Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by James Lov » Wed, 11 Mar 1998 04:00:00



http://www.essential.org/antitrust/ms/ipnmarch91998.html

------------------------------------------------------------
Info-Policy-Notes | News from Consumer Project on Technology
------------------------------------------------------------
March 9, 1998

-    Ralph Nader and CPT ask six PC makers (Dell, Gateway
     Micron, Compaq, HP and Packard Bell-NEC) to offer
     consumers the opportunity to buy computers with
     non-Microsoft operating systems pre installed.

-    PC OEM's are told "Continue to offer customers the
     opportunity to buy a PC with MS Windows pre installed,
     but don't make this mandatory.  Don't make this the
     only way that a customer can buy a personal computer."

-    Nader and CPT tell the OEMs to consider such OS
     alternatives as Linux, BeOS, Caldera's Open Dos/Spider,
     Apple's Rhapsody, or other OS options, for "customers
     who are willing to try and who want to try alternatives."

-    The Nader/CPT letters says the failure of OEMs to offer
     choices for an OS is a large entry barrier for Microsoft
     competitors.  "There are many benefits to the consumer
     when the OEM ships a computer with an OS already installed.
     Among other things, the consumer expects that the hardware
     will be a feasible configuration for the OS.  The ease of
     initial setup is also an important consideration for many
     customers."

-    Nader and CPT wrote the OEMs after learning that Dell
     and other OEMs were reluctant to offer a Linux client
     PC on the grounds that it would harm the OEM's relationship
     with Microsoft.  CPT believes other OS alternatives,
     including those in development, such as BeOS or Rhapsody,
     are now more appealing to consumers, because the growth
     of open Internet standards for publishing and transporting
     information, and the development of cross platform
     programing platforms like Java, make data [and users}
     "less a prisoner to a legacy OS."

-    Letters were sent to: Steven R. Appleton, Chairman, Chief
     Executive Officer and President Micron Technology, Inc.,
     Michael Dell, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
     of Dell Computer Corporation. Eckhard Pfeiffer, President
     and Chief Executive Officer, Compaq Computer Corporation,
     Beny Alagem, President and Chief Executive Officer,
     Packard Bell NEC, Theodore W. Waitt, Chairman and CEO,
     Gateway 2000, Lewis E. Platt, Chairman of the Board, President
     and Chief Executive Officer, Hewlett-Packard Company.  

-    HTML versions of the letters are available from CPT's Microsoft
     Antitrust page, at:
     http://www.essential.org/antitrust/microsoft/microsoft.html

The attached is a copy of the letter sent to Michael Dell.


--------------

                          Ralph Nader
             P.O. Box 19312, Washington, DC 20036

                           James Love
                Consumer Project on Technology
              P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036

March 9, 1998

Michael Dell
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Dell Computer Corporation
One Dell Way
Round Rock, TX  78682
Fax 512 728 8366
Dear Mr. Dell:

We are writing to make a simple request --  offer your customers
choices.  Give them the option of buying a PC computer without Microsoft
Windows.   Continue to offer customers the opportunity to buy a PC with
MS Windows pre-installed, but dont make this mandatory.  Dont make
this the only way that a customer can buy a personal computer.

Today there exist several alternative operating systems, and there are
customers who are willing to try and who want to try alternatives.

As you know, there are many benefits to the consumer when the OEM ships
a computer with an OS already installed.  Among other things, the
consumer expects that the hardware will be a feasible configuration for
the OS.  The ease of initial setup is also an important consideration
for many customers.

We ask that you offer the option of at least some alternative to the
Windows OS. Alternatives do exist which should be available to
consumers.   For example, there is clearly a growing interest in the
Linux platform.  It is our understanding that major OEMs have rejected
requests to offer PCs pre-loaded with Linux, even by mail order.  This
is a very large barrier for this increasingly popular alternative.
There are other alternatives as well.  Soon the highly reviewed BeOS
will debut for the Intel platform.  Other OS alternatives are or will be
available for this hardware platform, including Calderas Open Dos/
Spider technology or Apples Rhapsody.

Yet another alternative to consider are dual boot machines, that would
run Window plus another OS.  This is becoming far more appealing as
computers ship with large disk drives.  With a dual boot option, which
works with off the shelf software, consumers could experiment, and have
the best of both worlds.

There is much talk about consumers having chosen Microsofts OS, but if
consumers can only buy computers with Windows pre-installed, competition
clearly suffers.

We believe consumers would benefit from more OS competition.  Many of
the alternatives to Windows are far more open systems, are far more
fault tolerant, and require less hardware resources.  The rise of the
Internet has created an environment whereby consumers can easily
exchange information using standard Internet protocols and standards,
such as ftp, Internet email or HTML.   The increasing use of Java makes
cross platform program development easier.  These developments in
technology make alternative OSs more attractive to consumers, since data
is less a prisoner to a legacy OS.   While Microsoft has been accused of
trying to destroy the Internets system of open standards, and Javas
cross platform nature, this hasnt occurred yet.  With more competition
in the PC OS market, the entire Internet system, which is based upon
interoperability, is more likely to grow and prosper.

Please let us know your firms plans to offer consumers a choice for an
OS.

Sincerely,

/s/
Ralph Nader

 /s/

James Love

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Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by nate dutr » Wed, 11 Mar 1998 04:00:00


snip snip...

surprising that OS/2 failed to be mentioned.  or am i going blind? :-)

--

i don't speak for epic systems corporation...man!

 
 
 

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by Steve La » Thu, 12 Mar 1998 04:00:00



>surprising that OS/2 failed to be mentioned.  or am i going blind? :-)

    You're not, that was the first thing that caught my eye as well.

--
             Steve C. Lamb             | Opinions expressed by me are not my
    http://www.calweb.com/~morpheus    | employer's.  They hired me for my
CC: from news not wanted or appreciated| skills and labor, not my opinions!
---------------------------------------+-------------------------------------

 
 
 

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by Richard Stein » Fri, 13 Mar 1998 04:00:00



spake unto us, saying:


>>surprising that OS/2 failed to be mentioned.  or am i going blind? :-)

>    You're not, that was the first thing that caught my eye as well.

Shhh!  Nobody uses OS/2.  ;-)

--

           OS/2 Warp 4 + Linux + Executor = PC Hobbyist Heaven!
                   The Theorem Theorem: If If, Then Then.

 
 
 

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by Steve La » Fri, 13 Mar 1998 04:00:00




>spake unto us, saying:

>>>surprising that OS/2 failed to be mentioned.  or am i going blind? :-)
>>    You're not, that was the first thing that caught my eye as well.
>Shhh!  Nobody uses OS/2.  ;-)

    Oh stuff it.  :P  :)

--
             Steve C. Lamb             | Opinions expressed by me are not my
    http://www.calweb.com/~morpheus    | employer's.  They hired me for my
CC: from news not wanted or appreciated| skills and labor, not my opinions!
---------------------------------------+-------------------------------------

 
 
 

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by Steve La » Fri, 13 Mar 1998 04:00:00



>Shhh!  Nobody uses OS/2.  ;-)

    Actually, I wrote James Love privately about that and asked why.  He
said there was a very good reason for it and it is one I agree with.  It is
hard to mention OS/2 as an alternative to these manufacturers when IBM
itself doesn't even offer OS/2 as an alternative on the PCs they
manufacture.  Anyone who understands the basics of the internal IBM politics
understands why that is, but on a casual glance it looks insane.

    Well, no, I take that back, it is insane no matter how ya look at it.

--
             Steve C. Lamb             | Opinions expressed by me are not my
    http://www.calweb.com/~morpheus    | employer's.  They hired me for my
CC: from news not wanted or appreciated| skills and labor, not my opinions!
---------------------------------------+-------------------------------------

 
 
 

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by Christopher Brow » Sat, 14 Mar 1998 04:00:00




>> >-    Nader and CPT wrote the OEMs after learning that Dell
>> >     and other OEMs were reluctant to offer a Linux client
>> >     PC on the grounds that it would harm the OEM's relationship
>> >     with Microsoft.

>> I "think" Nader and the CPT need to offer proof of this claim.

>I've never heard that either.  The excuse most PC vendor marketing folk
>give for not providing pre-installed linux is lack of customer-pull.  I
>don't believe it, but then

>1. I don't have sales/marketing data.
>2. Maybe if VA-Research and others keep growing at current rates, they'll
>   begin to see where the customer-pull is going?

And this latter is what is going to either establish the claims as true
or false.

- Oracle/Informix/Sybase will clearly see that they should release
Linux ports of their products if they can see that they are losing
sales to [Solid|Adabas-D|YARD|Empress|...]

- There are *lots* of Linux VARS as listed at such places as:
<http://www.hex.net/~cbbrowne/linux.html> <url
url="http://www.redhat.com/linux-info/ldp/HOWTO/VAR-HOWTO.html"
name="Linux VAR HOWTO"> <url
url="http://www.redhat.com/redhat/hardware-list.phtml" name="Red Hat's
Hardware Vendor List"> and <url
url="http://sunsite.unc.edu:80/mdw/products.html" name="Commercial
Products, Companies, and Organizations">

If Linux users buy systems from such places rather than from
Dell/Micron/Compaq/Gateway2K..., *AND RECOMMEND THAT OTHERS BUY FROM SUCH
PLACES,* and this actually start "pinching" the "famous vendors," then
they will start to notice, and perhaps start preinstalling Linux and
other OSes.

The big corporations will notice, and react accordingly, when there is
some clear benefit to doing so, as well as some clear *cause.*

Don't bother protesting vigorously to Dell for preinstalled Linux; just
ask them politely once or twice, and tell them that you'll be buying
your computers elsewhere.

A lot of time has been wasted trying to push Informix into selling a
Linux version.  (It appears, from recent comments on the relevant
mailing list, that the effort is dead.)  

Informix management will hear things much louder and clearer if
potential customers tell the sales people:

"We asked if you had a version of Informix for Linux; since there isn't,
we bought Solid Server instead.  Ka-ching!  That's $5000 of licensing
revenue that you lost..."

I suppose that one might call this the "Don't get mad - get even!"
approach.  We don't need to "blast" any particular organization for not
providing support; we need only work around it, and show them that they
have *LOST MONEY/SALES* as a clear consequence.  

Whining is of no value.

--
People consistently decry X for doing precisely what it was designed to
do: provide a mechanism to allow *OTHERS* to build GUI systems.


 
 
 

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by tcklnbr » Sat, 14 Mar 1998 04:00:00


Quote:> surprising that OS/2 failed to be mentioned.  or am i going blind? :-)

You're not going blind....IBM wouldn't want it any other way.

The truth of the matter is that IBM has tried seriously hard to kill off
OS/2 in favor of NT and IBM wouldn't want to see OS/2's rebirth.  You
will recall that it was rare to be able to buy a computer from IBM with
OS/2 preloaded on it even when OS/2 had around 10 million serious
users.  Pathetic isn't it.

(I am a former OS/2 programmer and compared to NT, OS/2 is still
superior on all but a few points.  NT is a tremendous disappointment.
The NT storm troops were let loose inside IBM about 2 years ago---its an
ugly pathetic story, really.)

 
 
 

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by Richard Stein » Sat, 14 Mar 1998 04:00:00



spake unto us, saying:



>>Shhh!  Nobody uses OS/2.  ;-)

>    Actually, I wrote James Love privately about that and asked why.  He
>said there was a very good reason for it and it is one I agree with.  It
>is hard to mention OS/2 as an alternative to these manufacturers when IBM
>itself doesn't even offer OS/2 as an alternative on the PCs they
>manufacture.

This is true.  Except on those PCs which they sell on request to their
customers which want 300 licenses or more (or whatever that number was
that was mentioned in EPM/2 a while back).

Quote:>Anyone who understands the basics of the internal IBM politics
>understands why that is, but on a casual glance it looks insane.

Dinosaur.  Big.  Many brains.  Constant walk/no-walk and left/right
conflicts.  You understand it??  >>shudder<<  :-)

Quote:>Well, no, I take that back, it is insane no matter how ya look at it.

IBM is IBM.  I love OS/2 to death and plan on continuing to use it as
my primary OS until it ceases to be useful, but it's hard to recommend
it to others unless they are as skewed as I am.  :-)

--

           OS/2 Warp 4 + Linux + Executor = PC Hobbyist Heaven!
                   The Theorem Theorem: If If, Then Then.

 
 
 

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by Steve La » Sat, 14 Mar 1998 04:00:00



>>Anyone who understands the basics of the internal IBM politics
>>understands why that is, but on a casual glance it looks insane.
>Dinosaur.  Big.  Many brains.  Constant walk/no-walk and left/right
>conflicts.  You understand it??  >>shudder<<  :-)

    Yeah, simple economics.  The personal computers division can make more
money if they preload Windows.  That division doesn't see the market for
OS/2 so they don't offer it.  That division sells computers at $2k-$4k a
pop.  OS/2 is $120.  Put a division up against another with 10 times its
revenue flow and guess which one wins the political battle?

    OS/2, as much as we love it, is just a drop in the bucket compared to
everything else in IBM.  As a result when OS/2 buts up against another
division that makes IBM more money, which is damn near all of them, OS/2
loses.

--
             Steve C. Lamb             | Opinions expressed by me are not my
    http://www.calweb.com/~morpheus    | employer's.  They hired me for my
CC: from news not wanted or appreciated| skills and labor, not my opinions!
---------------------------------------+-------------------------------------

 
 
 

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by Christopher R. Carle » Sat, 14 Mar 1998 04:00:00



> The truth of the matter is that IBM has tried seriously hard to kill off
> OS/2 in favor of NT and IBM wouldn't want to see OS/2's rebirth.  You
> will recall that it was rare to be able to buy a computer from IBM with
> OS/2 preloaded on it even when OS/2 had around 10 million serious
> users.  Pathetic isn't it.

> (I am a former OS/2 programmer and compared to NT, OS/2 is still
> superior on all but a few points.  NT is a tremendous disappointment.
> The NT storm troops were let loose inside IBM about 2 years ago---its an
> ugly pathetic story, really.)

A question:  Why did I see TV commercials for OS/2-warp in the past few
years, if IBM wants OS/2 to die?

_______________________
Christopher R. Carlen


My OS is Linux v2

 
 
 

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by Tom Evan » Sat, 14 Mar 1998 04:00:00





> >> >-    Nader and CPT wrote the OEMs after learning that Dell
> >> >     and other OEMs were reluctant to offer a Linux client
> >> >     PC on the grounds that it would harm the OEM's relationship
> >> >     with Microsoft.

> >> I "think" Nader and the CPT need to offer proof of this claim.

> >I've never heard that either.  The excuse most PC vendor marketing folk
> >give for not providing pre-installed linux is lack of customer-pull.  I
> >don't believe it, but then

When I asked Dell NOT to install Windows on my PC, they said they can't
do that because of their agreement with Billy, however don't worry, the
cost of all the SW is much less than $100. I asked this because Dell
reportly use to give $100 credit if they didn't preload the machine.
  <MY OPINION ON>
Many large companys already have site licenses for the software to be
installed on machines, so they use to be able to save $ by loading it
themselves, I think Billy decided to convince PC companys to always
preload by cutting the price of software, but figure he make it up
by having duplicate licenses anyway.
  <MY OPINION OFF>
regards,
--

All disclaimers apply...
 
 
 

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by Tom Evan » Sat, 14 Mar 1998 04:00:00



Quote:

> A question:  Why did I see TV commercials for OS/2-warp in the past few
> years, if IBM wants OS/2 to die?

Times change, past few years!!?, have you seen any this year, or late
last year?    
--
Tom Evans  
All disclaimers apply...
 
 
 

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by Bob Wiegan » Sat, 14 Mar 1998 04:00:00




> > The truth of the matter is that IBM has tried seriously hard to kill off
> > OS/2 in favor of NT and IBM wouldn't want to see OS/2's rebirth.  You
> > will recall that it was rare to be able to buy a computer from IBM with
> > OS/2 preloaded on it even when OS/2 had around 10 million serious
> > users.  Pathetic isn't it.

> > (I am a former OS/2 programmer and compared to NT, OS/2 is still
> > superior on all but a few points.  NT is a tremendous disappointment.
> > The NT storm troops were let loose inside IBM about 2 years ago---its an
> > ugly pathetic story, really.)

> A question:  Why did I see TV commercials for OS/2-warp in the past few
> years, if IBM wants OS/2 to die?

The problem is that IBM doesn't always act like a single company. Some
groups inside IBM
like OS/2 and some don't. There is no official company policy specifying
that all groups
must support the products of all the other groups. The result is that
they often send out
mixed messages about their products.

--
Regards,

 
 
 

Nader: OEMs should offer pre-installed Linux and other OS alternatives

Post by Jim Seymo » Sun, 15 Mar 1998 04:00:00





> spake unto us, saying:

[On why OS/2 was not mentioned in the letters to Dell, et al...]



>>>Shhh!  Nobody uses OS/2.  ;-)

>>    Actually, I wrote James Love privately about that and asked why.  He
>>said there was a very good reason for it and it is one I agree with.  It
>>is hard to mention OS/2 as an alternative to these manufacturers when IBM
>>itself doesn't even offer OS/2 as an alternative on the PCs they
>>manufacture.

[snip]

> IBM is IBM.  I love OS/2 to death and plan on continuing to use it as
> my primary OS until it ceases to be useful, but it's hard to recommend
> it to others unless they are as skewed as I am.  :-)

In some respects, IBM sometimes seems like they're their own
worst enemy.  This, IMHO, may be one of them.

Regardless, I understand Rich's position.  This is exactly where
I found myself wrt the Amiga when it became apparent, some one or
two years before they actually went down, that Commodore would
never be viable.

Regards,
Jim
--
Jim Seymour                  | Boycott Microsoft ** http://www.vcnet.com/bms

http://home.msen.com/~jimsun | The Java Lobby ** http://www.javalobby.org