Dell likes Linux? (and )

Dude, you're getting Monday's IT Blogwatch: in which Dell aims to pre-install Linux. Not to mention illustrated HTML tags...

Todd R. Weiss reports:

After collecting some 1,800 new product and service ideas from IT users and customers using an online "suggestion box," Dell Inc. has announced that it's taking the user suggestions seriously and will soon debut and sell a new line of certified, user-ready Linux-loaded desktop and laptop computers.

The Dell IdeaStorm Web site, where customers and other IT enthusiasts can offer recommendations about future Dell products and configurations that they'd want to buy, was started on Feb. 16 by CEO Michael Dell, who is looking for ways to re-energize the company's sales and financial performance after several disappointing quarters.

One post that got a lot of interest was the idea that Dell bring back a reasonably priced laptop computer that runs Linux.

Just a week after debuting the IdeaStorm site, the company said Friday night that the Linux-loaded desktops and laptops will be the first user-generated suggestions that it will follow.

Matt Domsch is a Linux Software Architect for Dell:

For the last several weeks, we’ve been working to bring Latitude notebooks to the n-Series lineup. n-Series are Dell products that ship with no operating system pre-installed. We now offer the Latitude D420, D520, D620 and D820. Dell's Latitude notebook line now joins our n-series Dimension and OptiPlex desktops and workstations is now available, complete with FreeDOS on CD in the box—ready for you to install the Linux distribution of your choice. As with other n-Series products, Dell hasn't tested any particular Linux distribution and doesn't offer software support for running Linux on these, so we encourage you to join our Linux mailing lists and to use the one of your chosen distribution for community-based support. For more information, visit the Dell Linux Engineering website.

To which StevenD replied:

You guys really should check your prices ...

Latitude D520, D420: CHEAPER with Windows License

Precision: Same price with or without Windows License

Optiplex 320: Same price with or without Windows License

Frank daley agrees:

Unfortunately the reality does not match the promise [because of] the lack of appropriate price savings by choosing a system without a Microsoft OS [and because it's] very US-focused ... not available in Canada, nor are they available in Australia. Of course, even if they were, without appropriate price savings, the offer is a farce.

But Christian Decker is "thrilled":

Could this finally be the end of half working Notebooks under Linux? That would be great news, especially after all the trouble I had (and still have) to get my Graphics card running under OpenSuse 10.2.

Derek Buranen shows us his multiple personalities:

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. With all these Linux cries from customers, maybe Dell is finally changing their tune to us who use open source software on a day to day basis


Dell’s computer with no operating system is $53 more expensive than one loaded with Vista! This is crap! This is where anyone commenting on Dell’s Desktop Linux offering at the moment should be in outraged and call them out on this ... anyone looking to get Linux on a PC is smart enough to know that you can erase windows. And at $53 dollars more, where is the advantage of buying a PC without it?

Zogger has another suggestion for Dell:

None of the hardware should be borked from the git-go as regards drivers, etc. , that and there should be a clear cut and fair reduction in price over a similar product with windows preinstalled. People want the hardware functional, all of it, wireless do-dads, modems, ethernet  and so on, and not have to pay a default windows tax they aren't going to use or don't want.  Seems to me as to the hardware, you can already find out if x-whatever chunk is linux friendly or not just by looking at the hardware lists.

And just maybe a keyboard without the windows key staring at you.

Glyn Moody laughs:

It's a pity this welcome move is vitiated by a pathetic attempt at justifying the latter-day Windows tax ... instead of "alienating" some GNU/Linux users, Dell decided it was better to alienate all of them. Right, that makes business sense. Now, tell me again why Dell is losing market-share?

Ron Schenone sighs:

What’s wrong with this picture?
  • The open source movement is to small to make a dent in the PC market. If you mention Linux to most consumers they would respond ‘isn’t that the expensive car?” ...

  • And now the $64,000 question for Linux PC’s. Who’s going to provide the support? India? ...

I believe that the biggest obstacle that Dell needs to overcome is their customer support. Treat your customers with indifference and it will bite you in the butt every time. Dell’s rag to riches story and business model was based on a good quality computer backed by the best support in the industry. Dell needs to get back to the basics.

Buffer overflow:

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Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at

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