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Why Did Dell Choose Ballnux (Microsoft-Taxed GNU/Linux) for Thin Clients?

Dell monitor logo



"I

don't know if any of this is useful or interesting, but reading through all of those Comes v. Microsoft exhibits really makes a person view tech-news items differently," said one reader. "After reading your latest post on Digg I clicked through to a SJVN blog-article where he mentions how well Canonical is doing with their Ubuntu Server," she proceeded. From the article at hand:

In 2007, I talked with Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical's CEO, and he told me "There is already a lot of work being done with hardware vendors. We're confident we can do all the engineering required to just make Ubuntu work on servers." It turns out he was being straight with me. In 2008, Ubuntu started shipping on Dell servers.


Let's remember how Microsoft pressured Dell to toss GNU/Linux out of its servers.

"I was sorting through some Google news items in my email and this (below) was one of them," told us the reader and "[s]ince it's an O'Gara piece from Sys-con it's definitely not a good source of accurate info, and I know that Dell supports a lot of different software on their enterprise offerings...but still... It just made me curious how much pressure might Microsoft (through Novell) be putting on Dell after hearing how well Ubuntu was doing.

"Microsoft uses Novell/Suse as a weapon against Red Hat and Canonical?"

As we noted on Saturday, Dell favoured SLE* for thin clients and Maureen O'Gara is an excellent source if one wants to know how Microsoft feels about these things [1, 2]. She has a very short report comprising only a couple of sentences that add nothing particularly new.

Novell says that Dell's going to preload SUSE Linux Enterprise Thin Client onto its three-month-old OptiPlex FX160 thin client.


Dell's relationship with Microsoft changed -- or "evolved" rather -- in 2007 when they "joined" the Novell/Microsoft deal. They didn't say exactly what it meant, so it was cryptic by design and shortly afterwards they sported SLE*. Another company that followed the SLES/D route was Lenovo. And then there's H-P. Mysteriously enough, H-P chose SLED although they recently dumped it for Ubuntu on mini laptops because 'vanilla' SLED is not perfectly suited for this type of low-end hardware with small displays.

“Dell's relationship with Microsoft changed -- or "evolved" rather -- in 2007 when they "joined" the Novell/Microsoft deal.”H-P, like many other companies of its kind, is cross-licensing with Microsoft, so someone does not tell the whole story which would potentially damage H-P's business. The discussion is steered astray purposely.

Bruce Perens used to work for H-P. He found out just shortly before the attack from SCO that H-P probably knew about it in advance. H-P and Microsoft remain very close because H-P relies on low Windows margins. It's keeping close to Microsoft, whose strategy is denial and intimidation. Groklaw went a long way to supply evidence for much of this and the Dell deal (probably patent deal) was eerily similar to the H-P story. Their advertisements tend to disappoint as well, but it's Microsoft's fault. Pricing too is a bit of a mystery.

Microsoft realises it needs to generate new revenue streams. Racketeering is not the way to go though, not as a sustainable long-term strategy anyway. Intellectual monopolies are mythical in this case and generally valid only in very few countries that allowed themselves to be litigiously corrupted by the interests of very few.

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