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1 of 3 Dell Inspiron Mini Netbooks Sold With Linux 230

Posted by timothy
from the for-their-patients-who-chew-gum dept.
christian.einfeldt writes "According to an article in Laptop Magazine on-line, one-third of Dell Inspiron Mini 9s netbooks are sold with the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Dell senior product manager John New attributed the sales volume to the lower price point of the Ubuntu Linux machines. And the return rate of the Ubuntu Linux machines is approximately equal to that of comparable netbooks sold with Microsoft Windows XP. Dell spokesperson Jay Pinkert attriutes the low return rate to Dell's good communications with its customers, saying 'We have done a very good job explaining to folks what Linux is.'"
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1 of 3 Dell Inspiron Mini Netbooks Sold With Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @12:58PM (#26971307)

    Honestly, you can't buy a copy of windows for the difference in price, so you get a copy of windows "just in case" and install ubuntu yourself. Thing is I don't think a lot of people actually install it once they have a working operating system. They are afraid of losing ability to do something, they just don't know what that something is.

  • by jonlandrum (937349) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @01:02PM (#26971383) Homepage
    Isn't that what stops people from switching to Linux in the first place? On the other hand, if Linux is supplied by the OEM, they're just as likely to keep Linux versus switching to Windows, "just in case."
  • Re:"HP's Linux" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MarkKnopfler (472229) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @01:07PM (#26971483)

    I would really prefer Dell to ship the standard xfce or gnome interface for their machines, rather than trying something 'cute' like HP. A pretty layer would entail developing a whole new layer over the existing UI. This layer, inevitably would have bugs and irritating traits because of one simple reason -- It takes a lot of time and talent to create a good user interface/desktop environment. I would think that HP has slapped on a pretty but buggy and quickly developed layer over gnome to make it look cool, which ultimately will go on to frustrate the user. Then, Linux would be blamed and not that cruddy attempt at coolness.

  • The problem are the other two thirds.

    What? I'm sorry, What???

    We're seeing Linux have 33% market share on a general-purpose computer. Yes, I know, it's a certain class of computer but what I driving at is that it's a machine that is suited for a wide variety of tasks (as opposed to only being a router, phone, DVR, text reader, etc.).

    I'd love to live in a world where Linux had 33% market share on general-purpose computers. I think that trading one monopoly (MS) for another (Linux) is not a good thing, even if I like Linux.

    What I'd much rather see is a wider variety of OSes and no one kind having a dominant position. That way, we can have more competition, more attention paid to being cross-platform and (hopefully) more interoperability.

    I don't much care what everyone else uses as long as I have a good experience with Linux. As long as I can't make people stop hosting their videos in stupid flash wrappers (and gnash doesn't work very well) I'm dependent on flash working well enough on Linux. As long as there are no fast graphics cards with open-source drivers, I'm dependent on the proprietary ones.

    So, I want the people in control of the software I have to run to be happy to treat the platform I run with some kind of respect.

    But I don't want my choices imposed on anyone else. To healthy competition!

  • Re:"HP's Linux" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @01:29PM (#26971955)

    Because of a deal they made with MS.

    Call your dell rep and ask they will tell you all about it.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @01:34PM (#26972055)

    Get over it. I use the hedrat at work and it sucks. Yum is a garbage package manager and their repositories contain little to nothing.

  • Re:OS X (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gnu-user (162334) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @01:38PM (#26972129)

    It seems a real stretch to suggest that the numbers of people installing a hacked OSX would be more then a small fraction of either:

    • those who leave the default install alone
    • Those who install a pirated XP

    I'd venture that most of the slashdot crowd would install there favorite OS. I have no real feel for what the average Dell customer would do though, and I rather suspect that few of us here do.

    It is credible to me that a significant portion of the 32% is XP installs, but it also seems likely to me that over half of that 32% remain a linux install. As a prior post indicated, the price point is not huge, which limits the the re-installs to the fully intentional pirates (i.e. you are fully intending to pirate when you purchase). I rather doubt the few bucks saved means that much to most Dell customers, and that most of that 1/3 at least intend to use Ubuntu when they purchase.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @02:06PM (#26972587) Homepage

    But I don't want my choices imposed on anyone else. To healthy competition!

    I agree with this. I may be in the minority here, but I don't want Windows to die. I just want Microsoft to be in a position where they have to fight fair because they don't have the influence to rig the entire market.

    Global software monoculture wouldn't be such a good thing. It's always good to have valid competitors, so long as there's actually a level playing field.

  • by impaledsunset (1337701) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @02:24PM (#26972917)

    I think that trading one monopoly (MS) for another (Linux) is not a good thing, even if I like Linux.

    Just to remind you that there is a difference between a free system and a proprietary one when we are talking about monopoly.

    First, the word monopoly is connected to the market, and is tied to the vendor, not the program in question -- claiming that GNU/Linux has a monopoly would be like claiming that electricity has monopoly in the power market. It simply doesn't lead to any of the problems usually associated with monopoly in economics that I've studied or read about. It's about the _vendors_, not about the products, goods or programs.

    However, if there was a monopoly of a single vendor of services for GNU/Linux (for example, Canonical), which is, given the nature of free software, impossible, it would still cause a lot less trouble than what you get from monopoly with abusive anti-competitive practices and vendor lock-in. In your hypothetical situation, you aren't replacing your broken leg with a broken arm, you are replacing it with a painful bruise.

  • Re:OS X (Score:3, Insightful)

    by James_Duncan8181 (588316) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @02:50PM (#26973257) Homepage
    I'd conjecture not. Hey, we have the same amount of data!
  • Re:"HP's Linux" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @03:01PM (#26973423) Journal
    If that's true, that's the sort of thing I'd want regulators to stomp on, not that "don't bundle IE" silliness.

    Forcing Microsoft to bundle something other than IE in their own O/S is daft.

    Much better to force Microsoft to not "encourage" companies like Dell to artificially cripple/hobble/handicap Microsoft's competitors. Or to do stuff like "Hey if you sell stuff with Linux, we'll charge you more for Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @03:18PM (#26973625)
    > drivers and the like for Unbutu (Linux needs some name recognition somewhere)
    name recognition fail
  • Assuming that it is true that loads of people are installing Microsoft Windows XP on their Linux-powered Dell Inspiron netbooks (which I'm not sure is true, since the original article didn't mention that), it doesn't really matter. A Linux sale is a Linux sale. When the Dell managers evaluate their future strategies, how much will they consider whether XP was installed post-sale? Very little.

    And the same is true for Dell's competitors. If Dell's competitors see that they can move product in a down market by installing Linux on the machines, will they spend much time contemplating whether XP is installed on the machines? Probably not.

    Most OEMs have small margins on their sales of all but the upper-end machines. Volume is what matters. Hence the power of Microsoft Windows. At least until today. For OEMs and pretty much everyone in the channel, volume is what matters. As of today, they will know that Linux distros have proven that they can drive one-third of that volume. That is what really matters.

    And it gets better. As Linux-related desktop sales increase, you will see more and more third party vendors, such as 2dBoy, port their products to Linux, as maker of the popular indy game World of Goo [slashdot.org] has recently done.

    Volume is king. And now Linux is seeing some significant volume sales.
  • Re:"HP's Linux" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ericrost (1049312) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @04:06PM (#26974281) Homepage Journal

    The machine performs better with the stock UNR installed on it, so why would you assume that?

  • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @05:22PM (#26975225) Journal

    I don't want Windows to die. I just want Microsoft to be in a position where they have to fight fair because they don't have the influence to rig the entire market.

    They don't seem very capable of adapting, and adapting is the only way for them to not die without being able to rig the market.

  • by Erikderzweite (1146485) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @05:48PM (#26975487)

    Note that most users don't have USB CD-ROM drive to install pirated XP on such netbook in the first place. And installing XP from USB stick or via network... I better stick with Linux instead for it is much easier.
    In case of netbooks the argument "they just buy it cheaper to install pirated Windows" doesn't hald.

  • by DiegoBravo (324012) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:18PM (#26976443) Journal

    Most people (except maybe slashdotters) expect an OS that "just works" without dealing with modules nor their parameters. Yes, the drivers are part of the kernel, but distros differ a lot in the way or the capabilities for automatic hardware discovery and automatic module configuration. I think that's what the GP is referring to.

  • by sulfur (1008327) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:21PM (#26976475)

    I could have said that I haven't been using antivirus/antispyware/etc software on my computer that is running Windows for years; however, it wouldn't add much value to the discussion. I occasionally use online virus scanners, where I can upload cra^H^H^Hquestionable software and it would scan the binary for me, however this doesn't really support OP's argument. I think that if Linux had a high enough presence on computers of general public, malware makers would surely pay more attention to it.

    Let's assume that Linux is installed on 80% of computers, and there are no worms or automatically replicating viruses for it (which is unlikely because all software more complex than "hello world" program has bugs). We would still have plenty of trojan-type malware that disguises itself as a toolbar / screensaver / PC optimizer / email attachment / etc... It doesn't matter how secure your OS is if the user is the weakest link, which is the case. I have rebuild and cleaned many Windows boxes from viruses, and in most cases, the machine became infected because the user willingly ran the trojan, and not because the machine was not patched.

    I guess I should add that I support Linux computers (both servers and desktops) on a daily basis, and use RedHat as my home server's OS. I am just trying to be objective, and objectively, claiming that antivirus software is "required" on a Windows machine is not a good argument in support of Linux.

  • by shermozle (126249) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:52PM (#26976833) Homepage

    No Linux version here in Australia. If it's accounting for 1/3 of sales, why the hell isn't it available?

    I certainly won't buy the Windows version, but I'd definitely consider the Linux version.

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