To Dell U.S.'s credit, the company has long offered visitors a specific URL (www.dell.com/ubuntu) for Ubuntu shoppers. Now, in a subtle but important step, Dell also is finally exposing Ubuntu to consumers who may not be familiar with Linux.
Check Dell's page for home laptop buyers and there's a menu (see image, left) offering Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP and ... drum roll, please ... Ubuntu options. Thank you to a number of readers who pointed out Dell's decision to highlight the Ubuntu option.
Still, there's more room for Ubuntu progress at Dell. The PC giant's business laptop page doesn't mention Ubuntu-specific options -- though there are FreeDos and Linux check boxes. Also, Dell's consumer desktop and business desktop pages don't mention Ubuntu -- though Dell U.S. does sell one Ubuntu desktop as of Dec. 10, 2009. And I admit: Dell's track record selling Ubuntu systems varies greatly from one country to the next.
In mid-2009, I concede, I was worried about Dell U.S.'s commitment to Ubuntu because the PC giant briefly stopped offering Ubuntu desktop preloads. But by October 2010 2009 Dell U.S. had made good on a promise to re-introduce Ubuntu desktops.
Fast forward to the present and Dell -- only a few weeks after Windows 7's launch -- has added Ubuntu to its home laptop menu page. That's a small but very significant move.
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