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Dell To Offer Windows-Less PCs 588

An anonymous reader submits: "As a follow-up to the Slashdot story Dell No Longer Selling Systems w/o Microsoft OS, is reporting that Dell will sell systems without Windows. Microsoft's new licensing terms stipulate they can't sell PC's without an OS (hence the removal of the NoOS option), so Dell will be offering FreeDOS as an option for some computers. It will come with the computer, but not installed, so that users may install any other OS that they wish. It's a very creative interpretation of Microsoft's licensing terms, and one I imagine Microsoft didn't have in mind."
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Dell To Offer Windows-Less PCs

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  • by klieber ( 124032 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @09:15AM (#4069352) Homepage
    1. The systems will cost just as much as if you'd ordered them with Windows in the first place.

    2. They're aimed primarily at large companies and won't, for the most part, be available to consumers via Dell's web site. (their workstations will, but not the generic line of optiplexes.

    Given point 1, I fail to see how this is a Big Deal, other than the obvious snub at Microsoft.


  • by SuperCal ( 549671 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @09:25AM (#4069469) Homepage
    They do offer a dist. I think it is Red Hat. Dell had three options to fill different needs. The first is Windows, which is the most expensive option for people who want all the hard stuff done for them. Second is RedHat which is less costly, but required some work to learn. To make it easier they had linux tech support though RedHat. Finally Dell offered a No OS computer do customers who wants to the least expensive option at the expense of being required to do all the work in both installing and supporting the Free OS of their choice.
    It was this final option that MS's new policy removed. Dell now simply uses FreeDOS as a loophole to replace the third option.
  • by hoggy ( 10971 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @09:31AM (#4069519) Homepage Journal
    No, and that's the point. They don't have to support it.

    Connectix do something similar with VirtualPC for Mac. They sell various ludicrously expensive editions with different Microsoft operating systems and then they sell an el-cheapo, electronic download, version bundled with PC-DOS.

    No-one wants PC-DOS, but if you just want the plain app to install your own OS on it, that's the cheapest option. It allows them to stick to Microsoft's anti-competitive policies, but still give people the choice to do what they want.

    The installer even has an "Install Application Only" option so you don't even have to delete PC-DOS afterwards ;-)
  • Let's face the facts (Score:5, Informative)

    by coryboehne ( 244614 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @09:34AM (#4069547)
    Microsoft can do pretty much whatever they want and most people and company's just don't really care all that much, however this last move was a bit too far and most definately an example of anti-competitiveness rather than the anti-piracy measure they would have you beleve it to be. However not being able to buy a PC without an OS is not a concern for the mass majority of people. Now, we're all /.'s and we definately care a great deal about this, mostly just because we're all nerds and geeks who like to install an OS for the fun of it, but another perfectly valid reason for our caring (and in my opinion more important) is the fact that it seems Microsoft is trying to be a bully agian and we are all just really, really tired of that position from MS, as a matter of a fact if they started to act decent I might actually have a few good things to say about them.
  • Re:Go Dell! (Score:5, Informative)

    by rseuhs ( 322520 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:24AM (#4069855)
    In real life, MS did very little.

    IBM gave them the OS-monopoly on preinstalled IBM-PCs back in 1981.

    After that, they just followed the industry and were late on every computer related motion there was. The GUI, multitasking the transition to 32 and 64 bits are things where Microsoft was always very late. Bill Gates assured us in 1993 that he's not interested in the Internet for example.

    That's pretty much it. Everybody would have made billions with that monopoly. actually Microsoft are not evil genuises, they are just lucky and pretty incompetent.

  • Of Course..... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Scudsucker ( 17617 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:35AM (#4069938) Homepage Journal
    Mircrosoft would not:

    Put a clause in their EULA that states that consumers could get refunds for installed copies of Windows if the consumer disagreed with the license, only to turn around and violate that license when the consumer requested his refund.

    Name their PDA operating system in such a way that an abbreviation forms a word for a reaction to pain.

    Fake a demonstration of how badly Windows is impared when Internet Explorer is removed for an anti-trust trial, and get caught.

    And Microsoft would absolutely, positivly, not spend a couple hundred million marketing their upcomming consol system only to find out that someone else owned the trademark.

    Yes, Microsoft thinks of everything.

  • by edxwelch ( 600979 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:40AM (#4069980)
    I remember reading something from Gateway's testimony in the recient court case, that Microsoft gets money for each PC that they sell, even if no MS OS is installed. read here: article&node=&contentId=A17256-2002Mar25&notFound= true "Among these, he said, is a prohibition on manufacturers from selling computers without any operating system, or a license for one. Fama said this forces computer makers to pay Microsoft royalties for the license regardless of whether its Windows operating system was installed."
  • by Amazing Quantum Man ( 458715 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @11:55AM (#4070519) Homepage
    If they do, they are in direct violation of the 1995 consent decree, signed by Microsoft.

    From the consent decree [], IV.C: "Microsoft shall not enter into any Per Processor License."
  • by sendai-X ( 572884 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @01:09PM (#4070977)
    I recently went through this issue with Dell when I bought a laptop from them about a month ago. Dell would not sell me a laptop with Linux unless I bought 10 or more. They would also not sell me a laptop with out an OS. However this is not a Microsoft licensing thing. In fact it is a requirement of the Interational Standards Organization. Dell does not actually build their machines but has a group of companies contraced to do it. As part of this, Dell requires their contactors to be certified under an ISO Manufacturing Standard (I dont know the number). This Manufacturing Standard states that Dell may not sell a computer without an OS. The guy explained to me that this is a requirement as they must quality inspect each machine with an installed OS and then send that machine out in its current state. I hate MicroBorg as much as the next guy, but this time they are in the clear.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990