The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Welcome to 2006, Mr. Dell. Your customers are waiting.

Read this LinuxToday story.

In 2000-2001, most of the people using Linux were the hard-core hobbyists, geeks, and developers. They were still having religious wars about vi vs. emacs, for goodness' sakes!

The fact is, when Dell tried selling Linux desktops in 2000, they were too early. The interested market at that time was still in the early-adoption phase and, as the open source community can be, rather contentious (now we're all polite and civilized-like).

Absolutely right. In 2000, the enterprise simply wasn’t ready for Linux. Or more to the point, Linux hadn’t evolved sufficiently to meet the needs of the enterprise.

Today the story is much different. Linux is technically better than Windows and it is almost as polished, thanks to GNOME and KDE. It’s not quite there yet – Linux needs another year or two before the last remaining burrs are scraped off. But it is tantalizingly close... :-)

Did Dell get burned? I'm sure they did. But the fact is, they are basing their arguments now on events of six years ago. Today, the entire environment in and around Linux has changed. Enterprise adoption rates are growing strongly. Small- to medium-size markets are starting to take a look at Linux as a better desktop solution. There is, now, a real demand for pre-loaded, supported Linux machines. And Dell should understand that the vast majority of these business customers will not care which Linux Dell wants to support.

Six years in this industry is an eternity. The Linux landscape has changed ENTIRELY. The enterprise is ready for Linux – witness all the stories in recent years of Linux adoption by municipal governments and enterprises in Europe and North and South America. Linux uptake in the enterprise space is accelerating!

The fact is, Dell's refusal to sell Linux boxes is not about Linux's popularity or Linux support issues. It's about being in bed with Microsoft. Dell cannot afford to piss off Microsoft lest they lose their tremendous price discounts on Windows and Office software.


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