Could a desktop Ubuntu bundle earn share?

Could a desktop Ubuntu bundle earn share?

Summary: Ship everything the average user might need, in other words, at a knock 'em dead price. Turn it on and it runs. You can load it up with ads for support offers, and other downloads you're not including.

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Dell Ubuntu laptop from Indiecom, 2007The big news from Ubuntu is they're aiming at the server market with a bundle that includes an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application or Point of Sale (POS) software.

But does this mean desktop Linux is dead? Or could a bigger bundle make headway?

UPDATE: No, not a smaller bundle like this CherryPal silliness. A bigger one.

Ubuntu has long flown the flag for desktop Linux. Red Hat's decision to abandon the space left it alone. But even with Dell support, its market share languishes.

Rather than play the blame game, the question occurs what might Ubuntu do differently?

The answer, it seems to me, is simple. Increase the size of that desktop software bundle with applications.

Dell may be reluctant, so this is an effort Ubuntu needs to lead. Don't just ship a laptop with Linux installed. Ship a laptop with:

  • GNOME
  • Open Office
  • Firefox, with bookmarks to Linux stuff.
  • Thunderbird, along with its calendaring plug-in
  • A Linux media player
  • Some Linux games

Ship everything the average user might need, in other words, at a knock 'em dead price. Turn it on and it runs. You can load it up with ads for support offers, and other downloads you're not including.

My guess is this will give you a full-powered, fully-functional laptop with a good screen, running screaming fast, for under $500. With plenty of headroom for profit.

When you add any flavor of Microsoft Office, the Dell-Ubuntu bundle costs 50% less than any competing HP laptop.

Everyone would do what they do best. Dell would deliver the hardware. Ubuntu would deliver the software. The only addition would be the funneling of support for the applications through Ubuntu, giving customers one throat to choke.

And you wouldn't have to worry about retail distribution, because Dell barely plays there.

I'd buy one. Heck, I'd buy two. How many would you buy?[poll id=86]

Topics: Dell, Hardware, Laptops, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

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  • FYI

    [url=http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2008/07/18/dell_adds_ubuntu_systems_updates_hardy_heron/]FYI[/url]

    Just curious Dana, are you running Linux? If so, why and which Distro?

    If not, why?

    Thanks for another 'good read'.

    P.S.
    [url=http://blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/?p=2660]This article[/url] isn't clear about what O/S you use.
    D T Schmitz
    • Still on Windows XP

      I have many open source applications on my old Windows XP box, and would dearly love to switch to Linux.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • What's the spec on your machine, e.g., processor, ram, hard disc size

        nt
        D T Schmitz
        • Check out Wubi Dana

          see [url=http://wubi-installer.org/]here[/url]

          It requires 256Mb of Ram and 5G of space.

          If you find you are running shy of disk space, you might consider turning of 'Restore Points' in your 'My Computer' settings, which will give you back about 2GB or more, depending on how many restore points exist.

          Personally, I've always turned off Restore Points and never had any issues that would require a 'roll back'.

          Ok, I think I hit oil so I'll stop drilling.
          D T Schmitz
          • WUBI is a Linux installer for Windows

            For those on the thread who don't know what Dietrich is talkinb about, here's a link http://wubi-installer.org/
            DanaBlankenhorn
      • So run the MS stuff in a VM

        Best of both worlds.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
        • Until

          The latest kernel update breaks your network connection. Oops.

          My advice: run Linux on a laptop that has been designed for it (no Broadcom components, for example). And don't be squeamish about cli and using Google to find answers.
          Real World
          • Intel's the way to go

            Any distro released in the last year will support Centrino laptops out of the box.
            Michael Kelly
          • What about a Gateway M1625?

            Turion x64 duo core and realtek wireless? Any suggestions for this lappy?
            Daschmi
          • It's a 5-minute compile on VMware to recreate a new vmw kernel module

            nt
            D T Schmitz
          • Sorry

            I meant the kernel of the host OS (in my most recent case, Fedora 9).
            Real World
          • And that's if you don't have the headers installed ...

            ... otherwise it takes under a minute. ;)
            MisterMiester
    • My next laptop...

      ... will be an Asus Eee or the Acer equivalent.
      bportlock
      • How about the HP mininote?

        [url=http://h40059.www4.hp.com/hp2133/]here[/url]
        D T Schmitz
        • Or the Gigabyte M912

          http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Notebook/Products_Spec.aspx?ProductID=2835

          Strange thing they used to list Linux along with XP & Vista. Wonder why they changed that?

          I Like the idea of a convertable touchscreen tablet... (Rumor has price between $550 & $650)

          Then there is also the MSI Wind and others
          many to choose from, but much depends on how & where they are made available........

          the mininote is nice......
          LazLong
          • Niiiice. Dana, I hope you are taking notes on this. :)

            nt
            D T Schmitz
          • Gigabyte M912

            Hope they sell it in the US. The tablet interface would take some of the pain out of the tiny keyboard.

            Maybe they can't find a Linux distro that supports tablet mode?
            paron
          • No magic there....

            A touchscreen is a simple serial interface, not dissimilar to a touchpad, just larger.

            And there are also linux drivers for electro static pens, Watcom etc.

            Linux has been used on tablets as long as they have been around. ~'97 though uncommon....

            The new Fujitsu line can be had with SLED
            http://desktoplinux.com/news/NS4307570673.html

            They are very nice... but pricey...
            the M912 is most similar to the Fujitsu P1620
            but suppose to be less than half the price.

            From what I've read they may be coming in the next month or two...

            They are design with standard hardware & designed to run any Linux......

            http://www.slashgear.com/gigabyte-m912-touchscreen-diamondville-umpc-0211859.php
            http://blog.laptopmag.com/hands-on-with-the-gigabyte-m912
            http://www.engadget.com/2008/06/03/hands-on-with-gigabyte-m912-and-m724-convertible-mini-tablets/
            LazLong
  • RE: Could a desktop Ubuntu bundle earn share?

    The simple answer is a reassuring NO! Put simply, people don't want linux. Its had 15 years to come to life but failed. Still is stuck years behind in technology. Consider the fact that linux does not run business software needed in today's electronic world.

    Just the hassle of running linux alone is a turn off for consumers. Figure it this way: The user will need to check the software version of the installed application, then go the application's website and check the latest version on there, look for a download link in what could be considered a confusing layout of a website, download the source code, use a complicated series of commands to extract it, then use even more complicated commands to compile the code (assuming it does compile cleanly), then install the executable in some random spot the user will never find, then try to run the application and hope it doesn't segfault or even worse kernel panic.

    Multimedia is considered a joke on linux. It can't play more than one sound at a time. Video is all but non-existent. You have to illegally install and download codecs just to watch movies (which requires complicated commands). Spending hours configuring files and tweaking the system just to get it to run isn't an option.

    There is a reason linux is not on the desktop, its not worth the hassle of using. When you factor in incompatible software, a community that doesn't want advice, and unstable platform its quite obvious that linux is going nowhere fast.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Turn the clock back a few years...

      and replace every instance of "Linux" in that post with "Windows". Oh, except that instead of segfaults and kernel panics, you'd get BSOD's with Windows. And lots of them. Or it would just lock up and you'd be forced to give it the ole 3-fingered salute.

      Linux is still a generation behind on the desktop, but it has been steadily making progress. When Windows 2000 was released, Linux was around 3 generations behind on the desktop. In the server room, Linux has pulled dead even or even moved ahead in most server-room tasks. The real difference there is that the people running the server room are IT professionals. It's truly only the non-professionals at this point who have any trouble with Linux. I guess we know which category you fall into...
      jasonp@...