The ubiquitous Dell have started selling their M1330 XPS laptops pre-installed with Ubuntu. I was curious about the price difference between Windows and Ubuntu, so I configured two laptops to the same specs as the base-level Windows laptop except that one had Ubuntu and one had Windows Vista I-need-to-actually-do-real-work-on-this-o
On the Dell site, the Windows laptops only have the choice between Vista noddy and the aforementioned ‘real’ version. Despite this, the Vista laptop still doesn’t come with an office suite or any of the other things bundled into the standard install of Ubuntu.
The difference speaks for itself:
And the Windows machine is on sale!
But wait, there is more! I had to configure the Ubuntu machine up to this spec. The Ubuntu machine by default comes with a smaller hard drive, less memory and Intel graphics (as opposed to nVidia). The Windows machine also comes with a non-optional fingerprint reader.
Removing just the fingerprint reader from the Ubuntu machine reduces it to £684.99 and going with Intel graphics plus the smaller battery this allows gives a final price of £599.00
So, depending on how you count it, the Windows tax on a Dell is somewhere between £104.02 and £220.01, not including the sale discount on the Windows laptop which would push the difference up by £20.00.
Is it really worth it?
 If you want to hobble your laptop, you can opt for Vista Home Premium which narrows the gap to £14.00 with fingerprint reader or £44.00 if you decide the fingerprint reader is useless.
Update: I forgot this other pearl of wisdom too. Look at what the Dell website uses as the icon for ‘an operating system’: