Why Is Dell Hiding Their Ubuntu Boxes?

Posted by dcparris on May 25, 2007 8:41 AM EDT
LXer - Editorial; By D.C. Parris (Charlotte, USA)
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LXer Feature: 25-May-2007

Visit Dell's home page. Click either the desktops or laptops option. Now tell me if you see anything at all about Ubuntu or GNU/Linux. No? Why is it that Dell hides their Ubuntu option in a menu bar?

Update - Midnight 26 May 2007: Dell's website shows the Open Source PC's listed under "Essential Links" on the left side of the web pages for notebooks and desktops respectively. - dcparris

Update - 01:00 (EDT) 26 May 2007: Dell's website shows the Open Source PC's listed under "Essential Links" on the left side of the web pages for notebooks and desktops respectively. - dcparris

If you visit Dell's home page, you see absolutely nothing pertaining to GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, Open Source - nothing. So you click on the desktop or laptop options for the Home or Home Office, which is what you're probably looking for anyway. But again, no references to GNU/Linux, Ubuntu or any of that. I went to the laptops page, and found 7 Inspiron options - none of which had any remote connection with Dell's Ubuntu offerings. It turns out that you have to know to choose the menu bar at the top of the page (once you've gotten past the home page), to find the Open Source/Ubuntu offerings.

This is one of the big issues many in the GNU/Linux community were concerned about. Here goes Dell, promising to offer GNU/Linux pre-installed, and then practically hides their line-up. Try to imagine some computer novice whose friend said to go order an Ubuntu system from Dell's website. The person arrives at Dell's homepage, and never sees the references to Ubuntu, GNU/Linux, Open Source - nada. Some people won't give up easily; they'll spend some time searching the site. They'll try that menu bar at the top of the 2nd page. But there will be some who go back and say, "I didn't see anything about Linux". Some people won't even make the connection between "Open Source PCs" and Ubuntu. They'll just think someone lied to them.

Overall, I think Dell's Ubuntu launch has gone fairly well. I think some people are pretty excited about Dell's new line-up, and many comments are fairly positive, if not always glowing. I expected the pricing to be a crap shoot, and the reaction has been a little mixed on that point - based on my brief observation. Still, it appears to me that many people are wishing Dell the best in this adventure. Yet, by failing to put even a simple link to the Ubuntu computers within the general desktop and laptop pages, Dell is making it difficult to find them. This is very similar to the kinds of situations cyber_rigger mentioned when he wondered aloud how Dell might purposely botch their offering. Two of his points refer to making it difficult to order the GNU/Linux offerings.

Responding to an inquiry from LXer, Dell spokesperson, John Pope, said that getting the Ubuntu offerings on the front page would be difficult. He also assured LXer that "I have forwarded your concern very far up the line." One would think that a major initiative like this would deserve some time on the company's front page. Still, the very least Dell could do is place a link in the each of the main pages for desktops and laptops. They should place the link in the "Narrow your Selection" box. At the very least, the link should be made available in the "Essential Links" section. By hiding their Ubuntu offerings, Dell has shown the GNU/Linux community that we belong at the back of the bus. Dell is saying we don't deserve the same ease of use considerations as everyone else.

Well, I beg to differ. I have put my name on the line, giving Dell some leeway to show our community they are taking us seriously. For the most part, things have gone fairly well. All I'm asking is that Dell make their site as easy for us to use as for everyone else. That's not asking too much. How about it, Dell?

» Read more about: Story Type: Editorial, LXer Features; Groups: Community, GNU, Linux, LXer, Ubuntu

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
My Thanks to DELL NoDough 33 2,865 May 30, 2007 7:54 AM
Borrowing a page from RMS... dinotrac 7 1,980 May 26, 2007 3:57 PM
uh? jsusanka 15 2,105 May 26, 2007 2:53 AM
Dell Website Navigation Solved: Look Under Essential Links dcparris 2 2,004 May 25, 2007 10:04 PM
Is Dell Hiring? macemoneta 2 1,867 May 25, 2007 8:47 PM
Dell banner rotation tuxchick 7 3,038 May 25, 2007 4:40 PM
Just noticed one thing Teron 1 1,607 May 25, 2007 3:50 PM

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