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Dell pricks up its ears

Pre-installed Linux soon coming to a desktop near you

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Hot on the heels of our Dell story yesterday, the computer maker has announced plans to release PCs and laptops that ship with the Linux operating system.

Desktoplinux.com was given the nod by Dell yesterday, which indicated its intention to provide home users with pre-installed Linux on a select range of its PCs and laptops, which could include both the Inspiron and Dimension models.

What this means for its partnership with Microsoft is not yet known, but given the concerns expressed on various forums since the release of Vista, it seems Dell has finally decided to sit-up and listen to its customers.

Hardware support is expected to be the same as Windows-based systems, but Dell said users will have to rely on the Linux community for software support, according to Desktoplinux.com.

Dell carried out a survey earlier this month to find out if it was worth getting on board the Linux ship. The results garnered from over 100,000 people were positive, with more than 70 per cent in favour of the operating system for use both at home and in the office.

A Dell statement on its Ideas in Action website reads: "Dell has heard you and we will expand our Linux support beyond our existing servers and Precision workstation line. Our first step in this effort is offering Linux pre-installed on select desktop and notebook systems. We will provide an update in the coming weeks that includes detailed information on which systems we will offer, our testing and certification efforts, and the Linux distribution(s) that will be available. The countdown begins today."

Dell's Linux software architect, Matt Domsch, said on his blog that the company plans to focus on an open source driver strategy to give users a wide choice of Linux distributions.

He said: "We will work with our hardware partners to develop, test, and maintain free drivers and continue to make progress towards that goal for all drivers," but added: "There's no way to please everyone." Indeed. ®

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