[kwlug-disc] interesting piece on the power of open source

Chris Irwin chris at chrisirwin.ca
Wed Dec 2 11:39:39 EST 2009

On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 09:20, Kyle Spaans <3lucid at gmail.com> wrote:
> Say you have an OEM/Hardware Vendor, Dell perhaps, who says "We
> certify that these distros will boot and run with all necessary hardware
> working". When they ship you the hardware, instead of installing one
> of the distros for you, they have a special bootloader pointed at
> something like http://boot.kernel.org/ (except hosted by themselves).
> Then you are free to choose the distro of choice, install over the
> network (the big assumption is that you've got working/"fast" internet),
> and not need to download and burn ISO images.

If the vendor were actually interested in providing choice, they could
just provide a 9GB DVD in the box that could easily have a restorable
disk image of Ubuntu, Suse and Fedora, plus extras, all on one disc
with a fancy boot menu. If they put in a little effort, they could
have the OS restore preserve /home, and you wouldn't lose your data if
you did an OS restore. I know people that did OS restores because the
built-in Windows Mail client stopped working, so folks do use this
feature, even if they immediately phone me because their photos are

Vendors won't do this though. When Joe User phones in because the
internet isn't working, try asking what distribution they are running?
Most users think they run currently think they run Windows Office
Vista XP, try asking them if they have Fedora, Unbuntu, or Susie. They
would need multiple support flow charts and retraining. Granted, with
Windows drastically changing between each release, I can't see how
adding at least one distro would change things too much. I guess this
is what Dell is going after.

Chris Irwin
<chris at chrisirwin.ca>

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