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Dell's U.S. website has started offering Ubuntu 9.04 on a Mini 10V and Inspiron 15N laptop. The move comes less than two months before Microsoft's Windows 7 launch -- essentially reinforcing Dell's commitment to Ubuntu in some targeted markets. But will Dell pre-load Ubuntu 9.04 on a desktop PC? Here's some analysis.

First the facts: Dell's U.S. web site (www.Dell.com/Ubuntu) has been redesigned in recent days to highlight a netbook and notebook with Ubuntu 9.04 preinstalled. Until now, Dell only offered Ubuntu 8.x options. However, the redesigned site does not feature any Ubuntu desktop PCs. Also, marketing graphics on the Dell site are netbook and notebook specific.

Still, a source close to Dell and Canonical continues to tell WorksWithU that Dell is preparing more Ubuntu Systems, as WorksWithU reported on August 28. In the meantime, niche Ubuntu PC makers such as System76 and ZaReason continue to expand their product portfolios.

The Bigger Picture

Dell took a few lumps in July and August 2009 from some Ubuntu users, who complained the PC giant was scaling back its Ubuntu offerings. Dell's PR team assured readers that a new Ubuntu-equipped desktop PC would debut sometime in August -- but so far that system has failed to materialize.

Still, a source close to Canonical and Dell says multiple new Ubuntu systems from Dell are in the works.