Richi Jennings

Dell does Feisty Fawn: Ubuntu Linux preinstall (and more)

May 02, 2007 7:03 AM EDT
No "dude" jokes in Wednesday's IT Blogwatch: in which Dell chooses Ubuntu for its promised PCs with Linux preinstalled. Not to mention 17 must-have free applications for new Ubuntu users...

Todd R. Weiss does the Timewarp:
Only 10 weeks after asking customers what products they'd like to see, Dell Inc. today announced that its upcoming Linux desktop PCs and laptops will be preloaded with Ubuntu Linux. They are slated to be avilable by the end of this month. In postings on Dell's IdeaStorm and Dell2Dell Web sites today, the company said it moved quickly to offer the Linux-based hardware because of customer interest. In February, Dell had set up an "IdeaStorm" Web site to get feedback from customers about what products they wanted. In late March, after hearing from more than 100,000 users who filled out surveys on Linux preferences, Dell said it would start preloading Linux on some of its laptops and desktop PCs.
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Models, configurations and prices of the Ubuntu-loaded hardware have not been announced. They will run Version 7.04 of Ubuntu Linux and will be available through a dedicated Linux Web page on the Dell.com site where buyers will be able to configure and price their machines.
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Details are also being worked out regarding support for the new Ubuntu Linux-equipped machines ... operating system support could be provided through the open-source Ubuntu and Linux communities -- which survey respondents said they preferred -- or through a paid support contract with Canonical Ltd., the Isle of Man-based company that is the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu Linux.
Ryan Paul adds:
According to Dell, users overwhelmingly selected Ubuntu as their preferred distribution in a large-scale survey ... It's very likely that Dell will test the waters with a limited selection of Linux-based computers before expanding the line in any meaningful way.

Although I think that Dell's decision to offer Linux is a win for the open-source community, it's important to keep in mind that we don't have any pricing details yet. Linux preinstallation will only make sense to consumers if Dell can sell Linux-based hardware at a lower price, and it isn't entirely clear yet whether or not that will happen ... Dell uses crapware subsidies in order to provide consumers with more competitive prices on Windows computers, and that same strategy probably can't be used to reduce the cost of computers shipped with Linux.
Dell's Lionel Menchaca offers this:
We received overwhelming feedback that customers wanted Linux on desktops and notebooks. As part of an overall effort to update our Linux program, today we are announcing a partnership with Canonical to offer Ubuntu on select consumer desktop and notebook products ... These systems will be available in the coming weeks to customers in the United States.
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In this video, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth talks about why he started Ubuntu, Linux adoption rate trends, how previous barriers to Linux adoption for mainstream users are improving, and more.
Canonical's Fabián Rodríguez speaks with forked tongue: [geddit?]
Many people have been involved in this and I can only say I am excited to be a tiny small part of it ... Beaucoup de gens ont été impliqués et je peux seulement dire que je suis content d’être une petite partie de ceci.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has his (open) sources: [You're fired -Ed.]
According to our sources, Ubuntu will be released on a Dell e-series "Essential" Dimension desktop, an XPS desktop, and an e-series Inspiron laptop.

The e-series systems are budget-priced PCs that start at $408 without a monitor ... There are four XPS models, which are meant for home users ... [for] the least expensive of these systems, the XPS 410, the base system would cost $899 ... for the laptop, there are three e-series Inspiron notebooks with prices ranging from $899 to $1,149.
With a perspective, she's B.L. Ochman:
As we've told you before, large numbers of consumers, who've had to serve as VISTA guinea pigs, are not happy with the new Microsoft OS. VISTA comes pre-loaded on many brands of consumer PCs now, while big companies watchfully wait a year or two for new OS kinks to be ironed out. We've personally witnessed people returning PCs because they hate VISTA, and switching to Macs. A salesman at J & R Computers told us that happens on a daily basis.
Cory Doctorow is mercifully brief:
This is rad ... I've been running Ubuntu, a slick, easy-to-install, easy-to-use flavor [of] Linux since last October ... I love it to pieces. Talk about rock-solid.
Buffer overflow:
Around the Net Around Computerworld Previously in IT Blogwatch
And finally... 17 Must-Have Free Apps for New Ubuntu Users
Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at blogwatch@richi.co.uk.