This story could be massive for the open source community. Canonical has announced they are partnering with Dell to ship computers pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux.
It all came about because of the massive response to Dell’s IdeaStorm website earlier this year. The people called for Linux and other open source software such as OpenOffice.org and Mozilla Firefox to be made available. It seems Dell has listened to it’s customers, as all good companies should and is to be applauded for taking this bold step. I don’t think they will be flavor of the month over in Redmond anymore. Personally, I looked at buying a Dell notebook earlier this year but held back because I didn’t like being forced to buy Microsoft Windows Vista pre-installed. I know I could have gone through the rigmarole of declining the license and claiming back my Windows Tax but if I’m honest, I just couldn’t be bothered. This step makes me a lot more interested in Dell and I’m definitely not alone in that.
A spokesman for Canonical had this to say:
“Dell will be announcing a partnership with Canonical to ship pre-loaded Linux models with Ubuntu. They’ll be selling these models from their Web site with Ubuntu pre-installed. Canonical in turn will be working with Dell to certify those models to insure that all components are fully functional and will also provide support that will be sold through the Dell Web site.”
Now I know I’m an Ubuntu fanboy and there are plenty of other distos they could have chosen but I think Ubuntu makes good sense for Dell. It has real traction at the moment and one of the strongest communities around, why wouldn’t they use it? I’m sure fans of Fedora, SUSE and #insert your distro here# won’t be happy. I do think however that Dell should look beyond Ubuntu in the long term and expand the program to include other Linux distributions. Hopefully sales figures will be positive and they’ll realize the power of Linux on the desktop. I also hope that the option to buy a Linux PC from an industry giant such as Dell will encourage Linux adoption among more home users. I think a lot of people don’t feel safe without the option of tech support from a big company, which is perfectly reasonable. Apparently Canonical will be offering support packages to customers who buy Ubuntu machines through the Dell website, although it remains to be seen what services and more importantly prices will be like.
If you’re interested in an Ubuntu machine and don’t want to spend a lot of money on support, I can recommend a great place to go with a pretty competitive price of NOTHING!!! www.ubuntuforums.org my username is gh0st and if I can help you out, I’m happy to do so. Just gimme a shout 😉
So the future looks bright, all we need now is for other manufacturers like HP/Compaq to wake up to open source as well. I think it’s significant that the top 3 ideas to come out of Dell’s customer feedback exercise are all about open source software. Is that a faint whimper I hear coming from Redmond, Washington??? It might just be.
Check out the full story here – http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/newss/6383/1/
Here’s a video interview with Mark Shuttleworth about the deal – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcNQ8QkXcyU