Dell dropping its Ubuntu offerings?

Reader’s desire to purchase an open source system from Dell meets sales rep resistance

Purchasing a preinstalled Linux system may have gotten a little harder, as one Gripe Line reader and loyal Dell customer recently found out.

"I've always supported Dell and enjoyed the availability of the company's Linux systems," writes Cal. "But I was recently appalled when a Dell sales rep hung up on me when I tried to order some Linux systems for my business. The Dell rep made it clear that unless I wanted Windows, Dell didn't want my money. Linux has been a blessing to my company. And we have paid Dell to supply us with those systems in the past. But now I guess Dell doesn't want to sell Linux/Ubuntu machines in an effort to kill off that product line."

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Could this be so? I headed to to find out. I browsed to the Business section and ticked the FreeDOS and Linux button to filter out all but these open source systems. The site returned only a handful of laptops and no desktops, so I called the sales line to see whether they could set me up. My sales representative hunted around for a bit, then told me, "Nope. We don't have any."

So I contacted Dell representative Anne Camden to find out if there is any merit to Cal's suspicion that Ubuntu systems have been dropped from the Dell product roster.

"I suspect that what is going on here is that we recently refreshed most of our consumer desktop portfolio, and unfortunately the Linux model is lagging and is not currently available," she says. "We will offer Ubuntu pre-installed again in the future, but it will not be for several weeks. We offer systems with FreeDOS installed, which allows users to install their preferred Linux distribution. If Cal called the customer consumer sales department, though, they may not know this and obviously would try to sell him a Windows-based PC. The majority of purchasing for these systems happens online -- and are made by Linux enthusiasts, not by mainstream users."

Anne had a sales rep who was well-versed in Dell's open source offerings contact Cal directly to help him get the open source systems he needed.

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