27/11/2009

Dell UK Hates Ubuntu

Trying to find out whether Dell UK still has any idea of Ubuntu on its site, I eventually stumble across this page:



Choose WINDOWS if:

  • You are already running WINDOWS programs (e.g. Microsoft Word, iTunes, etc) and want to continue using them

  • You are familiar with WINDOWS and do not want to learn new programs for email, word processing etc

  • You are new to using computers


Choose UBUNTU if:
  • You do not plan to use Microsoft WINDOWS

  • You want to learn new programs for email, word processing etc

  • You are interested in open source programming




It's not so much that I disagree with the points in themselves, but the wording. It presents the idea that you will have to learn new programs in all cases (never mind if you already use Firefox, Opera, Pidgin. OpenOffice or Skype in Windows). I don't know what it is, but something about it just immediately presents as if it's a very high barrier, of which in my experience (personal and otherwise) is rarely the case - often it's the irrational fear, not the reality that dissuades people from using Linux.

The last one I very much disagree with however. There is little reason why a completely new user will find Ubuntu more difficult than Windows. Dell even provides the custome interface (pictured) that in itself helps expose applications well. Note how they seem to use Control Panel in Windows as if it's the same thing. They even pre-install non-free codecs and a DVD player so out of the box new users can play their existing content.

The page for an Ubuntu machine is also fairly well buried - It's very specifically on the laptop pages, on the Inspiron series only, where at the same time it mentions Ubuntu, leading you either to the pictured above, or the next page, which whilst is meant as a warning, comes across much stronger.

Dell UK Ubuntu Page

UBUNTU is an open source operating system – so is not compatible with Microsoft WINDOWS or any WINDOWS based programs


Completely in contrast to WINE, which is actually carried in the repositories for Ubuntu - although I can understand why they wouldn't want to mention it, saying there is not compatibility at all is an outright lie.

Most open source programs are not compatible with Microsoft programs


Pidgin, Empathy, Emesene and others work with Live Messenger IM network amongst others, OpenOffice can read and write Office formats. Those are the only major ones I can think of apart from iTunes - although Microsofts latest Office and Wordpad versions can read/write the open format ODF.

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