a thing about Linux - amarok is "a qt media player based on the KDE 4 technology platform", for example, and if you want to install a new chess program you can choose between "X11" and "Gnome" versions. (What does that even mean?). Similarly, help files and forums have people running shell commands and editing configuration files - that's just voodoo to a totally new computer user, and if nothing else ingraining a "just run whatever the forum tells you as administrator" mindset is not good.

    Contrast this with Windows: if you go to the shop and buy new software or hardware it's almost certain to run on your computer with nothing more than a few clicks to install it. And if you run into problems the instructions and help files assume no computer literacy - and every man and his dog knows how to use Windows, so there's no shortage of people to help you.

    I like Ubuntu; I use it every day and have done for four years. But denying its faults - and it has plenty - is enormously counterproductive. For you, Ubuntu's lack of available software has turned into "[w]ith the Ubuntu Boxes they don't sell any add-on software because Ubuntu already has everything it needs to work"; for one of the replying ACs the lack of hardware support has become "[t]he 'my wi-fi doesn't work under linux crowd' just need to be more careful and not buy shitty wi-fi cards". These are legitimate problems, and denying them can only set Ubuntu development back and alienate people who have tried the OS and had problems.

  • by aepervius (535155) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @12:27PM (#33014072)
    Most stuff onn windows is plug and play. I say most, but really it has been years since I did not have something which did not work directly before last month, and last month that was speciality hardware (DVB-T over the air as USB). Instalation went without a hitch, I jsut had to install something on a provided DVD that's it. On Ubuntu I had to fiddle with command line to do various stuff, like watch DVD, mount additional drives as more than read only, I had to fiddle around with (albeit only a bit) with the wireless connection, and more importantly, despite spending 2 week end on it and going over many ubuntu web site , I never got my DVB-T receiver to work.

    Ubuntu work out of the box as much as windows work out of the box. But side step a bit away from the box, and WHAM ! Ubuntu hit you square in the face (more like Linux in general). Windows is much more forgiving. I haven't also to "hunt" software update on the web. Certainly not for the windows OS, only for games.


    I am sorry, but you are seeing this comparison windows vs Ubuntu with what I call a "linux rosy glasses" very biased. As someone which don't care for either windows, or Linux I can only tell you to remove the pink glasses (well not 100% , I still prefer Linux/Ubuntu very very slightly due to work related reason, but that is beside the point here). I would trust my parents and family with a winbox, I would not trust them with ubuntu, even if they get used to the OS. Too much stuff I would have to help them with for which one would have to hunt down obscure forums. Like installing DVB-T.
  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @01:12PM (#33014460) Homepage Journal

    However, you are installing a random package from a random website and you don't know if it will work or if the dependencies it needs are available.

    Windows operating systems remain supported, and dependencies of applications designed for them available, for longer than a typical Linux distribution (even Ubuntu LTS) remains supported.

    The package manager gives you a centralized and searchable listing of packages, and most of them are sure to work with the system, unlike a random .deb off the net.

    Does the package manager provide a means for payment for the privilege to download and use an application? Not all non-free applications have viable free clones.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @01:22PM (#33014546)

    I'm saddened by the lack of a NO CARRIER meme in your post.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @01:37PM (#33014652)

    Perhaps the problem is that there is a LOT of hardware out there to test, and Microsoft simply does a better job with hardware compatibility.

    You make it sound like Microsoft writes all the drivers themselves.

    Hardware vendors just don't write Linux drivers for a number of reasons. The perceived market is small. Binary drivers are shunned and require continued maintenance do to the rapid development kernels and distributions. If they go the open road they may need to worry about patents agreements, NDA agreements, etc they made with third parties. They also need for their source to be approved by the kernel gods which is a higher entry bar than getting a binary driver signed by Microsoft.

    What the kernel needs is a stable (for a relatively long time--measured in years) way for driver modules to link with the kernel instead of every driver needing to be compiled for that specific kernel. Yes I know that will cause the sky to fall because hardware companies will be able to push out binary drivers.

    If its such a terrible thing to have binary only drivers, then find a way to make Adobe flash not work too. Find a way to make Opera not work. Find a way to make Wine not work (It practically ONLY exists to run binary only software). Get rid of those VMs if they are able to run Windows. So on and so on.

    It really is amazing how much binary only software people run on Linux but as long as its not a driver it's perfectly ok.

  • by Risen888 (306092) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @02:04PM (#33014866)

    Ubuntu is pretty restrictive in some things. Try running KDE in Ubuntu. You can't (you can install the libraries and get the apps running though), that's why there's Kubuntu.

    You're retarded.

  • by LingNoi (1066278) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @03:47PM (#33015570)

    Here's how my comparison stacks up, personally. (I consider anything that requires the console to fix in Linux but not Windows permanently broken for the average user):

    You have to use the console on OSX to do stuff too and nobody complains. Showing hidden ".dot" files, get the javascript debugging console in safari, etc you need to drop to the terminal.

    I doubt it's an average user problem and just your personal problem.

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday July 25, 2010 @07:41AM (#33020206) Journal

    I went with Dell for my sister's laptop because they had the cute little netbook she wanted and it was cheap. I was aware of the Linux-only laptop resellers but the Inspiron 10v looked like a damn good deal and my sister was in love with it so I didn't shop around.

    More recently I was looking to get a new laptop for myself and I did check LinuxCertified, EmperorLinux, and every other Linux laptop seller I could find (including Dell, who had only 1 model with Ubuntu at the time), and found a common pattern - I would be paying out the ass if I bought from them.

    I ended up paying the Microsoft tax on my laptop because I would have had to pay $200-$500 more to get a similar laptop from one of the Linux boutiques, and when you're shopping on a $600 budget that's a lot of money.

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