The search for a Laptop WITHOUT Windows

Discussion in 'Other Operating Systems' started by elvis, Jun 22, 2006.

  1. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I would like to buy a laptop. Not a strange request. People do it every day.

    However I don't want Windows. I personally prefer and use Linux for both my home and business (for which this laptop will be used), and I do not wish to pay for a copy of Windows that I won't use. Most laptops come bundled with an OEM copy of Windows, so if I purchase these I am not even legally allowed to resell the copy.

    This thread will document my attempt to buy a laptop that suits my needs. Ideally I'd like a lightweight machine, probably with an Intel Core Duo or Core Solo chipset, wireless 802.11g networking, and a 14-15 inch screen. I believe this hardware will suit my needs for CPU grunt, battery life and mobility.

    I started the day off by ringing Dell Australia (even though my phone call did not land in Australia, but we don't have time for that here). I explained to the sales representative that I would like a laptop without Windows. The response was:

    "We cannot do that, as we have signed an agreement with Microsoft that all hardware must ship with an operating system".

    I explained that I would provide my own free, non-Windows operating system, and thus did not need to pay Microsoft for software I wouldn't use. The response was:

    "But the software is bundled free with the hardware, and is not part of the cost".

    This struck me as odd. I asked if this was legal, and that surely it was anti-competative to do so. Furthermore Dell used to sell hardware without Windows, yet now this has changed. At this point, the sales representative became angry. I asked her to calm down, and explain why I could not refund the copy of Windows despite Microsoft previously saying that I could. She said it was simply company policy. I've asked her to forward me an official statement of said policy so that I can keep it for my own records, which she agreed on.

    She continued on to explain to me that they are having a special on notebooks at the moment where I can save considerable money. I explained that no matter what the special, I would still be paying for software I didn't require, and again she became angry. I politely ended the conversation here.

    Here is the email that was sent as "the official company response" (completely unedited):

    So that's Dell's "official" response. I won't hold the lack of professionalism of one single staff member against the whole company, but regardless this is disappointing.

    If anyone has ideas on where I can buy my desired hardware sans-Windows, please let me know. I'm off to ring Acer and Asus and see if they can offer me a serious alternative.
     
  2. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Acer Australia inform me of the following:

    1) According to an official licensing agreement with Microsoft, all laptops must be sold with a copy of Windows.

    2) There is no way that I am allowed to refund a copy of Windows with Acer, as Windows is "factory shipped" and the license is tied to the hardware (regardless if I agree to the EULA or not).

    3) Acer sell their latops with Windows XP Home OEM "free of charge". The ensure me that they pay for Windows directly through Microsoft, but they themselves pass that onto the consumer "for free".

    And I should mention another angry sales consultant. What are they feeding these people?

    No Acer laptops for me. Lets see what else is out there.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2006
  3. Techneon

    Techneon Member

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    Did you try suggesting that because of that agreement with Microsoft that they must ship all hardware with an operating system that they ship it with Redhat or Suse?

    Edit: I'd also be curious if you were to phone up Apple and enquire about getting a Macbook without an OS, just for comparison's sake...
     
  4. Big Trev

    Big Trev Member

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    Good luck!

    I've done a quick google, and there's a couple of mentions of similar requests:

    http://sillydog.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4944

    This may help (it's pretty old), using the EULA against them:
    http://www.netcraft.com.au/geoffrey/toshiba.html

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/breaking/opensource-vendor-seeks-osfree-pcs/2005/07/26/1122143829970.html

    HP Maybe? http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/hardwa..._Centrino_laptop/0,2000061702,39155371,00.htm

    I think you might be shit outta luck....
     
  5. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I informed them I will be using Ubuntu Linux, and I would happily accept a laptop with it or any other popular Linux distro installed, regardless if it was a "pay for" version or not.

    No dice.

    On the phone to HP now. And might I add, with a very friendly sales person. HP get my thumbs up so far for at least hiring happy people with a pleasant phone manner.
     
  6. Falkor

    Falkor Member

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    Last edited: Jun 22, 2006
  7. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I see SecretNet offer "Clevo" laptops, which are closer in spec (Pentium M, wireless, etc)
    http://www4.secret.com.au/cgi-bin/computers/trialdb.pl?product+Systems/Notebook/Clevo/M38AW-740-512

    Could be a winner. Thanks for the heads up.
     
  8. Falkor

    Falkor Member

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  9. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Hewlett Packard are an interesting mob:

    I got the "all laptops must be sold with Windows" speil from the exceptionally friendly salesperson. However after expressing my dislike for paying for software I wouldn't use, the sales rep negotiated a $99-off deal on any of the nx6-series laptops (retailing at around $2399) in light of the fact that I wouldn't really be using it.

    While not the result I wanted (ie: the sale still gets recorded as being made), the discount was offered to financially compensate me. HP get points for trying, in this case. And for hiring nice salespeople.

    So far no brand-names have come to the table. It looks like I'll be supporting the little guys with this purchase.

    [edit] That Clevo includes onboard GeForce 6600GT PCI-E! And for far less than the "name brand" units. It's looking better and better by the minute.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2006
  10. SLATYE

    SLATYE SLATYE, not SLAYTE

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    You can get Dells without Windows.

    Small Business -> Notebooks -> Latitude Notebooks -> Latitude D620 -> Customise It!

    Then go for the cheaper one, which only has DOS installed.


    Alternatively, www.pioneercomputers.com.au will sell you one with Lindows, if you want.
     
  11. Falkor

    Falkor Member

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    Wow, The pioneer system looks disturbingly the same as the dell site?
     
  12. FumblesMcStupid

    FumblesMcStupid (Banned or Deleted)

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    Im suprised you didnt get it after that line.
    You don't have to buy a dell. You could ask for an AMD chip in there, and they'd say the same thing. Same goes if you went to McDonalds and asked for Pepsi. Are they being anti competitive?
    Apple <==> MacOSX, same thing again.
     
  13. SLATYE

    SLATYE SLATYE, not SLAYTE

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    Yes, a lot of companies have followed that model because it's pretty easy to use.

    As for Dell saying that the software is free with the system: it isn't. If it was, the Latitude D620 with XP Pro would be the same cost as the one with DOS. As it is, there's more than a hundred dollars difference (all other specs are identical apart from the OS).

    Anyway, if you want it then the Latitude D620 seems to suit your needs perfectly. It's light (~2kg), it's got a Core Duo, it's got 802.11g, a 14.1" widescreen LCD, and decent battery life. You can even specify it with a Quadro NVS 110M for ~$90 extra, which gives gaming performance roughly equal to the Geforce Go 7300 or Radeon Mobility X1300.
     
  14. Goose1981

    Goose1981 Member

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    Well i think SLAYTE has won.

    Seems top fit the criteria pretty well.
     
  15. cbb1935

    cbb1935 Guest

    When they say no sorry we dont, say back "damn I was looking to order around 50-80 of them for a company rollout".

    Watch them choke and backtrack then.

    BTW HP NX6120 nice specs, crap screen.

    Try IBM as they are always linux focussed, however I think the problem is a notebook without windows means possible driver issues or untested hardware on linux. That might be the reason they do it.

    HOWEVER ..afaik IBM, and HP will all ship servers with linux distros happily :)
     
  16. Techneon

    Techneon Member

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    Edit: Statement retracted. Goose's reply (next post) contains further details.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2006
  17. Goose1981

    Goose1981 Member

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    Your analogy is incorrect. If McDonalds got their ice or pickles cheaper than usual by agreing to provide ice and pickles in their products then yes.. you'd be right.

    The "Dell only selling products with Intel chips" in them for so long was the better analogy.

    Yet i didnt see a huge amount of uproar about that at the time...? :)
     
  18. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Some problems with your analogies:

    1) Coke/Pepsi - neither are a clear majority market owner, nor are either unfairly leveraging their weight on both the supplier AND the consumer. Furthermore, I can go into McDonalds and buy a meal WITHOUT a drink. I can even go into McDonalds with MY OWN DRINK and still buy a meal there, without having to pay for their own in-house drink. I am not being given the same option here with Dell/Windows

    2) Apple/MacOSX - Apple make the laptop and the software to be sold as one. Both are made in house by the same company. Dell and Microsoft are two separate commercial entities. Microsoft in this instance have told Dell that all of their systems MUST ship with an operating system (why??? can't people load their own at home?) and then given them no option to give a refund to customers who don't wan't that software. Microsoft as a third party are illegally leveraging Dell in an anticompetative manner.

    3) All the suppliers have thus far told me that they offer the software "for free". This is rot. They paid for the software, and that cost is incorporated into the sale. Being told I am getting it "for free" is a bold faced lie.

    However I will agree that the 100% Intel issue with Dell is one that bothers me also. Asides from Dell's shoddy craftsmanship (I've been adminning Dell locations for some years now, and have seen the worst of it first hand), I do not desire Intel-based servers, preferring instead AMD Opteron hardware. As such, I won't be buying Dell servers any time soon. (Although recent reports of Intel's new hardware appearing later this year might change my mind there - but the anticompetative nature of the argument doesn't change).

    But beyond that, my primary beef is that in the desktop and server arena I have almost unlimited options. Since 1997 I have not purchased a desktop or server computer for my own home or business use that has been bundled with a copy of Windows. The Laptop market is a very different area. Thanks to the lack of "build your own" laptop systems, there are far fewer options available to me to find the laptop I desire. At time of writing, I *still* cannot find an Intel Core Duo based laptop that ships with no operating system preinstalled. If that doesn't change, I'll be stuck with older Centrino technology.

    So thus far my choice of hardware has been severely impared by Microsoft. My "freedom" to buy whatever I please is non-existent. My choices are controlled not by the hardware I want, but rather by the software I don't want.

    And again, your analogies above don't match that. For every other industry on the planet I can ask to have features I don't want to be removed from the item I am interested in. In this case, I have been told rudely and on several occasions that no such option is available to me.
     
  19. MaximusSmurf

    MaximusSmurf Member

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    I was looking at getting a beefy gaming laptop while back. http://p4laptops.com.au/ sell a bunch of different generic / custom built laptops, some of which come with core duo (and some X2`s, hehe) and a variety of customisable options. ALL of which can be purchased with NO OS.

    So if your happy to not have a big brand then check these out. Also as a side note, I`m pretty sure these notebooks have a fairly big underground following, they go buy a few different names (ITC in aus, i think sager or something like that in US as well as one more diff name in US that i cant recall. My point is you will be able to find a bunch of reviews of the notebooks if you have a look through some forums.

    Hope this helps.
     
  20. SLATYE

    SLATYE SLATYE, not SLAYTE

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    If you really want no OS at all, Pioneer Computers sell ones like that. The DreamBook Light 822 would be pretty close to what you need.
     

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