back to article Dell readies Linux Ultrabook for autumn release

If you're in the right neck of the woods, you'll be able to buy a Dell Ultrabook pre-loaded with Linux this coming autumn. The PC giant last night said it was moving its Project Sputnik - a scheme to create a developer-friendly Linux laptop - from pilot to product. The machine in question is an XPS 13 with a custom build of …

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Anonymous Coward

Really?

I have tried a couple of time to actually buy a Dell machine with Linux, but they make it so damn hard. Really, I wonder if the sole purpose of this is to negotiate a better Windows price with MS rather then actually selling any Linux boxes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

The rumour is that the last time Dell tried to sell Linux, MS told them in no uncertain terms to stop.

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Gold badge

Re: sole purpose

"I wonder if the sole purpose of this is to negotiate a better Windows price with MS"

...or the continued availability of Win7 licences after October 26th.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

"The rumour is that the last time Dell tried to sell Linux, MS told them in no uncertain terms to stop."

It must be true so - it's not as if any linux user would feel moved to harm Microsoft by making something like that up, or repeating an unsubstantiated rumour. (Because if they could actually substantiate it, Microsoft would be in substantial legal trouble).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

But MS have been in substantial legal trouble and currently are in substantial legal trouble.

Or do you just keep chugging that Kool Aid?

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Bronze badge

Microsoft's legal trouble

>>(Because if they could actually substantiate it, Microsoft would be in substantial legal trouble).

Because Microsoft is a substantial rascal... hmm smart to do it all behind the closed door and with Non-disclosure sauce.

Say, how much is the OEM's Windows copy? Is it the same for all the OEMs? If not, what it depends on? One can only judge based on the very counterintuitive behavior of the said OEM's. Say, what does Dell want to verify when selling GNU/Linux with lower specs for higher price? What does Acer accomplish by making their laptop buyer ship the whole machine to their facility to return the Windows? And why in general is it such a pain to get the damned refund for it?

As far as the trouble is concerned, who was the one to have been pissing on the agreement with EU? Sometimes they forget, they aren't behind the doors all the time.

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Facepalm

Unsubstantiated rumour?

"Michael Dell coy on Linux Desktop putsch"

"I do not want to invest $$ in Dell to fund their Red Hat efforts .. we will be quite prescriptive in our investments with Dell relative to the competitive threats we see with Linux" px09280.pdf

we should whack [Dell], we should make sure they understand our value

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really?

"It must be true so - it's not as if any linux user would feel moved to harm Microsoft by making something like that up, or repeating an unsubstantiated rumour. (Because if they could actually substantiate it, Microsoft would be in substantial legal trouble)."

You're right, I am sure that Microsoft told Dell they were delighted they had decided to start selling a competitive OS and that they would in no way penalize them for it because Microsoft is so committed to fair competition.

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ubuntu eh

Should be able to install Debian or Mint as well.

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Silver badge

Re: ubuntu eh

And Fedora and....

But yes, one would expect any Ubuntu derivative to "just work". Debian? Maybe not so much due tot he patches Canonical apply (would depend on the Debian I guess).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ubuntu eh

I would expect Ubuntu and Mint to install fine though Debian Squeeze might baulk at it, Wheezy? Haven't tried. My currently laptop is too new for Debian, but Ubuntu and Mint run fine, after applying a patch or two.

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Silver badge

Not this again

Look, we keep getting stories about "X will sell a GNU/Linux system" where X is Dell, HP, ASUS or someone else and you know what? They are only ever on sale in certain territories, to corporate customers, not linked correctly on the website and on shitty hardware or for an insane price.

I hope Canoncial can pull it off - but this is the same company who crowed about ASUS selling Ubuntu pre-installed, then couldn't tell me where I could buy one! So I will believe it when I see it frankly.

And I'll believe it when Dell list this on their UK site, allow UK Joe Public to buy it and have the XPS 13 with an OS option combo. Until then I'll go with a manufacturer/seller who actually supports GNU/Linux in a proper manner; System76, ZaReason, ThinkPenguin, EmporerLinux, Fit-PC (there may be others).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not this again

Remember the Dell Inspiron 1525N sold in a certain territory (the USA)? I'm typing this on one.

It's was priced the same as the 1525 but had Ubuntu and used Intel wireless instead of having Vista and Broadcom.

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Silver badge

Re: Not this again

And that is exactly what I mean. I am sick and tired of "X sells GNU/Linux computers!" when there are massive restrictions on the sale which means it's NOT on sale unless you are one of the lucky ones.

Hence why I'd buy from a company that genuinely sells GNU/Linux units before the like of Dell.

If Dell make this available globally, for the same (or lower) price as Win8; then I might be interested.

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Re: Not this again

Seems I missed the like about it only being on sale in certain regions.

Epic fail once more from Dell. What are Canonical playing at?

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Re: Not this again

Last time I went through the shopping cart flow to buy an Ubuntu machine off Dell, they suggested I used Internet Explorer 7

The last decent Ubuntu based machine Dell stocked was the Mini 10, however Dell got seriously burned by punters buying the cheapest one they saw and then complaining when it "didn't have Windows". Picked up a couple at the Dell Outlet for €199.

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Joke

Re: Not this again

Just ask Nokia about that - people keep returning Lumia 800 Windows Phones to O2 because they thought it "had (Linux based) Android" on it. Ooooh the irony

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Re: Not this again

Yeah I do, I am replying on one. The Dell 1525n was available in the UK too (where I got mine), but again, the same price as the Windows version. I naively thought that I'd buy all my subsequent laptops from Dell, but each time I ask about their Linux offerings I just get told - no, they don't do them and have no plans to do them. So I have just stuck with my 1525n and upgraded wherever possible.

I'm with the original commenter on this, I think that the short lived N series was merely a way of getting a better deal from MS, which is a shame.

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Mushroom

Re: Not this again

I seriously doubt that. Windows Phone is much nicer to use than Android. And loads more secure of course as it doesnt use Linux.

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Linux

Give me an Ultrabook with Secureboot turned off

Then I will be able to put whatever the hell I like on it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Give me an Ultrabook with Secureboot turned off

Why can't you turn it off yourself? It's really not difficult.

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Silver badge

Re: Give me an Ultrabook with Secureboot turned off

Secure Boot is a thing that helps users, not restricts them. You can turn it off normally and for x86 machines, if you want to sell it as Win8 ready, then MS require that the user be able to turn it off.

Anyway, away from the red herrings, one of the main barriers to Linux adoption by users without a strong technical background is that you don't get it pre-installed like you do with Windows or OSX. If you do, then all the problems with making sure you have everything for the right hardware just vanishes, because the manufacturer has done that for you - the same advantage OSX and Windows enjoy.

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Thumb Down

Re: Give me an Ultrabook with Secureboot turned off

Ummm, no.

It does make the machines more secure but it does it by restricting the user.

For a Win 8 sticker the "Secure Boot" /must/ be /on/ by default and if you turn it off you can't dual boot Windows. AFAIK the only distro with signing keys for "Secure Boot" is Fedora but there is still a lot of uncertainty about revocation and other fluff.

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Bronze badge

Or save ...

... or save $50 by buying the Windows version.

Well that's how the Dell offers normally work, so is this yet another pretence?

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Facepalm

will only be "available in select geographies" ?

Like in a glacial valley or mountainous regions? Do they perhaps mean "countries"?

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FAIL

Re: will only be "available in select geographies" ?

Whoops - how did I miss that? So it's effectively not going to be on sale at all then. Good to know.

Dell? Screw you. Again.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: will only be "available in select geographies" ?

Oxbow lakes, mainly.

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Re: will only be "available in select geographies" ?

Middle Earth, perhaps?

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Silver badge

"rebuilding your Linux OS to try to get wifi working, or sound, or getting your video driver .."

FUD - some people may indeed have trouble but I've installed OpenSuse 11.4 to 3 very different laptops/netbooks in the last year and had NO problems at all - not just with the built-in hardware but also 3G dongles, printers, DSLR cameras ( controlling them NOT just downloading pics), USB headsets, webcams etc

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Silver badge

What utter FUD

To counter the above I have a laptop which would blue screen every time it tried to use WiFi under Windows XP. Installed a GNU/Linux and it worked perfectly. Not need to tit around with video drivers either.

Now I probably could have got XP to work by spending 3 weeks downloading different patches, reading knowledge base articles and wasting my life. Or I could have gone with something that worked.

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WTF?

?Any Laptop?

"Sure, you could buy any laptop and spend 3 weeks downloading different Linux distros, rebuilding your Linux OS to try to get wifi working, or sound, or getting your video driver to not keep crashing when you run Flash, or ... etc."

That's odd, Ubuntu works perfectly on every laptop I've installed it on so far... especially the older ones that aren't quite up to W7 spec!

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Meh

Re: "rebuilding your Linux OS to try to get wifi working, or sound, or getting your video driver .."

My HP printer installs much more easily on Ubuntu than Windows. You plug in the USB, wait a few moments, and it's ready. Getting it to work on Windows 7 is a pain in the neck.

Rebuild your Linux OS? If you're a huge techie, fine. Otherwise that's the type of thing I was doing about 15 years ago. No need to do it today. But at least you CAN do it. You can't do it with Windows because you don't have the source code.

Both operating systems have their pluses and minuses, but Linux isn't bad at all; it's not as bad as people make out.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What utter FUD

I've had quite the opposite experience with Ubuntu 12.04 vs Win7. Ubuntu was slow to boot up/shutdown, crashy and not particularly user friendly whereas Windows7 just worked. Sure I could have spent 3 weeks wasting my life trying to figure it out but I just stuck Win7 on and it works fine.

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Linux

Trolling nonsense...

> Sure, you could buy any laptop and spend 3 weeks downloading different Linux distros

I started using Ubuntu after a 6.x release worked flawlessly with a company issued Dell laptop.

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Silver badge

I develop on Linux because I like the command line and I know how everything works. But you can develop on Windows easily enough. But really why bother with all those issues you talk about with installing Linux (again, not that hard if you know what you're doing), and just run Linux in a VM on Windows? That's what I do for day to day. My poor Gentoo install hasn't been booted in months. Stick Linux in a VM and you've got the best of both worlds with very little of the downside.

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I don't hold out much hope for a good deal

For *years* people have been regularly posting to www.ideastorm.com, begging Dell to put Linux on their machines, but whenever Dell does it, it sets out to deliberately make the Linux purchasing experience hard and often more expensive:

* They don't Linux as an OS choice for any of the models that they sell with Windows - this would be the easiest way for Linux to get some sales, but Dell are too scared of MS (e.g. losing volume discounts) to do this.

* They put the Linux machine well out of the way of the normal model list. Instead of just being another model in the appropriate section, they put it as a well of out of the way link called something like "Open Source Desktops" or some such vague description.

* They don't do an identically spec'ed Linux machine to the equivalent that comes with Windows. The reason for this one is obvious - users will be able to deduct the price of one from the other and work out how much Windows costs to the end user.

* Because of the difference in specs, you'll often find worse specs on Linux machines despite the selling price being roughly the same as Windows machines.

* All the endless short-term offers (50 quid off, extra RAM, bigger hard drive etc. etc.) seem to only every apply to Windows machines and never to Linux ones.

It's now wonder that previous Dell attempts at selling machines with Linux have failed - they've deliberately designed to fail from day one. I hope that these XPS machines buck that trend, but I don't hold out much hope to be honest. Any bets that it'll be more cost effective to buy the Windows XPS 13 and dual boot it to Linux instead? All I'm asking is that the Linux version costs the same as the Windows (doesn't have to be cheaper, though that would be nice) one and has the same hardware spec too - is that too hard to ask?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't hold out much hope for a good deal

I believe, based on my experience (and I may be wrong), that their market for these sort of things is on the B2B side of things, where companies often insist that in order to use operating system 'A' on a machine, the manufacturer must have "certified" said machine to run with OS 'A'. So basically yes, it's just a market gimmick.

As far as consumers are concerned, you just buy whichever machine you like sans OS and install your own. If said machine comes with an OS pre-installed (practically all of them), then you just return the OS hard media / sticker / whatever proof of purchase for a reimbursement, ignoring T&Cs that tend to say that you either return the whole thing (OS+hardware) or nothing--the reason those T&Cs are invalid btw is that they come from the OS manufacturer, with whom you have never entered into any commercial relationship.

In the 13 years I have been doing this not once I have been challenged. The bastards... a challenge or refusal is exactly what I would like, so I can get this through the courts, but as I say, that hasn't happened so far.

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FAIL

It will under powered and over priced to cover the Microsoft tax.

It will certainly not be the same price or cheaper than the equivilant sold with M$.

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Meh

Unnh

So instead of being inflicted with metro we get lumbered with Unity?

Not interested unless I can overylay the Xubuntu desktop.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Unnh

A little googling would have told you that it's the matter of a single "sudo apt-get install...". It's very painless to stick xcfe on Ubuntu (and a good idea, as Unity os a bit rubbish, tbh).

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WTF?

Re: Unnh

Let me see...

Open terminal app

Type "sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop"

Log out;

Select Xfce or Xubuntu session;

Log in.

Done

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Mushroom

You know what we really need?

What we really need is for those greasy ambulance-chasing lawyers to get a whiff of "mis-sold computer software" in their nostrils.

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How much do Dell pay for Windows (Home Premium or whatever)? Plus I guess Microsoft support them with hardware configuration etc. I don't think the scale of Canonical would be able to certify hardware as cheaply as Windows so although the OS is free to a user, the cost to the manufacturer is greater in interop. Long way of saying that I guess a licence for Windows costs dell ~£20, so the price difference is going to be in the region of that

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Dell costs will probably be comparable Ubuntu v Windows, they'll be paying abot £20-30 pounds for 8 Pro but extra support costs for Ubuntu likely cancel that out.

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WTF?

Thanks for the -1 without a comment to say what I got wrong? To spell it out:

1. I prefer linux

2. My argument is to do with why the price for Windows vs Linux on this Laptop, I am saying that it is going to be the same price for the punter. In other words, the cost of Windows is not going to be a a deciding factor to the RRP of the laptop as Windows is ~ negligible cost to Dell is my guess.

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Anonymous Coward

"I don't think the scale of Canonical would be able to certify hardware as cheaply as Windows so although the OS is free to a user, the cost to the manufacturer is greater in interop"

The bloke above is actually right. If anyone disagrees, please state why.

* If you are a corporate user who insists (or your customers insist) that the OS being installed be "certified" to run on the target hardware, then you pay more for the privilege (fucking stupid and useless of an idea as it is in practice, but tell that to your boss).

* If you are an individual consumer, you just buy the hardware and return the OS licence if it's not the one you're going to use, and get a refund or discount for it. Inconvenient but that's the way it is.

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Anonymous Coward

How will sales compare with Windows 8 from Dell

Fun to read all the negativity from Linux enthusiasts anxious to get the excuses logged now for what doubtless will be abysmal sales levels compared with Metro capable systems.

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Mushroom

Re: How will sales compare with Windows 8 from Dell

That depends on how easy it will be to wipe the Linux and upgrade to a Warez version of Windows 8. No one will buy it for Linux.

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Anonymous Coward

It still amazes me...

...that Dull is still in business the way they function.

As for Linux I am amazed that someone has not come up with a quality, user friendly Linux distro for mainstream consumers and small Biz. The stuff I tested was anything but user friendly and the paid tech support (sic) was so technically ignorant that they should have paid me to teach them the basics of PC operation -- as they had no clue about hardware drivers.

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