View Full Version : Dell to start shipping desktops with Ubuntu...

05-02-2007, 09:48 AM
no, its not a joke. (http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/31852/118/)

i, for one, think this proves two things: first, there are people out there that would prefer an OS solution aside from Windows for their desktop. IMHO, Dell is actually taking a step forward by doing this. Ubuntu would work great on their low-end systems as it is bundled with an excellent set of Office apps (via Open Office), and it comes with an equally impressive web browser (Firefox). and don't forget that Ubuntu is easy to use, even for those that are migrating from Windows. the other big advantage is that Ubuntu doesn't require the system resources like Vista does, and hence, their budget systems wouldn't suffer too much by having cheaper hardware.

second, the transition to Vista is not going over smooth. Dell is already starting to migrate back to XP (as mentioned in the article), and a lot of people are still having to deal with various problems with Vista, at least from what i've noticed up where i work. driver issues are still present with a number of major hardware devices *cough*Nvidia*cough*, and Vista is not proving to be very backward compatible on older hardware.

anyways, what are your thoughts on the matter??

05-02-2007, 10:23 AM
This will be a big step forward for the open source community. I see there's already a firmware open source project (http://linux.dell.com/firmware-tools/announce.html) for providing BIOS updates. :) Think about it, Dell will be promoting its machines with either Windows or Ubuntu to the mainstream. Non-techno savvy looking to buy a machine will begin weighing that option Dell has set before them where before it was not even considered.

You mentioned Vista's current problem with drivers. This could be the proving ground Ubuntu. I've used SUSE Linux before and have gone the trouble of finding and installing drivers for my components (my wireless card took some work). I suspect the mainstream will -- like Vista -- have driver issues when trying to add new components to their Ubuntu system, until such time that the OS is widespread enough that compatible drivers are ubiquitous also.

I'm interested to see how public opinion over Linux and Windows changes over the next year.

Negative Sun
05-02-2007, 03:20 PM
Wow, Dell have gone up in my opinion recently...I think this is a very interesting move...

05-05-2007, 06:23 PM
I hope they come with these stickers.


Anyways I'm glad to hear about this. I run Ubuntu and I love it and I'm happy to see many more people will be exposed to it.

05-06-2007, 07:04 AM
OK. Sure - great idea... and I understand the excitement from the pro Linux crowd...

But what about support for 'mom n dad' users who are stuck or having problems I dont see Linux or Dell having appropriately trained staff to handle this side of things...

I think its a mute point - people that know about Linux and know how to use it are the types that can put rigs together in their sleep, not buy them from huge conglomerates like Dell...

@Stinger -- I cant imagine you at walmart forking out your hard earned for a Ubuntu Dell rig !!

close, but no cigar. What a marketing coup for Dell... Pushing a free product on peeps :)

what I'd like to see is open source and the Big 2 working on some type of project that offers a low cost alternative to users......

I'd also like to see Unicorns and the Loch Ness Monster too :D

btw - The driver problem isnt Vista's...... MS/Vista is as much responsible for the R&D Depts of AMD and Nvidia, etc as I am for Lucasfilm & ILM :D


05-06-2007, 10:38 AM
But what about support for 'mom n dad' users who are stuck or having problems I dont see Linux or Dell having appropriately trained staff to handle this side of things...
If mom n dad only want to use the computer for email and internet surfing, I'm sure they can learn these. Plus they won't have to vigilantly update their OS every time a hacker finds a buffer overflow. I seriously considered setting my mother-in-law up with Linux for that very reason.

close, but no cigar. What a marketing coup for Dell... Pushing a free product on peeps :)Silly rabbit, hardware isn't free. I'm certain if you configure your own system from Dell's website you'll see options like: choose "Windows Vista (save $0)" or "Ubuntu (save $200)".

what I'd like to see is open source and the Big 2 working on some type of project that offers a low cost alternative to users......

I don't know about the Big 2, but have you heard of the One Laptop Per Child campaign with its goal of the $100 laptop? http://laptop.org Right now they've got a unit cost fo $150 but they hope to hit the $100 mark soon. And yes it runs on Linux (Red Hat).

05-07-2007, 03:06 PM
But what about support for 'mom n dad' users who are stuck or having problems I dont see Linux or Dell having appropriately trained staff to handle this side of things...

I'd seriously consider using Ubuntu before using Vista for mom and dad. It seems perfect for them since their main use of their comps is e-mail, reading foreign newspapers and drafting an occasional report (they're both retired). The Ubuntu interface looks familiar enough and is easy to figure out for a beginner. I don't think Vista is more user friendly IMHO and it takes a lot of ressources.

As for tech support, it wouldn't change anything for them: I am sure I would continue to receive bi-weekly phone calls for help :p.

05-09-2007, 05:30 AM
This could be a giant leap forward for Linux, and the open-source community in general. Kudos, Dell.

05-09-2007, 10:25 AM
cmon Q !!

Dell is a mega corporation... Unless the fabled King Arthur has recently become President of Dell, The idea of Dell execs sitting around a table saying "lets make a giant leap forward" is crazy talk !!

Dells sales have fallen significantly enough since their 'exploding batteries' debacle that they are now flogging xp and linux ridden hardware to the public, simply because it gives people a cheaper alternative - and a great way for them to keep sales ticking over. Sure its great people have a cheaper alternative, but the motives behind it suck :(

I'd love to one day see a corporation that is willing to minimise profits, or even run at a loss to provide low cost alternatives to consumers. I'd also like to catch a leprechaun or spot the Loch Ness Monster :(

Fig.1. Leprechaun

Fig.2. Nessie

maybe Im just old and cynical, but Ive yet to see such an initiative that wasnt started at a grass roots level...as opposed to a top down corporate decision...

When I think of these huge companies...All I ever think of is a skit on The Chapelle Show :p
"Get that money ! dollar dollar bill y'all !" - 'Wu Tang Financial' on The Chapelle Show

lolz :p

anyway, as someone partial to gaming (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rjpn3L3bSJQ&mode=related&search=) and media center functionality. Im happy to stick with my windows based PC... just remember to buy OEM, or leech your employers techNet subcription to get yourself some RTM goodies !!! (Thats how I got Vista :D )


PS- Lets hope Dell (or Apple) wont be donating any laptops to kiddies.... BOOM! The ''children are our future'' only if they are intact with all their limbs and organs :(

05-09-2007, 01:11 PM
me thinks that you're not quite getting the whole picture. since Ubuntu is open sauce, Dell will have to front little cost to put it on a system when compared to Windows. yes, there is cost associated with having to provide tech support, install discs, etc, but one thing they won't have to worry about is licensing. in the end, installing Ubuntu on their systems will help them save money.

yes, Ubuntu is not practical for every situation, but that's largely due to software limitations more so than Ubuntu itself. heh, that kind of reminds me of the situation Vista is currently in when it comes to drivers, come to think of it. :dozey:

at any rate, Ubuntu is rather handy for folks that don't do much with their systems outside of office apps and the internet, and the market is there for those types of folks. i think Dell has actually managed to see that, and it could easily prove to be a smart move.

for people like you and me, though, Windows is still going to be the best choice of an OS. at least till software availability is better for Linux-based OS's, at any rate. ;)

05-09-2007, 09:34 PM
^^^^me thinks that you're not quite getting the whole pictur....yes, there is cost associated with having to provide tech support, install discs, etc, but one thing they won't have to worry about is licensing....

c'mon stinger, its pretty easy to grasp the point :) Linus has the potential to be great - but theres still alot of gaps to fill, logistically if not from a software and hardware support point of view. They will eventually need to 'become like the enemy' if they want to be adopted as a true third alternative to the world at large. This partnership with Dell can be seen as a tentative step tiwards that.

Im just weary of big corporations, why they do things, and how they will support people when something will inevitably will stuff up or in the least confuse someone.

I think Dell will need to be very concise with the limitations of the Linux systems when they sell them . MS, retailers and their staff are having significant problems with people keen to adopt Vista but with significant hardware compatibility problems. If MS and the mega retailers cant handle it, Im a bit scared at the potentially similar volume of problems Linux will generate for 'the average non tech user'

This is the only concern I have here - will they providing support ?? For starters, they will need to employ or train a whole slather of their support crew to handle Linux queries. The very nature of open source doesnt lend itself to comprehensive or even timely support.

In the very least, it can be regarded as an interesting experiment... but I apologise in advance to people who are talked into and then discover their modem, printer, or fave program etc craps itself when plugged into Linux.

you crazy linux kids, you :p There's an element of cult - like devotion that freaks me out about it all...and the snideness *by some not all* when bagging the big2 is really disturbing. Apple and MS started off as the ideas of small group of people too. Some clever marketing and bold business decisions have landed them where they are. Im perenially impressed by the amounts of $$$ Bill Gates donates to Africa and various charities - sure its a tax write off for him, but its much needed.

If Linux can replicate the success it has had in the business world for the home user, then I'd be the first to applaud and recommend them. At this stage though, I wouldnt dare try get people like my parents or sister run a Linux rig.


Det. Bart Lasiter
05-09-2007, 09:55 PM
Ubuntu/Kubuntu isn't Gentoo or Debian, if someone is just using their computer just for email, IM, and/or internet access, I doubt they'd even have to open up a terminal window. And Ubuntu's wireless card support is almost just as good as XP's, a basic Linksys card can usually just be plugged in and used right away. And if Dell's systems come with integrated wireless, I doubt the end-user would even have to worry it.

They also wouldn't have to worry about finding anti-virus software, firewalls (I think Ubuntu has a basic iptables configuration when it's installed), or finding the programs they need to do the things they want do. Most of it's just there.

As for support, I've often found community-based troubleshooting forums and open wikis to be far more helpful than say, Microsoft's support site.

My point is that distros like Ubuntu are only slightly harder to use than XP now, and the idea that you need far-above average computer skills to use Linux on a daily basis is in the past. I'd even go so far as to say that the average person would be better off using Ubuntu than trying to deal with all the bull**** and glitches in Vista - especially if they don't want to upgrade their hardware and dodge a massive slowdown.

05-09-2007, 11:08 PM
I do love the power of Linux's iptables. I also like how lowlevel you can get with hotplug daemon by just modifying some text.

But we're forgetting the most important point jmac... what about all our beloved (LucasArts) games? :p

I hope anti-console, PC-loyalists won't be saying that in a couple years.

Det. Bart Lasiter
05-09-2007, 11:14 PM
Don't worry tee-kay, they will.

Ray Jones
05-10-2007, 03:54 AM
Yay for Jay-Jay. ^^

As for the Games, I use WINE for that.

05-10-2007, 08:34 AM
lolz...spoiler tags in the tech forum... There you have it - Linux folk *are* crazy :D

It'll be interesting to see how it all turns out. I know alot of people are having Vista issues. People who should have done much more research IMO !! I personally can say that Vista is the easiest, leat maintenance OS I have ever used. Truly plug n play with all my peripherals(well researched to ensure compatibility of course). And Vista MediaCenter....is just phenomenal. Ive had zero, yes zero - problems with it - running non stop for the last 3 months !!

Im also liking what Im seeing from Windows Home Server. (using WHS Beta 2/CTP for my central media server) Now I have had a small glimpse into the fun n games that all the server 2003 experts/geeks dabble in.... I like it !! Of course I think that was the aim of WHS, to dumb it downenough for non network admin trained person to use :)