Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dell Linux Launched!

As mentioned on their official blog, here, Dell has launched three of their products with Linux pre-installed today. There is an Inspiron notebook, a Dimension desktop, and an XPS desktop system. The important question that has been bugging everyone is the pricing of the machines. Will it be more expensive, the same, or cheaper than the Windows machines?

Most people suggested that it would be more expensive than the Windows machines as there is a lot of co-marketing money that goes into the Windows machines to support it's cost. So, when you remove Windows and put Linux, Dell would need to charge more. Some people feel that if they charge the same cost as Windows machines, no one would bother to buy the Linux ones as you could always get a Windows machine, decline the EULA and ask for a Windows refund (and an unofficial discount).

Unfortunately for these people, the answer isn't that straightforward. First, comparing the Inspiron E1505 models. The Ubuntu one is priced at $599 while the Windows one is priced at $699. Second, for the Dimension desktop, the Ubuntu one is priced at $599 (Core 2 Duo) while the Windows one is priced at $369 (Celeron D). Third, for the XPS extreme desktop, the Ubuntu one is priced at $849 (without monitor) while the Windows one is priced at $1369 (including a 19" monitor). A standalone 19" Dell flat panel costs $199.

Dell certainly isn't making it easy for customers to compare prices. However, if you look at it carefully, you will note that the Linux machines are actually cheaper than the Windows machines! Kudos to Dell for not reneging on all the good will it's been building among the Linux community. It would have been a slap in the face to offer a Linux machine that costs more than a Windows one. I would have been happy to have had them priced equally. But Dell has outdone itself by actually pricing them lower than an equivalent Windows machine!

This has made my choice for my next notebook much easier. If the Dell is a similar price with a MacBook and offers full hardware support for Linux, it's a no brainer. For a MacBook, I would still have to fight around with the machine to get Linux installed. Apple doesn't make it easy to extricate OSX from it's machines. So, I think I might consider getting a Linux Dell for my next machine. Now, the only question is when these machines will be available outside of the US. At the moment, they're only available within the US.

I can already see how this is going to cause trouble for many computer assemblers in Malaysia and parts of Asia. They could never compete with Dell on sheer volume pricing. Now, that Linux Dells are cheaper, people could just get a Linux Dell for cheap and install Windows on it themselves, if they wanted to use Windows. How the tables have turned! I can't imagine how Low Yat Plaza will soon be scrambling for ways to out do Dell.

UPDATE@0830: The Linux Dimension desktop is even cheaper than a similar one running FreeDOS! Seems like Dell is really pushing to market the Linux system over the rest.


ahmad the terrorist said...

more imperialism! windows is the epitome of western imperialism! must every computer in the world be controlled by this capitalist windows, causing the world to be controlled by the US dollar?!

we must end the tyranny of the us dollar being the measuring stick of all civilisation!

we must counter it with denarii and our own brand new operating system: purdah OS!

fight the imperialism!!

Shawn Tan said...

... ... i'm lost for words ... ...