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Linux Business HP Hardware

Finally A Major-Brand Desktop With Linux, Not Windows 422

Fugwidzard writes "Sounds like an okay box from HP at an okay price, the NewsForge review says, but no modem, and even optional modems are Winmodems although they say they have Linux drivers for them. Plus it's not a true Linux preload - they give you a couple of Mandrake CDs and you're on your own, no support. Better than paying Microsoft tax, anyway, and a step in the right direction for HP. Supposedly they're going to have all their PCs 'Linux certified' in the near future. I hope other big PC mills do the same."
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Finally A Major-Brand Desktop With Linux, Not Windows

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  • by bigHairyDog ( 686475 ) * on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:03AM (#6858406)
    Evesham supply a preloaded, supported, all nicely configured system [evesham.com].

    mmmmm... taste the preloaded goodness...

  • Finally? (Score:4, Informative)

    by fetus ( 322414 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:03AM (#6858408)
    Is dell not a major brand?
  • Tier One Support? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SteveX ( 5640 ) * on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:03AM (#6858410) Homepage
    "Windows version of the d220 does include a modem option, but it is a Winmodem. HP tells me there is a Linux driver available for it on the Internet."

    So if I read this right, you have to go on the Internet and download a driver for the modem in your new PC. Um, unless I have broadband, how am I supposed to get on the Internet to download this driver?

    Seems about as smart as putting the installation instructions for your CD-ROM drive on a CD...
    • Re:Tier One Support? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:17AM (#6858550)
      LOL. That sounds exactly like Tier One support from Dell.
      --old timer mode
      So, I get this call. A guy just got his modem replaced, but it's a different model/manufacturer than his previous winmodem. No floppy or CD containing driver, driver not available on the Win98 CD. M'kay..
      "Now sir, you're going to have to, uh, download the drivers for your new modem from our support site.."

      It was calls like that that made me not want to be a call-tech anymore. I truly felt sorry for the bastards.
      • by Megor1 ( 621918 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @10:26AM (#6859218) Homepage
        I got that beat, doing support for the Imac at an ISP. Oh crap your 56k modem is incompatible with our modems...but all you need is the firmware update. Ok so you'll need to find another computer that can connect to the net and then bring over the update on a floppy, oh wait you don't have a floppy! Uh do you know anyone with a cdburner? (very rare at the time) ok crap...uh call Apple!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:40AM (#6858770)
      ... the silver-front box with the Compaq logo on it. We got one of the very first demo units from our local Compaq sales rep before HP rebranded and recolored the boxes. They had something in the BIOS that prevented either SuSE 8 or Redhat 8 CDROM disks from even booting up. I tried the floppy-based installation and Linux would install, but both LILO and Grub would try to start the kernel and it would then freeze up solid after the kernel uncompressed and tried to start. I put the Windows XP Pro cdrom back into the machine and the re-installation of XP went as normal and the machine worked fine. I asked our salesrep about this and he said that the BIOS on these demo machines was deliberately written to not run Linux due to some agreement with you-know-who.
  • by Brahmastra ( 685988 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:04AM (#6858411)
    What is the price of the same configuration with Windows? Logically, the same configuration with Linux should cost slightly less
    • by Brahmastra ( 685988 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:06AM (#6858442)
      And the answer is
      HP told me that an identical unit to the one I reviewed -- except for substituting either a 48X CD-ROM or CD-RW for the combo drive -- would cost $467 with Linux, $519 with Windows XP Home, or $589 for Windows XP Professional
      Never mind
      • by Anonymous Coward
        You're telling me the only difference is $52? No regular user is going to choose Linux over Windoze XP just to save $52.
        • by jimsum ( 587942 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:31AM (#6858675)
          I agree that a $52 savings is not enough to motivate regular users. But why not offer a dual-boot Linux/Windows machine for the price of a Windows-only machine? I'd love to have a dual-boot Linux/Windows system set up for me. Someone else works out all the driver and hardware issues for me in Linux as well as Windows; and I get to determine which O/S to use for which purposes. This option would be great for consumers and has been technically feasible for years. I wonder why we haven't seen systems like this, despite all the competition in the PC industry? :-)

          • by drunk_as_in_beer ( 661124 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:46AM (#6858828)
            But why not offer a dual-boot Linux/Windows machine for the price of a Windows-only machine?

            Rumor has it that Microsoft licensing prevents a dual-boot Linux/Windows machine. Supposedly there is some clause that prevents it, but we won't know for sure because the license is supposedly a trade secret.

            But you're right, dual-boot would be best for consumers.
        • I usually roll my own but for my last upgrade, I looked at pre-built systems to save time and aggravation. Since Linux would be going on anyway, Not paying the M$ tax would be a bonus. Not having to dick around with setting up sound, video etc etc etc. would be more of a bonus.

          It may only be $52, but it's $52 that Bill's not getting.
      • Impressive. Asking a question and answering it yourself by quoting the article, and getting both posts modded up. :)

    • ... in the article.

      $467 with Linux, $519 with Windows XP Home, or $589 for Windows XP Professional.
  • Well, it's a start (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Badgerman ( 19207 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:04AM (#6858413)
    My guess is this is a testing-of-the-water here, see how things go over, probably mixed with wanting to take the easiest route. So, they toss out a machine, note they'll have everything certified, and see how it goes in the commercial market.

    On a related note, how long is it going to be until SCO is mentioned in these comments . . .

    • On a related note, how long is it going to be until SCO is mentioned in these comments . . .
      I bet they're dodging SCO by tossing out the Mandrake CDs without pre-installing it.
    • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:13AM (#6858509) Homepage Journal
      Problem with the incremental approach being, by offering a half-assed system that will only appeal to people with a fair amount of confidence in their ability to set the system up from scratch, they're limiting the market drastically -- and in six months, they get to say, "Well, see, people don't really want to buy Linux boxes, so let's just go back to selling Windows only." I rather suspect that corporate politics are at work:

      Bright Boy: You know, sir, we really should be selling at least one PC with Linux. It'll be a big hit!

      Windows-drone PHB: Heh, heh. Sure, we can do that. [pats BB on the head] Here you go, sonny.

      This is a looong way from actually selling and supporting Linux PC's. I'd love to have that option from a major manufacturer (and I'd love a good laptop from a major manufacturer with Linux only even more) but for now I think it's best to stick with the small specialty manufacturers, or build your own, if you want a Linux-only box without paying Microsoft tax.

      On a related note, from the article:

      As far as the preload situation goes, it appears we will have to wait a little longer for a preloaded Linux desktop from a major vendor. Following a conference call with HP about the d220, HP spokesperson Tim Constance commented in a follow-up email that "Because of the many flavors and geographical preferences for Linux, HP offers the customer a choice of installing the included Mandrake Linux operating system, or a system of their choice at first boot-up ..."


      Weenie. Windows doesn't have geographical preferences? This is a cop-out, and again, IMO, reflects a lack of real commitment to the idea.
      • by VivianC ( 206472 ) <internet_update&yahoo,com> on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:53AM (#6858883) Homepage Journal
        On a related note, from the article:

        As far as the preload situation goes, it appears we will have to wait a little longer for a preloaded Linux desktop from a major vendor. Following a conference call with HP about the d220, HP spokesperson Tim Constance commented in a follow-up email that "Because of the many flavors and geographical preferences for Linux, HP offers the customer a choice of installing the included Mandrake Linux operating system, or a system of their choice at first boot-up ..."

        Weenie. Windows doesn't have geographical preferences? This is a cop-out, and again, IMO, reflects a lack of real commitment to the idea.


        I have mixed feelings about this. Sure, it would be great to have it come preinstalled but then you run into a bunch of questions:
        • KDE, Gnome, just X, nothing?
        • Mozilla, Konq?
        • OpenOffice, KOffice?
        • All of the above or nothing?

        Because of the fact that there are so many choices, it would be hard to find just the right install without installing everything. Of course, supporting multiple configurations would make the script for troubleshooting huge.

        I think it is a step in the right direction. Maybe they should just pick a standard set of packages and preinstall, but then eveyone here is going to be complaining about which ones they picked. This is one of those times when the vast amount of choices works against adoption.
        • Uh, well you could just give them a choice about what to use somewhat like all major distributions do.

          Computer starts up... what desktop enivronment you want to use? (kde/gnome/icewm). Have mozilla and openoffice apps on the app bar but call them internet/email and word processing etc a la redhat. Under the 'start' menu, list the alternate apps, but only under an advanced setting.

          This way normal users get a less confusing well laid out one choice for what they want to do, and users that know about the
      • Problem with the incremental approach being, by offering a half-assed system that will only appeal to people with a fair amount of confidence in their ability to set the system up from scratch, they're limiting the market drastically

        Not only are the limiting the market but I think they will make the general acceptance of Linux take even longer.

        Doing it half-assed will make people question once again if Linux is ready for prime time and could turn them off forever.

        My experience when buying a Dell with

  • This is very promising. It takes just one "industry leader" to step up and make that first move, no matter what it is. Now others will take notice and go "hm, well if they can do it, so can we". I wouldn't be surprised if we've got two or three more major suppliers (wait...are there that many left?) following suit. The floodgates have been opened.
    • by ultraw ( 99206 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:11AM (#6858485) Homepage
      It is indeed good news that one of the bigger vendors is putting a Linux box in their catalog... However, just giving a blank box and a CD set is not the way it should be done.

      Quite a lot of software should be preloaded, all nicely set-up to enable the buyer to start using it right away. When, in a later stage, someone asked him if his PC worked well with this all new, thing-of-the-underworld, very-neet-and-1337, futuristic OS on it. Only if the person can say then "yeah, sure, it had everything on it, I plugged it in and it started in 60 seconds, it came with an office suite preloaded and i browsed the internet and read e-mails in no-time...".

      Only then Linux will Linux hit the home-market.
    • Re:It takes just one (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mj01nir ( 153067 ) * on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:16AM (#6858536)
      That's pretty much what we thought when Dell did it. There's still little traction for Linux preloaded on major vendor desktops.

      I wonder if this isn't at least partially to address some moaning from the corporate sector about having to purchase Windows twice? I've heard that many companies are buying Windows licenses via a licensing program, then buying another license when they purchase the hardware. Is this just an end-run around that, with Linux used as a convenient excuse?

      After all of the SCO mess, I must be in conspiracy theory mode.
    • Well actually, it takes just one 'industry leader' to step up, make that first move and make money off of it. Important difference. Several manufacturers have already made forays into offering linux. The reality then- which I doubt has changed much- is that linux users are the types to build their own white boxes anyway. HP is also not likely to throw any marketing money behind it either. Its most likely going to be that PC in the back of the row of other boxes that none of the sales reps or customers ha
  • Modem Support (Score:5, Informative)

    by Damn_Canuck ( 702128 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:05AM (#6858421) Journal
    The modem issue is not a big one, I don't think. Many people today are using broadband, so as long as there is a network card in the box it should be all right. Also, in case they do want a modem, at least they are providing Mandrake. After installing Mandrake 9.0 and 9.1 on my box at home, I was amazed that 9.0 told me I had a Winmodem and gave me a URL to find out how to make it work, and 9.1 even installed the Winmodem drivers! (If only Dell had not given me a Winmodem in the first place...)
    • Re:Modem Support (Score:5, Insightful)

      by master_p ( 608214 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:18AM (#6858554)

      Many people today are using broadband

      Don't count on it. Linux is used a lot in poor countries where broadband is not an option.

      Not that this matters though, since this product is aimed at the US market.

    • I agree, the lack of a modem is not a big deal as long as the system has a serial port. An external 56k US Robotics modem can be had for very little and does not need any tools to install.
      • I agree, the lack of a modem is not a big deal as long as the system has a serial port. An external 56k US Robotics modem can be had for very little and does not need any tools to install.

        Who is the target audience for this machine? If they're trying to sell this to people who want to get away from Microsoft and use Linux, this is not an acceptable solution to the modem problem. If I'm going to spend nearly $500 on a new computer, why should I have to track down a serial port modem? This sort of thin

    • After installing Mandrake 9.0 and 9.1 on my box at home, I was amazed that 9.0 told me I had a Winmodem and gave me a URL to find out how to make it work

      Great, I'll just dial into my ISP to view that url and learn how to make my modem work. :)

      Finkployd
  • Finally? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <.mdinsmore. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:05AM (#6858427) Homepage Journal

    There has been a major brand [apple.com] desktop computer without Windows, since 1984 even. There's lots of good reasons for Linux vs owning a Macintosh, but you've had choices before this.
  • by DaRat ( 678130 ) * on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:07AM (#6858446)
    We have a few of the HP Itanium workstations [compaq.com]that came with Red Hat Linux preloaded, so they are selling some machines with Linux preloaded on them. Of course, for $8k+, they'd better come with the OS preloaded, right? ;-)
    • by watzinaneihm ( 627119 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:27AM (#6858636) Journal
      Workstations and servers really don't count. Dell, IBM and HP all will happily sell you those boxes with full support too. here is a Dell [dell.com] Link. Note that dell will not put linux on a desktop box at all (or maybe MS wont let them do it), but happily puts it on servers.
      I think this is somehow related to the OEM contract with M$ tho don't know how it works out.
    • I think all of the workstation line has Linux available, but the price is the same in the low end of the line, or in the case of the bigger ones, more expensive.

      The P4 xw4100 would be one I would generally recommend, unless you need a 2-way system, then you get into the Xeon line with the xw6000 model if you don't need 64 bit PCI, xw8000 if you do.

      It is expensive but in my opinion these things are pretty well designed, and include on-site next business day support for three years.

      I just bought a used Com
  • Why bother? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kannibul ( 534777 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:07AM (#6858451)
    Until a major player like HP can offer tech support and an actual pre-load, Linux will still be limited to the more hard-core user.

    Anyone who would be using Linux, at least in the USA, would just build thier own system, download Linux off the net (or even buy the retail box of the OS) and have a higher performance/price system.

    The whole reason why I would ever buy a retail computer would be for the warranty. Now for the common joe-user out there, the warranty and support is something they need.
    Put Linux on that system, then what's the point if there isn't support, let alone pre-installation.

    • Re:Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TopShelf ( 92521 ) * on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:13AM (#6858507) Homepage Journal
      That's the disappointing aspect of this - it seems like a rather half-hearted attempt rather than a strongly committed push. What is truly needed is a Tier One supplier to produce a preloaded Linux desktop with basic productivity apps like OpenOffice already installed - the sales pitch needs to stress ease of management, affordability, and security. I don't see how this rollout really hits those points...
    • Re:Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hendridm ( 302246 ) * on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:21AM (#6858583) Homepage

      > Anyone who would be using Linux, at least in the USA, would just build thier own system

      First of all, the d220 is aimed at business users, who want a warranty and generally don't build their own (as far as I've seen). I could also see clueless home users buying these at the advice of their pirate friend who would be happy to load Windows on it for free.

    • Re:Why bother? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by larien ( 5608 )
      the d220 is aimed at business users
      Very few large/medium business users actually use preloaded configurations, rolling their own image to desktops. They'll also have their own tech support.

      To be fair, yes, smaller businesses will probably use the preinstalled system & tech support from the supplier.

  • by FileNotFound ( 85933 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:07AM (#6858462) Homepage Journal
    It's cheap budget PC. I mean the most RAM it can have is 256Mb...40G 5.4kRPM hd...yay.

    I really dislike how Linux keeps getting labeled as the "cheap" solution to Windows. Yes it's cheaper than windows but thats not the ONLY advatange.

    I hated how AMD was viewed exactly in the same way when compared to Intel. "The cheaper solution.."
  • by evanhr ( 610024 ) <evan@stanri[ ]com ['es.' in gap]> on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:07AM (#6858463) Homepage
    I'm not really chomping at the bit to pay HP to put a desktop box together so I can run Linux on it. If I'm gonna master the installation and configuration of the OS, why wouldn't I be willing to assemble a barebones system? I want a new computer to be either easy or cheap; this isn't either.
  • Can't do it right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mikesmind ( 689651 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:08AM (#6858464) Homepage
    Yes, a step in the right direction but... Why couldn't they do it right? It wouldn't take much for a company like HP to do a decent preload. (Even Lindows has accomplished this!) I'm sure that HP has the right infrastructure and skills to do this job right. Just good enough should not be good enough!
    • > I'm sure that HP has the right infrastructure and
      > skills to do this job right

      Yes they have. But they probably also have a good contract with some company which prevents them from doing exactly that.

      • Yes they have. But they probably also have a good contract with some company which prevents them from doing exactly that.

        If that's the case (and you're probably right), the anti-trust suit was a miserable failure.
  • That while you don't pay for linux being preinstalled on your machine now - you will.
  • HP and Mandrake? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Baloo Ursidae ( 29355 ) <dead@address.com> on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:12AM (#6858492) Journal
    WTF? I thought HP sponsors Debian [debian.org]. Actually, I know they do (click on their sponsor link on the front page). So what's with this Mandrake stuff when there's Debian-based desktop-oriented distros like Knoppix and Xandros available?
    • Re:HP and Mandrake? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by larien ( 5608 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:17AM (#6858548) Homepage Journal
      Simple answer; which is easier to install? Debian has traditionally been slated for being difficult to install/configure (well, for newbies) and Mandrake has been praised for its ease of installation/configuration.

      To be honest, for general usage, Mandrake sounds like a good choice (Disclaimer: I use Debian at home, and have never used Mandrake. Dunno how useful Knoppix would be for this).

      • Re:HP and Mandrake? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sphere1952 ( 231666 )
        I'd have to agree with this. The only versions of Linux I've ever installed are Slackware and Debian (I use Debian now), but I would never suggest either of them for a beginner. With Debian it's not just the initial installation that's an issue. I have an embarassment of riches with Debian and generally have to figure out what flavor of just about anything it is that I want to install. A newbie needs an OS where you don't have to decide every little detail about what you want.

  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DroopyStonx ( 683090 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:12AM (#6858494)
    1. Factory machines are WAY over-priced to begin with. Existing Linux users already know the benefit of piecing a machine together themselves and how much it shaves off the price.

    2. If they are trying to attract "new" computer users (or users who aren't as experienced) to Linux, they're in for quite a surprise when they get massive amounts of returns. "Hey, none of my existing software works with this.. This machine is going back to the store!"

    Maybe I'm missing something here, but it seems like this would only benefit in corporate environments where they need to use Linux and don't have time to piece together machines.
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      1. Factory machines are WAY over-priced to begin with. Existing Linux users already know the benefit of piecing a machine together themselves and how much it shaves off the price.

      Not always. The benefit of building a machine yourself is not that it's cheaper, but that you can build using quality parts for an affordable price. I would imagine the motherboards and video cards in the average budget brand-name PC are crap compared to what you can buy OEM from a parts shop when building your own.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kfg ( 145172 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:39AM (#6858761)
      You and I can put together a top end machine, the sort that HP and Dell only hawk to the business market, for a fraction of what they charge. We support ourselves and thus don't have to pay for it, while at the same time OEM discounts on componants aren't as deep at the high end.

      But don't fool yourself. The mass builders can put together bargain basement junk at a tiny fraction of the price you and I can do it, and still turn some sort of profit margin. They buy low end video cards and motherboards by the millions and do a lot better on the per unit price than you can find. They throw in power supplies that would make you shudder and they don't exactly get their cases from Addtronics.

      These are throw away machines. The customers for them know they are throw away machines. They are price sensitive to the penny.

      You can't match them to the dollar.

      KFG
  • by Goo.cc ( 687626 ) * on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:12AM (#6858499)
    "Plus it's not a true Linux preload - they give you a couple of Mandrake CDs and you're on your own, no support."

    That's the way I prefer it, actually. Whenever I buy a manufactured PC, no matter who it's from, the first thing I do is format and reinstall, even if I stick to the OS provided. Who knows what was installed from the factory? (Probably nothing bad but all it takes is one bad employee.)
  • Supporting Linux. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Channard ( 693317 )
    I can't say I'm surprised by the company not offering support. Having worked supporting home PC users I know that they're far from savvy and can be testing at the best of times, downright infuriating at worst. If you then throw 'Linux' into the mix which is less user friendly than Windows - though it is getting friendlier by the day - you'd end up with a lot of frustrated users and techs. I doubt we'll see Linux being installed and fully supported on PCs sold to Joe Public till it's at least as user friendl
  • by daBass ( 56811 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:13AM (#6858513)
    To me they always seem to require expensive memory for it to be guaranteed to work, un-upgradable components, and arcane BIOSes that run a version of windows to configure it.

    This is all well and great for big companies that want 1000s of the same PCs for easy maintainance and vendor support, but for the average geek it is nothing but trouble.

    I'll just stick with buying components or bare-bones PCs, those have always been without M$-Tax as well, thank you.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Dont manufacturers pay Microsoft based on units shipped, and not what's shipped on them?
  • by Galvatron ( 115029 ) * on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:19AM (#6858571)
    ...you pay the HP tax [reuters.com]? Dell's got a much lower cost operation and can afford to undercut HP by a substantial amount, you might as well just buy from them, and get your copy of Windows for free (relative to the price of the equivalent computer from HP w/o Windows).
    • HP invests a lot of money into research and development. HP funds Debian. What does Dell do? Sponge off the industry. For all that myself and many others here on Slashdot say about Microsoft, they too spend a lot of their money on R&D. Dell does none of this. Just as the personalities at Sun claim, Dell is a bank (or, more like a pawn shop). They used the same case for their midrange PCs for almost 4 years! At least for a while with Gateway they used AMD Athlons while Dell continues to string AM
  • by nutznboltz ( 473437 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:19AM (#6858573) Homepage Journal
    Article says:
    I believe that Mandrake Light got its name from the fact that the source code and certain commercial binaries which are normally part of a retail Mandrake installation are not included
    According to the GPL:

    3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:
    a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

    b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

    Seems that a) was not done. Can anyone confirm if b) is?
    • 1) I don't see anything on the Mandrake site about "Mandrake Light".

      2) The only thing Google turns up is this cryptic listing [pricegrabber.com] that suggests that it's a cut-down version of Mandrake from HP.

      3) Isn't it a little premature for "Is Mandrake Light a GPL Violation?" HP isn't shipping source CDs. (What does anyone do with those things, anyway? What would you possibly want them for -- to run some sort of homebrew Gentoo Hat?) There's nothing unusual or inappropriate about that.

    • Actually quoting the GPL? That'll never catch on. ;-)

      Before anyone weighs in with the observation that HP can just point customers at Mandrake, they can't. The next clause is:

      c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you received the program in object code or executable form with such an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)

      In other word

    • by NetJunkie ( 56134 ) <jason.nash@gmail . c om> on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:40AM (#6858769)
      Somehow I doubt getting source code from Mandrake is going to be hard to do. Oh..I don't know... Their FTP site maybe?

      The source has to be available to you, not included in the box.
  • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) * on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:24AM (#6858603)
    There hasn't been a great clamor in the consumer sector for *nix boxes. Those in the know sculpt their own (or buy Apple, of course).

    I interpret this move by concumer-friendly HP less as their being proactive vis-a-vis consumer needs and more as their being proactive to get the best OEM deal possible next quarter with Redmond.

    This is the type of stuff that must absolutely friggin' terrify the MS sales-suits nurturing the OEM supply chain. The fact that other consumer dealers could follow HP's lead is even more chilling to them. The sound you hear is a half-dozen executive sales assistants in Redmond slamming open file cabinets and searching for contracts their bosses can review with an eye towards sweetening.

    Ultimately, whether you are a fan of Linux or Windows, you benefit. A Good Thing.

    • There hasn't been a great clamor in the consumer sector for *nix boxes. Those in the know sculpt their own (or buy Apple, of course).

      A very good point. But as it has been pointed out elsewhere in this discussion, the article notes that this line is aimed at business.

      There is an increasing, albeit still a niche, interest in Linux on the desktop in that sector. We've seen the articles. And I've worked at a couple large organizations (corporate and government) that are either working on or already d

  • too tentative. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lockholm ( 703003 )
    Presumably noone who already uses linux is going to shell out for a more expensive box by a major manufacturer - and for the inexperienced user considering the switch to Linux, the fact that the computer is not supported and the software is uninstalled is going to strongly reduce the chances that they're going to buy it either.

    It's a shame, because it seems that the main benefit of a company like HP offering this machine would be to help increase the OS market share of Linux. If it doesn't do well because

  • It needs to have a small Linux partition on the harddrive that will boot into X with some critical apps such as a browser, ftp client, wget, nfs etc.)

    When the system boots it can present the user with a menu to install one of many distro's either from accompanying CD's or via some other method (i.e. web, ftp, NFS etc). It could also be used as a rescue OS.
    The manufacturer can script the install for their particular hardware so the user only has to answer the obvious questions such as their locale, username
  • A slashdot article [slashdot.org] from August last year mentioned that the MS OEM contracts prohibit an OEM from shipping any box without an OS. Dell got around this by throwing in a FreeDOS diskette. The target audience was corporations that have volumn licensing agreements and who wanted to install their own licensed copy of Windows without paying for a redundent version. Looks HP is adopting a similar trick to sell OS-less boxes for corporations who will then install their own OS of choice, probably WinXP-Pro or Win2k
  • by cptgrudge ( 177113 ) <cptgrudgeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:29AM (#6858653) Journal
    Why is this such big news? Dell already does this with RedHat. Despite what the article says, Dell hasn't taken them off the market. I know /. users don't like Dell for some reason, but they've done this for a while, and you get support, too. Their marketing doesn't scream Linux loudly enough, I guess.

    Of course, you do have to order them with RedHat, but they do give you the option.

    Right off of the Dell site:

    Linux Products [dell.com]

    Dell Linux Overview [dell.com]

  • by Felinoid ( 16872 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:30AM (#6858673) Homepage Journal
    I prefer to buy an external for a number of reasons and a few extra when dealing with Linux.

    I like being able to turn the modem off when I'm not using it. Some modems are preconfigured to answer the phone some aren't. It's just easier to turn it off when it's not being used.

    More portable. Being that modems won't be upgrading any time soon the option of installing my modem on future PCs is very appealing.
    But more than that a good RS232 port modem is pritty much universal.

    Everything from the old Commodore 64 (with RS232 cable) to an iMac (with USB to sereal addapter) and everything in between.

    I have a dial up modem had one for years and I don't even use it.

    The modems offered by OEMs are always Win modems not worth it.

    I did once consider buying a modem card but that was becouse the sereal card wasn't much cheaper. But I stayed my course.

    Anyway for $20 a month I get cable internet a 64k baud. Not quite broudband of course but it's cheap and effective. No screwed up phone lines to deal with.
  • I hope... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mgcsinc ( 681597 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:33AM (#6858704)
    I hope that most people who have gotten past using the major brand-name monopoly operating system have similarly gotten past using a major brand name company-who-puts-computers-together (and I use this expression because I think to say that they build computers is a bit absurd)...
  • Retroactive? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Psyborgue ( 699890 )
    I just bought an HP laptop and apart from 3d acceleration under X, linux works great. I'm wondering if they will make all of their PCs "Linux compatable" retroactively so that i will have full hardware support. Regardless, usually drivers get written eventually by somebody although it might take longer than direct intervention on the part of HP.
  • by devphaeton ( 695736 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:37AM (#6858741)
    Is it just me, or is the tide really starting to turn in the last couple of months? I realise /. focuses on these things, but there seems to have been a lot of articles lately about major organizations, militaries, governments, school systems and the like straight-up turning thier back on Microsoft in favour of GNU/Linux or OSS.. (and even starting from scratch a la Japan/China/Taiwan).

    Is Microsoft really starting to lose thier grip? Will we look back 5 years from now and chuckle about how MS had such domination, but by then they will be less relevant? With Microsoft "out of the way", will this allow other OS startups (not linux or bsd types) to flourish? I.e. will BeOS get re-invented as a commercial product? Plan9? Something brand new?
  • by alispguru ( 72689 ) <bane&gst,com> on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:39AM (#6858763) Journal
    You're a big company with a bunch of internal applications running acceptably on Windows 98. When you buy new PCs, the first thing you do is scrape their hard disks clean and install your suite of applications. You even have a site license for Windows 98, so this is legal. Buying new PCs with Windows 98 installed is not an option - Microsoft doesn't sell it or support it any more.

    Given the pricing of this box, you can:

    spend $467 and throw the Linux CDs away

    spend $519 and throw the Windows XP Home CDs away

    spend $589 and throw the Windows XP Pro CDs away

    Which do you do?

    (Those of you out there really in IT support can now tell me what's wrong with the above. My last sysadmin work was around 1996...)

  • (at least not always)

    Dell currently has a deal on the Poweredge 400SC, with rebates that's ~$300, with free shipping. Celeron 2.2Ghz, 40GB Drive, 128MB RAM (buy more if you want it), no OS loaded, onboard 10/100 NIC (Intel, I think), AGP 8x, 800MHz bus speed.... Take a look. It's worth it.
  • by weileong ( 241069 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:46AM (#6858830)
    from the numbers published over the last few quarters, it really looks like HP is losing the PC war with Dell (well, basically everybody is losing). Is HP pushing this because they're desperate enough to try anything (including risk a MS reprisal)?

    I mean, nobody's under any illusions when it comes to whether or not MS plays hardball, right? You get the feeling this is one of those ventures where they hope to sell "many, but not so many as to trigger MS unhappiness"... between a rock and a hard place indeed.
  • Damned if you do... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:51AM (#6858862) Homepage

    Actually, there isn't anything after the ...

    From the point of view of a PHB, if you buy this with Mandrake, you'll attract the ire of SCO, and Microsoft will send the BSA stormtroopers round to make you prove that you're not running hooky Windows installs.

    The SCO issue isn't that serious, but the BSA one is a real headache for IT departments. Hell, it wouldn't surprise me if some shops will buy this with XP home on it, then install a linux distro over it, simply on the basis that HP certify it for Mandrake (and soon SuSE and Red Hat), but they don't want the BSA sniffing roun. Result: HP sees poor sales figures for the Mandrake option, and assumes that nobody wants it.

    • by dprice ( 74762 )

      Microsoft will send the BSA stormtroopers round to make you prove that you're not running hooky Windows installs.

      This statement is absolutely true. My company bought a bunch Dell servers without any OS so that we could run FreeBSD and Linux. Shortly afterwards, Microsoft came visiting to do an audit. Obviously, Microsoft has some visibility into the machines that Dell ships. In the end, Microsoft found that we had more Windows licenses than we had machines running Windows, probably because we had bou

  • by mwfolsom ( 234049 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:59AM (#6858928)
    Hmmmmmmmmmmm!

    Dell has been selling systems with Linux on 'em for a while now. HP seems late to the game.

    Support is via RedHat.
  • by Jim Hall ( 2985 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @10:16AM (#6859112) Homepage

    Sounds like an okay box from HP at an okay price ... it's not a true Linux preload - they give you a couple of Mandrake CDs and you're on your own, no support. Better than paying Microsoft tax, anyway ...

    You can also get a nice box from Dell with FreeDOS or Red Hat Linux (also can get with Windows). I think Linux is a true pre-load, but FreeDOS is not - they include a CD-ROM with the FreeDOS distribution on it, and you're on your own to install it. Dell only offers these to Canadian customers, AFAIK. We ran a news item about this on the FreeDOS Project [freedos.org] web site, and it's still on the front page. Check it out! Here's our news item:

    Dell Canada [dell.com] has updated their site, and they no longer offer the Precision 350 desktop with FreeDOS. However, they do offer the newer Precision 360 with "Free DOS Operating System Kit - CD with Source Code": small business [dell.com] and medium and large business [dell.com] and higher ed [dell.com] and health care desktops [dell.com]. Nice systems, too: up to 3.06GHz CPU. For Canadian customers only / Pour les clients canadiens seulement.

  • by HomerJ ( 11142 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @10:20AM (#6859144)
    Dell did this, Compaq still does to some extent, and now HP is getting into it. The problem is that you have to dig though all sorts of stuff, or just call them outright if you want them. And then calling is having to talk to a supervisor, because the first sales rep will have no idea you can get a non-Windows PC. I've never gone to either of these three "major OEMS" that are "supporting linux" and actually have the option to either buy it in their normal storefronts, or though their normal distributions.

    How is someone even soposed to know that linux is an option, if under "Operating System" you have only the choice of WindowsXP Home or Pro? The special linux PCs are usual so hidden you couldn't find them with Ponce De Leon, a GPS, and a personalized Googlebot.

    So this is all a non-issue. Until I can go to hp.com and under their normal site, just see the "Mandrake 9.1 (subtract $52)" option on their site when I go though their store and chose "Operating System" for a new PC, it's all just smoke and mirrors.
  • Just as you would expect for a business system, Mandrake Light includes an abundance of office tools and productivity software. OpenOffice.org and KOffice were there in entirety. The choice of spreadsheets included my personal favorite, gnumeric. There were also amusements like Frozen Bubble, a raft of browsers and email clients, and several IM clients.

    Non-geek PC users don't need two office suites, a collection of spreadsheets and a "raft of browsers". They need one of each, and they want that one to "just work".

    Linux needs to move away from it's "shovelware" tendancies.

  • by essdodson ( 466448 ) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @12:45PM (#6860687) Homepage
    Alright, time to start the count down. I think they'll make it 6 months. Any one else like to place bids on how long they'll continue this? Many vendors have tried the Linux route and simply found that there really was no demand. Linux users generally don't buy from Dell, Gateway, HP, etc.

    So, 6 months. What do you say?
  • by Stonent1 ( 594886 ) <stonent AT stone ... intclark DOT net> on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @01:27PM (#6861149) Journal
    We need major companies to warm up to linux. Some (like Dell) like you to think that they are Linux friendly but then give you the Monty Burns "cold, dead, fish" handshake. And send you on your way. IBM has been being the good guy in giving us kernel goodies. HP has been doing cluster stuff. Gateway doesn't even show up on the radar anymore. But if they can be good on their promises about the desktop then maybe we can get somewhere.

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