Dell at it again: Windows vs. Ubuntu Linux

Dell updated its Europe site with a "Windows or Ubuntu?" page.
Written by Chris Clay Clay, Contributor

Dell updated its Europe site with a "Windows or Ubuntu?" page. I can understand Dell wants to continue to market PCs with both operating systems, however the information posted on this page is fragmented, at best.

On the page it states "Choose WINDOWS if:" and lists a few points:

"You are already using WINDOWS programs (e.g. Microsoft Office, ITunes etc) and want to continue using them". No mention of Wine, which actually allows Windows programs to run on Linux. Instead, they could have provided a link to WineHQ's Applications page, for customers to check application compatibility if they are considering Ubuntu Linux.

"You are familiar with WINDOWS and do not want to learn new programs for email, word processing etc". I partially agree. However even when sticking to Microsoft Office and paying for it, there is still a learning curve. Take Office 2003 to Office 2007, which are vastly different. In my opinion, this is about the same as using Office 2003 and going to the free OpenOffice software, there is a learning curve either way. Most email software is similar in design and functionality, so usually there is not much of a learning curve there. But Outlook 2010 will add a new design so there will be a slight learning curve.

"You are new to using computers". I totally disagree. People learn on their first computer no matter what operating system it has. Linux (Ubuntu) is laid out in a very logical manner. In fact, most things are 2 clicks away in the menu, when compared to Windows 7 where users find themselves digging for several minutes looking for things, buried in pages upon menus. Granted, a new user might not be as savvy at checking for help with the online community (they would have a better chance of knowing somebody else that uses Windows to ask for help). But, learning Linux is something that kids do all of the time and adult users can easily do so as well. There are also good books out there for self-teaching.

Now, lets go on to "Choose Linux if:" :

"You do not plan to use Microsoft WINDOWS". Yes, but that's not totally true. You CAN continue to use Windows programs in Linux, using Wine. And, even use Windows inside a virtual machine (with VirtualBox). I am guessing Dell just doesn't want to "go there".

"You are interested in open source programming". Hm, this one is interesting. So who are they trying to lure in with this one? I believe open source programmers would already know about Linux, and would already have their choice made. Originally I thought this page was meant for basic users that were considering Windows or Linux and needed some help in choosing. But now that I've looked closer, I'm not sure who they are trying to address with this page.

There are other items that they could have added to this page, like "Choose Linux if":

"You do not want to be locked in with Microsoft software, and continually pay for upgrades year after year".

"You want total privacy without information about your computer constantly being monitored by the vendor".

"You want the freedom to make copies of your operating system or install on multiple computers, without any licensing restrictions or broken laws".

There are many many other points that could be made here. So, all in all I guess it's good that Dell is exposing Ubuntu and Linux, however the way that they do it still favors Microsoft. I am guessing this is because Microsoft still has Dell held closely and under careful watch.

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