Readers sound off on Dell Ubuntu support, Adobe Reader updates

Gripe Line mail bag: More Ubuntu options, fewer Adobe Reader patches please

Although this blog's attention to reader gripes may give the impression that nothing is right in the world of high-tech customer support, that is far from the case. Every now and again, Gripe Line receives a note from readers so struck by a certain purchase or support interaction that they feel compelled to share their experience. Gripe Line reader Tom offered up one such note, relaying a positive experience he recently had with Dell.

"I bought a new Dell computer from Microcenter," Tom says. "I spent a whopping $399.99 on it, but it does seem to be a nice little box. One of the selling points is that, though it came with Windows XP, it came with an upgrade to Windows 7."  

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In preparation for this upgrade, Tom wanted to make a recovery disk. This was not included with his system, and there seemed to be no way to make one from the hard drive. So he contacted Dell via online chat looking for a solution. He bounced around a bit among support people and eventually landed in a chat with a supervisor who confirmed that a recovery disk was not included with his machine and or on the hard drive. But he was told not to worry, Dell would send him the disks. And the company did -- right away.

"The FedEx man delivered those disks the very next day. I am certainly impressed with that follow through," Tom says.

Ubuntu panacea for Dell?

Not everyone is as happy with Dell as Tom is. In response to my post "Where are Dell's Ubuntu PCs?" there was quite a debate over the relative merits and evils of companies that will or will not offer some systems with Ubuntu preinstalled.

Some Gripe Line readers expressed fears of a collusion with Microsoft to scuttle Ubuntu; others suggested that software should never be preinstalled on computers at all; and a third camp decried Ubuntu as a "toy" operating system.

Gripe Line reader Alex offered a unique solution to Dell's Ubuntu conundrum: "We want Ubuntu options on all of their machines!"

Saying uncle to Adobe Reader updates

Gripe Line reader Scott wrote in with a beef about Adobe being perhaps too conscientious about updating its software: "I don't know if anyone else has noticed or complained about this, but I'm getting pretty fed up with all the updates for Adobe Reader. Last week, I installed an update that required rebooting my computer. Today I had to install another. The frequency of these updates is getting quite ridiculous. This is worse than Microsoft ever was before they started their monthly updates. Can someone please find out why they are sending out so many updates lately?"

I've been unable to get an answer from Adobe, but I'm with you, Scott. I, too, am frustrated with how needy Adobe Reader is.

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This story, "Readers sound off on Dell Ubuntu support, Adobe Reader updates," was originally published at Read more of Christina Tynan-Wood's Gripe Line blog at

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