I guess there's anothere not-so-success-story for linux...
A few years ago, there was quite a buzz regarding linux, open source, and open standards. Various companies, governments etc wanted to move to linux, and OEMs started to offer linux as a preinstalled OS option.

A few years down the line, and quite a few of these companies, governments etc have come back on their decision, realizing that it was too hard to completely move away from Microsoft/proprietary products, and the theory that open source/open standards would lead to lower cost and less maintenance just didn't materialize in practice.

So the linux bubble burst somehow.
Today I read that Dell is removing Ubuntu as an option in their online store (although for the time being it will still be available if you order by phone). I suppose that is another indication that linux just didn't catch on enough to continue supporting it.
Posted on 2010-07-26 04:01:15 by Scali
Why would I buy Ubuntu from an online store when I can download it for free?
What brainiac decided that they could sell free software anyway?
Posted on 2010-07-26 05:23:36 by Homer
You don't buy Ubuntu itself per se...
You buy a Dell PC with Ubuntu preinstalled (as opposed to Windows), and a few years of support on the software.

Thing is, there has to be an OS on the PC... before linux became an option, you bought a PC with Windows installed (and paid for the license and support), even if you would download and install linux yourself.
We seem to be going back to those days.
Posted on 2010-07-26 05:32:42 by Scali
Well, let me ask, did Dell sell these Linux packaged machines for a discounted price?Since they were no longer paying license fees, it seems reasonable that they should have been at least $100 cheaper than the same model bearing a Windows OS - were they?
Posted on 2010-07-26 06:07:55 by Homer

Well, let me ask, did Dell sell these Linux packaged machines for a discounted price?Since they were no longer paying license fees, it seems reasonable that they should have been at least $100 cheaper than the same model bearing a Windows OS - were they?


Well, I never bothered to check...
But Dell sells OEM bulk Windows licenses, which don't cost $100. They would be more like $20 I suppose.
I think the problem is the underlying support. Most people will probably need more support with linux than with Windows. Aside from that, it's probably harder for them to get helpdesk people with linux knowledge. And then there's the extra cost of preparing linux images for their machines, making sure drivers are available and up to date etc (just like supporting both Windows XP and Vista/Windows 7 is more expensive, so they want to drop XP asap).
I wouldn't be surprised if linux ended up more expensive for Dell to support.
Posted on 2010-07-26 06:13:53 by Scali
I did bother to check - and yeah at least one guy who bought Ubuntu prepackaged from Dell tells me that it was cheaper, and that was a key factor in his purchase decision - so apparently, Dell stopped passing on this discount at some stage, and there was a market backlash in terms of a measurable drop in sales of Dell w/Ubuntu and they interpreted this as a decline in public interest in that product.
Posted on 2010-07-26 06:36:15 by Homer
I wonder if there was a decline... I'd think that the interest was just too low, period.
Linux marketshare is just marginal at best.
Some claim that Dell mainly offered linux as an alternative in order to pressure Microsoft.

I guess the only thing we know for sure is: linux isn't ready for the masses.
Posted on 2010-07-26 07:35:13 by Scali
Not being ready never stopped Microsoft shipping their product :)
Posted on 2010-07-26 18:18:51 by Homer

I guess the only thing we know for sure is: linux isn't ready for the masses.


Don't forget that Microsoft has contracts with major PC manufacturers, in which have stipulations about how much Royalty OEM licensing will cost. The more exclusive with Microsoft you are, the more they are willing to cut you a deal.

Dell, or any other major U.S. based PC manufacturer, never stood a chance selling computers pre-installed with Ubuntu, or any other non-Microsoft OS, in a major way to begin with... unless they decided that taking the hit on their pocketbook, when Microsoft decides to start leveraging their monopolistic power, was worth it.
Posted on 2010-07-26 19:40:17 by SpooK
Don't forget that Microsoft has contracts with major PC manufacturers, in which have stipulations about how much Royalty OEM licensing will cost. The more exclusive with Microsoft you are, the more they are willing to cut you a deal.


Yea, I actually said that to Homer a few posts ago, to indicate that Dell is not exactly paying as much for an OEM license as you and I would.

But what I meant was: apparently not enough linux copies were being sold to sustain continued support from Dell.
We all have our own ideas of why not enough linux copies were sold, or what Dell was trying to achieve by offering linux.
The end result is clear however: Microsoft is the only option once again.
It just seems that all linux/open source/open standard experiments fall flat on their face sooner or later.
Posted on 2010-07-27 02:11:03 by Scali

It just seems that all linux/open source/open standard experiments fall flat on their face sooner or later.


hmmm...In the mobile market space Microsoft is getting their a$$ handed to them. My own personal opinion is that the choke hold MS has on manufacturers is now loosening. Too many other big name players in the game have banded together and the war is really heating up. It will be very interesting to see how this unfolds.
Posted on 2010-07-27 08:43:14 by p1ranha

hmmm...In the mobile market space Microsoft is getting their a$$ handed to them.


Microsoft never really managed to get much of a foothold in that market. Probably partly because there's no x86 legacy to exploit. Windows Mobile is not like Windows, where pretty much all popular software of the past 3 decades runs.

My own personal opinion is that the choke hold MS has on manufacturers is now loosening. Too many other big name players in the game have banded together and the war is really heating up. It will be very interesting to see how this unfolds.


I'm not really seeing the war heat up, apart from the hot air coming from the linux/open source community. But I've been hearing that broken record for about 15 years now. You know, the classic rhetoric of how the bazaar model leads to better software alternatives, and how the snowball-effect will give linux critical mass soon, it just needs to get over that 10% marketshare...

I think they're missing the bigger picture here: You need good software. No really, GOOD software. Not software that some nerds think is good, but software that my mon, dad and grandma think is good. They should look at what Apple is doing. Apple made a very strong comeback a few years ago, with OS X, which has only become stronger now that they moved over to commodity x86 hardware.
It was too easy to always blame MS' success on the vendor lock-in etc. If even giving your software away for free is not enough to convince people to use it, that should tell you something...
Apple seems more successful in grabbing marketshare from Microsoft, and they're not doing it by giving their hardware and software away. On the contrary, Apples are actually a tad more expensive than similarly specced Windows-machines.
Posted on 2010-07-27 09:41:05 by Scali