When you take a look at Dell's web-site where you can buy and configure your machine, you can see that a model running Ubuntu 8.04 with 512 MB RAM and a 4 GB SSD is offered for US$ 349. If you want Windows XP, you need to pay more (US$ 399), because you need a larger SSD (8 GB). You can upgrade memory and SSD to 1 GB and 16 GB respectively, and then pay $449 for the WinXP version.
Fortunately, the upgrades for RAM and SSD are also available for the Ubuntu version. If you want the 512 MB RAM / 8 GB SSD version with Ubuntu, you pay US$ 384 ($15 less than with WinXP). If you want 1 GB RAM and the 16 GB SSD with your Ubuntu box, you also pay US$ 449, the same as with WinXP.
So, does this mean that the actual value of Windows XP ranges between $0 and $15? Actually, it's less than that. Negative, maybe? Because if you look closely, with the WinXP version they also throw in the web-cam, while for Ubuntu that costs extra. But interestingly, the lack of a web-cam is somewhat made up for if you order the Ubuntu version, since you also get 2 GB of online storage at Box.net thrown in. Apparently, you don't get that with the WinXP version.
Or does Dell simply subsidise the WinXP license with pre-installed crapware? Or does Microsoft feel the need to subsidise the WinXP license to ensure that GNU/Linux doesn't run away with the ultra portable market segment?
Here is a screenshot of the configuration table (click for full sized version):
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Comment by lotech, on 5-Sep-2008 13:45
I think its a matter of Microsoft trying to stop the big surge in Linux usage on low cost machines - I've found myself using Ubuntu more and more recently - it's simple, most hardware I've tried works well enough and the Live CD option means even broken PCs can be up and working in minutes.
It's funny how they re-awoke the monster that is XP to try and stave off Linux - notice though that it's just Home edition of XP - why don't they just ship it with Pro and only support that version - forcing at least some sort of upgrade toward Vista by not supporting Home.
Comment by kahikatea, on 5-Sep-2008 14:25
I notice on the dell.co.nz webpage there is currently only the option of Windows XP. Will NZ get the option of Linux, do you think?
Comment by sbiddle, on 5-Sep-2008 14:40
I suspect the reason the Linux version isn't listed in NZ is because it isn't yet available - only the XP model has been released with the Linux version due for release apparently before the end of the month.
Comment by Zoltuger, on 5-Sep-2008 16:34
It's up on Dell.co.nz, but pre-order by phone only. Starts from NZ$799 apparently.
Comment by ins, on 6-Sep-2008 09:00
I think Dell is charging for ubuntu, and that is illegal. Except online storage, that should be cheaper than a xp license, I don't see any other reason why the Ubuntu version is more expensive than the xp version, unless xp is for free.
Comment by Zoltuger, on 8-Sep-2008 23:59
You can now buy the Mini 9 online - the top spec model is NZ$799.