Dell Reveals Preloaded Ubuntu Linux Due Date

Dell reportedly will launch three models of its much anticipated laptop and desktop computers loaded with Ubuntu Linux this Thursday.

Although the company has refused to provide any details, blogger Jeremy Garcia — a Linux advocate who runs the Web siteLinuxquestions.org — released an e-mail from an unnamed Dell employee providing a sneak peak into the launch plans.

“We will be launching a Linux-based OS (Ubuntu) on the E520 (budget Dimension desktop PC), 1505 (Inspiron laptop) and (home entertainment level PC) XPS 410 starting next Thursday, 5/24,” says the e-mail posted on Garcia’s blog.

The e-mail goes on to say the goal of the launch is to give Dell customers more choices to customize their new machines by providing more options for Linux enthusiasts.

Planning Ahead

The move is not a surprise, notes Garcia, the recipient of the e-mail, since Dell announced earlier this month that it would eventually offer a limited number of Dell models with Ubuntu Linux preloaded, although an exact date was not provided at that time.

Most Linux enthusiasts were hoping to see the company roll out more models than just the three, he said.

“But I think how they roll out those three models with Linux will have more to do with the success of the program than the number of models available,” Garcia told LinuxInsider.

The long-term implications for Linux on the desktop in the mainstream are huge, according to Garcia.”Kudos to Dell for finally making the leap.”

Still, he observed that “with less than one percent of sales at stake, it’s possible Dell doesn’t have the incentive to put a huge effort behind this.”

Customer Demand

The Linux decision was a response to continued customer requests, said the Round Rock, Texas-based company. In fact, on itsblog page, John Hull, manager of Linux OS technologies at Dell, indicates one of the most frequently requested items was Linux-loaded computers.

Hull says that the Ubuntu 7.04 operating system will be offered on the new machines, “including kernel and applications.”

The Peripherals

For now, Dell will offer only add-on peripherals and hardware options that provide the most mature and stable Linux driver support, Hull adds, noting that “these hardware options have been thoroughly tested by the Linux team here at Dell.”

The company will also configure and install open source drivers for the hardware when possible.

Dell will continue to work with hardware vendors that don’t currently support Ubuntu in an effort to create stable drivers for the equipment, says Hull.

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