Quite a large handful of Ubuntu Forums members ordered Dell Inspiron Mini 9 computers with Ubuntu preinstalled. Kudos to Dell for offering (and actually advertising) Ubuntu preinstalled, and good on those who bought Ubuntu preinstalled (not an XP preinstalled they installed Ubuntu in place of themselves) and sent a real message to a major OEM that there is a demand for Linux preinstalled.
Still, there was a major problem. If you ordered a Dell Mini with an 8 GB or 16 GB hard drive, only 4 GB of it appeared to be usable. Dell has admitted to the problem and has said it’s fixed the problem for future-shipping units.
There is a problem, though. In its latest blog entry, “Inspiron Mini 9 with Ubuntu Linux – 8GB and 16 GB Hard Drives Not Fully Formatted” (in which they mention my username but misspell it—just an aside, no big deal), they say
For customers wishing to be able to use the extra unformatted disk space immediately, if you purchased a USB DVD drive with your Mini, you may use the system restore DVD included with your system to completely reinstall the operating system. (emphasis added)
I realize they’re working on a simple method for customers to use to format/reclaim the unused hard drive space without reinstalling the OS but this is ridiculous. So customers have to have paid Dell money for an external USB DVD drive in order to fix a mistake that Dell made? Dell should be rewarding, not punishing, its loyal early adopter customers. I realize it’d lose some initial money on doing this, but in the long run it’d earn the respect and future business of its existing customers if it shipped its customers free USB DVD drives to reinstall the OS. If it’s your fault, you pay for the replacement.
My wife has an iPhone power supply part that Apple has recalled. Does Apple want her to pay for the replacement part? No, because the faulty part is Apple’s fault. Any recall, any manufacturing problem is the vendor’s fault and should be fixed at the vendor’s expense, not the customer’s.
Dell, you are not doing right by your Ubuntu customers. So if they happened to have bought a USB DVD drive, they can reinstall the OS. If they haven’t, then what should they do, buy one? And will you reimburse them the cost?