Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 14th Aug 2002 04:52 UTC
In the News "The new DELL desktops appear to be a slick interpretation of Microsoft's new licensing terms and a way to navigate customer demand for PCs without an OS installed. The Microsoft licensing terms, which were put in place on Aug. 1, specify that PC makers must ship PCs with an operating system. The new policy exists to prevent piracy and to better track OS shipments. With the n-Series, Dell will include a copy of a free operating system--FreeDOS--inside the cardboard box. However, the OS will not be pre-installed." FreeDOS is included just to give the ability to actually use the PC in case the user have no other OSes handy to install at a given time. Read the report at
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by Bayerwerke on Wed 14th Aug 2002 05:06 UTC

Okay, I'm backpedaling on all that trash I spoke about Dell.

This is a nice response to those retards in Redmond
by Camel on Wed 14th Aug 2002 05:12 UTC

The subject says it all.

by Bruno the Arrogant on Wed 14th Aug 2002 05:18 UTC

You've got to hand it to Dell, as far as dirty tricks go, this one is a classic! I'd just love to see the look on Bill Gates' face when he hears about this! Turn about is fair play, I guess.

Way to go Dell!!!

by greg on Wed 14th Aug 2002 05:29 UTC

Freedos... Why? Why not include a copy of a linux distro?

Way to go Dell!!
by k_semler on Wed 14th Aug 2002 05:30 UTC

Maybe dell isnt the bunch of incompetent morons that I took them for. Hopefully this will be just the head of the pack that leads the rebellion against MS. If only more companies had this policy, MS would realize that thier totalitarianistic tactics will lead to thier own downfall.

I could just see this article on the front page of the USA Today in 2005:

"Microsoft, after leading the world in the computing industry through the 1990's and into the early 21st century, has decided that the Windows OS is no longer a profitable product. Development on the Windows OS series is no longer a feasible profit for this corporation, cites chief software architect Bill Gates.

Microsoft will cease shipment of Windows at the stroke of midnight on January 1st, 2006. Current liscenses to use Windows will still be valid, and the corporation will still keep the support department active for another 2 years to carry out the contract that the Microsoft EULA represents. All source code to Windows is also plannig to be placed under the GNU/GPL Liscense agreement."

I hope this is a proficy come true. Windows has had it's turn. Time for a substitute I say. Bring on Linux!

Dell F'd Linux
by Ty on Wed 14th Aug 2002 05:31 UTC

I'm sorry but this is a total copout for Dell. They are just teasing MS. They should include a Linux distribution, on a separate disk. They could advertise it as "non supported" and the distribition could support it for a fee. Any modern Linux will easily install on a Dell. Freedos is a joke for one of these(no disrpect for the project, but we are all glad Dos is gone) This action would really threaten MS.

by rajan r on Wed 14th Aug 2002 05:43 UTC

Freedos... Why? Why not include a copy of a linux distro?

They don't really want to stir up the wrath of Microsoft that much.... After all, who would use FreeDOS in the first place? Except FreeDOS users, that is :-p.

by M.I.K.e on Wed 14th Aug 2002 05:43 UTC

I'm not a big fan of Dell, but that's the way to deal with Microsoft's illegal licences!

by Spark on Wed 14th Aug 2002 05:44 UTC

That's really classic.
Sure, shipping with a free Linux CD would add more value and be nice for Linux promotion, but shipping with FreeDOS is definetly more funny and makes MS look like complete dumbheads. ;)

Found this interesting quote...
by rajan r on Wed 14th Aug 2002 05:48 UTC

Selling PCs, especially low-price models aimed at consumers, without an OS could help save costs for manufacturers. In the past few years, as prices for components have fallen, Windows has become one of the more expensive elements of a PC.

If for small OEMs, the price of the OEM version of Windows is around $40, I wouldn't how much Dell got it for. So in other words, $20-30 wouldn't be the most expensive component. Especially since they put in more than 64mb of RAM in their machines, and since Intel don't have a processor that cost $30 or less....

Well, no wonder there isn't a price drop for OS-less PCs. Either that or FreeDOS cost the same as Windows... :-D.

RE: Dell F'd Linux
by Bruno the Arrogant on Wed 14th Aug 2002 05:49 UTC

Freedos is a joke for one of these

But that's precisely the point! Throwing a Linux distro in the box would have been passe, and expected. But FreeDos?

There's no mistaking this for anything but a calculated insult. This was a well thought-out slap in ol' Bill's face. And they want Bill to know it, too.

Hmmmm ....
by Darius on Wed 14th Aug 2002 06:03 UTC

I was under the assumption that as soon as OEMs were free to ship an alternative OS and consumers weren't forced to use Windows anymore , Linux was going to take over the world? Uhhhh, what happened? Dell would rather ship FreeDOS than Linux? Linux pundets would say this was done as a 'slap in the face' to Microsoft ... uh huh, surrrrre ;)

Go Dell!
by Jay on Wed 14th Aug 2002 06:06 UTC

ROFL! What a move!

Better than..
by k_semler on Wed 14th Aug 2002 06:11 UTC

At least they are actually resisting MS. If everybody conformed to Microsoft's desires, It would be even worse than it is now. Windows wold crush everything, and Linux would have no chance. Since Dell is actually resisting MS, maybe MS will get a taste of the real and back off a bit. I have only paid for 4 windows versions. These versions being: Windows 3.11 (once in '92, and I just bought it for $3.00), Windows ME, Windows XP Pro, Windows XP Home Edition. The rest I got for free. I will stay with what I have. MS will get no more money from me.

Re: most expensive component
by Paul on Wed 14th Aug 2002 06:15 UTC

If Dell's getting a break on the price of Window's down to $20-$30 per copy, from a monopolist, what kind of volume discounts do you think they're getting from their other component vendors? Pretty good I imagine, leaving Windows to be one of the (if not THE) most expensive components.

As far as Free DOS vs. Linux goes, someone else here said it best. I still think Dell is in bed with microsoft, and there is no way they are going to slap them that hard, or want to be slapped back in return.

way to go Dell!
by Cypress on Wed 14th Aug 2002 06:17 UTC


by ~Seedy~ on Wed 14th Aug 2002 06:31 UTC

well done :-)

Go Be !!!!
by DP on Wed 14th Aug 2002 06:36 UTC

They should give BeOS PE !!!!!!!!

Genius !!
by Anonymous on Wed 14th Aug 2002 06:39 UTC

First thought was "why not Linux" but then again, it really, really doesn't matter. People who buy a Dell (normally) don't care about either of them, they will slam their err... old Windows version on it anyway...

Now, this will probably make Free DOS #2 right behind Windows by end of the year... :-) ye good ole days are back...

by Beee on Wed 14th Aug 2002 06:59 UTC

FreeDos is cool, but BeOS would have been even cooler as it was MS antitrust stuff that killed Be.

However, Freedos will do, it's for the desktop, Linux is just for the servermarket anyway so Freedos is cool.

FreeDOS Beta 8
by k_semler on Wed 14th Aug 2002 07:24 UTC

Although Free DOS is still technically in the beta stages, I find it more useable than MS-DOS 7.10 is in Windows 9x. With FreeDOS, you have support for FAT32 (If you so desire to enable the kernal). FreeDOS is also completely open source. Open source will lead to the downfall of Microsoft, and I will be glad when that headline runs that informs the nation of MS's collaps.

Re: Go Be !!!!
by David Harper on Wed 14th Aug 2002 07:37 UTC

Hahaha ... you made my day.

Still, I think that FreeDOS is more of an "insult"; "DOS" has this stone-age feel about it, whereas BeOS is at least (relatively) modern.

Does this mean that Microsoft is still earning even if no Windows is installed?

by rajan r on Wed 14th Aug 2002 07:45 UTC

They should give BeOS PE !!!!!!!!

Why bundle something with nobody supporting it?

Now, this will probably make Free DOS #2 right behind Windows by end of the year... :-) ye good ole days are back...

Doubt it. Read the article. The PCs that doesn't have OS would be sold in bulk to corporations. They wouldn't possibly use FreeDOS.

FreeDos is cool, but BeOS would have been even cooler as it was MS antitrust stuff that killed Be.

It was mostly Be that killed themselves. Heck, they failed when they we trying to compete with a company that had lost support of most of its ISVs, had it market share shrunk and was close to bankruptcy (pre-Jobs Apple, if you don't know).

Although Free DOS is still technically in the beta stages, I find it more useable than MS-DOS 7.10 is in Windows 9x.

I got an old version of it on my old 120MHz Pentium machine. It was faster than DOS (without Windows) in boot time, but other than that, command line on FreeDOS is much easier (e.g. it uses / instead of ).

Still, I think that FreeDOS is more of an "insult"; "DOS" has this stone-age feel about it, whereas BeOS is at least (relatively) modern.

True, but FreeDOS does have a potential in the embedded space :-p

However, unlike what Be Inc. would have liked, the No OS option just come with a FreeDOS CD, not preinstalled. So in other words, Be OS would just be on a CD. Wow.... that would be fun...

Besides, Be Inc. wanted to be bundled on Windows machines that would be bought by unsuspecting consumers that would push Be's market share higher.

Support .....
by mike on Wed 14th Aug 2002 07:51 UTC

If they bundled a linux distro with their boxes then they'd have to provide support...

RE: found interesting quote...
by Anonymous on Wed 14th Aug 2002 08:00 UTC

Yes, the OS may not be the most expensive component to a machine, but you miss the point:

In terms of cutting cost, have you ever seen a PC functioning without a CPU? Withou RAM? Without a HD? I guess not... so the only way to FURTHER cut costs and still supply a working product is to change the OS for a free one...

Dell and Linux
by Don Cox on Wed 14th Aug 2002 08:39 UTC

People seem to be forgetting that Dell do sell a line of PCs with
supported Red Hat Linux.

This argument is about selling PCs with _no_ operating system - or a
derisory one (FreeDOS).

Why FreeDOS?
by IFightMIBs on Wed 14th Aug 2002 08:56 UTC

...and not Linux? One floppy is my guess.

So what - Dell keeps all the savings.
by David Bruce on Wed 14th Aug 2002 08:57 UTC

The article said that the price would be the same with or without Windows. All this does for the buyer is save the step of wiping the hard drive. Dell saves by not having to pay MS for a license on the machine, but none of the savings is passed on to the purchaser.

When Dell sells defenestrated machines to individuals for less than those with Windows, I might consider buying from them. Until then I will just assemble my own boxes.

I have to admit, the FreeDOS thing is pretty funny :-)

This is making up for the dell kid ads
by Brad on Wed 14th Aug 2002 09:31 UTC

I have to hand it to dell, this is pretty good. Some place in this there is some good line using the "..... your getting a dell line" and this situation and MS but it's not coming to me. Anyways this is a good start. Would be nice to see a unilateral move by all the prepackaged computer companies to do this. Though i think this does have a down side. If dell and other OEM's had gone straight to the DoJ with this maybe something would have happened. But by doing this they have shown the MS isn't being unfair since there are options other then the MS one. So it is doubtful MS will get penilized for their actions.

I think freedos is a good choice, i'm sure there must be some funnier ones out there. I think the use of linux would have shifted the point they are making. Plus wouldn't be funny, and for some not as useful. I don't think dell would want to start a tangent over their distro choice and such, it would detract from the point. It is to bad Beos wasn't around for this. I think this is the moment JLG was waiting for. Well it happened, Be just didn't make it to the party. Beos right now, or even when at full steam would have been the perfect option, so much smaller of a threat to MS in some ways but the consumer would have a full OS that a newbie could use very quickly. It would be the OS for a true spite manuver. Maybe wiht a few phone calls the power of dell could still make that one happen, call palm, or just use PE and get gobe to spring back to life and that could have somehting. But this isn't worth it to dell i'm sure. Putting a differant OS on the computers isn't their point. I wonder if this is the begining of an interesting next few months in the computer industry.

This is why they are using FreeDOS
by J on Wed 14th Aug 2002 11:09 UTC

If you would read the article you would realise that end users will not be able to purchase these machines. They are only selling the FreeDOS boxes to *volume* customers. If you're not ordering a large quantity of these machines from DELL you're not getting one.

Why spend the money to test a distribution of Linux on these boxes and pay for CD replication when the chances are that the volume customer won't use it? Most large volume customers will more than likely evaluate all of their OS choices *before* they decide to purchase an OS-less machine. So, the decision for which OS to use won't be made by what is packaged with the box.

Putting Linux on these boxes would, in fact, probably be a waste of money for Dell.

why not linux heres why.
by Ryan on Wed 14th Aug 2002 11:11 UTC

they didnt do that becuase doing so would require not using the FAT16 or FAT32 file systems, by using freedos it enables the majority of their customers who dont know how to install linux and dont want to install it to easily put windows on it or another OS, any company that installs linux on its desktops ought to know enough that this isnt that big of a deal to install freedos. and besides freedos is also free, and is also a hell of alot smaller than linux, give me a fully functional linux on a floppy and i'll believe that linux isn't any bigger.

by ryan on Wed 14th Aug 2002 11:27 UTC

This could just be a means to piss off microsoft so that dell can get something in return, maybe a rebate on windows XP. I doubt it will last. MS will probably write to dell next and tell them that they must include windows XP or windows 2000 on all desktops. end of story.

Here's the story in my opinion
by Big Al on Wed 14th Aug 2002 12:08 UTC

I think that Microsoft was trying to force corporations to pay twice for Windows. Look at it this way...

Many large companies standardize on a distribution. It's almost never the latest and greatest from Redmond. So if all these companies are standardized on Windows 2000 and they have to get new systems, they don't want preinstalled OS's because their bulk licensing won't work for future upgrades (the license on the new computers they bought are OEM licenses so they aren't covered under their bulk licensing terms).

The way Microsoft changed the terms, a company would have to pay once for the license that came with the computer and then again to add to their bulk licenses. Microsoft forces large corporations to buy two copies of the same software. Great for MSoft's bottom line and they can say how many more people are buying Windows XP when in reality they aren't. But Dell's outmaneuvered the slicksters from Redmond by shipping an OS - just not Microsoft's OS.

Bravo, Dell. Bravo.

Not Linux due to support issues.
by Porter on Wed 14th Aug 2002 12:41 UTC

Hey -

guess what, they don't put a Linux distro in there due to support issues. FreeDOS is simple, easy to support. Linux is a more complex system, and thus harder to support (you know 1-800 call center stuff).

reflecting a trend
by analyst on Wed 14th Aug 2002 12:57 UTC

The inclusion of FreeDOS is reflecting a growing trend in the computer industry. Businesses are switching from Windows to DOS so they can use such killer apps as EDLIN XP, which won't run under newer versions of Windows. C programmers are discovering that DOS batch files are easier to write and more stable than the same file written in C. Also now that the Internet fad is finally going away we're seeing a migration from web pages to BBS's, which also require DOS to run their software under. Microsoft is trying to win back former customers with new features such as "Active Blue Screen" which enables you to show a web page every time your PC locks up, for instance a stock ticker, but with such heavyweights as Dell throwing their support behind DOS, Windows' future looks grim.

Very funny Dell
by mark on Wed 14th Aug 2002 13:22 UTC

But this is just some legal depatment weaseling going on under the contracts. It's not the "Big Statement" that people are making it out to be.
When Dell makes the entire line available without an OS installed, that would be a statement.

Legality ??
by Peder on Wed 14th Aug 2002 13:37 UTC

I still have a hard time understanding the MS license.
How can they dictate how the PC manufacturers deliver
their products? Imagine the opposite:
Dell, in its new license, requires retailers of
MS Windows to bundle an PC with the software

After all, if you haven't got a (naked) PC there's no need
for you to buy an OS (especially if you aren't "allowed"
to own a naked PC in the first place).
I'd say the market for pirated (stolen) PCs is as big as pirated Windows.

Won't last
by gmlongo on Wed 14th Aug 2002 13:37 UTC

Let's see how long this lasts... My guess is not too long


by ryan on Wed 14th Aug 2002 13:42 UTC

"But this is just some legal depatment weaseling going on under the contracts."

You might be right but its some damn entertaining weaseling!

Software retailers do something similar
by Rude Turnip on Wed 14th Aug 2002 14:13 UTC

If you've ever gone to a local mom-n-pop computer store or certain online retailers, you'll notice that they'll sell you a copy of the OEM version of Windows for much cheaper than the full retail version. According to MS's OEM agreement with vendors, the copy can only be sold with a piece of computer what do the vendors do? They include a burnt-out old motherboard or similar piece of scrap to dance around the restriction...I heard of one guy that received just a capacitor with his software!

Of course, in Dell's would have been truly poetic justice if they simply included a zipped up version of just the Linux kernal on a floppy. I'd buy a second computer from them if they had the cajones to do *that*!

by Richard Fillion on Wed 14th Aug 2002 14:42 UTC

Quite the news to wake up to. Well i think they are doing more "damage" with FreeDOS than they could ever do with a Linux distro. No one will use FreeDOS, especially if this is only for high volume sales. I think what they are trying to push is that people dont get pushed into having a new version of windows thrown in people's faces every time they upgrade. They can use what they were using before, it worked, let it work. Let the companies decide when they are ready to upgrade, and to which OS they want to upgrade.

I think microsoft would have laid the smackdown had Dell been shipping linux with these "os-less PCs", something Dell doesnt want, nor need. But in this case, hell, they are even shipping an OS thats compatible with one of their legacy OSes, so what can they say?

MS Stupid?
by Ano Nymous on Wed 14th Aug 2002 14:43 UTC

"At least they are actually resisting MS. If everybody conformed to Microsoft's desires, It would be even worse than it is now."

What you don't seem to get is the fact that they ARE conforming to Microsoft's "desires". The agreement says that no PC be shipped without an OS. That's exactly what they do. Finally, some guy at Dell got the hint and included an OS nobody would use anyway.

And do you really think that MS did not think about this possibility? Do you really believe they are that stupid? The way I see it it is not a slap in their face. It is quite the opposite, it allows them to save face because they are not giving in completely - and they still can say that they demand this policy because of piracy.

Plus, only big corporations are gonna get this offer anyway. It won't make much of an impact at all.

adding BeOS PE
by Anonymous on Wed 14th Aug 2002 14:47 UTC

*lol* there is probably not a single component compatible with PE in a current Dell....

Gates is laughing on this one too
by m on Wed 14th Aug 2002 14:58 UTC

So what's all the fuss about?

"The overwhelming majority of the systems we ship will go out with a Microsoft OS on them," a company representative said.
End Quote

To a certain degree, DELL has set an example for the largest marketing on demand and customizing PCs to costumers needs. Not like you can customize many things, not the CPU for example, but in very large volumes (IBM, COMPAQ, ...) they have taken a lead. However in their overwhelming majority of systems the Operating System is out of the question, you are paying the revolutionary tax to Microsoft.

Seems like we have grown to accept this fact as a natural thing, the largest PC seller of the world mandatorily (read new contract rules, the old ones really) sells ***about all*** of their computers with Microsoft preloaded.

At the editorial they say "Dude, you're gonna get screwed by Dell". Not really, DELL is paying the revolutionary tax also, you're gonna get screwed by Microsoft, convicted and all.

The USA legal system can't do anything about it, so you got to take it with humor, read that editorial when it says:

(For an amusing time in a pitiful sort of way, phone up a computer company and find out how much less it will cost if you get a machine with no operating system. You'll be surprised at how little the quoted price difference is. The fun part is when you say, "Okay, I'll pay the $15 -- send me the Windows and keep the computer." It won't accomplish anything, but it will break up the day of the phone drone on the other end.)
End Quote

"You are doing things that the Attorneys General weren't able to accomplish, so keep up the good work. At Sun we're also going to continue supporting desktop initiatives."

Scot McNealy (Sun's chairman, president and CEO in his keynote presentation here at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo on Tuesday.),3959,465367,00.asp

DELL won't help.

Is is real ? I cannot find it on
by vlad on Wed 14th Aug 2002 15:10 UTC

It may sound great , but I cannot find it on Dell web.
There is no link in the article and search for Free DOS on gave me 0 results.
I found Linux (Red Hat 7 ) workstations but not FreeDOS.

Please, can somebody post a link to it. Otherwise I would call it FAKE.

Linux versus FreeDOS
by tom6789 on Wed 14th Aug 2002 15:24 UTC

It is obvious why DELL chose FreeDOS over Linux.

DELL is no doubt going to be working with a major Linux distributor(s) at some point in the future.

They don't want to throw in a SuSE CD now, and then end up working with Red Hat 3 months down the road.

I'm sure if DELLs plans for Linux were written in stone at this point and time; they would have picked a distro to toss in.

MS still gets paid
by Stephen on Wed 14th Aug 2002 15:26 UTC

Dell sells you a computer with WinXP
Dell pays MS for a WinXP liscence.

Dell sells you a computer without WinXP
Dell pays MS for a WinXP liscence anyways.

All they're doing is saving MS some money.

Re: MS still gets paid
by bytes256 on Wed 14th Aug 2002 15:42 UTC

I doubt very much that MS still gets paid...don't you think that Dell probably just pockets the savings? Why in Gods name would you pay for a license that you don't need? Unless you know this for a fact and can point me to a link or quotation from somewher, I doubt it very much.

On the other hand...making another $30 or so per machine is kinda attractive for Dell, since this is a high-volume only line let's say a company buys 100 of these...that's $3000 do the math...would you throw 3 grand away to MS for a license that you ain't usin'?


re: MS still gets paid
by Big Al on Wed 14th Aug 2002 16:16 UTC

Stephen - I think that only existed until the second to latest rounds of agreements between Microsoft and their OEMs. If I remember correctly when the trial with the Dept. of Justice was coming to an end Microsoft changed their terms so you didn't have to buy a license with every computer sold.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Think longterm
by Richard Fillion on Wed 14th Aug 2002 16:55 UTC

You gotta think longterm with this. I doubt MS gets any money from those computers, it would be crazy if they would. But thats almost besides the point. The admins who work the network on which those computers are going, they get to choose, thats the important part. If they go Linux, cool, but even if they go Windows2000, im happy for them, cause thats their choice. That is what THEY choose, not some company who really doesnt care for them or their needs. If you let people choose, Microsoft has MUCH less power. Everyone that i know who upgraded their computer like 1.5years ago (a huge part of the population around here did it at that time) hated WinME, wanted to return to Win98, but couldnt cause they were never given a choice.

If Dell really wanted to snub MS...
by DrP on Wed 14th Aug 2002 16:55 UTC

... they could have included old copies of Mac System7 in the box.

Re: If Dell really wanted to snub MS...
by bytes256 on Wed 14th Aug 2002 17:57 UTC

>>>... they could have included old copies of Mac System7 in the box.

good luck getting Apple to let another OEM ship Mac OS


Why is this not anit-competitive
by slackware on Wed 14th Aug 2002 17:59 UTC

Can someone please fill me in on *why* this is not deemed as an anti-competitve tactict. I was under the impression this was the very reason that MS was taken to court for anti-competition or using monopolistic reasons. The fact that Dell and others presumably have to pay MS for a licence reagarless of the OS of choice to get a volume discount is proposterous. I already purcahsed a copy of XP. If I bought a Dell, they would have to pay MS for another licence regarless of wether or not I want it with the computer.

OTOH, I think this is a good slap in the face to MS to include FreeDos with the computers. I agree cwith DrP, they should just ship it with an Old version of the MacOS or another OS which absolutely *will* not work on X86 CPUs. That would be like kicking them in the nuts..... ;)

Re: Why is this not anit-competitive
by Will on Wed 14th Aug 2002 18:12 UTC

It's not anti-competetive because, in this case, it's the reality of the market and the client.

Dell could simply tell MS to piss off, and then MS could simply tell Dell "Fine, no Windows for you."

Just like if I sold Patio Furniture, and Wal-Mart says "I want it all bar coded my way, I want it to arrive on Thursdays at 2pm, and you get to assemble the floor model as well." I can say No, and Wal-Mart can say no back.

The large retailers make great demands on their vendors, and some vendors make demands on their retailers (There was a time when Coors beer wasn't allowed to be sold warm, off the floor).

By forcing vendors to sell "an OS", they force the customers to "make a choice". The fact that Dell isn't cutting the price on a PC with FreeDOS means that as a user, you get either a copy of Windows or a copy of FreeDOS, and Windows get installed "for free". But the cost is the same, so in this case, the customer has no monetary motivation to NOT purchase Windows. Of course, that's Dell's call. In truth I imagine Dell COULD charge less for FreeDOS, they just choose not too.

OF course, it's all meaningless to the single consumer. In reality for big companies I think all the FreeDOS versions do is save them a Format, and I even question that as I imagine ghosting an OS should format the drive anyway.

So, basically, it's a meaningless gesture. The companies buying the machines that have volume licensing don't care, as they'll install their own version anyway. Anyone who installs some other OS aren't saving any money, and will reformat anyway, so it doesn't matter what's on the harddrive when the machines show up.

But, it clearly gave Dell some geek press, so what the heck.

To Will
by Big Al on Wed 14th Aug 2002 18:17 UTC

Yeah, but at least if the customer chooses FreeDOS they aren't artificially propping up Microsoft's sales numbers. For those of us disgusted with Microsoft it'd be worth it.

I wonder if this will have any impact on Microsoft's sales numbers?

How about...
by ~Seedy~ on Wed 14th Aug 2002 18:20 UTC


or even..


Re: Big Al
by bytes256 on Wed 14th Aug 2002 18:26 UTC

How could this impact MS's sales numbers? If Dell sells 500,000 of these i'd be impressed...but it would take tens of millions of these models to be sold to impact MS's sales numbers meaningfully, besides this is aimed at large-volume corporate sales...kinda like shopping at Sam's've got buy a dozen bottles of Ketchup at the same, some of these companies will put another version of Windows on there (probably Windows 2000) b/c that's what they're IT department has standardized on...

I've seen similar things in the education sector, where we got lots of computers (100+ Compaqs) with "designed for Windows 98" stickers on them, but with Windows 95 installed. Why? because our school's official supplier/support provider wiped the hard drives and put they're "officially supported" OS on instead

so in short...all this does is prevent MS from double-dipping a handful of customers


Why FreeDOS?
by Luke on Wed 14th Aug 2002 18:58 UTC

I think DELL will not include a Linux distro because if they include RedHat their customers would have Mandrake, if they include Mandrake their customers whould have Debian, if they include Debian their customers would have Slakware.... So FreeDOS seems a right choice: put the floppy that comes with the PC in a drawer and buy/download your preferred distro.

What did FreeDOS ever do to you people?
by bytes256 on Wed 14th Aug 2002 19:07 UTC

What does everyone have against FreeDOS? Have any of you nay-sayers ever used it?

On a serious note...Linux would be dumb to ship with these PCs b/c Dell already sells Linux workstations...BeOS? are you serious...there IS NO least not one that would be Legal and FREE for Dell to ship with...remember, Dano is illegal and BeOS PE is not legal to redistribute w/ a computer, read the license agreement if you doubt me, and MacOS would definitely cost them money, even 1.0, much less System really that leaves them w/ either a BSD, a hobby OS of some sort, or the real Slap MS in the face choice, FreeDOS

And to be quite honest, as far as DOSes go, FreeDOS is pretty damn cool


by seratne on Wed 14th Aug 2002 19:27 UTC

system 7.5.3 is available for free download from

i'm not too sure if apple will allow you to distribute it though, but i dont think theyd have a problem with fucking around with microsoft a litte.

Good Move Dell... Good Move.
by EnnTooItt on Wed 14th Aug 2002 20:04 UTC

I bet M$ never saw that one coming. This is so funny. You are told, by M$, that you cannot ship a computer without an operating system. So what do you do? You ship a computer with the operating in the box. And to make matters even more hilarious, you ship a cloned version of an operating system that M$ used to sell.

Well... they did not break their agreement.

What's wrong with FreeDOS?
by Usotsuki on Wed 14th Aug 2002 21:25 UTC

(Of course, I know it's not complete yet.) Dell's shipped DOS with their machines for 15 years or so...why stop now? :

by Ano Nymous on Wed 14th Aug 2002 22:23 UTC

"You are told, by M$, that you cannot ship a computer without an operating system."

They were not "told" to not sell a computer without an OS. It is part of an agreement. Last time I checked we had free markets and entrepreneurship.

Following Up On The BeOS Comments....
by Mike Webb on Thu 15th Aug 2002 00:18 UTC

I've seen a number of comments in this thread about BeOS PE and that it should have been Dell's choice. I thought Be
went broke and the company didn't exist anymore. Where would one go to get a copy of BeOS PE nowadays?

The general consensus in this thread, as I've been reading it, is that the inclusion of FreeDOS is just a big joke, and that
no one expects the copy of FreeDOS to actually be used.

But what if it WERE? I've been following the FreeDOS project for quite some time, and while I haven't set it up on a machine of mine yet (nor have I tried out Linux or a bunch of other stuff I'd like to try), there's some real potential here.

The old GEM graphical environment is being given new life, and Dell's distribution of FreeDOS may bring New Deal Office (formerly GEOS) back to life. If people (and IS departments) start playing with FreeDOS, find out its potential and see how it runs rings around Windows XP, the results could be devastating to M$.

Imagine the IS guys/gals pulling the old copies of WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3 and such out of the warehouse, installing a DOS network client (they do exist), setting up the Arachne browser for Internet access and plunking a few of them on the desktops of people who were dragged into Windows kicking and screaming (like me) in the first place. Once those folks get the rust knocked off their old skills, they'll be cookin' with gas--their old favorites running on 2 Ghz Pentium 4s! We might even see some of these corporations adopting FreeDOS as their OS standard--who knows?

I'd suggest the snickerers at the choice of FreeDOS hold their snickers for a bit, especially if you never were a serious DOS user in the first place and don't know the power of the command line. The Bill may have a surprise coming his way!

DOS is alive and well!
by Neal on Thu 15th Aug 2002 01:39 UTC

FreeDOS is not really the best example, but DOS is still widely used and evolving.

Every WinDoes box I make has a C: drive that is DR-DOS 7.02 (free) about 480meg.

Excellent for the pagefile as well, since is very fast.

The Winders goes on another drive or partition.

Dell should include DR-DOS or OpenDOS (Derived from Novell-DOS 7) which has True
MultiTasking imbeded !

Dell should be congradulated!!!

BeOS Lives...
by Neal on Thu 15th Aug 2002 02:10 UTC

An OpenSource BeOS Clone is well underway.

BeOS PE is available by download or CD.

Try or for a variety of links.

Reason they won't support/provide Linux
by slackware on Thu 15th Aug 2002 03:12 UTC

They won't support linux on the workstation market mainly for one reason: customer satisfaction. Selling Windows to inexperienced computer users is simple since it works quite well as a desktop. With Linux, users might be faced with more difficult challenges. What's more if they're working with some desktop program or window manager and it bugs out, who are they going to blame for it not working? Not the programmers: DELL. The brand name is kind of on the hook.

On the server environment, the programs have been throughly tested and recent stable kernels are stable. So any guarantee of sorts the product will work is almost abolute. Desktop linux computers could be another story. Forget trying to explain any basic system administration to a noob linux user. The community's great at doing it but of course they're going to blame Dell. Say Dell supplies RedHat and someone tries to get difficult and asks why Mandrake or Debian or another distrib doesn't work. Dells only tested RedHat on that model, user gets upset and refuses to buy another Dell. It might be that the user has problems installing it or it simply doesn't work with that model. Why risk it? Thats why they're supplying FreeDOS. Its impossible to get a working environment in it. Which in this case gives the two choices: install Windows or if you *really* know what you're doing you'll choose *what* to install.

Mike Webb
by Jeremiah Bailey on Thu 15th Aug 2002 18:13 UTC

You can get a copy of BeOS r5 PE at
Yes it is a bit old, but it is not really outdated. There are some OSS BeOS clones being actively developed too...

by Jeremiah Bailey on Thu 15th Aug 2002 18:41 UTC

I agree, with you 100% on why FreeDOS is the best choice for Dell.

I love and use BeOS on a daily basis, but I will at least admit that the license is not compatible with Dell's needs. The OSS clones of BeOS are not yet anywhere near the needs of Dell.

IMO Linux is *not* a desktop OS and never will be (except for the types of people that use linux as a desktop already: people who want to play around with the guts of an OS). These kind of usage however does not fall into the DesktopOS category, it is in the PoweruserOS category. Besides, iirc Dell already ships computers with Linux or has separate plans to do so in the future.

The sybolism of shipping FreeDOS vs AnyOtherOS is the biggest slap in the face for M$ in this case. I am under the impression (correct me if i am wrong) that M$'s license with the OEMs is such that *all* PCs sold must include the cost of the Windows license, regardless of the bundling of Windows. I know this sounds shady, and it really is shady, but this is the agreement that all OEMs who wish to sell M$ products with their computers must sign. M$ will still be getting money from this even though no M$ product will be present on the computers.

Dell's other choices include mainly server OSes like Linux and FreeBSD... a little more heavy-duty than is needed to fulfill the agreement with M$. Shipping a clone of the OS that M$ used to build its empire, is nothing more than symbolic. But it is still hilarious, and fits all of Dell's requirements (unless M$ changes their agreement yet again).

Jeremiah Bailey
the drimmeeper

Why should M$ worry ?
by Thoughfull Dood on Thu 15th Aug 2002 20:36 UTC

If Dell sells computers without an OS - FreeDos is quite limited I mean are you really going to slap FreeDos on a P4, talk about a waist of power - then if the owner of that machine ever wants to install XP they have to buy a full retail copy, more money to Micro$oft.

Probably just a way to sell computers to people that want to install their own faverate distro of linux.

Also really funny ;)