Linux

Linux pre-installation option now available for Dell's hardware


It appears that you can now order a Dell Inspiron 6400 notebook or Inspiron 530N desktop and have Ubuntu 7.04 pre-installed as an option.

Well, at least for the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The United States already had the option since May this year.

According to the Direct2Dell blog:

Similar to what we've done in the United States, we will configure and install open source drivers for hardware, when possible for these new products.

Future plans for offering SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 factory-installed for China has also been announced by Kevin Kettler in his LinuxWorld keynote.

No prices have been announced yet, but general reports indicate that laptops normally work out to about $50 cheaper compared to Dell's "Home" versions.

I guess this news will bring some cheer to Linux advocates. What do you think the general response will be like for Linux on Dell's hardware?

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

60 comments
wade
wade

I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS LINUX ANYWAY IS IT SOME KIND OF KAT DELL DRIVERS DON'T EVEN LAST A YEAR ON WINDOWS I THINK DRIVERS SHOULD BE FREE AND UPDATE WINDOWS XP OR ANY WINDOWS AND MICROSOFT SHOULD ALWAYS SUPPORT WINDOWS ALWAYS I UNDERSTAND XP WILL NOT BE SUPPORTED AFTER 2007 IF NOT THEY SHOULD FURNISH VISTA OR WHAT EVER NEW WINDOWS I THINK ITS STILL LAW THE AUTO MAKERS GOT TO MAKE PARTS FOR CARS FOR 10 YRS.AFTER THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THAT FOR CARS AS FAR BACK AS I REMEMBER AND I'AM 62 YRS.OLD AND DOWNLOADS TOOLS SHOULD BE FREE AFTER ALL ZD,CNET AN,DESK TECK.REP.USES FALSE ADVERSMENTS YOU DOWNLOADS STATES FIX ALL REG.ERRORS WITH THIS FREE DOWNLOAD REG.CURE STATES IT SAYS IT FIXES 20 BUT FACT IT DOSEN'T ITS A DOWNLOAD FOR NOTHING YOU NEED TO STATE THAT IT JUST FIND ERRORS BUT DON'T FIX ANY DON'T HAVE ANY TROUBLE DOWNLOADING ROSE CITY NOW EVERYTIME I TRY TO DOWNL.MOST OF YOU DOWNLDS.WILL DL. BUT A BOX POPS SAYS FILES ARE CORRUPTED TRY ANOTHER SITE SAME OLE SAME OLE FILES ARE CORRUPTED I'VE TOLD YOU ALL THIS ABOUT 50 TIMES WHEN W.CUNNINGHAM WAS OVER D.LOADS NO TROUBLE AT ALL

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

In my opinion, many people will welcome a Linux desktop over MS Windows Vista. I think the learning curve for Linux would be lower, and Ubuntu is one of the easiest for newbies to set up and use. However, I think Kubuntu would be a better choice for people very familiar with the earlier MS Windows offerings to switch too. I'm currently using Kubuntu 7.04 and it operates a lot like the early Windows, and would be a lot simpler for someone jumping from Win 9x or Win 2000 to switch to than going to Vista.

Sagax-
Sagax-

I wish I knew. One of the great strengths of Linux is also one of its great failings. The many, many distros have Linux fragmented. Perhaps something like CNR gaining participation of most of the Debian based distros will ameliorate the effects of the fragmentation.

mswift
mswift

Google this: Dell Linux 2000 and then tell us what you think

paulmah
paulmah

What do you think the general response will be like for Linux on Dell?s hardware?

JCitizen
JCitizen

Perhaps I'm wasting my time; but I've never heard of charging for drivers! (Edited) I should have said, "Perhaps I'm wasting everyone else's time" - apologies! Also, I could have clarified that I have never heard of MANUFACTURERS that charge for their drivers and updates.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Dude, your post is almost unreadable. You don't need to hit "Enter" after each line; the text will "wrap around" on it's own. Hitting "Enter" is only necessary between paragraphs. Please do use a period (and preferably hit the Space bar) at the end of your sentences so we can tell where one thought ends and the next begins. I don't think XP support will end in 2007. MS has not announce a retirement date for SP2 support yet (http://tinyurl.com/2y38ny). Word is XP Service Pack 3 will be released later this year. MS's web site says future SPs will be supported for 12 months after a new one is released, with an option for 24 months at their discretion. So SP2 will be supported for a year after SP3, and its a safe bet SP3 will be supported for at least 18 months after it's release.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Windows has been playing catch up with Linux for several years now - but it still can't do what Linux does, or anywhere as good, or anywhere as cheap. MS Windows costs a lot because they pay a fortune to the best marketing liars in the world. Linux drivers last for decades, as does the OS itself. The issues with Windows and everything related to it, is due to MS changing things just to be able to get more of your money.

btljooz
btljooz

I agree with you that Kubuntu is more "[i]Windows like[/i]", however PCLinuxOS 2007 also has the KDE DTE and is a lot less bloated than Kubuntu...in addition to being more secure in that one can choose whether to boot straight into Admin mode or User mode. Kubuntu is like MS in that it automatically boots into Admin mode. I have Kubuntu 7.04 and PCLinuxOS 2007 live CDs and the Kubuntu is a LOT slower than the PCLOS. Granted, that's in the ROM tray, but if they act like that in the ROM how are they going to compare on the hard drive? I'm still trying to make up my mind which one to actually PUT on my hard drive and I'm currently leaning towards the PCLOS. BTW: As a newbie to Linux, it took me a lot less time to figure out PCLOS than the Kubuntu. ;) But, I'm still working on learning both of them. B-)

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

To overcome the inertia of Windows only spoken here, the Linux community and vendors will have to have more than lukewarm support. Linux pro's are going to have to swarm new users and train them to give Linux the impetus to move Winx off the desktop to any degree. I bought a Linux machine from Dell and got the distinct impression that they were doing it while holding their nose. I got the feeling that their subtle suggestion that "Won't I be happier with Windows?" was a signal that "I was on my own" when it came to support. I went through the "struggle" of learning OS/2 on my own and since I have decided not to follow Microsoft into their "brave new world" I will have to do so with Linux too it seems. I was hoping for a more helpful environment given the fact that most Linux users don't like Microsoft. I was hoping that they were banded together like Mac users but so far my experience doesn't show me this. When I bought my new Mac Pro with Mac X recently I got tons of support from Apple and have even gotten offers from users to get together to help me. It seems to me that the Linux users are more interested in their religious wars over distros than grabbing this opportunity to capture more of the desktop. It is all about people, not software.

dtune59
dtune59

Why the hell would you buy a Dell? Their Windows support is pitiful so I suspect they'll be well out of their depth supporting Linux. I can see it now...."Dell Linux support" will equal "provide the enduser with an email link to Ubuntu Forums."

chigozie_onyeuko
chigozie_onyeuko

I have ever been using the windows in windows OS. But I have been hearing of other operating systems like the Linux, but I've never had the opportunity to try any of them out. Please tell me advantages of the Linux os over the estalished window OS and how I can get hold of a package of the Linux OS. Does it function with other soft ware like AutoCAD as does the wndow OS. Onyeuko Chigozie Teddy Pisa-Italy

paul.doherty
paul.doherty

It will be: "Where are the apps?" Consumers use an OS for the apps it can host. Commercial-quality applications and games are sorely lacking and this is one of the items that holds back desktop acceptance of Linux. But no one will write apps for Linux if there's no installed base, so these machines are a good thing towards motivating publishers to get their apps on to the Linux platform.

tom
tom

hy Dell chose Ubuntu over SUSE is beyond me. Why would a well known organization use a non Enterprise OS! SUSE Enterprise Desktop (SLED) is a much better and prettier OS then Ubuntu. Whenever Linux software is written the format standard is usually RPM based not debian. Don?t get me wrong I love Ubuntu but I don?t think it?s to the level of SLED. We have to remember, we live in a desktop Windows world unfortunately and integration into Active directory is key. SLED handles this integration with flying colors.

TechinMN
TechinMN

I'm guessing there will be a very lukewarm response to the Dell pre-installed Linux systems. Why? Because there is little to no savings choosing this option. Checking out the site, there is little to no cost difference between a box with or without Ubuntu loaded. On top of that, it appears that the Linux boxes are locked into the more expensive Intel chips--which are incredibly over-powered for what most people would use their (Ubuntu) computers for anyway. So no, I don't see a large response for these systems: why buy a Linux box, when for about the same amount of money, you can have a more-customizable (options wise), Windows-licensed box that you can later install Ubuntu on yourself?

blissb
blissb

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that Dell is offering Linux pre-installed. But -- Dell's Linux offering is barely a token gesture, and looks designed to fail. As I commented in a similar thread on CNet: Look at the default configurations and prices for the Inspiron 530 N with Ubuntu, and compare it to the Inspiron 530 with Windows. The Ubuntu system is about $200 more using the default configurations on the site. Look a little harder, and you'll see that the Ubuntu system comes with a monitor, while the Windows one does not. Take off the monitor, and add an additional 512MB of RAM (to make it the same as the Windows system), and the net result is a $20.00 savings for going with the linux option. Not much of a savings when Dell is likely charging better than 5 times that amount for the Windows licensing... OH -- and while you are customizing the Ubuntu option, at the top of the page is the exhortation "Dell Recommends Windows Vista..." Token? No, not even that...

mhbowman
mhbowman

If someone is into computers and curious about Linux then they probably would have downloaded a distro already. There will be some that will be more likely to try it because it's already installed. It's been my experience that typical users, who mainly surf the internet and use office, seem to hate change. Five years ago when we moved from netscape mail to outlook all people needed to see was the mailbox flag that indicated new mail was gone and they hated it. Thankfully this will eventually go away as people that have grown up with computers move into the work force

CG IT
CG IT

can use it without a lot of problems and install drivers for devices without being a tech, Linux might take off. The problem with Linux is that it's to much like being back in the days of DOS where one had to be a tech and proficent at CLI to use it.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

I got a 64 bit system with a fancy graphics and sound cards, PCLinuxOS wouldn't load or work properly, I tried it about 4 months back. Ubuntu and Kubuntu do NOT boot straight into admin mode, they use the same password, but you boot into and account with only basic user access, when you wish to do an admin function, you have to enter the password into a SU window before you get the extra access for that activity. One advantage of this, is I can set a system up for someone, and have it auto boot into their user account. When they want me to work on their system, I just access the right area with the SU window.

MyLittleMansAnIdiot
MyLittleMansAnIdiot

I haven't tried Kubuntu, but I've tried both PCLOS and Ubuntu, and I've settled on Ubuntu. I found the opposite to you, I had a lot more trouble trying to wrangle PCLOS with KDE into a desktop I found functional and pleasing to look at than I did with Ubuntu and GNOME. My only gripe with Ubuntu is no root password setup during installation (ie. there IS no password for the root user), and the fact that the user profile created during install has admin rights (which means with the user password you can pretty much bugger up anything in the GUI). There are some functions I liked in PCLOS (more to do with KDE I suspect though, like the superuser terminal), but I can live without them. Having read some of the other posts here re: the price advantage and Dell's approach to publicing the option, it does seem little more than a poorly offered token gesture for the OS community.

Goodspeed
Goodspeed

Personally I think Linux has a long way to go. Windows is too well established on the desktop environment especially in the games industry where all developed using Directx. Linux has no match on that level. No DirectX for linux....yeah you can use Wine but they are still buggy. Plus Linux will be too much fiddling around from a simple driver install to the most complex process (eg. recompile the kernel). For an avarage customer they can't tell the difference either it is Kubuntu, Fedora, Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, etc etc etc as they will always see Gnome or KDE as the front GUI.

walterhtx
walterhtx

"It seems to me that the Linux users are more interested in their religious wars over distros than grabbing this opportunity to capture more of the desktop." I couldn't have said it better myself. I have performed, literally, thousands of installations of every Windows OS from 95a forward (home, small businesses, and enterprise) I've performed several installations, though not nearly as many, of the Linux heavy-hitters: Suse, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva (and I'm forgetting one). In my humble opinion, they are all just tools in a toolbox - each with its own strengths and weaknesses. I'm not a Windows lover...or hater. I'm not a Linux lover...or hater. In the end, we all just need (and want) a product that works. While I am a capitalist at heart, I will say that I very much dislike Microsoft's licensing scheme - and even more so their prices. However, that is the free market in action. They charge what the market will bear. I'd love to see the Linux community band together and build a better mousetrap - the price is definitely right! Just my two cents.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

with any of the Ubuntu sites? I have had very good luck finding information specific to Ubuntu, and many times the Debian sites will have an answer as well. The trick to linux support is to go to a forum for the distro you are using. Need help with Gentoo? the forums at Gentoo.org are pretty darn good. Need help with Ubuntu, http://ubuntuforums.org/ or http://ubuntuguide.org/wiki/Ubuntu:Feisty or http://ubuntulinuxhelp.com/ (after getting your feet wet, more of an ideas web site). Debian, Fedora, Suse, all have many mnay web sites designed to help. Register, ask some questions, and ignore the a$5hats that blather on and on about rtfm. If the dern manuals made sense, or had any info, the question would not need to be asked.... Think of Mac OSX as a distro, a commercial one, but a single "flavor" of BSD. Now, if you ask a Mac user, whats the "best" version of BSD, some will look blank (normal user-it should just work), some will say Mac (fanboy-rabid a$$hats with tunnell vision), and some will say it all depends on what you mean by best (IT-best for the situation. "Now define the situation, and criteria for best.")

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

There are some great places for support including TR forums though the Linux Snobs are still out there and shouldn't be taken personally. - Try to locate help yourself (google is good stuff) - Ask politely giving the impression that your slamming the OS or feel entitled to someone's voluntary help. - Ignore the blatanly offensive responses; request clarification on someone's meaning or move on to a more helpful forum Mandriva's forums are very helpful. Ubuntu's forums are very open to new users. General google searches will locate many other forums. Also, check out Linux.com for the "new to linux?" link on the left (linux.org also I believe). linuxquestions.org

Oktet
Oktet

I would not buy a Dell, I would build my own customized PC and install Windows and Linux on it. But this is funny and true to some degree at the same time: I can see it now...."Dell Linux support" will equal "provide the enduser with an email link to Ubuntu Forums."

No-Dough
No-Dough

> Please tell me advantages of the Linux os > over the estalished window OS... Quick bullet list: - Free as in speech - Free as in beer - Open Source GPL Licensing - Unix heritage - More reliable - Not as resource hungry - Office apps already included - IM app already included - CD/DVD burning app already included - CD/DVD playing app already included - Internet apps already included - No crapware - 99% of hardware drivers already included - Automatic updates of both OS and applications - Community support forums > ...how I can get hold of a package of the Linux OS. Go here http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu to either download a CD image or request free CDs to be mailed to you. > Does it function with other soft ware like AutoCAD as does the wndow OS. Now, that requires a discussion of its disadvantages. :) No, it does not currently work with AutoCAD. If you install the WINE package then SOME Windows apps will work with it, but probably not the ones you want. The disadvantages are... - Not many games run on it. - High-End stuff like AutoCAD won't work with it. - Most bleeding edge devices won't work with it. - For most Windows users, it just feels unfamiliar. Some other comments have referred you to research sites, but I would start with Ubuntu, and dive into the research later. The sheer amount of choice available (on distrowatch.com, for example) is likely to put you off. Enjoy!

btljooz
btljooz

http://www.linux.org In the above link, to the left of the screen is a column of buttons. In that column of buttons is one called "User Groups". You can find a LUG (Linux User Group) near you by navigating from that button. LUGs are extremely handy since you're dealing with people from your own area who use Linux and can help you with it. BTW: There is a LOT of other info in that site, in general, that is very useful! B-) http://distrowatch.com/ This tells about all the different distros and gives links to their home sites. All you have to do from there is go to the home site of a disto you're interested in and get more detailed information there. Distro Home Sites also have Forums in them for you to ask questions in. http://www.linux.com More technical news about Linux. If you use your Search Engine(s) and type in [i]Linux[/i] or the [i] [/i], you can find out a lot more. Happy researching! I hope you find out what you want to know. Good luck!!! BTW: It's taken me about a year to find out what I know so far (which is more than I put on these boards but FAR from enough...YET! ;) ), so just take your time and have fun with it! :D By the time you're ready to start using Live CDs to test the distros you're interested in they'll have evolved even further into yet better OSes. :) Edited to correct syntax error :|

JCitizen
JCitizen

and maybe a knowledgeable techie will help you!

Freebird54
Freebird54

is that the apps are already there! Most people are sadly disappointed to find out that their wonderful new computer can't do all that much with what it shipped with, and what the price of 'mainstream' Windows programs really is. They expect the games to cost good $$ (already conditioned by the consoles) but they had no idea that you need Word and Excel and... You can expect a great many more satisfied customers for the Linux systems, as Open Office and the like are already there. That said, I agree that more market visibility should lead to more commercial products too - eventually. It will not be quick, though, as some will fear that no-one will pay for anything on Linux - some really good app has to make the jump (and get the rewards) before the rest will jump in...

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

They chose Ubuntu was because of the overwhelming response for it on their ideastorm website. Also, look at the distro hit lists, ubuntu is way ahead. SLED is a good distro, but I would hesitate to say its better looking or smoother. Thats a matter of preference, and being linux, completely customizable. Heck, I had mine looking like Vista for a while. Also, Ubuntu IS an enterprise product, Canonical does offer purchased support for their product. Think RH Ent and Fedora being the same product...thats the model Ubuntu is using. With a Long term support (read Stable) release every 1.5 to 2 years, and "Feature" releases every six months. As to AD integration, I agree there, it is important to enterprise customers, but the real key would be an Open source replacement for AD, LDAP is good, but not nearly ready for prime time in terms of polish and customer appeal. After paying for an AD server domain and licensing, a windows workstation license is small change. The real savings is replacing the core network infrastructure with non-licensed products. Licensing is a vendor lock-in and price gouging techniqe that underscores the fact that you rent software, not purchase it.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The models Dell is offering Ubuntu on are in their home / consumer line, not their corporate / enterprise products. AD integration isn't an issue at home. Most IT departments don't care what came loaded from the factory. We load the OS we want from scratch, assuming we don't already have a Ghost image.

jim_murrell
jim_murrell

There is seldom a need to install new drivers and devices to most Linux distros. I thought that my daughter and son-in-law would find the educational software packaged with edubuntu useful for my five year old grandson. I decided to install a dual boot alongside XP. My grandson uses it, loves it and his parents now NEVER boot into XP. My daughter complained about XP the one time she booted into it after getting a choice between it and edubuntu two months ago. They are daily "average Joe" users.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Most installs, especially Ubuntu and Kubuntu, are easier to install than Windows. And easier to get around.

MyLittleMansAnIdiot
MyLittleMansAnIdiot

Linux's power is it's biggest problem. It allows the user to do too much, and in untrained hands, that's a recipe for disaster. Do Dell offer free technical support via phone for their US customers who opt for a Linux OS on their machine? It is a step in the right direction for Linux though. The more it's partnered with pre-packaged home PCs the more exposure it'll get. I wonder if Dell ever plan to introduce the option in Australia?

JCitizen
JCitizen

They post a lot of Linux drivers; although I'm sure you already know this. They must be legit because they are referred to by all the top sites. I use them regularly. It seems Acer drivers dominate the forum over there.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

if you like the Ubuntu style. Mint is built on Ubuntu with ndiswrapper and windows drivers available in the default install. It had drivers for both my linksys and netgear wireless pci cards. After install reboot, wireless was up and ready to go. Mint also includes several config screens that the mint developers have created to consolidate some related hardware changes, kinda like a yast extra lite...

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

but I had several issues. First, it would start to install, say I had a 64 bit system, start to load for an AMD 64 bit system, and stop with an error message saying "I should only load the AMD image onto an AMD system, not an Intel system." The autoload system seemed to think no one would try to load onto an Intel 64 bit system. Got another disk, the 32 bit only copy from a Magazine, tried to load and had several hardware issues - never did get it loaded on my main system. My son got it loaded onto his 32 bit system and had many issues with his fancy graphics card and wide screen monitor. Neither of us had any issues with SimplyMEPIS, Ubuntu, or Kubuntu. - beyond the matters previously raised re Cedega and WINE. Next, I'll try loading Kubunty 7.04 onto my laptop and see how it likes the wireless on it.

lastchip
lastchip

Was that the version before PCLinuxOS 2007? I'm using '2007 on an AMD 64 bit (Acer) laptop and it works just fine (including WAP-PSK wireless access). The only issues I had, was (1) it didn't like the Grub boot loader, but I told it to use Lilo and it's now fine and (2), I can't find any drivers for the built in card reader. But that's more of an Acer/Card reader manufacturer driver problem, than a criticism of PCLinuxOS. And it is very fast :-) Vista by comparison was very slow :-( - but that's gone forever!!!

No-Dough
No-Dough

> There are some functions I liked in PCLOS > (more to do with KDE I suspect though, like > the superuser terminal... In Ubuntu, simply open a terminal then issue the command "sudo /bin/bash". This will give you a terminal running as root.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

they just use the same password as the user account. You enter your main user account password, and that's set for both. When you log in, you log in as a basic user, when you wish to do admin functions, you're given a SU window to enter the password and gain root access for that function. I think this makes it easier for the average basic user. You can set the system up to boot straight into the user account. They don't NEED to know the password, it only gets used when you need to SU to do something. Great way to set a machine up for the kids etc.

Andy Goss
Andy Goss

Most people don't know the difference between a computer, the operating system, and applications. Even if you explain it to them they still don't get it. So it is good news that Dell are pre-installing a Linux. I'm not sure that the latest Ubuntu is really the best choice, but it is not a bad one. Once problems with things like multimedia and wi-fi are sorted out so that the user does not have to do anything much for them to work, the end of the closed source era will be in sight - distant, but inevitable. And it is just an era, there is nothing special about closed source. I'm sure an economic historian could point to many examples from the past, like insurance company fire engines that would only put out fires at their own customers' properties. It worked, but there was a better way.

MyLittleMansAnIdiot
MyLittleMansAnIdiot

What I find odd is it just doesn't set a password for it during installation. And the user profile created during installation has all the powers of the root user minus the ability to delete system critical files via the GUI. A small amount of internet research soon fixes that, with the ability to use the default profile password in conjunction with 'sudo' or 'gksu' in CLI you can do anything the root user could. This isn't a problem exclusive to Ubuntu, it's the same in Windows as I pointed out, but in all the years I've used Windows, I've never managed to break the GUI to the point where I was back to only CLI to try and fix the problem. I could always fall back on safe mode with GUI support (win95 and up) to fix any GUI issues. In the months I've been using Ubuntu/PCLinuxOS I break the GUI on a daily basis with the tinkering I'm doing. Admitedly I'm doing a lot of stuff the average user wouldn't even think to try, but I did mention I broke the GUI simply by changing the Skydome image used in Beryl for the background to the "desktop cube", and was left with nothing but CLI to fix the problem. I'm more than capable of doing the nessacary research to fix these problems, and having a second box I can use to search the internet makes a huge difference. The big thing with Dell pre-installing Ubuntu is most home users won't ever have to worry about driver installation or using CLI to import the packages needed to play encoded DVDs on their Gnome/KDE dvd player. It'll all be ready to go. Although my posts DO seem to have a negative spin on them with regards to Linux, I think Dell's offer is a good thing for FOSS advocates and end consumers alike. I know people can learn to install Linux ditros, but most consumers, when faced with a choice, will take the familiar route. So the answer is to getting FOSS into the consumer market is to make them familiar with it's presence. I think in the end this is what Dell will do.

Andy Goss
Andy Goss

I believe the small price advantage is due to the fact that Windows costs Dell a fraction of what it costs you if you wan to buy one over the counter, a figure of $50 has been mentioned. I had a decade or so with mainframes before I got to sit at a PC, and I used a variety of interfaces from punched card and tape, to command line, through ICL and IBM attempts at being user-friendly, to VaxWindows, so I come to desktops without much bias. Except towards what works well. And for me that spells KDE. I began with GNOME, but switched to KDE, finding it more logical, better equipped with the tools I need, and easier to configure. Yes, it has a heap of stuff I will never use, but that is better than what I want not being there. Yes, the menu system looks rather like XP's, but unlike XP's it actually works, is logical, easily edited, and not cluttered with stuff I can't get rid of. My experience of upgrading my wife's 98SE to XP, and then of setting up a new XP box when that one died, demonstrates to me that XP is a mess, it has only partly adapted to the concept of root and non-root users, software installations do not always go smoothly - partly the fault of 3rd party vendors who have not fully adapted either, and the scroll mouse that worked on the old XP machine won't on the new one. Et Cetera. XP may be fairly simple to install, but once you start trying to add the software that comes with any Linux distro hassle-free the hours pass by and the blood-pressure rises. Vista may well be better, but doubt if I will ever find out, as I see no reason to even look at it. Not having an actual root user in K/Ubuntu may seem odd, but in practice it works quite well. I think the idea began with the Plan 9 operating system, and is supposed to be more secure. Maybe someone can clarify that. Currently running Kubuntu 6.06 LTS, planning to move to Debian Etch.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

if it was, then everybody would have the option to choose what OS to install. Microsoft put a great deal of pressure onto the PC manufacturers to provide them preloaded with the latest version of MS Windows and other MS software. back in the early 1990s, you bought a computer without an OS, and the retailer would sell you the OS of your choice, many would install it for free if you asked. Now, you have to ask for it to be provided with the OS removed, and then still have to pay for the OS you didn't get. I switched to Linux about 2 years ago, because I got fed up with Windows crashing my system and other software with compulsory downgrades called updates. What is interesting, is that all the fancy desktop stuff that MS have been pushing as the great improvements in Vista, have been available in Linux for about 4 years; and much of the other great MS improvements have been available to Linux users for some years. It's clear that MS waits for Linux to try something, and then looks at how they can incorporate it into their software. There are many dozens of variants of Vista, but all look the same once installed, while the differences between the Linux distros is all about what you want the system to look like, so you actually get a different view and feel with most variants. And that's before you start looking at all the fully integrated software, as against the partially integrated software MS offers. I think a significant thing to keep in mind is the number of government bodies that are actively looking at spending big money to train people to switch to other systems instead of switching to Vista.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

doing their games for Windows, Linux, and Mac. For years, for some of the big games, if you wanted to set up a games server, you had to set it up on Linux as the server versions only came set up for Linux. I think you're right about the need for some of the big, commonly used apps to make the jump. I know a lot of businesses that aren't shifting, because they have critical business apps that are Windows only - they tie them down. A few have bitten the bullet and dump the apps and Windows, but many can't afford that sort of jump.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

I agree, Vista is doing more to push people away from MS than anything else has.

MyLittleMansAnIdiot
MyLittleMansAnIdiot

Going by the article, the OS and all the required binary drivers would be preloaded and configured out of the box. Which is great, for reasons I've mentioned before. I still maintain it's easier to install Windows than Linux, even if it's just from a familiarity issue, but as Palmetto points out, the average home user doesn't want to install their OS. They just want it there, working out of the box. As I've said, this is a step in the right direction for Linux, and probably it's largest hurdle in breaking into the home PC market. Pre-installation of Windows is what gave it the dominant position in the home market in the first place. I think we even have MS to thank for releasing Vista, an OS even the big PC vendors are becoming afraid to unleash on their unsuspecting clientele.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I think the "ease of installation" issue is overrated for the home market. I'm assuming Ubuntu will be pre-installed by Dell like they do with Windows, and it will start automatically after first boot. Ubuntu can't be any harder than Fedora 7, and I suspect it's easier. I don't know too many home users who reinstall their OS on even an irregular basis. Most of them run with the OS the system came with until it's time to buy a new 'puter. So once installation is complete at initial bootup, ease of installation is no longer an issue.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Sit someone down who has never used a computer before, and I would be willing to bet they'll prefer the simplicity of Linux every time." And where in the Western World do you propose to find this person? Don't get me wrong, most of your points are dead on. (Except the one about formatting and partitioning. I've never had Windows ask about this unless I was installing on a drive with a pre-existing OS. This wouldn't be an issue on a factory install of Windows. Now I've only installed four different distros, three of them RH or Fedora, but all asked about partitioning. Yes, all did allow me to take a default option, but they did raise the question when installing on a blank drive. Windows doesn't do that.) But the problem is most desktop users in developed countries are already familiar with Windows. By your reasoning ("You've been using Windows for NN years, and it's familiar to you. Therefore YOU find Linux difficult."), most desktop users are going to find Linux difficult. I don't agree with this idea, and I'm sure it isn't what you meant, but that's the position you have (mistakenly?) laid out.

No-Dough
No-Dough

> Today's consumers want to plug it in and > have it work right off the bat. It's all > well and good to say, "It's free, just > download it." It's another thing entirely > to expect the average Joe to be able to > install it and update his hardware drivers > with little to no computer experience. The Linux OS comes with hardware drivers built-in. With the exception of some bleeding-edge hardware, almost all hardware will "work right off the bat." With Windows, you'll have to hunt down the driver disk and make sure you don't plug in the hardware before installing the drivers, or it'll never work. > ...like paritioning (sic) and formatting > the hard drive... Like you don't have to do this with a Windows install? Apples to apples, please. Furthermore, the user can just choose to let the install system decide how to partition the hard drive. No techie knowledge required. > But I can tell you, with the minor hurdles > I've had to get over to make the desktop > aeshtetically pleasing and functional, > average Joe is going to have a stroke if > they're expected to install Linux from > scratch. How about we quit pretending that Linux is all that complex, and surrender to the truth. You've been using Windows for NN years, and it's familiar to you. Therefore YOU find Linux difficult. Sit someone down who has never used a computer before, and I would be willing to bet they'll prefer the simplicity of Linux every time.

Freebird54
Freebird54

Unless you seriously modified (NOT using the GUI) the default set up you did not have admin rights on Ubuntu. You *DID* have the ability to gain those rights temporarily for a specific task (and time period) without re-logging in... but you can't operate as root without some changes... (Just don't want to confuse people out there)

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

you discs of Linux OSs, as not everyone has broadband access, and downloading whole discs is not a viable option. I got Kubuntu 7.04, put the disc in, and let it load, a few questions, and about twenty minutes later, it's all working perfectly. With a new system, you just set it to auto partitions, only need to know about partitioning if saving a partition with data already on it; and that's a bigger issue in Win XP than in Kubuntu. I know a dozen people, basic users who have had to rebuild their XP systems several times, due to various system issues, often the spyware and crap they get from Yahoo and the like. They bitch about the issues with the install, the Kubuntu is a lot less hassles. Ubuntu and Kubuntu use the same password for the main user as for the root access, but when you log in, you DON'T have immediate root access, as some think. You have basic user access, and have to enter the password again in a SU window to access the parts of the system restricted to the root user. This allows you to set the system up to auto boot into the basic user, for those who have troubles remembering passwords. It boots, it works. They want to do something in root, they look up the password. If you accept a basic install, most Linux systems are much easier to load than any of the current MS offerings. Load Kubuntu, put the disc in, let in load, start using the system. Set up to use the Medibuntu package repository, load dvd codecs. Now I can do everything and watch DVDs too. To load XP on the same system, I run the XP install disc, set up the Internet,go through the activation process, load the special motherboard drivers for the LAN, load the graphics drivers (I want more than just 800 x 600 out of my top of the range nVidia card), load the monitor drivers (wide screen monitor), load the sound drivers, load the DVD playing software. Load MS Office or OpenOffice, Load drivers for the scanner, load drievrs for the printer. Now I can do everything and watch DVDs too. XP requires so many extra drivers, that the default drivers in Kubuntu do out of the box, like the video card, the sound system, the monitor, the scanner, the printer. Damn, just realised I forgot about the camera, XP needs extra drievrs for that to. NB: Scanner and printer an common model units bought a year BEFORE XP was released.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Consumers are dumb." Incorrect. "It's another thing entirely to expect the average Joe to be able to install it and update his hardware drivers with little to no computer experience." Correct. There's a difference between dumb and inexperienced.

Oktet
Oktet

I am surprised Dell is not offering Linux as a Dual Boot, that would provide more options for the consumer as opposed to having one OS on one hard drive. I love the idea of options; therefore, I dual boot my Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Windows XP 32-kinda like the best of multiple worlds. Or alternatively there is Wubi, which allows you to install and test drive certain Linux distros without the hassles of having to partition the hard drive. With Wubi-the process is as simple as installing the distro you like and uninstalling the distro if you don't like it from Windows via Add and Remove through the Control Panel.

MyLittleMansAnIdiot
MyLittleMansAnIdiot

...but I took it as read I was comparing Ubuntu to Windows, as that's what the topic was about. After installing Ubuntu 7.04, the user profile set up during installation has admin rights, much like Windows. This gives the user the power to do pretty much anything using the GUI (short of deleting critical system files). Now, I can't comment on the Ubuntu installation Dell offer, as I've not seen it in action, so I'm merely using the only basis of comparison I have. Having tried 2 Linux distros over the last couple of months, I can tell you with admin rights it's very easy to break the GUI and be left with nothing but a CLI, I've never managed to do this in Windows XP. Even changing the skydome image broke the GUI at one point.

MyLittleMansAnIdiot
MyLittleMansAnIdiot

Is that genuine, or sarcasm DE? Because I'm well aware that Ubuntu is a FOSS. If the intent to inform was genuine, my apologies. Having worked recently in a position that gave me daily contact with home PC users, I learned one very important thing. Consumers are dumb. Yes, this is a generalisation of the worst kind, but it's unfortunately a fact. Today's consumers want to plug it in and have it work right off the bat. It's all well and good to say, "It's free, just download it." It's another thing entirely to expect the average Joe to be able to install it and update his hardware drivers with little to no computer experience. This is the point that every Linux advocate skips over. The people that use TR have no trouble adapting to a change like this, because we all have a lot of practical experience with the installation of multitudes of software. Expecting a customer to know how to install an OS as simple as Windows is to install is pushing things, and you think they could install Linux? Even Ubuntu 7.04, with it's slick almost automated install system requires a modicum of know-how (like paritioning and formatting the hard drive). Now, don't get me wrong, this doesn't mean I'm a Linux hater, I'm using Ubuntu 7.04 right now. But I can tell you, with the minor hurdles I've had to get over to make the desktop aeshtetically pleasing and functional, average Joe is going to have a stroke if they're expected to install Linux from scratch.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

disks form their free software web site. Then you just install it on any PC you want. One disc does dozens of systems, and all free.

m.verhoef
m.verhoef

Everybody keeps talking about "Linux" in general whereas there are hundreds of different distro's around. Using Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) myself on an older (2003) PC I am very happy with it and I think Joe Average will be too. Granted, I do not use the computer for playing games but I never experience any problems using (Open) Office (with MS Office documents if required), surfing the web, e-mail, the occaisional ssh stuff etc. Dell opted for Ubuntu which is a very user-friendly distro and does not require the fiddling about on the prompt most people consider a disadvantage for Linux. If you want to compare any MS Windows distro to Linux, please compare it to the Linux distro offered (in this case Ubuntu 7.04).

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