Dell’s Ubuntu Family Grows

Dell have added another Ubuntu powered laptop to their range. This time it’s the Inspiron 1525 which, starting at £299, looks to be a pretty good deal to me. It’s amazing what happens when you get rid of the Microshaft tax

You can buy it in the UK, France, Spain and Germany now and the USA will get it later this month.

I wonder why Dell are releasing into Europe first this time? Are they having better sales success here. Perhaps even the UK public is buying into FOSS more than our Government would like us to…

My Dad, after seeing a liveCD of Ubuntu, wants me to come and install it on his computer for him. He said “It’s better than Windows isn’t it?”… Not bad for an 81 year old.

Microsoft’s Fixed Rate Tax approaches 100%

Yesterday, we decided that we needed to get a new laptop for our business.

Nothing particularly staggering about that you might think. And, on the face of it you’d be spot on. However, as you probably know, our company The Open Learning Centre is focused on delivering business solutions and services based on Open Source technology.

Consequently what I definitely DO NOT WANT is to be forced to buy any Operating System with my hardware. I would like to choose for myself. I might want Ubuntu, or SUSE or Mint or something else. Or, god-forbid (and this is purely for example’s sake) I could choose to install one of the many valid, and already paid for, copies of Windows 95, 98, ME or XP that I have lying around.

So after a great deal of Googling yesterday, I found a grand total of TWO companies here in the UK that publicly offered me the opportunity to buy a new laptop on-line without an operating system.

The only other way is to buy individual components and assemble your own computer. This can end up being more expensive and is certainly not a trivial task, especially with a laptop. I do build my own desktops but wouldn’t consider doing the same for a portable PC.

I did look at Dell’s Ubuntu offerings but the spec of the machines wasn’t quite what I needed and – to be honest – all the “Dell Recommends Windows Vista” and notices about “Beware! This Computer Doesn’t Run Windows” made me feel a bit patronised. I understand to a certain degree the problems Dell face and must address; support and an audience of not-so-techy customers so I am not going to denigrate what they are doing. I just hope in a year or two’s time, I will be able to choose NO operating system on any of their computers.

But to get back to the main thread of this. Just two companies here in the UK that could offer me a laptop which I could choose to have supplied without an Operating System. That is bloody scandalous. EVERY other laptop (apart from the 2 Dell machines and some Asus EEe PCs [Update: I was a bit brief here. There are few other vendors who supply Linux pre-installed. But they do not offer the choice of “no operating system”]) would be supplied with a Microsoft Operating System. I had little or no choice; I could always have bought a Mac but that’s a somewhat similar issue.

Irrespective of the fact that I wouldn’t use their crappy and expensive software anyway, I have plenty of old discs with Microsoft’s operating systems on them that I have legitimately paid for and are not installed on any of my other computers. I’m sure there are many millions more like them. So why must I pay for another copy? This is completely unfair and should be (if it isn’t already) illegal.

The Globalisation Institute submitted a report to the EU commission last September saying just that:

Computers in the European Union should be sold without a bundled operating system, according to this submission to the European Commission. It says that the bundling of Microsoft Windows with computers is not in the public interest, and prevents meaningful competition in the operating system market.

The current situation basically means that for almost every single PC sold around the world, I believe we (you) are paying a TAX to Microsoft. We have already seen how they have done this with our schools. And we have seen Becta’s responses here and here.

I suggest that interested readers write to their MP or MEP, explain about this grievance and ask what the EU is doing about the report above.

On a positive note however, the two companies that did enable me to buy OS free computers deserve to be properly applauded, mentioned here, and please pay them a visit when you are looking for new hardware.

The first is a highly customisable offering from ( You can build desktops, towers, cubes and laptops to your own specifications and choose your Operating System or not as you wish. Removing the OS saves you anything from about £60 to £120 depending on your other choices.

The second is a more “mainstream” computer business. And was where we decided to buy from in the end as the price/spec was just a bit better for my particular requirements. That company is Novatech ( Yes, Novatech. It looks as though you can choose your operating system (or not as you wish) for any of their PCs. Be they laptops, servers or desktops. They have a good range and probably the best value we found anywhere. Choosing no OS saves you anything between approx. £50 and £300 depending on your choice of hardware.

Up to £300 quid Microsoft TAX… And it’s a fixed penalty too. Your hardware could cost £250 or £2500 – it doesn’t matter to them. Next time you are equipping your business or home with new computers please think about this first. You can have Ubuntu Linux Desktop Edition and/or Server Edition for free. You can copy, re-use, install on as many machines as you wish and they will provide much better performance with no usage restrictions either…

Dell offers another Ubuntu Linux laptop

So Dell are obviously having some success with their Ubuntu loaded computers then. Announcing yesterday that they are to add a new model to the line up and it arrives in Europe before the US and they add Spain to their list of supported countries. Well done Dell.

It would great to get some numbers or statistics about units sold, number of technical calls after purchase (I bet it is a shed-load less then Vista lol…).

Dell and Ubuntu arrive in Europe!

Ubuntu LinuxIt’s official. Dell have just announced that are now supplying Ubuntu Linux on products into the UK, France and Germany!

Here’s the story as issued on Dell’s Linux blog. And here’s the announcement on Ubuntu’s site with links to Dell’s store pages in France, Germany and the UK. This isn’t a marketing pre-announcement either; according to Ubuntu’s site you can order the PCs from tomorrow (8th August 2007).

Fantastic news. Now, where did I put my credit card…

Dell and Ubuntu start travelling!

After the release of Ubuntu Feisty on several of Dell’s computers last month, things seem to be moving at a pace…

On their Linux blog, Dell have stated that they WILL start selling outside of the USA (“Hey Dell! Over Here – The UK Please”). AND they have also committed to supplying Ubuntu to SME customers. This is great news and it must be indicative of the current rumour control-centre that is suggesting that Dell has seen better than expected demand for the small portfolio it initially launched.

Kindly, Dell has set-up a separate RSS feed just for their Linux news, comment and technical commentary. In true Open Source style, the blog is open and allowing comments and feedback.

Finally, as another indication that the Linux thing must be going quite well for Dell, they have made this little video about what’s going on at Dell’s HQ. It is very funny…

Ubuntu goes mainstream!

Ubuntu Linux

From today (25th May 2007) Dell, the second biggest computer manufacturer on the planet, will start shipping Ubuntu Linux on some of it’s products.

Initially, pre-loaded Ubuntu machines will be available in the US only although it is widely anticipated that Dell will extend this to other areas of the world. Until now, Dell has only shipped Microsoft software on it’s consumer and non-server products. The free and Open Source operating system packaged by Canonical, has in just a few short years become the most popular Linux distribution ever. It’s ease of use and excellent hardware support has created a groudswell of support. Ubuntu Linux can be downloaded for free from their website, and now supplied pre-installed on Dell PCs. A quick look on Dell’s US website indicates that the units with Ubuntu are between $100 and $200US less than simiar products with Microsoft’s software. The PCs can be seen here:…hs

“The interest and enthusiasm from customers who challenged us to deliver a consumer Linux solution have been matched within Dell and Canonical, the sponsor of Ubuntu, by a team of dedicated professionals who made this happen in a phenomenally short period of time,” said Neil Hand, vice president, Dell Consumer Product Group in a press release today.

This is brilliant news for the Open Source community at large. I can see several benefits to come from this:

  • Driver Support – Dell have already started asking some of their hardware suppliers to improve (or actually build) linux drivers for their products. This should increase the availability of drivers for the community as a whole.
  • Exposure – Dell is a BIG corporation and their backing of Linux as a desktop OS can add nothing but credibility to the platform in general.
  • Usability – If Dell’s typical customers are what I think they are, then their feedback and comments will really help the community at large to improve the usability and friendliness of Linux on the desktop.

What an exciting day for Open Source. I want to congratulate Ubuntu and Dell for this MASSIVE step forward!