back to article Ubuntu 'more secure' than Windows, says Dell

Dell reckons Ubuntu offers more protection than Windows online as it convinces consumer PC shoppers they shouldn't be scared of Linux. In a statement flagged here by, Dell picked on security as one of ten reasons why people should buy PCs running Canonical's Linux rather than Microsoft's operating system. …


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  1. Doug Glass


    And since fewer murders are committed with bows and arrows, the English long bow not withstanding, I would surmise Mike's logic would have him believe they are less deadly.


    1. mrobaer

      Re: Bows & Arrows

      Interesting logic, but I think you're off a little bit. You are comparing weapons with targets. Nonetheless, I'm sure that should WAL*MART have Ubuntu systems sprouting up on it's shelves and the masses partaking of this trend, that more weapons would be aimed at Ubuntu and probably Linux in general. How much more? Who knows... but it sure would be a breath of fresh air to see Linux systems sold in more stores.

    2. loopy lou

      Yes really

      Did you bother to look at the PDF? Mikes logic is equivalent to saying that your chance of being killed with an arrow is substantially less than by a bullet, precisely because there are fewer nutters with bows and arrows out there than with guns.

      As far as I can see, Dell is carefully avoiding saying whether it thinks one or the other is intrinsically more secure, just that Ubuntu is less of a target.

      the "more secure" statement seems to be lazy interpretation by el reg (unless it's a deliberate attempt to fire up another tiresome windows/linux debate, that is).

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


        And yet, anyone deploying *nix in an Enterprise environment still hardens their O/S and performs vulnerability testing.

        But I think the point is that Ubuntu, as an O/S (all apps being equal), is *more* secure than Windows.

        All things are relative. My notebook (paper one) is more secure than Windows because it would be very difficult to read it remotely. However a quick shufty past my desk whilst I'm at lunch could furbish you with all kinds of technical jiggery-pokery.

        Boffin=Einstein - for his everyone's relative.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @doug glass

      A better analogy might be that you are more likely to have your car stolen if you don't bother to lock it, or everybody has the same ignition key.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    and yet, the Ubuntu laptops on Dells site are shocking. I want it on their _FULL_Range_ - they complain that people aren't buying the ubuntu ones, well Mr. Dell. if you made it a little more obvious, we might!

    from the Dell home page > (shop) Home & Home Office - nothing. Small Business - in the OS section you can see FreeDOS and Linux. and the range is frankly, quite poor.

    There are no desktops atall. despite Dell offering Ubuntu, we as a business still end up buying OS free laptops to put Ubuntu on them, and this takes some arguing to get. because the Laptops we buy in are not an option on the Ubuntu support.

    Give me the full range choice.

    Give me desktops

    and don't complain people aren't buying them until you do so!


  3. Rob Dobs
    Thumb Up

    Dell + Ubuntu = Win

    I have to say I have always kind of seen Dell as the Walmart of computers. Effective, but cheap quality and slow performance. I think as an overclocker and a modder I kind of hated them for pushing the beige boxes for long. However I have been using Latitude laptops from them for many years. They are a bit heavy than some of the apple/toshiba/sony offerings, but slap an extended life battery in there and you have 4-5 hours of life without a plug, and the thing works. Its case has some cracks but the current one is going on 3 years, and IT group is trying to take it to update to one in warranty, but hey it WORKS. And I think we all forget how nice that is, especially when you work with your laptop and have REAL deadlines for work. I have loaded about every type of software for M$ platform, and tried out a lot of devices, projectors, LCD flatscreens, cameras, flashdrives, external devices etc etc etc. All of them work without the need to find drivers or go fix things.

    Point I am getting to, all the same goes for Ubuntu, and then some. Ubuntu on a Dell Lattiude offers an experience that I think is way better than that of the typcial Apple user, and costs less than half what apple charges for thier sh!t. Yes I said HALF. Add up a single replacement battery, and just an accessory cord, or cover from Apple and your total cost of ownership over the life of the laptop will be close of half of that for a similarly equipped Dell laptop.

    10.04 installs flawlessly, and EVERYTHING works out of the box, it works with all my devices, and all the devices I run into.

    So far I have only needed to install VirtualBox for viewing Silverlight (netflix). Pretty much the only thing that did not work out of the box (DVD support requires a lib file as well). Everything has a nice GUI menu, and despite the Debian Fan boi complaints, you can always open a terminal window and remeber your are in the *nix enviroment.

    Long Story short Dell makes it VERY OBVIOUS that they support Ubuntu with their hardware, its tested thoroughly and it works great. Dell for all their failings currently in the desktop market, are doing something wright here, and because of it DELL LAPTOPS WORK GREAT WITH UBUNTU! Wow never would have thought I would give them a free plug, but there you go. My wife loves Ubuntu on Dell, and she has done more things in a few weeks with it than I have been able to get her to do with 15 years of different Windows and Apple machines

  4. Thomas Wolf

    Re: "Ubuntu 'More Secure Than Windows, Says Dell"

    The author states that Ubuntu/Linux and MacOS are just as vulnerable to the Flash zero-day exploit as Windows. I haven't used Windows for awhile, but it used to be *very* common for users of Windows-based machines to have *Administrator* privileges. Therefore, any virus infection could potentially affect the entire PC. But in Linux/Ubuntu, users don't have superuser rights by default. Therefore, infections, when they do happen, would only affect those parts of the system to which the user has rights. In general, those rights are limited enough to not allow a virus to take over the PC.

    So, while it is true that, technically, the latest Adobe Flash exploit affects both Windows and Linux, in reality the severity of the exploit is likely to be less in Linux than in Windows. I very much doubt that if a normal (non-root) user hits upon this exploit, the Flash exploit will be able to "take over the machine" as the author claims.

    Nobody in the Linux/MacOS world surfs the web as "superuser".

  5. steogede


    According to the Dell article linked, is not available for Windows.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Mostly agree, except for the default normal user part... Caveat, my experience is entirely with Ubuntu 8.04 running as the primary desktop at home past 2+ yrs....

      The default user on the default Ubuntu desktop install (as of 8.04 at least) IS the admin. And no you don't have to do terminal -> sudo to get admin privileges. Some apps are smart enough to throw up a 'Pls enter admin password' dialog...

      So you do need to separately setup a normal user (who would not be able to install software/ give in to the temptations of 'install this codec', 'screensaver' etc) who cannot go sudo however much he tries... And this requires some messing around with user profiles and user groups and chmod and chroot that is a little painful, truth be told...

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Mostly agree, except for the default normal user part... Caveat, my experience is entirely with Ubuntu 8.04 running as the primary desktop at home past 2+ yrs....

      The default user on the default Ubuntu desktop install (as of 8.04 at least) IS the admin. And no you don't have to do terminal -> sudo to get admin privileges. Some apps are smart enough to throw up a 'Pls enter admin password' dialog...

      So you do need to separately setup a normal user (who would not be able to install software/ give in to the temptations of 'install this codec', 'screensaver' etc) who cannot go sudo however much he tries... And this requires some messing around with user profiles and user groups and chmod and chroot that is a little painful, truth be told...

      1. vic 4

        You sure about that?

        > The default user on the default Ubuntu desktop install (as of 8.04 at least) IS the admin

        I've lost track of the number of installs I've done and never seen this.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Mostly agree, except for the default normal user part... Caveat, my experience is entirely with Ubuntu 8.04 running as the primary desktop at home past 2+ yrs....

      The default user on the default Ubuntu desktop install (as of 8.04 at least) IS the admin. And no you don't have to do terminal -> sudo to get admin privileges. Some apps are smart enough to throw up a 'Pls enter admin password' dialog...

      So you do need to separately setup a normal user (who would not be able to install software/ give in to the temptations of 'install this codec', 'screensaver' etc) who cannot go sudo however much he tries... And this requires some messing around with user profiles and user groups and chmod and chroot that is a little painful, truth be told...

      1. Greg J Preece

        @AC2.0 @AC2.0 @AC2.0

        I came into the Ubuntu fold right after 8.04 and I've never run as superuser.

      2. It'sa Mea... Mario
        IT Angle

        Classic example..

        ..of the problem with operating the forums on a redundant 'posts delayed due to moderation' type system. Redundant because you also have 'report this post' buttons!

        Why have both? do you not trust Ms Bee to do her job?

        Not very techie for a site that knocks others for a lack of techieness..

        I'll stop complaining when you fix it...

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Classic example..

          Man, I wish I had your problems.

          The 'report' buttons are handy for stuff we occasionally miss. Most of the time, however, they seem to be used as the equivalent of running to teacher to tell on someone when they've said something they disagree with. Hey ho.

          1. It'sa Mea... Mario

            Re: Re: Classic example..

            I bet you do :)

            And I can imagine that being the case with the report buttons, though I am sure you can think of a way to punish them.. (in a way they would not enjoy ;-) )

            Have the Reg staff ever tried using the forum as a punter experiences it? just as an experiment? really not pleasent for a few reasons not just posts made at lunch time turning up late night with an evening posting time.. (Titles on forum replies, not being able to copy *most of the time* for quoting/links, etc, etc)

            Back on topic I have multiboot system at home and I find myself browsing and online banking / shopping via Ubuntu rather than Windows almost exclusively now.. just feels safer.

            1. Penguin herder

              It doesn't just *feel* safer

              It *is* safer. The more I use it, the more I realize that it is easier to use too. There are intermittent hassles, but overall, the time and effort to go from bare hardware to a working system is far greater on Windows than Linux. Welcome aboard!

          2. Rattus Rattus

            Have you thought

            about moving the "Report" button way over to the left of each post? I know I've accidentally clicked Report at least once when I actually meant to click Upvote. Possibly some of the, well, misuse (?) of this button is actually people being just as fumble-fingered as me?

      3. Daniel B.

        souped up sudo

        The apps asking for "administrator" password are just masking a GUI equivalent of sudo. The reason you can use your "superuser" password there is because that initial user is given unrestricted sudo privileges by the default install. But the user itself isn't a superuser.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Ah but....

    have they managed to get the Dell shit installed on Linux yet. If the machine is Dell junk free, then that's a reson to "buy" it in itself.

    1. Connor

      Dell Software?

      Yes, once booted past the BIOS screen, you'd forget you were using a Dell. No junk software at all, just pre-installed drivers.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    OpenOffice for Windows has a large family fortunes style "X" beside it.

    Has (the official name) stopped compiling the Win32 build?

  8. The BigYin

    If this is true...

    ...why do Dell make it so shitting hard to buy a Dell with Ubuntu on it *AND* even when you do manage to get into the basement, find the disused lavatory cubicle and unlock the filing cabinet contained therein; do you usually only find one crappy netbook?

    A quick search on Dell does list a few lappys and one model of OptiPlex, but when you go to try and buy you only have the choice of Win7 and apparently "Dell recommends Window 7". What? Dell actively recommends a product that they know is less secure than a other one they (theoretically) sell?

    Why is Ubuntu not an option on the laptops/desktop that appear in the search results?

    I will start to believe the PR crap Dell spout about Ubuntu (or any Linux) when they make is actually possible to buy a Linux system from them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      as much as I hate to admit it (and I do)......

      ....this geezer (The BigYin) has a point.

      Look, I ordered an Inspiron back in 2007 with Ubuntu. The decision was part economy; part getting the right stuff for the job at hand; and part ideological show of hands to send Dell the message that people wanted Ubuntu.

      Just as the situation is now, I had to go rummaging to find a grubby little sub-section of the site. It was inordinately hard to find the Ubuntu options and quite frankly, no-one will ever know they are there via a casual browse. I can almost understand them only offering Ubuntu on a limited range - after all, they need to support their kit and let's face it, having Ubuntu there at all rather than not is a good thing. But it's quite another to then hide the fact it's there - a bit like getting your Paris tattoo all finished then covering her up with a nice woolly jumper with "Dell recommends Windows 7" knitted into it from your authoritarian nan, who you're actually a bit scared of.

      To further demonstrate Dell's reticence with one of its own options, here's a transcript of a recent conversation I entered into with the sales people over the matter of a Zino HD.

      Me : 'Hello, I'm interested in Zino HD. I noticed however that the base price is £279, however, when I get to the ordering page, the price is bumped up to £349 when you give me no choice but to buy Windows 7 with it. I don't want Windows, so can I buy it for £279 without? I will install Ubuntu'

      Agent : 'No, this will invalidate your warranty'.

      Me : 'A hardware issue is a hardware issue. Are you telling me that Dell would not honour its obligations because I installed Ubuntu.? You offer it as an option on other machines!'

      Agent : 'The hardware team would help you, but you would still invalidate your warranty'

      Me: 'I'm confused. You're saying my choice of software will be used as an attempt to invalidate my warranty, but they would assist me anyway?'

      Agent : 'Yes'.

      Me : 'OK, I'm really lost now'

      Agent : 'We would never recommend removing the case of a computer to install software'.

      Me : 'Neither would I, seeing as I generally wouldn't. Thanks, you just helped me make my mind up'.

      Which was, incidentally, to get my HTPC from an independent retailer friendly to *nix.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


        You're missing out mate.

        Many a pleasurable hour can be spent with a very fine needle and a magnet when trying to install code to a hard disk platter.

      2. Rob Dobs

        valid point

        I understand and agree with the complaint that Dell does not make it easy, since they are contracted to M$. Regardless of that upfront persona they present, behind the scenes they have made their laptops VERY compatible with Ubuntu. I bought an old Dell laptop, bought a new 500GB HD from Newegg for about $50. I had spare memory, but you could pick up several gigs for less $50 bucks I'm sure as well. Said laptop will clock in with dual core processor, few gigs of memory and half a TB of storage, all for 300-400$ total. Add another $130-190 for a new battery as most old models will only have 10-20 minutes of life left in them.

        Old dell latitude D series laptops seem to work very well on Ubuntu 10,04. I have no idea if Dell likes or supports this well, because it has not mattered yet. Ubuntu, has either supported, or had been able to make work anything I need, Dell has never really entered into it, other than making the hardware. Ubuntu supports their hardware well. Perhaps all the credit should go to Ubuntu, rather than Dell, but i have to think the likely reality is that Dell is helping making it work well. I have never had to try, but I am fairly certain if you just make a few different calls to a few different departments, and keep asking how can i buy a bare computer they will sell you one. No law requires an OS, and any such contract with M$ would be anti competitive and likely very illegal.

        Who cares if they won't warranty the software, or support Ubuntu.

        Just get them to sell you the hardware, and they are not so bad a vendor to do business with.

        1. serviceWithASmile

          ubuntu working well

          it's what it does.

          i think the credit for it working well with your old dell has everything to do with ubuntu and linux, and bugger all to do with dell.

          even though alot of their (especially older) hardware is proprietary, it still mostly adheres to x86 standards.

          saying well done dell for ubuntu is like saying well done intel for fallout3.

          it's the software doing the supporting here.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    > Dell added it's been shipping Ubuntu since 2007 with every PC fully tested to "ensure the best possible Internet and multimedia experience Linux has to offer".

    The last two computers I bought from Dell had to come with the Windows tax as there was no Linux or 'No OS' option.

  10. Greg J Preece

    Let's be honest, it's true, but there is a reason

    Linux is more secure than Windows. Don't try and give me any of that "targeting the masses" bullshit. I hear that from MS users all the time, and it's nonsense. The numbers are simply disproportionate, and consider also that Linux has the largest portion of the server market, where security and reliability are most important.

    However, this is not entirely Microsoft's fault. There is one overriding reason for this that Microsoft simply can't emulate to the same degree: peer review.

    No-one is enough of an imbecile to think that people working on Linux can't introduce security holes into the software. I'm a programmer using Linux and Windows every day - I'd have to be thick as two short planks to think that Linux was invulnerable. The difference is, as I've said before on a similar discussion involving Firefox, that when vulnerabilities are found in Linux they are (generally) patched and rolled out very quickly, which helps reduce the threat to the end-user.

    Quite often the issue is caught by a fellow programmer and patched before anyone with malicious intent is even aware of it. How many times has El Reg posted a story about a new Linux vulnerability, only to mention halfway down the page that a patch is not only already available, but you've probably already received it? ("Linux vulnerability" in the search box returns 265 results, most of them nothing to do with Linux.) And how many times has that scenario occurred in the world of Windows and Patch Tuesday?

    And I genuinely believe that, when it comes to security, the quality of some of the code and setup in your average Linux distro is simply superior to that of Windows. The UIs might still be a little clunky and glitchy in places, but when it comes to networking and security? That's what Linux does, and does bloody well.

    So good on Dell for making the assertion and standing behind the OSS alternative. It's nice to see a commercial entity backing it as competition in the marketplace.

  11. Leeroy Silver badge

    It will be faster than Windoze

    ......... but only because they cant fill the thing up with useless tray icons and security suites that you never use.

    I personally hate spending hours removing all this surplus cr&p from a new Dell / HP or Acer (not as bad) PC that its the biggest push to use Ubuntu that i can think of.

    Well done Dell :)

  12. Scott Broukell

    it folllows that ...

    ... the more PCs that are shipped with Ubuntu, the greater the increase in malwares aimed at linux boxes. But it doesn't matter what the OS is, users need to be sensible and cautious about any activity on-line. But the vast majority have been brought up on MS products which are, most probably, inherently risky because they are designed for lazy users who don't give a thought for what goes on under the bonnet. It is this lack of user awareness, coupled with icon-led, autoplaying, one-click wizardry that puts most users in the passenger seat, so to speak. Even net-nanny products can't always be relied upon. I don't have the complete answer, no, but there is a lot of sensible advice out there on the inter-webs. The best decisions / actions are well-informed ones and you can always step-away from the keyboard if you don't like the look of something.

  13. Lewis Mettler 1

    paid advertising

    No doubt "Dell recommends Window 7" because Microsoft pays them to do so. And I would expect Microsoft pays DELL to make Ubuntu had to find as well. And to mislead potential customers when they are looking for a Linux machine.

    Strange that DELL can even get away with saying Ubuntu is more secure than Microsoft. It may be true for any number of reasons but Microsoft is paying DELL to say otherwise.

    Does Microsoft pay DELL to deceive and defraud customers? Certainly that is a major part of the Microsoft business plan. Lying to customers, treating them as fools and basically defrauding customers does work. Microsoft even pays others to do the same.

    Surprising to find this sneaks out.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    In other news...

    Top floor flats less vulnerable to burglary than ground floor flats, regardless of security.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    To me security is more than just viruses.

    But Dell doesn't mention that bit.

    Stability is key, that is where Linux wins for me. 18 months with no crashes for ubuntu 8.04. Win7 crashed and a complete reformat in the it's first month with the loss of most data. Never worked properly since I got it and therefore not trusted to be anything other than a games system. The reall work is done on ubuntu.

    Still nice to see a mainline manufacturer still supporting it.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Uh oh, bad Administrator alert.

      I had my first BSoD last week in a long time. I didn't even know they'd changed the colour scheme. That's the first time in three or four years when any of the couple of dozen or so Windows machines (including various Test VMs(*)) has crashed. Applications crash but if you manage to crash Windows you're doing something very wrong like running it on dodgy hardware.

      (*)Excluding the one I used for device driver development. That one BSoDs several times an hour sometimes when I've working on it.

  16. mittfh

    Of course...

    the fact that almost any operation that involves adding / modifying / deleting files anywhere other than /home/user requires the root password immediately makes Linux more secure.

    And it's had this functionality designed in from the start, unlike a certain other operating system which decided to try bolting on this functionality a couple of years ago - and have had to water it down in the latest release because it was never designed from the ground up to store all configuration information in /users/user.

    Yes, iot's still possible to install some rogue software and completely bork Linux, but unless you're foolish enough to give an app the root password, if all else fails you can log in as root and recreate a user account. Of course, you'd need to provide users with a sheet or two of A4 walking them through the process of switching to a CLI console, logging in as root and creating a new user account. Of course, you could kill X then run startx from root and add your new user using the graphical tools, but running your GUI in root isn't a very good idea :)

    1. Chemist

      Re : Of course

      Most modern desktops allow for root -type operations, like creating accounts, from a users desktop simply by asking for root password to authorize the operation. That's how software is installed, user accounts modified and system files altered in OpenSUSE for example.

      If you need the command line then open a console on the user desktop and su to root

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Sheet of A4?

      CLI ?

      Not running the GUI as root?

      Must be a very old linux user....

      "CLI's were good enough in my day.... they be good enough for you ya whippersnapper"

  17. Don Mitchell


    Dell says Linux is safer because hackers are not targetting it as much. I'd agree with that, but it doesn't imply anything about the intrinsic quality of LInux. For those who think Linux is stable and reliable, I wish they could spend a few minutes talking with engineers at a large enterprise site. I've heard endless horror stories from friend at amazon about the instability of LInux.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re : Security

      "I heard it from a friend's sister's boyfriend ........."

      Whatever ANYONE says about Linux almost NOBODY whines about the stability. Amazon are presumably still using it, Google have hundreds of thousands of boxes and almost all supercomputers use it and as cutting-edge users they are likely to experience more stability problems than most.

      Do they choose Windows - They do NOT !

  18. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Main Problem: Software distribution

    To own a Linux box you need to create some malicious flash applet by using an exploit which will only be usable for a few weeks at most. Then you need to spread that flash applet.

    To own a Windows box, you just need to send someone an e-mail with an attachment called greeting-card.exe and they will execute it.

    The big point is, that dangerous things are harder to do on Linux, while at the same time more simple and more secure alternatives are offered. Using a package manager is far easier than executing a downloaded file.

  19. Indian-Art

    Want to give Dell business

    I'm so happy Dell made this bold & truthful statement when the 'other' OS is a financial juggernaut, that I want to buy my Ubuntu Tablet from Dell if & when they launch it.


  20. Tom Maddox Silver badge


    As a long-time desktop Linux skeptic, I finally think Ubuntu is ready for prime time. It's almost as usable as XP, quick to boot, more secure than Windows, and, of course, free. There are reasons I wouldn't recommend it for widespread corporate use, but it's good for many end-user workloads and home use. Hopefully Dell will actually promote it.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Windows vs the rest

    Anyone unsure about the myriad security weaknesses in Windows should just take a peek at the documentation for nmap, the security professional (and crackers) tool of choice for network scanning.

    For virtually all of the various probes you see things about UNIX/Linux correctly dropping or handling various malformed packets etc as specified in the relevant RFC.

    In the case of Windows however there is almost always a problem with the way it handles these kind of probes (but not in a nice way!), and you can sense in the readme a sense of weariness in the author as you read thing like "however once again in the case of Windows......."

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Dell + Ubuntu - Marriage made in H...?

    These boxes are being prepared for not_USA_nations.

    I doubt MS is losing any sleep over the notion. HP has been providing Linux certified boxes for years - for stable distros such as RHEL and Novell SLED. With Ubuntu, one can be sure that one of the LTS updates will fry X or the video dirver or sound drive from a kernel deprecation or some other magic crap.

    Linux hangs in there at a steady 1`% of OS statistics, behind the various phone OSes, and "other".

    If Linux is so secure, why are the corporate, banking and government servers running Linux cracked so easily? The notion that a LInux box can't be phished is rubbish.

    Data mining is far easier with Linux boxes as they are nearly unique, given their minisucle percentage of IP traffic. Put a USA IP address with a Linux box running Opera with referrer information enabled (or even disabled) and you have a nearly unique box for data mining. Many Linux distros take Google funding and "sap" their afficionados machines for moolah.

    Incidentally, Ubuntu is one of the "new" distros that defeats Root security by giving the normal user Adminstrative privileges for "convenience", as does Debian which lets a user install updates "conveniently".

    The thing is - who gives a crap? The SpaceKid has been mewing about destroying Windows for years now. Linux at 1% and holding! Put it out there and let's see if it flies.

    Doubtless this is all FUD leading up to an IPO, PT. Barnum style. Get out your cash, suckers!

    Using Pardus, Mint(not past 7), RHEL, Slack and Absolute.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    slow march of time

    A decade or so ago, Dell might expect a substantial increase in the price of Windows for that comment; and if they actually made an alternative os visible on their website...well ask IBM.

  24. Mark 65

    Advantage for average users

    is that they can use the live cd for doing their banking/sensitive online transactions whilst still maintaining their windows install. I think with the latest versions you can even use it from within windows.

  25. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Historical perspective

    @AndrueC, maybe. But with any version of Windows I've seen, dodgy *drivers* are also an issue -- I've seen hardware that crashes with Windows (and they NEVER seem to come out with a working driver..) but works with another version of Windows, or works with Ubuntu. Since Vista & 7 dropped support for most older hardware this probably isn't the issue it used to be, but I wouldn't claim someone's doing something wrong because their box is blue screening.

    Anyway, *shrug*. Everyone else has said enough that I don't have more to say really.

    But for historical persepective, UNIX did have poor security back in the day. For Windows, probably NIMDA brought things to a head in 2001, in the Windows XP era. UNIX? The Morris Worm, 1988 -- it spread to Sun3 and VAX systems; it was supposed to stop replicating after some generations, but didn't due to a programming flaw, so it overwhelmed systems as more and more copies were running and either "crashed" networks or slowed them to a crawl. This worm only ran in memory (it didn't write itself to the hard drive), so the initial "solution" was for every shop worldwide with a networked Sun3 or VAX to arrange a 1-hour window where they simultaneously powered off their boxes to make sure there were no copies of the worm left floating around. Then they patched the holes the Morris Worm used and began the process of hardening system security that still is ongoing. I'm not claiming UNIX is 13 years ahead, but they had a big head start in taking security seriously.

  26. umacf24

    Only 40 comments?

    This story ought to hit 200!

  27. mhenriday

    Agree with Dell regarding Ubuntu's advantages -

    but why then, should it be so difficult to purchase a Dell computer without paying the Microsoft tax in countries other than the United States ? A look at Dell's Swedish-language website indicates that no alternatives to the ubiquitous «... Dell recommends Windows 7» exist here, in any event none featuring Ubuntu : «Datorer från Dell med Ubuntu-operativsystem finns inte tillgängliga i Sweden [sic !]» (Computers from Dell with Ubuntu operating systems are not available in Sweden). Why do Dell management in Europe - or at least in Sweden - seem to be so antedeluvian in their attitudes toward operating systems ?...


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Horns


      Particularly when Microsoft make themselves such easy targets.

      I'm English but live in Holland at the moment, a friend of mine recently bought a Windows 7 PC and changed the language from Dutch to English, he is now bombarded by "Your copy of Windows is not Genuine" crap because the version of Windows 7 supplied with the PC (Which was bought and supplied legally) has an EULA which doesn't allow language changes!

      Wish I had a business where you could charge a couple of hundred Euro's for someone to change a language pack

  28. DataFish

    Even I...

    I am a developer, I also administer a large EMEA SharePoint installation all of which i do on the windows platform...but when at home I only totally trust my Linux distro's.

    Sure you can argue that the more popular Linux becomes they will "stick their neck out", and there will probably be script kiddies waiting to catch out unsuspecting users. But the inherent stability of Linux far out performs the rather wobbly windows OS.

    Too many times in my 10+ years in IT have I had to re-do windows installs on both servers and desktops, or try and recover data from an "unexpected shutdown". Good for you Dell...some poor analogies but a good move all round!

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Really Doug Glass?

    English long bow??????? The bowmen at Agincourt were Welsh and Flemish. Stick your revisionist history where the sun don't shine.

  30. apexwm
    Thumb Up

    Excellent move by Dell

    Microsoft has a tight grip on Dell, so it's good to see Dell come out with truthful information like this. Dell still has problems though. They still have yet to offer a Linux-based PC at a cheaper price than the Windows one. There are a lot of reasons why this is, and I am not sure if they'll ever be overcome. Then there's the issue where customers could get a refund and return the Microsoft Windows CDs, which was a great move on Dell's part. Suddenly, they've started to deny this with Windows 7 again. Overall, I think Dell is a good company, but they still have minor problems that they need to work out.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    call dell

    unfortunatly the only way you can buy a ubuntu or no os (n-series) dell is to call them, other than the netbook on there that is.

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