A rant on Dell and linux/ubuntu

Mark Constable markc at renta.net
Mon Jun 1 07:49:34 CDT 2009

On Monday 01 June 2009 21:53:35 Scott Purcell wrote:
> ...
> * 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.

All good points you have made but this one can be looked at from
another angle. Dell wants to sell hardware and there is a demand
for linux based net/note/desktops so "leading and growing the
market" is not an artifical goal if it leads to more sales above
and beyond Windows only market saturation. It's not a matter of
advocacy at the expense of insulting M$ or their fanbase but simply
fulfilling a distinctly unsatisfied niche with the very real
potential, if well managed, of growing to a possible 5% market
share in as many years.

If this mythical extra 5% sales is worth some investment of time
and effort, and can be realised, then all the more power to Dell.
If not, then someone else will get that extra 5% cake one day as
long as whoever it is plays along nicely with "the community".

There are 3 areas to cover; a) installing linux, b) using linux and
c) maintaining linux. All 3 are 2nd nature to long term hard core
bash eating linux users but completely foreign to ex-windows users.

Dell kills a) by simply providing linux preinstalled hardware, cool,
but b) and c) are ongoing problem areas getting the most negative
attention. Both b) and c) can be monstrously improved if Dell allow
the bash eating nerds to help them provide the linux specific support
their normal windows trained support staff do not have.

It just seems really weird to me that the main complaint I see is a
failing level of linux support but with so little (relative) effort
from Dell proper there could be mechanisms put in place that largely
harness and provide that support by "the community" for "the community".

A case in point is that Ubuntu, and others, would never ever be as
popular as they are if it wasn't for the open community based systems
that have been put in place to, as I say, harness the sometimes
overflowing energy and input from "the community". Ubuntu had backing
to kick it off but the bulk of the amazing ongoing input to the
forums, wiki, trakers and repos (ppa etc) is all much larger than
Marks fiscal input. And Dell even has cold hardware based revenue to
justify an even greater level of community based support platforms
than Ubuntu can ever dream of... yet, it's not happening... just a
faint flicker that seems to be fading which is sad for Dell.


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