A rant on Dell and linux/ubuntu

O. Sinclair o.sinclair at gmail.com
Mon Jun 1 07:27:16 CDT 2009

Thanks for taking some time to participate in this discussion. I guess 
that you are likely correct in your assumptions. However - we do not 
really know the demand as the product is offered in very few 
places/markets and in a rather "off-hand" not to say invisible way.

Scott Purcell wrote:
> Disclosure:  I'm a Dell employee but not a spokesman for Dell.  My 
> thoughts are my own.  I'm neither and an engineer nor an executive and 
> have no visibility to the decision making or deals or future strategy.  
> That having been said, I'd like to address some of the things that have 
> raised in this thread:
>     * Does Dell have a strategy to expand Linux on Desktops?  If you 
> mean by that to encourage more people to use Linux, then I highly doubt 
> it.  Dell's role is to try to give customers what they're asking for -- 
> not to persuade them they need what Dell thinks they need.  If you mean 
> to expand Linux on Desktops to other markets and other models, then I'd 
> say it probably depends on what the demand is -- if customers in 
> significant numbers are asking for it Dell will probably try to meet the 
> need.  Additionally, if demand for Ubuntu recedes in the markets where 
> it IS offered, it wouldn't surprise me to see the offering end -- Dell 
> has done that before.  Sometime within a year or two before or after 
> 2000, Dell offered Red Hat on Desktops.  Not enough were sold, so Linux 
> on Dell became a focus for only servers and workstations for several 
> years.  (Note again -- I have no knowledge of demand or plans, this is 
> not a prediction but a historical observation)
>     * Dell participation on this list and the wiki:  Just speculation 
> here, but any reduced level of participation could well be from changing 
> personnel and responsibilities cause by headcount reductions brought on 
> by the economic conditions we're in.  It's public knowledge that Dell, 
> like many or most other computer vendors, has had to reduce staffing 
> levels. People end up trying to do more work with fewer people and 
> sometimes responsibilities must shift people's assignments to areas 
> where the need is perceived to be greater.  Again it comes down to 
> demand.  If large numbers of people are clamouring for Linux on Dell, or 
> for support for Linux on Dell then that becomes a greater priority.
> * Dell missing an opportunity to "grow the linux market segment" and be 
> a leader in the field:  Growing the linux market segment is not what 
> this has ever been about.  Dell is not an advocacy group.  As much as 
> some of us as individuals have this as a goal, Dell corporately will 
> never care about this.  But neither is it Dell's goal to "grow the 
> demand for Windows".  Dell's goal seems to me to be to responsibly and 
> profitably sell computer hardware.  Dell will offer Linux when it 
> contributes to profitably selling computer hardware -- and that is all 
> we should expect.  But as to leadership in the field, I don't think 
> enough credit is given -- or perhaps some are unaware of all Dell is 
> doing or has done...
> Bottom line -- it's about demand, not conspiracies.
> Just my two cents worth...
> Scott Purcell
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