back to article Dell charges £16 TO INSTALL FIREFOX on PCs – Mozilla is miffed

The Mozilla Foundation has begun an investigation after tech juggernaut Dell appeared to be asking customers to pay more than £16 ($27) to install its free web browser Firefox on newly purchased Dell kit. A dialog box that popped up while a reader was trying to buy hardware at Dell (click for the full enlarged glory) A …

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  1. Should b Working
    Pint

    Sounds about right

    Any time I get asked to install something on my friends/family member's computers I charge them a half dozen premium beers.

    1. Joe Drunk
      Pint

      Re: Sounds about right

      That's my rate as well although it could be double or more if I have to remove crapware that was inadvertently installed, the number of beers varying with the difficulty in removing the crapware. I'm looking at you Conduit Search!

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
        Pint

        Re: Sounds about right

        Single Islay Malts are more to my taste, but a decent beer is welcome too.

    2. Vociferous

      Re: Sounds about right

      I wish I had asked for that before I said "yeah, sure, I can have a look at why your laptop is running so slowly". You'd think I'd learned by now to avoid the horrors that lurk on laptops...

      1. GBE

        Re: Sounds about right

        I'll publically admit to knowing very little about MS Windows, so my response when asked about slow-running Windows computers is usually something along the lines of "I can wipe the disk and install Linux if you like."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sounds about right

          I'll publically admit to knowing very little about MS Windows, so my response when asked about slow-running Windows computers is usually something along the lines of "I can wipe the disk and install Linux if you like."

          You're supposed to use the "mindless fanboi" icon when posting that. Unless you were being sarcastic - there's an icon for that, too.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @AC Re: Sounds about right

            What's wrong with someone being Windows illiterate ? That man was still trying to be helpful with the poor, abused Windows user.

            1. FlatSpot
              Trollface

              Re: @AC Sounds about right

              If the bath water is cold, taking a dump in it wont help

          2. Midnight

            Re: Sounds about right

            You're supposed to use the "mindless fanboi" icon when posting that. Unless you were being sarcastic - there's an icon for that, too.

            If the goal is to deter people from asking you for help with Windows, then it's the perfect answer.

            "Well, yes I am a doctor but my specialty is in removing organs for transplants. I can tell you why you have that pain in your abdomen, but I would have to take out your liver and both kidneys to do it. Is that okay with you?"

            1. cordwainer 1
              Happy

              Re: Sounds about right

              This deserves a lot more upvotes . . . from doctors, for whom the final paragraph is an excellent model for the answer to be given to individuals asking for free medical advice, especially in the middle of some social function.

              1. Geoff Campbell
                FAIL

                Re: Sounds about right

                What a bunch of miserable, misanthropic curmudgeons you all are.

                I try and fix computers for friends and reliatives whenever I can. It's a skill I have, and they are people I like, so I try to help them out. They, in turn, do things for me when they have skills that can help me out.

                GJC

                1. Amorous Cowherder
                  Thumb Up

                  Re: Sounds about right

                  Well said Geoff C!

                  Me too, I help out when I can and I do it for nothing, in turn they might take my kids to the cinema one Saturday so I get a bit of peace or they might come round and help me when I need a pair of hands for DIY job. Like Geoff said, I have a particular skill and it's good to use it to help people who will actually appreciate it. Sounds like you lot don't hate fixing computers, you hate dealing with your rellies!

                2. Vociferous

                  Re: Sounds about right

                  >What a bunch of miserable, misanthropic curmudgeons you all are.

                  I am indeed, but the reason I try to dodge helping people with their laptops is the infinite number of ways a laptop can be FUBAR'ed. Rootkit anti-theft software which isn't compatible with a system update? "Helper" software? Every toolbar under the sun (and some which clearly would turn to stone if exposed to light) installed? Corrupted registry? Vendor shovelware? DRM? Speed up teh yu0r c0mputer software? Disk errors? Crappy hardware? Worse drivers? All of the above?

                  The one thing it almost never is, but the user always thinks it is, is viruses.

                3. Telecide

                  Re: Sounds about right

                  I too fix various family, friends and friends of family PC's and do so with a vague hope of my services being somehow repaid if really needed, but am still awaiting for my lawn to be mowed, kitchen redecorated, car washed, drains unblocked etc. And all to be carried out late into the evenings and/or on Sunday afternoons.

                  1. TRT Silver badge

                    Re: Sounds about right

                    I got a BJ the other day as thanks for sorting a craptop out. Could have shaved first, though - I've got terrible stubble rash.

            2. BobChip
              Big Brother

              Re: Sounds about right

              "I know the cause of your pain and can fix it by giving you something much worse to worry about. My bill will be in the post." Sounds to me like the sort of reply you would expect to get from a Microsoft type.

          3. John Sanders
            Linux

            Re: Sounds about right

            I was so sick of having to deal with the computers of relatives that I decided that I will only help them if they want assistance to install/use Linux.

            Nothing MS does or produce is even remotely interesting.

            Linux may not be for everybody, but what I'm sure of is that MS is not for me, the overwhelming feeling of not being able to tell what the F*** the computer is doing is too much to bear.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sounds about right

              "I will only help them if they want assistance to install/use Linux."

              I guess that's one way to ensure a quiet life...

          4. Captain DaFt

            Re: Sounds about right

            "I'll publically admit to knowing very little about MS Windows, so my response when asked about slow-running Windows computers is usually something along the lines of "I can wipe the disk and install Linux if you like."

            You're supposed to use the "mindless fanboi" icon when posting that. Unless you were being sarcastic - there's an icon for that, too."

            Chill, it's a survival trick, one that I've learned to use myself after nearly chewing my own eyes out* while helping someone fix their mess.

            Now I just say "Sorry, I don't run Windows myself, can't help you."

            *You really, REALLY, don't want to know the details!

          5. Mark Simon

            Re: Sounds about right

            … so why aren’t you using the “mindless MS Windows fan” icon?

        2. N2 Silver badge

          Re: Sounds about right

          I'll drive over it in my Land Rover, that'll fix it for you...

          Fairly swiftly the topic of conversation changes & I continue to enjoy what ever I was doing before it started.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not to worry

    ...because Dell will be out of the consumer and SME hardware business pretty soon.

    That'll be sad, because I still remember the days way back yonder, when Dell were not only good value, but well supported by native English speakers, and (notwithstanding glitches from time to time) they were a safe bet to recommend to friends and family, knowing that nine times out of ten Dell would sort out problems so that the family go-to-guy didn't have to get involved.

    Now...well, over priced, not very good, unbelievably poor offshore support for consumers (can't speak for SME). Sixteen quid to instal Firefox is the least of a Dell buyer's concerns, IMHO.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not to worry

      This is good news. They screwed the pooch in recent years, yet people are unwittingly still buying from them. But why? The sooner they get out of the retail market and let someone else do what they used to do, the better.

      1. Eradicate all BB entrants

        Re: Not to worry

        Dell lost it when they went to black cases. The old smoke stained creamy GX1's were awesome little workhorses. The black GX150's complete and utter crap.

        But it is nice to see that they will happily charge me £16 for putting a tick on a script in order to get Firefox, saving me a massive amount of time that I can then use to catch up on the 18 months of OS updates they didn't bother with.

    2. TitterYeNot

      Re: Not to worry

      Indeed, I remember the days of yore when Dell workstations and servers were top notch pieces of kit. And when you spoke to support in Ireland you were speaking to someone who knew your server inside out. Shame they lost the plot.

      On the subject of the browser installation fee, considering the amount they charge for the sorry excuse that their PCs and laptops are these days, £16 sounds like an absolute bargain. Not.

    3. randommagic

      Re: Not to worry

      Actually they won't be out of that business.

      Also Dell has native English speaking tech support. If you buy a Pro Support warranty you will speak to a native English speaker usually from Glasgow if you are in the UK. Dell does still do a very basic warranty for those who are able to take the hardware apart and work out what is wrong with it themselves. As there is no profit in this because the prices are driven so low you get to speak to someone in India. The Enterprise tech support agents are in Ireland and Glasgow and they all speak English. Although Dell is moving into services the company still wants to be an end to end service provider and still makes a small profit on those consumer products.

  3. Proud Father
    WTF?

    Cheeky fookers

    that is all.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Cheeky fookers

      I'll charge you a discounted rate of £1 for this comment

  4. jason 7

    I need to re-think my charging!

    Genius, charge for a rebuild on a per software install.

    Let me see an average home build -

    Firefox

    Chrome

    Adobe Reader

    VLC

    Google Earth

    Libre Office

    Spotify

    iTunes

    MS Security Essentials

    Skype

    Flash

    Picasa

    Thats just for starters at £195.00!

    Perfect.

    1. Lost in Cyberspace

      Re: I need to re-think my charging!

      And then just fire up ninite.com while you sip your cuppa :)

      1. Piro

        Re: I need to re-think my charging!

        Ninite is a great thing and has saved me time in the past.

        First thing you need to visit after installing your OS and sorting out the drivers.

        1. Thunderbird 2

          Re: I need to re-think my charging!

          Do not forget PCDecrapfier either,

          great tool for getting rid of junk from a brand new pc as sold by most box shifter's

      2. Ben Rosenthal

        Re: I need to re-think my charging!

        I did not know of this, I'm almost impressed enough to send you sixteen pounds!

    2. Stuart Ball

      Re: I need to re-think my charging!

      ^^^^^

      What they said. Ninite is a very good tool.

    3. A. Coatsworth
      Coat

      Re: I need to re-think my charging!

      I'm sorry, but if you're installing iTunes on a Windows machine, you should pay a hefty compensation to the victim for such a heinous crime against humanity

      1. James O'Shea

        Re: I need to re-think my charging!

        "I'm sorry, but if you're installing iTunes on a Windows machine, you should pay a hefty compensation to the victim for such a heinous crime against humanity"

        No. After they try to use iTunes on Windows they will never, ever, ask you to install anything on anything of theirs ever again. That's a win-win; get paid for installing bumf, and never get bothered by that person again. Time to do the Happy Dance(tm).

    4. James O'Brien
      Stop

      Re: I need to re-think my charging!

      Sorry but I wouldnt pay you anything if you were going to put Picasa, iTunes, Libre Office, Google Earth or Skype on my machine...If you were to do that I would charge you instead for the hassle I was about to receive.....

      1. jason 7

        Re: I need to re-think my charging!

        James,

        Don't think for a minute I'd put those on my PC or your PC. No, its what the average Joe expects and wants. Trust me I do this a lot.

        In my head I'm screaming "WHY? WHYYYYY?" Trust me.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a service charge, not a licence.

    Why is it any different to an enterprise having Firefox on the Approved Software list, and internally charging for it to be deployed to company hardware? It may be "wooden dollars" in the enterprise, but still....

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Because it's appearing on the bill, that's why!

      1. big_D Silver badge

        As long as they are not charging for Firefox itself, I don't see that Mozilla has much of a comeback. Dell are charging for the service of installing the software.

        That is how the open source model is supposed to work, the software is free, but "consultants" are free to charge for additional services around the product, such as installation support, training, general support etc.

        If someone is mug enough to fork out 16 quid, fair dinkum to Dell.

        That said, putting Firefox as an additional component in the image would probably cost Dell a few cents at most, over the volume of machines they would potentially deliver with Firefox installed.

    2. The Man Himself
      Boffin

      RE: service charge

      Good point, and pretty much what I was thinking.

      The software itself may well be free, but Dell are providing an employee to do the install. That employee requires a wage, and on top of that they have direct financial demands on the employer (employer's NI contribution, pension contribution, etc.) on top of their salary. And they'll require the tools to let them do their job....things like a chair and desk, etc.

      Before you say "but they'd have that anyway" remember that if they weren't installing Firefox they'd be doing other work...other work which is currently being done by someone else, who brings with them their own overhead cost.

      If your time is sufficiently low-value, then sure you can spend 10 minutes installing Firefox yourself. But if you're a professional, working at professional contract rates, then that 10 minutes of not working/earning could easily cost you in excess of the £16-odd that Dell are asking for.

      1. David Knapman

        Re: RE: service charge

        Yes. And I'm sure they install the OS and all of their utilities from scratch as well. Do you not think it's quite likely that they have this automated?

        1. 's water music

          Re: RE: service charge

          Do you not think it's quite likely that they have this automated?

          Good job that the automation fairies don't charge to set that up (and I know that Dell automation fairies take a long time and several attempts before they get it right). It is hardly the first time that software charging models don't mirror the cost centres or a headline price is cross-subsidised by "value"-add services.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: RE: service charge

          > Yes. And I'm sure they install the OS and all of their utilities from scratch as well. Do you not think it's quite likely that they have this automated?

          Indeed.

          If the commenter thinks that Dell employs people to sit in front of a laptop installing software by hand, then they must be seriously naive.

          If Dell have even an ounce of sense, all of this would be automated by tools. I would be surprised if people were involved at all.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: RE: service charge @TMH

        The employee does it once, to create an additional install package for the standard image. That cost then needs to be divvied up between all the machines sold with Firefox pre-installed.

        There is a cost to creating that package, but it isn't going to work out at 16 quid a machine, unless they are planning on selling only half a dozen machines in total.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RE: service charge

        If your time is sufficiently low-value, then sure you can spend 10 minutes installing Firefox yourself. But if you're a professional, working at professional contract rates, then that 10 minutes of not working/earning could easily cost you in excess of the £16-odd that Dell are asking for.

        If you're a professional who can't find something else to be doing with that multitasking computer you're sat in front of, whilst the Firefox installer does its thing, you shouldn't be getting paid anything, by anyone.

        1. The Man Himself

          Re: RE: service charge

          "If you're a professional who can't find something else to be doing with that multitasking computer you're sat in front of, whilst the Firefox installer does its thing, you shouldn't be getting paid anything, by anyone."

          Yeah...cos when you're getting paid contractor rates to sit in a client's office and do the work they're paying you top coin for, there's nothing the client likes more than for you to not work on the job in hand and to p*** about setting up software on your own machine

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: RE: service charge

            "If you're a professional who can't find something else to be doing with that multitasking computer you're sat in front of, whilst the Firefox installer does its thing, you shouldn't be getting paid anything, by anyone."

            Yeah...cos when you're getting paid contractor rates to sit in a client's office and do the work they're paying you top coin for, there's nothing the client likes more than for you to not work on the job in hand and to p*** about setting up software on your own machine

            But why have you bought a new machine and not spent the time at home previously setting it up, therefore not pi**ing off your client and also not getting charged by Dell for a basic operation?

            1. The Man Himself

              Re: RE: service charge

              "But why have you bought a new machine and not spent the time at home previously setting it up, therefore not pi**ing off your client and also not getting charged by Dell for a basic operation?"

              I could do. So I have three options.....

              Do it "on work time", and p*** off a client

              Do it at home instead of working, and lose income

              Do it at home, in my own time, and lose personal time / quality of life.

              And we could be talking about more than just a 10 minute browser installation - a new machine could require a lot more software to be installed on it.

              So personally I'd take the fourth option: pay someone what I consider to be a fair price to do something that frees me up to do something which I consider to be more important.

              1. AceRimmer

                Re: RE: service charge

                You seriously need better clients if installing firefox (or anything else) for 10 minutes is going to piss them off

                8 years of contracting - 6 of which at top rate (based on itjobswatch.co.uk) and 12 clients and I have never ever had a client complain about their time/money being wasted.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: RE: service charge

            Yeah...cos when you're getting paid contractor rates to sit in a client's office and do the work they're paying you top coin for, there's nothing the client likes more than for you to not work on the job in hand and to p*** about setting up software on your own machine

            A contractor who takes on a contract they're not equiped to do, and then who doesn't gear himself up to do the required work when he arrives, but instead sets himself up to do the work on the customers dime, isn't a contractor you want to employee.

            You'd be better hiring a contractor who is already geared up to do the work, because he has done it before. Thus the requirement for Firefox is one he knew he would need to meet for his contracts and one he geared himself up to meet.

      4. Ottis

        Re: RE: service charge

        If you think Dell has some person personally sitting there installing Firefox on every machine where it's required, please post the number we can call to order the stuff you smoke before posting your comments. That is the dumbest post I have ever read.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: RE: service charge

          The issue isn't so much if what it costs Dell to do the job....it's what it would cost a punter to do it themselves. If it'd cost someone £x to do something, then that's the value of that thing to them, even if the person they pay to do it incurs a cost of less then that.

          I'd happily pay a few quid for a cable which I know only costs a few pence. Why? because it's not worth the bother of me sourcing bare cable, sourcing connectors, tools to fit everything together and then doing the assembly.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RE: service charge

        Aren't Dell computers supposed to be multi-tasking? Surely you click a couple of times and then it goes off. At least on Mac OS it does.

        Or do you need to watch if for 10 minutes straight on Windows?

      6. Henry 8

        Re: RE: service charge

        I would be rather surprised if Dell were actually paying someone to sit for 10 minutes in front of a computer and hit "next". For the Windows machines I look after, I tick a box, and Firefox will automatically install on a computer of my choice. And for the case of the Dell website, the customer has already ticked the box for them!

      7. John Tserkezis

        Re: RE: service charge

        "The software itself may well be free, but Dell are providing an employee to do the install."

        No they're not. It's part of an automated script that runs mostly outside of human intervention.

        Sure, they had to pay people to craft that script, but it's a case of write-once-run-many. Total cost to Dell is very little when you spread it over their range.

        "But if you're a professional, working at professional contract rates, then that 10 minutes of not working/earning could easily cost you in excess of the £16-odd that Dell are asking for."

        Nope, doesn't count. Same as the unpaid housework thing.

        Because you either can't, or don't want to do your own housework, doesn't entitle you to a rebate for someone else to do it, exactly the same as if DOING your own housework yourself, doesn't entitle you to payment. However, if *Dell* offers to do your housework, then they ARE entitled to payment.

        The ONLY issue left here, is negotiating price. It's true that Dell is charging above and beyond what it costs them to do, but they're allowed to do that. It makes them prats, but they're allowed to do that.

    3. Ian Michael Gumby
      Pint

      Mozilla is going to have a rough time with it...

      Q8: I want to distribute (outside my organization) executable programs or libraries that I have compiled from someone else's unchanged MPL-licensed source code, either standalone or part of a larger work. What do I have to do?

      You must inform the recipients where they can get the source for the MPLed code in the executable program or library you are distributing (i.e., you must comply with Section 3.2). You may distribute any executables you create under a license of your choosing, as long as that license does not interfere with the recipients' rights to the source under the terms of the MPL.

      This is from the Mozilla web site.

      While what Dell is doing seems like a rip off.... It doesn't appear, at first blush, to be against the law or against the Mozilla License.

      I too used to charge beers for helping friends, but I no longer drink and while my friends are mad.. my liver thanks me. :-)

  6. Velv
    Unhappy

    Curious one this, since the delivered device isn't usually "built" to a operating state - normally you've got some setup questions to answer for it to configure itself.

    So unless Dell are setting the user up, the Firefox isn't really being installed, but merely being added to the image for the user to install. And then Microsoft's Browser Choice kicks in (its a £ charge so this must be a UK order that falls under the EU browser rules agreed with MS an the EU). With Browser Choice offering to install Firefox for free.

    While possibly nothing technically illegal in Dell charging a fee to install Firefox, its extremely exploitative at best.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      It will be an optional package for the standard image. It will be fully installed, but it won't be done by hand, it will be the equivalent of a slipstreamed package in the image.

      They will use provisioning software to push the files to the right places and make the appropriate entries in the registry etc. But that one affect the Windows first-time set-up.

      How do you think they get McAfee, MS Office trials, DVD software and all the other gunk pre-loaded onto the machines? They don't have somebody sitting there clicking buttons on each machine, the install is made once and the provisioning software notes the changes to the system and records these into a provisioning package that can be optionally installed on the machine.

    2. Spikehead

      As someone has already said, this would more than likely be installed onto a system that an image is then made from. This would be done using a tool called "Sysprep" which brings the system back to a just installed date, with all the applications still installed that were done before the sysprep tool was used.

      Once this image is created, a new PC can be "installed" in less than 5 minutes with a 500GB image over a USB2 interface (yes, I've done this many times!)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Once this image is created, a new PC can be "installed" in less than 5 minutes with a 500GB image over a USB2 interface (yes, I've done this many times!)"

        Apparently not. You can't transfer 500GB over USB2 in 5 minutes. You imaged a 500GB drive, and with compression, created a 10GB image, not 500GB.

        Forensic images of 500GB drives over eSATA take over an hour. Compressed sysprep images of 500GB drives are <20GB, depending on how much actual data there is on the drive, and I transfer these over the network at ~1GB/minute. I wouldn't even bother trying on USB2, it's much, much slower.

  7. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    It's a mistake...

    These changes to functionality don't get through development, testing, and into your production ERP manufacturing and billing systems by design you know - so it must be due to a previously unknown security issue, or a virus, or an old treaty or charter... or something...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All commerce is exploitative. You want the most money possible for delivering a product/service as cheaply to produce as possible.

    Mozilla are just pissed they are not getting a cut.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wrong. Not 'All commerce'... that's just the american approach (which admittedly has spread beyond their borders); elsewhere in the world there are such things as business ethics and social conscience.

      Just because you can charge an arm and a leg for something doesn't mean you should, nor does it mean that everyone else does!

  9. NeverMindTheBullocks

    Doesn't even take 10 minutes

    It's an automated build process, you did the work for them by ticking the box.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Munich take note

    Open source isn't always cheaper

  11. Conrad Longmore

    Perhaps..

    Perhaps they could charge you £16 in order to ship you the actual goods that you ordered, rather than randomly substituting it with other crap from their inventory.

    1. Ralph B

      Re: Perhaps..

      > Perhaps they could charge you £16 in order to ship you the actual goods that you ordered, rather than randomly substituting it with other crap from their inventory.

      That reminds me of Sony's approach on laptop OS installation: You are allowed to choose a "clean start" install - which excludes all their standard bundled trial/bloatware - for "free" - but only if you also choose W8.1pro instead of standard W8.1. So, in other words, you have to pay an extra £40 to not have your HD filled with shit.

    2. billse10

      Re: Perhaps..

      i like this overall idea: £16 plus full retail cost of software to install it, therefore they should discount machines by £16 plus retail for software you don't want ...

      £299 Inspiron 3000 (base model)

      -£16 McAfee Live Safe remove

      -£40 McAfee Live Safe 12 month subscription (approx avg of UK retail)

      -£16 MS Office trial remove

      -£16 MS Windows 8.1 remove

      -£110 MS Windows 8.1 (PC World price, saw it yesterday & still laughing)

      brand new PC for £101, with free shipping offer?

      Oh OK, go on then Mr Dell, you've twisted my arm ....

  12. Tom 7 Silver badge

    £100 an hour?????

    I'd guess I'm doing the bastard clicking to get it installed - I doubt they pay muppets to do something any idiot could automate - we're talking bankers bonuses here: shit loads for fuck all.

  13. Red Bren
    Pirate

    Ask not how much Dell charge to install Firefox

    Ask how much Microsoft penalises Dell for installing a competitor to IE

    1. dogged

      Re: Ask not how much Dell charge to install Firefox

      Have you ever looked at Scott Guthrie's blog?

      Nice clear screenshots of all the stuff he does with Azure. All in Chrome.

      Now, you can assume that MS fire people and penalize companies if you like. That's your right. You can stick your head up your own arse and use your balls for a bow tie if makes you happy.

      But you're still wrong and not funny.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't Windows give you a choice of browsers anyway? So if you want Firefox it'll install firefox?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's what I was thinking, but then didn't MS accidently remove that for 18 months and nobody noticed.

      1. Wilseus

        "That's what I was thinking, but then didn't MS accidentally remove that for 18 months and nobody noticed."

        Accidentally? I like that :)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Company in charging money for service shocker.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A completely fair charge

    Someone has to run the install (or create the base image)

    That needs to be tested

    That needs to be stored.

    "Free" software doesn't mean "Zero cost".

    1. M Gale

      Re: A completely fair charge

      And if it was 50p, I'd agree.

      Sixteen fucking quid?

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: A completely fair charge

        It's what Dell thinks the market will bear. "The market" being, in this case, users who are so under-confident they don't know how to do this for themselves. Or who are so over-paid that the ten minutes they take to do it would cost them more than 16 quid.

        If they could get away with charging 200 quid, they would. But they judge, I'm guessing approximately rightly, that 16 quid is the optimum point at which they'll get a nice little profit from a not insignificant number of punters. At 200 quid no-one would pay it, and at 50p there'd be no profit for them.

        1. M Gale

          Re: A completely fair charge

          and at 50p there'd be no profit for them.

          Quick, someone tell Google and Apple. All those 62p games are going to make them bankrupt!

          Seriously, for the "service" of selecting the "includes Firefox" install image? 50p is probably a bit too high. I'm probably being generous and the price should be more like 10p (or perhaps free, you know, as per the license terms), but hey, gotta make a profit.

  17. The BigYin

    Taxation

    As I can avoid the Mozilla tax on that form, will Dell now make it possible to avoid the MS tax as well?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hold on..

    They're charging to run an automatic install program, but if I ask for a machine without Windows they don't give me a discount for them not having to run an automatic install program? How very odd...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hold on..

      Windows is very cheap to OEMs.

      It's also subsidised by third parties.

      The amount you "save" from not paying the license fee is offset by the extra costs of treating your PC special. This is also why Ubuntu does have an actual cost on PCs (it needs to be tested, for one).

      1. captain veg

        Re: Hold on..

        Hmm. Last time I specced a Dell PC (corporate policy, not my choice) opting for FreeDOS as the O/S was more expensive than SLES. Both are free as in free speech, but SLES costs money.

        -A.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Hold on..

      You're forgetting about the MS kick-, er rebates to Dell for their licensing agreements.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was charging £25 to install Office 95 back in 95/96.

    Sure it took longer than Firefox to install but £25 was worth a lot more then and people happily paid it.

    As a large company if you are going to offer an additional option its probably not worth charging much less than £16 for anything. Not worth the administrative hassle never mind the actual technical staff costs

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > As a large company if you are going to offer an additional option its probably not worth charging much less than £16 for anything.

      As others have stated above, you charging money for a manual process is fair enough.

      But you can't compare it to a fully automated process that involves no-one at Dell actually installing the software. The installation will be performed by automated provisioning tools. There is no extra effort involved by anyone in installing Firefox on these machines since no actual person is involved.

      1. red death

        Whether there is additional effort involved is entirely irrelevant - Dell are charging people for a convenience service which seems entirely reasonable (given that is how much of the service sector works).

        You wouldn't expect an IT person to work for free if they tools which help automate their job eg building images for multiple use rather than installing everything from scratch...why should a company be any different?

        1. M Gale

          You wouldn't expect an IT person to work for free if they tools which help automate their job eg building images for multiple use rather than installing everything from scratch...why should a company be any different?

          And you think the person who created the "includes Firefox" build was hired specifically to make that particular build? Or is it that they probably perform all kinds of tasks within Dell, and creating the Firefox build was an hour or two of mucking about on top of their normal duties?

          This is something that cost Dell close to zero to make, that they probably recouped the costs on with the sale of a single, no-Firefox PC. Dell are also breaking Mozilla's license agreement by charging money for software that Mozilla stipulate should be freely available, which is kind of why Mozilla is a bit miffed at Dell right now.

          And no, no I don't expect the company to work for free. If you've not noticed, PCs are quite expensive. Asking for £16 just to select the image with Firefox on it is a piss-take. Usually when people rob old grannies and other weak or disadvantaged people, we slap them in a prison cell for a while. Or perhaps just slap them a few times. Wonder what should happen with Dell, then?

          1. red death

            This is something that cost Dell close to zero to make, that they probably recouped the costs on with the sale of a single, no-Firefox PC. Dell are also breaking Mozilla's license agreement by charging money for software that Mozilla stipulate should be freely available, which is kind of why Mozilla is a bit miffed at Dell right now.

            All of which is entirely irrelevant.

            Dell are charging what they think some of their market will bear, not what it costs them to do it.

            If they have been smart about it then they will be charging for the service (which is permissible) and not for the software (which you rightly say wouldn't be OK.

  20. Miss Config
    Boffin

    Browser Options ?

    In the EU where there is a legal obligation for Microsoft to offer a choice of browsers, does the relevant desktop icon actually result in the installation of Firefox if you actually click on it ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Browser Options ?

      Is browser choice limited to "consumers", on the grounds that - as in other areas of law - a business is supposed to be clever enough to make its own choices without the state holding its hand any more than is absolutely necessary?

  21. Longrod_von_Hugendong

    ...and?

    Wow, a company charges to do things... Last time I checked time cost money. If you want me to come to your company and install things, it will cost you. If you being the computer(s) to me then it will cost less but still cost.

    Nothing to see here people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: ...and?

      > Wow, a company charges to do things

      As stated by others above, the provisioning service is totally automated. There is NO HUMAN INVOLVED...

      <sob>

      ...<slits wrists>...

      Oh God, sorry I can't do this anymore. IQ level of respondents too low....

      I can't bear it any longer...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ...and?

        The knuckle-draggers also don't seem to have noticed that what Mozilla imposes restrictions on is the use of their trademarks, specifically when used in ways they don't approve for distribution of their product. So while you're entirely at liberty to use their open source software and charge for installing it, using the trademarks Mozilla and Firefox without their approval would be a no-no - and it's that they will be considering action over.

        1. M Gale

          Re: ...and?

          The knuckle-draggers also don't seem to have noticed that what Mozilla imposes restrictions on is the use of their trademarks, specifically when used in ways they don't approve for distribution of their product.

          Amusingly enouogh, if it were the GPL rather than their own MPL, all of this would be perfectly legal. The software may be free, but you can charge as much as you like for the service of packaging or installing it, or providing a place to download it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ...and?

        Then go ahead and slit.

        It might be an automated process when it comes to the actual machine build, but it was certainly a manual process to create that automated build.

        If I have a software testing process that requires testing EVERYTHING on the machine after ANYTHING is installed, it could cost well over 16,000 pounds to create, test, and manage that automated process.

        If I am only expecting to run that on 1000 machines, that means it costs over 16 pounds per machine.

  22. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    I hope all these people get cancer!

    At least for GBP 16 you get something useful, in a sort of protection racket kind of way.

    Microsoft asks me EUR 420 (VAT inclusive) so that I get the privilege to:

    Download, burn to CD, install, create recovery CDs, probably fight with the activation procedure, basically use up time that would cost around EUR 500 if properly billed of:

    a) A branded so-called "Operating System" that is now a 5 year old piece of crap in danger of getting the imminent support shaft

    b) A warmed-over piece of design fail called "Office", which is basically a trashbag of features that you don't need, want nor appreciate but that Shall Be Monetized, all lovingly barfed out by programming prima donnas that recently upskilled from serving large fries. You notice because there is a greasy, fatty feel to everything.

    c) All in the Not Preferred Language

  23. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I'm not seeing the crime here. Dell say "You want I should save you the trouble of installing Firefox and follow the usual practice when performing some service for a customer by charging a fee, which I will tell you about up front so you can figure out if you want to say 'no'?"

    I wish my mechanic would not charge for adjusting the belts on my car, but if I want to do that myself (and spend days recovering from aches, pains and banged knuckles) I can save myself a few dollars. I do the math and decide yes or no.

    Same with this Dell thing. No crime, no story. Just an annoyed tightwad with an elevated sense of outrage and too much time on his hands.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Bah!

      I see the commentard point about it seeming to have a high price. I certainly wouldn't pay it. But like you, I recognize that I don't know what costs Dell actually incurs for adding this option. So I won't fault them for offering it at that price.

  24. T I M B O

    An act of desperation

    I suppose pre installing FF is a good idea for £16, this way it helps buying a Dell worthwhile.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did anybody notice the CMOS options

    I was looking at roughly this time and one of the options was NIC enable, as in leave the fecking onboard network card enabled, I can't remember if it had a cost but for goodness sake they are taking the piss charging for some of this stuff. It's almost like they had a few beers and reminisced about having to install stuff for people and getting paid for it! back in the day and then one of them saying "hey lets do that again!" the PC market is getting pretty sparse so lets make the idiots pay to leave stuff turned on!

    Yeah do that Dell, I wonder if those refurbished HP's are in yet, damn fine value for money and no Win8

  26. cordwainer 1

    Sounds more like a class action suit trigger...

    By buyers of Dell computers against Dell for violation of antitrust law. Not sure if UK law is similar, but if this were to occur in the US, there might be a good argument to be made that PC buyers must be given the option of choosing a default browser - i.e., choosing an alternate browser to Internet Explorer - at no charge. Anti-monopolistic choice, whether of OS or non-optional software, is presumably mandatory thus must be free, not a source of profit for the manufacturer.

    OK, yes, partly being snarky . . . but charging for providing a choice of web browsers simply doesn't seem kosher from any angle.

  27. southpacificpom

    Well considering the Yanks are seriously broke financially, I guess they are thinking of new ways to extort legally make money to contribute to paying back this debt.

  28. Christian Berger

    What I'd like to have...

    ...would be a computer with an empty harddisk. As long as consumer PC manufacturers don't do that, I won't buy from them.

  29. aaronj2906_01

    What else can I do wrong?

    Apparently I'm the only idiot out here...

    Same question....

    My response: Glad to help... No charge. I hope this works for you. Maybe we can have lunch together sometime?

    I'm a horrible person, and will go to hell for that.

  30. Richard Cranium

    A while back I ordered a Dell and ticked the "no crapware" box (they described it differently).

    The result was that "crapware removal" made the machine "a custom build" and while they could hardly charge me for the service they punished me with a 2 week delivery delay whereas "standard build" complete with crap could be shipped for next day delivery.

  31. Otaso

    Cheeky

    Well it's cheeky maybe but I'm sure Dell will class the installation as being just a service and the software as free. Wonder how many ticked the box?

  32. Sheep!

    It may come as some surprise but Dell are a business that is trying to make money and like any other business they charge to install software. It doesn't matter that the software itself is free, if you're not technically competent to install something as simple as FireFox and you don't have any friends to do it then I would suggest paying a reputable company to install it properly for you is the only sensible option.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    20 euro sounds about right....

    For a non-bloatware / non-crapware / non-spyware build. I'd happily pay that at the end of the order if the bloody option was there. I'm so sick of having to prune friends, family and neighbours machines of this type of sh*t! Other vendors take note, HP / Acer / Asus...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About 20 euro? That sounds about right....

    ...For a non-bloatware / non-crapware / non-spyware build. I'd happily pay that at the end of the order if the bloody option was there. I'm so sick of having to prune friends, family and neighbours machines of this type of sh*t! Other vendors take note, HP / Acer / Asus etc etc

  35. Agent24

    Who the hell...

    ...takes 10 MINUTES to install Firefox?

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