back to article Dell bundles Ubuntu Linux on PCs in China

Commercial Linux distributor Canonical and PC and server maker Dell are tag teaming to peddle Linux on PCs in China. According to a blog post, Dell and Canonical have announced a partnership to push Linux on consumer PCs in China through 220 retail stores operated by Dell in the country. Dell Ubuntu PCs in China Dell's …


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  1. Jim 59

    Round 3

    Dell does this every few years, cops a rocket from Microsoft, and immediately desists. Right now Ballmer will be heading to the Dell office carrying a garden gnome.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      more likely

      its Dell's way of twisting m$'s arm into reducing the cost of its licences

      "Knock $5 off the cost or we'll stick Linux on another PC"

  2. JoeBloggs

    Ubuntu has come a long way in 4 years - it should do better than last time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You used Ubuntu 11.10 with Unity ?

      It's a very good reason to use Kubuntu.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        I expect the OP was using "Ubuntu" in its generic sense of *Buntu.

        (I doubt anyone actually uses Unity on a desktop.)

        1. Rob Aley
          Thumb Up

          I do, its great, it gets out of the way and lets me get on productively (or unproductively, depending on my mood...!)

      2. andreas koch

        @AC 1704h

        Tried Kubuntu 5 hours after the Unity version and liked it even less. I'm back to Unity now and still try to like it, which is somewhat hard going, but I'm getting there with a lot of tweaking that doesn't come 'out-of-the-box*. But then, tweaking is half the fun, isn't it?

        "You had to do WHAT to your seat?" **

        *I mean, for example and amongst other things, that there's no obvious easy way to resize or change the mouse pointer. Poor.

        ** from "If operating systems were airlines".

  3. Johnny Canuck

    Unity sucks

    This looks like its designed to fail, what with Unity being nowhere near ready for prime time. If they really wanted to make this work they should have used another distro with a more traditional UI.

  4. Robert E A Harvey

    I wonder how the chinese will take to unity?

  5. Matt Bucknall

    Just think how many Chinese students' lives are going to be RUINED by this move! (

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      @Matt Bucknall

      I think you will find the Chinese students are far smarter and more adaptable to technology that that sad example of the worst of USA education.

      Guess which country is growing and going to win the technological future?

      Tux, you don't need to be fiendishly clever to be his/her friend any more.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Matt Bucknall - Aaw, poor American students!

      Everything is soo difficult for them, 'tis not fair! I wonder how do they manage to cross the street.

      1. Graham Dawson

        @AC They don't, they just sit in the middle of it and complain.

  6. alain williams Silver badge

    Lives ruined - rubbish!

    ''Schubert's computer came with Open Office, a word processing software package that is compatible with Microsoft Word. She says she wasn't aware it was compatible.''

    By the looks of things she did not try, if she had she would have found that it worked.

    I suspect that the problem was her secondary school -- too many school teachers only know how to use MS Windows (I do use the word ''know'' lightly, many teachers who I have met don't know much) and teach pupils how to press buttons to get things done. They do not teach understanding and insight, which is what they should be doing. This is partly a result of the very successful MS marketing to make teachers believe that anything other than MS is strange and incomprehensible - except for a Mac and even they are a little odd - best left alone.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Far too compatable

      Does all the same crap stuff like changing a paragraph or two when all you wanted to do was change one line.

      What I want is a word processor that does *not* work like MS Word, and that does what I want, not what some ghost-of-Bob thinks I want.

      1. Dave Lawton

        @ Thad

        Look for EasiWriter, or if including mathematical formulae is your thing, then TechWriter is the one you want. You'll have to buy it, but the author's tech support is excellent & free.


        1. Anonymous Coward

          Maths is very much NOT my thing

          But I'll check out Easiwriter.


  7. Big-nosed Pengie

    Why only China?

    What about the rest of the world?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Big-nosed Pengie - It's because it is far from MS sight

      and they pray will never get caught.

      I guess very soon we will all hear a joint press release from Microsoft telling us how happy Dell is to work with them (with Dell nodding affirmatively in the background with a slightly black shadow around one of their eyes).

      1. mhenriday

        As a matter of fact, China is and has always been very much in Microsoft's sight - and sights -

        and MS has done a very good job (not least by assiduous lobbying with the Chinese government) in convincing the Chinese that there exist no alternatives to Microsoft's products, as StatCounter's stats for OS ( and browser ( market share suffice to show. On the other hand, due to Microsoft's lack of success in mobile applications, the Chinese, who love their mobile phones, are getting used to the idea that other providers can provide them with the services they require. Let us hope that this insight can be widened to include the desktop as well....


    2. kain preacher Silver badge


      In the US you can get

      No Operating System [Included in Price]

      SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP1, Up To 32 CPU Lic, 1 YR Sub, FI, Media [add $279.00]

      SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP1, Up To 32 CPU Lic, 3 YR Sub, FI, Media [add $699.00]

      SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, SP3, Up To 32 CPU Lic, 1 YR Sub, DIB, Media [add $279.00]

      SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, SP3, Up To 32 CPU Lic, 3 YR Sub, DIB, Media [add $699.00]

      Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0,Factory Install,x64,Req Lic&Sub Selection add $0.00

      Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 Non Factory Install,x64,Req Lic&Sub Selection add $0.00

      I sup

      Microsoft® Small Business Server 2011, Standard Edition, Factory Installed [add $1,089.00]

      Microsoft®SBS2011PREM,Drop in the box,Pre-requisite STD ED Lic not incl [add $1,489.00]

      Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Enterprise Edition,x64,Includes 10 CALs [add $2,999.00]

      Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Enterprise Academic Edition, Includes 25 CALs [add $999.00]

      Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Standard Edition, Includes 5 CALS [add $799.00]

      Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Standard Academic Edition, Includes 5 CALs [add $249.00]

      In the UK they only offer Red Hat .

  8. mathew42

    Shipping cost from China?

    All I want is the model numbers so I know which Dell to order.

    I'm also slightly annoyed at the moment that their 17" XPS only ships with 16GB RAM if you choose the 3D option. Not available with a standard screen!!!

  9. Field Commander A9
    Thumb Up

    A good way to cut down cost

    Since most of us are going to put a bootlegged Win7U on them anyway.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are they nuts ?

    Steve Ballmer will castrate them single-handedly without even getting off his car.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Christian Berger Silver badge

    A sensible education measure

    Of course most people will just use the GUI, just like they would do with Windows. However many people will start discovering the console since it's already there, just a few clicks away. They will discover powerful and efficient ways to use their computers to get problems solved.

    So in the long run, they'll have an army of efficient computer users.

  13. Mostor Astrakan
    Thumb Up

    Look folks...

    I used to think in terms of "Microsoft tax" and all that, but actually a machine with Windows on it is cheaper than a clean one. This is because the crapware peddlers pay the OEM for the privilege of having their "first one's freeware" installed at birth. So they effectively pay the MS tax for me, and like as not knock a bit off the hardware price as well. I'm writing this from a lovely HP G56 the Windows install of which never saw the light of day. When offered all kinds of antivirus support and software support and extended warranty, I cheerfully, and politely, told them to fuck off, so no money haemorrhage through that route. I really no longer care about whether Dell pays MS or not.

    That, by the way, is what all this Trusted/Treacherous computing is all about. They want to force you to use their crapware and keep you from replacing it with something decent.

    All you need to do is bring a bootable USB key to the shop, and see if you can find all the devices you care about. (WiFi, Ethernet, webcam and what-have-you), because if something important is missing you're basically out of luck.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Mostor Astrakan - It is also cheaper because

      when you buy a PC with Linux installed, the OEM is charging you for the Windows license and tells MS you bought one and you can't benefit from the discount offered by crapware peddlers. So Microsoft get your money and the OEM is coming clean because they did their best to discourage you from not buying Windows.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To the author: remember that Red Flag Linux was a ploy

    Red Flag Linux is not part of the current Chinese market. It was created by the Chinese government to arm-twist Microsoft into giving them cheaper licenses and access to source code. It worked. As soon as Microsoft bent over, RFL stopped getting any government contract.

    That was almost a decade ago. I spent more than one year in China, hanged out with the Beijing LUG: nobody there cares about RFL anymore.

    Though they did some good work at the time, and still exist as a somewhat empty shell those days.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, the myth of the Ubuntu PC...


    Asus sell Ubuntu PCs (well, laptops). Can Canonical tell you where you can buy one? Can the heck. Does Asus reply to emails? Will they heck. End result? One cannot buy this mythical beast.

    Dell will simply be instructed to lower the specs to make GNU/Linux look bad or not go through with the idea at all. Look at what happened the last time Dell did it, they even advertised it as "Microsoft Ubuntu"! Then it was in/out/on/off/up/down with the equipment being available or not.

    And why buy a GNU/Linux laptop in China when one can pop down the market and get full-blown Windows for a few bucks?

    All fluff and no substances - sums Canonical up nicely. When I can walk into Dixons/BestBuy and pick up an Ubuntu PC (just likes a Windows or Mac) *then* I'll consider them to be delivering. Until such times, it's just more PR pish.

  16. Richard Lloyd

    It'll be as half-hearted by Dell as before...

    When Dell was selling Ubuntu machines in the UK a few years back, you had a hard job finding them (a single link something like "Open Source Desktops" - no way was Ubuntu a config option on the same customisation page as Windows).

    When you did eventually discover them on Dell's UK site, they were very deliberately never exactly the same hardware (maybe under instruction from MS?), making like-for-like comparisons extremely difficult. In fact, the Linux hardware seemed to be slightly worse, never customisable and in many cases actually more expensive than the closest equivalent Windows machine.

    In the end, when looking for a new Dell PC, I ended up with a quad core Vostro 400 business machine, wiped 32-bit Vista Business off and put 64-bit Fedora Linux on instead and it worked well (no, there was no quad core Linux Dell desktop available at all at the time!).

    Dell's Linux desktop efforts were deliberately disgraceful for fear of offending MS (and losing their precious volume Windows discount) and then used to justify removing the Linux boxes from the Dell UK site entirely (I believe you could phone Dell UK up to order them after that, but I wouldn't be surprised if that option has gone now too).

    If Dell were at all serious about Linux on the desktop, they could at least try this model:

    * Certify that all the components work with Linux on a Dell machine (this could almost be automated with a boot CD producing a summary report - would be nice if the CD was made available to the general public too).

    * Have a link on their product page to summarise what does/doesn't work in Linux (perhaps getting a Dell penguin "certified for Linux" logo if it fully passes).

    * Make it *extremely clear* that installing Linux is not directly supported by Dell and they will only deal with OS/software queries about the pre-installed OS (i.e. Windows). Hardware, however, should not have its warranty invalidated if Linux is installed.

    * If they want to put a bit more work into it, they could sponsor OSS developers or third-party manufacturers to write Linux drivers for any hardware components they are shipping that aren't supported by Linux.

    If they did all of the above, then the final step would be to re-introduce Dell Linux desktops/netbooks/laptops *properly* this time. Ubuntu should be a pre-install option right next to the Windows OS options and ideally with a cost of 0.00 (no support) or some fixed support fee (e.g. 10% of the hardware cost per year or maybe 25% of the hardware cost for a "lifetime support").

    It should be made clear to the purchaser that Ubuntu will not run most Windows programs (yes, Wine could be set up in a nice way by Dell/Canonical, but it's still only a partial solution, particularly for games). Needless to say, MS would go ballistic at the idea of Ubuntu being offered right next to Windows and threaten Dell to scupper their Windows discount I bet...

  17. Martin Usher

    I wonder how many of these computers will end up runinng Windows?

    China is a place that seems to do everything on a large scale, including software piracy. Selling Linux pre-installed would be a good way to get a clean PC out the door without paying the Windows tax. What the consumer does with it afterwards is anyone's guess.

    Linux is usable, though. For day to day computing I don't notice a whole lot of difference between W7 and Ubuntu. Linux is a bit faster, that's all.

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