Dell's strategy to go private includes a $2 billion loan from Microsoft (MSFT). But the Dell-Microsoft relationship, which will include a big Windows 8.1 push, has not upended Dell's continued work with Ubuntu, the Linux distribution that has found a home on millions of desktops, servers and mobile devices.

Check www.Dell.com/ubuntu and you'll find that it re-routes visitors to a laptop promotion: XPS 13 Ultrabook Laptop, Developer Edition, running Ubuntu. Over the past few years, Dell has also offered Ubuntu desktops and netbooks from time to time in North America -- but the netbook push in particular fizzled once tablets emerged in the market.

While the North America market remains mostly a Windows vs. Mac OS retail battle, Dell sees Ubuntu as a potential springboard into a range of international markets. A case in point: Dell is expanding the number of China retail stores that carry its computers with Ubuntu pre-installed

Michael Dell has also been careful to promote Dell's ongoing partnerships with Microsoft's data center rivals. Earlier this week, he delivered a keynote at OpenWorld 2013 -- claiming that Dell is now Oracle's preferred x86 server partner. Dell also has close working relationships with Red Hat and SUSE in the server market.

Still, The VAR Guy will be watching to see if Dell begins to lean more toward Microsoft -- especially as Dell begins to leverage Microsoft's $2 billion loan.