back to article Dell spills its Guts over Ubuntu gear

Dell has caught up to the Ubuntu release machine, adding the latest version of the operating system as a standard option with Linux-friendly laptop and desktop. Customers in the US can now purchase select Dell kit with Ubuntu 7.10 - aka Gutsy Gibbon for the Teletubbies fans out there. The OS will make its way to Dell's …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Thank FXXX for Dell

    One of the biggest drawback on migrating to Linux, is it needed a major player to back it, it just needed someone to start the ball rolling, if Dell can provide the support for Ubuntu, I can imagine they will sell tons, one of the main reason would be the lower cost due to no need to bundle the crap Vista or the working but cost XP.

    May be this could spell the end for Vista, by far one of the worst OS I have ever come across..

  2. Anonymous Coward

    The crappiest of crap

    "The biggest gripe we hear about Dell's Ubuntu program is that the company will only offer the OS on relatively crap hardware."

    Relative to what? Dell's other crap? Good god.

  3. LaeMi Qian
    Black Helicopters

    the company will only offer the OS on relatively crap hardware

    in other words: the company will only offer the OS on hardware that can't handle MS-Vista without a high customer dissatisfaction/return rate.

  4. Luke Hansen

    Yeah but,

    1. I would worry that a sub-par tech-support team @ Dell might tarnish public opinion of a relatively unknown OS. I hope that they know how to explain Linux to "n00bs."

    2. I wonder if the cost of the hardware will reflect the fact that Dell's no longer sacrificing the almighty $ at the MS alter...or if they'll just keep the price the same, and absorb any excess profit.

  5. Steve Evans

    @LaeMi Qian

    Does it matter? It gets Linux on more desktops.

    A friend of mine recently screwed up his windows install on an old Evesham laptop. As he only had an OEM XP serial number on the bottom, and none of us seemed to have an OEM XP install CD, I convinced him to let me try Debian Etch on it. It installed like a dream, no driver issues at all, and now his wife is happily back on eBay spending all his money!

    His kids had been nagging for Vista (where do they get this from? I thought even 9 year olds knew it was sh*t), but now they are looking down on their Vista'ed friends and talking about Etch and Gnome! lol!

    By the time I've finished with them, they're gonna be more of a nightmare to their senior school IT teacher than I ever was... Then again, I did acquire root on mini within the first month and lock the head of department out. Yes it was me! Muwahahaha!

  6. Steve Welsh
    Black Helicopters

    @LaeMi Qian

    Which, of course, it will do quite nicely :)

    I teach students of Computing, and from time to time they come to me with their laptops and a problem.

    I can immediately see that they are running M$ Vista, because the response of their super-dooper-up-to-date-64bit-dual-core-whatever is about the same as I get from my old P-II 350 server running FC3-legacy.

    Those that know have either downgraded to Windose XP, or upgraded to Centos, Ubuntu... whatever.

  7. Neil Greatorex

    My 7 year old runs Ubuntu

    On a "retired" office desktop PC: P4 1.7GHz with 768 meg of RAM & an 80 gig drive. (retired FFS!) Ubuntu runs really well on this.

    He's already winding up his chums with "Vista is rubbish, XP is rubbish & Ubuntu is the pouch of the poodle" :-)

    When it's time to get him a laptop, assuming Dell are still offering Ubuntu, that's probably where I'll go.

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  9. Mahou Saru

    Pretty good business plan from Dell

    They get to sell stuff to a "niche" market and they can get rid or their crap hardware as it won't run Vista in its full glory. Pretty much a win win situation for Dell :p

  10. Eric Van Haesendonck
    Thumb Up

    This is good for the linux comunity

    I think dell support for ubuntu, even on entry level hardware is a great thing for the linux community.

    First it will expose more peoples to linux at a time where vista is getting a very bad rep, which is good.

    Second it will expose some of the linux comunity to the realities of the computer mass market, such as the fact that most people expect flash and DVD play to work right ourt of the box, or at least easily, even if it means paying a few $$ for a commercial dvd software or preinstalling "proprietary software".

  11. Kevin Peacock

    Keeping the celts in their place

    "The OS will make its way to Dell's Inspiron 530 desktop in England, France and Germany later this week"

    Good to see that Dell are prioritising England ahead of Scotland, Wales & Ireland....

  12. Christopher Rogers

    Support this idea

    Why do the hardcore fanboi type geeks have to knock every little attempt to push Linux into the mainstream? Ok Dell's recent record isn't one of overachieving, but they deserve some credit for this attempt. Maybe when XP is properly killed off and Vista and Ubuntu are the only options available on Dell hardware, Linux might spark the imagination of the masses. The pressure is on Dell to get the pricing right and if they do, Linux becomes more plausible. Push the abilities of programs like wine to allow the punter to run MS office and Linux becomes a threat. Even the fact that its only punted on lower spec hardware shouldn't be an issue as Linux doesn't need your super-dooper-nuclear spec powerful machine to run as well as required by the great unwashed for checking their email and surfing their interwebs.

    And anyways, Who told apple they could have runaway success with Unix based OSX?

  13. BatCat
    Gates Horns

    If it wasn't for those pesky kids...

    ... we'd be a windows free household too.


    1) Still no Adobe Shockwave support

    "Dad, why can't I run those games on that all my mates say are great"

    2) Limited MSN support

    "Dad, I know I can chat to my mates on pidgin, but why can't I see their webcam / nudges / winks / smiley central stuff"

    These two things might sound trivial to tech-savvy adults, but they're what most "normal" kids use PCs for - that and playing non-flash games, though thankfully I've convinced them that games consoles are the best way to play games ;o)

    Yes, I know I can install the Windows version of Firefox with wine and work round point 1, but I've not found a solution for point 2 yet - windows live messenger thingy won't install with wine. Much easier for me to just leave them on XP and use an Acronis image of the windows primary partition to restore when (inevitably) the XP OS gets virus infected / corrupted / degenerates.

    IMHO, PC vendors should be legally obliged to supply their full range of hardware without ANY pre-installed OS, priced at the same level as the systems with a bundled OS less the cost of the OEM OS license.

    As user friendly as Ubuntu 7.10 is, running Linux is still a significant compromise while ever 99.999% of the population are running windows. If Linus Torvalds had chosen to develop an open source version of windows rather than unix, we might have gotten somewhere...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "lower cost due to no need to bundle "

    Common misconception, but as the man on the telly says, "it doesn't work like that" - not if you're Dell, HP, etc anyway. It has been this way for many years but doesn't seem to be widely understood.

    In order to get the best possible Windows prices from Microsoft, companies like Dell and HP have to agree to pay for a Windows licence on every PC they ship [1], whether or not the PC actually will be using Windows. That's the kind of behaviour a convicted monopolist can still get away with and apparently stay legal (or at least stay notably unpunished).

    Anyway, the net result is that Dell and Dell punters don't/can't save any money on licence costs by dropping the MS licence on a few variants, because they're not allowed to not pay for Windows on those variants, unless they want to pay significantly more for *every* Windows licence they buy, which is obviously a no-brainer.

    I don't know what the deal is with support on Dell's Linux PCs, but I can't imagine they're paying much per PC for Dell-class MS support anyway, so there's presumably not that much of a saving there either.

    Seasons greetings, have a good one.

    [1] On the volume side. Different deals apply to (eg) the server ranges which aren't such high volume.

  15. Dazed and Confused

    Re: Dell support

    OK, so it was years ago, but the one time I've ever needed to call Dell's tech support about a laptop problem was 2years and 11.5 months after getting my Windows95 laptop. My keyboard that had been playing up intermittently for ages started to do it all the time. The tech support person said "You got a virus", nope it does it on Linux too. "OK, if you've got a problem when it's running Linux then it MUST BE A HARDWARE PROBLEM, send it back and we'll fix it."

  16. Slaine

    @ Luke Hansen

    [1] ... they can't explain VISTA to "n00bs" m8 - why should we worry that they can't explain L1nux? Anyway - yer average "n00b" is online to browse... so what help is required?

    [2] ... TBH I think they have been suffering lack of profit by being obliged to run with M$hite for so long, look at it ... cost of install of Windows vs total cost of entire laptop WITH OS preinstalled ... they'res bugger all difference. Barely covers the cost of postage. I don't mind a company making a modest profit ... it would be nice though if the L1nux peeps saw a slice of it - some sort of "gratuity" in acknowledgement.

    Altogether now - Happy New Penguin.

  17. David Heffron

    Real world

    I think it's likely this kit is going to shift a few more units then fail. In the real world, people who use Ubuntu are people who read El Reg and Nigerian school kids. My gran, my dad, my neighbour and my friends want to bung a DVD in the machine and play the “2 for £25” games they got out of HMV.

    They don’t give a toss for root commands or any of that guff. If they knew enough about computers to even be aware of the existence of Ubuntu then half of us would be out of jobs.

    People want to play “The Sims”.

  18. Duncan Hothersall

    England, France and Germany?

    So Dell are introducing this in England, but not Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland? Interesting...

  19. Phantom Wibbler
    Thumb Up

    Never Thought I'd Say This...

    ...but good for Dell. If Dell make money out of this, then others are sure to follow, and that can only be a good thing.

  20. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    @Steve Evans - OEM XP install CD

    You won't find a useful OEM XP install CD anywhere - just use a normal XP install CD. It's perfectly acceptable and *legal* to borrow a copy and re-install an OEM version as long as you use the licence that's on your system. Of course, this is assuming that like many laptops, the code hasn't been rubbed/worn off.

    You may have to perform the telephone activation process rather than the on-line version. This can be annoying and almost rude and entrapping when it first asks you if you have installed the software on any other system (you need to press '1' to confirm that you haven't) and then rapidly follows it up with another, almost identical, question querying whether any other systems have the same software on it and this time you have to press '2' - pressing '1' tells them that the software is installed elsewhere... A nice little gotcha there for those that are new to the joys of MS telephone activation.

    The alternative is the recovery disc that your laptop supplier should have supplied, or otherwise will charge stupid amounts of money for. This will usually just reset the entire system to a state of almost complete unusability - i.e. multiple FAT32 partitions, "recovery" partitions that steal vast amounts of disk space, shovelware like Norton AV and the usual stuff that makes a grown system administrator cry.

    Just point this out, because I've come across people that bought new, full versions, of MS's OSes just because their last one crashed!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheap laptops

    The funny thing is I can see more people ending up Windows as a result:

    1. When you don't have to pay a Windows license it makes sense to get one of these laptops and bung on some dodgy version of Windows "borrowed" from a mate.

    2. Most laptop users I know will find the applications they generally want just aren't available for Linux. They'll spend a frustrating few hours trying to configure it to sync with their iPod, Palm, iPhone or whatever before binning it and reaching for the Windows XP CD (see borrowed copy above).

    PS: I love all the Linux propaganda stories about nine year olds talking about Gnome, rooting the school IT system and how it runs spectacularly on obsolete hardware that should have been junked years ago. Unless you can come up with a better argument for using Linux other than some pseudo-religious/ideological bullshit that makes you sound like Scientologists, you'll continue to be mired in your hateful little enclave.

  22. Keith T

    Games on PC's?

    In our house most games are played on consoles -- apart from stuff like solitaire but they are Open Source games anyway.

    Even the humble PS3 is gaining in popularity and the 360 is pretty highly regarded.

    If you're gonna play high-end games you may well end up with a high spec M$ machine but here the Wii is well used and has been since it came out over a year ago.

    (Many kids are more impressed by my Wii than the spec of my daughter's P.C. - she plays Sims on the Wii anyway)

    Who really needs to buy "500 games for a tenner" when they are leftovers from the days of Win 3.11 and Win 95 and really don't need XP or Vi$ta.

    Give me psychotic rabbits and Mario Galaxy anyday.

    (that should be enough to upset those who have more processing power on their graphics cards than on the motherboard.)

  23. Mark Adamson

    Linux - every discussion

    It's a good step. I like that Dell are willing to even try bunging Ubuntu onto their systems.

    However, I'm replying because this is an all too common thing that we can see developing in almost every Linux discussion: Linux Snobs, XP Zealots, and Vista Haters.

    Linux - I like Ubuntu, it made GNU/Linux that little bit more accessible, and means that it's finally makings some real gains. I think that the EEE would have struggled more without the Ubuntu Evangelism. I use a couple of different distros on my multiboot box.

    XP - Now considered rock steady(ish) and seems to just do everything, I need it as an available boot choice so that I can get stuff done that won't run under Linux or my most used OS:

    Vista - Am I the only one that remembers the distain that 95 was held in? I stayed with Windows 3.1 until about 97. 98 was greeted better because there wasn't a huge leap from 95. XP was treated with scorn because nothing worked properly and you needed recent hardware to run it. People swore to stick with 2000 or 98. (Oddly Me rarely gets mentioned, I guess because it was such an utter non event.)

    Vista is a big step forward, it looks almost as good as my Sabayon desktop, it's really anal about security (annoyingly so, sometimes, but then I'd prefer twenty calls saying "it's asking me if I really really want to install PornToolbar, do I?" than one saying "I installed some software it said I needed and now it's running slowly and my little Norton thingy had gone away." and it _is_ the future of Windows, so you might as well get proficient.

    In three years time we'll be wondering what the fuss was about and complaining that our hardware won't work with Windows 7, oh, and droves of people will be sticking with vista because they don't like the way Win7 virtualises each login, or whatever.

  24. Andraž Levstik

    Re: Cheap laptops

    RE: PS:

    So here's your PS generalized since I'm assuming you do it all the time... Might be faster :)

    Unless you can come up with a better argument for using $RANDOM_THING than some $RANDOM_BIT that makes you sound like $RANDOM_IDIOT, you'll continue to be $RANDOM_STUPIDITIY

    Now for a proper reply:

    Here are the reasons _I_ use Free Software.

    A) it gives me the freedom to run it with no strings attached(that means NO REGISTRATION CODES, NO ACTIVIATION CODES, NO ADWARE, NO CRAPWARE, NO OTHER crap)

    B) it gives me the freedom to modify it's source(that means I can fix that f........ annoying clippy the 'tard and remove it from the entire code for example, and I have no serious programing experience... but there are plenty of people that are willing to help with such things... if you ask plotiley and explain the situation)

    C) it gives me the freedom to give it to anyone as long as I provide the source to it and the license it is under. This means if $random_friend is looking for an image editor I can burn gimp onto a cd and give it to him to use

    ohh well as some of us actually have jobs doing linux/unix admining I forgot what I planned to say more since I had to go do some stuff...

  25. DutchOven


    "Unless you can come up with a better argument for using Linux other than some pseudo-religious/ideological bullshit that makes you sound like Scientologists, you'll continue to be mired in your hateful little enclave"

    I agree because all Linux advocates do is "pseudo-religious/ideological bullshit". They certainly don't use their computers for anything useful at all whatsoever.

    Winblows users shoulf know better than to laugh. Think of those poor linux users who won't get to experience the joy of removing all that "excellent" software that's just installed itself on your machine...

    (Note: I have *never* personally owned a machine that ran linux!)

  26. Colin Millar
    Thumb Up

    Relatively crap hardware

    Well the base spec isn't too inspiring but if you are going with Ubuntu why would you need more? Also, presumably you know enough to be dangerous so won't be afraid to OC a bit. The E4500 (baseline kit) appears to be stable at 3.0ghz on stock cooling. Take the base memory and then buy two more decent sticks of 512 for the spare slots and you have a pretty decent bit of kit. £80 for the jump to the E6750 is worth thinking about.

    The only out-and-out piece of crap on the 530 is the GPU - DELL might as well downgrade it and save the heat output - there won't be anything going on that needs better than 2D anyway. Presumably they didn't go on-board video because they are getting 8300s for nothing anyway.

    £150 is a pretty good price - the CPU would cost £75 by itself.

  27. Ian
    Thumb Down


    In the past I've tried Linux and every time its scuppered me in some irritating way I have to wait 6 months before I'm persuaded to try again because "its all different (=better) now". But it never is. I'm not a tech but I work in IT and as such probably know more than most of the public do about this stuff (or I'm kidding myself. Entirely possible) but the real reason Linux doesn't fly is because you cant seamlessly transfer from being a windows user to Linux cos of the iPod / Flash / whatever / problem. Until all mainstream apps are seamlessly compatable between the two FOR THE AVERAGE USER it's going to be Windows. I would love for that to happen though...

  28. Jeff Silver

    Why bother with Dell anyway...

    ...when Novatech will sell you a laptop with no OS at all, and you can put whatever distro you want on it? Personally, I'm a long-term RedHat/Fedora man, but I recently installed a Ubuntu system. It just whizzed right through and worked straight off. Faster and simpler than WinXP.

    (I have no connection with Novatech other than as a customer.)

  29. Craig Paterson

    Re: Cheap Laptops

    You need to check before going on about the lack of software on Linux.

    You want to sync your iPod? fine try Banshee, works a treat

    You want to synch your Palm? ok, no problem Ubuntu 7.10 will detect your palm when you plug it in and ask you if you want to install the relavent software. whats so difficult about that?

    Most Windows apps have an equivalent in Linux, granted some specialist aps don't but that is down to the software vendors. Games are still a problem but there are some excellent ones out there already just takes a bit of looking (try Wolfenstien enemy territory for instance).

    We need more uptake of linux to make the software developers take notice then the games will be released for all OS'es

  30. PBK
    Thumb Up

    relatively crap hardware

    "The biggest gripe we hear about Dell's Ubuntu program is that the company will only offer the OS on relatively crap hardware."

    I can go along with this. ...for now. Maybe Dell has hardware that is outdated per XP/Vista standards. ubuntu will operate relatively better than Windows on any given setup. If that's what it takes for Dell to offer it, so be it. Dell has to get it's feet wet, too.

    Maybe after initial hardware is sold out, Dell will see more clearly how well ubuntu works, their support will gain further knowledge, users will start acclimating toward a superior product :-). Then Dell could migrate ubuntu offered hardware to a more mainstream setup.

    I am one who is glad Dell is even offering ubuntu in any form. Sales will increase, I believe!

  31. Paul Talbot

    re: Cheap laptops

    ...and here we go. There's always one joker in these discussions who uses 5 years out-of-date, or fairly illogical, arguments about why Linux isn't feasible to the average person. Let's look, shall we:

    "1. When you don't have to pay a Windows license it makes sense to get one of these laptops and bung on some dodgy version of Windows "borrowed" from a mate."

    Yes, if you're installing Windows. Why would you specify Linux on a Dell laptop if you're going to install Windows? Maybe if you already have media, but otherwise why the hell would you buy one of these?

    "2. Most laptop users I know will find the applications they generally want just aren't available for Linux. They'll spend a frustrating few hours trying to configure it to sync with their iPod, Palm, iPhone or whatever before binning it and reaching for the Windows XP CD (see borrowed copy above)."

    That argument is tired and very out of date. Amarok works seamlessly with every iPod I've ever plugged into it. Apple tried locking Linux out with their last bunch of models, but that was easily fixed. Linux also works with my Creative Zen, both of my mobiles, my wireless network, my printer and my external DVD writer. All "out of the box" (with Mandriva in my case). The only hardware I've ever had problems with is my IR port, and I've never, ever needed to use that. Try installing a fresh non-OEM copy of XP and see how much of that works without the need for additional CDs.

    "PS: I love all the Linux propaganda stories about nine year olds talking about Gnome, rooting the school IT system and how it runs spectacularly on obsolete hardware that should have been junked years ago. Unless you can come up with a better argument for using Linux other than some pseudo-religious/ideological bullshit that makes you sound like Scientologists, you'll continue to be mired in your hateful little enclave."

    Yeah, and how hateful/ideological are you that statement? Linux users tend to point out the instances where it can work better than Windows (on older hardware), about how it educates and inspires kids (see the Gnome / rooting comments) and about how it is free to use and modify (in both senses of the word "free"). But, I can do anything with my laptop running Linux that I can in Windows except for games and/or specific utilities that are deliberately made incapable of being portable across multiple platforms (e.g. games that use DirectX instead of OpenGL, software such as MS Office and iTunes). Even then, most of that works in either Wine of Cedega (and there's usually viable open source alternatives if not), and no gamers are going to buy one of these machines anyway.

  32. Dom


    "The biggest gripe we hear about Dell's Ubuntu program is that the company will only offer the OS on relatively crap hardware."

    Really? IME people are usually whingeing about the pricing. To whit: every time I check the Dell site I find that the same spec computer with Windows on it is cheaper or that there's a special offer Windows box with a much better spec for only a few quid more.

  33. kenholmz

    Shin Kicking

    Thank you for offering informative news and articles. As for the shin kicking, public humiliating group. Please forgive them; they are maturationally challenged, undersocialized, ill bred delinquents with delusions regarding their self importance in the world and believing their subjective experiences define reality. They are chronically angry and behave in much the same manner almost every day and every where.

    My own computers are assembled from components of my choosing but I realize there are many who purchase boxed systems. I salute Dell for venturing into the boxed Linux systems. They didn't jump in head first as some would have had them do, but they are continuing to develop and expand their program.

  34. J


    "2) Limited MSN support

    "Dad, I know I can chat to my mates on pidgin, but why can't I see their webcam / nudges / winks / smiley central stuff"

    I just found out about the aMSN app, looks great. Finally something that easily recognizes my cheap, crappy Logitech Quickcam Messenger! And differently from Windows, it's very easy to install: it shows up in Synaptic, just click and go. :-)

    Unfortunately I haven't used the video chat function of it yet, so I'm still hoping that it will *really* work. But give it a try, it seems promising. Now, the nudges, winks, smiley central, whatever they are... those I don't know if they work in aMSN, you will have to try and see.

    And hurray for Dell. When my aging home (Kubuntu) desktop becomes too much trouble, I'll certainly take a good look at Dell's offerings. But considering the 1.2GHz (granted, 1 Gb RAM) cranker can still run Kubuntu 7.10 with a VirtualBox Windows 2000 and other stuff running without any trouble suggests that it will take a while... :-)

    And the article didn't mention, but I've read elsewhere that Dell will be installing not only Flash but also enabling DVD playback out of the box. That would really be a nice touch for the masses -- although I do doubt the people buying these machines could not install the things themselves, specially since Ubuntu holds their hands all the way there...

  35. James Pearson

    linux is not useful?

    Some of the above comments are saying that those who use linux are not actually using it *for* anything useful. I've been a winxp user for, eh, 4 or so years (when I convinced my parents to buy it) and I like it overall. I had installed various flavors of linux over time, but never used them because, well, there was no benefit. Now that I'm in college as a computer science major, I've found that programming is much easier on linux than windows, since I was using cygwin to compile C code anyways. Just about 2 weeks ago, I switched to using Kubuntu as my primary OS, and I'm loving it. Almost all the applications I use are available on linux (firefox, OOo, pidgin, w:et, UrT, etc.), and those that don't either have decent replacements (winamp -> amarok) or run very nicely on wine (Guild Wars). While I had to do some configuration for things, I just followed several different HOWTOs on the ubuntu forums, where I don't even have to know what the heck I'm doing, I just copy and paste. And apt-get? It finds, downloads and installs the program for me? Oh, and the other things it needs to run? Yeah, much better than .exe setup files.

    Of course, this came after I had finally gotten rid of the last part of Microsoft on xp that I could (explorer -> xplorer2). I was already running tbird and firefox under bblean.

    Oh, and automatix is very nice, though I found out about it after I had already installed stuff myself.

  36. James Pearson


    Most of us here are not going to buy from Dell. I personally like building my pcs. The reason it's important that Dell is offering ubuntu is because it's *Dell*, the cheap pc giant. This is where quite a few people buy their pcs.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My 2 cents

    I think it's great that Dell are moving into this arena. It's just one more step towards the concept of the PC as an appliance, which, before anyone gets mad, is a good thing. I use a PS3 for games and am more than happy with it, Occasionally I have to update the firmware but that is a straightforward thing. I have no idea what is going on under the hood but it gets done and then I have new features. It's a good appliance. Ubuntu for the non tech savy is moving in that direction as well. The system is very stable and will run for years without an update - much like a PS3 or even a microwave but if you want to upgrade you can do so through synaptic/adept with a couple of clicks and bang! You will have a new version of Firefox/Thunderbird/Whatever.... On the PC, not the microwave :)

  38. Eric Olson

    The limitations of Linux are what appeal to me...

    I mean, I already have a box that I can game on until the cows come home, or watch DVDs on, or other wise waste my time on. However, those limitations of Linux are exactly why I'm saving my pennies to get a Ubuntu Dell laptop. If I have a computer that does office and productivity software in portable form, then I have something I can take with me and actually do personal projects without having to say, ooo... I should watch an episode of Family Guy, or I wonder what crap I can watch on the internet. Yes, the last one is still possible in Linux, but I just won't

  39. Henry Wertz

    The big risk..

    The big risk Dell will have from selling Ubuntu machines is decrease in sales long-term. I mean, personally, I don't have ANY Windows machines any longer (I don't play many games, and most will in fact work with Wine).

    In short term, if my notebook gives it up I will definitely buy a Dell w/ Ubuntu -- I'd be buying some machine and putting Ubuntu on anyway, I'd rather not have Microsoft get any of my money and count my purchase as a Windows sale.

    In long term -- hopefully Dell won't be shot in the foot by initial strong Ubuntu sales, followed by a dip from the purchasers never having to upgrade their systems. The requirements of Linux distros and apps has stayed very nearly flat over the years. My first Linux system in 1994, I ran on a 486-33 with 8MB of RAM. OK, that's not flat.. I was running text-only on there though. Once I started using graphical apps (Netscape 0.9 in particular) I ended up with 64MB of RAM and by later 1990's 128MB of RAM (in a K5/75, then a K6-2/450 then a Duron 900.) I could literally take these 10+ year old systems, run Xubuntu as-is, or Ubuntu w/128MB more RAM. Not bad! (I currently have Athlon 2200+ dekstops and a Celeron M notebook, but still 512MB in them; top will typically show 100's of MBs free.)

  40. Julian

    RE: Lower cost due to no need to bundle

    I don't have the reference to hand, but a recent comparison of similarly specified Dell laptops showed a higher cost for the Ubuntu laptop compared to the Vista Home Premium laptop.

    Makes sense after reading your post!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just bought a Dell Laptop

    ...and I fully intend to install Kubuntu 7.10 on it. Now, when I was pricing up the various options, I looked through and I decided that my best bet would be to buy a Vasta laptop.

    Reasons? For the hardware configuration I want, I get it much cheaper. I'm after a machine with the 1.86GHz dual-core processor, 2GB RAM, 160GB HD and a 9-cell battery. If I choose that customisation with the Ubuntu machine, it'll cost me £499.01. If I buy the same configuration with a Vasta machine, it'll cost me £449.00. That's a saving of £50, and more given I'll rip the Vasta licence key off, send it to M$ and get some money back for not using their OS :-)

  42. Simon Painter

    Michael Dell, let me summarise the comments for you...

    "Blah Blah Blah linux blah blah Microsoft is evil blah blah blah blah my computer is too rubbish to run Vista blah blah blah I have not even tried vista but like to bitch about it because it makes me feel clever blah blah blah linux is ace."

    Nice one, Dell, I hope you gamble pays off. I have an eeepc and that is most likely going to be the machine which brings linux to the masses but there is always a chance that the clone buying techie wannabes that make up the linux comunity will put down their cheap taiwanese motherboards and pick up a Dell computer and make all that investment in R&D and staff training worthwhile.

    Or they may just bitch about having to pay over the odds for their machine because despite the fact that you are not paying £60 to Microsoft for each PC you still have to stump up a lot of extra 'linux tax' to get hold of the people to either make it work or support it when it doesn't.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Lack of apps

    Just to give the penguin's side of the 'lack of apps' argument:

    Having been a Linux user on the desktop for a number of years now, I get immensely frustrated when it comes to using Windows. Only a few of my favorite apps are available (Firefox, Thunderbird) and in order to get a workable desktop environment I have to install a bundle of add-ons (virtual desktops, Xmouse, etc). Even then it's a poor imitation.

    However, the biggest hassle I find with Windows is getting hold of software - first you have to trawl the web to find a download (which is usually limited to a demo version unless you get hold of an illegal crack) then you have the faff of the bouncing ball installer, half your file types are annexed and the desktop and start menu are littered with shortcuts by default and then - to add insult to injury - the program only does a part of the job of it's Linux equivalent and locks the data in a propriatory file format.

    Compare this to Linux: Go to Add/Remove software, search for what you want and it's a one click install for an adaptable and useful program that will behave the way tell it to - not the way company X imposes on you.

  44. Jon Nicholas

    Ubuntu works

    It really does work - even on laptops. I have become more and more fed up with Windoze but used it, as there was no alternative. Yeah, Debian is great for servers but not for a laptop and Suse is just as bad as Windoze.

    And then came Ubuntu 7.10. The install is a breeze and after you've installed it everything works. You have wireless access, hibernate, email that works with Exchange (Evolution), media players that play anything and you don't get a pop-up reminding you that "There are unused icons on your desktop".

    I can do everything I want with my laptop and Ubuntu. Watch films, organize my photos, talk to my family with Skype (video now works with Linux), except one thing (sigh).. there is no iTunes. So I have to have a Windows machine just to synchronize my iPod.

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