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Dell is expected to announce early next year that it has certified Ubuntu Linux for its server product range.

The firm has already been selling Linux servers loaded with Ubuntu, Red Hat, and SUSE to any customers that request it, but it has not been able to offer in-depth support.

In an interview with eWeek, Dell vice president of solutions Rick Becker said:

"We can't go too deeply into Ubuntu support at this time. We'll pre-load and resell it, and support the hardware with our Dell support folks. We'll refer people to the Ubuntu community if we need to."

Dell has been pre-installing Ubuntu on its PC and laptops since May this year – a move in response to customer feedback about what operating systems they wanted to see on their computers.

Becker said Dell expected to announce Ubuntu certification for its server lines in the first quarter of 2008.

It could be a significant step for the computer maker, which in recent months has moved away from dishing out Windows-only PCs and laptops as it attempts to claw back market share.

On Wednesday, Dell confirmed that it had certified Sun's Solaris on its servers. ®

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