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Shuttleworth Tells Linux Users to Stop Being So Fussy For OEMs 386

Anonymous writes "Mark Shuttleworth says Linux users may need to stop being so fussy when putting demands on OEMs for pre-installed Linux PCs. CRN finds a response to Shuttleworth that seems to be both amusing and telling at the same time."
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Shuttleworth Tells Linux Users to Stop Being So Fussy For OEMs

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  • by big_gibbon ( 530793 ) <> on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @12:08PM (#18348533) Homepage

    From TFA:

    Microsoft co-marketing funds are a substantial portion of the profit margins for many large PC retailers. Tweaking the nose of the giant might be fun but it's risky. If Microsoft reduces the per-PC marketing contribution it makes for a particular reseller, that puts them at a huge financial disadvantage relative to their competitors.

    It's not the costs of the OS that are the issue, it's the fact that Microsoft may take their ball and go home. Once that happens, you could be stuck with narrower margins, even if you're saving on the OS.

  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by eln ( 21727 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @12:08PM (#18348547)
    What planet are you living on? With the exception of the Wii, none of the next-gen consoles ship with a game, and I don't think any of the previous gen ones did either (by default).

    As for DVD players, maybe if you buy them at a fancy electronics store that overcharges for them, they might throw in a DVD. But that's probably the store doing it, not the manufacturer. I've never purchased a DVD player (or VCR or TV for that matter) that came with a movie included.
  • by Volante3192 ( 953645 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @12:22PM (#18348769)
    They rivet the cases shut on Dells!

    Baloney. Having worked with Dell systems that are up to 5 years old, I have to admit that while the parts themselves are crap, you can field strip a Dell desktop in under a minute. They are VERY modular and have only gotten better in that respect. Desktop models hardly use screws anymore, just tabs and buttons.

    Taking a hard drive out of a Dell Inspiron? Two screws under the PCMCIA slot. Four screws to remove the HD from its cover guard. That's it.

    Taking a hard drive out of a Sony Vaio? ...Let's just say it includes popping off the keyboard and nearly every screw in the thing. And that's for starters...

    If there's one thing Dell's done right, it's made cases that are stupid easy to field service. (Obviously for good reason, considering how often they need to be serviced.)
  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by apt142 ( 574425 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @01:39PM (#18350095) Homepage Journal
    My point is, if you're technically capable, and an OS is installed you can change it.

    But, if we want Linux to be introduced to the masses then we have to assume the masses won't know enough to install it themselves. So, sell them pre-installed. The cost won't be any different from a naked system. And it'll serve the lowest common denominator of buyer. If you don't like it. Change it, you can. They can't. That's my point.
  • Re: Shuttleworth who (Score:3, Informative)

    by norminator ( 784674 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @02:14PM (#18350827)

    Is this someone I relay should be concerned with telling me to settle down. Um considering Dell is actually moving towards putting Linux on desk tops, why should we settle down as it seams to be working and people are lisining.

    As someone else already replied to your post, he doesn't mean we should settle down about wanting Linux, he means we should settle down about exactly how we want Linux on those Dells.

    Obviously any 1337 user who knows exactly which distro and which version of that distro he/she wants, which window manager and text editor he/she wants probably already has CDs burned, and would rather do the job themselves. The exciting part of Dell offering Linux preinstalled is not that I expect to be able to get a Linux box pre-customized exactly the way I want it. The exciting part is that this means all of our parents and friends who look at a Linux command prompt and think "Why does this have DOS on it?" (if they even know what DOS is) can get a system that's fully functional, with hardware that is supported and tested. The point is that Linux can be made available to mainstream users, and can be made easy to use, and most importantly, that normal people will hear about Linux, and find out why they would possibly want to leave Windows behind.

    This doesn't take anything away from the Linux power user who doesn't use a full KDE or Gnome DE, and only uses a minimalist WM with hundreds of memorized keyboard shortcuts. Those users probably won't be buying from Dell anyway, and if they do, they would rather install their own OS. The bright side of things for those users though, is that if Dell does start offering Linux as a preinstalled option for a significant number of their consumer systems, they would probably also include the option of shipping the systems with no OS.

    So just be glad they're considering preinstalling Linux at all, and don't complain about Dell not giving you what you want... because if you know what you want, you're not the type of person who would normally want it from them! Also, on the last quote from the article:

    i'm getting so sick and tired of hearing excuses and rationalizations. just put the cd in the cupholder, install it and sell it. period. there's no need to analyze or certify. what is so hard about this?

    I don't see what is amusing or telling about this quote... Of course there is a need to analyze and certify. As I said, these PCs need to be able to go out to grandmothers, liberal arts college students, construction workers, single moms, high school kids, and anyone else that may not know how to install NVidia drivers from the command prompt. Hardware does have to be certified and working out of the box, the software does have to be customized for people who aren't "computer people", and the distribution does have to be chosen carefully. I don't think anyone's giving any invalid excuses or rationalizations. These decisions take time, and no matter what choices are made, lots of people are going to find things to complain about. If Dell takes the time to carefully study and consider the factors involved, that might just show that they care about putting Linux in a good light.
  • Agreed. That wasn't a response. It simply quoted a few paragraphs and then made NO COMMENTARY on them. Instead it cited a few facts that have little to do with what Shuttleworth said. The /. editors and submitter should be ashamed.
  • Re:Fatal flaw (Score:3, Informative)

    by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @03:26PM (#18352387)
    With all my searching, though, starting at, I can't find it. So you have to know you need to go right to

    That right there is a problem.
  • by samwichse ( 1056268 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @04:24PM (#18353515)
    In my experience, practically every new PCI modem you find is a winmodem. And finding out which chipset before buying is a real task.

    There is an easy (and cheap) way to get a real hardmodem though. Just buy an external modem with a serial interface. If it's got a serial interface, it's got to be a hardmodem.

    Plug it in, set your modem to /dev/ttyS0 and you're off.

    One at ComputerGeeks [] for $10.50.
  • by bfields ( 66644 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:01PM (#18354065) Homepage

    Ever seen a (dell/HP/Compaq/etc) straight out of the box? There are like 50 programs installed ... each vendor pays the computer manufacturer to put these things on their PC's. So the cost of windows gets paid for, mostly or even in excess, by these vendors.

    Yeah, I suspect it's true that the installed software is largely advertising-supported.

    If linux caught on on the desktop, though, I'd be really surprised if they didn't figure out how to do the same thing--want the default firefox bookmarks to mention your site? Want some tie-in to your music site whenever something's played on rhythmbox? Want a "set up Speakeasy DSL now!" icon on the desktop? We can arrange that for you for a fee....

    A truly open system, with free drivers, free software only installed, etc., limits somewhat how obnoxious they can get, since the user isn't as dependent on them for the install image that works on their particular machine. But the vendor can still get a lot of eyeballs.

  • by EsbenMoseHansen ( 731150 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @05:51PM (#18354761) Homepage

    One, you are theorizing that "M$" adds hundreds of dollars to the cost of a PC. Would you care to back that claim up for us? Do you actually claim that the $200 computer does not exist because of "M$"?

    Excuse me for throwing water on that nice bonfire of a discussion ;) But in this country, many biggish (that is, big in the national picture) vendors sell desktop boxes with and without windows preinstalled. The price difference is about 80 euro, or 65 euro or so before taxes. This is across multiple vendors and configuration, so I think this is a fair take on the price hit that windows occurs, at least in this country.

  • by Doug Neal ( 195160 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @06:21PM (#18355125)

    The first vendor to deliver a $200 computer with nothing but free software on it is going to win big time and there's nothing M$ will be able to do about it.
    Didn't Walmart do exactly that a couple of years back, with Lindows preinstalled?

    I seem to remember it wasn't such a huge success... although I could be wrong as I live in the UK and haven't seen first-hand how popular they are, but I certainly haven't read anything about them in ages.

You are always doing something marginal when the boss drops by your desk.