Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Linux Business

Pre-Installed Linux On Dells Coming 340

When Michael Dell took back the reins of he company he founded, one of the first things he did was to launch the feedback site Dell Idea Storm. Following up on the recent Slashdot discussion of the early results of this experiment — an overwhelming expressed desire for pre-loaded LinuxDell reports on what it plans to do with this feedback. Quoting: "[W]e are working with Novell to certify our corporate client products for Linux, including our OptiPlex desktops, Latitude notebooks and Dell Precision workstations. [On the question of which distro to choose:] "[T]here is no single customer preference for a distribution of Linux... We want users to have the opportunity to help define the market for Linux on desktop and notebook systems. In addition to working with Novell, we are also working with other distributors and evaluating the possibility of additional certifications across our product line."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Pre-Installed Linux On Dells Coming

Comments Filter:
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday February 25, 2007 @09:25PM (#18147812)
    As long as "Linux" has the drivers for the hardware. That's all that matters.
  • by AoT ( 107216 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @09:26PM (#18147826) Homepage Journal
    Bah, they're going through Novell.

    Clearly the Novell Microsoft team up is having some affect on industry.
  • by topical_surfactant ( 906185 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @09:29PM (#18147854)
    Exactly! If I can purchase a laptop from a company knowing it will all just work out of the box in Linux, they will have my business almost immediately.
  • Re:For real? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @09:46PM (#18148006) Journal
    Now only if there will be enough people actualy requesting it to make then want to keep offering it.

    It would be a real slap in the face for Michael Dell if after all the support for linux installed computers was shown on the ideas website, and the company taking steps to do so, and then find out there isn't really a demand for them.

    Let's hope there are enough customers doing more then saying they are interested to keep this going.
  • Re:Yeah, right. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by peterbiltman ( 1059884 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @09:47PM (#18148016) Homepage
    Did you ever think the reason they discountinued it was there was no demand?
  • Re:Yeah, right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shados ( 741919 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @09:51PM (#18148052)
    Part of why the Windows desktops are cheaper is because of the insane amount of crap sponsored to be put on there. A bit like advertisements keeping certain things free (for better or worse). So of course if they go and sell a machine without those (not many crapware marketing in the *nix world), they have to make up the difference somehow, either by raising the price, either on only putting it on high profit margin desktops. Sucks, but thats how it works.
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday February 25, 2007 @10:15PM (#18148230)

    It would be a real slap in the face for Michael Dell if after all the support for linux installed computers was shown on the ideas website, and the company taking steps to do so, and then find out there isn't really a demand for them.

    #1. The "support" has to include ALL the hardware on the box.

    #2. The boxes have to be the most popular boxes Dell sells already.

    #3. The price cannot be higher than the equivalent Windows box.

    We've already seen "support" which doesn't include everything in the box, which only includes boxes that most people wouldn't buy in the first place and which, for some reason, cost MORE than buying the same box with Windows.

    That's just a ploy to "show" that "no one" really wants Linux on the desktop. Fuck Dell. We've heard it before. If they're really serious this time, it's up to them to demonstrate that.
  • Re:Yeah, right. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Sunday February 25, 2007 @10:19PM (#18148274) Homepage
    Yes, but it's all about profit margin, right? Well Linux is free. There Dell just saved $50 a pop (guess). Linux doesn't need anti-virus, so that'll save you another $20. Doesn't need anti-spyware, that's $20. It includes things like firewalls, CD-burning software, and numerous other things. There may be fewer vendors paying to get on the box, but there are also fewer things Dell has to fork out over. My guess is they could price the same and make MORE profit on the Linux box (not including labor differences because they image so many more Windows computers).
  • by peterbiltman ( 1059884 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @10:19PM (#18148276) Homepage
    Do you honestly think a company like Wal-Mart, who will argue with a vendor for MONTHS about 2 extra inches of floor space being allocated to their product line, is going to spend the TIME, RESOURCES and MANPOWER to get these in and then not advertise them? I remember the advertising for the Wal-Mart Linux laptops. There was no shortage of it. But the bottom line is they didn't sell. Customers didn't want it. So, Wal-Mart being a business, they got rid of it. The same way they get rid of the potato chips that don't sell and bring in another brand that does. Business is about business and what makes money. You can claim all the reasons you want about why it didn't sell, but at the end of the day they are no longer there because very few people bought them. Wal-Mart could give a rats ass whether it was a Linux laptop, Windows desktop, bag of pretzels or a bottle of bleach.
  • by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @10:31PM (#18148344)
    "The laptop loaded with Windows XP [dell.com] costs $699, while the same laptop and configuration loaded with no operating system [dell.com] costs $747.

    So it seems that Windows has a negative price tag as far as Dell is concerned! That's hardy Linux friendly or even consumer friendly. It's downright rotten,"

    All major brand-name computers come with a ton of crapware pre-installed. Why do you think they do that? Because they get PAID to put in there. When you eliminate Windows, you also eliminate the extra revenue from pre-installed crapware.

  • Re:Yeah, right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shados ( 741919 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @10:33PM (#18148356)
    No, thats the thing. The anti-spywares, anti-viruses, etc...Dell don't pay for that. They MAKE money on it: the users don't even WANT it, if they could keep the same profit margin without putting it on, they would, as they'd sell more. For all practical purpose, putting Windows on the box actually ends up with a negative price tag , something that right now, even "free" linux can't beat.
  • by DaveG, the Quantum P ( 664195 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @10:37PM (#18148382)
    The original article said: "We don't want to pick one distribution and alienate users with a preference for another."

    I appreciate that thinking, so if they choose Novell SuSE LInux I think they'd alienate almost all Linux users.

  • by TheoCryst ( 975577 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @10:48PM (#18148482)
    This deal is not designed to make anything better for tech junkies who already have a favorite distro and are comfortable with compiling their own kernel. The whole point of this is to make Linux more accessible for Joe Average, who uses whatever is included on his computer and is terrified to change it. By giving him a (hopefully cheaper) option to buy his laptop with Linux preinstalled, you've just converted someone who would never willing install Linux on his Windows box. This is the market segment that Linux advocates have been unable to reach for years now, and having Linux preinstalled on Dells is by far the best way to woo them. That being said, I'm tossing my hat in for Ubuntu, which has (arguably) the best, idiot-proof experience on the market today. Don't offer a myriad of options on the order page; the only people who would understand them will probably reformat their hard drive when they get their computer anyway. Make it as simple and obvious as possible, and THEN you'll start to see some real market penetration.
  • by penix1 ( 722987 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:26AM (#18149028) Homepage
    Let's see if we can let some wind out of your sails...

    Linux on the desktop will always be a pipe dream. Why? Because Linux refuses to address it's fundamental deficiencies. How many decades longer will it take to get a real installer package which works on every distro?

    There is an installer that works on every (and I mean EVERY) distro. Unlike windows, Linux distros includes all the software in one location generally called a software repository. If all else fails, there is always "./configure && make && make install". It isn't that hard.

    How many decades longer will it take to get the OS to auto-detect and auto-configure new hardware? How many decades longer does Linux need to spend looking at the distant taillights of Windows 95?

    Hell, Windows XP doesn't even do that. If it wasn't for "idiot disks" made by manufacturers the average Joe Sixpack would be just as screwed when the malware ate his system. I have udev installed and it works just fine. I don't know what your problem is.

    But on the positive side, Linux wins hands-down in the "air of undeserved superiority" department, and it also has more text editors than any other OS. When you have tens of thousands of options for text editing, it seems you really don't have to worry about getting it to work as well as Win95 did.

    Well let's just look at what you get with an "out of the box" Windows XP install shall we...

    You get paint, notepad, wordpad, solitare, Internet Explorer & Outlook Express, a broken media player and a calculator. That's it. I bet you can be real productive with those...Last time I looked in my distro's repository I had over 40,000 programs spanning 150 categories.

    Dell's overtures toward Linux are nothing more than a bargaining chip in it's licensing fees with Microsoft. Consumers don't care about/for Linux, they just want something they know and can use. If someone drops a few hundy on a new PC then finds out they can't go to Best Buy to get software for it, that's going to be one pissed off consumer.

    That may be. Only time will tell. That is one downfall to Linux is software availability in stores like Best Buy. Here you have a chicken and egg thing going on....Not enough users of Linux demanding stores carry software (mostly because it is readily available all over the Internet) and stores thinking there is no demand for it (which isn't necessarily true either). As for a customer using Windows software in Linux you are discounting the possibility of virtualization. If setup properly, by the manufacturer, then that takes away that argument.

  • Crapplets? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:32AM (#18149068) Journal
    Using an OEM OS install in this day and age is just plain stupid. Not only do they all sell access to their image, they don't tell you who they sold it to, or under what terms. Running thier OS is like downloading software from random internet sites.

    The OS and crapplets they install shouldn't matter, because the first thing you should do is wipe the drive and install your OS from the original media that came from the OS provider, not the PC OEM.

    Personally, if they ship this they'll be selling me at least one, and more likely five. Good on 'em. Nuts to all the /.'ers that think you should wait until the thing is perfect. The Windows PC's are far from perfect. That I get a laptop that's linux compatible and I don't have to pay the Microsoft tax, that's enough for me.

    Now if I could only hold off until they've got a quad core Dell notebook...

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @01:33AM (#18149368)
    "So Dell is saying that the presence of Windows degrades the value of a computer? I can't argue with that."


    Seriously though, I wonder if they mark it up because of percieved tech support problems down the road. I know Windows has its share of BS, but I cannot imagine having Linux-trained support staff ready to answer questions about .CONF files etc.
  • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:04AM (#18149502)
    Seriously though, I wonder if they mark it up because of percieved tech support problems down the road.

    The comparison wasn't with Linux installed, but nothing. If you install Linux yourself, you won;t get ANY support at all, so that's not the issue.

    Even so, why should Linux tech support cost them more? It's all outsourced anyway to people who read through checklists like robots. They can just as easily tell you to reboot and reinstall your Linux system as they do your Windows.

  • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:11AM (#18149536) Journal
    Building from source is not an appropriate response. The problem is libraries. For packages in a repository system with specified dependencies, it will work (as I assume Gentoo does it), but if you have a repository system you could just as easily distribute binary packages as well. As all the other distributions do it.

    But for causal software that hasn't been blessed into one of the various repositories, building from source is not an adequate solution. It could be made to be by having some kind of standard dependencies resolver (after all, the needed libraries are probably part of the distribution blessed repository) or including pared down versions of the needed libraries for static linking, or probably a half dozen ideas that a non programmer such as myself do not find obvious.

    But AFAIK, that's all done manually in all the distributions I'm familiar with. I've spent many a night back in the day hunting down what package contains libsomething.so.6 or glibsomething.obscure.so.whatever on rpmfind.net, then re-running the configurator, having it fail again, hunting down the next library, until I just got sick of it.
  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @02:21AM (#18149594) Journal
    '#1. The "support" has to include ALL the hardware on the box.

    Why wouldn't it?'

    It is not unusual to see a supposedly linux compatable system with an unsupported sound card or winmodem. Or a desktop with sata1, sata2, and ide where the sata or sata2 controllers aren't supported. I would take this a step further, it isn't enough for all the hardware to be supported, all the functionality supported for that hardware on the windows system but be supported under Linux as well.

    'The problem is that many (but certianly not all) people are attracted to Linux because it's "free," but what they tend to ignore is all the time and effort they spend selecting, installing, configuring, and self-supporting a distribution and/or the associated hardware, by which I mean the Linux user is generally his own tech support. When someone else takes on those roles, the costs shift accordingly, and you pay for it in dollars rather than man hours. For some reason, seeing their man hours of work translated into $100-$200 is shocking, and people think "I'll just buy the Windows system and install Linux myself." What they need to realize that Linux is not "free as in beer," because there is no such thing.'

    I can easily setup most linux configurations in half the time I can setup a comparable windows configuration. Of course that assumes linux compatable hardware. There is no reason that Dell couldn't manage to do the same. First, most people are their own tech support when running windows as well. Have you ever wasted time calling Microsoft or a pc vendor? Few people make that mistake twice unless hardware fails and they have to RMA something. Second, you strongly imply that Linux somehow takes more time to configure and administer than windows and that is simply false.

    'The gap widens further when you factor in the lack of "advertising" (in the form of pre-installed trial software).'

    That is a valid point. However when purchasing a windows machine from Dell you can pick a radio button to not have that software installed without a price change. If it doesn't add to my price tag to choose the windows system without the preinstalled software than Dell should not charge more for a linux system without said software.
  • by aileanmacraith ( 1022745 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @04:19AM (#18150220) Journal
    I posted this story and it's not the headline I chose. Mine was "Dell to preinstall Linux on their machines?", and then I simply reported it as facts. The editing has changed the tone of what I posted anyway.
  • by NDPTAL85 ( 260093 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @09:08AM (#18151778)
    Only a true geek could possibly not know the answer to your question.

    Compiling from source is an extremely counter-intuitive way of installing software. If you are trying to promote wider acceptance and usage of Linux than telling people that they can compile from source if all else fails is absolutely not the way to do it.

    There's a social disconnect here that you aren't percieving.
  • Re:Yeah, right. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Neil Watson ( 60859 ) on Monday February 26, 2007 @12:02PM (#18153646) Homepage
    IP lawsuits and deceptive marketing assure us that there is no free market in at least the western world.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"