Dell drops support for Ubuntu on its website

The Linux users of the world who want to take the platform mainstream have been dealt a serious blow by Dell.  Dell has pulled Ubuntu offerings from its website but will still allow systems with Ubuntu to be sold but only through its call centers. 

According to the Telegraph.co.uk, Dell states that “had decided to remove the Ubuntu machines from its online sales channel because the platform was better suited to advanced users and computing enthusiasts.”  While Dell will not completely kill off the Ubuntu, it makes the operating system far less visable by not being on its website.

As Dell states that the platform is better suited for its advanced users and computing enthusiasts, it’s clear that they will no longer market the OS as a direct alternative to the casual consumer.  Essentially, this will kill off a lot of potential for the OS because Dell is no longer advertising it as an option on its website. With less viability to the general consumer, its one less option they have for their computing needs. 

The news comes at a conflicting time as Dell has previously voiced its support for the platform.  In June, Dell had stated that Ubuntu was safer than Windows.  They based this on the fact that most malware and hackers target Windows based machines. 

Thanks for the tip rtire  

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

HTC to build Sense into Windows Phone 7 devices

Next Story

Street Figher X Tekken & Tekken X Street Fighter games announced by Capcom

82 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Selling PC's built with Linux to consumers is more of a problem than an advantage. The Carphone Warehouse learned this about a year ago when they started selling Netbooks with Linux Operating Systems - customers saw the lowest price (which is what consumers are drawn to) and they just bought that one after seeing a seemingly identical one for an extra £100 or so.

But what they didn't realise was that they got no support for the system, and any premium-rate support only covered these systems for damage, and there was no technical support offered.

Because of that, they could not get the systems to work they way they wanted (and a lot of people simply don't have the time nor the patience to get things working) adn they returned them. That means a big problem for the retailer, and soon after they decided to drop all Linux systems and just use the more expensive Windows ones.

People were happy with this, and return rate went right down. They learned their lesson, but they told everyone why. It's not the same reason as Dell, but it still makes sense.

My wife uses Ubuntu for internet surfing and email. She has no problems with it.
There is definitely a market out there for people who just want to keep it simple.

this its bad news, it will change ubuntu in a future to support of dell laptops, right now almost everything works out of box (except wifi which i have to download a driver)

Good. The Linux community doesn't need more 'tards asking whether they can install Windows applications without understanding the operating system's limitations/advantages. It makes sense to make the curious ones place a special order to receive this.

Although, "Dell states that 'had decided to remove the Ubuntu machines from its online sales channel because the platform was better suited to advanced users and computing enthusiasts.'"

What? Advanced users don't need Ubuntu pre-installed. If you were computerate, I would imagine you'd want to install Ubuntu yourself to avoid the extra bloat Dell is adding on top of the original bloat.

There were probably non-tech people looking to save $30, bought the machine and were later calling Dell support too much or returning the machine once they found out it doesn't work like their previous machines.

helios01 said,
There were probably non-tech people looking to save $30, bought the machine and were later calling Dell support too much or returning the machine once they found out it doesn't work like their previous machines.

My guess people thought Ubuntu was another Windows version.
Windows - Ubuntu Ultimate, now with more open source

I guess they are sick of getting calls from Linux newbies asking how to do this and that... Kinda funny as Ubuntu is meant to be easy!

Phixion said,
I guess they are sick of getting calls from Linux newbies asking how to do this and that... Kinda funny as Ubuntu is meant to be easy!

It's only easy if you pay attention and want to learn. Most people don't.

Temperingpick said,

It's only easy if you pay attention and want to learn. Most people don't.

Right. Someone who just spent a couple hundred dollars on a computer expecting it to just work (like their friends' computers) has to sit down and learn all over again. You sir make me laugh. Another Linux apologist.

LiquidSolstice said,

Right. Someone who just spent a couple hundred dollars on a computer expecting it to just work (like their friends' computers) has to sit down and learn all over again. You sir make me laugh. Another Linux apologist.

What? I don't use Linux for desktop. I can't stand it. I don't want to spend my time wondering why my Wi-Fi card isn't working.

Ubuntu is pretty good, I revived an older laptop and made it an Ubuntu box and it runs very well and I have not encountered many bugs. It has come a long way and pretty easy to use. It may never be mainstream but I am glad for some choices

I don't see this as a problem for consumers that want to use Ubuntu. They will research the options, and call in to get Ubuntu pre-installed. This is, however, a problem with the evangelists, who are consumers that want other people to use Ubuntu.

Unless you're a developer, Ubuntu's support is the worst thing to ever exist. For God's sake, they don't even answer in their own forums. so much for 'big community suport'.

And Google won't help as well.

Glendi said,
Unless you're a developer, Ubuntu's support is the worst thing to ever exist. For God's sake, they don't even answer in their own forums. so much for 'big community suport'.

And Google won't help as well.

I heard that the replies are abrasive and elitist, something like "STFU N00b!!!". How can Linux be accepted with a culture like that?

thenonhacker said,

I heard that the replies are abrasive and elitist, something like "STFU N00b!!!". How can Linux be accepted with a culture like that?

And this is Ubuntu, supposedly the most consumer-friendly Linux. I mean, just imagine what'd happen if they bundled Debian ...

Glendi said,
Unless you're a developer, Ubuntu's support is the worst thing to ever exist. For God's sake, they don't even answer in their own forums. so much for 'big community suport'.

And Google won't help as well.

Please remember the Ubuntu Forums are purely volunteer supported. This means that everyone reading those forums may not have had your problems or be familiar with your issues. People can't help you if they don't know the answer. If you find community support isn't what your after you can always purchase support from canonical.

TomJones said,

And this is Ubuntu, supposedly the most consumer-friendly Linux. I mean, just imagine what'd happen if they bundled Debian ...

thenonhacker said,

I heard that the replies are abrasive and elitist, something like "STFU N00b!!!". How can Linux be accepted with a culture like that?

As a moderator at ubuntuforums.org I highly advise you to take a look at the forums yourself instead of listening to rumors.

Mrs_Angel_D said,

Please remember the Ubuntu Forums are purely volunteer supported. This means that everyone reading those forums may not have had your problems or be familiar with your issues. People can't help you if they don't know the answer. If you find community support isn't what your after you can always purchase support from canonical.

As a moderator at ubuntuforums.org I highly advise you to take a look at the forums yourself instead of listening to rumors.

Right, I need to pay money for a supposedly touted free operating system because I can't find support from the endless power of COMMUNITY OMFFFGGG.

Not a chance. The Ubuntu Forums NEVER helped me one bit, with @$$holes constantly telling me to do a search or insulting me.

LiquidSolstice said,

Right, I need to pay money for a supposedly touted free operating system because I can't find support from the endless power of COMMUNITY OMFFFGGG.

Not a chance. The Ubuntu Forums NEVER helped me one bit, with @$holes constantly telling me to do a search or insulting me.

There is no supposed free Ubuntu is free, you nor I have to pay a dime to download install it or run it. The forums are a separate project, started by a group of people who enjoyed using Ubuntu/Linux. The fact that it has well over 1million members is a testament to the community the FORUMS provide, not the OS.

There is a wealth of FREE information on the web and in books about how to use Ubuntu/Linux if you find that to be to troublesome for you then yes by all means pay for the support that Canonical offers. Canonical is a company and they need to make money as well, the do that by providing commercial support packages.

So in the end you still paid nothing for your OS. By contrast you MUST pay for Microsoft Windows and if you want extra support for it you MUST pay for that separately it doesn't come free.

Edited by Mrs_Angel_D, Aug 25 2010, 8:34am :

Grrr...

But they will add it back eventually, Windows is a sinking ship - Ubuntu, and Linux in general, is rising like a rocket!

Tpiom said,
Grrr...

But they will add it back eventually, Windows is a sinking ship - Ubuntu, and Linux in general, is rising like a rocket!

haha omg i just peed a little in my pants. Thanks alot.

Tpiom said,
Grrr...
But they will add it back eventually, Windows is a sinking ship - Ubuntu, and Linux in general, is rising like a rocket!

Well, big corporations may not see things the way *you* do.
Windows is bigger than ever, and percentage-wise Linux has made virtually no progress in over a decade on the Desktop. Many/most of their customers expect to run their favorite Windows programs (such as Office or Adobe products), even when they don't run Windows. So why bother with anything other than Windows?

Linux was costing them BIG. Cost for support, cost for angry customers who didn't know what they were getting themselves into, cost for returned-computers with that "linux crap" on it, etc.

Tpiom said,
Grrr...

But they will add it back eventually, Windows is a sinking ship - Ubuntu, and Linux in general, is rising like a rocket!

In denial!

Dell seem to be going through a most bizarre suicide phase at the moment. My company have being buying predominantly Dell servers PC's and Laptops for over 10 years. Recently speaking to my accounts manager, she quoted me higher prices than I could buy from the web site. They no longer seem to want to sell PC's. I contacted senior regional accounts management, she was full of "double think" and as good, told me to go to the competition - INCREDIBLE. Dell are going to be laying people off if they carry on the way they are - I have sympathy for the lowly sales staff.

We took Dell's advice, and started buying Asus Intel Atom "nettops" at £190 and Acer eMachines laptops at less than half Dell rip-off prices. Dell are going to go down the pan pretty quickly if they talk to their customers as the way they spoke to me. Dell are a total joke, shame really because their servers were quite good and competitively priced. Good luck to any Dell employees reading this!

Anyone who's going to use Linux is just going to install it themselves, so I don't see the huge issue. Ubuntu is easier than most distros, but regular folk who would buy a Dell PC wouldn't have a clue where to find their files or even mount their other drives. It was cool of them to offer it, but I'm sure it just caused a tech support hassle from people who thought they could save a few bucks sans Windows fee.

radwimp said,
Anyone who's going to use Linux is just going to install it themselves, so I don't see the huge issue.

I agree that it probably was a support nightmare. Having my own battle with Ubuntu 10.04 and broadcom wifi drivers, I know where Linux can take a bit of patience. I think the main complaint is that if someone wants a new box running Fedora or Suse, they'll have to pay for Windows as part of the price of their new PC. They could have previously chosen Ubuntu without upping the price.

I have earnestly tried Ubuntu 9 and Ubuntu 10 in the recent months. However it is too limited in it's ability to duplicate Windows functionalities I grew accustomed to and rely on every day to get my work done. Skype...forget it ( newest Linux Skype client is a 5r+ yr old beta) Skypemate - forget. Multimedia is weak in Linux..videos are more like slide shows and simple smooth mp3 playback is hard to find in Ubuntu....decent webcam software for Ubuntu..good luck. I advise folks who are happy & comfortable with Windows and can get ALL their work done with no muss or fuss..to AVOID Linux distros since by comparison they are very antiquated compared even to Windows 95. In particular the 1980's-ish CLI commands required for many common Linux tasks (like routine software updates) is effexctive but not anywhere as user-friendly as Windows or Mac. Windows 7 is like a 2010 Cadillac while switching to Linux would be like trading that Caddy in on a 1956 VW Beetle.

Um, when was the last time you used Ubuntu? Most distros have GUI update clients. For MP3 playback and Flash all you need to do is install ubuntu-restricted-essentials. Boom, you have Java, Flash, MS-Core-Fonts, DVD and MP3 playback. Webcam software, Cheese is good.

Probably nothing more, nothing less than a move to cut costs / maintain profits in bad economic times... if they were making loads of cash off *nix systems they'd work out or thru any prob -- same thing if they saw it as something like netbooks, which with reduced margins *might* be considered a necessary evil.

The obvious thing to do would be to allow an option of buying a machine without an OS, but of course their contracts with Microsoft don't allow them to do that. According to Microsoft, selling a computer without an OS promotes piracy!

roadwarrior said,
The obvious thing to do would be to allow an option of buying a machine without an OS, but of course their contracts with Microsoft don't allow them to do that. According to Microsoft, selling a computer without an OS promotes piracy!

Who will buy computer without an OS anyway ?
most of the "normal" people don't know how to install OS and make it full with the crapware Dell installs.

roadwarrior said,
The obvious thing to do would be to allow an option of buying a machine without an OS, but of course their contracts with Microsoft don't allow them to do that. According to Microsoft, selling a computer without an OS promotes piracy!

I'd like that too, but if support costs for preinstalled Linux were an issue, shipping out computers without an OS has the potential to be a support nightmare. I just installed 10.04 on my old laptop this weekend, and spent about an hour and a half getting the wifi working. I eventually did get the proprietary drivers set up and activated correctly, but even the Win 7 beta did this all automatically. I could see people without the patience required trying to install Linux returning their PC, claiming a broken piece of hardware, when they just don't have the drivers set up correctly.

roadwarrior said,
The obvious thing to do would be to allow an option of buying a machine without an OS, but of course their contracts with Microsoft don't allow them to do that. According to Microsoft, selling a computer without an OS promotes piracy!

And that is wrong *why*?

The most popular cracks and workarounds for pirated flavors of Windows (globally, and especially in North America) involve large-OEM licensing; Dell and HP in particular, as they sell their computers globally, and in enough system configuration mixes that even support gets them mixed up, are the most commonplace among pirated licenses in use. (That very large mix of configurations has also made traditional anti-piracy methods used by large OEMs, including Dell, HP, and even Lenovo, either extremely difficult, or simply impossible to implement; instead, these same OEMs and VAR are now using multiple-license schema, even for the same flavor of Windows. This actually saved Lenovo's bacon when one of their key schemas leaked, and was promptly used to pirate Windows 7; Lenovo and Microsoft blacklisted that particular schema, which had not been used in volume. [Those systems that had been sold that were affected were provided, at Lenovo's expense, with a new license.] Lenovo is also among the largest no-OS OEMs, and the largest such OEM outside the US in terms of portable computers.)

Also. look at the nations were Linux has been getting the greatest push, and *why* it's getting that push. In most cases, price/cost is FAR down the list of reasons and motives.

I want linux to success but it is not good enough for everyday use yet. I used it. Test it. New ubuntu looks ok by copying Mac OS feels and colors etc. But, it is not enough. Applications crash more than in Windows. Anyone who uses Windows 7 knows best.

One time, after the system update, the system got corrupted and give a black screen of death. There is no way to get back to the GUI. Also, there is not enough good software. If there is, it is very ugly and the GUI is terrible. Installing software from the software center is extremely slow. In many cases, you have to install by hand in terminal, easy but yuck! time wasting (<-- you should agree with me on this). In 21th Century, Linux still throws in the users' faces a pile of DOS-like text command. This is just beyond ........

In conclusion, I can understand this Dell's move. Linux can be good for amateur business who want to save money or big and small web hosting service company. Linux is not good enough for normal users.

Exactly.

Linux is a self-help solution. I can afford to toy with Linux, and spend the whole day in Google on how to make the sound drivers work. But the Joe the Plumber can't do that.

thenonhacker said,
<strong>Exactly.

Linux is a self-help solution. I can afford to toy with Linux, and spend the whole day in Google on how to make the sound drivers work. But the Joe the Plumber can't do that.</strong>

Exactly, instead of enjoy using my computer, I often have to spend whole day on Google like you to solve many problems that Linux has. To make it run normal, look good, etc. I know it is a time-wasting disease.

Some geeks may argue that because I am stupid. But, do they know how much IT education and achievement I got from college and personal research? Linux has many many problems but the biggest problem is that they make it overly unnecessarily complicated to solve problems.

satus said,

Exactly, instead of enjoy using my computer, I often have to spend whole day on Google like you to solve many problems that Linux has. To make it run normal, look good, etc. I know it is a time-wasting disease.

Some geeks may argue that because I am stupid. But, do they know how much IT education and achievement I got from college and personal research? Linux has many many problems but the biggest problem is that they make it overly unnecessarily complicated to solve problems.

Yeah so I guess the past 1yr that I've been using it, and having it just work account for nothing. Yes Linux has some problems just like windows has some problems. The problem is when people try to put linux on windows only compatible hardware.

I went out and bought a Linux friendly desktop, it was delivered to me I installed Kubuntu and everything worked out of the box, no hours in google, no need to hang out in a forum trying to figure out why it would wouldn't work, because it just worked.

Mrs_Angel_D said,

Yeah so I guess the past 1yr that I've been using it, and having it just work account for nothing. Yes Linux has some problems just like windows has some problems. The problem is when people try to put linux on windows only compatible hardware.

I went out and bought a Linux friendly desktop, it was delivered to me I installed Kubuntu and everything worked out of the box, no hours in google, no need to hang out in a forum trying to figure out why it would wouldn't work, because it just worked.

But this is fiction. 'Windows compatible' hardware means nothing, especially when you are talking about Linux that is supposed to be FAR MORE capable of supporting odd hardware.

As for it just working, this has never been true, and even for you would never be true. Buy an off the shelf bluetooth dongle or a wifi adapter and find how it doesn't just work.

As for stability, it is a weird time in computing history when a closed hardware OS like Android with a Managed set of libraries running the applications crash (FC) more than they do on your windows desktop that is running far more complex software on far more complex hardware.

People really over-estimate the design of Linux with its inherent problems that its kernel design has when dealing with new technology. Instead of a few adjustments, everything has to be rewritten or massive band-aid type solutions have to be applied for it to handle new technology, which is also the state case of *nix in general.

People have always ****ed on Windows, but they have under-estimated the NT kernel design, and the benefits of a multi-layered client/server kernel API that is object based is FINALLY making sense to people, especially when they see WDDM and other massive technologies easily added to the OS without ditching the legacy XPDM or even having a single issue of the screen rendering differently.

Linux's kernel and even *nix in general are good 'get by' technologies, but offer nothing to address new technologies that were never envisioned 30yrs ago.

even when ubuntu was listed, it was often on low spec machines, and the price difference was minimal compared to those with windows os.

This will prevent cases like that girl that bought a laptop with Linux and didn't know what the hell to do on it.

Honestly, they have a point. Only techies would pick Ubuntu over Windows. And if someone non-techy decided "oh I'll pick this Ubuntu, it's cheaper" they'd inevitably end up ringing up Dell asking how to install their iPod and Microsoft Office onto it.

Fools, don't they know 2010 is the year of the Linux! Or is that next year.
Jokes, shame really, less choice for everyone.

acnpt said,
Fools, don't they know 2010 is the year of the Linux! Or is that next year.
Jokes, shame really, less choice for everyone.

Linux has been, and remains (at least in North America) primarily a user-installed/maintained operating-system choice, as opposed to being supported in any real way by the large (or even medium) OEMs and VARs (it's not just Dell, but even HP, Acer, ASUS, etc.). I've actually done helpdesk (for Big Cable Company's HSI division), and I was the odd critter that not only knew the ins and outs of cable modem installs on Linux, but knew about those same ins and outs on *Solaris* (and this was a decade ago).

Despite the poor economic situation, for the vast majority of the IT-inclined, computing *still* means, for the most part, Windows; those that DO select a Linux distribution usually make that choice for reasons other than price (even if they categorically deny it).

acnpt said,
Fools, don't they know 2010 is the year of the Linux! Or is that next year.
Jokes, shame really, less choice for everyone.

The choice is still there - after all anyone can go download it even if Dell stops selling it pre-installed. The issue is that the Linux folk keep telling us that it's ready for my Grandmother to use and it's so very not. Moreover, Linux support folk (AKA Linux users) have a reputation for being unsympathetic to Grandmothers trying to figure it out (OMG RTFM N00B!).

It's amusing to me that as strong and vibrant as the Linux community is, the main thing standing between people and Linux adoption is the community.

Maybe because they (Dell), or other companies like ISPs etc didn't have good customer support for Linux ?
Its a serious problem atleast here, if you are Linux user and you wanna get any sort of help and you call, once you say you using linux you are in trouble, cause those customer support people only know how to deal with Windows.

kInG aLeXo said,
Maybe because they (Dell), or other companies like ISPs etc didn't have good customer support for Linux ?
Its a serious problem atleast here, if you are Linux user and you wanna get any sort of help and you call, once you say you using linux you are in trouble, cause those customer support people only know how to deal with Windows.

I believe that people who buy a preconfigured Linux-PC know how to get help... Otherwise they wouldn't even think about buying a Linux machine...

MFH said,

I believe that people who buy a preconfigured Linux-PC know how to get help... Otherwise they wouldn't even think about buying a Linux machine...

What they did is correct then.It saves them and other companies\ISPs lots of trouble of dealing with Linux users who don't know how to help themselves.

kInG aLeXo said,
those customer support people only know how to deal with Windows.

That's debatable.

The problem is that when Dell offers it's usual support MS has a bunch of support offerings targeted at Mom and Pop and Ubuntu has... not much in that space.

I'd be surprised if any Linux users here would settle for a Dell Ubuntu installation. I know my first step as a Windows user is to nuke and pave since Dell bundles so much crap.

Fire up the conspiracy theories. Guys, this is all about money. Dell was probably taking a huge hit on call center costs as casual users called in asking them where the C: drive is.

selphj said,
Fire up the conspiracy theories. Guys, this is all about money. Dell was probably taking a huge hit on call center costs as casual users called in asking them where the C: drive is.
Where did you get that information from?

Rudy said,
Where did you get that information from?

The word "Probably" implies what the poster thought Dell was thinking.

No need for a source.

yardman said,

The word "Probably" implies what the poster thought Dell was thinking.

No need for a source.

/r/ sauce for "No need for a source."

Where did you get that idea from?

I like the word "probably". It means that someone can probably make up something on the spot without the need to think about it. Or do a single google search.

Dell doesn't support Ubuntu Linux. Canonical does the Linux end, so it would just be a phone transfer away - not hours of phone time.

http://www.ubuntu.com/dell

markjensen said,
I like the word "probably". It means that someone can probably make up something on the spot without the need to think about it. Or do a single google search.

Dell doesn't support Ubuntu Linux. Canonical does the Linux end, so it would just be a phone transfer away - not hours of phone time.

http://www.ubuntu.com/dell

And what do you suppose happens when people find they can't do something they wanted to do with their Linux Dell laptop and then blame Dell for it?

Consumers are stupid, best to nip them in the bud before they cause irrational slander.

psreloaded said,
Now thats not good. I smell Microsoft...

Ubuntu is pretty good though, I have test ran all the OS from there day of start and its gotten bigger and better. Microsoft and Apple all have a challenge.

Toorop said,

Ubuntu is pretty good though, I have test ran all the OS from there day of start and its gotten bigger and better. Microsoft and Apple all have a challenge.

If it was a challenge more would use it and dell would not have the need to drop support for it.

Toorop said,

Ubuntu is pretty good though, I have test ran all the OS from there day of start and its gotten bigger and better. Microsoft and Apple all have a challenge.

I'll agree with the BIGGER part, for sure.

Does anyone know how many of these units they've sold. Not many, I bet.

See, even a major player like Dell can be a fanboy. At least they're smart enough to get off the dead horse!!

It is a bummer for the Linux community though.

Tanoru said,
I don't see the point in doing this.


Points:
1. Earn profits from Windows 7 licenses
2. Reduce support cost for Linux
3. Save themselves from troubles.
4. Reduce the return rate of Linux machine.

satus said,


Points:
1. Earn profits from Windows 7 licenses
2. Reduce support cost for Linux
3. Save themselves from troubles.
4. Reduce the return rate of Linux machine.


So to sum up because they are greedy and lazy.

Tanoru said,

So to sum up because they are greedy and lazy.

No to sum it up linux userbase is so non existant that companies dont see any value in offering it.

Tanoru said,

So to sum up because they are greedy and lazy.

Ah, the good old 'greedy lazy' sentence, one of the the most ignorant comments in existence. Bravo.

Tanoru said,

So to sum up because they are greedy and lazy.

Ever tried opening a dictionary and looking for the definition of a company?