Dell.ca

Dell is in the process of being sold back to Dell. I wanted to see if there were any improvements in the website these days. Try as I might I could not find a single item on Dell.com when I searched for “Linux notebook”. To my surprise, Dell.ca showed several choices:

“linux notebook”.

What a difference a country makes. They say GNU/Linux is available on other models in selected regions but don’t say what those regions are…

At least that annoying “Dell recommends that other OS” is a little more muted on the new, improved site.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

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29 Responses to Dell.ca

  1. oiaohm says:

    Machines with SSD drives one way to shorten their life is writing swap all the time. This is why Android devices and other mobile devices are using zswap and other solutions to avoid on disc swap.

  2. oiaohm says:

    DrLoser there is a problem here. Lubuntu, Tinycore and puppy go into the sub 512Meg camp.
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Lubuntu

    1Gb is double the ram required. In fact using zswap and Lubuntu you can get away with not having a swapfile on disc at 1G of ram. To be correct at 1G most of the time you can get away without having a swapfile without compression. With compression gives you more room again.

    Mind turning the Windows 8 swap file off and seeing how far you get Dr Loser.

    This memory usage comes important when you are running in virtualisation or thin terminal or on old machines.

  3. dougman says:

    1GB you say? Hmmmm, seems M$ finally caught up to statement, “Nobody will ever need more than 512k of RAM” LOL……

    Seems Loserboy removed some ram from his notebook and then booted it with the statement, see Windows 8 runs with 1gb of ram!

    1GB may be the minimum, but try actually USING it!

    Minimum requirements is for basic functionality, as in turn the thing on and walk-away then 15 minutes later you get a desktop.

    Memory is cheap enough these days that getting great performance is at least 2GB for 32-bit Windows 8, and at least 4GB for 64-bit.

    M$ recommended at least 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM for XP, but who in their right mind would do that? M$ also recommended a pentium 233-megahertz processor, but would you or anyone else use those specifications? NOPE.

  4. bw wrote, “Munich found they spent far less on re-education than they expected

    I seem to remember that the exact opposite was true. Also, they started in 2003 and are still at it today. Call that success, but I would call it a fiasco. Some of the controversy over costs is located here”

    True, but scarcely relevant. Much of the training costs are the normal salaries of the employees, paid whether they migrated or not.
    “Costs that are not related to the operating system, such as staff and training costs, were identically listed at around €22 million (£17 million) in all three scenarios. Overall, the project says that Windows and Microsoft Office would have cost just over €34 million (£27 million), while Windows with Open Office would have cost about €30 million (£24 million). The LiMux scenario, on the other hand, has reportedly cost less than €23 million (£18 million).”
    see Linux brings over €10 million savings for Munich

    Back in 2008, before they really got rolling the plan was
    “Training, the migration to OpenOffice and the adaptation of specialised administrative software are the top three cost items of the project, being approximately equal in size. If staff time spent in training gets is figured in, then these become the biggest cost item, making up 38% of the project’s
    total cost, which then jumps to 35 million Euro.”

    So, in 2008 they planned on spending €13.3million on training but eventually spent €23 million, more than they estimated back then but about the same as holding hands through migrations of that other OS and its applications. Of course, including salaries of staff in training in the budget of Limux actually reduced the budget of the city for salaries so it’s not of much account as long as not too much time was lost. What’s the salary-budget of Munich for a year? I would argue a lot of the training for GNU/Linux involved eliminating the bad habits M$ had instilled. Even spending more on training, they saved a bundle. They would have saved a lot more if they had done it my way breaking things first and fixing them as needed.

  5. DrLoser says:

    Windows 8 runs perfectly well on my 1GB notebook.
    But I’m going to take a wild guess and assume that you won’t let me contradict Dougman on that fairly significant point.

  6. ch wrote, “So we have to assume that in between 2003 and 2010 Munich replaced the old PCs and migrated from NT to XP. “But they don’t mention that in their cost summary for the project!” Exactly: It wasn’t done WITHIN the project (and so didn’t appear on the project’s bill) but OUTSIDE – probably “in the dark” and without any actual project planning. That’s why the project appears so cheap: Most of the actual stuff was done outside of it.”

    Cute. Blaming the high cost of that other OS on GNU/Linux… I could add the cost of building a nearby sky-scraper to the cost of building my house but does that make any sense? Renewing XP PCs is not a cost of migrating to GNU/Linux. That’s a cost of running XP.

  7. dougman says:

    Heavens dear, we are wildly off-topic, but I seem to upset someone, boohoo.

    Responding to ch assertions that a current Linux distribution will not run on a computer, built in 2003. How about we go one better, shall we?

    I guess you do not know about Lubuntu, Puppy or Tiny Core Linux all of which were released recently and can run on very OLD hardware, pre-dating 2003.

    Try that with XP, VISTA, 7 or 8 none will work. LOL….

    I recommend that you should at least know what your talking about before interjecting your verbal diarrhea.

    Re: The non-sequitur of your 5 and 3-year old machines running ‘8’ fails to my reasoning but hey, if you like eating and paying for junk, good for you.

  8. lpbbear says:

    “And to dougman: Even you wouldn’t want to run a current Linux on a machine that was old in 2003 (if that PC is still alive in the first place).”

    Granted both Windows and Linux have gradually increased the horsepower requirements over the years but Linux needs far less memory and CPU than Windows. Most distributions of Linux will run fine with systems from that period. Even on lower powered systems plenty of Linux distributions exist that specifically target low power computers. No such option exists in the Windows arena.

    “However, almost every PC still around with at least 1GB of RAM will run XP, 7 and 8 just fine, and with 2GB even Vista. My 5-year-old notebook (2GB, came with Vista) and my 3-year-old netbook (1GB, came with XP) both run 8, and the netbook does so much faster than XP, BTW.

    Bullcrap!

    You’re full of it.

    XP minimum is 512 mb so with 1 gb you are OK….until the registry falls apart and it needs a reload.

    Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 minimum is 4 gb. While you can run with lower memory it is painfully slow. Don’t even bother if you have something like a single core Celeron.

    I work on both Linux and Windows systems and I can see the contrast in performance easily since I run a 2 gb Linux system as my main system. It runs rings around the systems of my Windows using customers many of whom have systems with 6 to 8 gb of memory and way newer CPU’s than my older AMD dual core.

    Sorry but you are full of crap dude.

  9. ch says:

    Typos: “fets” ➡ “gets”; “stalthily” ➡ “stealthily”

  10. ch says:

    Ok, so let’s finally talk serious about LIMUX. As dougman puts it so nicely: “hardware upgrades were not accounted. DO you seriously think that a box running XP or 2000, can somehow magically run the newest iteration of Windows?” Once again, he almost fets it but misses the real point (little surprise given he’s thick as a brick).

    So in 2003 Munich had a lot of PCs mostly still running NT (and a lot of them were probably old at the time). Mass Migration to LIMUX didn’t start until rather recently (2010 or so). Now does any one of you actually believe that they were still using those old machines from 2003 (with NT) in 2010? Of course not – if they had, those responsible would need to be tarred and feathered before beeing fired. So we have to assume that in between 2003 and 2010 Munich replaced the old PCs and migrated from NT to XP. “But they don’t mention that in their cost summary for the project!” Exactly: It wasn’t done WITHIN the project (and so didn’t appear on the project’s bill) but OUTSIDE – probably “in the dark” and without any actual project planning. That’s why the project appears so cheap: Most of the actual stuff was done outside of it.

    In other words: 2003 Munich faced the alternatives of a) migrating to XP and b) migrating to Linux. What did they actually do? Both: First, they stalthily migrated to XP (and bought new PCs whenever necessary – not every PC used 40h/week lasts 10 years), then they migrated – with all-new hardware bought outside the project – to Linux. Every child can see that these two migrations must have been cheaper than just one, right? And now re-read the project team’s conclusions and see how much sheer chuzpe it contains.

    And to dougman: Even you wouldn’t want to run a current Linux on a machine that was old in 2003 (if that PC is still alive in the first place). However, almost every PC still around with at least 1GB of RAM will run XP, 7 and 8 just fine, and with 2GB even Vista. My 5-year-old notebook (2GB, came with Vista) and my 3-year-old netbook (1GB, came with XP) both run 8, and the netbook does so much faster than XP, BTW.

  11. oiaohm says:

    bw there is web based software for call centre management. Did you not allow on the existence of sugercrm and other crm web based designed to run call centres with Asterisk or other open viop solutions at core.

    The advantage is your own internal trouble management can match your exact operations.

    bw hp study on Munich was fully based on theory not real world stuff.

    bw their are security risks dealing with outside vendors as well.

    Also there are many migrations in Munich http://www.nomachine.com/schwaebisch-hall.php

    All are done way under the costs HP projected.

    bw yes schwaebisch hall did not migrate all applications from Windows to Linux. Instead cut the licenses they required for Windows back. The 80 20 case. Over 80 percent of desktop users can get buy with Linux. Out of the max of 20 percent cannot. Almost all the 20 percent can be serviced other ways.

  12. dougman says:

    Oh yes sure, a “questionable” study performed by HP, FOR M$, that the city of Munich EVEN disagrees with. Studies are NOT factual by nature and the only relevant facts are this:

    1. Linux is far more robust than Windows.
    2. The migration away from M$ was 1/4 the cost, as hardware upgrades were not accounted. DO you seriously think that a box running XP or 2000, can somehow magically run the newest iteration of Windows?
    3. NO more malware or back-dooring from the NSA.

  13. bw says:

    Munich found they spent far less on re-education than they expected

    I seem to remember that the exact opposite was true. Also, they started in 2003 and are still at it today. Call that success, but I would call it a fiasco. Some of the controversy over costs is located here

    http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Microsoft-partly-releases-study-on-Munich-s-Linux-migration-1792733.html

    It seems to me that the main dispute of the HP study lies in claiming that not all of the apps were converted to FLOSS so the assumptions by HP are not valid. That issue is propped up by the claim that Munich still uses Windows for those things, which is kind of lame if you want to claim Linux can replace it.

    They can set up a web-site easily that will deal with all the FAQ’s and questions

    A web site seems woefully inadequate if you look at the massive networks of call centers provided by proprietary software vendors to support their current products. These call centers are not dealing with “kernel support”, they are dealing with customer questions about how to do things and how to fix things and such that are apparently necessary to keep everyone happy. And even then there are many malcontents who complain constantly.

    I think it is very naïve to postulate that all this can be covered with a mere web site (which doesn’t exist either yet). The proprietary software companies that have become the established suppliers to the world’s personal computer needs have been at their tasks for decades and surely they have not overlooked such an obvious means of increasing their profits.

  14. dougman says:

    Well in that case, drop in a LiveCD, run fsck and reboot, done. 🙂

  15. lpbbear says:

    “lppbear, should have connected a UPS beforehand and install package apcupsd.”

    This was not a server. This was a standard desktop system.

  16. bw wrote, ” OEMs would face massive expense in establishing support and would have no real way to recover that expense.”

    Obviously, that is not the case. OEMs are shipping GNU/Linux and they would not do that if it were not profitable. Seriously, end-users don’t have much problem with GNU/Linux once they login and poke around. I introduced thousands to GNU/Linux and hardly did they have any problem. It’s a GUI, for pity’s sake, and it usually works in a very similar manner to XP. Munich found they spent far less on re-education than they expected.

    Support in the Linux kernel is distributed. The OEM has not much more to do than install it and it works. Most OEMs will add their splash-screens or a few helpful links and not much more on the clients. They can set up a web-site easily that will deal with all the FAQ’s and questions. It can be very efficient.

  17. oiaohm says:

    bw what do you think android and chromeos are.

    –Large as it might be for an OEM, the cost of re-educating a billion or more users in the idiosyncrasies of a new OS as different as Linux would be a lot more. It is never going to happen. Never.–

    You have came out and claimed Linux needs to educate e a billion + users. How is the simplest way to achieve this. Get a foot hold in a common device.

    So the Large OEM is the OEMs around Android and ChromeOS.

    idiosyncrasies like folders instead of drives and other core Linux idiosyncrasies are identical across all Linux systems. Yes the window dressing of the Userspace is only so important.

    Sorry bw if this is your core to your belief Linux cannot take off you are screwed up completely.

    Linux required to get a foothold in the market this has been achieved. A person use to Android already has a set of the core ideas same as every other Linux user. This is the foothold. Cost to train from a foothold location a person already knows is a lot cheaper.

    OEM early on in MS history wanted compatibility not user-friendliness. Without Microsoft contracts destroying the OEM OS’s lot more work early on would have been done on user-friendly OS’s.

    bw
    –I think you have that backwards. It was the OEMs who wanted to bundle an OS with their systems so that they could sell out of the box, pre-setup computers to relatively non-technical customers. The OEMs were fortunate that Microsoft stood ready to support them with price concessions and shared their vision. —
    This is completely a lie by a idiot.

    Early PC and Windows was not targeted at the non technical user. Up to Windows 3.11 as mandated by OEM’s was a open specification standard.

    History point is Windows 95 some hardware makers were infected by greed and Microsoft idea that closed source drivers with no spec was good same with having to pay for access to specs. Yes birth of MSDN.

    bw application compatibility is a very large driving force. Its starting to lose is shine with WIndows.

    Apple was the one that had focus on the non technical users. Really we would not be talking about Microsoft if Apple had licenses their OS’s to other Makers. Windows was the choice of the next worst option. Yes some OEM even went to court to attempt to get rights to use Apple designed OS’s.

    Apple defeat was cost of hardware and not having enough competitors to drive hardware price down.

    Yes Microsoft wants to play they are for the non techinical. You don’t really have to look hard at Windows to see where its designed for a technical user and attempted to be window dressed over for non technical.

    Android and chromeos are far closer to OS’s design for lower technical skills.

  18. dougman says:

    Re: the cost of re-educating a billion or more users in the idiosyncrasies of a new OS as different as Linux would be a lot more. It is never going to happen. Never.

    Are you saying that people cannot learn for themselves, or are you just referring to yourself?

    The same thing could be said about re-educating Windows 8 users, the majority of people hate it and refuse to use it.

    Linux is so much simpler use and understand, all the configuration files for Linux are written in text files.

  19. dougman says:

    lppbear, should have connected a UPS beforehand and install package apcupsd.

    In most server BIOSes you can set the system to restore power state from before power loss. This means, that if the server is powered down and power is lost, it will remain powered down after you plug it in. On the other hand, if it was powered on, when the power was lost, it will power up when AC is restored.

    I always recommend a UPS with a server, saves headaches later, in fact a customer can afford a large one as they are not paying exorbitant costs due to M$ licensing costs.

  20. lpbbear says:

    (dougman) “Windows always has problems, and needs people like myself and others to fix it or keep it going. Linux, just works and runs solid 24/7.”

    That is not entirely accurate dougman. We “techies” will still be needed with Linux. Although I agree that Linux is a superior operating system and does tend to be more solid than any version of Windows, occasionally some tech support is needed.

    For example one of my Linux using customers called after they experienced a sudden power outage. They were unable to boot into the system because of some file issues caused by the sudden power outage. I was able to walk them through a file check and after a reboot they were fine. Windows will often totally blue screen after something like this and good luck in getting it back without a reload. So yes Linux is superior but to be more accurate there are times where assistance needed, just not anywhere near as often as Windows.

  21. bw says:

    The only reason they don’t drop M$ as a hot potato is that they cannot agree among themselves to do that

    Collusion like that might very well be seen as illegal, but in any case it is hardly any reason, much less the only reason. OEMs would face massive expense in establishing support and would have no real way to recover that expense. They cannot charge more for Linux and they have to pay this expense up front before the sale. It is not something that could be done quickly either.

    Large as it might be for an OEM, the cost of re-educating a billion or more users in the idiosyncrasies of a new OS as different as Linux would be a lot more. It is never going to happen. Never.

  22. bw says:

    That’s why M$ was so Gung Ho! to bundle their OS with PCs

    I think you have that backwards. It was the OEMs who wanted to bundle an OS with their systems so that they could sell out of the box, pre-setup computers to relatively non-technical customers. The OEMs were fortunate that Microsoft stood ready to support them with price concessions and shared their vision. That is what was key to building the PC market.

  23. dougman says:

    Why should someone pay for Windows, when they can get the Linux OS to begin with? BW, thats just dumb.

    Cut out the middleman that being M$, and just get the hardware with Linux to begin with.

    I would say 90-95% of people do NOT install their own OS, nor do they care to. They just want their crap to work.

    Windows always has problems, and needs people like myself and others to fix it or keep it going. Linux, just works and runs solid 24/7.

    BW, again is failing to mention that licensing agreements between OEMs, such as Dell and M$, mandate that other OS, such as Linux be excluded. Dell, a for profit company, has been pushing envelope in this regard here and there testing the water with M$ and seeing that no one wants Windows 8, I am sure they are seeing the writing on the wall.

    HP is pushing Android on a desktop, along with other OEM with Chromebooks.

    M$ is not looking to well these days.

  24. oiaohm’s understatement of the year: “This means Dell is not 100 percent backing Microsoft.”

    Dell and most other OEMs are hedging their bets. The only reason they don’t drop M$ as a hot potato is that they cannot agree among themselves to do that so if one does it alone, there might be a big drop in revenue. We are at a tipping point in servers, apparently. IBM has just committed another $billion to GNU/Linux on IBM’s Power servers. Dell, HP and others will have to ramp up their game with x86/amd64 servers in order to compete. The moves by Google and Canonical on clients tightens the noose. see Microsoft Kill Shots: How IBM/Linux Deals the Latest Blow to Redmond Empire

    It’s not just the actions of one OEM against M$ any longer. It’s the whole industry chucking them more or less rapidly. This is not the dark ages of the PC. The world does not need M$ and no OEM does either.

  25. oiaohm says:

    bw different markets different supply with dell.

    dell.ca is one of the areas that Dell ships out pre-imaged with Ubuntu so you don’t require your own staff todo it.

    bw this is the big thing. Dell does support Linux in particular market they see value doing so. This means Dell is not 100 percent backing Microsoft.

  26. bw wrote, ” As you continually point out, Linux is free for the downloading and easy to install over Windows.”

    Nope. Most consumers will never install an OS. That’s why M$ was so Gung Ho! to bundle their OS with PCs. Conveniently that hides the price and avoids competition.

  27. bw says:

    “linux notebook“

    I think you are getting a false sense of hope here. Anyone who knows what Linux is and still wants to have it can get it with minimal effort. As you continually point out, Linux is free for the downloading and easy to install over Windows. Those who are even marginally interested in Linux are always technically competent enough to do that. Some people, like dougman here, are so inspired by such an achievement that they become advocates even.

    What you seem to be hoping for, though, is that OEMs will take up the job of evangelizing Linux. You look to the simple fact that they offer it as proof that they endorse it. I think you are off the mark on that account.

    Dell will do anything for money and they surely would not pass up a profitable sale to spite Linux and adding a few words buried in the results of a search query is a no cost way to stay in the hunt of people who might want to purchase multiple units with Linux installed.

    The company I worked for bought thousands of Dell computers annually and we even have our own techs trained by Dell and a spare parts inventory owned by Dell but stored on our premises for quickly fixing anything that broke. Machines came in blank and our IT group ghosted on whatever set of OS and applications that the employee needed for their job. Our price for these machines was around 50% of the web price for retail purchase since all support and maintenance was done by our own techs.

  28. dougman says:

    They are offering Ubuntu as an option on some of the desktops too.

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