Category Archives: Dell

The end run around the OS is underway


The operating system may be losing its luster. In fact, you could argue that the operating system–Linux, OS X and Windows–will become an application that just happens to boot first. And hardware vendors are on to the OS’s diminishing importance.
Let’s connect a few dots:
• On Tuesday, Dell rolled out a new line of laptops and one of the best features was the ability to get your email, contacts, calendar and other items without booting the operating system, a process that can take awhile (at least on my system).
• On Thursday, Intel talked up software that can wake a system out of sleep mode to take a PC phone call. It’s probably a security disaster waiting to happen, but it’s handy for PC calls via the Internet.
The common thread: These efforts from Dell and Intel are arguably taking away some of the tasks that the operating system would normally do. My working theory: The OS is being slowly downplayed as hardware vendors and Web developers grab more control over the user experience. The OS will never be totally irrelevant, but it will be increasingly less important. It’ll be plumbing. Simply put, the OS is being squeezed between hardware vendors that are cooking up their own applications to handle key tasks and the so-called Webtop, which will deliver programs through the browser.

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No retail channel for laptop Linux


Tommy visited chain stores in Atlanta and Columbus, as well as a small Atlanta retailer, and drew all the blank looks I expected.

One Geek Squad member suggested he go online, and said Dell is selling kit. An H-P representative he happened upon admitted they got nothing.

This is why Linux remains, in the desktop and laptop space, a hobbyist market. It only exists through the online channels hobbyists use.

This is true even though Linux is lighter in its use of system resources than Windows, and many popular applications come in Linux versions.

Of course, when Wal-Mart offered bargain Linux boxes last year they flew off the shelves. It’s not a question of demand.

It’s a question of supply. Retailers insist on higher-priced goods for the sake of their margins. Microsoft’s policies push manufacturers into putting Windows on everything they push down the channel.

Yet I’ve seen how Value-Added Resellers can up-sell hardware and capture niches for Linux, in areas like retailing and education.

For most consumers, however, there’s still a big gap between them and a Linux laptop. Stores.

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Is it time for Microsoft to abandon Vista and move on to something else, as soon as possible?


Is it time for Microsoft to abandon Vista and move on to something else? Maybe Microsoft should consider doing what Apple did and create an OS based on an existing UNIX based system (BSD, Linux, Amiga, etc…). Or maybe Microsoft should “move up the time table” of Windows 7, Min-Win or Microsoft Singularity and make a radical change? Or maybe they incorporate some of the forgotten features of Longhorn into a “new and glorious” Operating System? How about taking some of their experimental technologies, like “Singularity” and fusing it with a UNIX based OS? Or Microsoft just buyout Novell now and make a new Linux based OS (Microsoft SUSE)? Hey, I’m not saying that Vista is totally bad; however it is starting to look more and more like the “Windows ME” situation. My apologies to the Windows ME lovers still out there on planet “Wishful thinking”, but I digress! In some of the business sectors I work in, I.T/MIS departments and various individuals alike will not touch Microsoft Vista or even allow one connected to their network. There are still issues with legacy software and recently purchased hardware. You need to justify making the upgrade and unfortunately for many businesses, but not all, it just is not there. Now, maybe you home users can tolerate the incompatibilities and problems. One of my extended family members recently purchased an HP system with Vista Premium (they forgot to ask for my advice). Let’s just say “she is not a happy camper”! Too many problems and issues with hardware and software left her with no option but to return the “lemon”. She just did not have the time to deal with it and neither did I.

I use Microsoft Vista 64-bit business edition, at my place of work. It runs great, but I have 4 GB of RAM, a nice SATA drive and a supercharged video card (512MB); along with a whole host of goodies, however I imagine I am not the “average” person or small business. They say that “time is money” and many I’ve spoken with, who do not want to spend that amount of cash and time with Vista. In addition they are often saying, with an assumption, that they will wait until SP2 (Service Pack 2) before they make the dive into the Vista world; if that even happens. Recently Microsoft came out with their revenue and profit numbers, on Vista. I am sure it was meant to show a positive spin on Microsoft’s financial outlook. It also was probably more to do with the release of Apple’s new Operating System called Leopard. However, how are the OEM and retail figures broken down? How many OEMs are allowing downgrades to XP, just to ensure the sale? Acer, Dell and others have made recent changes and moves; allowing users to downgrade to XP or even get Linux distros like Canonical’s Ubuntu. Microsoft cannot simply bury their electronic heads in the sand and hope the issues go away. Sure Microsoft is large and they can “weather the storm”, however I just wonder how much time Microsoft has before it starts to impact on them as a company? Maybe they are planning something in secret and will take a page from Steve Jobs and say nothing. Maybe Bill Gates will come back and lead them to victory. Or better yet, maybe they should outsource it? Sorry, it was just an idea!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

The Ubuntu coming out party! But where is the marketing and advertising effort from Dell and others?


The final release of Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) will be released shortly and Dell has indicated that it will be pre-installed on some of their Notebooks and Desktop PCs. It will include GNOME 2.20 and the default installation of NTFS-3G, which provides read/write access to Windows (NTFS) partitions. Also included is Compiz Fusion, the 3-D window manager and desktop effects package. Improved plug and play printer support and a host of other features. However the story of success does not rest in the fact that Dell is offering its support to Ubuntu. The big question is the marketing and advertising of Ubuntu Linux. As far as I am concerned Ubuntu is still the best Linux distro available, for the commoners. However, why is there so little advertising of Linux? Is there a reason why Dell is not fully backing Linux? Ubuntu has a chance on becoming a big player for Linux enthusiasts and possibly people who want a PC, but for online and basic home PC usage. But, the progress will continue to be a slow one, as long as no particular hardware vendors helps in marketing the product, in the same way Microsoft Windows is pushed. I sense that Dell does not want to fully upset the Microsoft behemoth. Dell is now offering XP as a downgrade (of upgrade – depending on how you see it), for users that do not want Vista. Vista has experienced extremely bad press, along with a host of problems. The question is since Microsoft is not coming out with a new OS anytime soon; why not help push the Ubuntu Linux cause? Is there more at play than we know? Dell may simply be riding the Linux wave for free, while not helping (spending too much) to promote Ubuntu, at the expense of XP. Also, Linux is still not mainstream in the public eye. At a recent event the subject of Microsoft Vista was brought up. These are not “technically inclined” individuals; however they ALL had nothing good to say about Vista. Many said that they would buy a Mac. Some said “a Mac is hard to use” (did not get that one). However at the price, they could probably purchase 2-4 basic low-end PCs, with Microsoft XP. Only a few knew about Linux, however they said that “it was for nerds and programmers”. Well at least they knew something about it! A little education brought them up to speed, however more work needs to be done. While HP, Acer and others are contemplating Linux ventures, Dell has an opportunity, with its marketing knowhow, to boost the general profile of Linux. I hope Dell jumps on the opportunity, which should help to change the technical landscape for years to come.

 

Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

 

Dell Preps for Next Linux Desktop Release – Gutsy Gibbon (aka Ubuntu 7.10)


A major desktop Linux upgrade is set to be released on October 18. Michael Dell is expected to personally use it. And the PC giant will pre-load it on selected desktops and notebooks. Buzz about this next Linux release — dubbed Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon — is growing across the web. But what exactly does Gutsy Gibbon (aka Ubuntu 7.10) offer to desktop customers and solutions providers? Here’s a look.

Canonical (the company that develops Ubuntu) has outlined a long-term road map for the operating system. During the UbuntuLive conference back in July, Canonical CTO Matt Zimmerman said Ubuntu 7.10 would feature several core enhancements for desktop and server users. On the desktop, 7.10 will support:

* a 3D interface out of the box
* multi-monitor configuration
* laptop power profiling
* more details still to come

On the server, 7.10 will offer:

* Turn-key web administration
* One-step server recipes
* Proactive security with AppArmor, an increasingly popular open source security option
* “desktop” type simplicity

So, what does that mean to Ubuntu resellers and customers? Quite a lot. Ubuntu moved from niche status into the spotlight when Michael Dell himself began running the operating system. And when Dell announced selected PCs with Ubuntu preloaded a few months ago, even The VAR Guy decided to open his wallet for one of the systems.

If Ubuntu 7.1o continues that positive buzz, it could help desktop Linux to gradually become a mainstream operating system. But don’t expect that to happen overnight. In an exclusive TechIQ interview with Dell’s Linux gurus last month, the company indicated that it would take a slow-and-steady approach to Ubuntu. Translation: Don’t expect Dell to throw marketing dollars at Ubuntu PCs just yet.

The VAR Guy doesn’t expect that to happen for at least another year because Dell doesn’t want to over promise and under deliver to frustrated Windows users and small business owners who are seeking alternatives.

In the meantime, the countdown to Ubuntu 7.10 continues. And the buzz surrounding Ubuntu 7.1 will only grow louder as the upgrade’s October 18 launch date approaches.

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