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Most computers come with microsoft windows preinstalled, and then some more software such as virus scanners, cd burning apps, and often some "crapware". The manufacturer actually gets paid for preinstalling some of that software, in particular the crapware and often the virus scanner (which will have a limited subscription).

One can get a refund not only for windows, but also for all the other preinstalled software, even when the manufacturer actually got paid for including it! So if one wants a cheap computer... get one that was already made extra cheap though inclusion of lots of unwanted crapware, then ask for a refund Smiling .

Jermiah Foster has written an open letter to Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical, the company behind an extremely succesful (so far) GNU/Linux distribution Ubuntu urging him to take the next step and enter the business of selling computers with GNU/Linux pre-installed:

"Your company has been building a support network to support Ubuntu, this is a key ingredient in any successful hardware offering. Lack of a support system for linux is cited by Dell as a reason why it cannot just open the floodgates and soak the masses with cheap laptops. But you have that support network already built."

I agree with Jeremiah 100% here. Instead of putting ever more proprietary components into Ubuntu hoping that will somehow make people flock over, they should start bridging what presents a much more real gap towards adoption, and that is pre-installing.