Quick Mention: How Does Dell Deliver GNU/Linux?

Posted in Dell, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu at 1:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Conservative software world and Big Media to meet Free software

Dell’s decision to ship GNU/Linux desktops was a wonderful thing. There is no doubt about it. Dell’s decision is commendable.

When Dell joined the Microsoft/Novell deal — whatever that means — questions arose. It was a bit of a mystery and it wasn’t obvious what it actually involved. All we have are lots of clues, the subsequent distribution of SUSE Linux in China, other theories, and various other pieces of information that we continue to gather as time goes by (more here). The information piles up, but there’s no clear conclusion. Everything is vague.

The latest news is that Dell will add out-of-the-box DVD playback support to its Ubuntu GNU/Linux PCs.

It has long been possible to play DVDs on Linux. However, with most Linux distributions, it is necessary to manually enable this functionality. That is because while the user may legally own both the DVD he or she is trying to play and the computer it’s being played on, in the United States, enabling open-source-based operating systems to play commercial DVDs, with their wide variety of DRM (digital rights management) schemes, is something of a legal swamp. There are legal ways around this, and presumably Dell has invested in one of them.

What is meant here by “invested”? Was there just a legal barrier, a financial barrier, or something else? After Dell’s engagement in the Novell/Microsoft deal, might we gradually see software patent tax added blindly? On the desktop, interoperability is unlikely to be a factor.

Dell never spoke about the financial relationship it has with Canonical, so it’s hard to know what money flows in whose direction. There is no transparency at all although we’ve already seen anti-competitive elements in Dell's contracts with Microsoft.

Last but not least — a reminder about mythical patents. Remember that GNU/Linux is software. There cannot be patent infringement in it (with the exception of a few countries), unless it’s combined or embedded in some device. Even DMCA laws are hard to find around the world.

No Patents in Linux

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 19, 2007 at 2:17 am


    If you were capable of informed analysis and research, you’d find that they were using LinDVD, a fully licensed proprietary DVD player, and that there are no patent encumbrances related to licensed decryption of DVD content (playing the actual MPEG content certainly has encumbrances, but those are completely unrelated to Microsoft).

    Again, we see more negativity and misguided conspiracy theories from this site… surprise, surprise. I wonder what kind of correction and/or retraction we’ll see!

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 19, 2007 at 2:29 am


    Was a statement made? No. I asked questions and I am glad there were answered thanks to your good knowledge. It remains to be seen what exactly is involved when it comes to Dell’s affair with Microsoft and Novell. More importantly — why?

  3. rfrdt45 said,

    December 19, 2007 at 4:14 am


    The “I only ask questions” excuse is very shallow. You ask leading questions, you have the very clear aim to conjure up certain conspiracy theories as an answer to these ‘questions’. That is so very low; like the whole of your blow is very, very low.

  4. rfrdt45 said,

    December 19, 2007 at 4:15 am


    The “I only ask questions” excuse is very shallow. You ask leading questions, you have the very clear aim to conjure up certain conspiracy theories as an answer to these ‘questions’. That is so very low; like the whole of your blog is very, very low-level slander.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 19, 2007 at 5:39 am


    Again, as I’ve said above, I really appreciate Dell’s efforts and I’m among those who pressured them hard to take the plunge. As the banner above indicates clearly, the concern here is to do with software patents, not DVD playback (that’s just where I asked some honest leading questions). The worry many of us have is that proprietary, commercial (as in not free), DRM-laden, and/or patent-encumbered software will turn a consumer’s GNU/Linux into something it is not. I know that Dell is, in some sense, “Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place” here. It can’t please everyone.

  6. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 19, 2007 at 5:46 am


    You’ve used an inaccurate reading of the inclusion of DVD support as the jumping off point for a ridiculous, unproductive insinuation for which you have absolutely no evidence or supporting information whatsoever. I’ll point out that we’ve seen this behaviour before. Right now, the only way to ship legal DVD support is to ship proprietary, licensed software. There is nothing sinister about that, nor is it in any way related to Microsoft. Get your facts straight and your paranoia seen to, Roy.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 19, 2007 at 7:33 am



    It has been very obvious what you’re trying to do here all along. You’re hoping that by nitpicking amongst a lot of material which I post at a high pace you’ll be able to find your share of ‘proofs’ that you’ll then show people whenever they point out something which was posted in this site. You seek to discredit.

    For similar reasons, people (possibly shills) pollute sites like Slashdot with links to gross photo, insults, homophobia, and other mindless stuff that turns away CIOs and other MBAs, basically robbing the site from its reputation just because the content is uncomfortable for some corporations to accept.

  8. rfrdt45 said,

    December 19, 2007 at 7:48 am


    ‘Nitpicking’?!?!? Roy, you just write things that are not true! That’s a bit more than minor inaccuracies, which would fit the term ‘nitpicking’.

    How about if you stop “posting at a high pace”, as you so nicely put it, and RESEARCH BEFORE YOU WRITE? As it is now, it doesn’t need any effort to discredit your site, you do that all by yourself. ‘Everyday a Loch Ness Monster, and if I can’t find one, I produce one’, seems to be your motto.

  9. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 19, 2007 at 8:19 am


    I point out when you’re writing dumb stuff, Roy. Take some responsibility for it instead of being such a tool.

  10. Ian said,

    December 19, 2007 at 11:46 am


    While I don’t exactly support your ultimate stance of boycotting Novell for the reasons you state(or infer as it normally seems), I would say that your goals might be better served if instead of posting the questions which you use to drive various fictional scenarios, you take Jeff’s advice from previous posts and actually try to get those questions answered by people involved. Then you will be in a better position to back your claims….er….inferences.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 19, 2007 at 2:39 pm



    Being a Web site that isn’t the press, one has to consider the fact that research is often limited. I don’t state facts when they are not and the type of discussion that addressed the questions (not false claims) is only to be expected.


    Thanks for the advice, which I will take. At least it wasn’t phrased rudely (that’s you, Jeff).

What Else is New

  1. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, November 27, 2020

  2. Links 27/11/2020: Jolla is 7, Diffoscope 162, MNT Reform Production

    Links for the day

  3. The Time Coronavirus Helped EPO Management Prevent Staff From Protesting and Going on Strike (March 26th)

    "In view of the spreading of the New Corona Virus, the planned General Assemblies have to be cancelled," the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) wrote in the wake of the crisis across Europe back in March (weeks ahead of a planned strike)

  4. Guarding Your Privacy With E2EE: Primer

    "As with all security, there is assumed risk no matter how careful you are. There are no security guarantees but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try."

  5. Links 27/11/2020: Systemd 247 and Cockpit 233

    Links for the day

  6. A Free Speech Deficit Harms Software Freedom

    Free software and Software Freedom cannot possibly succeed if we keep accepting or even just tolerating systematic censorship of opinionated people in our community; failing to speak out on this matter (for fear of supposedly offending someone, risking expulsion) is part of the problem — complicity by passivity

  7. Perception of Difficulty

    New poem by figosdev

  8. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 26, 2020

  9. Cartoon: After Gambling With Workers' Savings the EPO Can Do Real Estate

    New EPO cartoon from EPO insiders (the one on the right certainly looks a lot like António Campinos and the one on the left can be his EUIPO ‘import’ or Benoît Battistelli‘s INPI ‘import’)

  10. Free as in Freedom Should Not be Associated With Cost

    It's important to remind people that so-called 'free' services (Clown Computing, centralised spaces that 'farm' their so-called 'users') aren't really free; we need to advocate freedom or free-as-in-freedom alternatives

  11. [Meme] UPC's Pyrrhic Victory

    Contrary to what Team UPC says, what happened earlier today is hardly a breakthrough

  12. Many Thanks to Free Software, the Demise of Software Patents (in Europe and the US), and So Much More

    On a positive note we're heading into the end of November, one month before Boxing Day; we take stock of patent affairs that impact software developers

  13. Links 26/11/2020: PHP 8.0, Proxmox VE 6.3, UNIGINE 2.13

    Links for the day

  14. 29,000 Blog Posts and Recent Site Improvements

    Over 29,000 blog posts have been posted here, but more importantly we've made the site a lot more robust and resilient, accessible in more formats and protocols (while improving transparency, too)

  15. [Meme] Trump is Out. Now It's Time to Pressure the Biden Administration/Transition Team on Software Freedom Issues.

    The Biden transition is in motion and tentative appointments are underway, based on news reports (see our Daily Links); now is the time to put pressure, e.g. in the form of public backlash, to ensure it's not just another corporate presidency

  16. Boycott ZDNet Unless You Fancy Being Lied to

    ZDNet's Catalin Cimpanu continues to lead the way with misinformation and lies, basically doing whatever he was doing to land that job at ZDNet (after he had done the same elsewhere)

  17. The UPC and Unitary Patent Song

    On goes the UPC symphony, as the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is almost here, always coming "real soon!"

  18. Open Letter to the German Greens on UPC and Software Patents: Don’t Betray Your Voters and Your Promises, or You Will Regret it

    Dear Members of the German Greens in the Bundestag. By Benjamin HENRION.

  19. [Meme] One Step Away From Replacing Patent Examiners With 'Hey Hi' (AI)

    If it's not legal for 'Hey Hi' (AI) to get a patent, why should it be legal for patents to be granted by those who are invisible (and sometimes in de facto house arrest)?

  20. European Patent Office (EPO) Reduced to 'Justice Over the Telephone' and Decree by E-mail

    The EPO is trashing the EPC and everything that the Office was supposed to stand for, as it wrongly assumes demand for monopolies (typically from foreign corporations) comes before the rule of law and Europe's public interest

  21. Making Free Software Work for Users

    The latest reply to a non-developer concerned about software freedom; guest post by figosdev

  22. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 25, 2020

  23. Links 26/11/2020: AV Linux 2020.11.23 and Blender 2.91 Release

    Links for the day

  24. Links 25/11/2020: GamerOS and Biden Transition in Motion

    Links for the day

  25. An Orwellian December

    With December around the corner and states tightening the screws on the population (or employers on employees) at least we can look forward to spring

  26. The Non-Technical (or Lesser Technical) Software User That Wants Software Freedom

    Assuming that Free software should care about what users — not only developers — really want (and need) it’s important to understand how they view the current situation (with growing waves of corporate takeover and compromises, even expulsions)

  27. The European Patent Office Should be Run by Patent Examiners (Scientists), Not Politicians

    Europe would be better off (and patent quality much improved) had people with an actual grasp of science and reality were in charge of the EPO, not a money-chasing kakistocracy (which is what we have now)

  28. Member of the EPO's Boards of Appeal Explains Why VICOs (or ViCo/Video Conferences/Virtual 'Hearings') Are Not Suitable for Justice

    It's interesting to hear (or see/read) what people inside the EPO have to say about the "new normal" when they enjoy a certain level of anonymity (to avert retribution)

  29. Open Source Initiative (OSI) Co-founder Bruce Perens: Open Invention Network (OIN) is Protecting the Software Patent System From Reform and OSI Approves Faux 'Open' Licences (Openwashing)

    Richard Stallman was right about the OSI and the fake 'movement' that claims to have 'coined' the term "Open Source" (it wasn't a new term at all; it had been used in another context and the Free software community spoke of things like "Open Hardware" years earlier)

  30. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 24, 2020

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts