In my last post I described how voting via commerce is not a precise way to convey preferences. Even so I still tailor my purchases on the off chance that purchasing one product or another will provide sufficient support for the market to shift in a way I desire. I have been eyeing a Dell Mini 9 for over a year now. Not because it is a sleek Netbook but because Dell is the first major PC manufacturer to embrace Linux on their desktops, laptops and netbooks. I wanted to reward them with my business but needed to do so in a way that let them know it was Linux, not their hardware, which brought me to their doors. Sometimes, however, principles can be so frustrating!
A few days ago I finally convinced myself I could use, and afford, a Mini. I never got the Mini 9, it is no longer produced. But we now have the Mini 10v. I hemmed and hawed over the purchase for several weeks. What finally convinced me was walking into Best Buy, finding a Mini 10v, and getting a basic feel for the machine. I was concerned about the size of the keyboard and screen. Things you cannot accurately judge from a website. But the hands-on interaction sealed the deal. However, Best Buy only carries the Mini preloaded with XP. A purchase of that unit would defeat the purpose of trying to convey that it was Linux, not the hardware, that brought me to Dell’s doors.
So off to Dell’s website to place an order. A dozen minutes later I have the confirmation letter sitting in my box. One Mini 10v is on its way to me. Ordered Aug. 18th. Ship date is Sept. 9th. Estimated delivery, Sept. 15th. 28 days!? 28 days put slap a hard drive into a pre-fab unit, load the Ubuntu image onto it and ship it out? I could, in the next 28 hours, purchase the XP infected Mini from Best Buy not 3 miles from my house, bring it home and get the Ubuntu Netbook Remix loaded onto it!
I certainly hope Dell gets the message on this one because it certainly isn’t their speedy service which has captured my purchase. I certainly hope other Linux lovers appreciate this as well. Yikes.
To be fair getting the Mini loaded with XP would not have changed the delivery date one bit. I did spec out both an Ubuntu and XP Mini just to compare prices, features and delivery times. The XP mini would not have been completed until the 8th of Sept., same as the Ubuntu mini. So I guess my gripe is more with Best Buy’s policy of not stocking the Linux loaded Mini (or any other Linux loaded netbook for that matter).