Open Letter to Brian Proffitt

Dear Brian,

First, let me thank hard working individuals such as yourself for causing Free and Open Source Software to be seen in the limelight.  It is due to individuals such as yourself that has others realizing that they do have a choice when it comes to Operating Systems and Applications.  Ultimately, I would not be doing what I am doing were it not for individuals such as yourself.

I need to tell one thing however: stop worrying.  Dell is not the end all, be all for computer vendors.  In fact, there are already OEM’s who use Ubuntu by default.  There’s System76 for starters, and they carry high quality hardware.  The same goes for All Around Geeks who also uses Ubuntu by default, and they don’t use the cheapest hardware, unlike Dell, who found out the hard way about those exploding Sony batteries.  Despite the higher quality of hardware that both vendors use, the machines themselves are quite affordable.

I know what you’re thinking.  There was a failure with Dell selling Red Hat machines back in 2001, but whose fault is that?  Probably Dell’s.  You see, if people don’t know about it, and they can’t find such configurations easily enough, they won’t bother.  If the deal with Ubuntu flops, more than likely, nobody but Dell would be to blame.  If Dell wants to succeed with offering these type of machines, all they would have to do is the following:

  1. Donate enough to the TUX500 Project to guarantee that Bob Moore and Ken Starks would have the funding to be a primary sponsor.  Team Linux in the Indy500 would be a reality.
  2. Have television and radio commercials running in Indy during the event advertising the availability of Dell Ubuntu Machines.
  3. After the event airing television and radio commercials advertising the availability of Dell Ubuntu Machines (and mentioning Team Linux in the Indy500).  😀
  4. Make these Ubuntu boxes easy to find on the Dell website.

The above four steps would be performed if Dell was really interested in succeeding with their new strategy.  Otherwise, Dell would only have themselves to blame if the whole thing flopped.  You have nothing to worry about, because in a sense, the entire community has already succeeded, and there are multiple reasons for this, which I will not go into at the moment in order to save time.

While it is not the time to become complacent concerning companies such as Microsoft, the Free and Open Source Software movements are in a better position than they can possibly realize right now, but in a few years, they will look back and understand how much progress they truly have made.

So please, don’t worry about the deal between Dell and Ubuntu.  It is not the end all, be all.  There are other vendors out there as well as other distributions.

7 Responses to “Open Letter to Brian Proffitt”

  1. Tom Colman says:

    Yet another American that thinks the rest of the world doesn’t exists. The “System76” and “All Around Geeks” probably only deliver in the US. And Indy, nobody outside the US watches that, they have Formula 1.

    It is highly doubtfull that such a brand passes the “vendor management” department of my enterprise.

    So you see, your statement here is full of holes if you broaden your mind to a wider context.

  2. Martin Jasny says:

    Dell is important because it can deliver high volumes and it has cash for streaming everything up.

    If there is some conspiracy between Dell and Microsoft or if Dell bows to pressures from Microsoft, the only hope will be a successful startup company, which becomes something like Dell in the Linux market.

    Otherwise, nothing much will change.

  3. Martin Jasny says:

    Let me add some more remarks why I am so pessimistic about Dell:

    They have been selling PCs pre-loaded with Linux for years. Nobody has noticed. Reasons:
    – The pages with Linux were well hidden
    – Linux PCs always cost more than their Windows counterparts
    – whenever you land on some Dell page, the first thing you see on the top of that page in large friendly letters reads:
    “Dell recommends Windows …”

    So what is going to be different?

    What about the imaginary startup? I do not believe it will happen. A Linux startup needs a lot of capital and skill to fix things which do not work and keep it working. Volunteers are capricious – they only do what they like. I do not blame them – I am the same. But they leave white spots on the map.

  4. Martin Jasny says:

    So, my comments have been moderated, but there is no answer yet. Here is my prophecy, what the company must look like to be successful with Linux:
    – It must be independent of Microsoft to avoid any punishment from Microsoft. So it must be a Linux only business
    – It cannot be in the US, where Microsoft is too strong and people have plenty of cash to afford Microsoft software
    – It cannot be in Europe. Europe is just too lame for fast growing startups and there is plenty of cash around, too
    – It must be somewhere where people are poor so that they cannot buy MS, they can only steal it. With the MS recent efforts against stealing their software they prepare the best playground for Linux in such countries. When people cannot steal Microsoft, they will download Linux for free. Downloading will prepare ground for commercial success
    – The country must be large to allow for growth and it will be even better if this country’s economy grows rapidly
    – The country must have one unifying language
    – It must be far away, for from the sight and influence of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer
    => so it could be a yet unknown startup somewhere in India, China or Russia. I am not sure about Brazil

  5. Martin Jasny says:

    It will take some time. May be 10 years?

    So my friends, what do you think?

  6. Jesus says:

    Please, can we stop with the “Open Letter” insanity?

    You compare two tiny, never-heard-of OEMs and compare them to Dell. Makes zero sense.

  7. “Yet another American that thinks the rest of the world doesn’t exists.”

    First of all, my apologizes. I am learning a bit more about WordPress everyday, including where to find the page for comments. I’ve simply added all of the ones I could. However, I have one question: Could we please knock off the accusations of ethnocentrism? You assume that simply because I am an American that I don’t think the rest of the world exists? You’ll be pleased to know that I am well aware that the rest of the world exists, and that by confining Microsoft here in America, it thus prevents them from spreading their tentacles throughout the rest of the world. Even their $3 offer is foolish as most third world countries could not afford to pay $3 for software.

    Am I proud of some of the things going on in my own country? Of course not! I don’t agree with the mass majority of decisions made by administrative bureaucracies in this nation.

    “The “System76″ and “All Around Geeks” probably only deliver in the US.”

    Well let’s see, System76 is attempting to ship internationally…

    http://system76.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1250&highlight=shipping

    As for All Around Geeks, I have asked them if they do ship internationally or if there are plans to do so in the future, so keep an eye on this thread for more information:

    http://allaroundgeeks.com/geeksbb/viewtopic.php?p=91#91

    I also forgot to mention ZaReason (http://www.zareason.com) and it looks like some their stuff looks pretty cool.

    “It is highly doubtfull that such a brand passes the ‘vendor management’ department of my enterprise.”

    Care to elaborate? What is specifically your enterprise?

    “What about the imaginary startup? I do not believe it will happen. A Linux startup needs a lot of capital and skill to fix things which do not work and keep it working. Volunteers are capricious – they only do what they like. I do not blame them – I am the same. But they leave white spots on the map.”

    Those who never try will never succeed. Keep that in mind.

    “Please, can we stop with the “Open Letter” insanity?

    You compare two tiny, never-heard-of OEMs and compare them to Dell. Makes zero sense.”

    What? This is the only open letter I’ve posted on this blog that’s my own. Keep in mind that the brand name doesn’t make it a quality product. I’m sure you’ve heard stories of how those Sony batteries in Dell notebooks were recalled, right? Also, the Inspiron 8200 that I owned at one point had one major flaw: the LCD screen was not fastened to the system with a double hinge on both sides, making the potential of snapping off quite a bit higher.

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