Dell's Ubuntu boxes to be cheaper than windows ones

Dell plans to start offering Ubuntu as an option on selected consumer PCs in the coming weeks, said Jeremy Bolen, a Dell spokesman. Ubuntu is free, and machines pre-installed with it will be less expensive than PCs of the same configuration that come with Windows, Bolen said. He declined to say by how much. PC buyers also will be able to buy support from Canonical Ltd., which distributes Ubuntu.

No word on how much, but this is as it should be when offering PC’s without the Microsoft Tax. I think I need a new laptop soon…

About time. Their earlier offerings increased the price when you selected Linux.
The latest Ubuntu has greatly improved hardware support, so a fully supported
laptop is easier to find. Getting it pre-configured is yummy.

Neat, but does that include standard hardware warranty?

And I guess if you buy it with Ubuntu you can always install the copy of XP you have at home if you want Windows? That’s actually a pretty good deal for the consumer who wants the comfort of buying a name brand like Dell. If you really just want new hardware, you shouldn’t have to repurchase the OS.

I would never use OEM-installed Linux (half the point is to get away from the annoying corporate stuff), but this is great news.

If this pans out, hardware support should skyrocket. Pre-configuration means the Dell people will figure out how to get your hardware working. If they do this on Ubuntu, then by definition the configuration HAS to be open source. Thus, there’s little to stop the community from compiling a huge hardware configuration database from the work that the manufacturer does to make it work with their hardware.

The result? One of the biggest obstacles to Linux end-user friendliness (getting it to work with X hardware) begins to crumble.

Dude, hardware driver support is the least of Linux’s problems nowadays. Based on the complaints I’ve seen on forums everywhere, Vista’s drivers are 10x worse than Linux’s nowadays.

Nowadays you pretty much install your favorite distro and it finds almost everything you’ve got, except for that weird card that came with the flatbed scanner you bought 4 years ago and rarely use.

In fact, since Apple switched to Intel, I’d say that the driver situation is pretty much equal across the board. Which pisses me off, because that’s the main reason I switched to Apple in the first place. Everything has tons of issues right now.

Midnight Son has assimilated Rimbo. Be careful, you could be next.

It’ll be interesting to see the Tux crowd’s reaction to a GNOME desktop filled with ads and trial versions of commercial Linux apps. :)

The nice thing about a pre-configured OEM Linux is that you’re then guaranteed
to find the support for your hardware if you install Ubuntu on your own.
Anyway, buy these systems while they’re new, and Dell might not have had
time to create so much crapware yet ;)

What you’re saying is Linux has everything I need, unless it doesn’t in which case I probably didn’t need it anyway? Check.

I think what’s he’s saying is that Linux supports all the cool, popular hardware these days; and if something you want to use isn’t supported, then it is by definition not cool nor popular enough, and therefore they don’t want “your kind” around.

Nowadays, Rimbo gets very repetitious with certain words. Maybe he always did this, but nowadays it’s gotten worse. In fact, Rimbo may be right nowadays, but I get distracted by certain consistencies in his post nowadays.

No way, man. As far as most of the forums I’ve bummed around on, and the few linux people who come into the IT Center where I work (I don’t do computer support anymore unless it’s something few other people are good at), most of the issues people have are

  1. peripheral support (especially certain wireless chipsets, even with ndiswrapper)
  2. xorg configuration
  3. sound card weirdness.

Also, there’s still no quick config tool for dual heading in most distros. It still isn’t too hard, but it does require mucking about with xorg.conf, which brings the general end-user (i.e. not linux gurus) back to #2. And even I had trouble dual heading on an old machine at work that head 2 single-headed graphics cards from 2 different manufacturers.

Vista is having similar compatibility trouble, but we all know that’s just a temporary situation, and Macs usually have their own hardware for most uses, so that’s mitigated there.

A pain on any system - I struggle daily with stupid drivers that have replaced
the default list-available-networks tool on Windows :(

  1. xorg configuration

Historically a problem. With Intel opensourcing their chipset drivers, practically
every GPU in common use works with just the install disc since at least the
latest release of Ubuntu.

  1. sound card weirdness.

Ubuntu 5.10 and on finally does it right most of the time, and 7.04 improves
hardware support. Shouldn’t be a problem anymore. Plugging in a USB headset,
which is basically an external soundcard, just works.

Also, there’s still no quick config tool for dual heading in most distros.

1.nvidia-settings - this tool IS available in most distros where you also have
the official drivers available.

It doesn’t add itself in the menus on Feisty, which is the only really bad thing.

2.KDE’s control panel - check a box, choose cloning options and position.
Just as easy as on WinXP.

Macs usually have their own hardware for most uses, so that’s mitigated there.

Dell might be in a position to get some previously unsupported hardware working
on Linux. Printers and scanners are a minefield, printer-scanners the worst.


As EvilIdler points out, your fears and concerns were warranted 2 years ago.

This is one advantage Linux has over…well, everyone: The release cycle of the typical Linux OS is about once every six months. If you’re dealing with something more than a year old, it’s basically ancient by Linux standards. And because it’s open source, a change in one OS that is taken well is picked up by the other distributions usually by their next release. So a good move by SUSE gets put into Fedora/Ubuntu/etc no more than a year later, except where they have their existing tools.

And the faster it evolves, the more it’s adopted; the more it’s adopted, the faster it evolves.

I guess if you really really need those clever VB macros in your Word documents, or you would rather play ports of console games on your PC, then there’s reasons to have Windows. :)

Actually, Apple’s had some issues since converting to Intel. They haven’t worked out all the bugs yet, to my chagrin. The Macbook I own isn’t even remotely as stable of a machine as the old iBook G4, which is damned near indestructable.

I wish Linux could run all Win XP games at full speed and no compatability issues… though I guess people have the same wish for Vista.

Indeed. :)

Looking to buy a laptop for my wife, and since I have some extra Windows licenses, I figured I’d try pricing with Ubuntu instead of Windows.

With this config, identical laptops with Ubuntu and Vista Home Basic both came out to $917. Hardware is identical other than a GeForce 7300 on the Linux system and an ATI X1400 on the Windows system. (For some reason, the video card varies based on OS; probably driver issues, but both cards cost the same.)

This was disappointing. Why are users paying as much for a free OS as they would for Windows? (Yeah, it’s only Home Basic, but going to Premium is just $29 more.)

PROCESSOR Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processor T5300 (2MB Cache/1.73GHz/533MHz FSB) edit
OPERATING SYSTEM Ubuntu Edition version 7.04 edit
LCD PANEL 15.4 inch Wide Screen XGA Display with TrueLife™(glossy) edit
MEMORY 1GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz, 2 Dimm edit
HARD DRIVE 80GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive edit
OPTICAL DIVE 8X CD/DVD Burner (DVD+/-RW) with double-layer DVD+R write capability edit
VIDEO CARD 256MB NVIDIA® GeForce® Go 7300 TurboCache™ edit
My Accessories
BATTERY OPTIONS 85 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery edit
WIRELESS CARDS Intel PRO/Wireless 3945a/g edit

Also, I can add Bluetooth to the Windows version for $20, but it’s not available on the Ubuntu box.

So looks like omitting the “Microsoft tax,” as Midnight Son calls it, just results in more profit for Dell…

(Disclaimer: You all know where I work. But this is me expressing personal disappointment – I thought I was gonna save $50+ on a laptop here and get to play with a dual-boot OS after installing my own copy of Vista on the Linux version.)

The thing is, you can use a much cheaper laptop for your Ubuntu install since it doesn’t need windows level power to run effectively.

I’ve been sniffing around for a cheap old lightweight notebook to turn into a basic openoffice, web, and email platform.

Sure, I understand that. But the Linux community was hailing the Dell Ubuntu laptops as a chance to buy a laptop without spending extra on Windows.

Is Dell donating to Ubuntu development with each unit sold? If not, they’re pocketing the difference, apparently.