Blog Post

Dude! You're not getting ripped off

OK, so everyone knows that Dell announced (well Direct2Dell) that they will be releasing the new Ubuntu machines today at 4pm CST, Chicago Standard Time 🙂

Well, I have seen post after post about how people are getting ripped off by going with Ubuntu and not Vista. Well lets just break this down…

    Dell E1505n


I couldn’t find E1505n anywhere on Dell’s website, let alone anything n-series based. If it is there, then Dell’s search sucks. What I did find was the Inspiron E1505 which is Vista based. This laptop starts at $748 USD on their website, and Direct2Dell said it will sell for $599, a $149 difference. I think I am wrong with this one since I couldn’t find their “supposed n-series” stuff, except for desktops. So if this is the case, then the laptop looks to be a great deal!

    Dimension E520n


The E520 starts at $649 for a Vista edition. This same system with Ubuntu will sell for $599, only a $50 difference. OK, maybe we are getting ripped off….wait a second…Read the last paragraph for my thoughts on this one.

    XPS 410n


The 410n starts at $899 for the Vista edition. This same system with Ubuntu will sell for a whopping $849, another $50 difference. Is there a trend here?

Well, The 2 desktops show a $50 difference between their Vista counterparts. So that is why I think my price on the notebook is flawed, if it isn’t, then I would buy up as many as I could for that price.

OK, so only a $50 difference between the Vista edition and the Ubuntu edition. Ummm, wtf? Well, we are all used to seeing Vista on the shelves for $100+, and aren’t used to seeing it for say $15 or even less per license. Yes, Dell gets that kind of deal from Microsoft, so when you actually purchase a Dell machine, you are really paying for the hardware and not the software when it comes to the consumer based machines. So you really aren’t getting ripped off, wait a second, you aren’t getting ripped off at all. You are getting a great machine with the world’s greatest operating system (yes, I am waiting for the flames from the Vista fanbois) 🙂

Now, is this $50 difference going to be enough to cause someone to say, “Hey, check out Ubuntu on this Dell, it is $50 cheaper so I am going to buy it!” I am 50/50 on this one actually. I spent a couple of months working in a field survey class for one of my degrees not to long ago, and my task was to examine and attempt to understand the way consumers purchase goods. Well, I went between Best Buy, CompUSA, Fry’s Electronics, and Circuit City (all of these stores are electronics, computer, audio/video type stores in the US). The one thing I found is that Best Buy outsold them all. Why? Easy, they offered all of their discounts at the register, yet they were still more expensive in the long run compared to the others. The others would sell the same item, but would give your money back in mail-in refunds. So lets say the item retails at $400, Best Buy will sell it to you right now for $300, but the other competitors will sell it to you for $250, but you have to wait on average 2 months to get the $150 back from refunds. People want it now and they want it cheaper. That is the one advantage I see to this deal, even if it is $50. $50 lets you get off your computer for the evening and take your significant other out for a night on the town 😉

UPDATE: Nicholas hit a great point in the comments that I for some reason didn’t hit. Thanks Nicholas!

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  • The “n” series I think is only for those models with Ubuntu pre-installed.

  • Lets say you buy a Vista machine and spend the extra $50 what then ? Lets assume you are buying it all through Dell Direct ? Well lets add a extra year or Mcafee $15, then lets add MS Office for the office £120 and now lets add a photo editing suite $50 and oh we will need to arrange to burn the media to a DVD or CDRW when it arrives $2 I make that a additional $187 on top of the purchase which suggests that with the Ubuntu option we can save a total of $237 or about £100 which is not inconsiderable. Besides I like the same price plan because even at the same price we are still cheaper.

  • Nicholas!!!! ROCK ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF 🙂

    Excellent points, don’t know how I could have left those out…DAMN GOOD POINT!!!!

  • Spanky

    My concern is with only $50 off; for no Windows, the powers be will say their is little demand for open systems. That is a misleading game. We’ll see.

    It’s now about price. A major hardware and systems provider such as Dell needs to use it’s volume purchasing power for volume sales of commodity hardware. A supplier job is to produce a good and compatible fit of hardware.

    Granted some people think they need the hand holding (See Apple users) and they can pay the higher for it. That’s fine. This is the (false) promise of Windows and OS-X.

    GNU/Linux open systems do not need so much fluff and buff (and ads). While this so called “value added” is fine for some, it’s not for others. Not for me.

    Why does everything have to be so far one way or another? I do not want a time wasting project to hack at all the time. I do want freedom and yet I do not want hand holding, expensive, extra FLUFF. (Can’t we all just get along?)

    So why can’t the extra service be an add on, paid extra for option? I mean, if Dell doesn’t provide it, why should i pay for it?

    An open system generally installs in 20 minutes and is more done than a pre-infected Windows monstrosity.

    I fear also that people will just buy the Windows version and add their own free (K)Ubuntu CD and this will be used to falsify Windows demand over open software. Please consider dual booting with an already paid for Windows version.

    Don’t get me wrong. If one has to choose now, they’d be better off overall with something like Kubuntu (on newish and compatible hardware). Yet, we need more of every benefit from Windows; with none left behind. Some of the die hard Linux geeks are doing more harm than good, when they want to keep open software user technical and time consuming. By in large, Kubuntu and (Debian its self) are NOT time consuming UNLESS your push the envelope (which “average” users do not do). Still, more understanding and coding for “granny” is forthcoming. The good news is, it’s coming FAST. Very fast.

    Summary: Different strokes for different folks (with prices to match).

    Beware the FUD.

    Dell will die to competition that does, if it doesn’t price low!

  • shivan

    hum, so you say that with an extra 50$, I can get vista that would cost me twice that in the shelves ?

    I can install ubuntu for free, and vista may be useful someday, why wouldn’t I choose the vista option then install ubuntu ?

    I now, that’s an advanced user (if I can call myself that way) reasoning, but I don’t think 50 bucks is enough to make switch OS.

  • shivan

    *to make people switch OS.

  • Freddy Martinez

    >>I can install ubuntu for free, and vista may be useful someday, why wouldn’t I choose >> the vista option then install ubuntu ?

    You’re willing to spend 50 dollars on an OS that *may* be “useful someday” (to use your words). So you’re saying Vista is useless now? But Ubuntu is (and wish a discount)….dude I’m not seeing your logic. I’ll take my Ubuntu and spend the 50 dollars on an upgrade.

  • siriusfox

    The $150 cost on the laptop is negated. The Ubuntu laptop only comes with 512MB RAM, so the cost for comparable hardware is only $50 cheaper. Not only that, but the part of the site with Linux is hidden away from the rest of the site.

    I don’t think Ubuntu will see much of a gain from this, the gains I see coming are mostly users already running Ubuntu using Dell, not people using Dell + Windows going to Ubuntu.

    If they put these on the main site, and made the price difference a little more than $50 maybe, but users who really want to use Ubuntu will just buy the Windows box because they need it for other things, and put a downloaded copy of Ubuntu on it.

  • JohnT

    I called Dell, and got on the phone for an hour speaking to a guy, I only investigated the laptop, not the Desktop machines. But the laptop the E1505n with Ubuntu is $599, and the same exact hardware for XP is $699. I specifically went through each hardware spec with the guy from dell, and I made sure they were exactly the same. And sure enough, they are. So even if you’re a windows user, you should buy Ubuntu and download a windows disc. heh. Although I prefer free/libre software and I’ll be using GNU/Linux myself. anyway, yea.. you’re definitely saving a lot of money.

  • Abbas Khan

    First of all Remember that dell putting Ubuntu on their laptops and getting all the support issues costs $$$ like the vblog on the announcement post says it’s a little bit more than just putting in the cd and running the text based install. Second they are putting resources (read:money) back into linux and opensource so even if their ubuntu computers cost the same price. You are helping the open source community becoming stronger, this will decrease prices long term. Perhaps for dell to keep it’s Desktop Linux laptop/desktop profitable they need to charge more for the lower amount of sales (again short term until sales increase), whatever the issue, the major point is that if you consider Opensource better than windows than wouldn’t you pay the same to support it, b/c all that additional money is not going to dell, it’s going to supporting hardware on linux, those guys on the vblog on the announcement post (direct2dell) looked like they went through 2 months of hell to get ubuntu out in the time they did. It’s not easy to go from nothing to Ubuntu on their computers in that time for a major company and i give dell mad props, they could have just ignored us like ATI has for a long time, but they didn’t, take it a little easy on them.

    Sorry if this sounds more like a rant than something intelligently put together.

  • Siriusfox:
    good either way!

  • yman

    a friend of mine told me that he bought from MS an OEM license for windows xp for 50 USD. thats the difference, so I guess that the OEM license is costing dell 50$.

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