Looks like I’ll be getting a Dell soon

Dell to use Ubuntu on Linux PCs

I’ve been after an easy route into Linux, after my battles getting various flavours to work right on this Sony notebook. One of my other Pcs is an Ubuntu dual boot, so this Dell move looks like just the ticket. The recommended approach is to install Windows first if doing a dual boot, so I’m guessing these Dells, will stay pure Linux. Although if I know the hardware support is there I’d happily rebuild from scratch, I always do that with Windows anyway.

This move could be taken many ways, the 2 obvious ones are

  • a. Dell are desperate
  • b. Linux is really gaining traction

Which do you think? or a bit of both? Dell had over 100,000 requests for Linux in the last couple of months apparently. Or do you have other thoughts on the reasons?

Personally I don’t think most users care about the operating system, as long as it runs the apps they need without falling over too often, thats enough. Although as I remember from that Office v browser survey, many people have much lighter needs than us MS Office developers. (Just a browser if you believe the web 2.0 hype!)

But I do think this is an interesting development, Do you? especially the timing (Dell also just re-introduced Windows XP, having previously gone Vista only).

If you want to try Linux out without installing anything then grab a live CD/DVD version (Ubuntu have one) stick it in the drive, make sure the machine is set to boot from CD/DVD first (usual) and reboot it. Linux loads, without installing to the hard drive, play around, close down, take the disc out and restart, back to windows, as it was.

If you actively use Linux, whats your favourite distro and why? Anyone using Novell SLED 10?, I think that has Open Office with VBA.

cheers

Simon

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8 Responses to “Looks like I’ll be getting a Dell soon”

  1. Roger Says:

    I choose option A. Dell are desperate.

    Don’t take Dell’s offering Linux and now XP again as a sign of growing demand for those two products. From what I read of Dell they are slipping in the PC wars and they are facing a big SEC investigation so they are disparate for any money. Offering Linux and XP is a way to make some additional and quick money even if it’s a samll amount.

  2. Harlan Grove Says:

    Don’t discount Dell again offering XP as countering claims of Vista’s Oh So Wonderfulness. Vista without the memory hog Aero interface is still a more more memory hungry though moderately more secure Windows version with the old UI. Anyone who knows how to set their firewall and AV software appropriately doesn’t get much from Vista, but they do currently get missing device driver and old application incompatibility headaches.

    No one in their right mind buys a new Windows version before the first service pack. The irrational desire for NEW! is kinda, sorta an obvious class of people not in their right minds. From now through mid-fall I’d guess a fair portion of Dell buyers will opt for XP.

    Gotta hand it to MSFT for releasing a Windows version that compares a bit too closely to the latest Linux distribution versions in terms of lack of hardware support. As for old software, show me any Linux distribution that doesn’t support multiple versions of shared libraries running on the same machine. The equivalent of DLL Hell also exists under Linux, but it’s much rarer. And full system updating is much easier with most Linux distributions than with Windows. The Ubuntu command apt-get update is the equivalent of installing all Windows, AV and standard application updates at one time.

    I started with Red Hat, moved to Mandrake, then to Ubuntu (actually to Xubuntu since Gnome and KDE both hog too much memory). I use OpenOffice and other ‘productivity’ software a bit, but I mostly run Firefox and R and do most of my non-VBA programming under Linux (nearly all character mode programs I can cross-compile then debug and run under emulators under Linux). Since Citrix provides a Linux client, I also connect to the company terminal server to work from home under Linux.

    Back to Dell: I wonder whether they’ll still pay MSFT an OEM license fee for each Linux box they sell.

  3. MikeC Says:

    Going by how much I was able to bargain Dell down by a couple of months ago (almost 20% of the web price, with extras), I’m with A. Especially seeing as it was XP installed…

    I know a bunch of retailers are still offering XP despite huge MS incentives to shift Vista, because people are asking for XP. As Harlan says, it seems maybe people are realising than an OS isn’t at its most stable immediately after release! And that’s not taking into account the hardware compatability problems…

  4. Marcus Says:

    Well here’s some fodder for the ‘Dell are desperate’ argument:
    http://www.theage.com.au/news/biztech/dells-new-strategy/2007/04/30/1177788020817.html

    As you noted Simon, most users – my mother for instance – wouldn’t even know if Windows or Linux was installed on her computer. It lets her do what she wants to do. Will a Linux installation lower the street price of Dells. Is this a (temporary) competitive advantage or part of a strategy?

  5. Simon Says:

    The more cynical among us (moi?) might think this is just Dell trying to negotiate more attractive terms with MS. I believe this approach has worked for some councils/government departments.

  6. Roger Says:

    Dell briefly offered Linux in 1999. Not sure what the reasons were then for adding and then dropping it, but they did offer it for a while.

  7. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    In general many Linux distributions are both robust and at the same time easy to use for all kind of users. For hardware vendors Linux should therefore be less support intensive then in the past.

    Since they, as most corporates experience, have a tough competition Dell now see a possibility to cut some market shares.

    I will continue to buy Lenovo’s computers that still is based on the IBM’s spirit: reliable, robust and never in the front line for the latest cutting edge technology —-> no blue screen.

    Except for that I’m waiting on the first SP to Windows Vista before consider to replace Windows XP on the developing computer.

    Kind regards,
    Dennis

  8. UggBoots Says:

    Nice site very easy to use and good info.

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