Dell Follow Up

The Dell Logo
The Dell Logo

Most of you probably saw my earlier rant at Dell for removing Linux laptops from their UK website last week. The post caused quite a bit of interest it seems which is always nice and I’m grateful people read and enjoyed it. There’s still quite an active discussion going on in the comments which you’re quite welcome to join in with if you like. My reason for posting this quick follow up article is to address a couple of points that came out of the discussion.

Firstly, a lot of people said I should be supporting smaller companies like System76 who really promote Linux rather then large corporations like Dell who just pay lip service to open source. This is a fair point and I do try to support smaller companies whenever I can, I’ve said many times over the last 18 months or so that I’d love a System76 machine but they don’t ship to the UK. They make really stylish computers and fully support Linux, so if you do live in the US I’d urge you to give them a look before purchasing from Dell. There’s also other US sellers like Emperor Linux who do a great job. It seems as though there are far more options available to Linux fans in America than this side of the pond and I hope people check them out rather than just going to the big boys first. In the UK we only have a couple of companies I know of who specialise in Linux hardware, Efficient PC and the Linux Emporium. I met Dale from Efficient PC at LugRadio Live 08 and he’s a lovely guy who works really hard, however there aren’t any laptops on the company’s website at the moment so I don’t know what the situation is. They do still sell great netbooks with Ubuntu installed and MythTV boxes with multimedia remotes that make great PVR solutions out of the box. Well worth a look I’d say. The Linux Emporium has a nice range of Linux laptops and netbooks, I’ve just been having a look through their site and the range seems to have expanded dramatically since I bought this Dell machine. The last time I properly looked at them must have been Christmas 2007 so I was well out of touch. I’ll be sure to rectify this situation and recommend the company to any other UK Linux lovers I know, if you’re in the UK check them out!

The other thing I wanted to mention was a change to the Dell UK website since my original post, the Ubuntu m1330n laptop has reappeared! Thanks to eagle eyed reader Grant for his comment informing me of this, I hadn’t noticed. I’m observant as ever so it’s a good job there’s somebody around to point these things out to me. It looks as though the Ubuntu Mini 12 has had to make way to accommodate the change though. This is what you can see on the Linux section (and I hesitate to call it a section) of the Dell UK site:

Dell UK Offerings Feb 12th 09
Dell UK Offerings Feb 12th 09

I thought I should let everyone know the machine was available again in the interests of fairness but according to many people who’ve written to me in the wake of the first article, the actual Linux models for sale at Dell UK change more often than a set of hyperactive traffic lights. It makes me wonder if they only list the machines they have in stock prebuilt and installed with Ubuntu already? This goes against the company’s business model as far as I understood it, they always promote themselves as bespoke PC builders. I’ll see what I can find out but for now I just wanted to let everyone know the Ubuntu m1330 is back, for how long though I can’t say. This is correct as of 12/02/09

Thanks to everyone who read and commented on the first article and also everyone who emailed me, your input is always greatly valued πŸ™‚


  1. If you browse to the Mini 9 and Mini 12 through the main site you get the option of Ubuntu or Windows. Although the Mini 12 Ubuntu Edition is running a 1.33Ghz processor and a 40Gb Hard Disk Drive compared to the XP version which has a 1.6Ghz processor and an 80Gb HDD!

    Why deliberately cripple a machine like that!

    • @Daz Ah ok I thought the Mini 12 would still be available and I like that they have the Ubuntu option in with the main catalogue. If you get one of the printed Dell brochures they actually list both the 9 and 12 with Ubuntu by default which I like. I agree it’s odd to give worse hardware with the Linux options though since the software is free and it makes me wonder if this is part of their Microsoft contract, Windows machines must be higher spec. People keep telling me Dell are too big to be bullied by MS but think about it, how screwed would Dell be if MS withdrew their right to sell Windows? It’s a bit like a cold war situation, they both now they could hurt each other but nobody wants to shoot first

  2. This is really weird behavior on the part of Dell. This kind of fidgeting is very bad for business if you ask me. I wonder what’s up there…

  3. I’m still looking at getting a laptop and was considering Dell, but with all this faffing around they’re doing I’m not so sure anymore.

    • @daz Have a look at the Linux Emporium I was impressed with their range and also the prices when I looked at their stuff yesterday. They do mostly Thinkpads which aren’t the most stylish machines in the world but they have a 13.3″ widescreen Thinkpad on there with comparable specs to the m1330. It’s cheaper too at around Β£650. When it comes time to replace this machine I’ll be checking them out I think. Jono Bacon just bought a T400 and he loves it. They have the T400 for sale at Linux Emporium too. Worth a look I reckon, I’m gonna recommend them to everyone in the UK who asks me about Linux machines πŸ™‚

  4. I’ll head over and have a look then thanks, to be honest style isn’t a selling point for me which is probably why I’m still not sold on Apple’s products.

    Another option I suppose would be to buy a regular laptop and then try claiming the windows license fee back, depends if I’m feeling up to the challenge.

    • Yeah I’ve considered trying to reclaim the Windows license but it seems a bit tricky and not everyone succeeds you have to be really careful not to boot the machine with Windows on. Some people have done it and documented the process well though. That machine on Linux Emporium is really great and I’m probably gonna go for something like that next. This hopefully won’t be for a year or so though, my bank account couldn’t take it πŸ™‚

  5. I’ve just ordered a Dell XPS laptop and requested it to ship with no OS. They declined. I called up the OFT regarding issues I had with the invoice Dell sent (Β£51 for a ‘free’ printer, while the laptop cost Β£51 less than quoted over the phone – sneaky) and Dell have already refuse to cancel the order as I agreed to pay the overall price.

    I WILL NOT use Vista as my traffic modelling software does not run on Vista and I have an XP license (like everyone else).

    I am not in a hurry to use the laptop (thus I will not open it when it arrives until I sort this out) but is there ANY way I can get my money back for the Vista license??

    Thanks for your help.

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