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Dell ends great Linux desktop adventure

Tux quietly sidelined

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Dell US has confirmed that it's to cease bundling Linux on its desktop PCs and notebooks, nine months after Michael Dell announced the initiative with great fanfare.

At the time we were sceptical. It looked like a hasty piece of bandwagon-jumping: Dell's Linux machines still came with a Windows premium, and the company's spotty record of support for Linux didn't give us much cause for optimism. And as for the choice of software bundle, we wondered if Dell had "dragged a trainee PR intern off the street, and threatened to hit them with a rock until they came up with two leading open source names. Err... Gnome! And err... the one that old Mac guy does...!"

Dell did not announce the move officially, but in a nice scoop by IDG's Ashlee Vance, who began to follow broken links on the company's web store, Dell admits the game was up several weeks ago:-

"Our customers did not seem to want it though; the numbers didn't add up," a flack told Vance.

Linux remains a significant part of Dell's server business, but the Linux desktop as a whole remains tiny, and Dell appeared to be unwilling to invest in the support and promotion to encourage it to grow. Dell's desktop Linux project wasn't mowed down by market conditions - although the desktop PC business has seen its worst year for fifteen years and experienced 'negative growth' (of 8 per cent) for the first time - but died through neglect. ®

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