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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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  • by BroadbandBradley (237267) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:26AM (#33012714) Homepage

    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.

  • by moreati (119629) <alex@moreati.org.uk> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:31AM (#33012728) Homepage

    Much as I'd like to agree with you. Evidence?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:36AM (#33012764)

    I think the only reason Dell ...

    Don't forget that computer retailers like Dell get paid a lot of money to pre-install bloatware, e.g. all those trials, links to subscription services, etc. Even if the customer never buys any of these, Dell doesn't get that money for Ubuntu PCs.

    Wouldn't be surprised if MS made an offer to "more prominently" position Windows or grant Dell some "MS premium platinum reseller" PR-badge either.

  • by Palestrina (715471) * on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:55AM (#33012824) Homepage

    That is what I really want. I can buy a Dell without a monitor, so why not without an operating system?

    I have my own monitor already, and my own OS. It doesn't make sense to force me to by either of them.

  • by calzakk (1455889) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:04AM (#33012856) Journal

    Who the hell modded this insightful? It's hilarious!

  • by Nimey (114278) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:10AM (#33012876) Homepage Journal

    For now.

    They don't offer any with 10.04, and two of the four models they offer still have 9.04. Doesn't seem like they're too keen on it.

  • Re:Not a big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:15AM (#33012900)

    Think about what you just wrote. So you think it is just about time installing Linux? No.

    * For one thing, some of us don't want to pay a Microsoft Tax. If I don't plan on using MS-Windows on a computer, I should not be forced to pay for it.

    * If a computer is available with Linux, it implies at least SOME amount of Linux support- even if it is just a compatibility guide.

    * I wouldn't want to use Ubuntu, anyway, since there are (for me) much better Linuxes. So if they offered a computer with NO OS installed, I would be just has happy.

    You can bet that Microsoft is behind the scenes again, pulling strings at Dell to squash any notion of freedom or choice.

  • by loafing_oaf (1054200) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:16AM (#33012906)

    Dell could simply adjust the Ubuntu PC prices to compensate for the missing bloatware revenue. Of course, they probably would sell even fewer that way. But with Dell's just-in-time supply chain, it really shouldn't matter whether any particular models sell well because there's no inventory buildup or waste to worry about.

    As for Dell's claim of reducing complexity... it's a single link on the side of the page! At the risk of sounding cliche, I think it's more reasonable to assume that there is some supplier exclusivity contract in play from Microsoft.

  • by couchslug (175151) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:17AM (#33012908)

    Windows works for people who know Windows and have no need to invest time in anything different. The faults we find in Windows don't concern them enough to switch to something not Windows.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:18AM (#33012914)

    Do you seriously think people don't do that?

  • by IANAAC (692242) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:29AM (#33012976)

    That is why I did not get the job. I am not running Mac, Windows or Ubuntu. I run a different version of Linux.

    And you couldn't get Ubuntu to do/act/feel just like your chosen version of Linux?

    I wouldn't hire you either.

  • Dell's Attitude (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ncmathsadist (842396) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:30AM (#33012984) Homepage
    I don't know why Dell thinks I am a second-class citizen because I use open-source programs. Boo and hiss.
  • by Jaktar (975138) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:37AM (#33013018)
    In the words of Wolfgang Pauli, "you're not even wrong." However, if you wanted to stay open source on Windows, you can do so. The notion that Windows is a toll booth is a bit off the mark also. Right now I'm dual booting Ubuntu and Vista. The only thing I've paid for in the last two years between Windows and Ubuntu is the OS itself. Everything else is open source or provided free of charge by Microsoft or another third party.
  • by jo42 (227475) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:53AM (#33013104) Homepage

    Microsoft Windows is a conspiracy between the hardware manufacturers and Microsoft to make you have to buy new hardware every couple of years. Best example was going from XP to Vista. XP ran fine. Vista came out and ran like a one legged man in a marathon. Everyone had to buy new hardware to run it.

    Think about it: Do you really need a quad-core processor with 8GB of RAM and a 1.5 TB hard drive to browse the Internet, watch IdiotTube (AKA YouTube) videos and fap to porn?

  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:12AM (#33013178)

    Microsoft Windows is really so much harder to use than Ubuntu.

    I don't know how this got modded insightful but, as someone who has computers with Mac OSX, Windows XP, _and_ Ubuntu, I'm going to have to say that's so utterly wrong that it's actually funny. I like Ubuntu and I look forward to the day that it truly hits the mainstream but it is not, in any way, easier to use than Windows. It may be the easiest of the Linux distros to use (I have no clue if it is since it's the only one I've ever played with to any degree); it may be easy enough for the average person to use; it may be incredibly easy for a hardcore computer user to use, but it is not easier to use than Windows.

    I don't like Windows, at all, but let's be serious...

  • by Devout_IPUite (1284636) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:25AM (#33013238)
    Pretty much. The linux devs don't realize that they're making cludget unfriendly processes. Number of clicks matter. If I can't, without a manual, install program X onto my computer in 3-6 clicks, it's too hard. "Oh just use the package manager" No. I want to go to their website and click the fucking download button. Then I want to open that downloaded file. Then I want it to install. Anything else is unacceptable for a typical user.
  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:39AM (#33013318)
    To me, what immediately put it as "not easy to use" was the moment that I realized I needed things like "sudo" or any other commands to make things happen. Once Canonical realizes that the average user _NEVER_ wants to enter commands to do run of the mill, average stuff, then they'll truly be a long way towards having an easy-to-use OS. I found myself trying to get things to happen with Ubuntu, being forced to resort to Google (a sign things may not be rosy but not surprising since I had zero Linux experience until I installed Ubuntu on my Wind), and found that the way to make "this" happen was not selecting a control panel but to open a Terminal session and entering a complex command that I would never, ever remember.

    Average users don't want to ever, ever, ever use Terminal. _NEVER_

    Power users, who truly push machines beyond what is considered "normal" use, are fine with using Terminal because it doesn't scare them but the average computer user, today, does not want to open Terminal and enter any command.

    Once that's sorted out, then Ubuntu (or whatever Linux distro figures it out) will be a long ways towards being easy to use.
  • by loufoque (1400831) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:48AM (#33013392)

    When it was announced that Dell was selling computers loaded with Ubuntu, I went to their site and looked. I looked hard, and didn't see anything. Then on another site I found a link to an obscure page on the Dell website that you wouldn't find in any other way.
    And there, I saw that they were selling old models of their products, with only the low-end hardware choices, for a more expensive price than what they sell the new model with high-end choices and Windows. To the point where even a person who would want to buy a Dell computer and install Ubuntu on it would buy one preloaded with Windows and install Ubuntu himself.

    And now they're going to say they're pulling it because it didn't sell enough. Of course it didn't, they purposely made it that way; it's like they wanted it to fail from the get go.

  • by garyebickford (222422) <gar37bic.gmail@com> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:48AM (#33013396)

    I bought (through my employer) a dual-screen Dell workstation last year. I run Ubuntu on everything - my laptop,. my personal desktop, etc. But the only products Dell offered Ubuntu on was low-end econoboxes. I finally resorted to buying it with RedHat Enterprise Linux. However RHEL did not meet my needs - I tried it for a while but because of the long version cycle it just couldn't be brought up to date with things I needed for my work - not to mention being less user-friendly for this GUI-obsessed guru. (I've been using the hottest GUIs I could achieve since my days using graphic terminals and programming 3D in FORTRAN. I built my own RS232 switch once to allow me to run three terminals on the same serial line, so I could have three screens - back in 1981. One for output, one for debugging output, one for coding.)

    After putting up with RHEL for several months I finally switched over to Ubuntu 9, and now I'm running 10. I"m sorry, but I need this year's software. Among other things, I needed OpenOffice.org 3.2 for a project I was working on. I'm also a Compiz addict, and RHEL did not support a number of packages required by Compiz.

    I never understood why Dell refused to provide Ubuntu on anything but their toy systems. It probably has to do with internal politics, and possibly something to do with their contract with RedHat. IMHO the lesson here is not that Ubuntu couldn't sell - it is that Dell did not understand the market.

  • by maxwell demon (590494) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:03AM (#33013490) Journal

    "Give the computer special permission to do certain potentially dangerous things." Doesn't sound very complicated to me.

  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:28AM (#33013670)
    Perhaps you missed my point. You have no problem with it. I have no problem with it. You and I are not "average" computer users. Ask yourself if it would be overwhelming for your mother to use it. Ask yourself if the counter clerk at the DMV or the bank would find it easy to use. Ask yourself if a truly average user finds what you've described to be easy.

    What power users find easy and what average users find easy are different things. This perception difference is what has holds Linux back, more than anything else.
  • Re:Not a big deal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:36AM (#33013714)

    You are more confident than I am. I used to believe that surely either market pressure or government intervention would bring an end to the Microsoft tax and allow consumers choice and to see what they are actually purchasing (line item). But it has been so many years, I have lost faith.

    The only thing more annoying than purchasing a machine with MS-Windows you don't want, knowing that money is going to support the monopoly that takes away your choice, is buying a supposedly Linux machine, only to find out later that there are deals "behind the scenes" that *STILL* funnel money to Microsoft, even when you didn't get a license. (Yes, that happens)

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @12:27PM (#33014070)
    My guess is people were choosing Ubuntu without realizing what it was, getting home and fining out they could install anything or transfer their old software to it... then calling up Dell and complaining. Windows makes Dell money while Ubuntu was probably generating a lot of customer service calls. I doubt their support staff even knew how to trouble shoot it.
  • by Draek (916851) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @01:00PM (#33014350)

    Try doing tech support sometimes. Your view of Windows is tainted by your own proficiency with it but I assure you: the average person cannot use Windows, and no, you can't be said to know how to use Windows with a malware-filled machine any more than somebody whose car is full of bumps and signs of crashes can be said to know how to drive.

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @01:11PM (#33014454)
    I would disagree. With a LiveCD, it's easier to save even a Windows users' data with Ubuntu than with Windows. I'd say the real issue with support is that it just isn't Windows, so it isn't familiar to many users.
  • by irid77 (1539905) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @01:50PM (#33014772)

    Perhaps you missed my point. You have no problem with it. I have no problem with it. You and I are not "average" computer users. Ask yourself if it would be overwhelming for your mother to use it. Ask yourself if the counter clerk at the DMV or the bank would find it easy to use. Ask yourself if a truly average user finds what you've described to be easy.

    What power users find easy and what average users find easy are different things. This perception difference is what has holds Linux back, more than anything else.

    Here's the problem with your argument: the people you're describing are horribly confused using Windows too. All they can really do effectively is open programs and use them, and maybe hunt around in folders for files to open. They wouldn't be able so set up a machine with Windows or Ubuntu, but they can use both just fine. Seriously, what about the Windows UI makes intuitive sense and is missing in Ubuntu? What is hard to accomplish in Ubuntu that is easy in Windows?

  • by Risen888 (306092) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @02:01PM (#33014846)

    I sell machines with Ubuntu on them. To yoga instructors and flight attendants and 85 year old women. It's easier. Universally, across the board easier. Every single customer says so. You don't have to trust me, but I trust them, because they pay my rent. I mean, if you're comfortable being out-geeked by an 85 year old great grandma, okay, but don't blame the machine.

  • by RedHat Rocky (94208) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @02:46PM (#33015182)

    My mother and father have both been using Ubuntu (on a Dell purchased WITH it) for a couple of years now.

    Other than occasional Flash issues, they get around just fine.

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @03:02PM (#33015298) Homepage

    Excluding CPU and Ram variations, Dell offers what, a dozen desktop platform and a half-dozen notebooks ? Each one of those sells several million units. Don't you think it would be rather trivial to book ONE GUY (of the 65000 or so people they employ) to do Linux testing on each distinct model ? Hell I could probably do it all in a week or two.

    Dell's treatment of Linux overall has been a joke. I've never seen any decent SKU offered with Linux, only the most craptacular bargain-barrel ones like these "laptops" with a single-core AMD processor. What if I want the i7 with 8gb of Ram ? The damned hardware is already expensive enough as it is, I don't need to blow an extra $200 on Windows 7 Ultimate just because Dell thinks I'm a sucker. If they must pigeonhole software with hardware, at least put Ubuntu on the shit ones, and Gentoo on the big ones :) Or better yet: give me a blank hard drive. Naked, empty, unviolated. The first thing most geeks do anyway is wipe the disk and install a clean OS without crapware.

  • by tepples (727027) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [selppet]> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:16PM (#33017612) Homepage Journal

    i would like you to name one app that does not have a free alt.

    The following are proprietary commercial programs available for PCs running Windows. What is the closest equivalent to each that is distributed under a free software license?

    • Netflix Watch Instantly
    • Adobe Photoshop, including those high-end features that distinguish it from GIMP mods such as GIMPshop
    • Adobe Flash CS3
    • TurboTax
    • Stone Edge Order Manager
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles
    • Diablo II
    • Starcraft
    • Street Fighter IV
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • by cmwalden (260480) <cmwalden@us.ibm.com> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:51PM (#33018634)

    I don't tend to game on the PC like I used to, so I don't have an answer for any of your games. So, yes... windows is probably a stronger arcade... though I've been more impressed with what Flight Gear can do than I ever was with the Microsoft Flight Simulator. Like many, I've moved my gaming to the Wii, or other consoles.

    Hulu and other services provide instant viewing on Linux just fine. The Roku device which allows Netflix instant viewing is Linux-based, but for some reason they continue to deny access to Linux on their web site. This is a decision they have made... not a technological barrier.

    I probably don't do the same things with graphics that you do, but I've found GIMP perfectly usable for anything I hand it. I've touched up photos, including removing reflections and other matter from photos, touched up blemishes and red-eye, and a number of other things. I've also used tutorials written for PhotoShop to learn how to do things in GIMP when they were about artistic technique and not idiosyncrasies of the tool. If you want Adobe PhotoShop, precisely and exactly, then it will need to be done by Adobe. That has to be their decision.

    There are options to do things like Adobe Flash, including the OpenLaszlo project. Again, they are not precise and exact clones of Adobe. That's the funny thing about intellectual property is that when you create an alternative technology it has to have some differences from the existing version or you end up in court. Again, Adobe has made a decision on this... and if you're letting Adobe determine your technologies then you'll have to follow their lead and move when they say you can.

    I've used TurboTax online for the last several years through Linux with no problem. I think their official decision is that they want to move people online and that version works for Linux. It's not free, but I'm not concerned about free... only that it will work for my environment. If everything must be free then I guess anyone can be right in this argument by only choosing technologies which have cost associate with them.

    I don't know much about Stone Edge, so I can't say much about it. Looking at the web site it seems to be a pretty specific tool. A lot of people build their computing (and even their business) around a particular tool. If the tool doesn't do it, they don't either. If the tool must do it, then it becomes a core part of their methodology. If you've built your work habits immutably around how specific tools work, then you have to follow the tool.

    It is probable that you will never be in a position to move to Linux. That's OK. You need to stay in your comfort zone and where you feel you are most productive. (I know one guy who still swears by his index cards... and they still sell them at the office store.) I think, though, that there are many users who don't have your specific requirements who would find that Linux does everything they need to do "out of the box." I think many who are new to computing would easily develop the knowledge and flexibility on a Linux system in the way that you have developed it on Windows. Many who get the chance to try Linux will make the choice to stick with it... not all... maybe not even most. Isn't what's on each person's computer really about what works for them?

  • by nschubach (922175) on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:16PM (#33089538) Journal

    Wine works well for x86, not so well for non-x86. As netbook makers introduce ARM powered models to save battery, "play all your games on Wine" won't be the easy cop-out that it used to be, at least until DOSBox gains some sort of dynarec.

    But you listed Windows applications... and those won't run on ARM either.

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