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More on Dell Dropping Linux Support 392

Posted by timothy
from the company-politics dept.
coolgeek writes: "In this previous Slashdot story, we discussed Dell's claims of slow sales as their reason for dropping Linux support. (article on c|net News.com). Today, this article on Reuters news reports: 'Citing internal Microsoft memos, the nine states also said that in 2000 and 2001 Microsoft pressured Dell Computer Corp. into dropping plans to offer the open-source Linux operating system on some machines it sells.'" Update by HNQ: eWeek got more details about the memos. Update: 03/19 12:26 GMT by M : I think Hetz accidentally changed this story's setting when he added the update above. Fixed.
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More on Dell Dropping Linux Support

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  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @05:07AM (#3185869) Homepage

    ...a couple of years ago -- the machine arrived with Windows installed anyway -- even though I was not charged for it. Too bad, I wanted to see how Linux ships. Then I went on and installed FreeBSD, of course...

    • I ordered some servers from Dell with Redhat preinstalled. The servers were great, but I was unimpressed with the installs. I think Dell packed way too much crap on the server. Essentially everything was checked during install, so I had to go through and do a lot of ripping out to get it cleaned up.

      The best thing was that all of the driver support was there for the servers and everything worked right the first time.

      Bottom line is that I love Dell machines, but I'd rather install the OS myself anyway so that I know exactly how it wass installed, and what went on to the system.

      But that's just me...

  • by cyberformer (257332) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @05:10AM (#3185874)
    My guess is that the "poor sales" they referred to were actually poor sales of Windows (ie. only 99% of Dell PCs were shipping with Windows, as opposed to the 100% that is required in Gates's "competitive marketplace").


    I wonder if Dell will have anything to say. The article just has comments from the states and Microsoft.

  • Preloads... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by s390 (33540) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @05:11AM (#3185877) Homepage
    are Microsoft's air supply. They'll battle red in tooth and claw for preloads. But if they lose them, well... Windows is dead, we all know this.

  • by MrDoh! (71235)
    Oh come on.
    would this really be a surprise to ANYONE?
    if you was in charge of a Linux software co., wouldn't you wake up each morning wishing you could get the big manufacturers to pre-install Linux instead of Windows?

    Doh!
    • Re:Obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bero-rh (98815)
      if you was in charge of a Linux software co., wouldn't you wake up each morning wishing you could get the big manufacturers to pre-install Linux instead of Windows?

      If you rely on retail sales, definitely not.
      Someone who buys a box with Linux preloaded will usually not pay for a box containing the same OS, and a company preloading your distribution won't necessarily pay you anything (unless you make a proprietary distribution. Yuck.)
  • Dell (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @05:14AM (#3185881)
    Dell is dropping most of its support staff PERIOD. I was just laid off as a Dell Outsourcer, I had been working there 2 years putting myself through college. At least 10 sites of hundreds of techs just got laid off. As outsource agents, there was no big stink on the board and among stockholders because we were contracted, they probably don't even know about it.

    If you buy from those thieves (oh, the corporate memos I could recite), expect a nice long wait for tech support now..
  • Oh hurt me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Arker (91948) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @05:17AM (#3185887) Homepage

    Microsoft warned that the sanctions sought by the dissenting states would cause havoc in the computer industry and force the company to withdraw its Windows operating system from the market.

    This is hardly the first time they've 'threatened' to pick up their marbles and go home. They would like to portray themselves as a veritable Rearden Metals, but in fact Bill Gates has at least as much in common with Boyle as he does with Rearden.


    Would it really be such a disastrous thing if MSFT simply "withdrew from the market?" Hah. Doooonnnnn't throw me into that brer patch, whatever you do!


    The short term results would include a little disruption, opportunities for the quick witted but a bit of pain for the slow ones. Within a year the industry would be in much better shape though, one way or another. I can only hope MS would be stupid enough to actually carry through on that threat.

    • Re:Oh hurt me (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      B. Gates threatened to get out of the software business after he found people were sharing the BASIC interpreter he bought and branded M$ in the late 1970's. He swore everyone were thieves and pirates. XP and the wretched development tools are the end result of Paranoid Billy's Revenge On The Nerds.
  • [...snip...]
    Microsoft warned that the sanctions sought by the dissenting states would cause havoc in the computer industry and force the company to withdraw its Windows operating system from the market.

    "It will have a devastating impact on Microsoft. It will have a devastating impact on the PC ecosystem and particularly consumers," Webb said.
    [...snip...]

    Why? It's not like they have a monopoly on the PC OS market?!? Is it?!? :-) *insert heavy sarcasm here*
  • by unsinged int (561600) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @05:24AM (#3185898)
    "It will have a devastating impact on Microsoft. It will have a devastating impact on the PC ecosystem and particularly consumers," Webb said.

    Wow. We have an ecosystem? Cool. So for Microsoft this is just one of those predator-prey relationships gone horribly wrong..."when prey fights back" or some such possible Discovery channel title. I can't wait for the movie.
  • Linux on Laptops ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by gerddie (173963) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @05:24AM (#3185900)
    By the end of last year I wanted to buy a notebook. I asked Dell if I can get one with Linux pre-loaded, or at least without any OS. They answered, if I would by 100+ of them, then I could get Linux pre-loaded, and they were silent about the "no OS" option.
    So it seems they were not too eager, to support linux, at least here in Germany.
    • by nordaim (162919) <nordaim@yaPOLLOCKhoo.com minus painter> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @11:02AM (#3187016)
      When I bought my Inspiron 8000 from Dell right when they were released, at the peak of Dell's Linux push, I had a conversation with the Customer Service rep that went something like this:

      Me:Um, can you ship that with Linux on it?
      DS:No, due to a contractual obligation all
      personal machines must be shipped with
      Windows.
      Me:Can I have it shipped without an operating
      system? I am a student and want to be able
      to have linux on it so that I can program
      with it.
      DS:No, we can't do that.
      Me:Are you sure? I do not want to pay for
      windows since I am not going to use it.
      DS:Sorry, the best thing I can do is ship it
      with Windows ME, which will be the cheapest
      option.
      Me:Ah, hell, give it to me with ME and I will
      just wipe it when it gets here.

      It get's frustrating when companies that I have dealt with for ages, both personally and in business relationships, cannot give me what I want.
  • huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by epiphani (254981)
    I ordered probably around 8 rackmountable dell machines with redhat preinstalled in 2001. If M$ was pressuring them to avoid using linux, then they obviously didnt do a good job.

    • Re:huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Znork (31774)
      This was about stopping Dell from shipping Linux for desktop machines, not rack mountable servers.

      Microsoft knows that as long as they control the desktop they can eventually take the server market. After all, what good is a server if the clients wont talk to it? They know that the only thing that can ever imperil them is if they lose control over the desktop, because if they do lose control they're dead in a year or two.
      • "Microsoft knows that as long as they control the desktop they can eventually take the server market. After all, what good is a server if the clients wont talk to it?"

        Eh? I would disagree with that or rather say that is too simplistic a view to take, especially without giving any argument as to why it should be so. I'll take the simplistic examples that a vast proportion of "Web-Servers" are running Apache on anything other than Windows (they use Solaris, Linux...) but the vast majority of clients are on Windows.

        What is the real issue between the client/server relationship? I would say the answer is protocols. As long as you have open protocols like HTTP, SOAP, java-based etc. then the opersating system of client and server can be independent. Now, one could argue if a monopolised company took over the desktop market, they could be forced to use certain proprietary protocols that only work on proprietary servers. But Microsoft aren't gonna gamble that much with their monopoly. Notice their protocol of choice for .NET is SOAP which is an open protocol

        So open protocols means that the desktop OS won't take over the server OS

        • They dont have to gamble much. Take, for example, mail. 'Use Exchange. If you dont, we'll raise the price for your desktop support contracts'. Want to use Samba to reduce fileserver costs? Ooops, every time a new version of Windows is released things start inexplicably breaking. Authentication is another prime target for incompatibility... kerberos being a good example.

          Protocols can be corrupted, embraced and extended, or simply blackmailed around. Not to mention if the SSSCA gets passed and we get some form of DRM integrated, in which case they can have the clients simply refuse to talk to non-DRM capable servers, and have law on their side.
  • In unrelated news, Dell CEO Michael Dell was given a speeding ticket in a new Ferrari 360. When asked where he got the car, Dell responded "it fell off the truck". When asked for his liscence, he "accidentally" handed over his freshly-inked honorary MCSE. He was promptly arrested for assulting an officer of the law.
  • How Do They Know? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @05:27AM (#3185906)
    Do their figures include machines bought without operating systems or just the ones where they shipped RedHat with the machines?

    We've bought 10 Dell servers to run SuSE and I bet we're not alone.

    Normally there is no point paying people like Dell to install Linux for you anyway because they don't set it up how you want it.

    If you'll end up trashing it, setting up a decent partitioning scheme and reinstalling it then you might as well save a few quid on having them muck it up first.
    • On the desktop, it's a bit different. Most people will just use what came preloaded.

      Also most people just use a browser, email and an office suite, any distribution can accomplish that.

      • On the desktop, it's a bit different. Most people will just use what came preloaded.

        However in many cases what they get put in front of them is what their IT services department preloaded. What the OEM might or might not have shipped is irrelevent.
    • We've bought 10 Dell servers to run SuSE and I bet we're not alone.
      Normally there is no point paying people like Dell to install Linux for you anyway because they don't set it up how you want it.


      I'd say that most of the time the customer is anything other than either an individual or a very small corporate entity. The "there is little point paying them to set it up, because they won't do it right anyway" argument applies regardless of the OS.
      Wonder how many OEM preloades are overwritten without even being used once....
  • by rseuhs (322520) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @05:31AM (#3185914)
    First they quietly introduce Linux on desktops so that even their own salespeople don't know about it. Of course they only sell to the U.S. and not to Germany where Linux marketshare is several times higher.

    Then instead of quietly removing Linux-support, all online-newspapers are running a story about Dell dicontinuing Linux on the desktop.

    Am I the only one who thinks this is fishy?

    • Not as fishy as ... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NZheretic (23872)
      Posting an article to a non microsoft.* usenet newsgroup from news.microsoft.com before it was published on the web [google.com]

      I assume that posting and follow-up access to other newsgroups must be only for for "internal" Microsoft users.

      This is fine if he is just using it for providing support for Microsoft users in the local nz.comp newsgroup - but using it to post Anti-Linux FUD?

      Does it qualify as astroturfing? [tuxedo.org]

    • I had some fun with my Dell Rep when we needed to order ~10 computers. I insisted on p3 1Ghz (I don't care what anyone says, thats good enough for business use) - but the guy kept trying to get me to up to P4 1.7's, giving me the whole deal about how all my apps would run at blazing speed. I told him I knew exactly what I needed, and I wasn't in the mood, I just wanted to order my stuff. He kept telling me that the P4's where the best computer I can get for my money.

      I mentioned to him that I had no desire to get locked in to either RDRAM or SDRAM-P4s (ugh) ... and asked why they didn't offer AMD Athlons. So, he recited his intel brochure, then gives me the speil about what a great relationship Dell has with Intel, and how Intel outperforms AMD by large margins, and "no serious computer user would ever pick AMD."

      I asked for seperate ethernet cards (if you have experience with Dells you'll know why I did this) ... but he almost flatly refused! Stating "18 years of engineering has proven that Dell's built-in ethernet ports are the most reliable in the industry..."

      Then, I insited on Windows/Office 2k for all my boxen (Its our corporate standard), I really gave it to him - now I was pissed at this guy. I didn't want to get locked into licensing issues, didn't want activation (knowing damn well that the corporate edition is free from that stuff), had no new features. He kept pushing though, and in the end I cancelled the order out of disgust.

      (The next week someone else from our department called and ordered them, $1700+ for each P4 - talk about a rip off)
  • If there wasn't any pressure on Dell from Microsoft, why... then I'm a Republican !


    This is pretty clear evidence of anti-competitive behavior. My guess is that that 34 states still going after Microsoft are going to have a field day with this. They do have documents to prove the allegation.


    Note from the Reuters article: "Webb [Microsoft attorney] said the states' proposals ... were designed to benefit Microsoft's competitors."

    Golly Mr. Webb, an antitrust remedy is supposed to help the competitors who were harmed, that's the whole point !


    I really hate seeing criminals whining about their punishment, yank their bleeding charter. oh wait, they're chartered in Delaware - it'll never happen.

    • Jesus Christ. Your standard of evidence is "Well, I'm sure it must have been the case, so it's clear evidence". Talk about lynch law.

      And antitrust law is there to protect competition, not any individual competitor

      • Your second point is debatable/valid, but I'd want to check on the "legislative intent" on that one; maybe you already have.


        As to the first, besides being a vaguely ad hominem attack, read the article before flaming. From the Reuters article:

        "Citing internal Microsoft memos, the nine states also said that in 2000 and 2001 Microsoft pressured Dell Computer Corp. into dropping plans to offer the open-source Linux operating system on some machines it sells."


        That is clear evidence, clear enough for the purposes of a short slashdot comment anyway. It'd be a lot more clear if we saw excerpts from the email or, better yet, the whole document(s) the states are citing.


        By the way, accusing me of advocating lynch law is a bitch move. Say it to my face and I'd spit between your feet and walk away.

  • by mmusn (567069) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @05:56AM (#3185957)
    As far as I can tell, Dell has never made much of an effort to sell Linux on their machines.

    I have bought several Dell machines through work. You know: "workstations" for engineering and scientific applications. If that isn't where you would run Linux, I don't know where you would. Dell didn't sell Linux pre-installed on those machines. Our sales rep promised to credit us for Windows and ship the machines without an OS, but they ended up shipping with Windows anyway and charging us for it as well. Going through the hassle of sending the stuff back and refusing payment would have cost more than to just pay the Microsoft tax.

    If Dell has sold Linux on their PCs at all, it must have been on some low-end or mid-range machines that engineers probably wouldn't want anyway.

    As far as I can tell, Dell's Linux efforts were a publicity stunt of no real value. Perhaps Microsoft put them up to it so that they could point to some supposed "competition".

    • Perhaps Microsoft put them up to it so they then could discontinue it because of "low demand" with big blows and whistles?

      Just look at the Dell-advertisments. I've NEVER seen a non-Windows machine there. (also none for servers) Usually you would expect that a new product line would get some advertisment to get it going, wouldn't you?

    • by Frater 219 (1455) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:25AM (#3186434) Journal
      I have bought several Dell machines through work. You know: "workstations" for engineering and scientific applications. If that isn't where you would run Linux, I don't know where you would.

      That is where "you would run Linux". That is also where a few hundred scientists for whom I work run Linux ... on Dells. For a few years now, my employer (a hard-science research institution with about 1000 employees) has been recommending Dell workstations for scientists who want to run Linux. We continue to do so, and Dell continues to ship Red Hat 7.2 on Precision Workstation models and PowerEdge servers -- up to and including the highest-end systems such as the PowerEdge 8450.

      The whole "Dell quits shipping Linux" deal has applied to "some machines [Dell] sells," to quote the Reuters article. Specifically, Dell has dropped Linux on "desktop" systems such as the OptiPlex and Dimension models. It has not dropped Linux support on workstations or servers, which you can still quite easily purchase with Red Hat preinstalled -- or with no operating system at all, or even with Novell (ick) -- through Dell's online store. It's true that these workstations cost more than Dell's desktops; this is because they're faster and don't use cheap WinHardware (which doesn't work well in Linux anyway).

      (Looking over the number of Dell trademarks in this post, I feel compelled to make it clear that I don't get any money from recommending Dells. I just get fewer support hassles when my clients buy the same hardware rather than going to Joe's Discount PC Clones and Bait Shop.)

    • We bought some Dell poweredge machines about a year ago. The server setup CD has 3 OS options:
      • Windows 2000
      • Noell Netware
      • Red Hat Linux 6.2
      So yeah, they did make an effort in the server space, at least.
  • by Arimus (198136) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @06:02AM (#3185966)
    I'm running an old poweredge 6300 with RH 7.2.

    Under NT it is a pig to get going with juggling raid driver disks - even though this PEdge has just a standard Perc-2Si raid controller...

    With RH7.2 - no problems, 30 mins after starting I had a fully working linux box, 60 mins later a fully working PDC, DNS etc - normally with NT its the best part of a day getting the OS and all patches etc installed and working together (and then put exchange on and watch the whole thing vanish into a big pile of junk).

    Wonder whether Dell might reconsider and agree to provide linux on their servers given MS is such a pig to work with.
  • by IroygbivU (534043) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @06:07AM (#3185976)
    "It will have a devastating impact on Microsoft. It will have a devastating impact on the PC ecosystem and particularly consumers," Webb said.

    An 'ecosystem' implies biodiversity. The world operating system market is verging on monoculture. If anybody is the *weed* in this technological ecosystem, it would definately be Microsoft Windows. I say - bring on the devastation!
  • others besides Dell (Score:2, Interesting)

    by unsinged int (561600)
    I realize Dell has pretty huge exposure in the PC industry, so whatever they do people pay most attention to, but the fact is other companies have started offering Linux pre-installed on their computers. I'll cite Monarch Computer [monarchcomputer.com] as an example, from which you can get RedHat or Mandrake preinstalled as well as customize your entire order. There are several other companies like this...so stop complaining about Dell dropping Linux and start buying from other places that do offer Linux. If these companies start making enough profit off selling Linux computers, Dell and others will take notice and perhaps start offering it again.
    • The problem is that basically any vendor other than Dell is not going to have Dell's economies of scale, which means, for example, that they can't provide the corporation-wide service agreements that Dell can while beating Dell on price.

      The margin they have to work with is only the cost of Windows to Dell, which probably ain't much, and is probably made up for by the ruthless inventory efficiency that Dell is famous for.

      So, (1) any moderately large Linux-based competitor that tries to offer the kind of support Dell offers to corporate IT types will LOSE on price, not win, despite avoiding the Windows tax.

      (2) in order to become moderately large, in an attempt to capture economies of scale, these vendors will need a customer base bigger than Linux; hence, they will have to support Windows anyway, making it worse.

      Competing against Dell is a losing proposition.
  • DNARD (Score:2, Interesting)

    by T-Punkt (90023)
    Does anybody remember DEC's [compaq.com]
    Digital Network Appliance Reference Design aka "shark"?

    Microsoft pressured DEC to not sell it - otherwise they would drop support for NT/alpha (which they did anyway...). See here [nytimes.com] for the details.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    for an enterprising small company.

    Build a low end box and preinstall Linux on it so that it fully supports all the hardware. Aim at the $400.00 market, and a complete computer. This is very important, you need to demonstrate that you are cheaper than the competition. Charge for shipping but not handling.

    An Athlon 850 with 256MB of RAM, DVD Drive, 32MB nVidia video w tv out, 16 bit sound card and a 40 GB HD would be good. A network card, modem card and TV card would be nice too.

    Put open office on it so that it was 99% office compatible. Hell, that's all the early IMB clones were and they did alright. Build every package from source fully optimized for the platform. Build the kernel to fully support all hardware that comes with the box.

    Make it so that all anyone has to do is turn it on, fill in a few blanks, answer a few questions and they and their whole family each has a new account.

    Offer game packs of all the old Loki games for $50. (Or a transgaming game pack, anything to hook the kids.)

    Finally, have an update service to keep their software upto date and secure. You could also sell them TV and radio listings monthly to use to record their favorite shows. This box could be connected to a monitor and to the TV at the same time and show a DVD while someone did their homework on the monitor.

    The great thing is that you will only need to spend about $20,000 setting up the first box, then you can build as many boxes as you want for just the cost of the hardware and the manpower to assemble and test each one. No more license cost. That alone will save the user $75 per box and gain the manufacturer $25 per box extra income... The $100 that would have gone to Microsoft.

    If it ran Lindows, even better. Anything to ease people off their old machines, the better. Oh, and you need a utility to connect the new machine and their old machine with a serial cable, run some software on the old machine and transfer over all their old program files to be ran under Wine or Lindows.
    • by q-soe (466472) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @06:48AM (#3186054) Homepage
      www.lycoris.com

      lycoris offer desktop LX preinstalled on machines for $449.95 and laptops for $799.99.

      The pcs are HP and laptops IBM and they come with full tech support and OS support and warranty from manuf. the PC's are new and the laptops refurbished. The prices include shipping.

      PC

      Hewlett Packard PC
      Intel Celeron 700 Mhz Processor
      128MB RAM
      10GB Hard Drive
      8MB Integrated AGP Video
      48x CD-ROM Drive
      56k Modem or
      10/100 Ethernet Card (NIC)
      Keyboard
      Mouse
      Speakers
      Desktop/LX Amethyst
      1 Year Warranty from HP
      Monitor Sold Separately

      Laptop
      IBM ThinkPad 600E
      366Mhz Pentium II Processor
      AGP Graphics
      3.5 inch Disk Drive
      10 GB Hard Drive
      DVD ROM Drive
      128/256 Std/Max RAM
      Dual boot Desktop/LX Amethyst & Windows® 98
      13.3 inch TFT Active Matrix Screen
      56k voice/fax modem
      5 lbs. w/ battery
      Refurbished with 3 Months Limited Warranty from IBM

      And im sure there are more out there.

      PS on the Dell side i buy nothing but dell and i have never ever seen the linux links except on server products, the fact is that MS may have stopped them from doing or they may have not but from what i have seen Dell didnt exactly try hard in the first place and i suspect it was only ever an option to make them seem like they cared about choice. Dell have always been microsofts number one fan.

      Oh and this may be offtopic but on lindows im sorry but i personally believe its vapour ware and will believe it when i see it - a company charging $99 for Beta testers to get it is not a good sign and i have yet to come across anyone who has ever used it. Until i see it i wont believe it -for now its a pretty web site and 2 screenshots that could easily be forged. Micheal Robinson marketed MP3's before and now hes marketing linux and so far all i have seen is a lawsuit he knew would be the result of the naming and one i personally believe he went looking for.

      But more power to companies who ship linux preinstalled, i run lycoris and for a desktop OS its very very good.
      • lycoris offer desktop LX preinstalled on machines for $449.95 and laptops for $799.99.

        I went and looked at that; note that the laptop is actually a dual-boot machine, with some form of Linux and Windows 98. If what you're really looking for is the ability to buy a moderately priced laptop without paying a tax to Microsoft for an OS you won't use, this isn't it.

        -Rob

      • Sorry, but that machine has very little marketing potential.
        A $449 machine, without a monitor, and with the specs you mentioned just doesnt cut it, when you can buy something like this [gateway.com], at a very similar price.
  • by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <kcocknozzle@hotma i l . com> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @06:28AM (#3186018) Homepage
    ...I read this part of the article and couldn't help but wonder...If it's not the Feds, and it's not the dissenting states...who then, Superman?

    "The plaintiffs
    are not here to punish Microsoft," Sullivan said. "The plaintiffs' goals are to make Microsoft behave properly."

    The "remedy" phase of an anti-trust case is like the "penalty" phase of other criminal trials: It's when the punishment is meted out.

    So why aren't the plaintiffs seeking punishment? They should be there to punish Microsoft. Their goal is to solve the problem and prevent future violations of the law. If they aren't truly seeking punishment, then it strikes me the states might be hedging their bets: Waiting to see if the judge will enforce a harsh remedy (and face the wrath of the Bush administration and the Ashcroft goon squad.) If the judge won't do that, they'll be able to easily sell out for a cheap "PR Win" against MS where they settle and the majority of people who don't know enough about computers to care will say "Good, they took care of that Microsoft thing. Now I can go back to the net without worrying my porn will be cut off."

    It's also laughable to me that MS' lawyers can argue, with a straight face, that evidence of on-going criminal conduct is somehow "irrelevant" to the penalty phase of their trial. I do my best to avoid situational logic, so the best way to decide if this isn't a completely bullshit argument is to replace Microsoft with Lenny the Mobster.

    If Lenny the Mobster is charged with operating a sports book, and while out on bail on these charges (which he has since been convicted of,) he set up a NEW sports book, that would certainly seem like relevant evidence to me in considering whether the defendant had any intention of obeying the law in the future, and whether a stronger sentence might be needed to reform him.

    Microsoft should not get special treatment. Microsoft has broken the law. Multiple times. They have been convicted multiple times, despite doing everything they could to worm out of responsibility including:

    1) Lying (IE couldn't possibbly be unbundled)
    2) Buying off the Bush administration
    3) Buying off much of Congress

    If it was Lenny the Mobster charged with murder, racketeering, or anything else, they could (and have, in the past) use everything including the kitchen sink against him. Why does Microsoft deserve preferential treatment?

    MS is like a child, defiant to the last that it deserves no punishment. That's basically the argument they're presenting in court: They don't want to make the changes proposed by the dissenting states because those changes would end most of their monopolies in 6-18 months. MS seems to be arguing that there should be a lesser punishment simply because they say so.

    When this all works itself out, and MS is over (or sold, divested, whatever) there will be a collective hangover. Things will be weird for a few months, but ultimately more healthy.

    Think of it like ending a relationship with a crazy girl: Yeah, you lose great sex for a little while (millions of video games) but you also get all the heartache and bullshit of dating a crazy girl (autoexecution of VBScripts in emails, gaping web-server security flaws)...

    Yeah, it hurts at first, but ultimately you're a better, stronger person with (hopefully) an open, easy to use OS with lots of games, groovy programming environments, and other fun multimedia content the likes of which hasn't even been invented yet.

    In other words, the rich pageant of computing that's been prommised for the last decade, but never delivered by Microsoft.
    • Blockquoth the poster:

      The "remedy" phase of an anti-trust case is like the "penalty" phase of other criminal trials: It's when the punishment is meted out.

      Unfortunately, in anti-trust law, there is this (IMHO absolutely insane) doctrine, that the purpose of the law is purely remedial and not at all punitive. That is, you can only use anti-trust law to "correct" for the anticompetitive behavior of a company. You can't actually punish the company.


      I don't know why corporations are entitled to this wonderful exemption whereas your ordinary criminal is not, but apparently it's backed up by a hundred years of court decisions.

      • Unfortunately, in anti-trust law, there is this (IMHO absolutely insane) doctrine, that the purpose of the law is purely remedial and not at all punitive. That is, you can only use anti-trust law to "correct" for the anticompetitive behavior of a company. You can't actually punish the company.

        I'm not sure you can really seperate the two. If the judge wishes to "correct the monopoly," it has to be possibble to get Linux on a workstation from Dell and Gateway, and other mainstream manufacturers. The reason Microsoft put prsesure on Dell (to stay vaguely ontopic here) is that (whether accurate or not) Dell is seen by consumer-level buyers as a quality PC.

        Having Linux available on Dell systems could have legitimized (in the consumer-mind) something that Microsoft wished to keep on the fringe, Linux on the desktop.

        Anything that "corrects the monopoly" (or at least levels the OS playing field) will destroy Microsoft since, as numerous other posters have pointed out, nobody with large amounts of money to spend on OS and hardware really wants to buy Microsoft, they just sort of have to. In fact, few people besides Microsoft want them around at all.

        How else can you correct the monopoly? Keep in mind that MS has a track record of "settling" antitrust matters, only to violate said settlement when it is convenient to their business plan to do so.

        Fuck it, I'm moving to the Netherlands.
        • If the judge wishes to "correct the monopoly,"...

          Odds are, she doesn't. As has been pointed out elsewhere, simply having a monopoly is not illegal. The anti-trust remedy will not likely include a dismantling of the Windows monopoly. Rather, the ideal remedy (from a legal standpoint) will probably allow Microsoft to keep its monopoly position, but will "undo" the damages caused by the past abuses, and not allow any future abuses of that position.

  • 'Citing internal Microsoft memos, the nine states also said that in 2000 and 2001 Microsoft pressured Dell Computer Corp. into dropping plans to offer the open-source Linux operating system on some machines it sells.'

    On a related, dual-boot note: many laptop vendors install Windows XP with the NTFS filesystem taking all of the hard-drive. These laptops only have a restore-CD to put XP back and usually have only 1 restore option: XP for the entire drive. I'm sure Microsoft 'encourages' vendors to not distribute real XP install CD's with computers. This is a very nasty way of discouraging people from trying an alternative.

    A friend of mine recently bougth a Compaq Presario 1714AE and wanted to be able to dual boot and get to know linux. I did the install for her, starting with erasing the entire disk figuring I could restore XP on a smaller partition. I turned out the restore CD had only 1.5 MB of data on it. All the real restore data was on the second partition of the same hard-disk! (which I'd erased)

    So there was only on thing to do: intall only linux. Compaq does send a real restore-CD if you call their expensive support-line. The CD took four weeks to arrive and when it did, using it erased the entire harddisk again. There was no way to install XP from these CD's alongside linux. Absolutely no way. I spent an entire day trying many tricks. Even Partition Magic 7 could not shrinkt the NTFS partition on this machine.

    The good thing is that my friend is very happy with SuSE, which she preferred over XP. And she is no computer expert at all. She only has a problem with running CD-ROMs. DVD's work very well (after tweaking).

    She has now called Compaq again and demanded the real XP install CD's which she paid for. Compaq is clearly trying to delay things, unfortunately.

    • These laptops only have a restore-CD to put XP back and usually have only 1 restore option: XP for the entire drive.

      These kind of restore CD's arn't actually such a new idea.

      I'm sure Microsoft 'encourages' vendors to not distribute real XP install CD's with computers. This is a very nasty way of discouraging people from trying an alternative.

      This is old news, Microsoft's claim is that a proper install disk encourages piracy... Of course any real pirates have no problem getting hold of unlocked installs.
    • Compaq does send a real restore-CD if you call their expensive support-line. The CD took four weeks to arrive and when it did, using it erased the entire harddisk again. There was no way to install XP from these CD's alongside linux. Absolutely no way. I spent an entire day trying many tricks. Even Partition Magic 7 could not shrinkt the NTFS partition on this machine.

      I had something similar with my Vaio laptop. Try setting up 2 (C: and D:) ntfs partitions (along with your linux partitions), then install. If that doesn't work, set them up as 2 FAT partitions then change them to ntfs later if the recover CD allows. Best o'luck, YMMV, HTH, HAND.
  • Dell in the UK (Score:2, Informative)

    by SoundGuy666 (467270)
    Dell are still offering RH linux on workstations to UK buyers - maybe desktops too, I don't look that low down the £££ end ;)

    However, we do always of course rebuild it ourselves with a sensible partitioning scheme and our deparment's specced build.

    I think we have a discount with them if we buy our machines with linux instead of windows - £25 or something. Oh, and another £5 for going for a logitech 3-button mouse instead of the microsoft wheely one.

    One of the main benefits of having linux offered is that you can be pretty certain that all the hardware works under the latest RH release kernel. Which is reassuring, especially with some of Dell's wierd hardware.

  • Dell probably had very poor sales for Linux in the desktop segment. The people who buy these machines aren't the sort of people who would buy Linux - not because Linux isn't "ready for the desktop", but because they wouldn't know if it was.

    Until you see Red Hat adverts featuring people flying through the air over green fields extolling the virtues of Linux for home users, you're not going to see much in the way of uptake.

    The few people who do buy desktop boxen for running Linux are probably the kind of tech savvy people who already have Red Hat Linux CDs in the desk drawer and probably wouldn't want the default Dell install anyway.
    • Dell never made it easy to find how to buy a computer with linux preloaded. Right now, for example, you pretty much have to know to go to www.dell.com/linux first.

      The way it *should* have been done was to put Linux into the OS choice drop down list with something like * Red Hat Linux (-$100).

      Even now, if you go configure a Precision 340 workstation, you can't do this. You have to go to a start page like www.dell.com/linux and choose from the initial menu you want Linux. I have never seen a order page that gives a choice between Linux and Windows on the configuration screen. I'd love for someone to show me a URL to prove me wrong...

  • We only have Dell machines here at work and of course I've installed Linux on mine. I use it as a desktop workstation and as a database/http server. It has performed very good. No downtime since last summer (except when we had to cut the power globally).

    As a matter of fact I think Dell is a really good choice for running Linux (if you must go for a brand computer). I have also tried installing Linux on some Compaq machines. Many many hardware related problems. Stay away from those Compaq machines! That's a warning.

    Ciryon
  • I think we should have at least the choice of buying computer hardware WITHOUT any OS. M$ will complain about piracy, but now everybody know (I hope) there are other choices which don't imply in copying commercial SW (like FreeBSD and GNU/Linux).

    • I'm surprised that nobody has seriously considered this as the remedy for the entire case in the first place!

      That way, everyone will know up front how much each operating system costs and choose accordingly.

      However, given the current state of Linux I doubt many people will choose it over Windows, given that Windows has 85% of the market for desktop operating systems. I don't think things will improve until Linux gets Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) support, which will allow hardware additions and driver updates to go much more smoothly than it is now.

      Also, I hate to say this (and I know I'll get modded way down for this :-/ ) but Linux has to eventually converge on a single GUI interface, which will save a lot of hassles for both end users and IT managers.
      • ACPI support just went into the 2.5 kernel, but considering I'm a programmer yet don't even know what it does (I dual boot Mandrake 7.1 & Win 98SE on a Dell 266MHz PII), I can't say I'm very excited about it.

        Having just been through installing a cheap OEM (computergeeks.com) TV card in my PC, I can honestly say that it was massively easier to do so in Linux than in Windows, beacuse the Linux drivers are much more flexible - one size fit's all vs having Windows incorrectly second guess which of many versions of drivers for similar cards was called for.
  • Lap dogs of intel
    Piss boy for microsoft.
    Dell is the market leader.

    Whatever.

    Michael Dell must feel 2 inches tall. No wonder he has stopped making speeches. 9 in 2000, 3 in 2001, the last was a year ago. I'd hide my head in shame too.

    How can they be a market leader when they put themselves in the pockets of their suppliers. No wonder their margins ar so slim. They're cutting their own options. I smell a minority shareholder lawsuit.

    As mach pain as HP will be in after the Compaq fiasco, At least a leader may emerge with some spine. If Carly stays on, you can bet she will gun for dell. If not, look at Gateway.

    For that matter look at me and you. Anyone can build a PC, and honest smart companies can move up fast.
  • The Linux boxes that Dell Europe sells cost about $70 more than the
    same box with Microsoft Windows 2000. As that's about the price of
    the Red Hat Linux Dell installs, this suggests that you're paying for
    the Windows license anyway, and then extra for Red Hat.

    When I asked Dell Europe about this, they said my observation was
    incorrect, they claimed the difficult production process of installing
    Linux warrants this extra cost. Installing Linux in the US is much
    easier than it is in Europe, and the market in the US is bigger, hence
    the extra cost here. Also, while it's possible to buy a system with
    Linux as it's advertised on the website, they can't give any guarantee
    or indication how long the delivery process will take, or how easy it
    will be because of drivers etc. That's no big surprise, in Europe all
    systems Dell sells (advertises?) have nVidea graphics cards...

    Anyway, I got the advise to buy a Windows 2000 system, because that's
    cheaper and quicker.
  • Servers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DarkWarriorSS (518859)
    I was just pricing servers for my uncle's business that he's starting up, I happen to see that the servers(now we're talking Itainium (sp?) or large 4+ way Xeon servers) are selling with Linux, mainly RedHat 7.2 on the OS list. Yes, they still have the Win2k, and WinNT OSs listed, but they also have RedHat, or the No OS option. So on the server side, yes, they still have some linux in there. On the workstation/home machines, I think you can forget about it.
  • I spent over an hour on the phone with a Dell salesman, trying to tell them I didn't want Windows or the MS Office/MS Works bundle, and would take Linux or no OS instead.

    They offered me a $200 discount and said I could return the Microsoft CDs if I wanted, but would get the discount even if I changed my mind and kept them. They offered to include the discs but not install the Microsoft software. But they would not sell me an Inspiron 8000 laptop without Linux.

    I eventually gave up and said that I wasn't ordering if I couldn't have Linux or no OS at all. Neither the salesman nor his immediate supervisor could complete the sale, and I spent my $3500 elsewhere.

  • Buy IBM (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Khazunga (176423)
    IBM has just surpassed Sun in server sales, and sells pretty good Linux boxes. I have a datacenter of IBM xSeries servers, and apart from a severe disk problem, now gone, I find IBM servers fantastic.

    The top two players in the server market sell Unix based solutions. Dell is playing M$'s game, hoping to ride the Microsoft rollercoaster to the top. It *is* a smart move, since the alternative involves doing some real effort to provide some real service.

    I don't know how is Dell in the US. Here (Portugal), I asked for a quote on their site (when purchasing the datacenter hardware). They took the better part of two weeks to answer, sending me a proposal in MS Word format and written in Spanish. No excuse for the delay, and no excuse for not using my native language or English. By that time, I had narrowed negotiations to IBM and Sun, and was closing contract with IBM. I dropped Dell, didn't answer them, and overall came out with a very bad impression of their service.

  • Don't buy a Dell. Of course, the only way to evade the Microsoft Tax is to buy your PC in pieces. And MS would love for companies where you buy components to force you to buy a copy of Windows with the motherboard, as you could not possibly have any other legitamate use for the machine. Quite a few of us build our own PCs anyway. Laptop people are out of luck, unless you go for the Powerboook and pay the OSX tax (I'd do that anyway, but that's just me.)

    I wouldn't buy Dell on general principles anyway, having had a bad technical support experience with them in the early '90's. Shipped a client in West Memphis, Arkansas a Dell, having been told that Dell had next day technical support and having bought the machine explicitly for that feature. When the hard drive went plotz within a week, we called Dell and they told us that they could ship the client the drive the next day, but because the client was in West Memphis, AK, the support guy wouldn't be there for 2 days. Had our client been located in Memphis, TN (Right across the fucking river) he could have been there the same day. Doesn't sound like a big deal? It was to our client; we lost a contract over that one, and neither I nor that company ever did business with Dell again.

  • Well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by tweakt (325224) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:46AM (#3186560) Homepage
    Dude! I'm not gettin' a Dell!
  • Don't laugh - they have some excellent deals:

    How about a 1GHz Microsoft-free PC for $399!

    Or 1.4GHz of Athlon blasting goodness for $499!

    Wallyworld computers dot com [walmart.com]
    • So let's see... buy a monopolisticOS-free computer from a megaRetailCorporation that forces locally owned businesses out of business. Gosh, where can I sign up? Do you think we can get McDonald's hamburgers on the way home?
  • by StarTux (230379) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:02AM (#3186669) Journal
    Not so much because they ship crappy code, they can do that all decade long for all I care.

    What I care about is innovation, competition and the rights of business to conduct business the way they see fit.

    Unfortuantly, when you get a monopoly they conduct business in ways to make sure no-one else thrives, hence the "PC ecosystem" becomes dominated by one predator who won't let any other threat to its dominance survive. Indeed a company within the "PC Ecosystem" that starts to thrive becomes a viable meal for the predatory MSFT (the next version of Windows is then likely to feature the same or similer product bundled within its confines, nbecause its proven itself to be popular). As for bundling, well this goes without saying; the PC ecosystem employed by MSFT is in actuality an "MS ecosystem".

    Too much damage has already been done by them, advertantly and maybe inadvertantly. Really hope the 9 states get a lot of what they want, but the release of the Windows source might be a little too much. Perhaps having every MSFT business dealing with the OEMs public and scrutinized might help, and indeed having many formats opened up with the stipulation that changes need to be documented well in advance.

    We'll see what happens. But for these anti-competitive and innovation stifling measures its the only reason I dislike them.

  • That's why build to order software became so popular in 2000. But either way, with all the Microsoft .dlls required to run Linux nowadays how can dropping the non Microsoft software still be considered a separate act?
  • The Republicans/Democrats finally got their money. Once this latest bout of bureacracy works its way through the system, Microsoft will go free.

    Anti-trust litigation is just a tool for politicians to mess with big businesses that haven't paid their dues. The ones that pay go free. The ones that don't suffer the consequences.

    If the American people really didn't want Windows, they would stop buying it. My sister uses a Mac. I use Linux. My other sister and my dad use Windows. What's the problem?

    If Dell can be pressured by Microsoft to drop Linux support, that's Dell's problem. They could never pull that against IBM, for example.

  • would be the creation of four different operating systems running 10 different middleware products. Thousands of applications would need retesting, as they would need to be certified on "4,096 different versions of Microsoft products," Webb said.

    Translation: Giving up our monopoly status would cost us too much money in testing alone, so just let us continue on, unchecked, ok?

  • The One Surprise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 4of12 (97621) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @11:40AM (#3187400) Homepage Journal

    is not so much the strong arm tactics that MS was using to thwart the growth of a competing operating system, but that they actually had memos and such concrete evidence of the fact.

    I would have expected such thrusts to be communicated verbally to Dell so as to avoid this kind of embarrassment. Any written records could refer to "our joint efforts to establish a mutually successful partnership team" and other such drivel that would be understood to include the verbal tenets of the agreement.

    I mean, any drug dealer knows these things.

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