The title of this article? It's obviously a rhetorical question.
Unless you are a GNU/Linux User.
If you are a reader of LXer.com, you have read or have heard about the donnybrooks in the comments section concerning their line of Linux machines. From seemingly hiding the Linux choices to plastering "Dell Recommends Windows Vista" over the top of the Linux ad, things got fairly interesting. At times, members of Dell Management would chime in and do their PR work.
A phrase containing "a grain of salt" comes to mind here.
Mark Van Kingsley is a successful Linux-based business owner in New York. Fact is, Mark started his business based on my Open Sourced business plan. I put months of research and work into it and it is the perfect example of how a business plan should be structured. Mark was even offered loans to start his business based on his revised business plan. Anyone can receive it simply by asking. But I digress...
He decided it was time to get a new desktop. Knowing that Dell had Linux options, he navigated to their website and began his shopping. No one relates an experience better than the person experiencing it, so let me present it straight from the source. What follows is a verbatim account of his experience with Dell Sales on the telephone.
On 4-28-09, I was on the Dell site, looking to purchase a computer. One
of the options was to select Windows, Ubuntu or FreeDOS. I selected
Ubuntu, but it then grayed out all models except the "Inspiron." I
wanted a "Studio" and couldn't do it from the website unless I agreed
to spend 100+ dollars for a MS OS. I tried to build a "Studio" and
then deselect the Windows option, but it wasn't available. I
figured I'd call their customer service line and get this squared
away. When I told the first operator what I wanted, you'd have
thought I asked for powdered water and was quickly transferred to
another operator. Same go around with this one. what I was asking
for wasn't processing mentally.
Finally, I was transferred to (someone who's name I can't recall) at
"Team BlackHawk." I told this gentleman what I wanted, he said he
couldn't send me an unformatted HD, but he could send me one with
Ubuntu or FreeDOS. I was very happy and we continued to customize it
the way I wanted. When all was said and done, I thanked him and told
him I was looking forward to getting my "Studio."
This "Team BlackHawk" member then told me "No, its an Inspiron, not a Studio." I told him...again...that I didn't want an Inspiron. He
started to tell me about the license agreement with MS and I cut him
"I'm not interested in your agreement with MS. I want your product, not theirs."
He told me he could only sell me an Inspiron if
I didn't want Windows. I then asked him "Are you telling me that Dell
Computer can't sell me a Dell Computer, unless MS says it it's OK?"
He said "Well, if you look at it that way..." and again I cut him off:
"How else would one look at that?" After an awkward silence on his
part, I thanked him and hung up.
Isn't that special...
I wonder if they come to work in Camouflage and fully-armed with assault rifles. One would wonder.
The first two pages of Google search results turned up zilch for any use of Team BlackHawk as it relates to Dell. I didn't bother to search any further. Some of you might suggest that there are other search engines aside from Google.
No there isn't.
I began doing a bit of research to find out why this was so. My first thoughts were that the Inspiron is built with hardware that has been extensively tested with Linux...and I believe that will be the official Dell response.
The Special Forces Dell Sales Representative said differently.
He evoked the Microsoft Licensing agreement. I want to see it.
I think we all should see it. Chances of that happening are as likely as Mark Van Kingsley getting his Studio laptop pre-installed with Linux. So the Microsoft Tax is alive and well at Dell. Mark has promised to follow this up with phone calls to Microsoft to pointedly ask why this is. Let's not hold our collective breath waiting for an answer.
It's a shame to see such a large and powerful company kneel at the feet of Microsoft but I suppose the old adage is true.
"Bowing to another does nothing but give your opponent the opportunity to knock you on your ass."
And yes...it is an old adage...about 20 seconds old.
All Righty Then
Sunday, May 03, 2009
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 8:49 AM