Update: Mission Accomplished, I Think

Hey folks, first of all a Happy New Year to you all, hope you have a great one. I’ve been a bit lazy with the distro testing over Christmas and the New Year I’m afraid, those mince pies can really slow you down πŸ˜‰

A quick update on the Dell situation I mentioned in my previous post. I’ve succeeded in ordering from them a new XPS m1330 notebook with Ubuntu 7.10 and they were very responsive on the phone I must say. I first tried the “Chat 2 Us” or whatever it’s called on the website and got the cold shoulder, I even took a screen shot of the conversation is was so brief, they just cut me off. I’ve blocked out the sales persons full name out of courtesy.

(click to enlarge)

After that I decided to phone them and I wasn’t too hopeful of anything better but to their credit after 10mins on the phone (yes I timed it) my order was placed and I was emailed an official quote by the sales person I’d dealt with. I expected some arguments as the system I wanted does not appear to be offered without Vista according to the website, it seems if you ring them up they are willing to do a deal. As soon as I said “I don’t want Windows I’m a Linux user” they just said “No problem, is Ubuntu ok?”. You can’t say fairer than that, I was very impressed. I did find it funny that they offered me Microsoft Office and McAfee Anti-Virus after I’d said I was using Linux but they have to follow a sales script and the guy was great. The machine is yet to arrive but when it does I’ll give a full report of my experience. I hope this is a sign that Dell are about to roll out Ubuntu on more of their systems. My advice is don’t go off the website, make sure you phone them, the cost of the call is worth it.

Now to the distro reviews, I’m currently backing up my data as I write this and preparing to install the new Pyro Linux 1.0 release. I’ve agreed to review it for Linux Planet and hopefully it will be published next week, I’ll give details when I have them. As for other reviews, I plan to tackle Vector Linux next as it was suggested I try it while Zenwalk is still fresh in my mind. I’ll be doing that soon and hope to have a review up ASAP. I also have a copy of Wolvix and I’ll be interested to see how these 3 distros compare.

Thanks for being patient folks, I’m sure I’ll be back in the swing of things in no time πŸ™‚



  1. so cool if only they would ship those to israel

  2. Dan,

    I’ve been reading your blog for the last couple of days, beginning just before Episode 1 of your Linux review series. Just wanted to share that I’ve really been enjoying your entries; they’ve certainly done well to distract me from my original search of a way to make Vista play better with Samba. I was particularly interested in your appraisal of Mandriva, as my own experience with Mandrake (back when Community 10.1 was the latest version) was pretty painful.

    I switched formally to Linux at both work and home (and I work at a university that is all Windows: Exchange, Active Directory, XP Pro, etc.) about 8 months ago, but I’ve only used about 4-5 distros. It’s really great to read about a wide variety of other ones, and I may have to try Mint at home (currently run Ubuntu 7.04 there, since 7.10 wouldn’t work with my digital camera). OpenSUSE 10.3 is now on my work machine after Gutsy failed me here as well (as did Fedora, sadly).

    I’m anxious to read your appraisal of PCBSD someday. It really is slick; I’ve got it in a VM and fire it up to play with it sometimes, but it Just Works(TM), so I haven’t really had to delve beyond the GUI much yet…

    Hope things work out with your Dell laptop. We switched to them a few years back and they’ve been surprisingly good. Their support is pretty flaky due to how they outsource things, but ever since Michael Dell returned to the helm, their prices have been a lot better. Their hardware’s surprisingly good too. Best of luck, and I look forward to reading your blog more in the future.

  3. Thanks very much for the kind comments Matthew I appreciate it πŸ™‚ I was really impressed by Mandriva 2008 I think it’s easily their best release in the last few years, they seemed to lose their way a little after Mandrake 9 but this is worth checking out I think. I tried the Gnome version recently as well and that’s also very good.

    I think OpenSUSE is great for an office setting, I can see why you use that, particularly with a Windows domain. I liked Mint as well on the home desktop, a vast improvement on Gutsy which I find a little disappointing. Similar experience to you.

    Let me know you think of the 2 distros when you get a chance to try them. Happy trails, Dan πŸ™‚

  4. (Not the same as the Matthew above)
    So you can actually order any computer from Dell with Ubuntu on it? I was thinking about buying a dell with Ubuntu but I didn’t like the only models that they had with Ubuntu.

  5. @Matt – I can’t say for sure but that was certainly my experience. I’m in the UK but I’m not sure if that makes any difference. I got the feeling if you ring or email them and ask you can get somewhere. My machine hasn’t arrived yet and their’s always the possibility it will turn up with Vista on it but I really hope not.

    They’ve quoted Ubuntu 7.10 on the invoice and I expect to see that on the system or at the least no OS. I’ll let you know as soon as it arrives.

  6. But did you pay the laptop the same price which is indicated should you buy it with vista? If this is the case then you still have paid the Windows tax!

  7. There wasn’t a massive amount of difference in the price I have to admit, about Β£30 – 40 but if you compare the Windows machines with the Ubuntu equivalents on the website that seems to be the discount they give you.

    I’m not sure if this reflects the full price Dell pay Microsoft for each copy of Windows but I really hope it does. They have a volume license so it’s not straight forward to work out. I’ve made the effort and done my best to support open source software. I like to think if more people make the effort to tell companies they don’t want Windows they will realize there is a demand for Linux.

    The vast majority of customers still want Windows, I know that but we have to start somewhere and thinking “I can’t make a difference” is exactly the sort of attitude we need to avoid. Together we can make a difference πŸ™‚

  8. Yeah, let me know when you get it if it has Ubuntu on it. Do you think we could do the same thing with other companies? Not necessarily ask for Ubuntu but just say that we don’t want Windows.

  9. I would say give them a try, I don’t expect many manufacturers would actually install Linux for you but they should be able to sell you a blank machine. It’s well worth finding out what components are in the machine and checking they’re supported under Linux before buying.

    There’s nothing worse than buying a machine and discovering the wireless card or something else isn’t supported. I was lucky to find a full report on using Ubuntu with the Dell I wanted. A little research goes a long way.

    It’s always worth at least asking your supplier, you never know they might be more helpful than you expect.

    Good luck πŸ™‚

    If you try this please let me know how you get on.

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