Get This Damned Ubuntu Out Of Dell's Internets!

It’s as if a million penguins cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. Dell has dropped Ubuntu-loaded machines from their online store – a head-scratching play, considering their original declaration that Ubuntu is safer than Windows. The move comes after Dell posted a totally compelling argument for each operating system on its website, advising that only open source programmers should consider Ubuntu. That’s not completely unwise advice, but it’s not like Ubuntu is an unsolvable puzzlebox, or something.

The other bullet point in Dell’s two-bullet-point case for Ubuntu is “choose Ubuntu if you do not plan to use Microsoft Windows”. Gee whiz.

You’re starving. I have two pieces of fruit, a mango and a papaya. You must eat one, or you will die. Choose papaya if you do not plan to eat mango.

No shit, Dell.

Dell insists they haven’t dropped Ubuntu entirely, and that you can still order Ubuntu-loaded machines over the phone. “The reason why they’re not on our main pages is because Ubuntu systems are primarily targeted towards advanced users and enthusiasts, and the vast majority of consumers purchase PCs with Microsoft Windows pre-installed,” a Dell customer service rep told PC Pro. Fair enough, Dell. But then again, if I’m an advanced computer user, what are the odds I’ll order a computer by phone before using the internet?

Written by Ty Dunitz

Ty is an illustrator who stays up too late, and has to wear glasses. You can follow him on Twitter if you want to (@glitchritual), but he's just gonna throw your stupid PR crap in the garbage, so don't email him.
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Comments
  • Rob

    “what are the odds I’ll order a computer by phone before using the internet?”

    That made my night. Thanks Ty

    • iiuihhuhu

      Anybody that makes “made my night” statement are annoying ***************************************************. That doesn’t include you, instead, multiply the whole **** to 2.

    • Noccy

      If there were a +1 button for your post I would click it :D I was just thinking the same thing. That must be the most retarded statement coming from Dell in a long long time.

  • david

    They’ve discovered (again) that Linux is a system for geeks that cannot be sold to the masses. More news at eleven. Some people never learn, so expect further announcements somewhere in the future supporting Linux, only to fail again.

    • http://hale.com Mike Halen

      I could not agree more. Why is there rage for something that is common sense? The average consumer is not going to pay hundreds of dollars for a computer run by an operating system they are not familiar with.

      The average Ubuntu user would never order a Dell computer anyways, it would defeat their illusion of being an elite computer user.

      • Cris

        “The average Ubuntu user would never order a Dell computer anyways, it would defeat their illusion of being an elite computer user.” hahahahaha so true..

  • http://anti-vigilante.blogspot.com Anti Vigilante

    David, what they discovered really was that most people go to an auto repair store to change their tires. Get off your pedestal.

    Seriously though, if I get advanced payment, I will order the Dell with Ubuntu over the phone for you at a 10% mark up, configured the way you like it.

    Or maybe we should just flash mob their phones with orders until they put it back up on the net.

  • http://anti-vigilante.blogspot.com Anti Vigilante

    By configured I literally meant send me a zip of your /etc directory or notes on what options you want.

    I might also need /var/lib/dpkg and friends.

  • http://anti-vigilante.blogspot.com Anti Vigilante

    Zip! Um. tar.gz.

  • Tris

    This is a real blow. I was really pleased to see them selling Linux pre-installed, irrespective of what distro it was. However, when you visited their website, it was really difficult to actually find an Ubuntu machine. You had to really search for it. It’s as if they thought of it as some dirty secret. Totally the wrong way to go about it. Were Microsoft paying them to bury their Ubuntu machines? Had they have actually promoted them, who knows what would have happened?

    I have a friend who runs his own business, and knows pretty much nothing about computers. I’ve migrated him to Ubuntu and he’s totally happy with it. So the argument about it being for enthusiasts etc is rubbish. Your average computer user is just as clueless about building a Windows machine as a Linux one.

    Dell, you blew it.

  • Gaylo

    “totally compelling argument”

    haha.

  • Sean

    The Dell site does seem to have shifted lately to more “fast ship” ready to go computers and servers; with less customization being offered overall. Probably they’re just trying to simplify things by removing choices and thus getting every last nickel of expense out of maintaining configuration options.

  • http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk Linux Geek

    if I’m an advanced computer user, what are the odds I’ll order a computer from DELL

    • Steve

      EXACTLY!!! Ha, that is the best line on this site yet! Same odds as me using an AOL account to browse the internet.

  • Nick

    It all boils down to $$$$$$$$$, Ubuntu is open source, all software that you need for it is FREE to download off the internet, I have installed and used it on numerous computers, works very well !!

  • Zac

    Just as with Asus, it took them longer than I thought, but Dell has finally bowed to the pressure from Microsoft, I guess they wanted the money to help pay those big fines. Microsoft does exert huge pressure in order to maintain Microsoft Windows as the sole operating system offered for sale. In practice this is called bribery.

    Microsoft sees a possible future threat from Linux hence it is nipping this in the bud. It takes the same level of computer knowledge to use Windows as it does to use Ubuntu but because people these days have been bought up (ie Microsoft Babies) to believe that Windows is computers and anything else they are ignorant of, you get comments like “Linux is for geeks” posts.

    Linux really has taken off in the last 4-5 years due to the advent of fast broadband. In those few short years Linux has come along way in usability for the average person and its accelerating rapidly. It needs the major OEM’s to make it known to the public to help it improve further. This chance is being denied by the powerful influence Microsoft has over OEM’s and other partners.

  • mica720

    the penguins, will someone please think of the penguins! :(

  • http://www.robotnik.com TOMEK OBIREK

    Ubuntu is getting better day by day…..shame it is not getting the attention it deserves…

  • http://www.philmayes.com Phil Mayes

    This needs 1,000,000 peopled calling Dell to find the price of a Ubuntu machine. Not buy one, just find the price. After their phone system melts down a few times, they might consider putting the information where people can easily find it.

  • Bystander

    I usually use Windows 7 but one of my systems has Ubuntu Studio loaded and I like it. As a matter of fact for some applications I love it. But it’s definitely not for everybody: it takes more work than Windows to get it working, even more work to keep it working, and if you’re using peripheral devices that are not mainstream (and even a few that are) you may never get them to function because of lack of driver support. I can see Dell wanting to make it more difficult for customers to get a Linux based operating system pre-loaded on their machines because non-tech savvy people would order them not understanding the difference and then it would be up to Dell’s tech support to sort out the casualties. Those kind of circumstances must stress an already overloaded department ten-fold.

    As for the last sentence, unless it’s perhaps a laptop, if I’m an advanced computer user why would I be buying a Dell?

  • http://oakaddsknowledge.com Nick Peterson

    I think the market for Ubuntu on the home desktop was never really there. Dell saw it as an opportunity to sell systems without paying the windows tax, and thus saving some money, but I think quickly realized if normal users buy the systems the support costs are probably higher. If you’re an open source programmer you just buy a system and reload or build a workstation after a trip to new egg. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • http://beforethebuff.com Mike

    “But then again, if I’m an advanced computer user, what are the odds I’ll order a computer by phone before using the internet?”

    If you’re an advanced computer user, what are the odds you’ll order a computer from Dell at all?

    Most people who would use Ubuntu aren’t the same people who buy from manufacturers. I’d wager a large majority of people looking for a Linux machine from the get go (i.e. not people who ran windows on their HP/Dell/Acer then switched over to linux) are running it on custom built machines. If you want an operating system you can tweak to be exactly what you want, you’re going to want a computer you can tweak to be exactly what you want.

  • Dave

    If you’re an advanced user what are the chances you’ll order from dell? You’re complaining about nothing.

  • http://www.blog4cash.co.za Dave Higgs

    WEl I understands “advanced user” to imply “Not an idiot” and that further implies that others are “not as smart (wrt IT)”.

    So put another way if you have to use windows we assume you are so stupid you would get confused if we put an ubuntu option in. However, if you are smart enough to use our website (and figure out linux is not there) then you are also smart enough to use the phone. Or order from some other manufacturer.

    Dave

  • http://www.freecreditreportsinstantly.org/ Denial

    As much as I love Linux, I agree with you. Most people that use Linux would never buy a Dell lol.

  • http://www.hghtruth.org/ Markjack

    I don’t know why people would buy a system from Dell with Ubuntu loaded… When you look at the options, it’s usually about the exact same price with Windows, and then you can just get Ubuntu for free.

  • Rus

    You know, I used to work for the returns department at Dell, and holy crap, you wouldn’t believe the amount of money they lost due to people returning their systems, because “they thought” Ubuntu was a newer version of Windows… After several years, they finally decided to have a filter (which is why you need to phone them).

  • Keith

    Erm… what’s this then? http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/linux_3x?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

    Ubuntu machines are still on sale from the Dell website…

  • Zac

    I am one of those people who bought an Ubuntu Dell over the phone, a Dell Latitude 2100 with Ubuntu 9.04. I have now installed Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook edition on it and everything works out of the bought box and it works perfectly.

    The so-called ‘year of the linux desktop’ is not going to arrive unless the major OEM’s allow Linux to be sold along side Windows, it needs visual prominance. There is little point of burying the Ubuntu machines in the company’s web site so that it takes prior knowledge to know that it’s there. And even on the Ubuntu web page, it still has ‘Dell recommends Microsoft Windows’.

  • César

    http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/ubuntu?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=anavml

    That link is on the botom left from dell’s laptops/desktop pages, it’s called “Open-Source PCs”

  • John Doe

    I wonder if Windows influence this decision in anyway. Sad, Dell seemed like a forward looking company with all its crowd sourcing and open source efforts, but it is looking and less every day like that. Sounds like there might be a new opportunity for a new entry into the market … :-)

  • jerry

    As nice as open source ideals might be, you can’t compete only with idealism. Windows 7 is a properly engineered operating system created by a multimillion dollar company, while Ubuntu is the best effort that volunteers and a few employees can come up with. Only Linux fans don’t think that Windows 7 completely crashes Ubuntu in terms of quality. In the end, more often than not, you get what you pay for.

  • Rick

    Not suprised, I think 90% of the Dell website visitors don’t know what Windows/Linux is all about. Companies don’t order via websites, they’ve got a Dell rep. As an administrator I once did an inquiry, asking people what OS they think they had and the most common answer was “Word”. That’s okay, they can get their job done, who cares what OS their on. It’s like with taxes, I only want to know what I get back, the rest is just numbers and rules I don’t get.

  • Carlton

    No problem Dell. I now send my money to Acer/Asus. Your loss. I use Ubuntu on all my home computers for (over two years now). I buy expensive hardware always (I am a geek after all). Most of my friends and family (geeks and non-geeks) ask me what to buy. I always said Dell. Now it will be Acer/Asus.

  • Kyle

    I just checked http://www.dell.com/ubuntu and could still order what they had available before.

  • Jim

    I had an on-line “chat” session with a Dell rep on Saturday, asking about purchasing a Dell computer with Ubuntu or another Linux Distro. She said that this was not an option — I even asked to purchase a Dell computer without an OS, and that was not an option either. I did eventually find a couple of small computers with Ubuntu, but nothing main stream. Good bye Dell, hello systems76.

  • ryeman

    Android has a Linux kernel, and out of the two years it has been available to the public via cellphones, it is already number two in overall sales in Q1 2010? I think that DELL will change their minds in the next few years with the advancement of Android OS for mobile and netbooks. The Ipad from Apple is already paving the road for future netbook sales (people will want the physical keyboard…. eventually). If DELL wants to make some $$, start selling the netbook or tablets with Ubuntu or Android and advertise…

  • http://nothanks.com Yabbo

    The real reason behind this decision is there out sourced tech support cant support Linux as they can barley read from there computer in order to support windows… “please check your power cord is plugged in” doesn’t work on a Linux user.

  • telazampotoda

    the truth is expected windows for low category users who do not know what that user can monitor consumer call for technical support by phone let out a lot of money and then being told that the dañaste machine and now, the American consumer is what makes companies like dell customers lost an example this weekend planned to buy 25 units from Dell, which does not make since removed the ubuntu, and just realized I added malware on their replacement motherboards, all to benefit Microsoft, this is unfair because I am paying for what I want not what they want me to sell, and those 25 was the tip given in the work place was 890 dell machines that were to change, As Hp is not in your designs is completely commercial, I think Apple will choose to whether the company is more robust than I am seeing and I put all obstacles to use ubuntu, to die with his filthy dell machines the user has the right to choose .

  • Brian

    Just to combat all those “If I”m an advanced computer user, why would I buy a dell?”

    I am an “advanced computer user” and I buy dell because dell outlet normally has deals you can barely match by buying the same parts separate. Also because I am lazy, and its a lot easier to have one already built. I am also a big software guy, not a huge hands on type of person. I tried to build a computer once, and I guess I wired the CPU fan wrong and the AMD burnt to a crisp in under 2 seconds (Have they fixed that yet?). So yeah, I buy from dell…but I wouldn’t buy linux as my primary home PC. I have my own VPS that I run debian headless for all my linux related needs.

  • http://www.gilof.com Jason Cruz

    So what’s your point?

  • http://www.paulwand.com Paul Wand

    I found this on dells website…

    http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/linux_3x?c=us&l=en&cs=19

    google’s Cached version:
    http://goo.gl/IgHt

  • bob

    THIS IS BULLSHIT!
    I HATE DELL

  • Code M

    Try Linux out yourself then decide. Simple to install. Just make sure you have a compatible vid card.
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/HardwareSupportComponentsVideoCardsIntel
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/HardwareSupportComponentsVideoCardsAti

    We certainly don’t need Dell to help us with Ubuntu.

  • http://www.tildehash.com/ Jacob

    Good, I don’t use Ubuntu, I’ve never bought a computer with Ubuntu from Dell, and I don’t support Canonical. Dell only started selling Ubuntu desktops because Canonical has got the money to pay them for doing it.

  • http://www.mosen.se C

    I’m a computer geek and I always build my computers from selected parts, except when it comes to laptops. The only reason for me to buy a laptop from Dell with Ubuntu, would be if it was cheaper so i knew i wasn’t paying M$ for something i don’t want. If the price is the same i might as well buy it with Windows and install Linux afterwards, mainly to get the Windows OEM sticker if i someday want to sell the laptop “with windows included”.

    I can totally see why Dell would remove the Ubuntu choice from their website, assuming the reason is increased cost to support users who probably shouldn’t use a computer in the first place and least of all Linux. As much as it hurts to see Dell lessen their effort to sell Ubuntu, they can’t really be blamed … after all, what’s in it for them (and their share holders)?

    The only way to successfully sell workstation hardware with Linux preinstalled, would be if Red Hat, Ubuntu or SUSE(Novell) would start selling re-branded Dell, HP or some other hardware marketed as “Linux workstations” … at a competitive price.
    The choice to use Linux has to be made before deciding on a brand, not as a choice during the purchase.

    \\C

  • Robby

    If your an advanced computer user, what are the odds you’ll even buy from Dell. lol

  • Mysticstar

    Ahhh..another reason to DUMP Windows and use LINUX!
    I’m building my own Computer anyway!
    I’m tired of the Non Support you get from Microsoft, HP, Gateway, etc.!
    You have to PAY for any Support you receive from them!
    Then you pay $ 200.00 for a New OS!
    With UBUNTU I have the latest OS ALL the TIME! PLUS FREE Support!
    Go ahead Sheep..help those Executive get their Million Dollar Bonuses at your expense!

  • http://www.smartassproducts.com SmartAssProducts.com

    I’m sick of moronic “logic” like,

    “The reason why they’re not on our main pages is because Ubuntu systems are primarily targeted towards advanced users and enthusiasts”

    If my mother–who is 80+ and extremely computer illiterate–can use her Kubuntu computer all day, every day with no trouble, ANYONE can use (K)Ubuntu. Advanced users and enthusiasts? What millennium are we in? This isn’t about the old-style Linux where you *HAD* to be a total command line geek to install, tweak, maintain it. No, this is about the EASY to install, EASY to administer, beautiful GUI-based (K)Ubuntu.

    It’s ludicrous to continue perpetuating the bullshit that only advanced geeks can use TODAY’S Linux, especially (K)Ubuntu.

    Then there’s this idiotic statement:

    “and the vast majority of consumers purchase PCs with Microsoft Windows pre-installed”

    Gee, I wonder why?! Maybe it has something to do with the fact that most PCs come with windows pre-installed. Every time I buy a new computer, guess what’s installed on it? Yes, that piece of garbage, windows. So I wipe the drive and install Linux. If the PCs I want to buy had Linux pre-installed, I’d buy them, but they don’t. So I get stuck paying the Micro$oft tax for bloated, bug-filled, flaky, virus-prone garbage that I immediately wipe off the drive.

    If companies like Dell stopped and THOUGHT about why “the vast majority of consumers purchase PCs with Microsoft Windows pre-installed,” they could become part of the movement away from M$ garbage by educating consumers about Linux. Come on, this isn’t brain surgery. (And I’ve had brain surgery!)

  • telazampotoda

    Brian… apparently do not read well if I thought about buying 25 pc is because the company’s request to those specifications, not think you’re a genius, unlike you could claim to have made a cluster of machines in debian myself, assembling each machine, but when a client asks you for a purchase and we will pay for making the necessary arrangements and asks you to spec what you want to use, people and comments like yours are unnecessary, it is presumed that you are more intelligent, I’m sorry but no I was wondering if you could build a machine or not…The truth seems to complain that not only resulted in something positive and if you are right friend “Paul Wand” but in reality there should be diversity of total choice if I want to buy a machine and no longer need to give me the ubuntu-filled if it brings better but I do not want potato windows

  • andrea

    Thousands of new users a year, no OS is familiar when you first approach computers. More probably is the M$ put pressure on them. Besides since all the systems are ‘intuitive’ as their makers say, then it wouldn’t be a problem would it. Pressure from the big giant.

  • marvin nubwaxer

    DUH, nobody buying them.

  • http://ms1.gotdns.com jonny rocket

    hello? this is what they do. they also don’t want to sell AMD.

  • kelvinscott

    Linux and so on are user driven and so will never break into the corporate market. Marketing has nothing to do with it, big corporates want reliability, consistency, support and b2b relationships.

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  • Sbooder

    I do not suppose that a simple drop down option to choose Windows or Ubuntu would be to hard to use when customising your Dell when buying online…Oh wait! that is far too easy.  Hmm me thinks this is a bit of pressure by you know who.