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Dell Serious About Ubuntu: Launches First Consumer Linux PCs

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 13 comments

Round Rock (TX) - Dell today flipped the switched and is now officially offering consumer desktop and notebook PCs with Ubuntu 8.04 pre-installed. Two notebooks and one desktop join two desktop systems in Dell’s open-source product portfolio.

There is no denying that Linux has recently gained traction in the consumer space and Microsoft may have to look a little more seriously at competing with Linux distributions on different levels. Most recently, for example, Intel has basically thrown out Windows Vista as the dominant platform for its Atom Centrino MID platform, recommending and showcasing MIDs generally with Ubuntu as the operating system.

Dell’s announcement today certainly will not make a dent into the market dominance of Windows on desktop and notebook computers, but we take not that Dell is responding to customer demand, which apparently is enough to offer Linux on consumer computers. Is Ubuntu in a position to achieve what Xandros promised about seven years ago - to provide a Linux alternative to Windows? We leave that up to you to decide.

Choices among Dell’s Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) PCs are limited, but if you want such a PC, you can order one now without having to go through the process of installing it yourself. The two available notebooks are the XPS 1330 and the Inspiron 1525 for $949 and $549, respectively. Both PCs are equipped similarly to their Windows Vista versions (the Ubuntu XPS 1330 comes with a Core 2 Duo T5550 CPU instead of a T5750, the Inspiron 1525 with a T2370 instead of a T2390 CPU as well as only 1 GB of main memory instead of 2 GB), but priced at $50 less than the Windows models - thanks to a $50 and a $25 rebate.

If you are wondering why the Ubuntu PCs are not cheaper than the Windows Vista PCs, keep in mind that such Linux PCs have been much more expensive in the past - due to the customization work that is necessary to take PCs off the production line and install Linux.

There is also an Ubuntu desktop PC - the Inspiron 530N, which is priced at $449 and $50 below a 530s Vista model with exactly the same hardware. A FreeDOS version of the PC is offered with an E4600 Intel chip for $539.

Dell said that it will expand its Ubuntu offering in early August with the XPS M1530n and Studio 15n.

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  • 1 Hide
    jeb1517 , July 18, 2008 7:01 PM
  • 1 Hide
    3Ball , July 18, 2008 7:29 PM
    I dont like dell, but I like what I just read. Very interesting.


  • 0 Hide
    joseph85 , July 18, 2008 9:10 PM
    Now if only more PC OEMs made more PCs with different flavors of GNU/Linux. Or better yet offered OSless PCs with only hardware being warrantied so the consumer has a real choice.
    Let's hope Microshit doesn't pull out another SCO out've their hat.
  • Display all 13 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    frozenlead , July 18, 2008 11:07 PM
    If only it played games...
  • 1 Hide
    vider , July 19, 2008 1:19 AM
    Good news!

    If DELL is doing it then others will follow as well.
  • 0 Hide
    joseph85 , July 19, 2008 3:04 AM
    It does Frozenlead, they've even gotten Crysis running and all the steam developers have worked with the Wine project to the point that all Valve games are good to go. They even started implementing DX10.
  • 2 Hide
    Rifte , July 19, 2008 6:47 AM
    Didn't dell launch ubuntu pcs and laptops a year ago? Isnt this just upgrading there ubuntu lineup to hardy heron?
  • -1 Hide
    Pei-chen , July 19, 2008 5:15 PM
    I have installed Ubuntu 8.04 on three of my computers; one C2D, one Athlon X2 and one an old P3. The Ubuntu is slower than XP or Vista on all three of them by utilizing at least 25% of CPU resources.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , July 19, 2008 7:22 PM
    Sweet. I get to pay almost the same for an underpowered laptop using a free OS.
  • 0 Hide
    liemfukliang , July 19, 2008 11:38 PM
    hahahahh My Dell Latitude D630 deep freezing when booting Ubuntu :) )
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 20, 2008 12:27 PM
    I don't understand why do they have to put an OS! I would buy a pc with no OS and then buy or download(linux) the os of my choice.

    Pei-chen, I found that windows is slower on my machine, becouse I have to install anitvirus programs... with linux there is no need for antivirus!
  • 0 Hide
    dmuir , July 21, 2008 4:28 AM
    What do you mean "Dell today flipped the [sic] switched"?
    As Rifte already mentioned, Dell has been offering Ubuntu on some of their machines for over a year now. It's good to hear that they'll be expanding their lineup soon though.
  • 1 Hide
    TwoDigital , July 21, 2008 2:02 PM
    I can't speak for XP, but running Ubuntu 8.04 on my HP (compaq) 6910p with 4gb RAM is significantly faster than the Vista Business Edition that it came with.

    I for one would like to second the "why ship it with an OS?" question. If the big reason why they don't give a deeper discount for not having to install an OEM Windows is "due to the customization [and]... to take PCs off the production line"... I don't get it. Just put a post-it on the box saying, "Don't Ghost this one" and ship it blank.

    I have a sneaking feeling these manufacturers get a kick-back from all the shareware junk they pre-install. Otherwise they could knock the Windows Vista OEM $120 off of the price, use the SAME hardware, and sell it to consumers for more than the $50 discount they offer today.