Dell sells lots of computers that run on Windows. It sells a few that run on Linux. Apparently eager to sell a few more of the latter, Dell boasted on its site that the free operating system is “safer than Microsoft Windows.” Bad idea. The claim has vanished, replaced by the less specific “Ubuntu [Linux] is secure.”
The initial statement appeared as part of a “Top 10” list about Ubuntu. Among the points made by Dell:
8) Ubuntu is “social from the start”
The people who make Ubuntu designed it to be very social-media centric. Do you use Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or any of the other dozens of popular social networking sites? Ubuntu 9.10 works very well with these websites. And beginning with Ubuntu 10.04, these websites will be integrated into the Ubuntu OS itself for your convenience.
7) Ubuntu plays videos, songs, and movies easily
Do you like to watch videos on YouTube, buy songs from Amazon, pop in DVD’s from the local video store? No problem! Dell bundles a multimedia player with Ubuntu to deliver a great entertainment experience.(DRM protected music not supported.)
6) Ubuntu is safer than Microsoft Windows
The vast majority of viruses and spyware written by hackers are not designed to target and attack Linux.
Most of the list is still intact, but the statement about security has been completely rewritten:
6) Ubuntu is secure
According to industry reports, Ubuntu is unaffected by the vast majority of viruses and spyware.
Dell hasn’t commented about the change, but Linux fans have drawn a line from Redmond to Austin. Steven J. Vauhan-Nichols summarized the theory in Computerworld:
So why did Dell back down from their claims for Ubuntu Linux. I’m not getting any answers from Dell, but I think it’s pretty easy to guess: Microsoft took note of people talking about Dell saying nice things about Linux, and decided to “have a word” with Dell. Microsoft has been pushing the computer vendors around for decades — which is why Windows is so popular, not because Windows is better than the alternatives.
Dell continues to sell computers bundled with Ubuntu, though real Linux users will tell you … wait for it … that they make their own at home.