dell-ubuntu-904-inspiron-537-stDell's U.S. website has finally made good on a promise to re-introduce an Ubuntu desktop PC. The move should silence critics who were worried that Dell wasn't committed to the growing Ubuntu desktop and mobile markets. Here are the details.

Dell's latest Ubuntu offering is the Inspiron 537 ST n-Series, equipped with Ubuntu Desktop Edition 9.04. Additional Ubuntu-equipped options include the Dell Mini 10v netbook (with 8.04), Inspiron 15n notebook (9.04) and Studio XPS 13 (9.04). Dell also offers Ubuntu Moblin Remix Developer Edition on the Mini 10v.

From Less to More

What a difference a few weeks makes. Back in mid-2009, Dell's U.S. website was down to two Ubuntu options -- a netbook and a notebook.

Dell's U.S. website stopped offering Ubuntu on desktop PCs sometime around July 2009. The company repeatedly promised to launch a new Ubuntu desktop in a matter of weeks. But weeks soon stretched to months. By Aug. 28, sources closed to Dell and Canonical assured WorksWithU that new developments were on the way. On Sept. 9, ComputerWorld reported that Dell's Ubuntu desktop was still just around the corner.

Now, it's finally here -- within days of Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth's visit to Dell. And that's no small feat -- considering Dell also has its hands full prepping for Microsoft's Oct. 22 Windows 7 launch.

Mixed Opinions

Still, I've heard from plenty of readers who opted instead for Ubuntu PCs and notebooks from ZaReason and System76. Plus, readers from Europe and Australia have contacted me multiple times, pushing hard to find out if Dell would expand its Ubuntu offerings worldwide.

In some cases the answer is yes.But ultimately, Dell has made it clear that the company's Ubuntu strategy varies from country to country based on local customer demand.

Bottom Line

Depending on your geography, Dell's Ubuntu efforts range from strong, to hit-and-miss, to non-existent. But overall, I can't think of another large PC vendor that has given more attention to Canonical and Ubuntu.

And PC buyers who look hard enough will find some very promising options from Dell, System76, ZaReason and resellers like EmperorLinux.

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