Recently Dell has started selling laptops with Ubuntu preinstalled. I would never get one, but at least that solves the it-wiped-my-harddrive problem when installing Linux.
Walt Mossberg reviews the laptop. Here's what he thinks:
My verdict: Even in the relatively slick Ubuntu variation, Linux is still too rough around the edges for the vast majority of computer users. While Ubuntu looks a lot like Windows or Mac OS X, it is full of little complications and hassles that will quickly frustrate most people who just want to use their computers, not maintain or tweak them.
He just forgets to mention that you can't run any of the software that you like either, like Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, Internet Explorer and so on and so forth.
He also found some tiny little problems that I'm happy to mention.
There is no control panel for adjusting the way the touch pad works, and I found it so sensitive that I was constantly launching programs and opening windows accidentally by touching the thing. Every time the computer awoke from sleep, the volume control software crashed and had to be reloaded.
When I tried to play common audio and video files, such as MP3 songs, I was told I had to first download special files called codecs that are built into Windows and Mac computers. I was warned that some of these codecs might be “bad” or “ugly.”
To get the computer to recognize my Kodak camera and Apple iPod, I had to reboot it several times. When it did find the iPod, it wasn’t able to synchronize with it. Playing videos was a bad experience, with lots of flickering and freezing. Oh, and there’s no built-in software for playing commercial DVDs.
It's so great they're selling laptops with such sucky and outdated software. Reminds me of the '60 when we all programmed in BASIC.