Want to buy a Dell machine loaded with Linux? Shame, as it appears that Dell Europe would really rather you bought a Windows-powered one, despite having a website devoted entirely to selling Dell Ubuntu laptops. And, oh boy, does it use some strange arguments to dissuade you from becoming a Linux convert.
Fast forward to the present and it seems that things have not got a great deal better. Visiting the Dell Ubuntu UK website , the first thing you see is a huge banner telling you that Ubuntu 'keeps getting better' which is a great start. However, it immediately falls into some weird Linux is bad, m'kay affair with the very next thing you see being a bloody big warning stating that Ubuntu is "not compatible with Microsoft WINDOWS or any WINDOWS based programs (Microsoft Office, iTunes etc)" although you can, of course, using WINE.
Dell does, for the record, say a few nice things about Ubuntu such as it coming with built-in office software, being one of the world's most popular open source operating systems and even that programs can be more reliable and flexible than Windows ones.
The tone is pretty much set from the get go with the statement:
"UBUNTU is not a Microsoft Windows operating system - and is not compatible with Microsoft Office programs - so it's important you make the right choice"
I almost don't know whether to laugh or cry at what comes next, in the form of the 'Choose Ubuntu if' argument which consists of just two points:
You do not plan to use Microsoft WINDOWS
You are interested in open source programming
And that's it folks. You should choose Windows if you use Windows programs and want to continue to use them, are familiar with Windows and don't want to learn how to use new programs and if you are new to computers, apparently.
Unless you live in the US that is. For some strange reason if you head over to the sales websites for Dell Ubuntu in the USA you get a completely different story . Here Dell starts by telling customers that "First and foremost, Ubuntu is an Operating System. Just like Microsoft Windows or Apple MacOS, you can use Ubuntu to surf the web, check email, or just about anything you might want to do" and goes on to present a Ubuntu top ten FAQ which includes such praise for the Linux OS as "Ubuntu is social from the start" and "Ubuntu is secure" and "Ubuntu boots up fast" and even "Ubuntu with OpenOffice is compatible with Microsoft Office" for goodness sake.
Talk about a split business personality.
I'm a hacker turned writer and consultant, specialising in IT security. I've been a freelance word punk for over 20 years and along the way I have seen 23 of my books published, produced and presented programmes for TV and radio, picked up a bunch of awards and continue being a contributing editor with PC Pro - the best selling IT magazine in the UK .
If I were a betting man I'd say that is was the result of pressure from Microsoft, who are, after all, terrified of losing out both to Linux and Macs.
At least Dell are selling boxes with Linux installed.
They just need encouragement to stand up to the Redmond Heavy Squad.
How about an article comparing Linux vendors and offering some praise for them?
Well, the thing about "Which one is better" is somewhat true... I was getting pretty feud up with all the windows junk (windows 7 and vista, and I knew I'd have to upgrade to vista or 7 sometime or another). And second, I was interested in open source programming, or more the free programs. So, the Dell website was actually correct... although it seemed to be promoting Windows.
I'm surprised nobody's pointed out the best bit of this, which is that if you click the "Shop For Ubuntu laptops" link on http://www.dell.co.uk/ubuntu , you get redirected to a page of search results featuring a whole load of laptops running... Windows!
Over here in Malaysia. Dell do not sell computer with Linux at all. It seem they are looking at the size of the market share for Window in certain region. Microsoft could give them the strong arm twisting tactic to drop Linux. The ads should mention. If you hate your computer being affected by virus, spyware and malware than choose Linux.
First I think the bottom line is money. You can't make money selling a free product. As for the difference in approach on both sides of the Atlantic, I think one of the teams have got their heads put on right and the other have got their heads screwed up.
Myself, I have migrated from Windows to Ubuntu without any problems. I haven't missed using any Windows programmes yet. All that I have done before with Windows programmes, I can now do just as well with open source alternatives.
This program by Dell didn't last very long. Word has it that MS came down hard on them. Considering that the profit margin of Dell is directly tied to how good a deal they can make with MS to buy the Windows installations for their PCs, this is not surprising at all. Clearly, at some point, some Dell people thought it would be a good idea to offer Ubuntu, because I can imagine they got many consumer requests to do so, so, naturally, they did as any sane company would, they tried to offer what their customers wanted.
Today, I checked around the Dell website a bit. They do not offer any Ubuntu pre-loads on the "customize it!" processes for any computer they sell. However, they do mention, for some models, that you can get the computer with Ubuntu pre-load (or none at all, I would imagine too), if you call them and make a special order for it (I don't know if it actually comes to be cheaper at the end). Btw, they only mention the Linux availability for a few models, mostly the high-reliability models like Precision, Vostro, OptiFlex, etc. (small-server, business or scientific computer models). I don't know if it is available for any laptop models.
Furthermore, since Windows 7, Microsoft has changed their refund policy. Before, you could by a new computer (with Windows pre-installed), then boot it up to the Windows installation screen and decline the license agreement (i.e., "I do not accept the terms of this license"). Then, you would get some cancellation number or something and you could get a refund from the retailer that sold you the computer (and they would get a refund from Microsoft). And Dell used to honour this policy without too much hassle (you just had to prove conclusively that you did decline the license, which was easy). Now, since Win7, Microsoft changed the rules, and now if you decline the license, you have to ship the computer back to the retailer for a full refund (or replacement), but you cannot be refunded only for the Windows installation that you don't wanted.
So, clearly, Microsoft is aware of a trend to try and escape the Windows pre-installation, as many (like me) would be happy to be able to easily buy a computer without Windows pre-installed. And Microsoft has clearly taken steps to fight that trend.
I'm a Kubuntu (12.04 LTS) user and Daniweb has crashed firefox 4 times in a row before finally permitting me to post this response. I agree, Linux users have to put up with a great deal of discrimination, both overt and covert, but Microsoft is, after all, fighting for their life even while they exemplify the fact that companies which chose to fight progress, rather than change with the times, have always lost in the end.
What needs to happen is this.... Give people the right to choose what they want to use.. Companies shouldn't be penalized for offering their customers choices as to what OS to use.. Microsoft should NOT be allowed to dictate what goes on the computers that the manufacturers sell.. Microsoft should NOT be allowed to STEAL code make a minor tweak, closing the source and release it as their own, then force everyone to use theirs instead of the original they stole from. My personal opinion is this, if Microsoft was out of the picture the computing world would be alot different, A MUCH BETTER Different. When it comes to Microsoft, alls they are interested in is making money for themselves, at the computer users expense. GIVE CUSTOMERS THE KNOWLEDGE AND THE POWER TO CHOSE WHAT GOES ON THEIR COMPUTER!
There is always going to be a this one is better than that one debate, it would just be nice to ALLOW people to choose what they want to use without loosing functionality.. I have been offering my customers computer systems with the option of choosing what they want installed.. It is great to see DELL,although i am now a big fan of DELL, selling their machines with linux installed but at the same time, they should be more informative about their customers options. I am a tweaker, i have Ubuntu installed on my own computer but at the same time, i try EVERY operating system i find just to play with it.. People get the stupid idea in their heads that every other operating system,besides windows, is hard to learn or doesn't have all the software they need and that is really not the case; there is so much out there you just have to be willing to look for it.. But Microsoft doesn't want people to know that..