Plenty of folks are confused about Dell's commitment to Ubuntu, the Linux distribution promoted by Canonical. In recent days, old rumors about Dell abandoning Ubuntu have returned. But in reality, Dell indicates it is preparing to ship systems with Ubuntu 10.04 -- the most recent Ubuntu release -- within the next few weeks. Here's the reality check.

Most Ubuntu followers know the back story: On the one hand, Dell says it is the world's leading provider of Ubuntu-based computers. But on the other hand, critics note Dell's Ubuntu website (www.dell.com/ubuntu) hasn't offered any desktop PCs with Ubuntu pre-loads for the past year or so. Further complicating matters, a blog started a rumor that Dell essentially was abandoning online Ubuntu system sales.

Too bad nobody read the fine print. Check the Dell web site and you'll find the following line:
"Beginning with Ubuntu 10.04, available on Dell systems this summer, boot times have improved dramatically over Ubuntu 9.10. Depending upon the Dell computer your purchase, boot times can be around 30 seconds!"
Translation: Dell is currently transitioning its Ubuntu-centric systems from Ubuntu 9.10 to Ubuntu 10.04, the long term support (LTS) release that debuted in April 2010. The move indicates Dell's confidence in Ubuntu, rather than a rejection of Ubuntu.

UPDATE, July 27, 2010: Dell's Web site now lists a Studio XPS system running Ubuntu 10.04.

For another view on Dell's commitment to Ubuntu, check out SJVN's perspectives. (Disclosure: The VAR Guy used to work with SJVN, and frequently reads his coverage for strong opinions in the open source market.)

The VAR Guy has requested additional comment from Canonical regarding the Dell-Ubuntu relationship. And our resident blogger is hoping to visit Dell's headquarters in August. If that meeting occurs, The VAR Guy will ping Dell for updated views on Ubuntu, Google Android and other emerging operating systems.

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