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Linux Business Hardware

Dell's New Linux Blog 317

comforteagle writes "I've just written up an interesting find: Linux engineers at Dell have started their own Linux site and weblog about Linux at Dell. From the announcement: "Welcome to the Dell Linux Community Web. This site is dedicated to providing any information that may be useful regarding your usage of Linux on your Dell equipment. While Dell primarily works with and officially supports Red Hat Linux, many of our customers choose to run other distributions." And perhaps more importantly it appears that the new site and weblog is run and maintained by the engineers themselves. It certainly has that 'made with vi' look." And kudyadi points to this PC Magazine interview with Michael Dell, in which Dell talks "about Dell's expanding product line, the company's late entrance into the Media Center space, and where the PC giant and the industry go from here." He touches on Linux just a bit, too.
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Dell's New Linux Blog

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  • by October_30th ( 531777 ) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @06:56AM (#8217471) Homepage Journal
    I just wonder how long this blog will last.

    I'm sure Dell (as a company) won't like this at all.

  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @06:59AM (#8217476)
    Stuff like this is very important for Linux as a whole and dell as a company.

    For instance I would of bought a Dell laptop in a heartbeat if I knew dell supported it and offered a Windows-less or linux OS pre-installed.

    I just didn't want to pay the "mircosoft tax".

    So I just got a slightly used gateway from Ebay instead.

    Desktops I don't care so much about since I build my own computers, but laptops and such are only aviable from manufacturers and linux support is a big plus.
  • by JPriest ( 547211 ) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @07:00AM (#8217484) Homepage
    There is a huge shift right now in several major companies to build servers with Dell rather than Sun/Solaris. I know a few companies that seem to be ordering 2650's by the truck load these days.
  • by tronicum ( 617382 ) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @07:11AM (#8217506)
    It is quite interesting that Dell allows their departments to setup their own information systems in the way the focused customer is used to.

    In such big companys there are often rules how to communicate with customers and they have common ways ("old fashioned") stuff like newsletters, discussion boards, press releases. If they now allow them to setup their own way this sounds like a benefit to the customer. Maybe they start a IRC Server next or publish their own set of linux patches (for dell specific needs).

    BTW I would not buy a Dell labtop again my Inspiron is so poorly processed, if you press on the left side, it jiggles at the other....

  • by lonesometrainer ( 138112 ) <.vanlil. .at.> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @07:31AM (#8217548)
    So, even Dell offers you *some* kind of installation support for Linux on Desktop Systems and Laptops (read: links to community supported laptop-groups, i bet that there's one or two active dell employees). I bet that there'll be some more support on that page in the future.

    And our big linux brother IBM? Nada. At least where I live (europe) the official statement is and has been since 1999: IBM only supports Windows on these systems.

    There are good internet resources and mailing-lists, *but* the only way to get there is google (no link at, etc.)

    IBM is cheating on us.
  • Zero content? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @07:32AM (#8217553)
    I recently got promoted to a managerial position and I've begun to understand why us managers may appear like idiots to the code-grunts in the trenches.

    We don't have the time to read blogs or address every silly detail in the same way as you do. We deal with the big picture (like making sure you get your salary next month) and delegate the details for you to work them out.

    When we want feedback from you we want it on a couple of slides. We don't want to know how you tweaked your code to get 1% performance increase. We want to know how we're progressing and if there are any show-stopping problems.

    Web pages you scorn don't have "zero content". It's just information us managers need.

  • by cgranade ( 702534 ) <> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @07:33AM (#8217557) Homepage Journal
    If Dell makes moves in the direction of support linux in the desktop, it can only help sales. I would definitely make Linux Desktop Support a part of a purchasing decision.
    That is, until MS decides to nip Linux in the bud and add a clause to the contract that no company which resells Windows OEM may support or contribute to Linux. Remember, MS thinks that we are a viable threat now, and they have been known to do such things... hence the DOJ lawsuits. Speaking of which, they won't mind the cost of being sued again, since it's likely going to be another slap on the wrist.
  • by mr_lithic ( 563105 ) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @08:17AM (#8217636) Homepage Journal
    That is, until MS decides to nip Linux in the bud and add a clause to the contract that no company which resells Windows OEM may support or contribute to Linux. I know that they did this before with other Hardware Suppliers.

    I am wondering why the Anti-Trust people did not look at this aspect of Microsoft activities rather than the link between IE and the OS.

    What is the answer to this? I would be deploying Linux on Windows licensed kit since the OS expense is already part of the budget. Also I would not like to have the Software Nazi's show and audit us with more desktops than Microsoft OS Licenses.

    The reason for deploying Linux on the desktop is not for price reasons but stability and lowering support load. Therefore, the Microsoft licenses will be bought, but it woiuld still be good to have hardware support for the Linux OS on Dell desktops.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:1, Interesting)

    by senatorpjt ( 709879 ) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @09:11AM (#8217744)
    I just didn't want to pay the "mircosoft tax".

    I almost bought a Dell laptop, and that was the deciding factor that made me get a PowerBook. Yeah, I had to pay the Apple tax, but somehow that's different. At least I'm actually using OSX.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @09:13AM (#8217746)
    In Dell's case, it's not tech jobs that are being shipped off to India, but call center jobs. I left Dell EMEA in mid-2002 because I got a better offer from another company, not because I was outsourced to India.

    In any case, call center jobs are ten a penny. Any industry - not just tech companies - will eventually ship off the lower end jobs to cheaper countries. I mean seriously, do you know anyone who actually enjoys working in a support call center and wants to make a career of it? Probably not. And most call center support technicians don't know anything about computers anyway, regardless of where they come from. It's like working at McDonalds; people just do it for the cash...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @09:16AM (#8217751)
    It's like working at McDonalds; people just do it for the cash...

    Uh. Maybe I'm missing something here but I'm not donating 8 hours of my weekdays to my employer for free - I do it for the cash, too.

    What's your point?

  • by j.leidner ( 642936 ) <> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @09:17AM (#8217754) Homepage Journal
    Good news. But at the same time, and as usual, this is a grass roots movement, while officials can't be bothered too much.
    I asked DELL support about a Linux-related problem and they told me they don't support Linux. They said my laptop was shipped with Windows 2000, so they can't be bothered. While this is certainly true, it's not MY fault that they didn't ship Linux in 2001 when I bought it.
    I've also contacted them about RAID systems, and they corporate sales folks I had contact with didn't really know what they were talking about, so I had to get in touch with a RedHat developer to answer my question (which he instantly did).
    Maybe here's a good way to make money for distro companies: try get a service contract with hardware vendors like DELL, who haven't got enough inhouse expertise (at support level).
    I do hope this engineering effort is part of a wider wave in the company.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @09:23AM (#8217764)
    Think about it another way:

    Dell offer support on all their kit, it's part of the sales procedure. So while you might want Linux on your laptop, it opens them up to a boatload of questions and issues regarding support.

    How does a company offer support on a PC sold with a blank drive?

    Sure, you could do hardware only, but ascertaining what the problem is usually means ruling out the software/drivers first. If you send your laptop back with a faulty video card, how would they test it and get it back to you?

    What I'm saying is that it's all well and good to moan about them not selling you a blank drive laptop, but from their point of view, it's half a product. Dell sell and support laptops with a Windows operating system, and until they can see the market swinging towards a point where a Linux support team is cost-effective and - to be blunt - needed, they aren't going to ship you anything but a Windows laptop.

    Incidentally, it's the same with Apple. Have you tried buying an Apple without an OS? You can't, but no-one ever moans about Apple tax...
  • Re:Vi look works (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Seehund ( 86897 ) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @09:30AM (#8217782) Homepage Journal
    I agree. And I agree with the story submitter; the site certainly does have that "made with Vi" look []. ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @10:13AM (#8217890)
    not true. While it is true that there have been no lay-offs in Texas (or RR- just to prove I am in dell), Dell has a small IT centre in Bangalore. Some of the support for old hardware and some testing is done from here( I work for dell from bangalore in the software side of things).
    BTW I agree with the grandpa poster, Dell has nothing against Linux. I have heard it described as being a OS-agnostic company internally. Whatever the customer demographic wants Dell ships. A whole lot of servers are shipped with Linux but unfortunately very few laptops or desktops. It will change though as soon as more customers want Linux. And really I have never seen anybody mention anything anti-linux at dell eiother
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @10:14AM (#8217894)
    I do IT for a university that uses Dell as a preferred supplier. Dell have just agreed (finally) to ship PCs sans Windows - so they're at least willing to discuss an MS free machine now.
  • Re:Interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Daengbo ( 523424 ) <daengbo AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday February 08, 2004 @10:23AM (#8217927) Homepage Journal
    It will still be a long time before you see consumer level machines roll out with Linux on them.
    Oh, I don't know abou that... Over half the machine in any hypermarket I walk into are pre-loaded with Linux, and one manufacturer, Liberta, even has their own branded version, which now stands at version 1.2 and comes with Pladao, the Thai localized version of OO.o. It has been this way for almost two years.
    Consumer level Linux is happening, just not in the places you are looking. Dan
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @11:35AM (#8218256)
    Anyone know how good Dell is at respecting privacy? Their privacy policy states:
    ...or with companies that help Dell fulfill its obligations with you, and then only with partners who share Dell's commitment to protecting your privacy and data.
    Which to my mind is equivalent to saying, "I'm only going to share your secrets with three of my very best friends. Trust me."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @12:05PM (#8218465)
    Actually, PowerEdge, Precision, Latitude and Optiplex help is back in the US. Too many complaints from the field geeks to Dell about wasting an hour on the phone with Haji trying to spell out their names and not being able to deviate from the script.

    IE: hard drive heads banging against side of case. We know the drive is dead, the dell reps in the us know the drive is dead, the squishy salesman in India? to do the scripts....bastards
  • Dell needs to... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @12:10PM (#8218488)
    If Dell is going to promote linux and linux help throughout their web site, then they *need* to start shipping the machines with linux or without windows. I have no idea what deal they have with Microsoft that prevents them from shipping alternative O/S's, but it's ridiculous. Most college kids can get a legal copy of Windows XP for $10 from their university, and open source operating systems are free.

    I'd be more inclined to buy a laptop from Dell if I didn't have to drop extra money for an operating system I don't want. Until then, I'll be using my powerbook.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2004 @01:54PM (#8219225)
    First of all -- laptop support in Linux basically sucks. You will never get Windows-level support for power management, docking station, DVD support and so on. This is primarily a Linux or a Distro problem, not a Dell problem (maybe 2.6 will make things a little better) -- If I was an OEM, I'd run like hell from this situation as well.

    Someone at one of these companies has to get off their ass, call up their hardware vendors and DEMAND that all components provided come with Windows AND Linux driver support.

    If you keep buying 4000 laptops, it will happen. IBM tried a corporate laptop with Linux and had to cancel it due to poor sales.
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @06:47PM (#8220999) Homepage Journal
    $40,000,000,000 sounds like a lot of money, but it's not when you are spending about eight and a half billion each quarter. See this story [] about their last quarterly report. They could, in theory, bankrupt themselves in less than two years.

  • doh, wrong link. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by twitter ( 104583 ) on Sunday February 08, 2004 @06:50PM (#8221017) Homepage Journal
    see here [] for a Microsoft numbers. Of 10 in revenue, 1.55 is actual income. With expenses like that, the money can go fast.

Air is water with holes in it.