Why does Dell hate Linux so much?

Updated happygeek 7 Tallied Votes 3K Views Share

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.

Three years ago Dell went Ubuntu bashing, making it really pretty hard to buy a Linux-loaded machine from the vendor. The Linux machines back then cost more than the Windows ones, there were warnings about it not being compatible with lots of software and to top it all the Dell sales staff didn't even seem to know that Dell offered a Linux option .

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.

Then it has a link which says it will answer the question: should I choose Windows or Ubuntu? The real Ubuntu bashing starts when you get there.

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.

Thank you Dell for explaining the difference between Windows and Linux, we can now all sleep soundly. Not. Of course, Dell has done a fairly decent job in selling Linux laptops over the last couple of years and, as we have reported before at DaniWeb, seems to think it does a pretty good job of explaining what Linux is. Dell, have we got news for you...

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.

lrh9 95 Posting Whiz in Training

"...head over to the sales websites..."


Their goal is to sell at any cost, and not to give you the best product for your needs.

Joe.Net 0 Newbie Poster

They are just fed up probably with support calls from customers who bought the Linux boxes.

kenholmz 0 Newbie Poster

They are just fed up probably with support calls from customers who bought the Linux boxes.

Dell could cut support staff by 80% if they only had to deal with customers who bought Windows boxes.

salparadise 0 Newbie Poster

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?

Indian-Art 0 Newbie Poster

"Dell sales staff didn't even seem to know that Dell offered a Linux option."

I think this smacks of step-motherly treatment.

sureronald 0 Junior Poster

As a hardware manufacturer Dell wants the best for it's products and the best here is to comply with Microsoft's demands at the expense of Ubuntu

happygeek 2,411 Most Valuable Poster Team Colleague Featured Poster

None of the 'heavy hand of Microsoft' theories explain why the US Dell site is so supportive of Ubuntu while the Europe Dell site apparently so dismissive though.

popin 0 Light Poster

"not compatible with Microsoft WINDOWS or any WINDOWS based programs (Microsoft Office, iTunes etc)" I tunes? would it not be better for them to have actually picked stuff from windows own repository?

lol my friend recently bought a netbook with windows installed he had no problem, what he did was go out get some more RAM then formatted the system and installed Ubuntu works like a dream now. lol

kooia 1 Light Poster

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.

Stavron 0 Newbie Poster

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!

happygeek 2,411 Most Valuable Poster Team Colleague Featured Poster

I did, indeed, miss that one.

Brilliant find, and yet still more evidence to suggest that Dell is totally schizophrenic when it comes to selling Linux laptops.

khakilang -3 Posting Pro in Training

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.

ThisOldMan 0 Newbie Poster

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.

Tim_7 commented: lol wut? You make MORE money if you sell a free product! Of course Dell would prefer to sell Linux machines if they didn't have to support them. +0
mike_2000_17 2,669 21st Century Viking Team Colleague Featured Poster

Just an update on this.

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.

Barber2012 0 Light Poster

all they concerned about is money. "show me the money".

eldergeek 0 Newbie Poster

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.

rubberman 1,355 Nearly a Posting Virtuoso Featured Poster

Want a LInux laptop? Go to www.zareason.com - no Windows from them!

EvilTekPCs 0 Newbie Poster

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..

here2serve 14 Newbie Poster

I know many would like to have the OS preinstalled but I would rather has a NO OS option and put on what ever I want.

taichichuan 0 Newbie Poster

Get ready for the new machines that are built to run WIndows 8. They will have a TPM installed that only has MS WIndows as a boot option. Booting from USB/CDROM will now be impossible if the BIOS vendor doesn't give you a way to disable the TPM or reload a new boot signature. So, If you're thinking of getting a new machine this year, you better do it before WIndows 8 becomes official. Once that comes out, you might have to switch to an ARM-based machine to escape the Microsoft monopoly.

EvilTekPCs 0 Newbie Poster

that is a horrible thing for the computer world, so much for originality, all the computers will look and function the same.. all using a bloated, memory hungry, money robbing operating system.. We need it to change FAST!

Mourin @ Dell 0 Newbie Poster Vendor

Have you guys heard about Project Sputnik? It's a pilot Dell is running for a Ubuntu based developer laptop. There's more detail on the Idea Storm page.

EvilTekPCs 0 Newbie Poster

Yes i offer my customers that choice as well. it's their computer let them decide what goes on it.. that is the way it should be..

RGShack 0 Newbie Poster

Hi dell, I would like to buy a system. Umm, I do not want McAfee nor Windows. I would prefer other programs such as Ubuntu and Avast. I am sorry sir but we only ship with Windows and please sir you cannot order without McAfee and gain the discounts that we offer. We are forcefed options that we do not want and people who know far less order far more Windows programs. Like they said, it is all about the money. people make changes. We should all change.

Member Avatar for HTMLperson5

I don't understand why most of Daniweb is so fond of Linux, You can do programming on Windows and Mac just fine. Why get some free, badly designed, awful performace and opensource to ruin your computer with? That's probably what came to Dell's mind.

There are many viruses for Linux too.
Dell dislikes linux probably because it may give them a bad reputation.
I mean. :(){ :|: & };: is basically all you need to crash your system completely.
And in case you guys thought Windows is the only operating system which is vulnerable to "real" malware, then here's the Wikipedia page clearly explaining that Linux users are just as vulnerable as Windows users!

eroux 0 Newbie Poster

@HTMLperson5: Oh... I see you're still trolling the boards. You know, there are days I actually miss usenet...

At everyone else: please don't feed the tolls.

wmhrae 0 Newbie Poster

All Operating System has the same virus thread !!! No one is better or worse !!! It's the Hackers and Virus creators that decide who they want to attack ... And yes You don't need a virus to kill any operating system I have discovered to do something and all OS world wide will be out for a duck ... sorry can not publish it here !!! My multi operating system Mos 1.0 uses an antivirus which is installed by default The user just configure it and virus scanning is done in the background as you work surf receive or send emails etc ... Hackers does not concentrate there efforts on Linux, UNIX or netBSD(Mac OSX does not exist its netBSD-5.1) go see now http://www.netbsd.org/ and here you see products using netBSD http://www.netbsd.org/gallery/products.html Software products based on NetBSD

Apple's Darwin  (This is your Mac OSX wake-up freeware sold at sky rocket price)
Castle Technology Ltd: USB software and Network stack
CentreCOM WR54-ID
Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network
Ghost for Unix (g4u)
NetBSD/i386 firewall project
NetBSD Live! CD
The OSKit
SEIL routing software based on NetBSD
Wasabi Storage Builder64

Geting to based on Mos 1.0 is a Combination of freeBSD and Linux at first then I added a Wine API) All software that runs on netBSD(Mac OSX) can be unconditionaly run or in worst case be recompiled and run on most linux UNIX or Mos system !!! If software excist for Mac OSX then its allready ready to run on LINUX UNIX !!!! I compile lots of software created for netbsd(Mac OSX) and it compiles without modification so stop BILLSHIT its not ported talk to Linux LIES !!! Its Mac OSX ready means its UNIX rerady Means it is Linux ready !!!

DELL'S problem is ... I have the same ... in the begining the user is lost and phone all the time .. I have made notes of all there questions and answers needed and now when I give a Mos 1.0 computer nobody phonesback because I have prepared a list of Question Answers and that is all !!! THE USER FIND HIMSELF ON A SYSTEM WERE YOU DONT NEED TO CONFIGURE OR INSTALL AN ISP and thus confuse them You plug-in ETH and you surf You use WIFI You right click choose preference and in keyword you type your KEY PROVIDED and of you go or if public wifi you just choose and you are connected !!!!!

So DELL take your finger out of your Budtocks and think with your brains situated on the extreme top of your body and not those between your legs

Dedra 0 Newbie Poster

For the Dell Laptops, I dont think even Windows will work out good. The speed of the Dell Laptops are always slow when you compare them with Lenovo, Thinkpad, Acer and other brands.


Member Avatar for HTMLperson5

Oh... I see you're still trolling the boards

And I can see you are stalking me
Just because my opinion is different to yours, it does not at all mean that you should call me a troll and rubbish the valid points I am making.

there are days I actually miss usenet...

There are days when I just wonder why I bother with this crap.

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