The Bumbling Nitwits of Boycott Novell recently wrote that Dell's pricing of Ubuntu-equipped netbooks vs. those with Windows "reeks of market distortion." The only thing that reeks is the deliberate distortion of facts, at least regarding Dell's selling of Ubuntu Linux on the Mini 9 (and Mini 12) netbook.
I have no love for the netbook. Based on personal experience with the Acer and HP models at two local stores, I firmly believe that the public is better off purchasing either a different brand of netbook, or of simply bypassing netbooks and buying a low cost notebook in the same price range. But when I read the Blithering Narcoleptics tale of nefarious marketing by Dell, I just had to go and see for myself. And I'm glad I did. First, a screen shot of Dell's offerings on the Dell Mini 9 (http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/laptop-inspiron-9?cs=19&s=dhs&ref=homepg).
And then the Dell Mini 12 (http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/laptop-inspiron-12?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&ST=dell%20mini%2012&dgc=ST&cid=37899&lid=932336).
The Careful Reader will note that on both lists both models lead off with Ubuntu as the least expensive offerings. This is counter to the charge that the Mini 9's are the same price. They are not. The first two models of the Mini 9 differ by $50, but that can be attributed to the extra storage (4GB SSD at $349 vs. 8GB SSD at $399) that is supposedly required by Windows XP. After all, Ubuntu Linux is light and lean compared to Windows XP, or so Ubuntu's staunchest supporters contend.
The same $50 difference also exists between the two lowest Mini 12 models. In fact the hardware platform advertised for both is identical, leading to the conclusion that the extra $50 is due to the "Microsoft tax."
In neither case is there any indication that market manipulation is going on. Ubuntu Linux is free as in beer, and Windows XP Home Edition, being the old and busted hotness, is dirt cheap and limited in capabilities, especially when compared to either Ubuntu or Windows Pro. When offered by a large distributor such as Dell, there should be very little difference between free-as-in-beer (Ubuntu) and nearly free due to age and growing obsolescence (Windows XP).
Once again there is no controversy to be uncovered except for the flagrant and indiscriminate twisting of the truth that is exercised continuously on Boycott Novell.