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Dell ships first Euro Linux business PCs

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Dell's European operation launched its first Linux desktops today, offering an Optiplex 170L mini-tower system with the Linspire 4.5 distro pre-installed and the PC giant's tech support bundled.

Well, sort of. Go to Dell's website and you won't be able to configure an Optiplex PC with anything other than Windows XP Pro or Win2k.

The Linux version is actually sold by Dell partner Questar, an Italian system builder which favours the open source operating system. Purchases are made through Questar's website.

Two packages are offered, one with the PC alone, the other bundling a 15in LCD monitor with the computer. Both are based on a single Optiplex configuration equipped with a 2.4GHz Intel Celeron CPU, 256MB of 333MHz DDR SDRAM, integrated Intel Extreme graphics, a 40GB hard drive, 48x CD-ROM unit and a 10/100Mbps Ethernet card.

The PC is pre-installed with Lindows' Linspire 4.5 distro, along with OpenOffice and a year's free membership of Linspire's software catalogue. Questar offers both English and Italian language installations.

In addition to providing the hardware, Dell is also including its Gold tech support package. It's not clear how long the bundled support runs for, but Dell offers a minimum of three years' Gold support with its Optiplex 170L, so that is probably what Questar's customers get, too.

The monitor-less config costs €469 (£315/$576) or €749 (£503/$920) with the LCD panel. Prices exclude shipping and local import duties. ®

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