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Dell's Secret Linux Fling 146

Slagged writes "The Register has up an article on Linux-based Dell systems being sold in China. While Microsoft quashed an attempt by Dell to create a market for Linux PCs in the U.S., such restrictions are not the case in Asia. From the article: 'Fifteen months ago our own Ashlee Vance, who broke the news of the first break-up in 2001, proved how hard it is to buy a PC from Dell without Windows. Not pre-loaded with Linux mind you - but simply a bare bones box. But far away from the prying eyes of Steve Ballmer, romance is blossoming. An eagle-eyed reader found the fruits of the union, brazenly on display in a Beijing subway.' The article has pictures of the advertisements, which offer Dell PCs preloaded with 'Red Flag Linux'."
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Dell's Secret Linux Fling

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @01:53PM (#17524818)
    If Dell sold Ubuntu laptops where everything (wireless, 3D accel) "just worked" I'd get those instead of the mac laptop I use today.

    My desktop's Linux - all my company's servers are Linux - and as cool as BSD/Mac is I don't really need the context switch. I liked Dell hardware last time I used it - and yes, eventually I got Ubuntu running fine on it (damn wireless chips) - but no, it's not worth the effort to change. Yes, I understand for wireless and 3D it might cost as much as Windows to get the proprietary stuff licensed. But it's worth it. Yeah, I know it's not that hard to do it all yourself - I'm just not interested and would rather have something that just worked (and that's my problem with windows - it doesn't "just work" without all the antivirus/security screwing around you need to do).

    Dell, if you want to get your market cap back above Apple's -- please get a real OS.
  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @01:59PM (#17524924) Journal
    I've seen this before, and I didn't believe it, so I clicked your notebook link.
    The page you requested may no longer exist on


    The desktop link still works right now though.

  • by d3ac0n ( 715594 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:19PM (#17525172)

    Those are the N-Series equipment. They are a Godsend for shops like mine, where we use a RAID drive array and a custom Windows image. we don't have to pay the Windows tax on the machine just to wipe Windows off of it to install our version. (We have a corporate version, unlimited copies.) The notebooks are a more recent addition, and really great given that we don't want Vista forced down our throats for at least 2 more years.

    Nicely done Dell!
  • by EXMSFT ( 935404 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:19PM (#17525188)
    Love them or hate them, Dell sells more PC's than any other vendor. So their moves as a whole would generally be something that the linux community SHOULD follow, not just disregard and only cite statistics for much smaller vendors or channel resellers. Frankly, though, this isn't that big of a deal. As has been said before, it's relatively easy today to buy a PC from Dell (US) without an operating system. And the fact that in China you can buy a PC preloaded with a government-funded operating system isn't something I'd use the word "shocking" to describe.
  • by aaronl ( 43811 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:03PM (#17527202) Homepage
    The blurb from that Dell page is just saying that FreeDOS has nothing to do with MS and in no way gives you a license to use anything MS related. If you take the full quote, it makes much more sense. This was the line directly before the bold part:
            "The open-source n Series desktops feature select popular models from the DimensionTM desktop, OptiPlexTM desktop and Dell PrecisionTM workstation lines available with a copy of the FreeDOSTM open-source operating system included in the box, ready to install."

    As far the MS licenses, yes, if you have a volume license, you can certainly use it on bare hardware. There are plenty of places that do use white box systems, too. Most of the time, it just isn't worth the cost to maintain everything in-house, so you go to a Dell or IBM for hardware. If you have good people and policies, then white box is a nice cost cutting measure. No little hologram stickers are required.

    There are unlimited licenses from MS, too. You just buy a site license, and don't worry about the numbers. Most vendors have something like that, just for the big companies.
  • Re:A near guarantee (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the_womble ( 580291 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:21PM (#17527594) Homepage Journal
    The difference is that the victims of your hypothetical crimes are not tacitly encouraging it. Kidnap victims do not go around saying "If I am kidnapped I will not go to the cops", do they? They are also real crimes recognised by any society, not ones invented by governments in recent years.

    MS (and other software companies) do tacitly encourage piracy. Otherwise why do they fail to enforce their copyrights.

    I lvie in a country where some of the Holywood studios have proved enforcement works: people are far more cautius about priating DVDs than software because they ahve been sued for it. IBm has also been getting people to pay for Lotus Notes. MS thinks this market is worth fairly heavy advertising, but not worth suing the peole priating their software - why do you think that is?

    If anyone from MS is reading and wants to prove me wrong: I will promise to find you thirty retailers, high street or shopping mall , that can easilly be proven to be pirating your software, in return for a guarantee that you will sue them.

    Rumour has it that MS was considering enforcement, but backed down when some corporate users said that they would rather use Linux than pay for Windows.
  • by shaneh0 ( 624603 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @09:20PM (#17533152)
    While I'm sure to get modded -5 EvilAssHole for this, I'm going to do it anyway.

    A coworker of mine runs a Myth box. Practically every day for the first month or so after he set it up he'd give me an update on the tinkering he had to do the previous night. Now, at least once a month it goes offline for some reason. I'm not a linux guy, nor a mythTV guy, but it seems like he's got problems with TV listings mostly, although issues with drivers, audio sync, and a smattering of other issues have also been recurring problems. He's our linux admin and he does great at work, so I don't think this is an aptitude issue.

    Meanwhile, I spent $500 for my Tivo and all I have to do is sit back and relax. I can, of course, record shows thru an internet connection, stream to other TVs/Comps in the house, and use it for pics and mp3 audio as well.

    So if your average linux geek makes $50k a year (total guess), spending more than 20 hours on the box over its entire lifespan is a waste of money.

    I do understand that the hobbyist enjoys the tinkering, but it's important for you to understand that it's _only_ the hobbyist that enjoys it. Everyone else just wants it to work.

  • by kallen3 ( 171792 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @10:55PM (#17534102)
    I had my other half look at the ad. Since she is from China I felt that should qualify her as an expert. The first thing she told me that it didn't look right and don't trust any ads in China unless you see and are able to try out the product first hand. She also told me that the literal translation for the wording before Linux on the 2nd picture was "flag" and not Red Flag so it would be Flag Linux

The other line moves faster.