Desktop Linux Gets Boost From Dell

from the it's-dellinux dept

In a move that’s been expected for some time, Dell has announced that for the first time, it will offer PCs with Linux pre-installed. The move makes sense for a few reasons. For one thing, Dell has always touted itself as having the most customizable computers, so giving users their choice of operating systems would seem to fit with the company’s ethos. A more important factor may have been the growing Microsoft tax. As many people have pointed out, as hardware prices continue to drop, proprietary software accounts for a larger and larger slice of the cost of a computer. Thus it makes sense for computer makers, which compete intensely on cost, to offer equivalent solutions that don’t require them to hand a big chunk over to Microsoft. Dell’s entry into the desktop Linux market probably won’t do a whole lot to stem its recent woes, but the company needs all the help it can get as it deals with a surging HP, and a computer market that isn’t seeing any tailwind from the release of Vista.

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Comments on “Desktop Linux Gets Boost From Dell”

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Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

Linux is good but it is not for

the desktop. Gnome and KDE have some way to go before they catch up to WindowsXP or Vista.

I am not one to cheer on Microsoft but that is one area they have excelled in: desktop environment that wraps you like a blanket of goodness.

As long as you are willing to drink the Microsoft Kool-aid and do work the way they want you to work, then you are fine.

Linux and Linux desktops give you too many options and for the masses, too many options is overwhelming.

I can hear my grandmother saying “I just want to check my email and surf the web.”

Microsoft is for the unwashed masses and the unwashed masses do NOT want choice.

Casper says:

Re: Re: Re: Linux is good but it is not for

” “Buy a Mac then.” Like she has that kind of money. I seriously cringe everytime I think about her Win98 machine and the multiple times I try to upgrade her. Sometimes Change can only occur in small steps.”

I had the same problem with some of my relatives so I used them like guinea pigs. I installed XP on two of their machines and Ubuntu on two. The two with Ubuntu had a couple issues at first, when they wanted to download some cheesy malware games and I told them they couldn’t, but they got over it. After 6 months, the XP machines were slowed down and had to keep being cleaned for adware and spyware, while the Ubuntu machines were just pretty much the way they were when I installed them. All four machines were just used for surfing the web/email and writing letters and such in office. The Ubuntu machines used OpenOffice and one XP machine ran OpenOffice while the other ran MSOffice.

In the end, if your truly just using it for web browsing and email, just about all the OS’s can do this without issue. Where it comes down to a difference is in gaming and third party applications. In the case of old people, they shouldn’t install things without help anyway, as they tend to download every gimmick and virus that comes their way.

reed says:

Re: Linux is good but it is not for

“I can hear my grandmother saying “I just want to check my email and surf the web.”

Yep thats why I setup my grandmother with Ubuntu. No fuss no mess, just straight forward idiot proof web browsing. XP can’t touch the ease of use that exists in Gnome.

Far from tired gnome is under constant development and is by far superior to XP nowadays for a straight forward interface.

Messed with Vista for a couple of weeks and AIGLX is far cooler and more useful than the new spiffy Aero Glass features. Everything else is the same old sh*t just repackaged in new and difficult ways to understand.

Every anti-Linux argument settle on the idea a normal idiot can’t install Linux, well the thing is a normal idiot can’t install Windows either!

Now that major companies are giving more fair shakes at pre-installed Linux it will be hard for the same skepticism to prevail, although of course Linux isn’t for everyone (Just 90% of the world 🙂

Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

After you drink the Microsoft Kool-aid,

it is a blanket of goodness.

I agree, I curse the Microsoft desktop daily, from the
lack of keyboard support to the lack of command line ability to do some simple operations to the incessant My—, MyPictures, MyVideos, MyDocuments, now I’m angry.

Anyway, the desktop environment may be horses**t (or any other animal rear excretion) but once you have drunk the Kool-aid of Microsoft, it is a blanket of goodness, ahhhh, soft landing, squishhhh.

TheDock22 says:

Why not both?

I use both Linux and Microsoft on a day-to-day business in the IT world. Locking into one operating system is a sad waste of computer techie talent.

While I love the command line and reliability of Linux, I loathe with every fiber of my being their GUI. It is the most horrible piece of code ever written.

Microsoft has the best OS GUI since it’s easy to use and the keyboard shortcuts make getting into anything a snap. I wish they would build a more solid OS though and I’m not a fan of Vista yet. I hate the pop-ups I get when trying to do anything as simply as changing my time.

Wizard Prang (user link) says:

Re: GUI Mess

Microsoft has the best OS GUI…

Which one – the Win95/98/2000 one?
The XP (AKA Windows for Teletubbies) one?
The Vista (AKA Windows Dancing Baloney Extravaganza) One?

They’re certainly the standard, but I am not sure that they are the best.

Personally, I don’t care much for “ooh-ain’t-it-pretty!” and “don’t-it-look-cool?”. I am writing this on an XP box (because I have to) with almost all of the GUI extras turned off. Not only does this give better performance, but it is visually identical to Windows 2000, which is still my MS OS of choice for a whole bunch of reasons I won’t go into here. I don’t need an “XPerience”, I need a solid reliable OS that allows me to the do the stuff that I need to get done. Most users have basic needs, but _think_ that they have to have the latest thing.

Final point: If you are running 98 or 2000, the learning curve of going to Vista Ultimate ($400) is about the same as going to, say Ubuntu Linux ($0).

Joel Coehoorn says:

I’ve installed a new linux once every eight months or so for the last 6 years now. Two weeks ago I installed the latest SuSE (10.2), and I was very impressed. It had it flaws and took a little work to get everything going, but so does a fresh install of Windows XP. With this last install I felt for the first time like the system and experience are superior to what I have with Windows. I’ll still be using mostly windows though, because I use Visual Studio and play too much CounterStrike:Source.

Charles Griswold (user link) says:

Re: Hmmm

Linux Gnome and KDE GUI has not changed in years, they are old and tired.

Not true, on both counts. I’m using the KDE interface and it has indeed changed a bit in the last few years. Granted, the changes have been evolutionary instead of revolutionary, but that’s just a case of not trying to fix what works just fine.

The reason why you are probably reading this web page from a windows based system (yes you!) is because of the GUI, period.

To quote another poster, “horseshit”. I (yes, me!) am using a OpenSUSE/KDE based system because Windows (in my ever-so-humble opinion) is crap. I vastly prefer the KDE interface to Windows XP, and I won’t even consider using Vista until it’s been out for at least a year.

Casper says:

I like Ubuntu

I run Ubuntu on my laptop just fine. As soon as I get around to burning the ISO for Feisty Fawn to a CD, I’ll install it.

Linux is for a different type of person at the moment. Right now it’s still one of those systems that’s a little rough around the edges (most distros) because of a lack of funding. I love it, it’s far more secure then XP, easy to use, customizable, stable, way less annoying then Vista, and it does almost everything my XP machine does. The only reason I use XP at all is for development work I need to do in .NET. Linux is defiantly making ground on Windows, and in the next few years don’t be surprised to the government moving away from MS products.

Nontechnical people will have a hard time with linux simply because it’s not idiot proof yet. This is the only reason I don’t think it will be a huge seller. The market for it on DELL’s will be true IT people and the government.

James Saliba (user link) says:

Is Linux really there yet?

Competition is good, and Microsoft has owned the desktop, and probably will continue to own the desktop for a long time. Linux installations and applications are growing in usability. Although techie types, like me, can make it work smoothly I don’t see it driving office applications for executive admin’s etc. just yet. Since UNIX became commercially available it has always been plagued with the same problem, have multiple versions and lack of applications.

I’m happy to see it become choice; however, in my opinion it still needs more improvements in usability and application availability to become a real contender on the desktop.

On the flip side, in your set-top boxes like Tivo – powered by Linux. In some new full feature smart phones – powered by Linux.

Bhullet says:

Linux aint rocket science

First of all if all you want is to surf the web and check email, then what is so complicated about linux? Click on the browser icon and the web browser appears… different web browsers will look & behave differently, but for one’s limited needs that is immaterial… and for mail use gmail or similar…

As far as installation I just installed SuSE 10 & Ubuntu after a long while of being with MS… the install was smooth and did not require any more knowledge than a windows install. Best of all Linux has ALOT of stuff preloaded (OpenOffice, DVD/CD Burning…)… pretty much the only thing I could not do was play avi movies until I installed the win32 codec… with windows you don’t even get simple DVD burning software!

and I don’t worry about viruses….

I will NEVER again waste money on windows!

Anonymous Coward says:

Ubuntu has made great strides in making the Linux Desktop more user friendly. Everything most users need is usually already installed. The interface is clean and easy to use. I installed it on my mom’s computer and she had no problems using it.

The only thing missing is the support for media formats that require licensing. Since Ubuntu supports Debian’s stance on being totally free it is not likely they will pay to come pre-installed with mp3 support so ogg is supported. I, for one, would love to see Ubuntu on a Dell that supports these media formats out of the box. Third party add-ons like Automatix makes installing support for all these formats easy as well.

Plus if you are looking for eye candy Beryl blows Vista out of the water. If you still need Windows then use VMWare and there you go. Everything else works fine too web browser, use firefox, email, use thunderbird… they work the same as on Windows.

If your grandmother can check email on Windows then she won’t have problems with Ubuntu.

Emilio says:

Choice in O

Here are the real reasons I still run an XP box:

1. DVD Anywhere
2. DVD Shrink
3. RecordNow DX
4. Womble MPEG Video Wizard
6. VirtualDub
7. TMPEG Encode
8. TMPEG DVD Author
9. Photoshop
10. CoolEdit/Audition
11. MediaPlayer Classic
12. Firehand Ember

Gradually, hopefully, all of these will be replicated in Linux by software that not only has the same functionality, but that I actually enjoy using. I’m just now getting into Linux, Though I’ve been happily using Open Office for at least a year. I’ve had a PowerMac for a while, and will probably splurge on a monster Mac Pro later this summer, so I can run OS X, Linux, and XP all on the same box. Evenutally I will have to learn Vista to support my users at work, but I can’t see ever putting it on a box of my own… I’m rooting for Linux, and keeping my eyes open

I am Herbert says:

“For the first time”? ….that’s not a true statement. Dell and Red Hat were pre-loading just before Red Hat decided to go Enterprise.

A real first would be for Dell to pre-load a dual boot scenario, but a choice from a list.

I am really not certain about Vista because my money is for performance and not Vista Eye candy Aero junk. Moreover, IE7 is sad attempt to use ieframe.dll to root-kit the processes. FoxFire with the IE tab works fine for me.

Can you say “Patriot Software”?

Jon says:

Linux for the Masses

I run a help desk for about 20,000 users and I would seriously quit with out hesitation if our company switched to Linux on the desktop. We have enough issues with inept users on Windows, I can’t even begin to imagine the problems we would have by switching to Linux. Linux is great for the non-technical and those with VERY simple requirements (eg. Internet and email). In my opinion is not ready for your average user. It is a bit of the Chicken and egg scenario and I realize we have to start somewhere. Dell is probably the place to start.

Hmmm says:

Personally, I don’t care much for “ooh-ain’t-it-pretty!” and “don’t-it-look-cool?”. I am writing this on an XP box

Well this is the point I’m trying to make, I find it ironic that some of the most passionate arguments for “why we should run Linux on the desktop” are from people typing/reading this stuff on windows .. because they “have to”. To compare Gnome or KDE to the GUI in Windows XP is like comparing a kindergartner’s finger painting (Gnome) to a Picasso (XP). Give Linux desktop another 10 years then maybe it will be up to par. I say this as a developer who creates products that run on all versions of windows (XP/2000/NT) and also HP, AIX, Solaris, VMS, SCO, OS/390, z/OS, Linux and Linux/390 (mainframe linux). Each operating system has its strength and weakness, and the strength of Linux is its ability to run server applications, its weakness is its GUI. The strength of windows is its GUI .. and to try to attack that strength is just silly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Penguin powered future ahead

I plan to upgrade my parents to Linux now that their version of windows is retired. For them to go to the next version of windows would required a new machine which is a real waste of money. I have had them using Firefox, Thunderbird and Openoffice for many years now so the switch to Linux will not be too painful for what they do. The only cost to them will be adding 512mb ram to get to 1gig. This will make Linux run smoother, although it will work fine with the current 512mb. That sure is cheaper than having to run out and buy a whole new machine with windows. It also saves the landfill from the toxic chemicals for the thrown away old computer. I use windows and Linux. Each fill their needs. Windows for games and software that is windows only, Linux for everything else. So far using Linux has kept a PPro 200, celery 366, P-2 450, Duron 700, and celery 1.1gig out of the landfill.
The people who are in I.T. that are scared to death of Linux are the ones who are either brainwashed by MS, or are scared to learn something new and different. Once you get it, you think more clearly about using the right tool for the right job and saving money in the process. I.E. no license needed for Linux, reuse aging hardware that would normally be trashed. Think about this for a moment, the whole task for xyz department is to log into the Oracle server to do billing, invoicing, etc. Hmmm, all they need for that is a web browser. Bingo lots of old machines re-used and no additional hardware or software cost. You just saved thousands of dollars, and made your network more secure since now they won’t get infected as easy when they do email and web browing since right now 99% of all bad web stuff is focused on windows.

mike says:

Which GUI

While I love the command line and reliability of Linux, I loathe with every fiber of my being their GUI. It is the most horrible piece of code ever written.

and which GUI would that be ? I’m a KDE/Beryl user and I can assure you that my Desktop wipes the floor with XP and Vista.

Furthermore, I read endless grumbles from microsoft developers who have to jump through hoops to get $MS shoddy code to work with their programs.

It’s really sad when posters feel the need to pretend that they know more than they actually do.

agreed. 🙂

Andrew Brzozowski says:

I read some of the comments by people who claim that the windows gui is the reason they stay with MS and I have to wonder whether they’ve ever seen a Linux desktop ’cause it ain’t that different and I notice these people don’t even mention Beryl. Check out the Beryl video samples on youtube. Sounds like there’s a lot of ignorance out there.

I use both XP and fc6. There is no way I will ever go to Vista. I use XP for those applications that only run on an MS platform. The rest of the time, I use fc6. There is a learning curve but it really isn’t that big. Think back to all the hours you spent working out why MS doesn’t work.

As the guys say, if all you want is email, a media player, office applications, web browser, graphics package and a whole chunck of other applications, linux puts MS to shame. Go ahead try it, you know you want to.

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