Earlier this year Dell started taking customer suggestions through their IdeaStorm website. By far the most popular idea was that Dell offer pre-installed Linux on their computers. On March 28th Dell confirmed that they will offer a Linux option for their desktop and notebook systems, but they did not mention which Linux distribution would be supported.
Several sources, including DesktopLinux.com have now confirmed that Dell has selected the Ubuntu, the popular South African Linux distribution started by Mark Shuttleworth (through his company Canonical), as the Linux option that will be supported. These same sources say that it will be the latest version, Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn (same as Michael Dell runs at home), that will be pre-installed on systems and start shipping by the end of May.
Back at SXSWi 2007 I met Lionel Menchaca who runs Dell’s blog, Direct2Dell. I remember telling him how I thought that it would be a great move by Dell to support Linux and I’m glad to see this finally a reality. This is a major victory in the long battle to make Linux a viable option as a desktop operating system for the average consumer and business user. It will be interesting to see if other PC manufacturers follow Dell’s lead with this.
UPDATE: Lionel Menchaca has officially confirmed that Dell will be offering Ubuntu 7.04 on the Direct2Dell blog. Lionel also posted a great video interview that Dell did with Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth and announced the launch of Dell’s new Linux Community Forum.
Jane Silber, Canonical’s Director of Operations, has confirmed this news as well on the Ubuntu website.