Archive for the ‘Dell’ Category

Dell’s Ubuntu Netbook FAIL

August 23, 2009

So I headed over to dell.ca to look at their netbooks with Ubuntu and this is what I just saw:

Dell.ca Netbooks: 'Ubuntu' machines have no discount AND don't have Ubuntu!

The “Ubuntu” netbooks don’t get a discount, but the XP ones do (so you save nothing… oh and no free movie on a flash drive either) AND…

…here’s the kicker…

they come with XP anyway.

Seriously (I clicked the link to check).

Dell, I should buy from you WHY?

Update Aug. 24: Dell updated the site so that there’s now a “Mini 10v Ubuntu” but its still the same price as the (discounted) “Mini 10v XP”.  Why does Dell have to play shell games with the prices?  Grr!

Update Aug. 25: More Dell Ubuntu Netbook FAIL!

Disappointment with Dell’s “Inspiron Mini 9″

September 4, 2008

Dell finally released their “Inspiron Mini 9″ (aka 910, aka E) and I’m not impressed; they didn’t meet the expectations that had been set in the media prior to release.  Here are four gripes I can list:

1. This is probably the most obvious; the base model is NOT $299.  Hopes were high that Dell would have the best deal around and set a new price-point that would help establish a sub-$300 market for netbooks. [update: also, low-end notebooks tend to be ~$400 these days... except with better specs.  So unless you specifically want/need a very small form factor (e.g. for children's small hands) it makes more sense to get a cheap notebook.]

2. Dell’s pricing-shenanigans with Ubuntu vs Windows… AGAIN; it turns out that for the same hardware, systems with Ubuntu are at least as expensive and sometimes even more expensive!  Bad Dell!

3. Its not Ubuntu proper or Ubuntu’s Netbook Remix, its something called “Mini OS powered by Ubuntu 8.04″.  Um… ok… not what I wanted though…

4. The specially-designed keyboard, upon which allegedly the Mini 9 has been delayed for so long, has an “appalling” layout.

Oh well…

Towards a “Microsoft-free world”

August 8, 2008

[Update August 8: I note, via Groklaw’s News Picks that Two security researchers have developed a new technique that essentially bypasses all of the memory protection safeguards in the Windows Vista operating system [...] By taking advantage of the way that browsers, specifically Internet Explorer, handle active scripting and .NET objects, the pair have been able to load essentially whatever content they want into a location of their choice on a user’s machine.  Researchers who have read the paper that Dowd and Sotirov wrote on the techniques say their work is a major breakthrough and there is little that Microsoft can do to address the problems. The attacks themselves are not based on any new vulnerabilities in IE or Vista, but instead take advantage of Vista’s fundamental architecture and the ways in which Microsoft chose to protect it. “The genius of this is that it’s completely reusable,” said Dino Dai Zovi, a well-known security researcher and author. “They have attacks that let them load chosen content to a chosen location with chosen permissions. That’s completely game over. “What this means is that almost any vulnerability in the browser is trivially exploitable,” Dai Zovi added. “A lot of exploit defenses are rendered useless by browsers. ASLR and hardware DEP are completely useless against these attacks.” [...] “This stuff just takes a knife to a large part of the security mesh Microsoft built into Vista,” Dai Zovi said. “If you think about the fact that .NET loads DLLs into the browser itself and then Microsoft assumes they’re safe because they’re .NET objects, you see that Microsoft didn’t think about the idea that these could be used as stepping stones for other attacks.” So much for “the most secure” OS.]

John C. Dvorak has a column up, comparing Microsoft to a ‘Spandex Granny‘:

Vista is essentially the old hooker with a bad facelift and too much makeup. She also can’t remember her customers. Microsoft cannot seem to arrive at this self-realization, and, instead, hopes to be the debutante forever. The situation is beginning to take on the feeling of a Tales from the Crypt story—both sad and creepy. [...] Microsoft has seen better days, like an athlete at the end of a career. Some endings are good, some are bad. I hope Microsoft will find one of the good ways. Pretending to be a small, agile company after 20 years isn’t working.

And so with that lovely introduction, let’s segue to what Linux is up to:

“For the first time, IBM and leading Linux distributors Canonical/Ubuntu, Novell and Red Hat will join forces globally with their hardware partners to deliver Microsoft-free personal computing choices with Lotus Notes and Lotus Symphony in the one billion-unit desktop market worldwide by 2009. Citing shifting market forces and the growing demand for economical alternatives to costly Windows and Office-based computers, the four leaders sense an ideal set of circumstances allowing Linux-based desktops to proliferate in the coming year. Linux is far more profitable for a PC vendor and the operating system is better equipped to work with lower cost hardware than new Microsoft technology. “The slow adoption of Vista among businesses and budget-conscious CIOs, coupled with the proven success of a new type of Microsoft-free PC in every region, provides an extraordinary window of opportunity for Linux,” said Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president for IBM Lotus Software. “We’ll work to unlock the desktop to save our customers money and give freedom of choice by offering this industry-leading solution.”

Zimbra, the open-source e-mail software that Yahoo acquired for $350 million last year, is officially coming to Ubuntu Linux. Coinciding with this week’s LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco, Zimbra has announced a partnership with Ubuntu parent company Canonical. Ubuntu users have been able to access Zimbra for the past year. But now, the e-mail software will be in the Ubuntu Partner Repository [the package name is zdesktop, just FYI], providing easy access to both offline and online Yahoo Mail, Gmail, AOL Mail, and any IMAP or POP e-mail accounts. Zimbra also offers document and spreadsheet functions, as well as mashup features with services like Flickr, Amazon.com, and Yahoo Maps.”

“Bob Sutor, VP of open source and standards at IBM, told attendees of the LinuxWorld Conference in San Francisco, that what the open source community needs to make Linux popular as a desktop OS used by consumers and businesses are “some really good graphic designers.” “Stop copying 2001 Windows. That’s not where the usability action is,” Sutor said during his afternoon keynote. [...] Sutor said he believed the many open source licenses, as well as the many software standards bodies, that exist today, would eventually dwindle to only a few. As it is now, five or six open source licenses cover more than 90% of the available software today. [...] Going forward, however, the Linux community had to be conscious of the “enemies of open source” and couldn’t rest. Although Sutor didn’t say who these enemies are, Microsoft has certainly been a major detractor.”

“For customers in the United States [...] the Dell XPS M1530n and Studio 15n notebooks are now available with Ubuntu 8.04 factory installed.”

Dell continues to expand its Ubuntu sales area

February 24, 2008

Dell originally announced that it was going to ship Ubuntu systems, only in the U.S., on May 1, 2007. On August 7, 2007 they announced the addition of Germany, France and the U.K. Most recently, on February 21, 2008, they announced the addition of Canada and all of Central and South America.

Dell as a company is clearly not doing this as a charity or public service; there is a real demand for these systems, contrary to what the occasional naysayer (do consider the source) would have you believe.

I expect that in the not-too-distant future, Dell will add Australia and more (if not the rest) of Europe to the list of nations being offered Ubuntu systems. I wouldn’t be surprised if the timing is planned for shortly after Hardy Heron (Ubuntu 8.04) is released in April, or its update (aka ‘service pack’ in Microspeak) 8.04.1 in June.

[post submitted to ELL]

Update: Now China too! (announced March 3)

Dell: one step forward, two steps back

December 19, 2007

Ubuntu famously has Bug #1, reported by Mark Shuttleworth before the first Ubuntu release: “Microsoft has a majority market share”. But its really more than just that, as the current description of the bug mentions:

Non-free software is holding back innovation in the IT industry, restricting access to IT to a small part of the world’s population and limiting the ability of software developers to reach their full potential, globally. This bug is widely evident in the PC industry.

Its not just Microsoft (though they are one of the worst offenders), its also Apple, Adobe, etc. Today I commented on this bug:

http://www.ubuntu.com/

“Ubuntu CDs contain only free software applications; we encourage you to use free and open source software, improve it and pass it on.”

http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/84

“I hear you when you say “users want proprietary codecs”. That’s why we make sure these items ARE available, at the user’s option, as packages on the network repositories. That allows users who need that functionality, or who choose that functionality over free alternatives, to exercise that choice freely. We don’t make that choice for them, though of course there is huge demand from real users for that. And we will stay firm in that regard. Ubuntu does not, and will never, include proprietary applications.

http://direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2007/12/18/38935.aspx

one step forward…

“Today, we’re adding Ubuntu 7.10 (a.k.a Gutsy Gibbon) to the Dell Consumer Linux line-up for customers in the United States. It will also be available on the Inspiron 530 in England, France, and Germany later this week.”

two steps back…

Pre-installation of [Adobe's] Flash for a better web experience”

“we now include built-in DVD movie playback with all Ubuntu 7.10 systems” using LinDVD

While its one thing if Dell wants to preload flashplugin-nonfree (which still is clearly NOT in the ‘spirit of Ubuntu‘), I am much more concerned by the fact that they’re using LinDVD to play a restricted format, as its not available in Ubuntu’s repositories (contrast with a case like MP3 support via gstreamer0.10-fluendo-mp3). The LinDVD page says “LinDVD, InterVideo’s Linux software DVD player, is currently available only to manufacturers for evaluation and integration.” Is this only legally available to Dell owners then?

It looks like Dell wants to create a DellOS distro based on Ubuntu with various of proprietary things in the mix (ala Linspire) to help sell their computers. There’s nothing stopping them from doing that, but is it really fair for Dell to be calling this “Ubuntu” though?

Update: Mark Shuttleworth responds:

The question of OEM’s adding proprietary bits to Ubuntu has been the subject of long discussions here. In the end we concluded that customers always have the option of buying the systems and installing Ubuntu themselves, without those. Most folks who are primarily freedom-focused and self-powered will do that, and many of them then add Flash in any event. But folks who are buying a complete solution have said they want the DVD playback, and want it pre-installed for them.

Ubuntu itself is unaffected by this decision. Folks who want Linux, with those capabilities installed, can get it.

and… so do I:

“we concluded that customers always have the option of buying the systems and installing Ubuntu themselves, without those.”

I can buy a computer from Dell with Windows on it and overwrite the HD with Ubuntu, but that’s also sub-optimal.

Adobe’s Flash plugin is gratis; AFAIK, LinDVD is not however. As it is bundled with Dell’s Ubuntu systems, have we not just started trading the ‘Microsoft tax’ for a different ‘proprietary software tax’? Is that really any better in the long-run?

Philosophically, how does this ‘Dellbuntu’ really differ from Linspire?

“Starting with the best that open source has to offer Linspire adds [...] proprietary software [...] and codecs”

Update 2: houstonbofh replied:

Providing a “free” OS if different from delivering a free OS. Yes, Dell is adding there “value add” to Ubuntu. Have you looked at a Dell Windows PC lately? If you want a clean Windows install on a Dell, you reinstall Windows. An entire project (The Dell Decrapiffier) was created just to address this. It is not a surprise that they also want to put a stamp on the Ubuntu desktop, and if we try and stop that, we are stepping on Dell’s freedom. And having them ship a commercial project shows the viability of the Linux market, and this is not a bad thing. While Dell mucking about with the desktop (any desktop) is a ugly thing, it is a sign of a very good thing; the adoption of Linux by the infrastructure that made the wintel standard so powerful.

And so I wrote:

“It is not a surprise that they also want to put a stamp on the Ubuntu desktop, and if we try and stop that, we are stepping on Dell’s freedom.”

If they wanted to rebrand the systems ‘Dellbuntu’ that would be different. This cheapens the name Ubuntu and mocks its core principles. It is also a step backwards; a proprietary Flash plugin and DVD player software are examples of exactly what Bug #1 is about:

“Non-free software is holding back innovation in the IT industry, restricting access to IT to a small part of the world’s population and limiting the ability of software developers to reach their full potential, globally. This bug is widely evident in the PC industry.”

Up until now, despite some annoyance I’ve had about the way Dell was going about handling its Ubuntu systems (including not selling them here in Canada ;), I planned to replace my current system with a Dell when it got older. But if they’re going to pull games like this too, I’m going to reconsider.

I note that Mr. Shuttleworth has blogged about the proprietary DVD playback as a good thing: “the US patent landscape makes that impossible, so for the moment this requires proprietary software”

Why does it have to be preinstalled though? Why can’t users be given the option to download it like Real Player from Canonical’s partner repository? If its not even gratis, that is a very slippery slope Dell is heading down indeed.

But arguments for ‘legal’ encrypted DVD playback aside, what justification is there for the preloaded proprietary Flash plugin?

Also I note in the comments to that post:

“Excellent news! Next step is audio and video codecs – mainly mp3, wmv and others.”

What is there to stop Dell from including all sorts of non-free codecs and STILL calling it Ubuntu? At what point does Ubuntu slide down the slippery slope and the “Ubuntu promise” become a bad joke?

Update 3: I filed a new idea on Ideastorm:

Dell should follow the ‘spirit of Ubuntu’ for its Ubuntu systems!

I was all excited to read that “Today, we’re adding Ubuntu 7.10 (a.k.a Gutsy Gibbon) to the Dell Consumer Linux line-up for customers in the United States. It will also be available on the Inspiron 530 in England, France, and Germany later this week.” but then it was with a bit of horror that I read:

“Pre-installation of [Adobe's] Flash for a better web experience”

and

“we now include built-in DVD movie playback with all Ubuntu 7.10 systems” using LinDVD

So under the guise of ‘customer desire’ Dell is going contrary to the ‘spirit of Ubuntu’ by preinstalling non-libre software. What’s worse, as confirmed by a second posting:

“Note that this is a closed-source, proprietary application, and is not included on the Ubuntu 7.10 OS media. [...] ISO images DO NOT CONTAIN LinDVD, as LinDVD is a non-free application that is included in the cost of a system purchased with our Ubuntu 7.10 factory-installation. We’ll make information available on how this application can be purchased after the holidays.”

Apparently Dell thinks that because they can hide the cost of Windows in a regular Dell system, its OK to hide the cost of a proprietary application in their Ubuntu systems.

NO IT IS NOT!!!

If Dell wants to sell LinDVD as an add-on, that’s fine, but one of the major draws of Ubuntu is specifically the LACK of proprietary software and its FREE cost. Do not force users to pay for non-libre, non-gratis software by attempting to bundle it into the cost of the hardware!

Also, regarding Adobe’s Flash, while most Ubuntu users will likely want it, its again contrary to the ‘spirit of Ubuntu’ to force users to have it by default. Quoting Mark Shuttleworth:

“I hear you when you say “users want proprietary codecs”. That’s why we make sure these items ARE available, at the user’s option, as packages on the network repositories. That allows users who need that functionality, or who choose that functionality over free alternatives, to exercise that choice freely. We don’t make that choice for them, though of course there is huge demand from real users for that. And we will stay firm in that regard. Ubuntu does not, and will never, include proprietary applications.“

Ubuntu 7.10 will automatically offer Adobe’s Flash or the libre Gnash plugin when Firefox encounters a SWF file, so there is NO NEED to bundle it.

So allow me to suggest how Dell can make its Ubuntu systems better:

When a customer orders one, have a software choice like the following, which assumes LinDVD costs $20:

Ubuntu 7.10 [subtract $20]
Ubuntu 7.10 with proprietary codecs (Flash, etc.) [subtract $20]
Ubuntu 7.10 with proprietary codecs (Flash, etc.) and LinDVD player [Included in Price]

Dell could then go all contrary to Ubuntu’s philosophy and include things like MP3 support via the gratis but not fully libre fluendo codec but give users a say in the matter.

Alternately, if Dell is going to insist on bundling all sorts of non-libre and non-gratis software and not give the purchasers a choice about it, please stop calling it Ubuntu!

If you feel that I have a point, please vote to promote the idea! :-)

Update 4

I left a comment on Mark Shuttleworth’s blog post, but its still “awaiting moderation” so we’ll see if it actually posts:

Mr. Shuttleworth, while I understand that you’re happy that Dell’s Ubuntu derivative will appeal to a wider audience than free software advocates, I must direct your attention to http://direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2007/12/19/38924.aspx

“Several people have been asking about the reinstallation DVD ISO’s mentioned in the post. We have made these available for download on the wiki. These ISO’s duplicate a factory-installed Ubuntu 7.10 image from Dell for those systems listed. They have not been tested on any systems other than those listed, so they may or may not work well on other systems. Note that these ISO images DO NOT CONTAIN LinDVD, as LinDVD is a non-free application that is included in the cost of a system purchased with our Ubuntu 7.10 factory-installation. We’ll make information available on how this application can be purchased after the holidays.”

Are they really saying that LinDVD is going to be bundled into the cost of the hardware? With no way to decline that? When you go through their purchase system on http://www.dell.com/ubuntu that appears to be the case. It is the same sneaky technique used to mask the cost of Windows on a PC. I can’t imagine that you approve of that; please use your influence with Dell to make LinDVD an OPTIONAL purchase; I don’t want to be *forced* to buy proprietary software to get an Ubuntu PC from Dell!

Also, he made another post to Bug #1:

> What is there to stop Dell from including all sorts of non-free codecs
> and STILL calling it Ubuntu? At what point does Ubuntu slide down the
> slippery slope and the “Ubuntu promise” become a bad joke?

The Ubuntu promise has always been that *we* will publish a system which
has only free software applications, but that we would work with
proprietary vendors to make sure their stuff works on Ubuntu because
Ubuntu users have every right to choose a proprietary application if
they want. We took the difficult step of deciding to include proprietary
drivers precisely because we WANT people to experience free software,
even if their hardware provider has not yet figured out how to do Linux
properly. In this case Dell is the user, and Dell is also acting on
behalf of their customers.

The underlying idea is that Ubuntu should express the best of free
software, but that it should also be useful to EVERYONE and a platform
on top of which people can build even if they don’t have entirely the
same set of values. We are not trying to beat freedom into the skulls of
those who do not want it, we are showing them what is possible and
leading them towards that freedom one step at a time.
The set of people who will build their own kernel with all the firmware
removed is very, very small, and they can help themselves. We, at
ubuntu.com, aim to reach a wider audience, which is people who are
passionate about free software and want a trusted, convenient place to
get it. They will make their own decisions about non-free applications
they might add, just as you describe. Dell is aiming for a slightly
wider audience, of people who are willing to try something more advanced
or new, but don’t want to stumble on something they consider a basic
element, such as DVD playback, just because there are US patents on that
technology.
Update 5:I’m rather discouraged and a bit disappointed at this point. Not really by Mark, since his heart is in the right place, but more by Dell who refuses to sell an all-free OS (just as they have consistently refused to sell no-OS computers). At this point I won’t be buying a Dell machine, let alone recommend anyone else buy one. Oh well, there’s always system76 and ZaReason (or I could build my own machine… with some help anyway; I’m not really a hardware person).
Update 6:I just noticed that iTWire has an article referencing this post:
If Linux on the desktop is to have any hope of making a serious impact on Microsoft’s market share, then it needs to have companies like Dell and Asus pushing it out to the mass consumer markets of the world. Those consumers are simply not concerned with the niceties, political correctness and purity of the version of Linux on their machines. All they want is a computer that works out of the box. And as far as I can tell, that is what Dell is trying to deliver.

The comments on the post indicate to me that I’m very much in the minority position, that “there’s no problem with what Dell is doing here”, “We should praise Dell for making an effort to promote Linux, not knock them.”, “I applaud Dell for listening to customers” and “It’s attitudes like those expressed by Limulus that continue to try and drive a stake in the heart of Linux.”

:(

Update 7:

Many more comments have been made on the iTWite article and I’m glad to head that I’m not alone in my concerns! :)


The fuss is good
written by TheQuickBrownFox, December 21, 2007
Note: All instances of the word “free” in the following are as in “freedom”.

I think it’s great that people are making a fuss. The point of the free software movement is not to get everyone using Linux no matter what. It is to get people to use free software for their own good. There may be cases where the only solution is proprietary (DVD playback, unfortunately) but the act of bundling proprietary software with a system whose main advantage is to be free should be met with some resistance every time. It’s starting down a slippery slope to bundle DVD software. The next step would be mp3 playback software. But there is a perfectly good ogg audio codec that we should be promoting for the same reasons as Linux. We shouldn’t restrict freedom to the world of computing but aim to spread it to other industries too. This is already beginning to happen thanks to the temptation to use Linux in various hardware including media players and the “freedom infecting” nature of the GPL license.

I’m not saying that Dell should not have bundled the DVD player but I am glad that some people made a fuss. These “zealots” will at least stick to the principles that are the main reason we have such high quality free software to enjoy today.

And frankly, exactly the same arguments apply to the proprietary flash player.

The giants’ buddies…
written by buffalosoldier, December 21, 2007

The giants’ buddies are not for a moment trying to do the Linux communities any favours here. The capitalists are only in this for one reason…you guessed it, the personal rewards, (stuff the rest of us).
And most who buy a Dell computer, probably don’t ever consider any more about it than whether or not it works, let alone what OS is on it.
I am a relatively new Linux user and I am sad to see that there are so many maybe being sucked in by this.
Free is free, and not free is not free…what part of that is hard to understand?
You all have a nice day :)

Poor, strawman, he must be hurting bad by now
written by AlanM077, December 22, 2007

I keep reading terms like “zealots”, “religious”, and “purist” in relation to FOSS advocates, and when those types of terms pop up, chances are we have a strawman somewhere in the vicinity.

Dell can do what it wants, as long as it abides by the law and follows the GPL. But thank goodness for folks who hop up and down about proprietary software. Without them we would continue to be at the mercy of software corporations like microsoft. They may not be 100% correct, but they balance out the masses who would happily sell their soul in a EULA as long as they could view youtube videos and play world of warcraft.

What I’m saying is that there comes a time to compromise, but we need to remember it’s a compromise. There needs to remain a bit of conflict, a certain amount of pressure towards free software. The FOSS “purists” maybe should not get their way all the time, but they should by no means be silent. The whole “shut up and let us have our toys!” mentality people are expressing here is what got us in the situation we are currently in.

I feel better now ^_^

Dell sells 40K Ubuntu systems in 6 months

November 30, 2007

I note that The Register has an article up stating that “Dell has shipped close to 40,000 systems pre-installed with the Ubuntu flavor of Linux, according to multiple sources.”

But I’m going to call out the author of the article, Register editor Ashlee Vance, for also trolling with comments like:

“By most accounts, that’s a heck of a total for what remains more or less a fringe operating system.”

“more than 130,000 people promoted the notion on the company’s IdeaStorm web site. It would seem, however, that only a fraction of these zealots were willing to back their votes with cash.”

(emphasis added)

He defends his use of the term “fringe operating system” by defining it as an “OS [which] trails major desktop and notebook OSes by quite a margin” A hint to Mr. Vance: by your definition, there is ONLY ONE non-fringe OS: Windows XP. Look at the Net Applicatons OS stats (which I don’t fully trust BTW, but are good enough to illustrate the point) and you’ll see what I mean…

~79% Windows XP

["quite a margin" here]

~8% Windows Vista
~6.5% “MacIntel” + “Mac OS” (a little confusing, so I lumped them together; most of that will be OS X though)
~3% Windows 2000
~1% Windows 98
~1% Linux
~0.5% Windows NT
~0.5% Windows ME
~0.5% Other

Why not define a “fringe OS” as one which doesn’t have a major OEM offering it? Oh wait…

:P

His statement that “more than 130,000 people promoted the notion on the company’s IdeaStorm web site” is improperly drawn; note here that when Dell started selling Ubuntu systems in late May:”about 30,000 community members weighed in to support it, and over 100,000 of you completed the Linux survey to tell us more.”

I imagine that a good chunk of the 100K that took the survey (which was on dell.com NOT the IdeaStorm site) were from that 30K listed. Also, the current score on the idea is in “points”; initially it was 1 point per vote, but later they switched it to 10 points per vote. So really, his griping that the people who voted for the idea didn’t buy the computers is bogus.

Also, how often do you think most people buy a new computer Mr. Vance? Every month? Every two or three? no? Let’s say that people have more dollars than sense (pun intended ;) and fully replace their computer every two years or so. Its only been six months since the Dell Ubuntu systems went on sale; 6/24 = 25% Even IF 130K people had voted, that would mean that only 32.5K would have bought a new computer since then. Again, less than the 40K sold!

Also, up until August when Dell started to sell the Ubuntu systems in Germany France and the UK, they only sold these systems in the US. I’m in Canada and they *won’t* sell me one; search dell.ca for Ubuntu and you’ll get a notice that:

Dell Canada does not offer Ubuntu
We currently do not offer Ubuntu or any other open source solution.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Check out the Dell Community forums for additional information.

Finally, Vance does an apples-to-oranges comparison of the number of Ubuntu systems sold thus far and Dell’s sales of “about 10m machines per quarter” asking “Is 40,000 units over a number of months enough to keep Dell interested?” (yet earlier in the article he quoted “David Lord, a spokesman at Dell” as saying “Adoption has been very good” regarding the Ubuntu systems).

If you want to see some real sale numbers, Dell needs to:

1. stop hiding its Ubuntu machines in a tiny corner of its site (dell.com/ubuntu) and make it a general option when buying Dell machines.

2. drop the stupid warning:

The main thing to note is that when you choose open source you don’t get a Windows® operating system. If you’re here by mistake and you are looking for a Dell PC with Windows, please use the following link.

Shop Dell PCs with Windows

3. stop playing the price games which sometimes make the Windows machines cheaper than Ubuntu on the same hardware.

Dell Ubuntu Dimensions w/o monitors are $140 less than Windows versions?!?

May 25, 2007

I just posted this to the Ubuntu forums:

I just discovered something very very interesting.

Load the Dell Dimension E520 (Windows) page in one tab:
It has a $679 US base price.

Then load the E520N (Ubuntu) page in another: It has a $599 US base price.

Saving $80 is great, but you can save an additional $60!

Scroll down to the monitors. Both have “17 inch E177FP Analog Flat Panel [Included in Price]” There is an option for “No Monitor” Note that for the Windows system selecting that allows you to “subtract $130″ from the total. But for the Ubuntu system, the same option allows you to “subtract $190″! So:

E520 (Windows) base system without monitor: $549
E520N (Ubuntu) base system without monitor: $409

Woah! =D

So if you do that, the base Ubuntu system without a monitor is $140 or 25% cheaper!

Please tell me I’m not hallucinating and that you get the same results! :)

Dell Ubuntu Computers: Today @ 4PM CST!

May 24, 2007

The rumors were true! Read all about it directly from Dell here. An excerpt:

Dell will offer U.S customers three different systems with Ubuntu 7.04 installed: the XPS 410n and Dimension E520n desktops and the Inspiron E1505n notebook. These systems will be available at http://www.dell.com/open by 4pm CST today. Starting price for the E520n desktop and the E1505n notebook is $599; the XPS 410n starts at $899 [...] My apologies, but I had included an incorrect starting price for the XPS 410n. It will be $849. Hardware support will come from Dell. Beyond that, users can turn to the Linux section of the Dell Community Forum for help and also get the latest updates from our Linux team at [...] http://linux.dell.com. Users also have fee-based options for operating system support through Canonical, including 30-day Get Started, One-year Basic and One-year Standard.

Update 1:

It would appear that the Ubuntu systems will be $50-100 at least $50 LESS than the equivalent Windows systems :) From my comments to this article:

it looks like ALL the Ubuntu systems will all be less than their equivalent Windows ones if the E520 is the “Versatile Multimedia” one:

[Desktop]

Windows XPS 410:$899
Ubuntu XPS 410n:$849
($50 less)

Windows Dimension E520 “Versatile Multimedia”: $679
Ubuntu Dimension E520n: $599
($80 less)

[Notebook]

Windows Inspiron E1505: $699
Ubuntu Inspiron E1505n: $599
($100 less)

[edit: it was pointed out to me that there are two things wrong in the notebook comparison; first, the Windows computer has 2x the RAM, so that would add $50 to the Ubuntu machine to make it equivalent.  Second, the Windows machine only has an option for an ATI card, but the Ubuntu machine has a choice of only Intel or nVidia (and does that mean they use different motherboards too?), making it an apple-to-orange comparison, which is pretty much worthless in this context :]

The notebooks are not only the best deal because of the largest price discount; its a rare thing to find a laptop that’s *perfectly* supported under Linux :) [...] That a direct comparison between Windows and Linux systems apparently shows a $50-100 $50 or more difference is good news.

Update2:

Based on a quick look at the specs, the E520n is the same as the E520 ‘Versatile Multimedia’ version. So indeed; you can save $50-100 at least $50 by buying an Ubuntu machine instead of a Windows one! =D

Dell Announces (leaks?) its 3 Ubuntu Models; will launch them on May 24

May 19, 2007

Excerpt from this NON-OFFICIAL post: “We will be launching a Linux based OS (Ubuntu) on the [Dimension] E520 [Desktop], [Inspiron E]1505 [Notebook] and XPS 410 [Desktop] starting next Thursday, 5/24. We expect these systems to be less than 1% of our OS mix for the entire year which is ~20,000 systems annually.”

Also, Dell has updated its Ubuntu page with a little note: “Be the first to know when Ubuntu products have launched as well as other Linux announcements.” and a link to “Sign Up Now

Finally, there’s a good read here comparing why most people don’t use Linux on their computers to why most people don’t use hybrid cars; lack of general availability at comparable prices. The post ends “Dell is opening the door for the better Linux PC alternative.”


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