After 2 weeks of dealing with Dell's web sites and sales representatives I would like to ask here the following please:
a) What Dell laptops and desktop PCs can be shipped in the UK with pre-installed linux and Windows, say Vista Ultimate x64 (or 32 bits if needed)? I haven't decided yet what flavour and what type of installation.
b) On top of that does anyone know what systems can definitly operate with both OSs and which ones cannot, assuming it is me to do the installation.
I have never installed linux before but I used to work on Unix a lot. Or in other words is there anything in a machine that does or does not qualify it to run linux as dual OS (I am not thinking of Virtual PC now)?
The Dell UK web site has mixed information: for example http://search.euro.dell.com/results.aspx?k=red+hat&cat=prod&c=uk&l=en&s=bsd&p=2 says for the M6400 laptop : 'Red Hat® Linux 5.1 64-Bit '. But then one tries to configure the system and there is no sign of Red Hat there.
The Dell representative, after 1 week, of me asking 3 phone calls and 2 emails says 'Precision Desktops can handle Linux' (great !) but Dell UK doesn't support it nor install it: So he says the only way to get it is to do th installation myself and they would send a computer with no OS at a very good price. Then, in the same day, he quotes (because I cannot use the web site - see below) 2168.9 pounds (!) without OS and 1352.4 pounds with OS for a Precision T3400 ... I am speachless.
When I tried to configure a Precision desktop T3400 (UKBSDONL-W02T302) on the web, and the web site cannot do it when I choose 2 HDs because of a RAID incompatibility (checked with different broswers and on different machines ...) but there is n RAID option there. I have asked the Dell representative and he says it might not work for weeks so I need to buy over the phone/email. He asks me why I don't trust him or maybe I should? Then I told him that Dell UK sells also machines with Ubuntu (a search for linux on Dell UK shows that) and I haven't heard of him since.
What else to say? I tried through the normal channels but with very limited success so any advice from this forum is greatly appreciated!
Thank you very much.
Given a few certainties:
1. PCs and Laptops sold with Windows frequently have discounts that make them cheaper than systems sold without;
2. Support generally freaks/balks at a non-windows OS;
3. Linux desktops are so-so, sometimes great and sometimes junk, (yeah try plugging in the power cord to a Dell Mini 9 with Ubuntu 8.0.4 and seeing a charge error!)
I would say that if It were me, and knowing that the Linux distos are free, I would purchase the Dell Mini 9 or 10 or any other Laptop that they offer Linux on, but with a Windows XP pre-installed, mainly in order to get the license key (for when I change my mind later or dual-boot). Then install Ubuntu from the Dell image, or just install the mobile ubuntu version. Any machine that they offer Linux on should be easy to install the dell Ubuntu image on, although I'm not so sure I'd recommend RedHat 5.x, although that is the Linux OS I'm most familiar with. If anything, I'd suggest Fedora 9 or 10 on a laptop, since it has more support for bleeding edge technology. (I also ran Fedora 10 32bit on my mini9 for a while)
If you're trying to purchase it with Linux to save money, then chose a cheaper laptop. If you're doing it because you like Linux or expect to learn or already know Unix/linux, then no big deal, go for it. I've also read some interesting things about Moblin (http://moblin.org/) and running MacOS on the Mini9, although I've only tried Moblin on mine.
Oh yeah, I have a Dell Mini 9 with Ubuntu (32bit) installed on it; at least for now anyway until I get enough time to load MacOS on it.
MacOS on the Mini 9: http://gizmodo.com/5156903/how-to-hackintosh-a-dell-mini-9-into-the-ultimate-os-x-netbook