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Why Dell Should Upgrade Past Ubuntu 8.04 LTS

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  • Why Dell Should Upgrade Past Ubuntu 8.04 LTS

    Phoronix: Why Dell Should Upgrade Past Ubuntu 8.04 LTS

    Earlier this week we looked at the Inspiron Mini 9, which was Dell's inaugural Atom-powered netbook. The hardware to the device was fine and it even shipped with Ubuntu Linux, albeit with a few modifications. In that article though we said we would have Ubuntu benchmarks coming from this 8.9" Intel device and today we have those numbers to share. We are looking at the performance of Ubuntu 8.04.2 LTS, Ubuntu 8.10, and Ubuntu 9.04 from the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook. Since Ubuntu 8.04.2, Intel's Atom performance has improved tremendously and Dell should begin thinking about upgrading past the Long-Term Support release.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=13711

  • #2
    I have faith that they will.

    In May or June of 2010.

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    • #3
      My family has bought two ubuntu dells so far, looking at a third, but the first thing I always have to do is wipe the one year old ubuntu and install the current one, which sucks, because having things ready to go out of the box is a lot of the reason one might buy an ubuntu dell or a mac. Even when they do catch up in that regard, their support needs some work. A lot of work.

      I'm the proud owner of an Inspiron 1420n, but my next machine?
      White macbook.

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      • #4
        Why Dell would not upgrade? Simple QC qualifying takes time and is a logistical nightmare for hardware vendors to do over every time a new release is available. This is why hardware vendors that are offering linux based solutions, choose the LTS versions such as Ubuntu LTS or SLED.

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        • #5
          Perhaps they should buy System76?

          I don't see why Dell should be so picky with an OS they don't even reccomend people to use. *snerk*

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          • #6
            this article seems a little silly. Dell don't want to ship the latest cause one, they dont want all the problems, and two no one really cares even if IOzone performance is twice as bad with the LTS version as with 9.04 beta!

            Dell need to ship an OS that will be supported for a long time, simple. A non technical person does not want to have to update linux version every two years, because they've stopped security updates!

            And you blab on about better hardware support, who cares? USB flash drives work and so does the whole laptop. Good enough for dell... and pretty much everyone with a netbook! It's not like your trying to squeewe in the latest RAID SAS card or do some ATI crossfire magic on it!

            Personally i'm surprised they dont ship with debian. Would be much better. I guess debian isnt as "cool" as ubuntu.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by lordmozilla View Post
              Personally i'm surprised they dont ship with debian. Would be much better. I guess debian isnt as "cool" as ubuntu.
              Debian has different objectives than Ubuntu.
              If there is a reason Dell should upgrade, it's likely to be the same reaon their users upgrade. Features. Every release of Ubuntu packs enough features that I have a hard time even using the previous version.

              If Apple sold new macs with a 10.4.11 option, maybe what Dell is doing would make sense. Ubuntu, however, isn't Windows. New releases get /better/, not markedly worse, and there is no reason to use an OS a decade old, or even a fifth of that. Now, if they want to offer an LTS _option_, that's great, but I want the current release, and so does pretty much everyone else buying Ubuntu Dells I should think.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ethana2 View Post
                Debian has different objectives than Ubuntu.
                If there is a reason Dell should upgrade, it's likely to be the same reaon their users upgrade. Features. Every release of Ubuntu packs enough features that I have a hard time even using the previous version.

                If Apple sold new macs with a 10.4.11 option, maybe what Dell is doing would make sense. Ubuntu, however, isn't Windows. New releases get /better/, not markedly worse, and there is no reason to use an OS a decade old, or even a fifth of that. Now, if they want to offer an LTS _option_, that's great, but I want the current release, and so does pretty much everyone else buying Ubuntu Dells I should think.
                I think one problem with selling the current release preinstalled would be upgrading users who bought a Dell with the LTS to the current release, and how to support them, if at all.

                However is Dell truly understood the market they are attempting to sell to they'd offer both the current release and LTS preinstalled

                One interesting aspect of Dell's decision to sell PC preinstalled with Ubuntu, is how Dell competes with Canonical. Both Dell and Canonical are in the business of selling support services. However there may be an opportunity where Dell could possibly work with Canonical to support support what Dell can't. ie, Dell could sell preinstalls of both the current release and the current LTS. They could sell the current release with discounted Canonical desktop support contracts, and keep LTS support services to themselves.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ethana2 View Post
                  Debian has different objectives than Ubuntu...
                  Now, if they want to offer an LTS _option_, that's great, but I want the current release, and so does pretty much everyone else buying Ubuntu Dells I should think.
                  I suspect the Debian suggestion was perhaps made tongue-in-cheek. Me, I should think that "pretty much everyone else buying Ubuntu Dells" would care far more about reliability and their Help Desk experience than anything else. But that's more for Dell marketing to research and know, than for me to think.

                  I'd also think that Dell could do best for Linux in general by doing the best for the greatest number of Dell's Ubuntu customers. Offering the latest LTS as their one true officially supported Distro is quite likely that. Those of you who know the benefits of the bleeding edge are quite capable of installing (and maintaining) it yourself, and Dell knows it. Heck, just knowing that 8.04 LTS is fully supported on the hardware before you buy is a big sigh of relief factor right there.

                  But the Linux newbies, the folks who innocently buy a Mini-9 because they wanted a cheap netbook and "had heard some good things about Linux, so I thought I'd give it a try" -- what about them? That's where LTS and Dell's Help Desk can make a critical difference. I'm not Dell. They may look at 9.04 and conclude that 2x boot-time speedup (which is all those critical newbies are likely to notice) is worth the support risk, and go for it. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

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                  • #10
                    Does Dell intend to continue selling Ubuntu computers? They removed the options to buy several laptops including the studio and inspiron series and the only computers left with ubuntu are the two netbooks (one of which doesn't even have proper driver support), the desktop, and two XPS laptops none of which have updated hardware. Most manufacturers seem to have already phased out the x3100 in favor of the 4500MHD and Dell still does not offer the P series of processors. They also haven't dropped the prices on the old hardware shipping with Ubuntu.

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                    • #11
                      The tests were run using an SSD, some of the write performances were low for 9.04. From the article I read on anandtech degridation of writes will happen on SSD's after the drive has been used for a while. I guess my point to this is....Was a different/new SSD used for each install of Ubuntu? If not, maybe the block and page formula that is explain in that article are in play here causing bad performance. Just curious.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Milyardo View Post
                        One interesting aspect of Dell's decision to sell PC preinstalled with Ubuntu, is how Dell competes with Canonical. Both Dell and Canonical are in the business of selling support services.
                        They aren't competing at all. Dell offers hardware support on the systems with ubuntu pre-installed. They QVL and support their hardware. When it comes to OS support, that still goes to Canonical.

                        Hardware Support

                        Dell supports its hardware sold with Linux. The standard hardware warranty applies.
                        If you purchased a Dell system with Ubuntu factory-installed, we have a special hardware support queue per country:
                        • U.S Ubuntu Technical support - 866 622 1947
                        • U.K Ubuntu Technical support - 0870 353 33 53
                        • France Ubuntu Technical support - 0825 387 167
                        • Germany Ubuntu Technical support - 069 9792 15726
                        Software Support

                        http://linux.dell.com/wiki/index.php/Products/Consumer
                        Last edited by deanjo; 04-17-2009, 12:31 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Michael, while your benchmarking is great, I think you're barking up the wrong tree on this one.
                          Translation: Dell wants to minimize the amount of times they have to deal with customers and send them new hardware. They want to make money off the Linux market while dedicating minimal support resources to it. They don't want to pay for Linux support gurus, just shadetree nerds they can hire off of the street. They believe that having older, more "stable" software accomplishes this.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DanL View Post
                            Dell wants to minimize the amount of times they have to deal with customers and send them new hardware. They want to make money off the Linux market while dedicating minimal support resources to it. They don't want to pay for Linux support gurus, just shadetree nerds they can hire off of the street. They believe that having older, more "stable" software accomplishes this.
                            Good point Dan. Leaving whatever Dell can hire off the street aside, anytime Customer Support picks up the phone Dell runs a (hopefully small) risk that a software problem will be misdiagnosed as hardware, and an RMA issued. Nobody wants that. LTS clearly is the winner here.

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                            • #15
                              Here is one MAJOR show stopper for Dell, and a big lesson learned on my part about assuming they would only use hardware with proper support:

                              The Dell Mini 12 (offered with Ubuntu) and the Mini 10 (soon to be offered with Ubuntu) both use Intel GMA 500. As of right now, and apparently for a good while to come, their drivers for linux are no good with anything beyond the 2.6.24 kernel.

                              Until Poulsbo drivers are developed, the Mini 12's and 10's cannot upgrade to anything newer than 8.04. Following the LTS releases may be their only option when it comes to proper support for some of the hardware they provide.

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