Linux netbook price

I was digging around on the dell site and came across the Inspiron 10 range (Inspiron Mini 10 / Mini 10v).
They list 2 models, the 10v with ubuntu and the 10v with winXP/Vista.
The ubuntu version is cheaper at £156 but only has a small solid state drive. The windows version is £199 but has a 160 gig drive.
If you click the customise option add the hdd to the linux version, it pushes up the price to £199.13 (more than the windows version!)
This means that to get the same spec, costs around the same but they are giving away windows.
Or am I missing something?

This is quite common knowledge, it can be difficult to get the higher spec units supplied with Linux.
When Netbooks first hit the stores they were largely Linux. Now, Evil Empire has made sure that’s all changed.

> Or am I missing something?

missing the fact that the win version is loaded up with links to
TRIALware (anti-virus, M$-Office, etc etc etc)…and DELL is PAID by
the trialware sellers to put the icons on the desktop…

paid SO much that it easily pays Microsoft’s license fee, plus
some…which means it cost DELL more to ship a netbook with ‘free’
Linux than it does to ship with a costly MS…

and DELL earns a fee every time someone buys any of the trialware

this is OLD news…read more.


This is reflected in the price- Free ubuntu with the same spec as the win box is more than the win box!
Here is the transcript of my conversation with the dell brainless chat bot:
11:38:09 Customer John
Initial Question/Comment: Pricing on inspiron 10
11:38:15 System System
Live Chat with a Dell Agent
11:38:50 System System
You are now being connected to an agent. Thank you for using Dell Chat
11:38:50 System System
Connected with Rama_Rao
11:39:00 Agent Rama_Rao
Thank you for contacting Dell Chat Sales. This is Rama, your Sales Advisor. My mail ID is
11:39:05 Agent Rama_Rao
How are you John?
11:41:46 Customer John
Hi I am interested in getting an inspiron 10: but with linux and to add the hard disk. If I customsie it at: Inspiron Mini 10 / Mini 10v I get a price initially of £156 and this goes to £199.13 with the hdd. This is more than the windows version which also has windows. Why?
11:42:15 Agent Rama_Rao
Please give me few minutes, to read your query and advice.
11:42:52 Customer John
OK - Also, what refunf if I buy the win version and refuse the licence?
11:42:55 Agent Rama_Rao
I can say nothing on the pricing as I do not have any information on that.
11:43:25 Agent Rama_Rao
There will be no refund, you can just customize with the options provided there and order.
11:43:35 Agent Rama_Rao
There will be no discounts or refunds - am afraid!
11:44:25 Customer John
Yes but if I refuse the licence, you must have a value for the windows install which should be refunded.
11:46:15 Agent Rama_Rao
I’m afraid we do not have any option like that.
11:47:35 Agent Rama_Rao
May I know what are you trying to refuse and accept.
11:47:57 Customer John
You must have - since I am refusing the licence and returning the software, since I do not want it. I must be entitled to a refund, by law.
11:48:30 Agent Rama_Rao
Do you have an option online to refuse software.
11:49:07 Customer John
No, the options come the first time you power up and run the product.
11:50:26 Agent Rama_Rao
Could you give me the link for it.
11:51:45 Customer John
Get a new system and power it up. The first thing that will appear is the licence. It will also be included on the cover of the enclosed recovery software.
11:53:09 Agent Rama_Rao
Are you talking about refusing once you receive the machine. As if so, as you refuse the software, you are demanding for a refund now - is my understanding correct?
11:55:05 Agent Rama_Rao
Are we still connected
11:55:11 Agent Rama_Rao
Anything else I can help with?
11:55:24 Customer John
Yes, you are supplying something I don’t need. Microsoft licencing policy requires I accept their terms. I refuse, but wish to keep the hardware, so you are obliged to return the value of the returned unused software.
11:56:29 Agent Rama_Rao
We do not have any such option
11:56:41 Customer John
If you can’t help, who do I talk to that can?
11:56:49 Agent Rama_Rao
Once you buy from Dell, mean you are okay with the features to order and you’ve ordered.
11:57:23 Agent Rama_Rao
If there is any problem with the machine once you receive it, within one year, we support but we cannot give any refunds.
11:57:59 Agent Rama_Rao
There is actually no one to speak on this.
11:58:19 Customer John
OK then, but this means, going back to my original question: Why is the price of a system with the same specs and hdd with ubuntu more than the one with windows?
11:58:39 Agent Rama_Rao
We never had anyone asking it this way for a refund.
11:59:04 Agent Rama_Rao
As it comes with Ubuntu.
11:59:49 Customer John
But ubuntu is free software, so logic dictates that the ubuntu version must be cheaper.
12:00:24 Agent Rama_Rao
I do not have any information on pricing - I will take your feed back to our online team.
12:01:14 Customer John
But then who does? That was the whole point of my questions - what is the price!
12:01:54 Agent Rama_Rao
Brand Team does the pricing.
12:02:16 Customer John
So how do I contact them to get the price?
12:02:49 Agent Rama_Rao
You cannot contact them, I will pass on your feed back - is what I can do - am afraid

So he is there to help with online ordering, but cannot explain any anomalies or field any difficult questions. Why have hime then?

He’s just there to show the rest of the Lemmings where to go. By the sound of it, that might task his little Grey Cells beyond limit.

I sympathize, but do not understand why you are revisiting this problem in this forum including the boring pointless chat with the dellbot. Your only hope is to report it to one of the media’s consumer watchdog programmes or columns. They will get Dell’s attention at senior management level, and the publicity will hopefully make Dell revisit the problem.

The same thing happened with me, when i was choosing a decent laptop for personal use. Every body was talking about dell, so i open dell site. And search for some good piece. What i found was, all laptop were equipped with vista, which i don’t want. And i don’t want to pay to M$.
So i start a live chart with customer service, which was not much different from the above chat.
They can just tell you, “We already put everything on the site, so you can order that”. No Linux here. i told them, i don’t want windozz…they answered, sorry we don’t have this sort of option.
And in the last, i give up and postpone buying from dell.

whych wrote:
> Platinum:
> This is reflected in the price- Free ubuntu with the same spec as the
> win box is more than the win box!

did you read what i wrote?

once more (i’m typing slowly so you can keep up):

It costs Dell MORE money to ship a computer with free Ununtu than it
cost them to ship an M$ box with kickbacks and ad revenue from
trialware sellers.

So, naturally, they charge more for the higher cost boxes…it has
been that way for ten years, at least.


Additionally, there are longstanding rumours (no idea if they’ve been proven) that Microsoft charge a vendor more for each unit per unit that vendor sells with another OS on. This sounds entirely plausible - I think with the whole Intel cartel thing, they were doing about the same thing.

The upshot is that Dell may well have an incentive to artificially inflate linux prices - because vendors sometimes want to charge so much for something that very few of them are sold. It’s about the illusion, rather than the actuality, of choice.


Microsoft has been in the OEM business for years. They know how the game is played. They know how to ensure hardware suppliers of PCs can minimize the cost impact of including a Microsoft operating system.

They have effectively used this and other techniques for years, and many years back they gradually edged out DR.DOS and OS/2 (although there are also other reasons by those OS failed to compete adequately), and Microsoft virtually assured themselves of a monopoly. Linux is pushing them to be more competitive in the OEM game, but don’t underestimate them for a minute. Money made from OEM versions of MS-Windows has to be one of the big revenue earners for Microsoft, not only in the sale of the operating system, but also in providing a platform for the sale of some 1st class applications that run on their operating system (ie Microsoft Office and the “Visual” suite of apps).

Don’t forget there is the added cost of getting their tech support and installation process to incorporate Linux which as a “new” product, they must recoup the cost somehow and as time comes this will be less of an issue.

Wasn’t Lenovo or IBM selling Thinkpads with SLED installed at a time? Curious about the price differences there.

When my GF bought her laptop from Dell in March '08, she actually saved money by getting Ubuntu on it instead of Windows. At the time I did the ordering, I assumed this was how it was supposed to be; it was only after I realized how much kick back money Dell gets from MS did I notice how odd it was that she saved money by getting Linux.

I spent the better part of 5 hours scouring Dell’s website, designing laptop after laptop, changing the specs, etc., until I finally came out with something I felt confident my GF could use. While I did this, I kept running tabs on a Windows laptop and an Ubuntu laptop (most of the searching involved was finding a Windows laptop that had the same specs as the limited selection of Linux laptops). When I was all done, the Windows and Ubuntu laptops had the same specs (except for the wireless card, in which the Windows version had a crappier model), but the Windows version was $75 more expensive.

I like to think that I’m some sort of purchasing genius who can spot a good deal out of a sea of crap, but more than likely I just stumbled on a pricing error their marketer’s missed. The Linux laptop was supposed to be more expensive (I saw someone in their online support forums explain that users who want Linux are willing to pay more b/c they know what they want, so that is why they are more expensive), but through an oversight with Dell’s pricing system there was a particular combination of hardware that resulted in a lower price for the Ubuntu laptop over an equivalent Windows machine.

A month or so after she bought her laptop, the number of available Linux systems dwindled from 8 to 3. Also, the options available for the 3 were greatly reduced, which makes me think that Dell found their error(s) and moved to fix it(them).

Still, the experience gave me the unique bragging rights of saying I saved money by getting a laptop from a major vendor with Linux on it instead of Windows. I have never been able to repeat this (I try when I have time to kill), but Dell’s selection of computers changes so rapidly I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to (unless something happens in which the MS/vendor kickbacks stop flowing).

One main reason for the disparity in price is, from my understanding, laptop/netbook manufacturers are locked into licensing deals with the evil empire which means that you get charged the M$ fee when you buy the machine, regardless of which operating system is installed, or even if there is no operating system at all. So even if you buy a Linux machine, you pay the fee, and with no chance of the refund.