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.