Dell customers demand Linux on new customer feedback site

Dell customers demand Linux on new customer feedback site

Summary: This weekend Dell launched a new customer feedback site with digg-like voting called "Dell IdeaStorm". After only two days, it already has >25,000 votes for pre-installing Linux on Dell PCs. So much for Dell's argument that there is no customer demand for Linux!

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TOPICS: Dell
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This weekend Dell launched a new customer feedback site with digg-like voting called "Dell IdeaStorm". After only two days, it already has >25,000 votes for pre-installing Linux on Dell PCs. So much for Dell's argument that there is no customer demand for Linux! Other popular ideas so far include:

Just out of curiosity, I took a look at the source code in the web page to see what they used to create the new site. It turns out that IdeaStorm is powered by crispyideas.com, a hosted Customer Feedback Management service. There is a free edition available if you don't mind a few ads. The site also uses Prototype and Scriptaculous for Ajax-y effects, and Google Analytics to track page views and clicks.

Topic: Dell

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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  • The Linux machine that I bought from Dell...

    ... needed to have its drive repartitioned to put the /home directory on a separate filesystem. So I'm not falling over myself to buy a pre-installed Linux machine. An n-series Dell that is [b]cheaper[/b] (by the cost of an OEM Windows license) than the [u]identical[/u] hardware running Windows would suit me just fine instead.
    Zogg
    • And I have to do the same thing

      for every Windows machine I buy.

      Let's face it, the OEM's don't have a clue when it comes to common sense partitioning, no matter what the operating system.
      Michael Kelly
      • Then teach them

        Now's your chance to explain it to one OEM, and if enough people agree with you there's a chance they could change.
        Ed Burnette
      • Perhaps, but I'm thinking that a naked PC must be cheaper!

        Because there's no time and materials to pay for. And also the "We can't support Linux" argument that many vendors make goes out of the window with naked PCs.
        Zogg
        • Lack of ad-ware might increase price

          Linux wouldn't have all the ad-ware that PC makers normally cram onto their machines so it could potentially be the same price as a fully loaded-down Windows configuration.
          Ed Burnette
          • Never thought about that

            I used to wonder why Dells "linux" machines (the ones that come with FreeDOS installed) were the same price or pricier than the equivalent machine with Windows, but I never thought of the adware part of the equation. A Windows license probably costs around 30-40 bucks for Dell and all the adware they preload might just subsidize that cost.
            toadlife
          • I don't know if it's still the case, but...

            at one time, Microsoft's contracts with OEMs required a per/CPU payment to Microsoft, whether or not Windows was installed. If that's still the case, then you are paying for Windows, even if you aren't buying it. So, getting Linux instead of Windows is not cheaper.
            msalzberg
          • Production flow

            [i]I used to wonder why Dells "linux" machines (the ones that come with FreeDOS installed) were the same price or pricier than the equivalent machine with Windows[/i]

            Actually, it's because Dell produces the MS version by default (including paying Microsoft) and then, for a fee, reformats the drive to remove it.

            Obviously, the extra steps raise the cost and Dell passes that along.
            Yagotta B. Kidding
          • Windows cheaper that Linux from OEM??

            Lets see ahhhh Linux is free from many places if I'm not mistaken.... Why not just buy the computer, get your free Linux and format and load it yourself... I build my own and prefer the ease of running Windows... It's so much easier as far as I'm concerned.. But if your gonna pay more for a Linux loaded machine from Dell then my idea will save you some money
            the.seeker@...
          • That's not true

            [i]Actually, it's because Dell produces the MS version by default (including paying Microsoft) and then, for a fee, reformats the drive to remove it[/i]

            It's actually because they receive a fee from companies like Symantec and others to preload their software on it.

            When you order an "n" series machine, they just load a blank HD in it, and no money goes to MS.
            John Zern
          • About $50

            The exact numbers are not available but it's estimated that all the ad-ware/crap-ware brings Dell and other OEM's in the ballpark of $50 per machine. So until all the ad-ware has been ported to Linux (can't wait for that, heh) the basic-level Windows license is approximately free.

            Think of Windows as an ad-ware delivery mechanism.
            Ed Burnette
          • It would

            I read an interview with some Dell executive somewhere (I'm so specific) and he said that if they removed adware then they'd have to charge more, and that they didn't think people would actually pay more for an adware-free machine.
            Erik Engbrecht
          • it was

            my michael dell himself.

            someone said "if there is one thing i would like it is dell not to ship their pcs with all the shit on it they have" (i think it was a zdnet guy who said it) and michael replied, that wont happen.

            But think about it, when you get a new dell machine just throw the CD in and reinstall, its good for low volume certainly!
            usrhlp
          • Umm, I'd be fine with that. You?

            Perhaps we're not seeing the forest for the trees. If I have a choice between having adware installed and paying a lower price, and no adware with a higher price, I'd take the latter 100 times in 100. Your time is valuable, and how much time does it take to get rid of all that junk? It's well worth it to me.

            In a different vein, if Dell offered Linux, they could probably do two things: offer a naked PC with a liveCD, or offer pre-installation as a value-added service.

            In the end, the customer feedback means nothing if Dell doesn't act on it. And the feedback could go in directions they don't like, so Dell's response will be interesting either way.
            heres_johnny
    • Partitioning

      I don't want my C-drive partitioned for OS and Data. It's almost always the C-drive that fails or is attacked. I long ago moved my data onto a separate physical drive to avoid loosing precious data. Replacing an OS drive is relatively minor and it makes data backup a no-brainer. graybeard2
      graybeard2
    • "home directory on a separate filesystem"

      You are right of course, but.....fact is, most users who buy an OEM machine wouldn't know a "C" drive from a "Z" drive and nothing about a home directory. They just want a computer without Windows installed on it. Anyone (practically) who DOES know the difference would be installing the system themselves.

      What EVERYONE (who isn't in love with Microsoft) should do, since Microsoft declared open war on users, is learn how to partition and install systems, just like they had to learn how to operate a computer to begin with.

      http://www.gripe2ed.com/scoop/story/2006/10/24/0456/5625

      http://wendy.seltzer.org/blog/archives/2006/10/19/forbidding_vistas_windows_licensing_disserves_the_user.html

      http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2007/02/windows_vista_e.html
      Ole Man
      • Anyone who buys a naked PC MUST install an OS!

        So I think you've got it backwards - people who don't know the difference between "C" and "Z" drives and are ignorant of /home directories wouldn't be buying naked PCs in the first place.

        But then again, so what? What's wrong with clueful users buying naked PCs to partition and install as they wish???? I really don't see your point.
        Zogg
        • Well, Duuuuuh!

          That's what I said. Could it be you're reading backwards? Little dyslexic maybe?

          Try reading it again. Maybe you'll catch on sooner or later.

          Bet you didn't check the links, either, huh?
          Ole Man
          • Your links are irrelevant - I don't care about Vista!

            All I was saying in my original post was that I would rather buy a naked PC than a preinstalled Linux box, to save me the bother of reinstalling. I [b]really[/b] don't see how links complaining about Vista are relevant to that! Were you replying to the correct post?
            Zogg
          • Fuggettiboutit!

            Ever try talking to a stump?
            Ole Man