In a brief but bold statement, Dell's U.S. website suggests that Ubuntu is safer than Microsoft Windows, especially for customers looking to avoid viruses. The statement, spotted by TheVARguy.com, also suggests that Dell will begin shipping Ubuntu 10.04 on selected U.S. systems sometime in mid-2010. Here's an update.

Loyal WorksWithU readers know that Dell has a mixed history with Ubuntu. On the one hand, Dell is the only major PC maker to openly endorse Ubuntu from time to time for desktop, mobile and netbook systems. But on the other hand, Dell's U.S. website has offered a very limited selection of Ubuntu systems. In fact, the number of Ubuntu options from Dell seems to have fallen since 2007.

Even so, Dell's web site (www.dell.com/ubuntu) now includes a top 10 list that describes why Ubuntu may appeal to customers. Among the reasons listed: Ubuntu, Dell says, is a safer choice than Windows because so many viruses are written to target Windows, notes The VAR Guy blog. Dell also hints that Ubuntu 10.04 preloads could arrive on Dell U.S. systems in mid-2010. That certainly represents some progress for Dell, which typically sticks with older Ubuntu releases as its preload options.

But back the story at hand: Is Dell's statement -- suggesting Ubuntu is safer than Windows -- really news? Perhaps not. But it does take guts for a major PC vendor to endorse Ubuntu at a time when Microsoft is aggressively pushing Windows 7.