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April 17th, 2015

FOSS Is Everywhere, Dell’s New Linux Try & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Death and taxes: I avoided the first and completed the second. Metric tons of thanks to Christine Hall for standing in for me while I was recovering from what seemed for awhile there to be a terminal case of the flu as well as an appointment to do paperwork for our friendly Internal Revenue Service.

It's full of FOSSThe best news of the week, of course, is that we’re everywhere. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wrote a story in ZDNet yesterday reporting on the results of the ninth annual Future of Open Source Survey. There’s an upside and a downside, as Steven reports: Enterprise is adopting open source like crazy, but they’re not managing it worth a darn.

Such language, Steven!

On the latter, Vaughan-Nichols reports that “[b]efore we get too excited about proclaiming OSS has won and the wicked witch of proprietary software is dead, we must take into account that companies still lack OSS formal management policies.” Over half of those who replied said that their company has no formal policy or procedure for open-source use, and just over a quarter — 27 percent — have a formal policy for employee contributions to OSS projects.

That part of the proverbial equation will definitely have to be fixed, but overall it’s excellent news and something to build on.

Linux-Friendly Dell, take two: Yep, we’ve heard this song before, and now here’s an encore. An Engadget article this week announces that Dell is offering its XPS 13 laptop with Ubuntu, in a myriad of configurations from which to choose.

I hate to be the look-a-gift-horse-in-the-mouth guy — to be honest, I hate raining on parades, even Ubuntu’s — but this news is not as great as it appears. For starters, buying one will set you back anywhere from $949 to $1,849.

But here’s the real sticking point: Ordering it from the Dell site will cost you ten to thirteen days of your life waiting for it to be delivered.

Seriously, Dell? Would it absolutely, positively kill you to provide a bunch of Ubuntu-laden XPS 13s to a huge vendor like Best Buy, since rather than wait up to nearly two weeks for one, folks might just buy a Windows laptop at their local big box, get an Ubuntu disk, and do the deed?

Sheesh.

A better solution, and I never tire of saying this, is to buy from hardware makers building specifically for Linux, like ZaReason or System76. Yes, you pay more and I know some of you can’t (it’s a stretch for me, frankly), but you’re getting good quality and manufacturing that is aimed at a FOSS market. And the sale of the hardware is not being tallied in the Windows column.

Kernel 4.0 in Fedora 22 Alpha: Quoting Fedora Magazine: “Early this week, Linus released version 4.0 of the Linux Kernel. Now, this updated version of the Linux Kernel is available in the official Fedora repositories for users running the alpha release of Fedora 22.

“To get the updated version of the kernel on your Fedora 22 machine, either update the system via the Software application (in Fedora Workstation), or using dnf update on the command line.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it’s done.

See you next week.

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Larry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

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11 comments to FOSS Is Everywhere, Dell’s New Linux Try & More…

  • Andrew

    The order lag is commmon for Dell. XPS is a nice notebook with great specs, I considered it before choosing a Macbook Pro.

  • Colonel Panik

    Our family has purchased 5 refurbished Lenovo X220
    laptops in the last four months. Great top of the
    line lappies, killer specs and a touch of smug.
    These can be had for <$400.

    My wife's had an iffy HD that was replaced by a SSD,
    that was so successful that the Colonel was inspired
    to get an SSD. Best upgrade ever.

    I put LMDE2 on an older Lenovo yesterday, one hour.

    Dell? NOPE.

  • Stephen

    I don’t see the wait from Dell as an issue at all: one can plan ahead for that. From reading the Dell forum, it appears the XPS 13 Developer edition is using an Intel wifi card instead of a Broadcom unit that comes in the Windows machines. They’re discounting the price $50 relative to Win8, and $100 from Win8 Pro.

    This is a niche such that it wouldn’t make sense to have a stack of them at Best Buy.

    Dell and their little Sputnik team should be applauded and encouraged for what they’re doing.

  • Duncan

    @ Colonel Panik

    Lenovo? You know Lenovo was caught shipping the superfish adware/spyware/man-in-the-middle-proxy, which included Komodia’s “SSL Hijacker” decryption and interception code, along with the same “private” root-CA cert shipped on many machines, and that they’ve admitted installing it on purpose, right?

    Google/wikipedia it, if you like. It’s serious stuff.

    Lenovo _had_ a respectable reputation in Linux circles… until this superfish incident. While that particular code was/is MS Windows based and thus isn’t the direct worry for Linux-only users it is for MS users, a number of prominent Linux community members have declared that after the Lenovo/superfish incident, Lenovo has lost /their/ trust and thus their future purchasing and recommending endorsements as well.

    So while it is of course your decision, I’d certainly consider well before making any future Lenovo purchases or doing any further positive Lenovo namedrops, either. There’s other brands out there, without the negative association with respect for user’s freedom and privacy that Lenovo now has, for better or for worse.

  • Walt

    Major problem buying from ZaReason or System76, is they both only sell on line. I do not do any business on line with anyone due the the lack of security and accountability.

  • Charlie

    I would rather buy a Windows laptop (choice of hardware) and put my own choice of distro and save the money to donate to Open Source projects that resonates with me.

  • David P. Riedel

    The Dell M3800 ships with Ubuntu — a great machine !

  • Tyler Decker

    Dell doesn’t get to tell BestBuy which of its products to carry. That isn’t how retail works.

  • Jeremy Akers

    I have an older generation Dell XPS with Ubuntu and it’s the best laptop I’ve ever owned. I don’t understand the problem. Dell isn’t doing it right because you have to “order” the machine? Who the hell buys computers from Best Buy anymore anyhow?

    And you’re complaining about price? A comparable machine from System76 is just as expensive if not more so, and the Ubuntu XPS is actually about $50 cheaper than the Windows version. Again, what’s your actual complaint here?

    And to boot, System76 doesn’t even *have* a truly comparable system to the XPS 13. They have nothing that is as thin, as light, or with comparable display quality.

    I feel like we should be commending Dell for actually offering Linux choices instead of trying to cut them down for it. This has got to be the “whiniest” Linux article I’ve read in some time.

  • Don’t waste your time on a new Dell. Keep an eye on their Outlet Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/DellOutlet). Get a refurb with any OS and load your favorite Linux distro. No wait, free shipping, great price, same warranty as new, and your favorite distro, not Dell’s.

  • Sum Yung Gai

    Better to just buy a used laptop, no OS, and have at it. Or, if it’s a desktop, just head to Fry’s or Micro Center and build your own. Takes half an hour to build a mid-tower PC nowadays. I do like System76 and ZaReason as options as well.

    The reason you don’t see any laptops or other PC’s in Best Buy or other big-box stores is that Microsoft pays vendors and “Tier 1” computer makers to stick only with MS Windows. It’s called, “co-marketing dollars” and has been happening for well over the past two decades in various forms. The one thing Microsoft executives *don’t* want to see is any sort of GNU/Linux desktop in any major stores for people to see and try out.

    “Oh, but Apple!” Remember, Microsoft needs Apple to stay out of antitrust court, hence the $150 million bailout in the 1990’s when Apple was on the ropes. “Whoops, went too far!”, said the MS executives, “gotta keep *someone* afloat, we’re in court!” But Apple is even more proprietary, so that was OK. This was pre-iJewelry, remember.

    You will see Ubuntu PC’s/laptops in the big-box stores only when there’s someone with billions of dollars to contribute to political campaigns. That’s the only way this “Microsoft-only” kereitsu system going to be truly reined in. On phones, we had Google and Linux-based Android (Google with its billions).

    –SYG