Reg readers take the Dell 'Open-source PC' challenge

Freedom is just another word for nothing to buy

The dance of solidarity

Throughout all of this, we're again left wondering how Dell became the number one seller of PCs in the world. Are these the types of sales techniques all customers have to go through?

While Dell claims to back "Open-source PCs", it does so by making the buying process as difficult as possible: making them difficult to find, making them just as expensive as Windows equivalents when you do find them, and then declaring that it won't support the boxes if you actually use Linux on them.

It's stopped short of including a capsule of bird flu in the packaging, or wiring the modem to make nuisance calls to your mother-in-law. But that would be the next logical step in this much vaunted "Open Source" promotion.

Dell is indeed doing an intricate dance.

It's almost impossible to believe that this self-proclaimed lover of Linux is the most efficient hardware selling machine on the planet. A certain PC company in China may take note as to how tough Dell makes buying a Linux-ready PC. A bit of know how and - who knows? - more customer-friendly tactics may win this race over the long haul.

Until the sleeping giant wakes, a US seller has stepped up to help the poor open-source souls out there. United Networks has Dell boxes ready to ship with SuSE, Fedora, Gentoo, Mandriva, PCLinuxOS or Slackware. They start at $665 without a monitor but with the same components as Dell's new E510n.®

Related links

Dell's Linux PCs vanish
Michael Dell twirls away Linux and Microsoft controversy

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