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

------------------------------------------------------------------
INFORMATION POLICY NOTES is a newsletter sponsored by the Consumer
Project on Technology (http://www.cptech.org, 202.387.8030, fax
202.234.5127).  Archives of Info-Policy-Notes are available from
http://www.essential.org/listproc/info-policy-notes/

subscribe info-policy-notes Jane Doe
------------------------------------------------------------------

 
 
 

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

Post by Chuck Bermingha » Wed, 11 Mar 1998 04:00:00




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

[snip]

Incredible!  I just can't *wait* to hear the "establishment" react.  It's
interecting to notice how the "establishment" keeps changing...

Once again, I reiterate, with all possible disclaimers, that a personal
astrologer friend predicts that this collaboration movement will last two
thousand years.  Linux, BSD, and BeOS are only the beginning, and only the
tip of the iceberg.

 
 
 

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

Post by Brian J.S. Mille » Wed, 11 Mar 1998 04:00:00



> -    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.

this is refreshing....but do you guys think anyone will even listen?

--
Brian J.S. Miller
mailto:brian at rickjames dot sapien dot net
http://rickjames.sapien.net/
--

 
 
 

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

Post by Paul E Lars » Wed, 11 Mar 1998 04:00:00




>> -    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.

I wonder how much more they would have to charge for these "specially"
configured PC's.

Paul

Quote:>this is refreshing....but do you guys think anyone will even listen?

 
 
 

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

Post by Gregory Trav » Wed, 11 Mar 1998 04:00:00






>>> -    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.

>I wonder how much more they would have to charge for these "specially"
>configured PC's.

I've already sent a letter to Dell offering to provide Linux support
for a year without pay.  This offer is contingent on them not selling
Linux systems at a price in excess of what they charge for identical
hardware with Microsoft software.

If they do put more than $X in profits the bank, I am asking for a
retroactive salary that would still guarantee a healthy profit.

That's the wonderful thing about the free market and choice.  It lowers
prices for the consumer.

It's also a win-win situation for Dell.  That is, unless they have a
monopolistic agreement with Microsoft.

greg travis

 
 
 

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

Post by David Petticor » Wed, 11 Mar 1998 04:00:00



>Hi, I'm working for James Love at the Consumer Project on Technology.  This is
>a letter Love and Ralph Nader sent to a few computer manufacturer CEOs.  Tell
>me what you think.

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

<snip>

Quote:>-    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.

Quote:>     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."

<snip>

I was assuming most people understood certain facts of life
of selling products to the mass market.  Maybe these facts
are not so obvious.  Have you heard the one about someone
using the CD-ROM drive as a coffee cup holder?  Do you
have any idea how many new users don't realize a PC needs
a phone line in order to use the internet?  The point is, OEMs
must provide support to these users and this support costs
money.

What is being asked is not the simple pre-installation of
"OS alternatives", but for the support of these alternatives.

Nader and the CPT would get much further asking OEMs to
offer discounts for selling * PCs.  That is a PC with no
operating system installed.  OEMs could simply provide a
diagnostic floppy that checks out the hardware and assume
no responsibility for the software.

This obvious solution is not being forwarded because
Microsoft foes don't simply want "user choice" they want
"user reeducation".

A reasonably educated computer user can completely remove
an operating system in seconds and install a new operating
system in minutes.  Users interesting in "open Internet
standards" would know how to do this.  This campaign is
about using your hype to counter-act their hype.

Fighting Hypocrisy,
David Petticord

 
 
 

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

Post by Donovan Rebbech » Thu, 12 Mar 1998 04:00:00



> >     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 don't.

(a) because they make a valid point whether or not the claim is true,
and
(b) if the claim is true, then why wait till they're proven right to
take action, if the action
stands to benifit consumers _whether or not_ the claim is true ???

Quote:> What is being asked is not the simple pre-installation of

You are lying. That is PRECISELY all that the letter asks.

Quote:> "OS alternatives", but for the support of these alternatives.

Bullshit. Read the letter again. I challenge you to auote a part of the
letter that actually asks for this.

Quote:> Nader and the CPT would get much further asking OEMs to
> offer discounts for selling * PCs.  

agreed.

However, the point is that the consumer should be able to get a hardware
configuration that supports the alternative OS without having to read
the hardware howto and asking questions on usenet. When I was purchasing
a laptop, I had to STFW to verify that I really was using a supported
hardware configuration...

In otherwords, selling PC's that are "compatible with linux" would be
good. At the moment, the only mainstream vendor I see doing anything of
the sort is IBM offering PC's "compatible with OS/2" ...

Quote:> operating system installed.  OEMs could simply provide a
> diagnostic floppy that checks out the hardware and assume

and also provide hardware that can be shown to easily run other OS's

Quote:> no responsibility for the software.

while offering hardware solutions that are at least known to be
compatible.

from the letter:

"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."

One of the major issues is that the user should be able to purchase a
linux-compatible hardware configuration.

BTW, let's say something about software: The windows EULA does not
entitle the customer to anything . The software is officially entirely
unsupported...

Quote:> This obvious solution is not being forwarded because
> Microsoft foes don't simply want "user choice" they want
> "user reeducation".

Oh, really ? The anti MS people are trying to force users not to use
Microsoft's operating systems ? Now that's a laugh.

Quote:> A reasonably educated computer user can completely remove
> an operating system in seconds and install a new operating
> system in minutes.

No, a computer user experienced in doing operating system installations
can do this. The requirement of this level of experience (or patience as
a susbstitute ) is a barrier.

Quote:> Fighting Hypocrisy,

Or defending it, perhaps.

-- Donovan

--
*************************************************
*       Lord of the Elves                       *
*       http://www.veryComputer.com/~elflord/   *

*************************************************

 
 
 

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

Post by David Petticor » Thu, 12 Mar 1998 04:00:00




>> >     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 don't.

>(a) because they make a valid point whether or not the claim is true,
>and
>(b) if the claim is true, then why wait till they're proven right to
>take action, if the action
>stands to benifit consumers _whether or not_ the claim is true ???

This assumed fact was used for motivation and justification.  If the
CPT wants to convince anyone who is not already anti-microsoft,
they need to offer something more in the way of proof.

If OEMs volunteered to sell PCs at cost, it would benefit consumers.
Does that mean we should support this kind of action too?

Quote:>> What is being asked is not the simple pre-installation of

>You are lying. That is PRECISELY all that the letter asks.

>> "OS alternatives", but for the support of these alternatives.

>Bullshit. Read the letter again. I challenge you to auote a part of the
>letter that actually asks for this.

Please read my post again.  You conveniently snipped out my lead
up when I said...

Quote:>>I was assuming most people understood certain facts of life
>>of selling products to the mass market...
<snip>
>>...OEMs must provide support to these users and this support
>>costs money.

Are you suggesting OEMs will get away with SIMPLY preloading
Linux and ignoring customer complaints like...
"I can't find solitare on my new machine, where is it?"

... or ...
"My son can't load his favorite game that worked on our old machine"
...
or a thousand others.  OEMs would have two choices, both bad.
Provide the costly support or don't, resulting in a lot of returns and
unhappy customers (which costs money).  The OEMs have avoided
the whole mess by not preinstalling Linux in the first place.  The CPT
may ONLY be asking OEMs to preinstall alternative OSs, but it is
not a SIMPLE request.

Quote:>> Nader and the CPT would get much further asking OEMs to
>> offer discounts for selling * PCs.

>agreed.

>However, the point is that the consumer should be able to get a hardware
>configuration that supports the alternative OS without having to read
>the hardware howto and asking questions on usenet. When I was purchasing
>a laptop, I had to STFW to verify that I really was using a supported
>hardware configuration...

>In otherwords, selling PC's that are "compatible with linux" would be
>good. At the moment, the only mainstream vendor I see doing anything of
>the sort is IBM offering PC's "compatible with OS/2" ...

I hope you understand why IBM would be the only one doing this.  Could this
explain why OEMs offer only one (or two) operating system choices?  Is it
possible economic forces is a bigger motivator than alledged Microsoft
threats?

It costs money to ensure compatibility.  The proceeding paragraphs was
showing how it costs money even to claim compatibility that truely exists.
Who should do the work and cover the costs?

It is the Operating System companies that want to break into the
established market, it is the Operating System companies that
need to do the work and cover the costs.  Simply whining at OEMs
and hoping the government will intervene is a cop out.

Quote:>> operating system installed.  OEMs could simply provide a
>> diagnostic floppy that checks out the hardware and assume

>and also provide hardware that can be shown to easily run other OS's

It is the OS's responsibility to show their software works on the hardware.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:>> no responsibility for the software.

>while offering hardware solutions that are at least known to be
>compatible.

>from the letter:

>"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."

>One of the major issues is that the user should be able to purchase a
>linux-compatible hardware configuration.

Why "should" they.  Are Linux users willing to pay more their hardware?
That would be a good reason.

Quote:>BTW, let's say something about software: The windows EULA does not
>entitle the customer to anything . The software is officially entirely
>unsupported...

And some OEM's "officially" don't support their PCs.  But both Microsoft
and OEMs allow for returns of defective products and want word-of-mouth
advertising.  This motivates them to keep customers reasonably happy.

Quote:>> This obvious solution is not being forwarded because
>> Microsoft foes don't simply want "user choice" they want
>> "user reeducation".

>Oh, really ? The anti MS people are trying to force users not to use
>Microsoft's operating systems ? Now that's a laugh.

Do you really doubt that I could find quotes of people calling Microsoft
users "stupid".  I am even sure I could find plenty of people overtly
trying to counter-act "Microsoft hype".  I used the phrase "user
reeducation" in the hope most people would agree to the obvious.

I did not say anyone was "trying to force users" to do anything.  But,
since you made that accusation, I will address it.  How is Microsoft
forcing users to use Windows?  Lets say Windows was preloaded
on every PC without exception.  People could easily delete it and
reload a different OS.  If Microsoft is "forcing" people to use
Windows because they are ignorant and lazy, then the CPT is
trying to "force" people to consider alteratives when all they
want was a PC to surf the internet and write some letters.

Quote:>> A reasonably educated computer user can completely remove
>> an operating system in seconds and install a new operating
>> system in minutes.

>No, a computer user experienced in doing operating system installations
>can do this. The requirement of this level of experience (or patience as
>a susbstitute ) is a barrier.

Finding the "on" switch is a barrier to some people.  I have loaded and
used several Operating Systems including Linux.  I have also helped
many computer illiterate people get started.  It is my experience that
the installation process closely matches the ease of use for a given
Operating System.  Macs are easy to use and easy to install.  Frankly,
if someone can't handle the RedHat installation process, they can't
handle using Linux.

Before everyone jumps up and down in protest...

Yes, I agree that I could setup Linux to boot into Netscape and allow
just about anyone the ability to surf the internet.  But they are not USING
Linux IMO.  They wouldn't know how to use RPM to load new programs.
They wouldn't even know how to copy a file to a floppy.

By its nature, an Operating System's installation procedure is a
mini-test of the user's ability to understand how to use it.  I am
hopeful and confident that Linux will continue to improve and
become a lot easier to use.  Guess what?  When that happens
the installation process will be easier too.

In short, I feel the OEMs would be justified in not pre-installing
Operating Systems like Linux for the specific reason of
screening out people who are not ready to use it.

Yes, the OEMs should work with OS companies to ensure
hardware compatibility and maybe even provide a easy uninstall
set of instructions.  The OS company could then be reasonably
expected to provide the support needed for customers to install
and use their operating system.

Quote:>> Fighting Hypocrisy,

>Or defending it, perhaps.

I have been stating a few cold harsh truths in the real world.
I have even thrown in a couple of constructive suggestions.
Just what hypocrosy am I "defending"?

Forever the Sceptic (ie Realist),
David Petticord

 
 
 

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

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



> It is the OS's responsibility to show their software works on the hardware.

Really?  Tell that to AMD.  I'm sure M$ sent people rushing down to
Austin to verify that Windows worked on the K6.  

-SHP

 
 
 

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

Post by James Lov » Fri, 13 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 personally talked with a Linux publisher who approached Dell about
selling a Linux box, and was told by Dell that Dell would not do it if
Microsoft would be annoyed.   That's about all I can say here.

   Jamie

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

voice 202.387.8030, fax 202.234.5176

 
 
 

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

Post by Andy Pearc » Fri, 13 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?

Quote:> Nader and the CPT would get much further asking OEMs to
> offer discounts for selling * PCs.  That is a PC with no
> operating system installed.  OEMs could simply provide a
> diagnostic floppy that checks out the hardware and assume
> no responsibility for the software.

That is an option available on some hardware already; eg, HP Vectra XU.
But that option alone still leaves non-Microsoft users as second-class
citizens.  Which is why I definitely support the request by Nader, et al.  

PS. IMHO, I'd say that vendors will listen more attentively to you as
    customers than they will to any antitrust lobby.  If you want linux
    support, demand it!  If they come back at you with "Well, no, we
    don't see much demand for linux (or whatever), so we only support
    ..." then firmly and politely tell them that's unacceptable to you,
    and you would like them to provide you with an off-the-shelf linux-
    preinstalled PC which they will support.  If they can't oblige,
    politely request they forward your name and request to the CEO
    so that he'll know what you're talking about when you write to
    complain.  Ask them if they have an internal complaints policy and
    procedure, and if so to send you details.  Be sure to get their
    name as well.  I can't emphasize politeness enough, but you must
    assert yourself and be clear about what you expect from a company
    that's going to receive a thousand dollars and more from you.  
    You're not going to get far by whining on c.o.l.advocacy.

 
 
 

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

Post by David Petticor » Fri, 13 Mar 1998 04:00:00




>> It is the OS's responsibility to show their software works on the hardware.

>Really?  Tell that to AMD.  I'm sure M$ sent people rushing down to
>Austin to verify that Windows worked on the K6.

>-SHP

They did work hard to get WindowsNT working on an Alpha.
They are trying to get IE to work on several other platforms.

Who has the responsibility in these cases?

It is the one trying to change the status quo.

AMD was trying to break into Intel's market, so they had
the responsibility.  Linux and other OS companies are
trying to break into Microsoft's market, so it is their
responsibility to make it easier for OEMs to choose
their products.

Economic and business realities.

My Opinion,
David Petticord

 
 
 

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

Post by David Petticor » Fri, 13 Mar 1998 04:00:00




<snip>
>> Nader and the CPT would get much further asking OEMs to
>> offer discounts for selling * PCs.  That is a PC with no
>> operating system installed.  OEMs could simply provide a
>> diagnostic floppy that checks out the hardware and assume
>> no responsibility for the software.

>That is an option available on some hardware already; eg, HP Vectra XU.
>But that option alone still leaves non-Microsoft users as second-class
>citizens.  Which is why I definitely support the request by Nader, et al.

>PS. IMHO, I'd say that vendors will listen more attentively to you as
>    customers than they will to any antitrust lobby.  If you want linux
>    support, demand it!  If they come back at you with "Well, no, we
>    don't see much demand for linux (or whatever), so we only support
>    ..." then firmly and politely tell them that's unacceptable to you,

...
<snipped because my ISP insisted>

I agree with this idea too.  In marketing school it is called the
"value chain".  We have the vendors, the manufactures and the
customers.  I was suggesting  working with the vendors (OS producers).
You are suggesting targeting the customers.  Either of those ideas
are much better than whining at the OEMs.

Work with the economics of the situations.  Make the OEMs want to
modify their policies.  Threatening or pleading with them will only get
you, at most, lip service.  It will not result in the lasting solution.

My Opinion,
David Petticord

 
 
 

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.