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Print 44 comment(s) - last by Hanspuppa.. on Feb 28 at 11:32 AM

Dell decides to sell notebooks without operating systems by customer request

On the Direct2Dell company blog, Matt Domsch, Linux Software Architect for Dell, announced that Dell has added its Latitude line of notebooks PCs to its n-Series lineup of products. n-Series are Dell products that ship with no operating system pre-installed. The Latitude notebooks will join Dell's Dimension and OptiPlex desktop computers, both of which are already being sold under the n-Series.

According to Domsch, the decision to sell Latitude notebooks PCs without any operating system pre-installed is a direct result of Dell IdeaStorm. IdeaStorm, which was launched by Dell little more than a week ago, is an interactive website that allows users to post ideas they would like to see Dell work on. The ideas are then voted on, and the most popular ones make it to the IdeaStorm front page. Apparently,  three of the top four spots on the website all deal with Linux. The third topic, which is the one Dell is trying to address by adding its Latitude notebooks to the n-Series lineup, is about shipping notebook PCs with Linux pre-installed on them. According to Domsch, the move brings Dell "a bit closer" to Linux laptops.

"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," said Domsch on his blog.

The notebooks will not come with Linux pre-installed. The exact models that Dell is currently offering as part of the n-Series are the Latitude D420, D520, D620 and D820. Dell has chosen not to distribute any specific version of Linux with its products primarily because there are so many versions available and Dell doesn't want to limit its consumers to one option.

On its Ideas in Action webpage, Dell states, "As this community knows, there is no single customer preference for a distribution of Linux. In the last week, the IdeaStorm community suggested more than half a dozen distributions. We don't want to pick one distribution and alienate users with a preference for another. We want users to have the opportunity to help define the market for Linux on desktop and notebook systems. In addition to working with Novell, we are also working with other distributors and evaluating the possibility of additional certifications across our product line. We are continuing to investigate your other Linux-related ideas, so please continue to check here for updates."


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But how much will we save?
By SilverMirage on 2/27/2007 2:34:31 AM , Rating: 1
I'm a big fan of Linux, but how much will I save by choosing non-Windows? Will they charge for the pre-installation of linux?




RE: But how much will we save?
By cochy on 2/27/2007 4:27:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The notebooks will not come with Linux pre-installed


They mentioned they wont' be pre-installing Linux as a matter of policy.


RE: But how much will we save?
By TomZ on 2/27/2007 8:48:18 AM , Rating: 2
Dell probably doesn't want to have to support Linux. They're probably not geared up for that.


RE: But how much will we save?
By Spivonious on 2/27/2007 9:19:12 AM , Rating: 2
Since Dell doesn't want to commit to a certain distro, trying to support every flavor of Linux out there would be a nightmare. I don't see why this is big news though, since they've been doing this with desktop systems for a very long time. Most corporations put their own image on anyway, so preinstalling an OS is a waste of Dell's time.

This is not some sort of victory for Linux. It's just Dell realizing that more corporations are buying laptops.


RE: But how much will we save?
By darkpaw on 2/27/2007 9:48:05 AM , Rating: 1
While most companies do install their own windows image, many do rely on the windows license that comes with the machine to license that image.

I've only worked with Windows licensing a bit, but I'm pretty sure you can only get upgrade licenses as part of the corporate licensing program. Most companies will buy the deeply discounted license included with the new hardware and just blow away the installed image and put their custom image on.


RE: But how much will we save?
By dever on 2/27/2007 2:29:44 PM , Rating: 1
The option is still welcome. As an MSDN subscriber, every time I buy a computer for business purposes, whatever extra I'm paying for another Windows license is lost money.


RE: But how much will we save?
By retrospooty on 2/27/2007 10:31:29 AM , Rating: 4
"They mentioned they wont' be pre-installing Linux as a matter of policy."

I'd still like to know the price difference with no OS. I hate the Dell (or any other OEM) images anyhow. If it were just a fresh install of Windows, I wouldn't mind, but they all have it preloaded with useless crap apps. To PAY for that bothers my senses.


RE: But how much will we save?
By Chapbass on 2/27/2007 10:50:39 AM , Rating: 2
Paying for commercials on TV or ads in a newspaper or magazine is much the same thing. i suppose i could be wrong on this, but arent those trial programs and such on new laptops keeping the costs down so they dont balloon back to the 3000 dollar level of 10 years ago? at least thats how i always thought about it...


RE: But how much will we save?
By Obujuwami on 2/27/2007 11:43:01 AM , Rating: 2
That is correct, Dell does have partnership agreements with many of the companies that provide the "trial" software. That is the same trial software that is a royal pain to get off the system to keep people from buying it accidently. Most people just done know what they need and buy stuff because they think they need it and that is how those "trial" companies make thier money back. They should be called "trap" software.

To answer the question of the original post, depending on the OS, you could save anywhere from $100-300. I have checked Dell's website and did the math.


RE: But how much will we save?
By SUNSfan on 2/27/2007 6:57:21 PM , Rating: 2
This is true, but you also have the option to have no pre-installed applications loaded onto the machine, but they hide this option deep within the customization page.

I for one think this is a step in the right direction for Dell.


RE: But how much will we save?
By rameeti on 2/27/2007 11:43:56 AM , Rating: 3
How much will you save by choosing to not install Windows?

You will save nothing. It will cost you more to purchase a computer without Windows!!!

<http://buranen.info/?p=77>


RE: But how much will we save?
By Pirks on 2/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: But how much will we save?
By TomZ on 2/27/2007 1:24:38 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think a lot of people consider Asus to be as good as top-tier laptop manufacturers like Dell, Lenovo, Sony, Gateway, etc. I'm not saying it is right or wrong, but I think that is the general reason why people buy these brands instead of cheaper brands like Asus.


RE: But how much will we save?
By Flunk on 2/27/2007 2:24:36 PM , Rating: 2
You do know that ASUS actually manufacturers notebooks for half the companies you just mentioned? Plus Apple Macbook Pros. ASUS are cheaper because you're skipping one step out of the supply chain.


RE: But how much will we save?
By TomZ on 2/27/2007 2:29:24 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, I know that. But consumers buy on brand, not on ODM.

In addition, it is not a valid assumption that the quality of an Asus-brand product is the same as a Dell-brand product, even if Asus makes the Dell model. The relative quality depends on the specifications and the designs, which may be different or they may be the same.


RE: But how much will we save?
By retrospooty on 2/27/2007 4:38:16 PM , Rating: 3
"You do know that ASUS actually manufacturers notebooks for half the companies you just mentioned"

That is true, but means very little. They are building Dell and many other OEM's designs but that does NOT make thier own products equal, nor does it account for thier tech support, or quality, or any number of areas I am concerned with such as aftermarket support. Asus absolutly sucks at aftermarket support. They seem to have the attitude that once you bought it, its YOUR problem, BIOS fixes and/or other hardware fixes may or may not ever come.


By NoSoftwarePatents on 2/27/2007 7:52:37 PM , Rating: 2
Here's why ASUS is not as good as Dell as far as laptops go (especially at the high end):

Dell laptops are built from a Taiwan company called COMPAL. Why buy a COMPAL-based laptop? Because you can service it YOURSELF. Most laptops are integrated-everything is soldered to the board, but Dell laptops can be serviced AFTER THE WARRANTY HAS EXPIRED without much difficulty-especially if you can build your own non-laptop PC. You can upgrade the CPU and GPU sometimes also.

Then just get your parts from EBay, download the diagnostic repair discs, and seek one of the official repair manuals from P2P/NNTP and you are set.

I have upgraded my Dell Inspiron 8200 TWICE-once to the Radeon Mobility 9000 from the GeForce 4 Go, and then I upgraded the CPU from 1.9 Ghz to 2.4 Ghz.

The instruction manuals are in easy-to-read web-based formats, that are hyperlinked to each other.

In this regard, Dell has the edge over the majority of the vendors.

Also, Dell gets the exclusive deal with nVidia on their top-of-the-line GPU's typically. Since AMD/ATI's Linux 3D is nowhere as robust as nVidia's Linux 3D, if you were going to use Linux, that would be a consideration.


RE: But how much will we save?
By Yawgm0th on 2/27/2007 11:53:29 PM , Rating: 2
Mac OSX is a heavily modified version of FreeBSD with a proprietary shell. It is not the same as Linux. That's like saying Windows 98 and OS/2 2.0 are the same thing because they're both distantly based off an old MS-DOS kernel.

Besides, you can get a better, less expensive laptop without OSX from a company other than Apple and install Linux, which has a much wider software base than Mac OSX, including almost entirely freeware programs. Never mind the vastly inferior performance of OSX.

Sorry, but saying Mac OSX is an easy-to-use Linux distribution is simply inaccurate. The applications in which Mac OSX excels, Linux is hopelessly inadequate. Likewise, Mac OSX is simply incapable of providing the same level of functionality as Linux can in a number of applications.


RE: But how much will we save?
By wallijonn on 2/27/2007 3:35:44 PM , Rating: 2
All I see is that Dell is trying to sidestep the imminent problem with Vista licensing, specifically that either they or the user will have to pay for a license should a major component be replaced in the broken machine. Unit under warranty? Dell has to pay for the new license (all $0.01 of it; the user would have to pay $100.)


RE: But how much will we save?
By TomZ on 2/27/2007 3:38:00 PM , Rating: 2
Huh? Why would Vista be any different than XP in that way? XP was never a problem in practice.


pc's and pirates
By mdbusa on 2/27/2007 2:45:21 AM , Rating: 2
in thailand they sell budget pc's preinstalled with linux for about 100$ cheaper than a windows machine--doesn't matter here anyway as pirated windows is sold at every IT mall in the country--out in the open.

Most local thai pc shops wil sell a new non-branded pc preinstalled with windows and tons of other pirated software.




RE: pc's and pirates
By Sharky974 on 2/27/2007 3:37:19 AM , Rating: 1
Third World country though.

Maybe there's a connection!


RE: pc's and pirates
By Sharky974 on 2/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: pc's and pirates
By Visual on 2/27/2007 4:42:23 AM , Rating: 3
what's even worse - he's suggesting that people BUY pirated windows. that kinda defeats the idea... no matter how much lower the price is. it is something that should come for free.


RE: pc's and pirates
By darkpaw on 2/27/2007 10:14:54 AM , Rating: 2
Why should it be free? I support free software, but its up to the developer to decide what should be free and what shouldn't. There is no inherant reason an OS should be free.


RE: pc's and pirates
By bplewis24 on 2/27/2007 11:21:27 AM , Rating: 2
I believe he was saying that a pirated version of the OS should be free (otherwise it defeats the purpose).

Brandon


RE: pc's and pirates
By darkpaw on 2/27/2007 2:16:00 PM , Rating: 2
Yah, I believe you're right about that.

Using pirated software is stupid, paying for it is even stupider. When I was in college I worked for a small company that would sell hardware at a small computer show in Phoenix on weekends. There was always 2 or 3 vendors there selling obviously pirated software for $15-20 a disk and even more amazing a bunch of morons that actually bought it. The organizers didn't care and either did the local police. They sent out a flyer one time saying not to sell pirated software there, but never actually stopped the vendors. That always pissed me off.

Either buy the software or use a free alternative. Its thanks to all the cheap ass bastards that legit people have to deal with all the DRM bullshit in modern software (which still doesn't do jackshit against the professional pirates anyways).


RE: pc's and pirates
By FastEddie on 2/27/2007 6:39:49 AM , Rating: 2
Ever been to Bangkok? Thailand is "dirt poor" but it isn't a "Third World Country" by any means!


More expensive without Windows?
By nordicpc on 2/27/2007 10:14:46 AM , Rating: 4
Components
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T5500 (1.66GHz) 2M L2 Cache, 667Mhz Dual Core
FreeDOS Operating System Kit
15.4 inch Wide Screen WXGA LCD Panel
1.0GB, DDR2-533 SDRAM, 2 DIMMS
80GB Hard Drive, 9.5MM, 7200RPM
8X DVD+/-RW, Data Only
256MB NVIDIA® Quadro NVS 110M TurboCache™
Intel® 3945 802.11a/g Dual-Band Mini Card
Standard Touchpad
Accessories
6 Cell Primary Battery
90W A/C Adapter
No Floppy Drive
Software
Service
3 Year Mail-In Economy Plan
Purchase is not intended for resale.
Also Includes
Internal English Keyboard
Resource CD - Contains Diagnostics and Drivers for N-Series
Latitude D820N

$1335

Components
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T5500 (1.66GHz) 2M L2 Cache, 667Mhz Dual Core
Genuine Windows® XP Home Edition, SP2, with media
15.4 inch Wide Screen WXGA LCD Panel
1.0GB, DDR2-533 SDRAM, 2 DIMMS
80GB Hard Drive, 9.5MM, 7200RPM
Save $49! 8X DVD+/-RW w/Roxio Digital Media™ and Cyberlink Power DVD
256MB NVIDIA® Quadro NVS 110M TurboCache™
Intel® 3945 802.11a/g Dual-Band Mini Card
Standard Touchpad
Accessories
6 Cell Primary Battery
90W A/C Adapter
No Floppy Drive
Software
No Resource CD
Service
3 Year Mail-In Economy Plan
Purchase is not intended for resale.
Also Includes
Latitude D820
Intel Centrino Core Duo Processor
Windows XP Brand
Internal English Keyboard

$1316

So it costs me $20 to not get Windows on a Dell...




RE: More expensive without Windows?
By TomZ on 2/27/2007 11:44:34 AM , Rating: 2
I guess Microsoft gets the last laugh. :o)

Really, if the OS market were to become more competitive, I could see Microsoft subsidizing some of the HW cost for each OS install, i.e., a Windows install really lowering the cost. After all, there is a huge benefit to Microsoft for having Windows on every machine even beyond the direct revenue that a Windows license generates. We may not be there yet, but I could see that in the future.

I assume the $19 cost difference you noted above is related to volumes of each model. Not sure, though.


By thebrown13 on 2/27/2007 12:39:05 PM , Rating: 2
All those craplets they put on Windows add up to big money.


RE: More expensive without Windows?
By johnsonx on 2/27/2007 2:04:01 PM , Rating: 2
The price difference is due to the $49 discount off the DVD-RW drive on the standard windows model that isn't offered on the n model. So Dell isn't exactly charging you extra for not installing Windows.

However, this sort of thing will probably always occur until Dell simply adds the 'No Windows' choice to the regular build menu (same as servers) instead of effectively making windows-less models a separate product line. Dell will probably never do that (pressure from Microsoft?), so it's all moot.


RE: More expensive without Windows?
By darkpaw on 2/27/2007 2:40:46 PM , Rating: 2
For this specific one you're right it looks like the discount is the difference. I believe the big issue is as other people have mentioned the shovelware that comes installed on all the normal laptops. Dell probably pockets a good chunk of change off every machine they ship preinstalled with all that crap, no windows = no shovelware = no free money for dell.

I'd really be surprised if they every charge less for the no os version as they do for the os one. Servers are different due to how server software is licensed and servers generally wouldn't come loaded with shovelware anyways.


.
By semo on 2/27/2007 7:27:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
We don't want to pick one distribution and alienate users with a preference for another.
now that's rich coming from the wintel dealer. that's comedy right there.




RE: .
By Spivonious on 2/27/2007 9:19:55 AM , Rating: 2
Dell has sold AMD machines for quite a while now.


RE: .
By semo on 2/27/2007 8:06:15 PM , Rating: 2
dell has sold wintel machines for decades and they are still being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century (e.g. an os should have been an option by now and i'm not talking about alternatives).

i've had "professional" system builders telling me how they don't use amd procs because they fried themselves and the mobo back in the prescott days. i think it's fair to bash dell for their shortcomings in the not too distant past for a while longer.


RE: .
By Yawgm0th on 2/27/2007 11:37:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
i've had "professional" system builders telling me how they don't use amd procs because they fried themselves and the mobo back in the prescott days. i think it's fair to bash dell for their shortcomings in the not too distant past for a while longer.


Did you mean to say this?

quote:
i've had "professional" system builders telling me how they don't use Intel procs because they fried themselves and the mobo back in the prescott days. i think it's fair to bash dell for their shortcomings in the not too distant past for a while longer.


Because AMD processor never "fried themselves and the mobo" back in the Prescott days. Prescotts were known to do that every once in a while.


RE: .
By semo on 2/28/2007 9:10:41 AM , Rating: 2
when intel were selling prescotts, system builders were telling me about amd processors being very hot. they were of course referring to the k6 or earlier architecture (i forget), i.e. they were out of date with their knowledge but still flamed amd.

i know dell are changing but look at how long they were wintel exclusive.


What about driver support?
By montgom on 2/27/2007 7:52:52 AM , Rating: 2
So, no OS, so no support for windows drivers? I can understand that Linux might "roll" their own.
Bob




What about driver support?
By montgom on 2/27/2007 7:59:53 AM , Rating: 2
So, no OS, so no support for windows drivers? I can understand that Linux might "roll" their own.
Bob




Good move on dells part
By Nik00117 on 2/27/2007 9:37:06 AM , Rating: 2
I don't care to get a copy of windows from dell, in fact I don't like it cause it adds to the cost of the product.




windows
By thebrown13 on 2/27/2007 10:07:47 AM , Rating: 2
Have fun buying a retail version of Windows.




Less proprietary
By Samus on 2/27/2007 8:50:11 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully this means better compatibility with the smallfry OS's like BSD and Linux too




Dell Systems Without OS
By Hanspuppa on 2/28/2007 11:32:43 AM , Rating: 2
I tried to order a Dell system last week for a business client. The client had a small network with all Windows XP Pro machines. He expressly stated he did not want Windows Vista. I went to the Dell web site and confiqured the system that would meet his needs except Windows XP Pro was not available. I called the 1-800 number and talked to a person from a foreign country that I could not understand. Finally I was told I could not order a Windows XP system at all. I had to order Vista. I explained to her I did not want a Vista machine. She then told me I could order a Dell system without the OS. She then gave me a price of the same system I had configured with Windows Vista. The price was $109.00 more for a system without an OS than one with Vista. I choose not to buy a Dell. I have been a loyal Dell customer for 15 years now and have purchased well over 100 Dell systems. I chose to order the component parts and build my client a system that would me his needs.




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