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Ubuntu Won't Moan To EU About Microsoft 248

Posted by timothy
from the kudos-to-them dept.
Barence writes "The company behind the Ubuntu Linux distro says it has no plans to follow Opera's lead and file a complaint against Microsoft to the EU. Ubuntu 10.10 is the most 'consumer-friendly' version of the Linux distro to date, but it faces an uphill battle against Microsoft's marketing machine. Even high-profile supporter Dell has dropped Ubuntu machines from its website in recent months, while continuing to remind visitors that 'Dell recommends Windows 7' at the top of every PC page. 'I don't think we've ever considered [an EU complaint],' said Steve George, vice president of business development at Canonical. 'The improvements we're making to Ubunutu ... are a better route for us to reach out to users and get a bigger user base.'"
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Ubuntu Won't Moan To EU About Microsoft

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  • by Jailbrekr (73837) <jailbrekr@digitaladdiction.net> on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:43PM (#33829384) Homepage

    Dell may have dropped Ubuntu, but we dropped Dell. Good god are their business offerings ever horrible. We went out of our way to retire any and all Dell hardware with *extreme* prejudice.

    • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:49PM (#33829464)

      The only Dell hardware I've had that gave me serious trouble was a robotic tape library. Aside from that, it's mostly been ok.

      Still, I don't see this as a huge problem. Even when Ubuntu systems were available from them, you still had to track them down. Anyone who wants it can still install it for free. With Windows it's a great boon to get it installed from the manufacturer because Dell gets Windows for a very small fraction of the cost as an end user (IIRC, it's around $25 per copy for a manufacturer that size). As such, if you want Windows on your new machine, you're saving a ton of money by getting it that way. Ubuntu on the other hand, being free, loses that advantage. I can install it after the fact for the same price.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DrSkwid (118965)

        I don't know about now but non-standardly shaped Dell parts forcing you to buy a new PSU from them sucks big style.

        • by Gerzel (240421)

          Oi, don't remind me. Have to wait three weeks for a new case fan. 92mm. Really Dell?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        It's easier to just take the Windows install. Our IT folks still have to touch every new Dell box that comes through the door to load the standard image. The company still has to buy CALs for all workstations whether they're pre-installed with Windows or not. The two Dell systems (desktop, laptop, array of monitors) on my desk all get wiped and set up with Ubuntu with vbox handling the IT WinXP image. But ordering those systems without Windows would have been an additional level of effort with not enoug

        • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @06:35PM (#33830646)
          "But ordering those systems without Windows would have been an additional level of effort with not enough financial gain to justify it."

          I don't know how many machines you deal with, but the microsoft tax is fucking huge when you're dealing with hundreds of machines. There's been a couple people that have managed to order laptops without windows and received a discount for it. It takes a few hours on the phone, but you receive a laptop without an OS and a check for about $50. Multiply $50 by however many machines you have and you end up with a lot of money.

          I suspect that vendors like this completely refuse to offer this no-windows option at the business level even if it means losing a sale of many hundred machines, lest they have to explain to MS why they're not getting lots of money.

          To be honest, I don't know how it all works at the business level, all I know is that I'm ordering my next laptop without windows and I'm going to spend up to 12 hours on the phone to get the discount for it.
          • It takes a few hours on the phone, but you receive a laptop without an OS and a check for about $50.

            For many companies, the productivity lost spending a few hours on the phone is worth quite a bit more than $50.

          • by fwarren (579763)

            I could be wrong, but I believe that most companies that want to re-image machines must start with hardware that already has a legal copy of Windows on it AND an additional CAL to be able to image the machine.

            So the CAL is not a full license, it is only a license to install an image onto a machine for which you already have a valid MS license.

            It sucks to be a Microsoft customer.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by exomondo (1725132)

            To be honest, I don't know how it all works at the business level, all I know is that I'm ordering my next laptop without windows and I'm going to spend up to 12 hours on the phone to get the discount for it.

            Wow...your time is really that low value?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jimicus (737525)

            To be honest, I don't know how it all works at the business level, all I know is that I'm ordering my next laptop without windows and I'm going to spend up to 12 hours on the phone to get the discount for it.

            Ah, then let me tell you a little.

            It's as if all the antitrust stuff with Microsoft never happened. The sort of things a business is likely to want to do are so tied up with EULAs that it gets very expensive very fast. I have no idea how well some of the clauses would stand up in a court, but I've yet to work for a company that was keen on being the first test case.

            Firstly, the only organisation allowed to image PCs with an OEM copy of Windows is... the OEM. You go out and buy 100 PCs with 100 OEM Window

    • I was going to mod you up, but I want to ask you about your post. What caused you to "retire any and all Dell hardware with *extreme* prejudice"? If a machine is working fine and not outdated, why would you pull it for another model, even if it is labelled 'Dell'? My wife has a Dell which I grant is a POS but it is also 8 years old and in it's first life was abused in a call center.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Confusador (1783468)

        I can't speak for Jailbrekr, but we've been replacing their stuff as fast as we can not because it doesn't work, but because we know that when it fails it's going to be like pulling teeth to get it fixed. I don't know what sort of contractual/legal obligations made us wait this long, but now that we can we're going full bore.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dave562 (969951)

          What kind of support contracts do you have? I've worked with HP hardware my entire career, with the exception of my current job where I inherited a bunch of Dell hardware. Their hardware isn't all that great, and their drivers are crap compared to HP. However their support seems as good, if not better. We have 24x7x4 "mission critical" support and I haven't had any problems getting parts and technicians dispatched.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          That I get, although I still question the ROI about pulling still servicable working systems out and replacing them. If they are busted or obsolete then have at 'er.
      • by Jailbrekr (73837)

        Dell did themselves in in a number of ways. First off, their support sucked. I don't know how it is for you but we had few success stories dealing with them. Second, their hardware sucked. Having to add a 3rd network card to the system because their onboard NICs didn't PXEboot properly added to the complexity of an already complex system (and why the hell did you not deploy your servers with onboard RAID0/1? Are you stupid?). Third, their reputation sucks. Bad caps anyone? Granted, every PC manufacturer got

        • How exactly has Dell "done themselves in"? They remain a pretty profitable company, and have been growing in both revenue and earnings. Are you talking about the much coveted "Jailbrekr" endorsement?

    • by CannonballHead (842625) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:57PM (#33829578)
      Dell didn't drop Ubuntu. You can still buy Dell computers preloaded with Ubuntu.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by AHuxley (892839)
        Re: You can still buy Dell computers preloaded with Ubuntu.
        I eventually had to go down to the sitemap. D: That's the display department.
        A: I had to do a search. D: The database must have been out. A: So were the links.
        D: But you did find the Ubuntu Dells. A: Yes, I found them. In a hidden directory in a disused sever behind a popup that said "Beware of the Malware".
        D: That's our Dell department.
      • "Dell didn't drop Ubuntu. You can still buy Dell computers preloaded with Ubuntu."

        But would you want to? After several recent stories in the media about defective components and sub-standard (even for the industry) support, looking to fill reqs with Dell hardware would be a foolish endeavor.

        • by Gerzel (240421)

          Unless the place you work for signed a contract.

          Remember picking vendors is a luxury many do not have.

    • Care to explain? What were your problems, who did you switch to and why?

      I know it's off-topic, but you brought it up and I'm curious.

    • by Gerzel (240421)

      I wish that were the case. We still have a contract with them.

      Still I'd welcome new Dell computers into the lab that needs them if the other option is no new computers at all. It would be nice to have machines with more than 2 gigs of ram.

    • Good god are their business offerings ever horrible. We went out of our way to retire any and all Dell hardware with *extreme* prejudice.

      I agree with you about their tiny, cheap "secretary" and home boxes. They're metaphorically a pain in the ass. When it comes to their workstation miditowers, we have three at work, two of which we've had for four years. They are rock solid, powerful, and the cases are among the best I've seen for upgrading.

      They are designed for very easy tool-free access to every component, and there is no "semi-PCIe" custom slots or any of that bullshit, everything is standard. Would buy again. We're situated in Norway th

  • It is time for Dell to admit it can't compete against the Chinese. MS tells them to stop shipping Ubuntu and they do. They have no will of their own.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 07, 2010 @05:08PM (#33829712)

      Dell has NOT dropped Ubuntu [dell.com]

      The story is BS. PC Pro has zero credibility.

    • I think Michael Dell already knows what to do, he's commented on situations like this in the past:

      "In 1997, shortly after Mr. Jobs returned to Apple, the company he helped start in 1976, Dell's founder and chairman, Michael S. Dell, was asked at a technology conference what might be done to fix Apple, then deeply troubled financially. "What would I do?" Mr. Dell said to an audience of several thousand information technology managers. "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders."" http: [nytimes.com]
      • Who would you rather listen to? Steve Jobs or Michael Dell?

        That prediction was silly at the time, and now ... it just looks idiotic. Apple is #2 and might reach #1 here shortly (Market Cap).

        I wonder how crazy THAT prediction would have been at the time.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          That says way more about the stock market then it does about Apple or any other PC maker.

  • Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:44PM (#33829396)

    I think they're probably going about it the right way. It's an uphill battle, and we've still got a ways to go, but Linux in general and Ubuntu specifically has been making great strides here.

    I particularly like Ubuntu's focus on polish. They don't just crank out apps. They work on themes, fonts, artwork, etc. Things that really make the desktop shine to user who's just taking a test drive. There was a time when a Linux desktop without a TON of work poured into it (and sometimes even after it) was just ugly. Sure it didn't crash, and it was secure, but it looked like it was drawn by programmers - because it WAS back then. Getting UI and artwork people on board helps a lot, and Ubuntu is doing the right thing in that regard.

    • The polish is nice. I still wish it was easier to connect my network card to a WPA protected wireless network without having to manually configure WPA_Supplicant. I haven't piddled around with the network managers after 9.04 so maybe they are better now, but for awhile there, it was a pain in the ass to configure your computer to connect to a static IP address on a WPA2 protected network without hacking the configuration files manually.
      • I run Kubuntu 10.04 on my laptop and I haven't had any of those problems. The wireless GUI worked like a charm.
        • I agree. There's something fundamentally busted about the Gnome network app. I've had nothing but grief. But a move to Kubuntu seems to fix those particular issues (even if I'm not a big fan of KDE).

          • I am, although my poor lappy isn't - it's just too old to handle the CPU load properly. Once I jump to Maverick I'm going to install Lubuntu-core and see if that helps. LXDE with KDE apps - should be fun!
          • by mirix (1649853)

            Gnome network manager works fine with WPA2 in debian, so it sounds more like there is something busted with ubuntu.

            I don't recall having any problems on lenny or squeeze... it just worked.

        • I have Lubuntu (lightweight ubuntu)(runs on 128k) and have not had problems either, except I still can't AOL Web Accelerator to work. So I use Opera's web accelerator instead.

          • I used to run a home brew Ubuntu Minimal + LXDE + Opera on my laptop and the only reason I redid it in Kubuntu was the lack of WiFi support on my laptop. If that starts showing up on Lubuntu, Kubuntu goes buh-bye again. Loved the speed and low resources.
        • Ubuntu has a lot of these cases where things are quite sketchy in terms of support.
          There are so many apologist out there that it is quite infuriating to get your answer. Oddly Enough with Windows things work, if it doesn't there is usually a short path to fix it. With Ubuntu some things work better then windows but other things work just as well with simple fix, then they are the trouble makers where there are enough to be problems. The issue of getting Wi-Fi to work is often not an easy one. I have seen

      • by silanea (1241518)
        You should give the new versions a try. 9.04 and 9.10 were not exactly stellar, but 10.04 has worked quite good for me from the first nightlies. 10.10 looks promising, but I have only limited hands-on experince with it. Networking has been cleaned up extensibly, so it should work out of the box.
    • by Larryish (1215510)

      True what you say about the ugly.

      The best looking wm I used in the Debian hamm/slink days was IceWM. It was actually pretty good, had a menu editor and decent control over the UI.

      Still doesn't compare to modern Gnome though. Also I hear KDE is real nice. :D

    • I've been running it happily on a HP Elitebook 8440p, when no other Linux distro would even contemplate running on the thing (at least not w/o HP's proprietary drivers for SuSE - wish to frig one could download those). I was hella surprised to see how frickin' smooth everything was - Broadcom Wireless, Intel Graphics chip, etc etc - name it, and it all was up and ready to run by default.

      This is honestly the first distro/rev that I've not had to configure anything for, hardware-wise... and I've been mucking

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      I particularly like Ubuntu's focus on polish. They don't just crank out apps. They work on themes, fonts, artwork, etc.

      I'd like a hell of a lot more focus on fixing what's broken and on testing changes and less on moving my window gadgets around unnecessarily. Be nice if they would unfuck the most common bluetooth dongle on the planet, which they broke in Maverick...

    • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Informative)

      by westlake (615356) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @10:35PM (#33832542)

      It's an uphill battle, and we've still got a ways to go, but Linux in general and Ubuntu specifically has been making great strides here.

      Linux is treading water.

      In most stats, it is barely visible as also-ran.

      Stat Counter Global Stats [statcounter.com]

      I want expecting this.

      But the Linux Stat Counter stats for countries like Argentina, Brazil, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, Venezuela etc., are really quite pathetic. Either these countries have gone off-line or the FOSS geek has spent too much time listening to his own propaganda.

      The picture is somewhat less bleak in Uruguay - one of OLPC's great success stories. But in Rwanda - where OLPC had a confirmed, significant, deployment of 100,000 units - Linux is easily outpaced by OSX and Win 7.

      Top Operating System Share Trend [hitslink.com], iOS Tops Linux [netmarketshare.com]

      Even when you factor in Android, the numbers don't change all that much.

      OS Platform Statistics [w3schools.com]

      24% Win 7: Up from 0% in Jan 09, Linux 4.5%: Up from 2.2% in Mar 03. The W3Schools stats for Linux are as good as it gets.

  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:44PM (#33829400) Homepage Journal

    'The improvements we're making to Ubunutu ... are a better route for us to reach out to users and get a bigger user base.'

    High five for being one organization in this world that recognizes the benefits of positive advertisement rather than negative attack campaigns. It's always better to stay positive. People will like you more.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by catbutt (469582)
      Negative attack campaigns are one thing....but filing an antitrust complaint is another. We need healthy competition, and I don't think we have it. I think Opera did the right thing, and partially as a result of that, we have a lot healthier competition in browsers these days.
    • If you only count the United States and the desktop, the commonly touted market share numbers of Linux is 1-2%. Say there are 200 million desktops actively used in the USA. That means there are between two and four million Linux desktop users in just the United States.
    • by h00manist (800926)
      I agree. I also liked what Shutteworth said once, Linux needs to gain on it's own terms. Open source needs to have it's own strategic advantages, work on it's own tech and obstacles, rather than trying to constantly figure out whatever Microsoft proprietary stuff does.
    • I'm simply happy that there's an organization that wants to succeed on its own merits instead of being a whiny crybaby trying to litigate its way to success.

  • by StayFrosty (1521445) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:45PM (#33829412)
    Dell is still shipping PCs with Ubuntu preloaded. You can find them here [dell.com].
  • by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @04:46PM (#33829434)
    I don't have much respect for those who unnecessarily bring government and lawyers into every situation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jd (1658)

      Be, Inc. thought the same as you, whereas Novell did not. Novell still exists, Be does not.

      That tells me it is indeed necessary.

  • Another good point (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The amount spent on a single lawyer would probably pay for 2-3 programmers for the same period of time. Assuming you'd have 5 lawyers, 5 paralegals (1-2 programmers each), their support personnel (secretaries, whatever), and their expenses, you could probably hire 15-20 programmers and their support personnel over the same period of time that the lawyers would spend researching the complaint and drafting corrective proposals (probably a few months, maybe a year depending on any followup). The positive eff

    • If anything, you're probably underestimating the cost of an attorney.
      • On the other hand, most people underestimate the cost of (and especially the difficulty of finding) _competent_ developers...

        • Good point. A statistic I've seen is that productivity among software developers varies by roughly an order of magnitude. Based on my own experiences in the industry, I would have to agree; in fact, some developers even have negative productivity!

          On the other hand, how much does it cost to get a competent attorney (as opposed to just an average one)? Is the ratio of competent to incompetent attorneys any better than that of software developers?

  • by grepya (67436) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @05:03PM (#33829652)

    I use an Ubuntu (Lucid) desktop for work... customized for our organization by our IT department and fully supported. Even though I develop (server-side stuff) for the linux platform, I'd given up on using linux as my main work machine a few years ago. This was done in frustration over the amount of work I had to do to get basic features going wireless (for laptops), web videos, sound, random usb device support etc. I had gone completely over to OSX as the platform of choice. But this current iteration has completely changed my mind. No more virtual-machines-for-coding-and-real -machine-for-everything else lifestyle for me.

          Everything "just works" out of the box. Critical updates get auto-pushed (arranged by our IT... thorough our internal apt repo).... desktop/GUI behaviors etc. have been flawless... and I was able to connect my iPhone and upload all my music/photos etc. to the desktop (for more convenient headphone experience while coding). This last one is something that I positively *can not* do on my apple laptop. So in this instance, the Ubuntu desktop added value to an Apple product that another Apple product refused to do. And I was shocked to realize how plug-n-play this whole experience was (after the fact). No hacks, no "install ExperimentWare version 0.31" etc. I plugged in the phone via USB, some windows popped up to ask me what I wanted to do with the photos/music and just did what I asked. Impressive.

     

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by equex (747231)
      My wife set up Ubuntu 8.04 alone and got everything to work. flash, samba, A/V codecs, media players. In fact, we were going to make a whining video about how difficult everything was with Linux but had to cancel it due to everything turning out better than expected.
    • As much as I like Linux (and use it on my work laptop and on a laptop at home, and dual-boot my desktop system with Sabayon...)

      ... there are plenty of anecdotes about trouble, too. Including wireless (STILL ... but my one problem now appears to be related to full-screen flash video, it kicks my wireless driver in the rear, somehow). Also, plugging in a camera, unplugging, then plugging in again... it didn't seem to like that, and ended up not recognizing it anymore (though F-Spot still did).

      Also ... you a

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by elashish14 (1302231)

      I'd given up on using linux as my main work machine a few years ago.

      I just don't understand why any informed Linux user bothers with these 'few years ago' comparisons. Tremendous progress has been made over these past few years. Linux hardware support today is nothing like what it used to be years ago. Look at all the hardware that's now being supported natively in Linux - ATI cards are being actively developed and open sourced, and even Broadcomm has opened their drivers to name a few. And support gets better and better with every new release (Ubuntu or otherwise). There's

  • IMHO... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 07, 2010 @05:09PM (#33829726)

    > 'The improvements we're making to Ubunutu ... are a better route for us to reach out to users and get a bigger user base.'
    In my personal opinion,

    - Sun did this.
    - Digital did this.
    - Netscape did this.
    - Amiga did this.
    - BeOS did this.

    Well, that's the basic idea and the results are now well-known.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Well, Dell did this, Intel did this, Microsoft did this, Oracle did this...

      And it worked for them.

    • Apple did this ....

      Exception that proves the rule perhaps?

  • by Just Brew It! (636086) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @05:21PM (#33829878)

    I wish them success in their attempt to topple (or at least put a serious dent in) Microsoft based purely on technical merit. Unfortunately the landscape is littered with other companies who have tried to do so; it's an uphill battle which typically runs off a cliff at some point. I do think that Canonical is in the best position to do so since IBM with OS/2 back in the day; in fact, IMO Canonical is significantly better positioned than IBM was back then. I've been using Ubuntu as my primary OS (both at home and work!) for a while now, and in spite of the occasional glitches, it has been like a breath of fresh air. The mere thought of going back to Windows gives me nightmares.

    • Considering that most of Linux's previous attempts to topple Microsoft on the desktop were based on sheer force of zealotry alone, I guess that's progress.

      • Yeah, zealotry will only get you so far. At some point you've got to deliver solutions that real-world users can use without spending days surfing web forums to figure out how to configure things, or learning how to compile a custom kernel. In fact, I've said that Linux evangelists are often Linux's own worst enemy. Canonical's approach seems to be a sensible one, in that they're really trying to address the issues which have prevented non-computer-geek types from adopting Linux on a wider basis.
  • I think it must just be Dell in the EU. Here in the US, you can still configure systems preloaded with Ubuntu.

    In fact, I just ran the numbers. Buying a Latitude 13 configured exactly the way I like it, running 9.10 (32bit): $1753.98
    Running Windows7 (32bit): $1862.98

    I didn't see a way of doing 64bit installs for either option. This also doesn't take into account any of the specials that may be running, or employee discounts, etc.

    In this circumstance, the Microsoft tax is $109
  • by tsa (15680)

    I dunno. I can buy a desktop computer with no OS without problems, but try to get a laptop without an OS. Impossible! I think Ubuntu is allowed to complain about that.

  • It will take nothing less than some serious anti-trust lawsuits to bring the Microsoft OS monopoly into check, because they are so deep-rooted and have so damn much control of the market in so many different ways.. Only to think they are paying large OEMs to quietly "disappear" the option of no OS (i.e., forcing the consumer to choose between their product and the highway) is a frightening demonstration of their power.

    Perhaps Canonical is not the right company to initiate the anti-trust investigations, but

  • microsoft uses EVERY opportunity it has to deter competition, ethical or unethical. if you play nice at this point, despite you have a right for complaint, you will give them a free pass. because, they wont hesitate when they get a chance. eu knows how to deal with microsoft. let them do it.

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