Dell launches Ubuntu consumer systems; Will sales measure up?

Dell launches Ubuntu consumer systems; Will sales measure up?

Summary: Dell officially launched three consumer systems loaded with Ubuntu 7.04 installed and sales kick off today.

TOPICS: Dell, Open Source

Dell officially launched three consumer systems loaded with Ubuntu 7.04 installed and sales kick off today. The big question will be whether we find out how sales go.

That latter question is a big one and I'm more interested in sales a few weeks and months from now. There's little doubt that Ubuntu fans will get these systems in the early going--interest in Dell's driver details has been strong. What remains to be seen is whether sales then drop off with a thud. Another thought: Will we ever see these systems at Best Buy?

Let's hope Dell details something about demand on its blog--it's not like these systems will be material enough to disclose on any financial results. For now, this Ubuntu move is more about Dell 2.0 and improving the company's image more than it is about financial returns. Time will tell two things:

  1. Whether Dell is serious about Linux;
  2. And whether Dell can make desktop Linux mainstream.

As for the details, Dell said it is offering the XPS 410n, Dimension E520n desktop and Inspiron E1505n notebook. Starting prices range from $599 to $899.

Support sounds a touch tricky. Hardware support comes from Dell. Software support will come from the Dell community forum and customers can buy OS support for a fee through Canonical. These options won't be a big deal for Linux users today, but newbies may wonder why they can't call Dell for both hardware and software support.

Other reading on the subject:

Five crucial things the Linux community doesn't understand about the average computer user.

Three more things that the Linux community doesn't get.

All Ubuntu image galleries.

Topics: Dell, Open Source

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  • How much savings?

    So, if a person configures these machines identically to one that comes with Vista instead of Ubuntu, how much savings is there?
    • Not really

      I don't expect the price to much than a Win box. Remember that these OEMs can largely offset the cost of Windows by making deals to pre-install all of the trailware and crapware.

      Unless of course you want your Dell with Ubuntu loaded with crap I wouldn't expect them to be cheaper.
      Tim Patterson
      • I'd take a bit of "crapware" to lower the price.

        After all, I'd fully expect to need to repartition the disk and completely reinstall everything [u]anyway[/u].

        Mind you, I'm not sure how much crapware has been written for GNU/Linux OSs in the first place.
        • Try some independent thinking and build your own

          This isn't about crapware or any other software you want to label it as being, it's about what Dell needs to do to improve it's marketing of PC's. I believe you don't know how much crapware has been written as you haven't taken the time to do any research or investigative procedures. It's easy to just label it as crapware and remain at the level you are.
    • cost

      The PCs will be available in the U.S. after 4 p.m. Central Time from Dell's Web site at The laptop starts at US$599, while the two desktops, the Dimension E520 and XPS 410n, start from $599 and $849 each, respectively. A comparable XPS 410 with Windows Vista Premium costs $899.
      • I went to your link

        and all I got was a chance to subscribe to announcements about Dell and ubuntu. I could not find their product offerings. Got a better link?
        • Sounds like the same as Dell UK/Europe...

          ... which redirects to a US version

      • What if the buyer doesn't want Vista at any cost ?

        I really wish the comparison would stop. First, Windows is the ONLY fully supported OS by the majority of software developers as well as the majority of hardware developers. There are very few, almost NO support for Linux or other OS's. So why compare ? Kind of like comparing pennies to dollars, neither fair nor feasibly expected.
        Point is some buyers are tired, dead tired of looking at Windows and want a change. Others, will always continue to support MS Windows regardless of what else comes out. It's the nature of the beast and I'm glad as I'm not one to want any software or hardware developer to lose ground or fall into bankruptcy. I'd like all supporters to know change will come with demand and with the ability to learn about something else.
  • Don't Windows buyers have to pay for software support anyway?

    In all the feedback about the class action suit against Dell, it was pointed out numerous times that support for Windows costs extra so I don't see how this makes any difference.

    So, Windows users can either pay for support from Dell or Microsoft or they can pay for support from Dell or Ubuntu technicians. Same difference.
    • You have to pay for Extended Support past basic

      warranty period.
      • I thought you only got hardware support.

        I know that's certainly the case with some other companies, having been on the sharp end of it and having to fix their cockups myself. I though Dell was one of those.

        I got this distinct impression from the comments under
        • Something Fishey

          About anyone who goes after Dell and
          gives Microsoft a thumbs-up.

          I'm all for stopping all the crooks, but
          I think Dell is pretty far down on the
          list, and mostly it's just crooks trying
          to hold other crooks hostage. Have to
          close your eyes and go eenie, meenie,
          mineee, mo to decide which ones is the
          crooks, Dell or the ones suing them.

          At least it looks like Dell is trying to
          do the right thing, now.

          Anyone wanting to know about Microsoft
          support, just read the EULA. If that
          wasn't so pathetic, that would be a
          joke. Only thing that supports is
          Ole Man
    • Same difference if you're stuck in Windows

      The difference may seem the same but really it isn't as Ubuntu is not Windows nor will it ever be. This is about choice and I choose not to have anymore to do with Windows so it isn't the same difference as you have assumed. I'd rather pay more for more freedom with Ubuntu's license terms and conditions than stay with Windows. No bashing, Windows is a good OS, no argument but the way Redmond is handling their software is the biggest suck of all time.
      If you went out and bought a new Honda Accord, would you like it if you had to prove to your insurance broker that it was a real Honda Accord every time you bought a new part for it ? Time to rethink this horsehockey, stoneage mentality and let Microsoft
      play their tune but it doesn't mean everyone will go to the dance
  • Does the marketing campaign...

    ... on the television networks and in the major newspapers (full page ads, presumably) begin today, as well? has Dell begun hiring and paying people around the internet to inform those who don't read newspapers or watch television?

    The public must be told what Linux is and why they should be interested, after all. Otherwise, only those already interested will be interested. And they will have to accept the fact that the computers they buy will say "Dell" and the hardware inside will come from Dell, including the proprietary components and the ones which, like memory, must be made with Dell in mind. And all their friends will have to be shown the new equipment.

    The availability of the computers is unlikely to make much difference except as a way to show a group of people that Dell read their posts; it's the huge investment in creating a demand for Linux that will pay off big. We assume.
    Anton Philidor
    • Now that is the $64,000 question ...

      ... and it will also reveal just how serious Dell is about this. If there is no advertising on mainstream media then this is a "stunt".

      [i]"it's the huge investment in creating a demand for Linux that will pay off big. We assume."[/i]

      Indeed. The question is, will the endorsement of a major player such as Dell make some customers realise that they can escape the licencing trap that many people are in.

      The MS-shills and fanboys on here frequently ask [i]"Small businesses already have Windows & Office, why would they change?"[/i] and the answer is looking increasingly like "WGA & OGA".

      Many smaller companies and lots of individuals are using ripped-off copies of Office. OEM Windows addresses that area, but MS-Office, once OGA starts to bite, will make a lot of people need to swap.
    • "He doth protest too much"

      Whatever Anton.
      D T Schmitz
    • Oh

      So now it is Dell's responsibility to educate the public on what the public wants because the public doesn't know what they want unless Dell tells them?

      Great job!

      One again, the non profit world riding on the coat tails of the for profit world.
    • And to think

      Only a few short weeks ago, Microsoft
      and their minions were saying "linux is
      a cancer", and "Linux is irrelevant",
      and "Linux is dead in 2007", and other
      such brilliant newscast releases, but
      now that a former Microsoft only OEM is
      offering Linux preinstalled, they are
      burning up the airwaves worrying about
      the deployment of Linux and the welfare
      of the contributing OEM.

      One would think that they are all heart,
      to be worried so about Dell and Linux.
      Ole Man
  • The stage is set, the actors engaged...

    Now all we need do is see what happens when the curtain opens. Should be interesting to see if they sell more than a handful of systems. More importantly though, is what sort of ADDITIONAL income does it generate.

    The factor that Dell will have to look at is, do they make more profit from selling a Linux pre-install, or a Windows pre-install and having users install Linux themselves.

    Do keep in mind, this is not about OS worship, its about the bottom line profits.
  • Dell to Start Selling Systems at Walmart

    That was a banner flashed up on CNBC just a few mins ago.

    Wonder if it's the Linux boxes they're going to promote there.

    This can't be real good for Dell's future in the big picture.

    DUDE, your getting a Dell, with Linux from Walmart!

    My how the mighty have fallen, this is what off shoring your support can help you end up with - a shot at selling your hardware through Walmart.