Dell + Ubuntu = ???

Every morning when I wake up, I open up Firefox and it brings me to my iGoogle homepage. I spent about 30 minutes to and hour reading the latest headlines from the BBC, Google News, Slashdot, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News.

I've been following the story and rumors of Dell providing desktops and notebooks with Linux on them for quite some time now and have been thinking about how I feel about it.

Well, I feel really good about it. With a major OEM supporting Ubuntu it will be a very short while until other manufacturers follow suit and at least start putting out better drivers (closed source or open source, doesn't matter to me). This, in my opinion, will be the beginning of the biggest boon Linux has seen since the 2.6 kernel.

When a major player like Dell steps up like it has, it will only be a short time until they start releasing drivers publicly for people to download for their older Dells that people have chosen to install Ubuntu on and even newer models. After the next couple quarters and seeing how well these sell or don't sell will make or break Linux's marketability as ready for the home consumer market.

The people that want to see Linux grow and actually bring some competition to the operating system market should understand that even with closed source drivers supporting the hardware, 99.9% of the consumers out there won't give a damn about that. They'll worry about if it runs just as well as Windows did or better. And if they can do all the same things they do on a day to day basis as they did on Windows. That's what this new offering from Dell is going to do. It's going to promote this leap to creating better system compatibility backwards and forwards so people can use their systems with Linux or Windows or both.

Dell is taking a huge risk in doing this. For it to be at least marginally successful they will have to make ads and commercials supporting their Linux systems over their Windows systems. They can already offer the systems at a cheaper rate. The E1505N starts at $599 while the E1505 starts out at $699, easily a marketing tool for laptops.

I believe the future on this is still very clouded since it was just launched May 24th. Once advertising begins (if it begins) we'll see how it pans out. I have high hopes for this because I'd like to see Linux at least being thought about by the mass market. I also believe Ubuntu to be the best flavor of Linux I've ever used (Gentoo, Slackware, Red Hat, Mandrake, Mandriva, SourceMage, and many others) because it often Just Works right after installation and you have almost everything at your fingertips and if not, you have Synaptic right there to give you what you need.

Say what you will, but Dell offering Ubuntu is anything but bad for Linux. If one OEM can get behind Linux, what's stopping other OEMs from getting behind it later on if it works out for Dell?


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