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How Dell repels attempts to buy its 'open source' PC

We tried. We gave up

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Here's a transcript of our chat session with "M."

Welcome to Dell Chat. Please wait for an available agent. You will be notified when your chat is accepted by an agent.
{Ashlee Vance 1:30:57 PM} Is it possible to buy a Dimmension desktop without an operating system?
The session has been accepted.
{M-1:31:09 PM} Welcome to Dell Sales Chat. My name is -------. I'll be your personal sales agent today. Give me a moment to review your concern.
{M-1:31:19 PM} yes, hi ashley
{M- 1:31:33 PM} would u like me to give the information
{Ashlee Vance 1:31:35 PM} Hello, -------
{Ashlee Vance 1:31:45 PM} Yes, please.
{M-1:32:09 PM} hold on while i search for that
{Ashlee Vance 1:32:28 PM} Ok, will do.
{M-1:32:52 PM} click the link: http://www1.us.dell.com/content/topics/ segtopic.aspx/
e510_nseries?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

{M-1:33:39 PM} did u get into the link?
{Ashlee Vance 1:33:51 PM} Ah, I see. I had read about that but couldn't find it on the web site. It's rather hard to find on your own.
{M-1:34:03 PM} oh
{M-1:34:24 PM} oh btw, Will you be purchasing online today using the Dell Preferred Account?
{Ashlee Vance 1:34:34 PM} But these cost more than the ones without operating systems, don't they?
{Ashlee Vance 1:35:03 PM} The regular 510 starts at $679
{M-1:35:31 PM} these are without he operating system
{Ashlee Vance 1:36:15 PM} Right, but why do they cost more than the same PC with an operating system. Shouldn't it cost less?
{M-1:36:37 PM} hold on lemme double check
{Ashlee Vance 1:36:58 PM} Ok, thanks a ton. You guys are always so nice.
{M-1:37:18 PM} thx
{Ashlee Vance 1:37:57 PM} Do you live in Texas? I hear it is very pretty there.
{M-1:38:10 PM} yeah
{M-1:38:17 PM} somewhat
{M-1:38:57 PM} the free DOS E510 has a better configured features
{Ashlee Vance 1:39:06 PM} I'm sure the Dell offices are glorious at least what with all the money Michael Dell has.
{M-1:39:45 PM} like the memory (512 Megabytes and the sound card), yeah i agree
{Ashlee Vance 1:39:58 PM} Oh, you're right. It does have more memory.
{Ashlee Vance 1:40:03 PM} I missed that.
{M-1:40:31 PM} Will you be purchasing online today using the Dell Preferred Account?
{Ashlee Vance 1:40:37 PM} Ok, well, I need to give it a think then. I wish you could get Linux installed on these. Do you do that?
{M-1:41:41 PM} it's got to be u who will install it
{M-1:42:37 PM} how do u intend to use the system?
{Ashlee Vance 1:42:41 PM} Ah, ok. Well, I need to check with my boss. We're looking to buy quite a few of these and wanted Linux. We might have to go with HP since they install Linux. Thanks for your help! I'll be sure to compare the prices.
{M-1:43:41 PM} oic, would u like me to build a system and send the info to you via e-mail?
{Ashlee Vance 1:43:43 PM} What do you mean how do I intend to use it? For computing, silly.
{Ashlee Vance 1:44:08 PM} Sure, if you can build one with Linux. That would be great.
{M-1:45:18 PM} lol, i mean what do u plan on using the system for? oh its not possible, i can't configure it with Linux
{Ashlee Vance 1:45:47 PM} I thought Dell loved Linux. That's what the ads say
{M-1:46:53 PM} there's no option for configuring the system with Linux
Ashlee Vance 1:47:24 PM} Ah, I see. Well, I'm sure glad to be chatting to you rather than some dude in India. Those guys drive me nuts. Your english is great.
{M-1:47:39 PM} thx,
{M-1:47:50 PM} they're good as well
[Man, she's well trained]
{Ashlee Vance 1:48:11 PM} I might have to check in with old HP now. Really need that Linux box. Thanks for all your help though.
{M-1:48:22 PM} no prob
{M-1:48:53 PM} do u know the history of english in India?
{Ashlee Vance 1:49:08 PM} mmm, just a little bit. just what i see in the movies
{Ashlee Vance 1:49:21 PM} is that something you study?
{M-1:49:53 PM} oh yeah, nope something that i was interested of and study on my own
{M-1:50:11 PM} anyway, so much about that
{M-1:50:19 PM} nice chatting with u as well
{Ashlee Vance 1:50:33 PM} Heheh. Ok, well, take it easy.
{M-1:50:43 PM} yep
{M-1:50:56 PM} nice name Ashley
{Ashlee Vance 1:51:15 PM} ah, thank ya
[It's getting hot and heavy now.]
{M-1:51:22 PM} welcome
{Ashlee Vance 1:51:24 PM} M-ain't so bad either.
{M-1:51:38 PM} hehe u made me laugh there
{Ashlee Vance 1:51:40 PM} So you live in Austin then?
{M-1:52:07 PM} yeah
{Ashlee Vance 1:52:26 PM} Have you ever seen Michael Dell? He's pretty famous.
{M-1:52:51 PM} indeed
{M-1:52:55 PM} Is there anything else I can help you with regarding this matter?
{Ashlee Vance 1:53:25 PM} Nope, that'll about do it unless Dell starts shipping Linux. Please feel free to email when that happens.
{M-1:53:35 PM} sure
{Ashlee Vance 1:53:43 PM} Ok, peace out.
[Always try to be hip when dealing with online chat support staff]
{M-1:54:01 PM} same here and God bless
{M-1:54:21 PM} still there?
{Ashlee Vance 1:54:34 PM} yep, did you start shipping linux already?
[This joke seemed to throw her, and a whole three minutes passed, forcing me to ask the obvious...]
{Ashlee Vance 1:56:26 PM} is this a bot?
{M-1:57:05 PM} you're chatting with a live person
{M-1:57:15 PM} http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/ProductDetail.aspx?
TabPage=techspecs&sku=A0459052&spagenum=&
category_id=5573& brandid=&k=&c=us&l=en& cs=19&
mnf=&prst=&prEnd=&mnfsku=& orderby=&searchtype=&
pageb4search=& page=productlisting.aspx& instock=&refurbished=

{Ashlee Vance 1:57:23 PM} oh, ok, you seemed very alive. my friend said you might be a bot
{M-1:57:37 PM} of course not
{Ashlee Vance 1:58:06 PM} Oh, ok. So I can install this Linux on the PC? [Great, it's only $2,000.]
{M-1:58:13 PM} yep
{Ashlee Vance 1:58:45 PM} Sweetness. You're a fine lady, M.
{M-1:58:56 PM} thx so much
{M-1:59:20 PM} Is there anything else I can help you with regarding this matter?
{Ashlee Vance 1:59:48 PM} Nope. I'm outta here.
{M-1:59:53 PM} ok {M-1:59:58 PM} Thank you for contacting Dell Sales Chat. We appreciate your business.
{Ashlee Vance 1:59:59 PM} Keep it real. Seacrest out.
{M-2:00:34 PM} :-)

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