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The BBC that Dell gives the go-ahead for Linux:

The second largest computer maker in the world said it had chosen to offer Linux in response to customer demand.

Earlier this year, 100,000 people took part in a Dell survey. More than 70% of respondents said they would use Linux.

Dell has not released details of which versions of Linux it will use or which computers it will run on, but promised an update in the coming weeks.

“Dell has heard you,” said a statement on the firm’s website. “Our first step in this effort is offering Linux preinstalled on select desktop and notebook systems.”

This is very good news as it offers an easy entry to Linux for a lot of people. The worse part of any operating system is the installation, and Dell is going to that for you. There is good, free software available to do anything you want, within reason, on Linux.

The other plus is that you don’t have to pay the Microsoft tax if you buy a pre-built computer. Most of the big companies have an original equipment manufacturer [OEM] license from Microsoft that requires a payment for every machine sold. That cost is built-in, and the computer is shipped with the software installed. When you buy one and then install Linux, you have to clear the disk before you can start. You have to pay for something you don’t want, and waste your time removing it.

This will provide even more impetus for new Linux software to be written.


1 Steve Bates { 03.29.07 at 5:52 pm }

You should be shot for the bytehead pun in the post’s subject. (I know; I’m really one to talk about puns deserving capital punishment.)

Now I’ll be really torn. I’d love to have a preinstalled Linux for my first time out, but NTodd and other people I know have had such trouble with Dell systems that I’m reluctant to put my money into one.

There are some good reasons for either having dual-boot partitions for Windows and Linux, or running some sort of VMware to allow one to run both at the same time, each on its own virtual machine. I know a couple of people who do that; one even does it on his laptop.

My current (and at this point very tentative) plan: the four-year-old Windows desktop box on which I’m writing this really needs to be replaced with something faster. Once I do that, and have assured myself that all my apps and data are working on a new Windows machine, I’ll take the plunge, partition this old machine’s HD and install (at the recommendation of, and for consistency with, my current client) Ubuntu Linux on one of the partitions. There are supposedly tools for working on files across platforms and partitions; I’ll have to explore those to help me make the transition.

O, wonder!
How many goodly compilers are there here!
How beauteous penguinkind is! O brave new world,
That has such programs in’t!

2 Bryan { 03.29.07 at 6:09 pm }

There’s nothing wrong, and everything right with your plan, Steve. The problems that people have installing Linux is almost always caused by drivers for specific hardware not being available. If you install on an older machine, you can get the drivers, because people have had time to write them.

Buying a machine from Dell with the software already installed means they have already located or written the necessary drivers.

I’m not a fan of Dell because of some of their policies that I ran into when I was working with donated machines for a charity. They gave me an unbelievably hard time getting drivers for their hardware. They may have changed, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

My two biggest clients use Dells exclusively and they are happy with them. I tend to buy HPs because one of my brothers worked for them for years and got good deals.

I think my next machine will probably be self-built tower to get just the pieces I want and not all of the other garbage that gets thrown in.

As for the title – the category is Geek Stuff.

3 Anntichrist S. Coulter { 03.29.07 at 10:02 pm }

And then there’s the other thing, about Michael Dell being a huuuuuuuge contributor to the GOP… *sigh*

4 Bryan { 03.29.07 at 10:20 pm }

There are a lot of things about Mike Dell that are less than wholesome, including some of his personnel policies, and some of the the things the company has done when it locates facilities. Neither he, personally, nor his company are good neighbors.

Hopefully, this action will free up some of the other companies, and more of them will follow the lead.

Mike Dell and I go back to the days when he sold computers out of his dorm room. At one point the microcomputer business was a very small world.

5 Karen { 03.30.07 at 10:07 am }

Len sings Linux praises all the time! But being a hapless Tech-No-Dweeb, I’ve never been introduced to its *mysteries*. However, if it became more popular and pre-installed…NOW that might change a dweeb’s mind on using it!


6 Bryan { 03.30.07 at 10:48 am }

There’s a tipping point Karen when “human compatible” [AKA – “user friendly”] becomes a real issue. Expecting normal people to use “grep” or “awk” is not realistic. There are a lot of things that happen in a Unix/Linux environment that are the result of people showing off their coding skills, not an attempt to improve the environment.

Linux has interfaces that are just as, if not more useful than Windows. OSX on the Mac is one of those interfaces, but it’s proprietary. There are free versions in the same class.

7 Steve Bates { 03.30.07 at 2:07 pm }

Expecting normal people to use “grep” or “awk” is not realistic. – Bryan

What Bryan sed.

8 Bryan { 03.30.07 at 7:36 pm }

I don’t guess we want to get into the C-shells or the Korn field.

9 Steve Bates { 03.30.07 at 11:09 pm }

Karen, what you can take away from Bryan’s and my little Unix/Linux pun-fest is that Linux, like Unix before it, is full of breathtakingly powerful software in the form of general-purpose tools suitable for use on complicated tasks… by a programmer. Imagine a kind of car that has an absurdly powerful engine, steered by a manual tiller attached directly to the rear wheels, with a transmission that requires both hands and both feet to change gears, and you’ll have some idea of the problem. Unix was never intended to be directly operated by an end-user, and all Unix shops for years had a specialist on board to do the complicated stuff. If Linux is to become the next generation of home-use platform, it must be made as easy to use, at least, as Windows, and preferably easier. As much as I hate to praise Dell for anything, they’ve taken a first step toward the meaningful commercialization of Linux for use by ordinary mortals.

10 Steve Bates { 03.30.07 at 11:14 pm }

Bryan, your spam filter is whacking my post again, and I can’t guess which word(s) offend it.

11 Bryan { 03.31.07 at 12:23 am }

The Spam Filter did it, but I have scanned the post and can’t find a reason for it.

There is no match to the word list or the addressing. It seems to be a one off hiccup.

As you can see, I can pull them back without a problem.

12 Anntichrist S. Coulter { 04.01.07 at 1:51 pm }

I tellya, the more updates that they do of MS platforms, the more that I miss the old UNIX/LINUX computers at U.N.O. No “purdy colors” or any of that childish WebTV-style crap of Windows, just doing exactly what you need without all of the bullshit. And no smirky fucking dogs or paperclips talking to you like you’re a fucking lobotomy patient. And even back then, on the low-size hard drives of the day, shit ran a LOT faster. Hell, I wouldn’t even mind the longer-than-the-road-to-Damascus command strings or URLs if I could get that kind of processing power back.

Besides, you could still run DOOM2 on ’em, so it was all good.

13 Bryan { 04.01.07 at 2:23 pm }

I still have a few special purpose DOS programs that I use, and they just rip along on newer boxes, but the standard Windows programs don’t get any faster because of the increased overhead of the bloated operating system.

Every time there’s a significant increase in capabilities in hardware, those capabilities get sacrificed to the software.

One of the least appreciated features of building your own system in Linux, is that the system only contains what you can use on your hardware. If you don’t need it or want it, you can dump it.

I don’t play games on computers, but I have all of this software, some of it loaded at boot, that is only needed for games. I don’t use IE, but I can’t remove it because it is used by other programs. I can’t control my own machine.

When it is re-built, I hope the University of New Orleans continues to use Linux, because that’s where things are going.