Dell is sticking with Ubuntu

July 09, 2009 5:39 PM EDT
I really don't know how this rumor got started, but there are people talking about Dell no longer shipping Ubuntu-powered PCs. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The rumor might have started because Dell's U.S. Ubuntu sales page currently only shows Ubuntu-powered laptops and netbooks without a desktop PC in sight. That's because, according to Anne Camden, a Dell spokesperson, "We are currently transitioning desktop models, moving from the previous generation desktop (Inspiron 530) to a current generation Inspiron desktop. The Ubuntu Linux desktop offering should be back on the Website soon."

Other sources at Dell tell me that Dell Ubuntu-powered netbooks continue to sell well. Dell will not be leaving desktop Linux.

Asus, however, may be another story. After a story appeared that Asus would no longer be offering Linux-powered netbooks in the UK, I started asking Asus officials if that were true, and if it was, were they planning on no longer offering desktop Linux as an option in North America. It's been more than a week now, and no one from Asus has returned my calls. Not good.

It seems that I was correct in thinking that Microsoft has been busy trying to get vendors to shove Linux out of their netbooks. First, Microsoft told vendors what a netbook could, and couldn't be; now the boys from Redmond are doing their best to make sure that you won't have any choice about what operating system you'll get on your desktop or portable computer.

Dell, at least, is resisting Microsoft's efforts. Others PC companies are also showing interest in desktop Linux; it's just not desktop Linux that will be available this year: Google Chrome OS.

Google has announced that HP, Lenovo, Acer and Asus are among its many Chrome OS PC partners. In addition three mobile phone chip developers are in the mix: Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Freescale Semiconductor.

Dell and Intel, to name two were not on Google's list. That doesn't mean that they're not involved. Dell's Camden told me that "Dell constantly assesses new technologies as part of managing our product development process and for consideration in future products." Dell sources tell me that the Austin, Texas hardware manufacturer is tinkering with Chrome and considering how Chrome OS might fit into Dell's plans.

As for Intel, Nick Knupffer, Intel's global communications manager, tells me that, "We've been privy to the Chrome OS project for some time and work with Google on a variety of projects, including elements of this one. We applaud Google's move here. We don't have further comment."

So, what it all adds up to is that, for now, Dell is standing firmly behind desktop Linux. I only wish I could say the same about the other major hardware vendors. But, down the road, it looks like everyone may be offering Google Chrome OS.

We're in for some interesting times ahead my friends.