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Dell decides to sell Linux boxes over the phone

Keeps the faith, for now
Mon Jul 26 2010, 16:44

TIN BOX FLOGGER Dell has quashed reports that it stopped selling machines preloaded with the Linux distribution Ubuntu.

It was reported that Dell had given up on its Linux experiment by going back to being a Microsoft only shop, however the firm responded to those stories by telling The INQUIRER that it will continue to sell selected machines with Ubuntu installed. However, punters looking for the capable alternative to Microsoft Windows will have to order by phone.

The shift is due to website restructuring, according to Dell. Apparently the company has "recently made an effort to simplify our offerings online, by focusing on our most popular bundles and configuration options, based on customer feedback for reduced complexity and a simple, easy purchase experience." So according to the box shifter it has nothing to do with the misleading message the company had on its website last week, which said Ubuntu should be chosen by users who wanted to engage in open source development.

Instead Dell says that it is just rearranging its storefront furniture to reflect the popularity of its products. "As the Ubuntu systems are primarily targeted towards advanced users and enthusiasts, and the vast majority of consumers purchase PCs with Microsoft Windows pre-installed, they are currently available through our phone-based sales only."

It's no big surprise that the majority of machines sold by Dell run Windows, however demotion of Ubuntu Linux to being available only through phone sales will help ensure that the percentage of Windows machines the company flogs will remain high.

Dell was keen to point out that a number of its laptops are available with Ubuntu preinstalled. Interestingly, there isn't version parity among various models, however given the ease with which Ubuntu can be updated, it doesn't make much of difference what version of the OS is installed on each system.

Ubuntu 9.04 - available on Inspiron 560, Inspiron 560s, Inspiron 570.

Ubuntu 9.10 - available on Inspiron 15 and Inspiron 15R.

Ubuntu 10.04 - available on Studio XPS 7100, Inspiron Mini 10 and 10HD.

Dell also said that the majority of its Vostro range of laptops, including the 3300, 3500, 3700, 1015 and V13 are available with Linux.

There's nothing stopping consumers from purchasing a Dell box and installing any Linux distribution they wish, however avoiding Windows right from the outset is the easiest way to avoid the Microsoft tax.

Just to clarify matters, although Microsoft's Windows cannot do much, we can confirm that it is able to allow users to engage in open source development. Just make sure you save your work often as Windows is still rather prone to the occasional crash.

Although Dell seems to have moved its boxes preloaded with Ubuntu to the back of its store, at least for the time being it hasn't given up on Linux. µ


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