back to article Dell UK releases Ubuntu netbook but favours Windows

Dell UK has introduced the Linux version of its Inspiron Mini 9 netbook, but potential buyers will undoubtedly be annoyed at the lack of configuration options. Available now, the Linux Mini 9 runs Ubuntu 8.04. It's powered by the obligatory 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, has 1GB of 533MHz DDR 2 memory, and a 8.9in 1024 x …


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  1. Adrian

    You're wrong

    For linux it's only 8 Gig SSD so it's £30 extra for XP *and* an extra 8 Gig SSD. Even more of a ripoff.

  2. Ginger


    Surely if I were buying one of these I'd buy the XP and then load ubuntu onto it?

  3. Matt

    Tesco selling it cheaper ... It's not called the mini 9 but I'll be a monkeys uncle if anyone can spot the difference.

  4. Rick Leeming

    cash in the COA

    Just get the XP version, cash in the COA, instantly you have a cheaper netbook.

  5. paul


    I would be tempted , but then the marketing dept at MS call it a windows sale and assume another windows machine in the world.

    Thats why linux stats are so hard to get anywhere near correct. Most of the linux boxes started off as windows. Browser stats are no good for reliability either - as sometimes you have to pretend to be a xp machine running ie to even get into a website.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The trouble is, Windoze computers are not only subsidised by Microsoft but by all the crapware Dell puts on them.

    Not sure the lower resolution webcam is a disadvantage though - it's likely to work better in low light and is more than good enough for VOIP.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Thats because you're looking buying it with the intention of actually using ubuntu, not sticking it to the man.

  8. Graham Wood


    That's the whole point of the comment - unless the 16GB is almost the same price as the 8GB, the chances are that Microsoft are almost giving XP away.

    Given that the SCC market is the ideal place for linux to get a good headwind (it's a relatively new market, so there's less inertia to fight against) - Microsoft probably feel that it's worth the drop in profits to start with. It worked really well with the standard PC market (back in the mists of time), so it'll probably work again.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yes, you could throw away the XP, but you'd still be paying the Windows Tax. Some of us resent paying for things we are not going to use and which do not do any good for society. - a whole 39 people care!

  10. Anonymous Coward

    @Rick Leeming

    So... "cash in the COA"...?


    How, and how much?

  11. Richard

    ... or Dell are over pricing the Linux version ..

    £269 for Linux + 8Gig + 1Gb ... hmm, compared with Acer Aspire One at between £198 - £219 for the same spec with Linux minus 512Meg .. I think I'd rather go for the Acer and spend the difference on a 6-cell battery (seen for £50). An extra 512Meg of RAM is very cheap to source and not worth the £50 difference.

  12. Eponymous Cowherd

    So what's wrong with Vista, then?

    I mean, Dell "Recommend" Widows Vista, don't they? They say so in all of their TV ads.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Matt, Your a Monkeys Uncle!

    I can spot the difference.. The Tescos version comes with one of those special SSB Drives...

  14. Leigh Brown

    Give Dell a break

    Okay, not too much of a break. BUT, they will sell a lot less of the Ubuntu ones presumably, and there will be a support cost associated with that (especially with lower volumes). They will also want to avoid numpties sending them back because they don't have Windows on them.

    Personally, I'll be ordering one from Tesco as soon as they get the stock.

  15. Mark

    Needs to be £60 cheaper.

    Clearly Microsoft and Dell are all buddied up on this, to prevent anyone with any sense buying the LInux version due to pricing madness.

  16. Mark

    re: @Rick Leeming

    £49 plus vat is what I got from Watford Electronics.

    You could hold out for full retail price if they refuse to show what they are paying MS for a copy and what their markup on it is (and how much support costs for windows, Dell support it, not MS).

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dell vs Aspire One

    Yes, the Aspire One is much better value, and doesn't have the weird lack of function keys the Dell has. The only interesting thing about the Dell is that it's fanless, but we'll see more of those once Intel sorts out the power-hungry chipset.

  19. Mark

    re: Give Dell a break

    So can I return a Dell because it hasn't got a Windows install CD? Can I return it because of all the crapware it has on it?

  20. Kevin Bailey

    MS have always broken competition rules

    There was a program on TV where Alan Sugar was interviewed and said that MS gave DOS away for peanuts to him to put onto the old Amstrad PC's when he said he was going to use another OS. MS would rather do this than compete fairly on price/quality.

    There are laws against this sort of monopolistic activity - but MS learnt years ago that by the time they used some delaying tactics the courts are so far behind the tech timescales as to be useless.

  21. Stuart Halliday
    Thumb Up


    I'll wait until the version with 3G built-in comes out in the next few months.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    I spoke to Dell last week...

    ... using the online chat facility and asked: When will the Mini 9 running Ubuntu be available with a 16GB SSD and 1.3MP webcam?

    The response in summary:

    I was told that I couldn't have a 16GB SSD with Ubuntu due to "compatibility issues"! :-S

    I challenged this on the grounds that the configuration I would like is currently available in the States! They couldn't respond to this!

    I then asked if I purchased the Windoze version whether I could send the license back for a refund, again they couldn't respond to this and decided to disconnect!

    Obviously I was unhappy with this, so I decided to forward the entire chat transcript to Dell's customer services, and so far I have only had a response to let me know they have directed it to the appropriate department.

    Will post again when/if I get a response.

  23. Matthew Flint

    Wireless differences?

    With the Inspirons, the Windows-based machine comes with a Dell-branded (ie, cheapo) WiFi module, the Linux-based models with a pukka Intel-branded module. (Probably for linux-compatibility reasons)

    The Intel-branded jobbie costs more, and is available as an option on the Windows-based models.

    Wonder if this could account for some of the price differences here too?

  24. Yfrwlf

    oh Dellybottom, when will you learn

    Dell has done this over and over again, we've seen it all many times. The Windows version mysteriously is either the same price and/or has some magical hardware perks attached to it. Only difference this time around is it's actually right there side-by-side next to the Windows version for once, but in this case of course that's not a GOOD thing because of the perks, which there are NO REASON FOR.

    Give each model the same hardware, then we'll see if the theory about Windows crapware making Windows free is true or not. Then, imagine how much cheaper the Linux version would be if these companies made crapware for it too.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Here we go again

    A major manufacturer gives in to the incessant badgering from a tiny but vocal minority and produces a machine with linux on it.

    The linuxians then rip it to shreds because it doesn't run their particular favourite flavour of linux, or because the version of KDE is three weeks out of date, or because the hardware isn't supported [well, duh], or because the manufacturer are keeping the price the same as the Windows box to cover the extra hassle and expense of wriring new drivers, setting up a separate image, the imaging process, and the support structure.

    And then nobody buys it anyway.

    The people who agitated so loudly for a linux version don't buy it because they're quite happy with the machines they've got, and because the version of KDE is three weeks out of date etc etc.

    Everyone else doesn't buy it because they want a computer that works the same as everybody else's, which is why they're buying from a major box-shifter like Dell in the first place.

    How many people who sign the online petitions to get Dell etc. to produce linux versions turn that petition vote into an actual purchase? Linux is a fine server and embedded OS but [no matter how desperately the enthusiasts try to massage the figures] is a minority desktop/PC OS, and is still many iterations away from being an all-purpose home/ SME OS.

    Mass hardware sellers know that, and only produce the occasional linux PC to pacify the vocal minority up for a bit.

  26. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Here we go again

    Nobody buying? So the returns are nonexistent? You have to sell before you can be expected to accept a return.

    Are the returns 100%?

    No? So it's not that people aren't keeping either, is it.

  27. W


    "Dell's SSD suppliers aren't charging much for that extra 8GB, or Microsoft has cut the PC giant a very good XP licensing deal"

    Probably both. And? Dell can undoubtedly cut a slightly better deal on the MS OS and the hardware. Where's the shocker?

    XP tax comes in at about £20 on SCC machines after the shakedown. Which is decent enough value as far as I'm concerned. The faffery and hacking around getting Linux to perform the way I want it would come to much more than £20-£30worth of my time.

    And as has been said, you can always decline to agree to the licence and claim your dosh back. How? As per the standard Linux fanboy attempt at a smackdown: "Check the forums."

    Where's the anti-Tux* icon (and the pro- / anti- Google ones too)?

    *Pro-Tux icon: cos he's a cutie.

  28. W


    Do you outraged folk act the same when supermarkets do offers on one product on the premise that you buy another.

    Yes, it's a bit stinky, but it's the manufacturers' way of punting more product by offering it at a lower price.

    Linux is free, but even bearing that in mind, folk haven't flocked to it. Thaqt isn't purely (or even mostly) down to bully-boy tactics you know. Folk who know what they're talking about can give you plenty of reasons why Linux isn't up to scratch for their purposes. Yes, MS' dominance is due to reasons that go way back. As has been said, the SCC market is supposedly a 'clean slate' of sorts, but Linux as a free product Vs XP for £20-30 still hasn't seized the initiative.

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