07.21.08

Gemini version available ♊︎

Microsoft is Paid for Ubuntu-based Dell PCs

Posted in Dell, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell at 5:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Codecs tax’ added

T

his seems like a sensitive subject, so it’s worth beginning with a clarification that the author hasn’t bias against Ubuntu (used it since the first version, alongside other GNU/Linux distributions). The decision from Dell to sell PCs with GNU/Linux preinstalled was fantastic too and it opened the door to similar offers from other competing OEMs.

What follows is intended to be constructive criticism, so it’ll be kept more polite and less ambiguous than the last time.

“There are no easy solutions here and it is perhaps why selling machines with no operating system and without the taxation should be needed.”The relationship between Microsoft, Novell and Dell is mysterious and very little is publicly known about the financial arrangement between Dell and Canonical. Nevertheless, every now and then, some people carry on complaining about the price of Ubuntu PCs from Dell. They are sometimes more expensive than equivalents with Microsoft Windows or are delivered without bonuses (hidden value).

On the face of it, one low-key addition to the latest expansion from Dell (availability of Ubuntu 8.04[.x]) is “licensed codecs”, where license is a fancier term for the payment to acquire binaries — or rather the permission to taint the GNU/Linux distribution with them. It seems unnecessary to revisit the endless debate about the harms of proprietary software, including such codecs especially where they are acquired in this fashion.

This nugget of information was made a little more apparent in the following article.

Dell began to address those problems with the 7.10 release by adding legal support for DVD playback. With the 8.04 release, Dell is going a step further and will be adding licensed codecs for common audio and video formats.

There are several issues here. Firstly, the price of GNU/Linux can be controlled (elevated) above the cost of proprietary software simply because files encoded in a certain way are spread among people. These are different (and legal) ways of obtaining such codecs.

In the case of Dell, you do not get any choice but to pay for proprietary software (preinstalled even) which is costly and essentially pays Microsoft for software patents, probably even in Europe.

There are no easy solutions here and it is perhaps why selling machines with no operating system and without the taxation should be needed. It’s called unbundling and it’s a state where people are permitted to just buy bare hardware from the Big Vendors. Microsoft fights this fiercely using daemonisation terms like “naked” (as in “naked PCs”).

Ubuntu on Dell PCs is not free. Not gratis and not libre. They seem to be turning it into another Linspire and that won’t help Linux (where the sense of freedom is diluted) or promote the advantages of Free software. GNU/Linux does not ‘win’ if it simply devolves into another OS X for wider acceptance.

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

3 Comments

  1. mpz said,

    July 21, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Gravatar

    Codec licensing is the ‘convenience’ back-door which has finally become a way for proprietary software companies to tax GNU systems. And because of the over-arching commercial power of the USA, even countries where software patents are not legal are still being charged in this way.

    For example gstreamer seems to becoming the de-facto standard for multi-media GNU desktops. And it is a direct conduit for these licensed codecs. Fedora prompts you to buy them when it tries to play a file, for example.

    It is hard not to be pessimistic. So much hard work on a free system is being un-done by a little convenience in playing some silly media files. Defeat is being clutched from the jaws of victory. And although completely free formats exist such as ogg’s, without the major media providers supporting them (or perhaps isv’s providing the necessary middleware which supports it), they will never be more than niche.

  2. Victor Soliz said,

    July 21, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Gravatar

    proprietary codecs BAD and all, but how do we know MS is being paid for them? They are not the only ones capable of distributing codecs.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 21, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Gravatar

    Some of the codecs acquired are Microsoft codecs and I know for a fact that Canonical negotiated this (not necessarily directly with Microsoft). Red Hat was in a similar situation whilst working on a desktop product.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 19/10/2021: MyGNUHealth 1.0.5 and Ubuntu 22.04 Now Developed

    Links for the day



  2. [Meme] [Teaser] Thrown Under the Bus

    Tomorrow we shall look at Danish enablers of unlawful EPO regulations, Jesper Kongstad and Anne Rejnhold Jørgensen



  3. The World Needs to Know What Many Austrians Already Know About Rude Liar, the Notorious 'Double-Dipper'

    Today we publish many translations (from German) about the Austrian double-dipper, who already became the subject of unfavourable press coverage in his home country; he’s partly responsible for crushing fundamental rights at the EPO under Benoît Battistelli‘s regime



  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVI: The Demise of the Austrian Double-Dipper

    Friedrich ‘Rude Liar’ Rödler is notorious in the eyes of EPO staff, whom he was slandering and scandalising for ages while he himself was the real scandal



  5. Links 18/10/2021: Porteus Kiosk 5.3 and Ventoy 1.0.55

    Links for the day



  6. [Meme] [Teaser] More to Life Than Patents

    Greedy sociopaths oughtn’t be put in charge of patent offices; this is what’s dooming the EPO in recent years (all they think about is money



  7. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part II — The Campaign Against GPL Compliance and War on Copyleft Enforcement

    Microsoft contemplated buying GitHub 7.5 years ago; the goal wasn’t to actually support “Open Source” but to crush it from the inside and that’s what Microsoft has been doing over the past 2.5 years (we have some details from the inside)



  8. Links 18/10/2021: Linux 5.15 RC6 and 7 New Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  9. [Meme] The Austrian School of Friedrich Rude Liar

    With reference to the Austrian School, let’s consider the fact that Friedrich Rude Liar might in fact be standing to personally gain by plundering the EPO‘s staff by demonising them while helping Benoît Battistelli crush them



  10. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 17, 2021



  11. How (Simple Technical Steps) to Convince Yourself That DuckDuckGo is Just Spyware Connected to Microsoft, Falsely Advertised as 'Privacy'

    In recent days we published or republished some bits and pieces about what DuckDuckGo really is; the above reader dropped by to enlighten us and demonstrate just how easy it is to see what DuckDuckGo does even at the client side (with JavaScript); more people need to confront DuckDuckGo over this and warn colleagues/friends/family (there’s more here)



  12. Austria's Right-Wing Politicians Displaying Their Arrogance to EPO Examiners

    The EPO‘s current regime seems to be serving a money-hungry lobby of corrupt officials and pathological liars; tonight we focus on Austria



  13. [Meme] Friedrich Rödler's Increasingly Incomprehensible Debt Quagmire, Years Before EPO Money Was Trafficked Into the Stock Market

    As it turns out, numerous members of the Administrative Council of the EPO are abundantly corrupt and greedy; They falsely claim or selfishly pretend there’s a financial crisis and then moan about a "gap" that does not exist (unless one counts the illegal gambling, notably EPOTIF, which they approved), in turn recruiting or resorting to scabs that help improve ‘profit margins’



  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…

    Prior to the Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos regime the EPO‘s hard-working staff was slandered by a corrupt Austrian official, Mr. Rödler



  15. Links 17/10/2021: Blender 2.93.5, Microsoft Bailouts

    Links for the day



  16. Links 17/10/2021: GhostBSD 21.10.16 and Mattermost 6.0

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 16, 2021



  18. [Meme] First Illegally Banning Strikes, Then Illegally Taking Over Courts

    The vision of Team Battistelli/Campinos is a hostile takeover of the entire patent system, not just patent offices like the EPO; they’d stop at nothing to get there



  19. Portuguese Network of Enablers

    Instead of serving Portuguese people or serving thousands of EPO workers (including many who are Portuguese) the delegation from Portugal served the network of Campinos



  20. In Picture: After Billions Spent on Marketing, With Vista 11 Hype and Vapourware, No Real Gains for Windows

    The very latest figures from Web usage show that it’s hardly even a blip on the radar; Windows continues bleeding to death, not only in servers



  21. [Meme] [Teaser] Double-Dipping Friedrich Rödler

    As we shall see tomorrow night, the EPO regime was supported by a fair share of corrupt officials inside the Administrative Council



  22. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli's Iberian Facilitators - Portugal

    How illegal “Strike Regulations” and regressive ‘reforms’ at the EPO, empowering Benoît Battistelli to the detriment of the Rule of Law, were ushered in by António Campinos and by Portugal 5 years before Campinos took Battistelli’s seat (and power he had given himself)



  23. Links 16/10/2021: SparkyLinux Turns 10 and Sculpt OS 21.10

    Links for the day



  24. “Facebook Whistleblowers” Aside, It Has Been a Dying Platform for Years, and It's Mentally Perverting the Older Generation

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  25. [Meme] Microsoft Has Always Been About Control Over Others

    Hosting by Microsoft means subjugation or a slavery-like relationship; contrary to the current media narrative, Microsoft has long been censoring LinkedIn for China’s autocratic regime; and over at GitHub, as we shall show for months to come, there’s a war on information, a war on women, and gross violations of the law



  26. EFF Pushes for Users to Install DuckDuckGo Software After Being Paid to Kill HTTPS Everywhere

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  27. The Reign in Spain

    Discussion about the role of Spain in the EPO‘s autocratic regime which violates the rights of EPO staff, including Spanish workers



  28. [Meme] Spanish Inquisition

    Let it be widely known that Spain played a role in crushing the basic rights of all EPO workers, including hundreds of Spaniards



  29. Why You Shouldn’t Use SteamOS, a Really Incompetent GNU/Linux Distribution With Security Pitfalls (Lutris is a Great Alternative)

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  30. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, October 15, 2021


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