[sf-lug] [Fwd: Re: The holy grail for FOSS publicity: NYT on-line covers Dell GNU Linux]

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Oct 5 14:28:13 PDT 2007

Quoting Tom Haddon (tom at greenleaftech.net):

> I see where you're coming from, but I'm not sure I'd agree totally. I
> think Dell are pretty serious about this, and the fact that they pushed
> it through so quickly and then followed up by rolling it out in Europe
> as well points to that.

Well, sure, that's the good news, but I think you're disregarding the
substance of what I said:

Members of the general computing public are being almost 100% prevented
from finding Dell's Ubuntu offerings in casual product shopping --
almost exactly the same as they were last time, around year 2000.

> I think ideal is obviously to have a choice of Windows or Linux on any
> machine without having to go to a specific URL (i.e. knowing about it
> before hand), but I also think Dell is all about the numbers - if it
> makes financial sense for them to do that, they will.

Sure, but....

Part of "the numbers" is Microsoft Corporation's very considerable co-op
marketing money, which OEMs fear losing.  They fear it a _lot_.  You
seem to be implying (but apologies if I'm overinterpreting) that this is
a level playing field, where Dell is motivated to offer whatever
bundlings garner the best end-customer purchase/gross-margin response,
but that is not the case.  I detailed the way OEM Windows deals work
when Sam Varghese asked me about the second "Windows Refund Day in 2002:
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/12/26/1040511127721.html (Skip down
to "Are you involved in the forthcoming refund day (January 23)?")

> Calculating when it's going to make financial sense for them to do
> that, and what happens in the meantime (other retailers offering Linux
> pre-installs, customer demand) will determine how far and how fast this
> goes...

Pretty nearly the only significant (or even non-significant) retailers
offering Linux pre-installs are small ones that do _not_ have Windows
OEM contracts.  For some of the reasons why, please see above link.

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