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Latest Dell Linux is progress from the wild penguin chase of pastJay Lyman, March 1, 2007 @ 11:36 pm ET
Over the last five years or so, there have been a number of rumors, stories and announcements on pre-loaded desktop Linux from big PC makers that typically get Linux fans excited, then disappointed. Sometimes, it would amount to sending out PCs with a basic OS like FreeDOS or no operating system at all. If the company – and we’re talking mostly about Dell and HP since they’re the biggest ones to dip their toes in the refreshing lake of desktop Linux – did actually pre-load a Linux distribution, it was usually for a market outside of North America.
If the company actually offered Linux PCs in the U.S., the sales price never seemed to reflect the lower software cost of the open source OS, and desktops or notebooks were not supported or advertised on anywhere near the scale of Windows PCs.
I was skeptical again recently to hear Dell would be responding to a flood of requests for Linux on its new Idea Storm feedback site.
However, I am beginning to think that after all of these years of rumors, announcements, hype and hidden products, we have actually covered some significant ground toward a mass-market for desktop Linux among consumers and small businesses.
The reason for my change to optimism is not that Dell is certifying Novell Suse Linux for its OptiPlex desktop, Latitutde notebook and Precision workstations. It’s not that the company also indicated a willingness to work with other Linux vendors and with its customers and user community to help ‘define the market.’ It’s not even that Dell is including Latitude notebooks in its n-Series line of no-OS, Linux-ready PCs.
The real reason I think this may be progress for desktop Linux is that Dell is talking about it out in the open. Rather than having to track down obscure product marketing managers or foreign company divisions, or having to rely on rumors whirling about, we’re now able to visit the links listed in this blog and find out fairly accurately where and how Linux is fitting into the Dell desktop market machine. That’s a long way from the days when those interested in Linux desktops and notebooks were sent on what can only be described as a wild penguin chase.
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