The Dell IdeaStorm Index

The Dell IdeaStorm site was an inspired move by the company, providing a way for the market to tell a major supplier what to do, rather than the reverse, which has been the default for the whole Industrial Age.

When the site first went up, it sustained what we might call an Insistence on Service Attack by Linux and open-source geeks. Since then, however, the pressure hasn't let up. At the time of this writing (on September 10, 2008 for the print magazine), the same kind of demand is there.

What we see with IdeaStorm now is a rolling picture—almost a scroll—of market demand. Here's the current list in the order the items appear on the page:

  • Put Ubuntu on the list of operating systems when building a PC.
  • No more plastic wrap, please.
  • BIOS upgrades that don't require Windows.
  • Provide Linux drivers for all your hardware.
  • Standardize power cables for laptops.
  • Can we get Studio Hybrid with Ubuntu?
  • There should be an option of having no trialware on all computers.
  • Please make the Ubuntu XPS Notebook cheaper than the XPS Vista Notebook.
  • Use magsafe power connectors.
  • Pre-installed | alternative to MS Works & MS Office.
  • When you choose not to implement an idea, explain why.
  • Mini 9 Netbook Ubuntu price must be cheaper than the XP price with same config.
  • Have Firefox pre-installed as default browser.
  • Switch to LED monitors.
  • Quit forcing McAfee subscriptions.
  • Tell us what Wi-Fi chipset a laptop has.
  • Backlit keyboards.
  • Stop overcharging on notebook RAM.

To sum up, customers want practical improvements, transparency, promotional crap removal and Linux/Ubuntu support (the latter shows up four times). Maybe some other makers will start listening too.


Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal


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Most of it i would really

Anonymous's picture

Most of it i would really hope dell would consider having laptop that have linux in asia region as i a bummer for not able own a linux dell laptop in asia out of the box

I won't touch Dell

tracyanne's picture

and recommend to anyone I have any influence with not to touch Dell.

Dell are still not making any of their consumer Linux boxes available in Australia. So as far as I'm concerned Dell is a dirty word.

OO.o preinstall option on Win boxes *STILL* has the most votes!

Terrell Prude' Jr.'s picture

The preinstall option for MS Windows boxes--yep, the one that Dell will never actually implement--still has the most points, as of today (112,720). Here it is.

Dell listening to its customers? Nope. Dell listening to Microsoft's threats? Yup!


Dell won't ever put on their Windows boxes

Terrell Prude' Jr.'s picture

Microsoft still own them far too much for that. Microsoft are well aware that if ODF becomes common, that spells the end of their desktop monopoly. Remember, the majority of people buy MS Windows specifically because they "need to run MS Office." Why? Because of the proprietary file formats, be they secret or patented. That's why when Apple first introduces OS X, their first FAQ entry was, "Can I run Microsoft Office?"

ODF doesn't have any of those restrictions and is supported by at least four office suites today.

MS know that, among the general populace, a small percentage will buy a "Linux" computer. However...they also know damned well that far, far more people will buy a Windows computer with as a selectable option, especially given OO.o's price (free!) compared to MS Office. These people will especially do so if a "Big Reputable Vendor" like Dell makes that an option. Were I still an MS Windows user, I sure as heck would!

That's an option that Microsoft simply cannot allow if they are to remain Big Brother. And that's why Dell won't do it--they're deathly afraid of MS pulling away the bribes^H^H^H^H^H^H "co-marketing dollars."

It's just like politicians and campaign contributions--"we'll pull our money from only you...but only you, not your competitors, ha ha ha."


I was quite impressed by

Lucian's picture

I was quite impressed by Dell and I hope they will choose to give Ubuntu an equal footing to Windows in their computers.