Dell to Expand Linux Options


Your feedback on Dell IdeaStorm has been astounding.  Thank you!  We hear your requests for desktops and notebooks with Linux.  We’re crafting product offerings in response, but we’d like a little more direct feedback from you: your preferences, your desires.  We recognize some people prefer notebooks over desktops, high-end models over value models, your favorite Linux distribution, telephone-based support over community-based support, and so on.  We can’t offer everything (all systems, all distributions, all support options), so we’ve crafted a survey ( to let you help us prioritize what we should deliver for you.

Taking a few minutes to complete this survey will help us define our forthcoming Linux-based system offerings. We will close the survey on Friday, March 23. From there, we’ll take some time to analyze your feedback and work to provide the platforms and options you choose.

Thanks in advance for your participation. More details soon.

Update:  We're overwhelmed by your responses, and we know the survey server is overloaded too.  We're working on it, and the survey will remain open until March 23, so you'll have plenty of time to make your vote count.

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  • Anonymous

    I think a very important issue that hasn’t been included in the survey
    is the importance of 100% free software compatible hardware. This is
    especially an issue with laptops, where it’s not so easy to swap
    internal components, like modems, flash media readers, and most of all
    graphics cards.
    I think the right direction would be to make sure that the components
    used in Dell laptops and desktop PCs runs with a standard Linux kernel,
    without having to load proprietary modules. Based on their popularity
    and lack of vendor choice, you’ll need to make an exception for
    graphics cards here, but for standard I/O like on-board network cards,
    on-board modems, PC card slots, wifi cards (the Centrino ones), flash
    media slots or finger-print readers it’s actually very easy to get
    hardware with open source drivers. You only have to make a concious
    choice in favor of them.
    When I bought my last laptop (an HP nc6320, I might add) I selected it
    very much because it can run with open source drivers only. Actually I
    paid a bit more for this laptop than I would have paid for another one
    with nVidia or ATI graphics instead of the Intel graphics chip, but the
    trouble-free operation now is worth the additional selection effort by
    multiple times. Also, the high amount of ThinkPad buyers in the open
    source scene doesn’t come out of nowhere, IBM has built a reputation
    for hardware that just works with Linux.
    So my suggestion would be as follows:
    – For all (or most) Dell models, place importance on the availability
    of open source drivers for the hardware. Don’t deliver Linux on systems
    that need proprietary drivers (especially graphics) to work flawlessly,
    because those are the ones that are most likely to get you disappointed
    users and a million support calls.
    – Select a few models (a few Inspirons, a few Latitudes, etc.) that
    work perfectly with open-source-only drivers (integrated Intel
    graphics, Centrino WiFi, etc., as mentioned above), and preinstall your
    chosen Linux distribution on them. The Linux community will love you
    for that (hopefully).
    – If they prove successful enough, you can still broaden the Linux
    option onto other models, at the same time increasing pressure on the
    hardware vendors to ship open source drivers so that there is no risk
    of the user’s system being messed up on potentially every upgrade.
    Which in turn gets you satisfied users and less support calls.
    Oh, and try to deliver properly working BIOSes. Many of them, including
    mine, are bug-ridden (which makes suspend fail, and causes the battery
    status not being updated most of the time) and contain erroneous ACPI
    tables. That BIOS issue is mostly a consequence of being tested on
    Windows only – it shouldn’t be too hard to get the BIOS working
    properly on non-Windows machines (and non-Linux, like *BSD, would
    benefit from this as well), but it has to be done in the first place.
    So much from my side, I hope my input is helpful to you.

  • Anonymous

    I think all of, not just the n series, Dell’s pc’s (laptops, desktops…) should have an option to come with no os. You know how when your making a purchase they give you options with on your configuration (512 mb vs 1 gb vs 2 gb ram; 40 gb vs 80 gb vs 120 gb hdd…), under Operating Systems they should give you an option to have it come with no Operating System.

  • Anonymous

    Since it wasn’t addressed in the survey, and as many others have said, I would suggest:

    1) making sure the hardware is supported in the Linux kernel

    2) this probably means making more information available to the Linux developers and possibly  working with them to make sure all the custom pieces “just work” (suspend/resume, extra keys, audio specs, video specs, network, modem, etc.).  We really are good at software and Linux development, but it is such a pain to have to figure out how the next rev of some modem or motherboard work without proper specs

    3) I want support for laptops and desktops, but I install whatever distro makes the most sense at the time I acquire the hardware (based on who it is for, what they will be using it for, etc)

    4) it probably is wise to offer the options for windows xp/vista, no OS, whichever Linux distro is best for masses who won’t be installing from scratch

    5) determine the best Linux distro for the masses based on community sources (I personally use Ubuntu and OpenSuse for many machines)


    Thanks for continuing to pursue Linux on Dell machines!  I have put Linux (Redhat and Suse) on many Dell servers, desktop and laptops and I am at the moment trying to decide what to upgrade my personal laptop to (and soon my home media server) and your interest in our interests keeps me looking at Dell products.


  • Anonymous

    Why doesn’t Dell mention the option of commercial ubuntu support? 


    Ubuntu Member, Staff.
    ubuntu-irc operator.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve bought a Dell 1150 and it a little nightmare linux-wise:

    1) I’ve paid for Windows XP and have no use for it (I’ve not accepted the EULA, not used it and won’t)

    2) The wireless card does not work correctly and ATI proprietary drivers crash (not that I care much, but…) (I’m wondering whether there is a hardware problem). Obviously no modem: included is not supported and I think there are no PC-Express modems.

    What I’d like is:

    1) Not paying for OS: I can install it myself if need be.

    2) Better Linux compatibility of the hardware.

  • Anonymous

    Hardware compatibility is essential.  Knowing that you can put on your favorite distrobution and that it will work with minimal effort would be worth the money.  If you can smooth out the set up of modems, WIFI and video, you will draw a lot of Linux users.

     As far as preloaded distrobutions –




     Knowing that you have hardware compatibility really leaves the choice of distrobution up to the user.


  • Anonymous

    I’m a big fan of Ubuntu pre-installed on hardware that it has been tested to work with. If I’m buying Dell, it’s because I want a cheap computer that can be unpacked, plugged in, and used.

    One specific area that’s especially important is laptops. Supported hardware is pretty common, but a Dell Laptop with Linux would have *no* problems with broadcom wireless, ATI graphics, or whatever random stuff still doesn’t work perfectly.

  • Anonymous

    I would suggested, personally, 2-4 offerings.  This gives variety but keeps your requirements low for supporting when you have to.  Most flavors of Linux have as many true differences as all of Microsofts offerings (XP Home vs XP Media Edition vs XP Pro for example).


    My personal suggestions would be the following :

    Red Hat





    I’d really like to see Mint Linux (  It’s especially tailored for people switching from Windows to Linux, and is very simple to install/maintain (although I think Linux is really getting to be simple to install/maintain in any flavor). 



  • Anonymous

    All this discussions about which distro and what to preload. Wouldn’t it be nice if every machine (laptop or desktop) would come with a CD or written instructions on how to make all the hardware work. Sometimes trying to find the right drivers can be a time consuming task. We do not do it anymore for windows, since we get a driver cd with the system. How about a driver CD for linux.

    And which distro: who cares.

  • Anonymous


       I want to Thank you for taking the time to bring this type of offer to the table. I have been looking at my next home system and frnakly do not like what I see. A system with Linux, I don’t care which distro, that has multimedia working and good 3-D graphics that will be about equal to the multimedia edition of windows would be awesome. I have all this already. But preloaded and working so that it is plug and go would be great. For me distro does not matter nor does the choice of Gnome or KDE. As long as I can get the apps I want and I can, easily. Perhaps even working with Ubuntu and Linspires CNR would be awesome as well. Then I would be able to buy or otherwise get the software I want. Thank you for listening. Customers do have opinions. 🙂



  • Anonymous

    The survey is not working for many people. Did you make sure it was compatible with Linux and Firefox? It seems Mac people also cannot take this survey on Safari or Firefox.

  • Anonymous

     The survey doesn’t appear in my browser.

  • Anonymous

    The Linux option has to be cheaper than the Windows option. If it isn’t I’ll just continue to throw away hundreds of copies of Windows. I hate paying Microsoft for software that ends up in the trash.

     I would be perfectly happy with bare machines and Dell drivers for the hardware.  But Dell will need to become part of the driver writing community; binary blobs aren’t going to cut it. But isn’t that part of what you pay for in a machine, functioning device drivers? If Dell employees participated more in the Linux driver writing community you might discover that you actually like participating. It’s way more fun than dealing with Microsoft.

  • Anonymous



    I personally don’t care whether the DELL
    systems comes with Linux pre-installed as I am so used to installing
    Linux. But I do appreciate  if DELL certifies all it’s hardware
    are compatible with most versions of Linux (openSuSE, Ubuntu, Fedora

    But I guess pre-installed linux is a great idea too
    since I can suggest to buy a pre-installed linux laptop to someone who
    is far from me since I can’t go and install for them.

    On that way, my way of preference would be openSuSE, Ubutnu and Fedora.

    guess as long as you certify that the hardwares work flawlessly with
    these distros, i guess online community can take care of OS support.

    Adios. god bless you for this great attempt to bring Linux OEM come true.

  • Anonymous

    I would like hardware that is capable of running a 100% free
    operating system.  I would choose Ubuntu, but I’d want to able to
    run it with no proprietary drivers installed.  As other posters
    have mentioned, the distribution you choose doesn’t matter as much as
    the fact that Dell provides some level of support for some version of



  • Anonymous


    I’d like to strongly agree with Uno Engborg and many other
    posters. What I want is machines that work, not preinstalled machines.
    We purchase work machines from you and, whether they’re to be running
    linux or windows, the first thing we do is reformat them and install
    the company standard setup on it. 

    That means even if we
    bought a machine from you running Ubuntu, we would wipe it to install
    it ourselves.  So, what is necessary for us is not linux
    preinstalled (though it might be for others, I’m only claiming to speak
    for myself.)  Instead, it is for machines that work really easily
    and really well with linux.

    We have a low-end server (which,
    incidentially, we didn’t by from you) that crashes too often.  Its
    motherboard sensors are not supported by lm-sensors so we cannot
    monitor it correctly to work out why.  We have a laptop that we’re
    not installing linux on because the WiFi drivers are in beta and this
    laptop is used for client demonstrations – we cannot risk the wifi

    I have one of your computers as a personal workstation
    (BTX based, I think).  It has lots of things I like about it – the
    thing that is most important to me is it is almost silent and I can’t
    stand computer noise.  But it has a fair chunk of things that
    don’t work too:  the audio out port on the front is extremely
    noisy while the one at the back isn’t.  The suplied keyboard would
    occasionally stop working and need to be unplugged/plugged in again
    (I’ve replaced it with a Logitech I found in work’s odds’n’ends
    pile.)  I haven’t checked the sensors since it is a
    workstation.  None of these faults would be improved by you
    installing ubuntu for me – they all require the chipsets used to have
    better linux support (UHCI and ALSA in my case I suppose).

  • Anonymous

    1) Give everyone the option of OS or no OS. everyone will appreciate to have the choice and not being forced to pay Microsoft.

    Make sure all hardware will work with Linux, preferably with open
    source drivers. You can encourage your suppliers to cooperate the open
    source comunity is ready to write the drivers.

    3) Pre-install a
    popular linux distribution for those who want or just include a life
    DVD that can install one or other popular distribution. (K)ubuntu or

    4) Let people know where to get support, community or paid.

    5) Run some support website bulletin board as a service and allocate few Dell technicions to be there and help.

  • Anonymous

    It is obvious that Dell cannot support every Linux distro and should focus on one. My preference would be Ubuntu. However, at very least there should be an option of purchasing a machine (a laptop in particular) without any OS installed at all; this would likely be acceptable to those who would rather install their own distro of choice. To that end Dell should also endeavour to use hardware supported by Linux, or at
    least clearly denote which of their products are Linux-friendly, thus eliminating a lot of guesswork from purchase decisions.

  • Anonymous

    1.  You will probably need some OS at to run hardware diagnostics and provide hardware support.  Red Hat or Ubuntu/Kubuntu is fine ( under no circumstance use Novell-Suse, we won’t buy them with Novell products ).

     2.  Permit a no OS option but compatible with the Linux Kernel

     3.  Don’t worry about software support – just provide drivers and sell us the best hardware you can make

     4.  Please streamline the purchase of equipment and remove all that extraneous garbage you force people through today



  • Anonymous

    The only thing you need to do, is to provide the open source community with the hardware specs they request.

    In so doing, you will allow Linux (and BSD) developers to build native hardware support for your machines into their kernels.

    If Linux and *BSD gain native support for ALL the hardware used in Dell desktops and notebooks, including wireless, sound, video/3D support, that would be an excellent way for Dell to position itself as a primary hardware vendor to the open source community.

    You can simply sell these machines with a Dell-branded flavor of the Ubuntu distribution, or without anything installed at all.

    You can label your boxes with a badge similar to the silver Windows badges that say “Linux/BSD Ready”. In doing so, you are officially proclaiming that your machines are supported completely by the Linux and BSD kernel.

    Once the Linux kernel picks up native hardware compatibility for Dell machines, the changes will propagate through all the distributions; THATS when it all pays off:

    > Linux uers will still be able to choose the distribution of their choice, knowing that all the hardware in their Dell boxes are garunteed to work with it.

    > Dell will be regarded as the company to go to by the open source community, and they will be able to advertise themselves as THE suppliers for the open source community.

    Again, if you want to choose a distribution to go with, I suggest a Dell-branded variant of Ubuntu. It would be folly of the highest degree for Dell to attempt to create, market, and support its own Dell distribution (I’m sure everyone can agree on this), so simply set up a contract with Ubuntu, and have your artists send over some Dell artwork to the Ubuntu camp.

  • Anonymous

    The survey is down 🙁 

    We have encountered a problem while processing the
    page you requested. If you experience any technical problems with your
    shopping experience at, please contact one of our trained
    sales representatives at 1-800-WWW-DELL to quickly complete your
    transaction. Or contact us about the problem you have encountered.

  • Anonymous

    The survey currently leads to an error page.

  • Anonymous

    I think it will be wonderful if Dell uses Linux. And the best one, or at least the one that has worked best for me, has been PCLINUXOS. I would give serious consideration to buying a Dell computer if it came preloaded with the latest version of PCLINUXOS.

  • Anonymous

    I just get an error when I try to access that page:

    I get redirected to: and get:
    We have encountered a problem while processing the
    page you requested. If you experience any technical problems with your
    shopping experience at, please contact one of our trained
    sales representatives at 1-800-WWW-DELL to quickly complete your
    transaction. Or contact us about the problem you have encountered.


    I am accessing from a weird place using Mozilla Firefox on Windows 🙁

  • Anonymous

    As a Dell shareholder and Linux user, I want Linux pre-installed with Linux/Windows dual-booting as an option.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Dell, you’ve already purchased Alienware, a specialty boutique computer maker.  Why not consider purchasing system76 for the linux computers?  Go to  They’re professional, they have experience, good street cred, etc.  You could even just have a redirect from the Dell website when someone clicks “I want to buy a Linux computer”.


    Thats all 🙂 

  • Anonymous

    My distro of choice is Kubuntu but I’d want to have Dell hardware that runs fine with most current distros.

  • Anonymous

    We’re overwhelmed by your responses, and we know the survey server is
    overloaded too.  We’re working on it, and the survey will remain
    open until March 23, so you’ll have plenty of time to make your vote

    Mit Linux wär das nicht passiert!!! ;))

  • Anonymous

    Clearly not everyone is going to be happy with a chosen distro. It would then seem obvious that the most popular distro be chosen, as this would satisfy the most people.  

    According to Distrowatch, Ubuntu has been the most popular for a long time. Also, due to its popularity, there seems to be far more tutorials/how to’s, forums & communities than any other distro. Those who don’t like the Gnome desktop can follow one of the many guides to installing/changing the desktop to KDE (or just install Kubuntu!).

    However, as someone else stated, DELL should just provide open source drivers for all the hardware, and you could pretty much just install any distro you want. This is probably more important than squabbling over which distro should come pre-installed.   

    Thats my 2c worth. 


  • Anonymous

    I know that from a business perspective, choosing a distro to support is important. Ultimately though it doesn’t matter which you choose, so long as you are able to work with your hardware vendors and get open support for your hardware into the kernel and/or other appropriate OSS project. If the hardware works and has published specs, you can choose whatever distro is willing to work with you to your greatest advantage and all the rest of us who would rather use some other can do so.


    That being said, I’d personally like to see Ubuntu be the chosen distro….  

  • Anonymous

    My two favorite Linux distributions that are very easy to use are Mandriva Linux and Kubuntu Linux. In both I prefer to use KDE desktop.

  • Anonymous

    Which Linux? Easy. Ask the user when he switches on the machine. Since
    Linux is free, why not provide e.g., the three most commonly used
    systems Ubuntu, openSUSE, and Fedora? Just make sure to include all
    drivers and codecs, even the proprietary ones.

  • Anonymous

    In case the point hasn’t been hammered enough: Dell is a 900-pound
    gorilla to OEMs. For the most part, the Linux community does well
    creating distros and packages, but what we can’t do is extract the
    specs to write drivers for all the OEM hardware out there. Video cards
    and wireless cards are two of the hottest topics. The idea of having
    Dell brand your products with a “Linux/BSD” ready logo to indicate that
    all of the hardware inside has either a) a working open-source driver
    or b) a binary driver with full OEM vendor-support for current (not
    bleeding-edge) kernels, is a fantastic idea. If Dell were to tell
    Broadcom (for instance), “We won’t be putting your wireless cards into
    any of our new Linux/BSD-badged products until you work with the OSS
    community to better support Linux/BSD”, it would do more for the F/OSS
    movement than hiring 100 developers to put together a Dell-buntu or
    DellHat distro. More cost-effective, too. The Linux/BSD community
    desperately wants to a) work with OEMS and b) vote with their
    dollars/euros/sheckels/pesos/etc. Telling Broadcom “Sorry, but we can’t
    put your cards in our new line of notebooks, which seems to have
    EXTREMELY high market demand, because you won’t work with OSS driver
    developers, so we’re going to use Atheros cards instead” will get the
    attention of OEMs much faster than gangs of OSS advocates sending
    petitions and boycotting products. This is a premium opportunity for
    Dell to make real inroads with the OSS community without spending
    anything more than a little clout with your suppliers. Seize it, and
    you’ll be rewarded on more than the sales front.

  • Anonymous

    For me it does not really matter which disto I run (although I prefer
    Ubuntu). The import thing is that my hardware is supported by the
    linux-kernel (by free drivers if possible). If Dell could deliver a
    laptop where every hardware component could be supported of the box by
    “free software” I would surely buy one 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I voted “FOR” Ubuntu, but the easiest choice for Dell and most valuable alternative for me would be:

    Just offer *ALL* of your PCs,  with *ALL* current promotional
    pricing, *ALL* of the time, in an easy-to-buy  “naked disk”
    configuration with credit for the Windows-OS-Tax right off the top.

    And BTW, it would be VERY ATTRACTIVE for you to offer OpenOffice pre-installed on Windows PCs. Thanks for your attention.




  • Anonymous

    There are only two important requirements:

    •  No binary drivers: 
      all the hardware has to be supported with free software, so that people
      can blow away your pre-installed distribution and install their
    • No price penalty:   if a Linux
      box is more expensive than a similar Windows box, people are going to
      buy the cheap one and install Linux on it.  Then they’ll grumble
      about Dell’s poor Linux support.  This has been true of all four
      of the Dell boxes I’ve had at work.  Hardly anyone is going to
      want to pay extra for a year’s support from RedHat or Novell; anyone
      who needs it will be getting it direct from the distributor anyway, and
      the majority who don’t need a support contract will stay away because
      they don’t want to pay extra for it.

    The best way to
    satisfy those two requirements is with a community-supported
    distribution like Fedora Core, Gentoo, Debian, or Ubuntu.  It
    would be nice to offer buyers a choice, but it really isn’t necessary
    as long as the hardware is well-supported.  I use Debian, myself;
    I currently have it running on an Optiplex GX620 that, of course, was
    only available with a copy of Windows that I had to pay for and
    promptly blow away.  I’m sure Ricoh would have preferred to save
    $50 or $100 for a box without Windows.

  • Anonymous

    I am unable to submit the Linux survey from Switzerland! 🙁

  • Anonymous


    I would love to see Dell offer Linux to the
    end-user.  Last laptop I purchased, I had to buy one from a
    niche-market provider (nextcom) and I spent a lot of money on it. 
    Even though, I could have bought an expensive Sony for the same price,
    with relative hardware specs… the Sony comes with Windows, the other


    At least for me, eschewing Microsoft is
    lesser a technical matter as it is a social, philosophical, moralistic,
    economic, ideological obligation.  And that isn’t likely to change
    any time soon.  For many, their hatred for Microsoft might even
    qualify as a religion. 

  • Anonymous

    As long as we’re here, do you have enough pull to get Linux BIOS on
    a laptop?  3 seconds to shell?  AMD is making some effort,
    you could leverage that.  Just find supported hardware, and free
    BIOS would save you money and instantly give you more community love
    than Mac enjoys with its hardest core partisans.  You would get
    all kinds of security-conscious and gov’t business too.

    as default distribution is practically obligatory, since through a
    legal settlement with Microsoft, Linspire is able to offer properly
    licensed mutimedia formats.  The alternatives distributions are
    great but they are mainly attractive to people who actually enjoy and
    prefer installing from scratch.


  • Anonymous

    Fully supporting OpenGL is essential for high end graphics

  • Anonymous

    just tell us, that your hardware works fine with linux, please. i don’t
    need commercial support. just need information “yes, we have build this
    piece of hardware with linux users in mind”. thank you.

  • Anonymous

    I too, am unable to submit the survey 🙁

  • Anonymous

    The poll should use *ubuntu instead of just
    ubuntu. If Dell get’s the hardware supported
    in linux all Kubuntu flavours will work.

    Nevertheless I voted for other (Kubuntu)
    I hope Dells knows how to count them together.

  • Anonymous

    A previous post warns against proprietary drivers.  I agree, though I do admit, I do use Nvidia proprietary drivers which are about as open as they are legally able to be.  However, I must agree with Steve Savitzky, out of caution that soon they’ll be more and more proprietary drivers, and who’s to argue which ones have legit claim to be proprietary….


    What Dell can do, is release full spec for Dell designed hardware (like maybe Dell special keys, or other hardware functions that aren’t controlled by a third party Vendor).  That way, we can handle development ourselves, or in conjunction with your developers as the case is with ATI and Nvidia with their drivers. 

  • Anonymous

    Home use, mainly laptops. Only need support for hardware. I would
    recommend Ubuntu, the LTS versions (supported for three years each)
    rather than the standart (twice a year) releases. Just make sure that
    all hardware is supported in the very best possible way by free (as in
    cost and freedom) and open drivers DIRECTLY BY THE MAINLINE KERNEL (or
    xorg and similar when that is the case). I realize this may be
    difficult on some cases, but you should really try. If you ship with a
    free distribution (ubuntu) and your hardware is prepared to support out
    of the box almost any other distribution, you will get the best results
    with the community (Which translates to sells and recommendations which
    also translates to sells)
    Because of the backslash surrounding Novell recently, it might not be a
    good idea to ship SLED on home computers. Also it costs money so anyone
    that is not fan of that particular distribution will not like. One last
    point, make this offer worldwide available. In the US there are already
    some (smaller) stores that sell Linux preinstalled on Laptops. But in
    many other countries (Mexico or Chile for example) you would be the
    first one doing it and that means you would also be the best option for
    many buyers (the other being “Install it yourself”). About support,
    talk to the distributor and see what can be done, there are already
    lots of community and commercial support options for any mayor
    distribution. This could even be a configuration option:
    “Get one year of phone and e-mail software support with Cannonical
    (Ubuntu Linux manufacturer) – $XX”
    “Get only hardware support from dell and community software support –
    *Software updates and security patches are available for three years
    either way ————-

  • Anonymous

    I run Ubuntu on my e-1405 now. It rocks. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I agree with many of the other posts. My preference is (K)Ubuntu, but
    the key is that the hardware is fully supported. Areas that tend to be
    problematic include the wireless, video, modem, special buttons, sleep
    / suspend, and LCD.

    I understand if you have to use some proprietary drivers (NVidia has
    good support for Linux in this way, IMHO), though you shouldn’t have to
    do anything like ndiswrapper or wine. Anyway, I’ve never bought a Dell
    before, but if you offer a serious Linux-based Dell computer at a
    competitive cost, and you might just have a new customer!!

  • Anonymous

    I use a custom kernel with a Gentoo distrubution complimented by KDE. I
    think Dell should consider Gentoo and use KDE for their desktop, I
    don’t like Gnome.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to see Red Hat pre-installed with 30 days free trail
    RHN access.  But Dell should provide a method of getting RMAs on
    hardware issues regardless of what GNU/Linux distribution the user
    decides to install on the machine.

    I also would like to see an
    option in the Dell accessories store to filter the offering based on if
    they are known to work with GNU/Linux.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll go with Mandriva.

    I have Mandriva installed on my
    lattitude d-610 from it’s first day and I’m very pleased with the ease
    of use and hardware support of this distribution. 

  • Anonymous

    The biggest problem with any Linux distro on Dell will be printer
    drivers. Followed by modem drivers. Followed by wireless drivers.
    Followed by… drivers.

  • Anonymous

    Free software support is essential.  The GNU/Linux system should
    never compromise the values that have made it work so well.  I do
    not trust proprietary software at all.  I recommend Intel graphics
    cards since neither ATI nor Nvidia offer free drivers for their newer
    products.  Also, wifi drivers must not have binary blobs.  I
    prefer Debian or Ubuntu for my distro, but hardware support is more
    important than the choice of the distribution.  I really don’t
    care about Marketing personally, but I know that Dell could be more
    profitable if it showed users that they had a choice.  Dell could
    make a lot of money if they would emphasize that a GNU/Linux system is
    not defective by design (since it doesn’t contain DRM).  Package
    management can also be emphasized as a much easier way of installing
    software than loading it from a CD with a Wizard.

  • Anonymous

    Offer me a professional workstation with GNU/Linux preinstalled,
    competent support, and a decent price (Linux System Price = Usual
    System – Windows Vista Price), and I will buy it.

  • DELL-Matt Domsch


    We’ve offered Precision Workstations with Red Hat Linux and now Red
    Hat Enterprise Linux pre-installed for several years.  Up to 64GB
    of RAM, blazing video cards, huge monitors, the works. 
    Professional enough for you? 🙂

    Thanks for your comments.


  • Anonymous

    Both Ubuntu 6.10 and OpenSuSE 10.2 run smoothly on my inspiron 9400
    with  an nvidia 7900 setup. Graphics perfomance is impressing with
    xgl an beryl. So that is good.

    The level of support I would like to see is:

    to the developers all data or support they need to make all the
    machines features work. Video switching (beamer in presentations) is
    important to my needs. Some of the special ‘media’ buttons work. (like
    the video switching buttons).


  • Anonymous

    To minimize the chances of failure, please start slowly.  You
    already offer the N series machines and that is all I need.  But,
    there are some problems with your approach.  They need to be
    featured a little more prominently on your site.  Also, they are
    usually more expensive than comparable Windows machines and this causes
    me some concern as to why.  I don’t want to pay Microsoft to run
    Linux.  Ideally, I want to see a notebook PC shown with FreeDOS
    and with Windows — the same model, and be able to see that yes, there
    is a price difference, and the FreeDOS machine is cheaper.

     You should strive to make all your PCs 100% Linux compatible to reduce cost across the board.

    can install Linux myself and I can get community support for
    problems.  It would be nice if Dell participated, too.  But
    that is good enough.  We can go further at a later date, when the
    program is successful. 

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for putting the survey up, and listening!

     I would just say again what many others have said: The most important kind of support is hardware support.

    of a commercial distro is fine (Suse/RedHat), however people don’t like
    paying for software they don’t use, so keep at least one free option
    for those who wish to install their own choice of distro.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Anonymous

    Smile your on slashdot

  • Anonymous

    Thank you very much for this Dell. I for one am amazed that a
    company has finally taken notice of the GNU/Linux community. Not only
    that but you realised we’re not that interested in the
    pre-loaded distribution; anyone savvy enough to have a distribution
    request will also know how to download an ISO file!

    am looking forward to telling everyone I know to get a Dell with
    GNU/Linux pre-installed. My thoughts are with you when Microsoft get
    hold of this, good luck and please don’t back down!

  • Anonymous

    The distributions I’d like to see most supported are Ubuntu with Fedora a close second and of course The Gnome desktop.

  • Anonymous

    One more thing: I’m in Canada, so you’d better be rolling out Linux here too!

  • Anonymous

    This is a vote for CentOS and a request for Linux on Dell servers as well

  • DELL-Matt Domsch

    Robert Harker:

    Dell has been selling PowerEdge servers with
    Red Hat distributions (Red Hat Linux, now Red Hat Enterprise Linux)
    since 1999.  I think we’ve got an amazing track record here. 
    We’d welcome you on our public mailing list
    (subscribe and read archives at too. 

  • Anonymous

    I would appreciate any hardware which is supported by vanilla
    kernels, like many other already said. And please no hardware, which
    can’t be exchanged by some local hardware-dealer, if it fails because
    of special pin-assignments. (Once had a Dell-PC with a powersupply,
    where +12V where connected to GND, if you use a “normal”
    ATX-powersupply – bad idea… I don’t know, if Dell still builds their
    PCs using such components, but it was a point for me, to never buy a
    Dell again, if this thing doesn’t change…)

    BTW: Will the results of this survey published anywhere for everyone reviewable?

  • Anonymous

    I’d prefer no OS at all !

    I’m using ArchLinux and I don’t want to buy a PC with Ubuntu or Fedora or whatever that comes preinstalled (especially if it does cost something).

    BTW, the worst Linux distro will still be better than the best Microsoft OS.

  • Anonymous

    I run Ubuntu on my E1705. 

    The most important issue is not which machines would be targeted for Linux (I can imagine a case and market for each).  And not which distribution would be used.  I’ve used RedHat, Ubuntu, and others.  Rather, Dell needs to ensure that the hardware is supported regardless of the distribution, that the hardware is supported by open source code, not proprietary drivers.  Or support the Linux community and distributions in ensuring OS support for the hardware which is shipped.

    E.g. Getting my E1705 displaying the correct resolution was non-trivial.  And supporting more than two rather poor resolutions for external monitors would be quite nice.  I’m sure that if I were to put in quite a bit of effort to tweak my setup, I might be able to enable better external monitor support (esp. for projector support), but I’d rather reserve my time for my own and my firm’s science projects, not Linux science projects.

  • Anonymous

    PCLinuxos is the way to go.I see people mention ubuntu,suse etc as the most “popular”.Just because it is popular does not mean it is the best.I have tried many,many linux distro’s including the “popular” ubuntu and suse.None of them are the equal of pclinuxos.Pclinux woild offer customers a familiar type feel,up to date packages,Ultra stability,superior community forums etc.Ubuntu is great as well as all the other distro,s.They all have strong points but top to bottom PClinuxos is by far the best of them all.If dell is truly interested in linux then it would benefit them to check out pclinuos

  • Anonymous

    I think Mandriva should be added to the list…

  • Anonymous

    The biggest impediment to my purchasing a new notebook for has always been the hassle of getting sleep/supend to work on them.  This feature “just works” on Windows and has since Win2k, and yet in linux the problem is that OEMs don’t work together with the community enough to get this *essential* feature working on their notebooks.

    I will buy a Dell notebook, regardless of distro (though I do *prefer* Kubuntu), if sleep/suspend works out of the box without me having to recompile a kernel.

  • Anonymous

    1. Use KDE; GNOME is ugly, and has a reputation of bogging down when
    running several programs at once. 2. It is not important to me that all
    the software be non-commercial, as Novell-SUSE has declared. I would
    like to have back a couple of things they have declared non-Kosher. (I
    think the word is treyf.)
    3. It _is_ important to me that certain Windows (not Microsoft)
    programs can be ported and will be, to whatever system you choose. For
    example, AutoCad-LT, or even the full-sized AutoCad, Corel Draw,
    WordPerfect, all DOS-based programs, especially those in BASIC, or
    Turbo Pascal. There was a Borland program, DOS-based, and now
    discontinued–Eureka!–that did math with a very simple and easy to use
    interface. It should run. 4. The problem with Linux as an OS is that it
    upgrades every 6 to 8 months. And a lot of times, it seems to break
    something that was working. I don’t know how you handle this, but you
    need to figure that out. MS has that problem too, but they are a lot
    bigger, I presume, than you are.
    5. A convenient upgrade system, like YaST is absolutely necessary.
    6. Some really headbusting stuff re Win-printers should be attempted,
    however you have to go about it–either from the hardware or software
    end. You are likely to have to write the drivers yourselves.

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu Rocks!

    Dell Rocks!

    Dells blog uses WP! That rocks too 🙂


  • Anonymous

    No mention of Ubuntu Paid support. I’m sure Dell doesn’t want to
    support a wide range of preloaded distros because of the support
    overhead. Business may tend toward paid (SuSe/Redhat) variants, home
    users will vary depending on their comfort level, but for cost reasons
    may lean toward free (Ubuntu/openSUSE/fedora). Ubuntu stands out in
    allowing Dell to offer a single distribution and giving
    purchasers the option of either free or paid support, with the exactly
    the same distro (the paid & free versions from Novell and RH are

    Anyone at home that buys one of these is immediately
    going to want to play multimedia and DVDs.If this doesn’t work easily,
    the support lines/forums will be ringing hot & Dell’s customer
    satisfaction will suffer. Ubuntu are working with Linspire to offer
    access to the CNR warehouse for easy, LEGAL access to multimedia codecs
    etc. This would allow Dell to offer one distro, give users the choice
    of either free or paid support, and in any case get easy access to the
    multimedia stuff they need.

    Thank you Dell for considering this issue, and giving us the opportunity to be involved!

  • Anonymous

    I agree that the most important thing is hardware which has Linux
    support, most preferably those with open specs for their
    hardware.  I’m not a zealot when it comes to binary-only drivers,
    but I’m in support of hardware vendors who provide information for
    those of us who want to write our own drivers or apply our own patches.

    other imporant area is BIOS support, especially ACPI support. 
    Hibernation and suspend support for Linux often boils down to having to
    create your own DSDT tables and praying you get it right.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like ya’ll to consider a few things. I’ll be brief but please take note:

    1) Sun’s Java for OpenOffice. Make sure it works out of the box and is configured as the default VM. Ensure that is using it. As little as it’s used, Java is easy to overlook, but it will seriously improve performance over running OO with GNU’s Java. OO is putrid otherwise.

    2) ATI hardware is poorly supported in Linux.

    3) Linux doesn’t have many games, so offer low end graphics even on high end systems. Intel would be great. Just make sure OpenGL works out of the box! If you offer an NVidia option, make sure OpenGL works.

    4) Gaming aside, offer badass computers!

    Linux takes great advantage of 64-bit chips. Offer 64-bit systems with 64-bit distros. Make sure the kernel is SMP on a multicore system. I’d love a system with lots of PCI slots and room for RAM expansion. Linux users can appreciate a good RAID setup. Get the most out of Linux.

    5) While you should obviously include a standard, fresh OS install disk, include one of the traditional rescue CDs as well that restores the system to it’s factory, preconfigured condition.

     “Factory preconfigured” should mean OpenGL works, all drivers work, JavaSE is setup, Flash 9 works, media codecs work, etc. etc.

  • Anonymous

    I currently use SUSE and have run Ubuntu on a Dimension 2400.  I guess the biggest priority is ensuring any desktops and laptops offered with Linux have fully supported hardware, in particular 3-d video cards and wirless cards.

  • Anonymous

    Dell should promise to it’s linux customers that it will not pay royalties to Microsoft for any software installed on the devices that come with linux.

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu, Ubuntu, Ubuntu. Canonical for paid support –

    After submitting the form I DIDN’T get a page acknowledging my submission! Is this correct? if so I think it should be changed so as to be clear that you have received the form results. 

  • Anonymous

    First and foremost, provide help to the community (leverage with vendors, equipment, information) and/or personnel to develop drivers that support the hardware in the computers you sell. Make it possible for me to use your purchase and use your products with confidence! Beyond that, pick any distribution with an active community — I suggest Ubuntu/Kubuntu, but it’s really less important than some would have you believe. Offer that one distribution as  a preinstalled OS choice (i.e. a first-class citizen) on every computer that you sell that has compatible hardware, and work with the community to increase that list. Identify why that OS choice is not available on other combinations (ghost the option, provide a “Why?” explanation link — something like “Not Linux Qualified Yet”, or “No video driver available for selected video option”, etc.) Those interested in using the hardware for Linux won’t accidentally buy something they’ll have to return (which should help Dell avoid costly returns). Instead they’ll change options until they have one they know will work.

    I already buy Dell computers to put Linux on. I am running Xubuntu on an Inspiron laptop (paid for a Windows license), and Mandriva on an SC series (free RedHat CD appreciated, but unused). I am in the market to purchase another now, and have been monitoring the Dell catalog on and off for months. I almost jumped on an AMD 64 X2 powered E521n a few months ago, but there were problems with the BIOS handling of the USB ports — A workaround driver update for Windows was produced almost immediately, but the Linux users couldn’t use it. Their cries appeared ignored and no official acknowledgement of the problem’s existence was made, until finally a BIOS update months later. I’d like to keep buying Dell hardware, and I’d jump at the chance to buy it with Linux preinstalled, knowing that would mean driver compatibility.

  • Anonymous

    I think that Ubuntu represents the PERFECT balance between “Commercial and Community”. And this distro is really popular and she is «evolving» in very nice ways.

  • Anonymous

    I really appreciate your survey and hope that there will be much better hardware support of GNU/Linux by DELL soon.

    year our company (small/medium enterprise in Germany) needs to replace
    some servers and almost all office desktops (all non-DELLs, sorry). And
    I guarantee, it won’t be Windows on the new boxes. Very likely it will
    be Kubuntu 6.06. Next year all CAD/CAM workstations will follow (VM

    I’m sure, the distribution is not as important as the
    missing driver CD for all hardware component in the computer. It is
    terrible, frustrating and time-consuming to have to search the web for
    drivers, if any, and struggling with them. Thus, a good distribution,
    or much better for DELL, would be a CD with drivers for Linux. I’m
    sure, DELL has the power to achieve this, and DELL could win a lot of
    new business customers like us, moving away from Windows.

    I’m looking forward to the new DELL products 🙂

    Anastasios Hatzis

  • Anonymous

    Your survey is great if you’re already familiar with Dell’s various product lines.  You may get more accurate results if you were to provide a key that describes what the focus line is of each product line.

    I haven’t bought OEM systems in some time because they usually come bundled with Windows, so I build my own whitebox.  If you want to entice me to buy a national brand name system that’s fully supported and preloaded with Linux, you’ll have to educate me first.

  • Anonymous

    Please make the Linux install optional.  Everyone who can express a preference is perfectly capable of installing their own copy – obviously, since they can’t buy it pre-installed now…   Just sell hardware with a diagnostic CD without charging for any operating system and do whatever you can to make sure that drivers are available for your hardware in all Linux versions.


  • Anonymous

    I like linux. My first distro was RedHat 5.1. I think theres too many distobutions to be able to pick from for a pre-installed system. No matter which one you pick, someones going to be unhappy. And which desktop, Gnome, KDE, Xfce. Again someones going to be unhappy. I agree with the other people who said it should just work. Make the drivers avalible for linux users and an option for not having windows pre-installed. They could save a couple of bucks and install the distrobution of thier own choice. Most people who use linux do this already now anyway


  • Anonymous

    I just need linux supported high quality hardware , no need to preinstall anything.

    What i’ve been waiting is silent media pc with good video connections (vga, dvi) and video acceleration (with nvidia’s integrated 6150 card maybe) and couple of free pci slots for dvb-cards. No need for latest 3d-games/Vista and noisy cpu-fans here.

  • Anonymous

    I put “FSF Approved: gNewSense” as other distro.

    is Ubuntu but made free so that FSF can support it. This is important,
    the system should work out of the box using Free Software, no

    I actually believe it would be illegal to ship the system preinstalled with Free Software mixed with non-free components.

  • Anonymous

    We need to have a system, especially a laptop, with driver support. The distro itself does not matter all that much as long as the drivers will work everywhere. If there was a laptop with supported WIFI preinstalled with any distro and a good resolution I would be the first in line.

    If I had to pick a distro it would be Ubuntu. It is by far the easiest to use for someone brand new to Linux.

    Thank you Dell for taking the time to even consider putting Linux on the Desktop.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for doing this. Thanks VERY much. I’ve been a software developer since 1979 and a Dell-only PC customer since 1995. (Between my wife and me, we’ve owned 6-7 Dells, all desktops.) I recently installed Ubuntu (on my current Dimension of course :), dual-boot (w/Ubuntu the default) and am ecstatic. I can’t believe how liberated I feel from MS’s apron strings and welcome Dell’s at least TOYING with the idea — will welcome even more your implementing it!


  • Anonymous

    Focus on getting specific hardware support into the kernel, most things work but it would be nice to polish off the little things. Once that’s done the distribution should be irrelevant as long as a supported kernel version is used.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not a tech-savvy business user. My choice for a future laptop is one that either fully supports Linux (which distro doesn’t matter to me), or one that fully supports Mac OS X.

  • Anonymous

    As others have said, and I want to echo, I want to select the best *machine* for the client and then determine which OS, or both, they need. It is not usefull to have just a few models with Linux available.

    If it is essential to have certain models that are Windows only, i.e. DRM, agreement etc. then clearly say so on that model.

    I want to compare *all*  the possible systems  from my source vendors for my clients, not just a few *Linux systems*. And I certainly want to be able to compare their best in category systems.


    And I am looking for a choice between *two* distros.

    One for higher need clients; my choice RedHat (best service in the Industry)

    One for lower need clients and refere ls; my choice (k)Ubuntu ( KDE is most similar to Windows and the (KXE)Ubuntu distro is far and away the most versatile and supported out of the box distro, IMO)

     And I want the same for clients and friends that I send to a supplier.

  • Anonymous

    As others have said, and I want to echo, I want to select the best *machine* for the client and then determine which OS, or both, they need. It is not usefull to have just a few models with Linux available.

    If it is essential to have certain models that are Windows only, i.e. DRM, agreement etc. then clearly say so on that model.

    I want to compare *all*  the possible systems  from my source vendors for my clients, not just a few *Linux systems*. And I certainly want to be able to compare their best in category systems.


    And I am looking for a choice between *two* distros.

    One for higher need clients; my choice RedHat (best service in the Industry)

    One for lower need clients and refere ls; my choice (k)Ubuntu ( KDE is most similar to Windows and the (KXE)Ubuntu distro is far and away the most versatile and supported out of the box distro, IMO)

     And I want the same for clients and friends that I send to a supplier.


    Clifton Hyatt

    IT Consultant 

  • Anonymous

    When I get a new laptop I start out reinstalling the OS. But linux support is still very important to me because it gives me a guarantee that the all the hardware drivers are available in one form or the other.



  • Anonymous

    KUBUNTU was not an option?

    I put Kubuntu under “Others”, but it should be an option.

  • Anonymous

    Hi. Thank you for considering Linux. If you do sell a laptop with Linux, the distribution isn’t quite as important to me as I would likely do a clean install even if you shipped the distribution that I use (Fedora). What matters the most to me is that the hardware I pay for works with Linux. I particularly would want to see good integration with a laptop and a docking station. For example, I want to be able to use a Dock with a PCI card (like I can with my T Series Thinkpad) and be able to undock the laptop without powering off (something I can not do with my T series thinkpad in Linux).

    Another thing I would be eternally grateful for – if you guys could put some friendly pressure on Garmin so that I could upload maps to my eTrex Legend GPS device (either natively or through WINE) it would really make my day.

    I only use Linux. I do not use any other operating systems. As a desktop user of Linux, I appreciate what Dell is doing, and what Dell has already done – I’ve seen some of the posts on mailing lists from Dell researchers. Thank you.


  • Anonymous

    Fedora Core would be a great option for the power user/developer.

     You build it, I’ll buy it. 🙂 

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu for preference, as a choice for no extra cost compared to Windows (cheaper is great, but at least equivalent is sufficient). But as many have said, the choice of pre-install distro is not so important, the fact that there is a pre-install Linux choice which will work with a vanilla/open kernel is sufficient to encourage buyers who can then load whatever system they prefer.

    Software support is also not so important; I don’t expect Dell to support Windows software problems, neither would I expect Linux software support – just give us great hardware support and open drivers for Linux, and we’ll do the rest!

  • Anonymous

    I’ll buy my next computer i.e. laptop when I can find the following things (by the order of their significance) until then my desktop is OK :

    1. Hardware compatibility (NOT specific distro but simply availability of all the drivers, so the community can integrate them in any distro)

    2. Dual core with support  Intel-VT or AMD-SVM i.e. the ability to run unmodified OS’es with KVM ( or XEN

    3. Affordable price …. this should mean NOT more expensive than the Windows machine with the comparable hardware. (this of course also mean that I don’t want to pay MS-tax)

    That is the list. I don’t worry so much how user friendly it is as long as the hardware is linux-compatible.

    And that is where Dell should look at…. just provide the source for the drivers, then leave the community to take care of bundling them with any distro.

  • Anonymous

    Hello Matt and your Dell colleagues.

    I use a very new Dell Optiplex running Linux (Gnome-based) as my main workstation at work and it runs really great. A few points I would add:

    1. If Dell pre-installed a Linux distribution, (for sake of argument lets call it Dellbuntu), I imagine 80% of people would stick with it, including me. This is against received wisdom but Linux is Linux, and a fully set-up Linux system (i.e. with all the correct drivers) is a lot to pass up, especially laptops where it can be a pain researching what the hardware really is in order to get wireless and suspend/resume working.

    So just pick one. Or do like Oracle and brand your own. Dellbuntu Enterprise or whatever. 

    2. Dell’s online buying process would work really well, just give the people what they want. Want gstreamer codecs, add 20 pounds, want crossover office, add 50 pounds, want membership of the FSFE add 40 pounds, want the O’reilly Delluntu Linux manual, add 20 pounds, want 20 magnatune albums, add 50 pounds.   

    For me, my Optiplex is brand new, but a light small Linux laptop would be great. For laptops, I personally care more about weight and battery life than processor speeds.  

    Thanks for reading. Oh one more thing, for the love of all that is holy and natural, please do not put “Dell recommends Windows” on the Linux computer product page.

  • Anonymous


    That is the right direction for Linux on Dell.

     I’ve seen columnists before comment negatively on previous attempts by companies to sell pre-installed Linux, remarking that they simply did not understand that a large chunk of Linux users are cheapskates.  This is true and I am one of them.  We also do not like junk.  We’re demanding that way.

     So, avoid the Sempron/Celerons.  Nvidia over ATI.  And make it as cheap as possible.

     Do this and I will buy a Linux (Ubuntu please!) laptop from Dell.  Seeing as I like my Toshiba, you’d be getting a new customer.

  • Anonymous

    After fighting the ATI Radeon graphics card in my company-provided Dell laptop for five days straight, I’d say the most important thing is to get hardware that works well and has good, community-supported drivers.

    Avoid at all costs binary, proprietary drivers and support utilities. Make sure your linux compatible laptops works out of the box with regular, popular distros available from the internet without needing to install special support software.


    – I fought the ATI driver but the ATI driver won 🙁

  • Anonymous

    I also wish to echo, hardware support that is available in the mainline kernel is very nearly a requirement, or the ability for users / clients to maintain distro migration options decrease (and support costs increase).

    It’s not that *Dell* needs to support all distros, it’s that Dell should provide *machines* that (theoretically) support any distro.


    The support and testing of all the *other* distros  can be handled by community, consultants, VARs etc.


    Clifton Hyatt

    IT Consultant 

  • Anonymous

    All DELL needs is to make sure all hardware are supported out of the box. I am fine whatever distro you install (but I prefer Ubuntu).

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu will be incorporating Linspires click n run technology next month, this ends the dependency hell refered to in other post. I have ubuntu installed on my Dell XPS with no problems.

    I would choose Kubntu because it is the most user friendly for “normal” people especially those migrating from windows. the rest of us can install any distro we want.

    Drivers and hardware compatibility are the most important issues. You should probally include a full set of codecs and binary drivers for the average user. Hardcore geeks wont use them but they should be there for the uninitiated. 

  • Anonymous

    I’ve used Linux since the time I was 15 (1994) and began with Slackware.  From there I moved on to Mandrake, Redhat, Xandros,  and FedoraCore.  This New Year’s day I switched to Ubuntu.  By *far* Ubuntu was the easiest.  My sister now runs it and hasn’t had a single hitch.  Even though I’ve tried several distros over the years, none has lasted more than two weeks before I eventually relied on booting into Windows every time I had to do something;  except Ubuntu.  The desktop is mature enough for the home user and I’m happy to say my harddrive was wiped clean to install it.

     I’ve found KDE to be daunting, and others I know who’ve tried it have had the same experience.  Configuring *everything* on the screen is a bit much for someone who is trying to swallow something new.  If you’re experienced, it should be no issue to swap from Gnome.

    That said, please take the comments on this page with a grain of salt.  The same old Gnome/KDE or Distro#1/Distro#2 fanatical arguments are springing up.  Facts get excused and worse, facts get invented.

    Dell, you know what your primary options are.  Try installing a few in house and figure out what’s best for the user.  (Don’t make a community of misinformation spreading zealots decide for you) 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I am currently typing this comment on a laptop made by a small company that preinstalls Ubuntu.  While searching for laptops the Dell E1405 scored high on my list.  It had all the specs that my current system had, plus bluetooth, and it was slightly cheaper.  Additionally Dell would have gotten the laptop to me faster.  In the end though I went with my current laptop because the integrator preinstalled Ubuntu on it and guaranteed that it would work.  If Dell had done the same, they would have won my business hands down. 

     I can think of no greater reason for Dell to preinstall Ubuntu than the fact that their products would instantly become more attractive to open source software users, like my self. 

  • Anonymous

    Hardware and multimedia should work out of the box, beyond that the distribution isn’t important, as long as there are good forums available. For this reason my recommendation would be Ubuntu (launchpad would also simplify things for you, and save you a pretty penny in the process).

    The only thing you have to do, is require vendors to support the and the linux kernel upstream, time to flex those pretty muscles. Fingers mostly pointed at ATi/Nvidia of course.


  • Anonymous

    * hardware support – cannot be repeated enough

    The questionare renders it fairly clear to me that Dell has not understood the spirit of the community or does not consider it as compatible enough with their customers. Rather than asking about the platforms it shall support, it should make platforms or compents of it available with documentation to Linux developers.  Support mainly means to support developers, not the users. The challenge is to make users feel as developers and thus stimulate them to contribute back – a transltion to rare local languages for example.

    Dell should also test to by a Linux machine abroad. Here in Germany one is close to be ridiculed for asking for mere Linux compatibility of some components. 


  • Anonymous

    You are asking the wrong question, which distro to use.  Linux users ache for this one thing from Dell:

    Please only use hardware where the programming specification is open to the Linux developers.


    That’s all. Then put a “Linux-ready” checkmark on the order page, so I know what to buy.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know that there is a whole lot else to say other than what has already been said, but I’ll post this just to get another response up here.

    The main issues that need to be addressed are hardware compatibility and the ability for those new to Linux to be able to use the product without configuring everything first (which is really quite easy if you take care of the hardware compatibility). Advanced users often customize things so much that they will end up wiping everything off when they get it anyway (which is one reason why a naked hardware option would be a good idea).

    Also, I want to know that None of the price that I pay to purchase the machine will go to M$, and I don’t want to have to pay for support for the OS, whichever distro it is. Choose something with a large community support base or an option of paid support for new users.

    Another thing to consider is which desktop environment to use (KDE, Gnome, both, or another).  Each has its benefits and many people will only use one or the other.

    Thanks for considering this. I’ve currently got an inspiron 5100 running Linux.  I was planning on building my next computer, but I might consider going back with Dell if I had the ability to purchase a box with no OS or something Open. While you’re at it, you might consider Linux on your handhelds, it beats the … out of wince.



  • Anonymous

    Preinstalling Ubuntu GNU/Linux, and making sure that all the hardware is *fully* supported (including 3-D grapics) is a really good idea.  That means making sure that the chip vendors that you choose for your motherboards (NIC, graphics, wireless, sound, etc.) are fully supported by F/OSS platforms.  Given your size, you *do* have the buying power to make that happen.  That means changing wireless vendors from Broadcom to either Ralink or Realtek.

    Since Intel graphics is now fully supported by X11, I would recommend sticking with Intel graphics for *all* PC’s.  You can still upsell the Windows users on the nVidia or ATI video cards.

    For partitioning, I would recommend–strongly–the following basic layout:

    100MB:  /boot  (for just the kernel)
    15GB:  /  (the root partition, for the OS)
    The rest:  /home  (where user data is stored)

    This way, should you ever have to reinstall your OS, you don’t blow your data away.  I used a similar partitioning scheme with Windows and OS/2 for years, and it saved my butt several times.  Yes, you can get more elaborate, but for general desktops, there’s no need.  Servers are, of course, a different story.

    As for *which* Ubuntu, I agree with several others in recommending v6.06 “Dapper Drake” due to its Long-Term Support (LTS) on the desktop.  When the next “LTS” Ubuntu release comes out, then you can support that.

    I’ve seen Windows Vista.  I will *NOT* have Windows Vista–and therefore will not pay for it–on any of my computers.  I am actively encouraging people to avoid it, and I am having some success.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t really mind if it’s one linux or another linux distro.

    As long as it works…

    I’d like the fact Ubuntu allows you to be laizy when you install things, but Novell has that partnership with Microsoft that might make it easier to maintain a nice relationship with them…


    If the machine works with no missing hardware drivers it’s fine by me….


    A good idea might be a special charge for updating the machine in your centers. Just to make it all work nicelly… 

  • Anonymous

    I hope you do it and I hope you give a choice on the distro and features, as that seems to be a big thing. While Ubuntu is ok , Fedora Core / Red Hat is what I know, so I would want that, Joe whatshisname wants something else. Just don’t let the fact that there are a lot a choices impede your reluctance to follow through. Just having Linux as an alternative is what is important, not the name of the distribution. By the way, if your server is overwhelmed, then it’s probably running Windows.

  • Anonymous

    I need two things from Dell to become (resume being) a customer, both at work and at home.

    First, certify that your hardware works with Linux across the board, low to high performance, desktop, laptop and server. Problematic areas are typically wireless networking, 3-D graphics, RAID controllers, and laptop “features” like sleep/hibernate and special buttons. Don’t sell hardware that doesn’t work with Linux.  Avoid ATI graphics cards and Sony Vaio-like  “software” buttons on laptops (volume, brightness, etc). Look favorably upon Nvidia, the most Linux-friendly graphics card maker. Either configure /etc/xorg.conf so that laptops painlessly connect to projectors, or provide information on how to do so. Do not assume that all Linux users want low-end hardware; I typically want the highest-performance hardware I can find, but I’m price-conscious – both at work and at home.

    Second, do not make me pay the Microsoft tax. If I do not elect to have their OS installed, I will be offended if I have to pay for it. And, for God’s sake, don’t make me stare at a “Dell recommends Microsoft xyz” logo while I’m configuring my Linux system.

    Thanks for expressing an interest in your Linux-using customers. It has been a long time coming, and I hope it is sincere. There are far more of us than Microsoft would have you believe.

  • Anonymous

    Dell, all I want is hardware support for my laptops. I can modify desktops, but on a value laptop, all I can upgrade is the RAM or maybe the HD. But, if my video card doesn’t work? Or wireless? The modem? If you could provide hardware support for Linux, that’s good enough for me. I don’t need any other support. The Ubuntu Forums and Google can handle the rest.

  • Anonymous

    Fedora core based distro not so bleeding edge would be ideal 

    100 % hardware support  for wireless devices(including  the dell wireless), webcams(pick a product and partner with them to develop softwarefor thier product), special function keys on notebooks and such. 

    make the hardware work with the 3d desktops  and all the eye candy that blows vista away. 

    Another  reason to stick with fedora is the merge of 2 main repos into 1.  thousands of applications can now downloaded from 1 repo.  less configuration equals less headaches. make it work out of the box and you’ll have happy users. 

    People need to remember what they are using the pc for…   Simply put: Are you browsing, e-mailing, and some word processing?  linux is by far the best choice. 

     Another thing to consider is partitioning  what layout is going to be used? LVM, manual partitioning?  consider a manual partioning scheme, a boot  a swap and a root partitions.  Possibly a home partition for upgrading os purposes. 


    I’m happy to finally see a manufacture stand up and listen to the millions and millions of Linux users around the world.  Example  fedora core 6 released in November 06 to date has had 2 million installs.  2 million unique installs.  Why ?  maybe it has to do with vista being released and no one wants to spend a truck load of $$$ to get a system that supports bloatware. Everything vista does  linux does better.  Memory managment and the new desktop look feel that MS is trying to get consumers to buy Vista for. 





  • Anonymous

    Make it so that if someone is ordering a machine online or by phone, they can specify a distro, *any* distro they want, and before you ship the computer you (Dell)just download a fully loaded CD/DVD of the distro they chose (fully loaded = will have a mess of apps on the CD/DVD, because there’s still far too many of us with only dial-up), and send it with the computer, don’t install it unless they specify that too.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I would like to second the people who talked about supporting LinuxBIOS (Wikipedia or their  home page) on your Dell computers.  This could be a huge incentive for us customers because the Linux desktop would load in LESS THAN 3 SECONDS, from powerup to finish, and all suspend/hibernate features will be well supported.

     Because most BIOSes are buggy, using the LinuxBIOS would be a great single source to eliminate all the things an operating system must code around, uniquely for every system, in Windows as well.  I hope you can see the kind of creativity in the free software community by looking at extremely useful, unconventional technology like this.

    Additionally, the “One Laptop Per Child” computer uses this LinuxBIOS to start up completely in seconds, so there will be millions of children using it in the world.  Why don’t you bring a free, insanely fast BIOS to the Western world?  Google supports and uses them on their Linux boxes, of which they have many.  AMD is also bringing the first LinuxBIOS-loadable motherboard to the desktop world, as you see here:

    And yes it does support Windows as well 😉


    Now for distro choice: Personally I would love to see Red Hat given some money back for all they’ve done for Linux, but I truly believe Ubuntu is the best desktop for Linux as of yet, and new releases are just getting better.  Soon X11 (release 7.3, coming this summer) will support automatic hotplugging so all gripes about having to edit xorg.conf will disappear and dual monitors will be easily supported, without depending on a driver.  And if you support one Linux distro with free (NOT BINARY) drivers, every single distro picks up support and the improvements as well, because of the GPL.

  • Anonymous

    When you do finally make linux more broadly available across your product range, could you also sell this in markets other than the US? At present, I believe the n-Series is only available on, whereas I shop at!

    Thanks for listening!! 😀 

  • Anonymous

    BTW the Linux kernel developers have offered to support any hardware they can, for free:  LINK.  The Free Software Foundation has also put out a plea to hardware manufacturers:  LINK

    supporting Linux you automatically get support across architecutres
    (x86, powerpc, sparc, amd64, whatever) and people will probably port
    them to the *BSD *nixes as well, maybe even make improved drivers for

    And all that is needed are hardware
    specifications–developers will then do all the work for free. 
    Just look at this list of webcams supported by Linux, most just reverse
    engineered: LINK

    the people who use NVidia’s binary driver, first of all I’ve had
    experiences with it and it’s not good.  They also drop support for
    older cards, whereas if Linux developers had even just the
    specifications- as Intel provides for their fully supported onboard
    graphics cards- for ATI and NVidia cards, you would see much better and
    portable drivers.  They could just reduce costs and focus on the
    hardware side of things.  They also wouldn’t have security holes
    that we can’t fix, like NVidia’s root exploit last year. We don’t want
    Linux to be insecure like Windows, do we?  PLEASE stick with free,
    open drivers.

    is an effort underway to make free, open source 3D drivers for Nvidia
    cards called “Nouveau”, here, they might be out by November 2007:

    obvious incentive…no spyware or viruses (although you can install a
    free virus checker to check for Windows viruses or rootkits), no
    worries about licensing…what’s not to love about Linux 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Wow!, this is fantastic. I prefer Ubuntu (ultimate release) with Gnome. Indeed notebook was thinking to buy one, but it did not decide if mac o notebook. Now i know.


    1.- Ubuntu with extras (codecs, drivers, things).

    2.- Dell Software preinstalled.

    3.- Good Artwork from Dell.

    4.- User Manual.




  • Anonymous

    For the sake of Dell and their customers, I strongly suggest just making your own distribution.  Tech savvy customers will just install their own favorite distributions, but the non-savvy will want to be led by hand.  They will want some of the homogeny that used to be present in Windows.  Homogeny is a bad thing when it comes to security, but fortunately that shouldn’t be a big problem if you just stick with the standards and apply updates that everyone else makes.

  • Anonymous

    Whichever distro you choose, you should offer consumers the option to legally purchase a licensed package containing codec support for things like MP3, WMV, etc. The single biggest support issue for new Linux users is “why don’t my MP3s play?”, with the answer being “because linux distros would have to pay licensing fees for the MP3 codec for each installation”.

    Yes, savvy users can install codec support with a bit of research and work. But Dell could do this for them by licencing codecs on behalf of their customers for a nominal fee. This should be an *option*.

    As to proprietary drivers – as long as they are freely available, Dell should make sure that thay are available to their customers. While it’s better to support development of open drivers, Dell’s concern should be to help their customers get the most out of the hardware they purchase.

  • Anonymous

    No choices on survey for Dell Precision line.  A big obstacle for our company’s using linux from Dell in the past is that it tends not to be available on high end computers. 

  • Anonymous

    I would focus on two types of customers:

    1. Home users – Inexpensive desktops.   Once management types start using linux at home, they will push linux into the enterprise.
    2. Developers & Gaming High end laptops and desktops with lots of horsepower.


  • Anonymous

    Others have noted the popularity of Ubuntu, its long term support options with 6.06, and the availability of commercial support through Canonical, in addition to the existing community support.  Linspire has recently announced that their distro will henceforth be based on Kubuntu, so that adds another potential source of commercial support, as well as the KDE interface that many people prefer to Gnome.  Linspire is also the creator of the Click’n’Run updating tool, which is considerably more user-friendly than the Debian-based apt-get commands.  Linspire has made C’n’R freely available, and I would like to see it used with a Kubuntu distro to offer the broadest possible appeal for a Linux distro. 

    Of course, we are counting on Dell to work with the device manufacturers to provide open sourced device drivers for the various components that you build into your notebooks and desktops so that the out-of-the-box experience is comparable to that offered by Apple, and far superior to that offered by Windows XP or Vista.

  • Anonymous

    Support hardware and kernel development, not a distro. If you take care of the drivers, the community can take care of support.

     Also, you can offer paid on site support, make partnerships with distros or just collaborate on IRC, forums and wikis so you can give better support to your distros.

  • Anonymous

    Mandriva Linux is well worth the trouble of investigating. Mandriva have an excellent desktop experience and the OS is very easy to manage using Graphical tools.

     Mandriva have both a consumer home user version (Free, powerpack and Powerpack Plus) and an Enterprise desktop version (Enterprise desktop). Both use the same easy to use tools.

    In the end though, from the general users viewpoint as long as you support Linux, any Linux distribution will work just fine.

  • Anonymous

    Novell/Suse is not a good choice because of the Microsoft deal and Ubuntu totally sucks because the changes they make to KDE and Gnome by removing useful features just make them work, and it  cannot be run on older computers

  • Anonymous

    I’m with the bunch that says just make the hardware choices so that drivers are available.

    Here’s what HP emailed me several weeks ago: “HP notebooks are incompatible with LInux.” End of statement, no further comment.

    Nice friendly customer service. So decide if you want to be like that or not. 

  • Anonymous

    First, thank you for even considering Linux. I’m just about to fully switch to linux over Windows. For distros, I’m a big Debian fan.  Simple reason is Debian concentrates on getting the bugs worked out of the distro before adding new features, so that’s one thing less a linux newbie like me, has to contend with, when trying to install and learn it.

     But my two cents is this. I’d be more than happy to have a ‘blank’ computer (IE: no OS) and install my own linux. The only thing that has stopped me from bying from your company’s systems is the use of propritory video and other hardware that takes manufacture specific drivers (Like the Raetheon video cards in this Dimension B110 the office uses.) If you had linux or Windows 2000 pro friendly hardware such as nVidia I’d be more willing to buy Dell.

     As a business owner, I want to use the computer to work. I don’t want to beg a company to use their OS after I buy it or worse lock me out when it’s WGA says the OS is illegal (even when bought from a store). I don’t want software to tell every Tom, Dick and Harry what I use it for, and most of all, I don’t want software to try and steal my bank accounts. Lastly I want to use my computer to make money, not to give it away on software.

    Be more friendly to linux users, especially newbies like me, and we’ll beat a path to your door.

     – Kevin C. Redden

  • Anonymous

    An entry level Inspiron with Ubuntu for $499 and I am sold!


  • Anonymous

    I would argue to make a “Linux Certified” designation as well as “Leave HD blank” option

    .This way we know that the hardware will run flawlessly with any distribution (or atleast it should*). In the end everyone will want a different distro or many of us may want to install a more custom offering.  This would only make customers more happy with more choices/customization at their fingertips.

    Support a handful of popular distro’s, offer OEM basic instalations such as fedora, redhat, ubuntu, etc.  Package the CD’s/DVD with the system and all is well.

    Note: I’ve recently made the switch to Fedora Core 6 from Windows XP (desktop as well as laptop). Back home I recently rebuilt my younger sister’s computer and switched out the OS to fedora core 6. She is more than happy with her system I might add. I plan to switch my parents box in the near future and my girlfriend has requested that I install linux (debating between ubuntu or another fedora install) on her laptop this spring break.

     Bottom line:

    That is 5 previous windows XP machines converted to linux. And I will not be purchasing Vista in any way shape or form. I am frustrated with the choices of laptops (all come preloaded with a form of windows). If dell offered a linux alternative, I can almost assure dell that they will have 2 (girlfriend and I) future sales of laptops.



  • Anonymous

    I think Dell’s priority needs to be laptops, not because they are more widely used (though they may be) but because they have the worst support. When I buy a desktop I can reasonably count on Linux working fine, other than maybe some obscure hardware I wont use. Laptops on the other hand have many trouble spots.

    1) WiFi – By far the biggest is proper support for Dell shipped WiFi cards

    2) Power management

    3) Modems 

    4) Non-core hardware (i.e. SD memory card readers)

    A user opting for Linux is generally more technically savvy and can handle a Linux install on a desktop (though it’s important to not exclude new users). On the other hand even the most experienced users are at a loss when drivers simply don’t exist, something much more common on laptops.

  • Anonymous

    Please encourage hardware vendors to release specs for Free/Libre device drivers, ensure your external components (such as printers, scanners, etc.) are accessible with Free software and advertise them as such. The choice of distribution is a really minor issue if you choose not to rely on proprietary device drivers. Thanks for listening.

  • Anonymous

    I plan to purchase a laptop computer. As things now stand, it looks like I will be going to a local computer shop that builds laptops in partnership with Toshiba. They will install Ubuntu Linux and Open on the computer.  If  you offer pre-installed Ubuntu Linux and Open on your laptop models, I will consider purchasing a laptop from you instead.

    I’m a Ubuntu user who is sold on this distribution. Ubuntu has the best community support, and Ubuntu offers commerical support to those who want it.






  • Anonymous

    thank you for having this survey!

    my choice on my survey is Ubuntu, but if i could pick two, i’d pick Ubuntu and Fedora. 

  • Anonymous

    About a year ago I purchased a laptop with the express idea of
    running linux on it.  It ended up being a compaq simply because it
    was available and I knew the hardware on it worked under linux (I took
    a Ubuntu 6.06 liveCD to the store and booted the laptop on it to test

    When this laptop reaches the end of its life I will
    replace it with another,  likely running Ubuntu unless something
    better comes along.  If Dell had a line or two of laptops
    certified to work under linux, it would be a competitive advantage for
    Dell in winning my business for the new laptop – the benefit to me is
    that I don’t have to do a lot of research figuring out if the laptop I
    want to buy will work for me, and I don’t have to buy a windows license
    that I don’t want or need.

     The choice of which linux
    distribution is not that important to me.  As long as I know the
    hardware is supported under linux if Dell chooses a different
    distribution than the one I want it should be a simple matter for me to
    install the distribution I like.  There are a few things to

    – fat distributions vs thin distributions: ubuntu is
    what I call a ‘thin’ distribution (only 1 cd), vs fedora which I would
    call a ‘fat’ distribution.  fat distributions are better for
    people who do not have high speed internet – with thin distributions
    you have to pull down packages you want from internet servers whereas
    fat distros have them all on one or another CD.

    – community support: is a competitive advantage for ubuntu and a source of great help.

    i am forced to use RHEL4 at work, and I really don’t like being stuck
    with such old software.  Home users don’t want this. 
    Actually I don’t really understand why anyone buys those commercial

    – the worst thing Dell could do would be to
    ship some customized linux with drivers that are not available except
    on the customized linux shipped by Dell.  This might anger people
    who want to change the linux distribution to their own favorite.

    – the DMCA is a problem in the USA for DVD playback on linux.  I’m curious about how Dell is going to address this issue.


  • Anonymous

    I’m interested in opensuse for distro.  But if the hardware is properly supported in linux kernel, especially video and wireless networking, then I’m less locked into a single distro.

    Also, value model laptop/desktop are of higher interest than high end models.

  • Anonymous

    I am interested in a product that I can refer a customer to. 

    I understand that it is difficult to make choices with the fear of alienating a community. 

    The problem is that the people that need this the most are the ones that need some choices made for them.   A geek enjoys a tech mountain to climb, but the casual user wants a machine that will just work.

     I have recommended Dell computers for years.  I appreciate the thought and planning that goes into the products.

    The Linux situation begs for strong thought and planning from a company  like Dell.

    You sell a lot of different types of technology to satisfy specific scenarios.  There are as many answers to your poll questions are there are product lines from Dell. 

    I look forward to recommending your new Linux machines.  They will provide a safe reliable experience for your customers.  It may reduce the number of my service calls to repair a virus or malware problem but that is a price I am willing to pay.




  • Anonymous

    And be sure to sell accessories that have support in the Linux kernel. I’d buy wireless cards, etc., from Dell if they were going to work with Linux. There is no big name computer retailer doing that now.

  • Anonymous

    I have installed Linux on every Dell machine I have purchased till date, and it was the primary OS on all of them.  However, I had to still pay for Windows even thought I did not use it (except for debuding the Linux install).  If Dell installs Linux from the outset there would be no need for Windows.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Dell, thanks for doing this! I filled out the survey and I actually am for a laptop, and I don’t want to pay for an OS I won’t use (MS Windows) so I’m really glad your doing this and I probably will buy a Dell in the future. I just want to stress the importance of the graphics drivers, I suggest that using Nvidia graphics cards and it would be nice if you included the proprietary drivers; however, I understand that that may not be possible, so if you can get Nvidia to release their driver source code. I will give you my babies or something.

  • Anonymous

    It makes sense to support Fedora since it is a gateway into an enterprise standard – Red Hat. 

    Support Fedora and everyone will be happy, It runs truly well already, so not much time will be wasted. Just stick it on you desktops and offer a chance for Moms and Pops to save a couple of bucks. Advertise great selection of software, fully functional games in particular, and make profit…


  • Anonymous

    When it comes down to the numbers, Ubuntu wins out as the most popular by a significant margin. It would be in Dell’s best interest to concentrate on a single Linux distribution right out of the gate to give them a chance to get there feet wet…then they could be begin to offer more Linux distribution options.

    According to Distrowatch, here is the Top 5 (in terms of page hits) for 2006… Ubuntu is the clear winner.

    1 Ubuntu 2640
    2 openSUSE 2027
    3 Fedora 1444
    4 MEPIS 1045
    5 Mandriva 1015
  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu kai Esperanto!

  • Anonymous

    PCLinuxOS is the easiest distribution to use. The creator, Texstar, lives in Houston, TX.

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu need not be purely community-supported, as you can contract with Ubuntu to provide the software support.  This (software support parnering with Ubuntu, Red Hat, or Novell) should help make supporting Linux easier.  Linux isn’t Windows; you’re not stuck with the support of the software.  Just support your hardware and contract with another vendor for the software support.

     Could you please discuss with us what all of your partnering with Microsoft requires, and why your no-OS (let alone Linux) offerings tend to be buried and hard to find unless you know where to look?  I’m very curious why so many steps you’ve taken have been seemingly so half-hearted.

  • Anonymous

    The choice of laptops, desktops and servers with linux/bsd is important to me. Specifically, I would like to be able to purchase laptops and desktops supporting Kubuntu. (I prefer KDE over Gnome)

    I would NOT want to see any “bleeding edge” stuff. It is too volitale. Fedora is a great example of this. Kubuntu is supported for three years from the date it is published (v6.06) and doesn’t try to be everything to everyone.

    But I really want a choice. I do in the server area. Purchasing Windows 2003 is an option. This is not the case with desktops and laptops. I am “stuck” with XP/Vista. (Note: I will not buy Vista. I specify all purchases for my company.)

  • Anonymous

    Dell could have a winner if these options are across the Dell product line and not just business machines.

  • Anonymous

    Good evening,

        The greatest gains from Dell’s use of linux will be that of hardware support.  The majority of us really don’t have a preference of distro.  All that matters is that the underlying hardware is properly supported in the linux kernel (or via CUPS/ SANE/ XORG).

       Different linux vendors seem to have localization, language, and application support pretty well covered.

        In the spirit of choice, I recommend the following distro selection method.  Make a pie chart of all distros from’s popularity rating.   Tape the pie chart to the wall.  Stand back approximately 3 meters.  Throw a dart at the pie chart.  You have now successfully selected Dell’s OEM linux offering.


    Thank you for your time,

    Frank Russo

  • Anonymous

    I am most interested primarily in budget-model laptops. My distro of choice would be Ubuntu. I was able to get Ubuntu 6.06 dual booting on my Inspiron 1100, but I could never get the modem working. However, I did have to edit the xorg.conf file before running install to get 1024 video. Using the install script only provides 640 resolution in the 1100.

     Although 6.10 will install and run, there are problems with video, so I dropped back to 6.06.

     I will be replacing the 1100 soon, and I would be interested in a low-to-medium priced laptop capable of running Ubuntu, including modem and wireless networking.

     Support would not be an issue for me as long as I knew the hardware was compatible with Ubuntu.


  • Anonymous

    I suggest selling desktops containing a motherboard that supports LinuxBIOS, such as the GIGABYTE M57SLI-S4. This way you can outsource your BIOS development costs!

    I also think you should install KDE by default (ie. using Kubuntu) because it is easier for Windows users to figure out how KDE works.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t care about Linux coming pre-installed.  I can do that for myself.  However, it will be nice when I can order a machine for family members with a linux flavor pre-installed though.  

    Please get your hardware vendors to cooperate with kernel developers and release specs that everyone can use.   I’m using a M65.  I can’t get the mic input to work. The modem is useless without spending $20 on a driver, if it even works.  I don’t expect everything to work right away with bleeding edge hardware, but I do want it to work eventually.  Sooner is better than later.


  • Anonymous

    Suse an Fedora are the two most popular, select either. And The KDE desktop is the most popular

    among Linux users, not Gnome, don’t listen to

    the Fedora Project on that issue. 

    It doesn’t really matter, if the PC or Laptop has

    Linux compatible hardware, the user can install

    any version of Linux he wants, if the one installed is not to his liking.

    Most all Linux Distro’s are easy to install anyway.

    Believe me if the units are bought by individuals

    they are going to experiment anyhow.

    If the units are bought by companies, Fedora and Suse are much easier to modify to fit there

    needs .

    Jim Tate 

  • Anonymous

    Seems like you’re listening after all, good job!

  • Anonymous

    While I have distrobutions I prefer (which are mainstream, but need
    not be mentioned for reasons that will become obvious) I really just
    want to know that the system I buy from Dell uses hardware that Linux

    For example, my Inspiron 9300 came with a SD Card
    Reader that wasn’t supported (but is now).  Rather than having a
    particular distro(s) supported, I’d prefer to see Dell working to make
    sure that the hardware is know to work with Linux (preferably through
    some appropriate license).  In the case of the SD Card Reader,
    using one know to work with Linux, or helping/requiring the company
    supplying the hardware to make it work would be far more advantageous
    than having hardware that works with distro x, but isn’t supported by
    other distros.

    This might involve Dell working with their hardware suppliers to make sure that their hardware is supported on Linux.

    would love/expect Dell to also supply their hardware with a working
    install of some distro (for those who don’t have a preference), but
    most Linux users already have a bias for some distro, so it’s likely
    that they just want to know that their distro will work too.  This
    shouldn’t be too hard for the mainstream distros (on which most other
    distros are based).


  • Anonymous

    Dear Dell,


    Thank you for considering expanding your selection of operating systems to Linux.


    prefer Ubuntu and SUSE, but that’s not really my chief concern.  I
    would just like to be able to get a computer where all the assembled
    hardware works with Linux–especially wireless in a laptop.

    general, supporting software isn’t a concern, though I would pay for
    something like CrossOver Office if you were to preinstall it. 


  • Anonymous

    I have taken two of my Dell products, one laptop, one desktop, and
    installed Linux on them. I have had no problems with productivity tools
    or general communications both inside and outside the office. If Dell
    want to go Linux that just gives me one more reason to by Dell.

  • Anonymous

         I have been using Linux since 1993.

         Favorite distributions are Debian or Gentoo or any derivative of either.

         Red Hat is not worth bothering with. Fedora has no continuity, is just a beta for the overpriced enterprise version.

         Uses include Open Office, Flightgear, Mythtv.

         Desktop – Kde.

         Window manager – Enlightenment


  • Anonymous

    The key for me is not the software.  I can handle that (I use gentoo linux).  Instead the key is that the hardware is supported.  So ati graphics are bad nvidia is ok.  I don’t use modems, but winmodems are a problem.

     The broadcom wireless minipci are problematic (driver in kernel is ok but you must get other firmware and when difficulties occur, it is much harder to handle than truly open hardware.


  • Anonymous

    You’ve probably got the message already, but I’ll just chime in with all the others and say that it’s NOT support for a particular distro that’s important, rather it’s that the hardware must be supported by linux generally.

    Put another way, please provide laptops (and desktops) that have supporting drivers built in to the linux kernel.

    The most ideal solution (and this will win you the undying love and loyalty of linux-using potential customers, believe me) will be to either:

    (a) Use hardware that already has open source drivers available under linux

    (b) Use hardware of Dell’s choice, with Dell releasing open source drivers to the community to pick up and run with.

    A third, but much less digestible option (which many would rather not mention at all) is to supply binary drivers for Dell hardware that your licensors will not open up. Trying to appreciate Dell’s circumstances in this regard, I leave it on the table as an option, but would suggest that the cost of relying on closed-source drivers is much greater than is immediately obvious. I would encourage Dell to push the envelope in this regard and go all open-source drivers. Your users will thank you, and your equipment will achieve a higher level of respectability.

    This is a potential win-win for Dell. Not having to embed Microsoft licences means you can offer laptops at lower prices. Plus you don’t have to have full responsibility for driver development and ongoing support for same in newer kernels (the community will pick up a fair share of the load), which equals lower costs too.  Having hardware that ‘just works’ brings ‘Apple-esque’  usability to the PC – woohoo!

     If you really take notice of all these comments submitted by the community, it will bode well for Dell.





  • Anonymous

    DELL should concentrate it’s efforts on ONE Linux distribution as supported and factory installed by DELL. Without any surprise today, “Ubuntu” is by far the Linux champ on Desktop as it’s :

    • The world’s most popular Linux desktop
    • The most user friendly Linux distribution 

    Beside that, Ubuntu represents the PERFECT balance between “Commercial and Community”.

    Distrowatch and many other Linux magazines show that “Ubuntu” is the real champ, so they already did the survey for you about your last question 6). Pretty sure that on your Dell IdeaStorm “Ubuntu” was number 1.


  • Anonymous

    I really wonder why it took so long to accept Linux as an alternative OS. Well, in Germany we use to say: Better late then never. I am really looking forward to get an out of the box working Dell-Linux-Notebook and I would like to get it with Ubuntu. Head on please!

    Thank you!

    By the way, a dual boot option would be great! 


  • Anonymous

    As others have mentioned, as long as the hardware (especially laptops) have Linux drivers available, the choice of which Linux distribution comes pre-installed is not really that important.

     If Dell were to commit to providing BIOS upgrades, etc. in a way that is not Windows-centric (e.g. bootable FreeDOS or Linux-based ISOs that will flash the BIOS) then it’s even better.

     I might still buy a laptop with Windows pre-loaded, just because it’s much cheaper than buying Windows retail, but it would be nice to know I can choose to go Linux-only on it.

    (Oh, PS, if Dell were to put optional webcams on the Latitude line, I might just buy it for my next upgrade instead of a Macbook. Especially if Dell were to commit to making sure the hardware and firmware updates work with Linux. It’s for personal use, but I like the styling better than on the Inspiron line)

  • Anonymous

    Michael Dell over the years has repeatedly indicated that he will not support preloaded
    Linux on Dell machines because there are just too many Linux
    distributions. Too many Linux distributions = too complicated to

    At the same time, Dell is supporting five or six
    different versions of Microsoft Vista and at least four different
    versions of Microsoft XP preloaded on Dell machines.  That is at
    least ten different versions of Windows. Dell might still be supporting Windows 2003 server, as well – I don’t know. If so – at
    least eleven versions of Windows, all preloaded and supported by Dell.

    Michael Dell’s argument for
    not preloading Linux because there is more than one version of Linux
    rings kinda hollow, doesn’t it?

    It sure doesn’t affect his support for Microsoft Windows. 

    It is difficult for me to believe that Dell is sincere in
    engaging the Linux community. Very simply –

    The Linux community has asked for Linux preinstalled on Dell

    Dell has responded that Dell will make Dell machines
    available without Microsoft Windows on board.

    That is not what
    we asked for.

    We asked for Linux preinstalled on Dell

    Dell’s technique in dealing with the Linux community
    is smoke and mirrors. Obfuscation.  Try to make simple things

    Making excuses. 

    But you are dealing with thinking people, here.  We can see
    through that.

    You are not fooling anybody. 

    I won’t believe that Dell is sincere about all this until I hold a
    Dell laptop – preloaded with a Linux distribution – backed by Dell
    telephone support – with the wireless and the power management and
    the video all working as well on that laptop as on identical
    hardware running XP (not Vista!).

    Then – and only then – I may well buy a Dell laptop.

    Best Regards,


    The above was written using 2.0.4 on Fedora Core 6 on a Microtel
    desktop computer.

    I am currently in the market for buying a laptop preloaded with a supported Linux
    distribution with wireless, power management and video fully
    functioning right out of the box.

    Linux Desktop user since October, 2002 – doing great.

    Also have a Dell XPS Desktop running XP Media Edition SP2 – also doing great.

  • Anonymous

    I use ubuntu, but I don’t see that distro matters much.

    Just spec hardware that is supported by the linux kernal.  If wireless networking, dial-up modems, and dvd playing “just worked”… 90% of linux support demand would vanish and the community could easily handle the rest.

    I have purchased 3 computers from Dell (486, pentium II, pentium 4), but my most recent is an Acer laptop.  My next computer purchase (business-class laptop in the next year) will be largely driven by a strong desire to not give microsoft money for an OS I won’t use.  If I have to pay more and support a small company like system76, so be it.  If I can get a better deal through Dell, even better.

    If I feel like I am getting a good deal on a linux-compatible computer with the dell warranty and no run-around re: microsoft, bloatware, “recommended upgrades….”, junk keyboard I don’t want etc. I would definitely but Dell again.

    Thank you for listening.



  • Anonymous

    I (and my collegues in our research inst) do not care which linux

    distribution to be installed, though many of them preferring Ubuntu as of now. We are going to remove and partition it freshly and reinstall what ever the distro we want. All we want Dell to do is to ship the notebook/desktop with all the hardware supported directly from the latest kernel.


    Thanks for listening Dell. 

  • Anonymous

    The choice of laptops (xps m1210 notebook), desktops and servers with linux/bsd is important to me. Specifically, I would like to be able to purchase and support in laptops and desktops supporting Opensuse. (I prefer KDE)
    Please get your hardware vendors to cooperate with kernel developers and release specs that everyone can use.I can’t get the mic input to work.and webcam.
    Thank you for your time,

  • Anonymous

    Regardless of which Linux you choose to support (my favorites: Fedora+RHEL), the real issue is that there must be NO BINARY DRIVERS. Linux support means to me that everything works with free software and I think you will get negative feedback if you rely on binary drivers.



  • Anonymous

    About Time!

    My preferrence would be to see both Ubuntu and Mandriva.

    I can introduce you to the right person at Mandriva USA.

    You might want to consider letting local service providers register/certify as Dell support specialists and be listed in an online directory with a some sort of support agreement with Dell to your liking.

    Thank God for Someone finally doing this.  I need a new laptop.

  • Anonymous

    I would select PCLinuxOS ( It is by far easier to use and install than any other distro I have ever used. I know that it works well with Dell products as I have installed it on a variety of Dell hardware, all without issue. I can’t say that for any other distro, including Ubuntu (it didn’t like the video card) or openSUSE (it didn’t like my audio card). The community support of PCLinuxOS is much more open and ‘friendly’ than that of other Linux forums, too.

    Peace be with you.


  • Anonymous

    My personal preference would go to this scenario:

     – “Linux-certified” hardware through the whole product range.

    – the choice of “no OS installed” through the whole product range (at a discount w/r to a WinXX pre-install) — I don’t object to FreeDOS being installed, or a minimal linux of any denomination, but it’s not a requirement for me.

    – maybe the box could contain CDs or DVDs with the most popular community-supported linux distro (nice to have, not required).

    Regarding support:

    – phone-in support for the hardware is enough for my part.

    – I don’t see Dell as needing to invest anything in linux application support (that’s already more than covered by the community).

    – some form of mailing list / forum support (with Dell technicians on staff) for driver-related issues would be of considerable help.


    Ph. A.

  • Anonymous

    I do believe that Ubuntu is the way to go here.  If Dell would take the trouble to make sure that their hardware worked well with Ubuntu, we’re home free.  Remember that the Linux kernel community has offered to write drivers for any hardware at all.  The Ubuntu support and documentation community would certainly welcome any help they could get from Dell.  I for one would be overjoyed to see Dell systems preloaded with Linux.  I can’t imagine but that Dell would garner a large and highly influential sales force by firmly and convincingly committing to preload and support Linux on their systems.

     My only caveat is that the Linux systems should reflect the license savings in the retail cost.  Pocketing the customary M$ tax instead of passing the savings on to customers would be tragically shortsighted.

      I can’t tell you how much I hope that this is not just a bargaining tool for use against M$.  I await events with interest.


  • Anonymous

    As long as the hardware is fully supported under the current Linux kernel, I would be fully satisfied. I’m simply tired of buying a laptop only to find out that I need to play games with ndiswrapper and  the windows driver.


  • Anonymous

    I think a very important issue that hasn’t been included in the survey
    is the importance of 100% free software compatible hardware. This is
    especially an issue with laptops, where it’s not so easy to swap
    internal components, like modems, flash media readers, and most of all
    graphics cards.
    I think the right direction would be to make sure that the components
    used in Dell laptops and desktop PCs runs with a standard Linux kernel,
    without having to load proprietary modules. Based on their popularity
    and lack of vendor choice, you’ll need to make an exception for
    graphics cards here, but for standard I/O like on-board network cards,
    on-board modems, PC card slots, wifi cards (the Centrino ones), flash
    media slots or finger-print readers it’s actually very easy to get
    hardware with open source drivers. You only have to make a concious
    choice in favor of them.
    When I bought my last laptop (an HP nc6320, I might add) I selected it
    very much because it can run with open source drivers only. Actually I
    paid a bit more for this laptop than I would have paid for another one
    with nVidia or ATI graphics instead of the Intel graphics chip, but the
    trouble-free operation now is worth the additional selection effort by
    multiple times. Also, the high amount of ThinkPad buyers in the open
    source scene doesn’t come out of nowhere, IBM has built a reputation
    for hardware that just works with Linux.
    So my suggestion would be as follows:
    – For all (or most) Dell models, place importance on the availability
    of open source drivers for the hardware. Don’t deliver Linux on systems
    that need proprietary drivers (especially graphics) to work flawlessly,
    because those are the ones that are most likely to get you disappointed
    users and a million support calls.
    – Select a few models (a few Inspirons, a few Latitudes, etc.) that
    work perfectly with open-source-only drivers (integrated Intel
    graphics, Centrino WiFi, etc., as mentioned above), and preinstall your
    chosen Linux distribution on them. The Linux community will love you
    for that (hopefully).
    – If they prove successful enough, you can still broaden the Linux
    option onto other models, at the same time increasing pressure on the
    hardware vendors to ship open source drivers so that there is no risk
    of the user’s system being messed up on potentially every upgrade.
    Which in turn gets you satisfied users and less support calls.
    Oh, and try to deliver properly working BIOSes. Many of them, including
    mine, are bug-ridden (which makes suspend fail, and causes the battery
    status not being updated most of the time) and contain erroneous ACPI
    tables. That BIOS issue is mostly a consequence of being tested on
    Windows only – it shouldn’t be too hard to get the BIOS working
    properly on non-Windows machines (and non-Linux, like *BSD, would
    benefit from this as well), but it has to be done in the first place.
    So much from my side, I hope my input is helpful to you.

  • Anonymous

    One way to monitor relative popularity of Linux distros is to use Google Trends.  Here is a graph showing the frequency of Google searches for Ubuntu, Fedora, and Suse.  You can easily see that Ubuntu is dominating the Linux market and growing fast!

    Trend of Linux distros

  • Anonymous

    Polls like this a could make it look like they’re
    just trying to “stir the pot” so that Dell can continue to claim
    that Michael just can’t figure out which kind of Linux everybody wants
    — so instead of making a decision (like he’s never made a decision before?),
    Michael  can continue to talk the Linux talk, but fail to walk the
    Linux walk.  Which leads me to wonder — is there an MS VistaBird in hand driving what appears to be a decision to make no decision? 



  • Anonymous

    What Distro of Linux; who cares ?

    What Applications installed on top of OpenOffice; Who cares ?

    Which Antivirus ? There no need of Antivirus only to protect Windows users 🙂

    What we really care about is to have proper hardwares’ drivers working flowlessly with Linux; It’s really up to the computer’s manufacturer to select that hardware manufacturer that will not refuse to cooperate but cooperate with Linux to make it work at 100% of the capacity of that hardware. ATI has now a bad name in the community where nVidia has been smarter for example. HP is making himself a good name as well with better driver for their printers.

    Why not deliver the PC’s with different distro of gratis Linux ? It’s less that 20p a CD and save a lot of time of download to a new user. New or more aware users could easely then try one or the other until set on a particular one until better comes; Linux is also about choice.

    I would like to see Dell’s computers coming with a logo “Tried Our Best for Working with Linux” instead of “Certified Working with Vista” even if there isn’t even one distro delivered with it.


  • Anonymous

    I agree with Frank Russo, Joe, and Allan Gottlieb. Let me start by saying that you should NOT preload Novell’s SLED – you will get a lot of negative feedback if you do, and negative feedback means low sales.

    It’s just possible that you know from my blog that I am a (some would say “vocal”) Gentoo user. Despite that, and my misgivings on the distribution, I’m going to recommend that you install Ubuntu. It’s not one of the ones that will get people uppity because they, through you, have spent money on a distribution they don’t like; it’s not “difficult” like Gentoo, and it’s just possible that given the right hardware support, my qualms about Ubuntu will disappear. (People choosy enough to install another distro will simply be happy that you have chosen one that’s not controversial).

    Don’t get me wrong – it would be absolutely fabulous for me if you DID install Gentoo – but it’s probably not something that should factor as your ONLY Linux choice.

    One other piece of advice, if I may. If you don’t include proprietary codecs, I would advise customizing (or working with Ubuntu to customize) the desktop so that you have a link called “watch yer dvd movies ‘ere” or something (obviously you’re not going to call it that, but you get the idea). This would enable people to get started right away.

    Lastly, I agree with those who advise against the use of hardware which requires proprietary drivers.

    Thanks for letting me comment and best of luck with your Linux venture.

  • Anonymous

               Yes, it’s
    about the hardware, but it’s also about the drivers.  Just one
    major OEM and the iceberg will tip.  I’m sure Novell would love to
    jump on the pre-install support bandwagon.  This isn’t the dot-com
    bubble.  Linux is getting ready to make the jump to the desktop
    and some astute low-end OEM is going with them.  Just when Vista
    is asking 400 bucks for a floundering system.

  • Anonymous

    Since the actual survey site is hosed…..


    Preloaded Linux is important, especially on laptops.  Unless you like being flamed, you had better support one .deb based and one .rpm based.  Probably Ubuntu or Linspire for the .deb market and SUSE or RHEL on the .rpm side.  Fedora changes faster than Dell releases new models so that would be a nightmare.

     But if you do it you had better be prepared to really do it.  That means everything just works.  Modem, 3D video, suspend, WiFi.


    But longer term just doing preloads isn’t  going to totally satisfy.  Yes, the preload will work for for many folks, but we want to be able to load OUR distro of choice.  Having everyone on one software load is a big win.  And we need to be able to load new distros/versions as they come out.  This means the availibility of drivers and tech information is where you need to focus.  In fact if you picked a couple of product lines and made sure they were all supported by drivers in the default kernel/Xorg, etc. all you would need to do is have a chart online stating which models worked with what versions.  Plus links to download any blobs.  Yes we would prefer no blobs but until that happy day…..

  • Anonymous

    Felix Schwarz said:

    of which Linux you choose to support (my favorites: Fedora+RHEL), the
    real issue is that there must be NO BINARY DRIVERS. Linux support means
    to me that everything works with free software and I think you will get
    negative feedback if you rely on binary drivers.

    I am sure we will all agree that in the gnu/linux world binary drivers are bad but if a Dell System comes with an nvidia card then it needs those binary only nvidia drivers. The nv driver that xorg or the kernel provides will work but there will be no 3d acceleration etc. Some one who has been using gnu/linux for a while isn’t going to care if the system even comes with an os but for the people who have never used gnu/linux then they are going to think something is broken. And even if dell was to explain that the card needs a binary driver and we didn’t include it because the gnu/linux community might not like it the user isn’t going to care there just going to be upset that there dell pc isn’t working out of the box. All in all  it would be best if dell just does what they have to do in order to provide Dell Gnu/Linux pc’s with out making the consumer mad because of a political decision on binary drivers.

  • Anonymous

    A few suggestions (for the free Linux flavors only)

    Offer multiple levels of basic support, for example

    – free community support

    – per-incident and subscription email support

    – per-incident and subscription phone support

    Offer upgraded/escalated support in conjunction with vendors, for example:

    – Ubuntu – Canonical

    – openSUSE – Novell

    – Fedora – None? good job, RedHat! 

    with Open Source projects that enable downloadable drivers, for example
    the Ubuntu printer driver download project (
    ), which in practice work very much like Apple’s OS X printer driver

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, one other thing:

    Please, Please, Please try to make sure your Linux desktops are as cheap or (better) cheaper than the equivalent Windows model.

  • Anonymous

    A lot of people here don’t seem to realise that Dell won’t want to sell Linux-preloaded machines only to people that are already familiar with Linux but to a much broader market (and this would include many people who are already interested in Linux).

    This means that they should definitely preinstall some version of Linux. (K)Ubuntu and/or PCLinuxOS would be good choices in my opinion, with the option of paid support as one of the “upgrades”, provided by eg Canonical or some other business (which Dell doesn’t have to worry about except to ensure there is a decent level of customer satisfaction with this service). This way Dell wouldn’t have to worry about supporting another OS and people would be clear that if they haven’t purchased software support then they aren’t going to get it from Dell. They already offer warranty upgrades so from the consumer’s point of view this isn’t that different. They could also offer to preload the important codecs for mp3s/DVD etc for a small fee (as an upgrade) or include the licensing costs in the price of the PC.

    Of course it is important that all hardware in these machines is fully supported under Linux (ie free software  and also that the price is cheaper than for a computer with Windows installed. If this is the case then it really doesn’t matter to more advanced Linux users which distro is installed as they will have the ability to easily install a distro of their own choice (as 90% of them probably would anyway) without having wasted any money on MS licenses.

    It seems to me this course of action would suit everyone who cares: easy and profitable for Dell, casual or novice Linux users are not overlooked and experienced Linux users are happy with the knowledge that whatever they choose to install will not have any issues with the hardware. 

  • Anonymous

    I hope dell doesn’t make these machines more expensive then it’s windows counter-parts.

    I already bought myself a latitude notebook and it ran linux all hardware supported out of the box. It would be nice to know that I don’t have to take risk by choosing a dell machine for non-working hardware.

  • Anonymous

    I am requesting Ubuntu as this is (what I read and perceive) to be the most popular linux distro now. I am using it on my 2 desktops and laptops and its been the easiest distro since I switched from Windows ( I tried a couple of distros from the top list on I am looking to buy a mid-priced  laptop soon and I would love to have Ubuntu pre-installed and more importantly all hardware are supported out of the box.

  • Anonymous

    Any distro will do, because most people will probably change it. The most important thing is that all the hardware must be FULLY working, with a vanilla Linux kernel and *ONLY GPL DRIVERS*. Everything else is secondary.
    This means principally:

    1) Modem must be a proper serial modem (not a Winmodem, not even if there are binary drivers available)

    2) WiFi with GPL’d in-kernel driver. (Please don’t rely on NDISWrapper – it’s too ugly)

    3) 3D graphics must also work. Please either use an Intel chip, or put pressure on nvidia to supply a properly GPL driver.

    4) Full documentation. 

    It would be good if Dell also provided a wiki, and some documentation on the setup required.

     As for the distribution, I’d probably say install a “fat” version of (K)Ubuntu, i.e. with virtually all the applications (including both Gnome and KDE) installed, so that the user doesn’t have to download them (not everyone has broadband!).
    You should also include all the restricted multimedia stuff. 


  • Anonymous

    I’m probably not a typical open-source advocate, but here’s my situation:

    I buy Windows laptops fully intending to re-partition the hard drive and install Linux in a dual-boot configuration.  I use Windows about as much as I use Linux, so I’d be very happy to simply see a  “Certified to work with Linux” statement when buying.

    The assurance that all the hardware would be supported by the Linux kernel (including standby mode, etc.) would be all I’d need, and I’d be willing to pay slightly more for that assurance.  (Being able to select a different configuration guaranteed to work with Linux for $20 more would be fine.)

    What I wouldn’t like to see is a separate line of laptops geared toward Linux only, which I think would be a step in the wrong direction and wouldn’t be commercially very successful.


  • Anonymous

    Any Linux distro will work, but I would probably limit pre-installed options to Fedora, SUse or Ubuntu. Would be great to have a choice with KDE or Gnome.

    Main thing is hardware and drivers that work with Linux, without NDISwrappers, or any other emulator.

    I know that DELL cannot possibly certify every distro, so don’t try. Pick one or two, and let the user make the choice if they wish to change it. 


    Dr. Paul W. Nichols

    Atlanta, GA 


  • Anonymous

    If you are serious about offering linux preinstalled, all I can say is thanks.   I will definitely purchase a laptop from you when I need a new one in about 6 months.



  • Anonymous

    What kind of system I’d buy with Linux?

    redundant hotswapable power, dual or quad cpu (xeon / opteron), nvidia dual setup (f.e. 2x 1950), dual serial scsi, raid 5, dual ethernet 1 gbps, dual fiber, dvd / blueray burner, 4x usb 2.0, external scsi

    in a nice 19″ 5u casing

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see why Dell needs to make the choice. Choice is something the end user should make, not the vendor. Once Dell’s hardware is supported by stock vanilla Linux kernels, all the community based distris will be easy to install – and then, Dell can just keep a master image from such an install to preload either OpenSuSE (Gnome or KDE?), Fedora, or [K]Ubuntu, depending on the buyer’s choice. Linux gives you choice, and that’s why I like Linux.

    I actually don’t need a preinstalled Linux, I just want to make sure that it *runs* without problems. To ensure this, Dell has to work together with the community, anyway, and the distribution is not the main interface here – Dell has to talk to the kernel developers.

    I can’t see why Dell shouldn’t be able to give that choice to the user – most web hosters can do that, too. You can order root servers with a selection of the typical web server distributions (of which I prefer Debian – on the desktop, I prefer OpenSuSE). That way should be open to Dell, as well.

    Dell doesn’t do surveys like “should we prioitize on 40/60/80/100GB hard disks?”, they just offer the choice. That’s how build to order works. If I have to tell Dell how BTO works, there’s something wrong with Dell ;-).

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for asking the community!

     As far as I am concerned, it does not really matter which distro or even of any is pre-installed as long as these things happen with Dell laptops/desktops:

    1. Dell should use hardware which has open source device drivers (preferrably ones in the mainline kernels) on these “linux friendly” models

    2. Some sort of knowledge base/forum/wiki system should exist for the users/developers on Dell related hardware. Dell should treat this as the primary means of offering support and make an effort to moderate the forums and maintain the accuracy of the knowledge base. This would not involve more then a few dedicated (but very knowledgable) individuals as such online systems are great amplifiers of manpower in this area.

    Free telephone support for the OS should not be a part of the equation and Dell should make this very clear at the time of purchase of any of the “Linux configurations” of the systems. This way Dell would be only responsible for the hardware itself (to this end a bootable diagnostics CD would be probably a good idea to prevent custom  — and messed up — Linux installations from being any sort of hindrance in this)

    3. Customers to have the ability to purchase these units blank (FreeDOS or what not) so that they can setup their custom flavours of Linux or pre-installed with at least one free community supported distro. This means that RedHat/Novell/SUSE should not be the only choices. 

    4. No Microsoft Taxation of any kind

    The rest will take care of itself.

    I am sure that bonus profit opportunities will exist for Dell in pre-installing various distros for those of us who need a large number of desktops to arrive pre-configured or are too lazy to setup a base system.

    Also if Dell plays it right, no telephone support costs for Dell of any sort should be involved, instead any telephone support should be strictly fee based and represent another profit opportunity.

  • Anonymous

    As most have mentioned, hardware support is the most pressing issue.

    Begin with the hardware so we can buy with the confidence everything will work. 

  • Anonymous

    My previous laptop was a dell; my current one isn’t (it’s a vaio). What would have made the difference (or will make it next time – from this point of view the vaio was an awful choice) was not whether or not linux was pre-installed, but whether or not linux was guaranteed to be easy to install. I mainly use gentoo; whatever other version of linux was on there, I would probably take it off and reinstall. So what I want is not a preinstall; I want a laptop which is up-to-date with features, competitively priced (but not necessarily bottom of the range), and where I know in advance that drivers are available for all the hardware. A real killer would be if it could be guaranteed that free, non-proprietary drivers were available for all the hardware.  After that,  I’m happy not to have any software support – provided I haven’t had to pay a premium for a bare machine with no software support.

    Thanks for listening!



  • Anonymous

    If you use binary drivers, make it clear, so everyone who wants only open source drivers can easily select a computer with only open source drivers.

  • Anonymous

    You can’t make everyone happy with choosing a distro, so don’t try to. People who aren’t happy with the choice and prefer another one know what they want and can install it for themselves, so don’t worry too much about making the wrong distro choice.

    Choose one that is preferred by users who don’t know what a kernel, OS or IDE is. And for those users the IDE choice is more important than the distro choice.

    I don’t know how Dell install the software on the hardware, but technically it’s quite easy to install multiple distributions on the same harddisk, though on different partitions. Then the user can choose which one to run. This can be done in multiple ways:

    – At bootup the user can choose which one to run in Grub.

    – At bootup the user can choose which distro to use and remove the others (and maybe moving the chosen one to the primary partition).

    – Before the hardware is delivered the above step is done by Dell
     according to the user’s preference.

     Assuming all harddisk receive their content in the factory, and not at their final destination, this has the advantage that only one image is needed, while keeping user choice.

    For me personally the software choice doesn’t really matter as I can easily install something else. What I care about is the hardware choice. I’m currently interested in a lightweight portable laptop that runs for hours on end, with only Linux friendly hardware. That’s hardware from vendors who support Linux by providing specs or writing open source drivers for their hardware (with as result that their hardware works out of the box). So for me that means no ATI or Nvidia for graphics, nor VIA, so only Intel integrated graphics is left right now. Which is fine for me as I don’t care about playing games. Other important components with the same restrictions are wireless and a chipset with suspend support. When having things like a fingerprint reader it also should also have Linux support from the hardware vendor.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to see RHEL/Fedora & SLED/OpenSuSE be the main ones since they are the most widely used distro’s.


    At this stage just staying the course and providing support LONG term for Linux and providing hardware to work with it fully. 

  • Anonymous

    In response to Richard Neill:

    You can’t include “all the restricted multimedia stuff” – that would mean license fees, and pricey boxes. What’s so hard in downloading that multimedia parts, as it is done now?

  • Anonymous

    My suggestion is to avoid going with the “most popular” Linux distribution and instead go and buy one. Dell Linux would vault you instantly into the Open Source world with your own set of developers ensuring that your Dell Linux distribution works on every computer you sell. Regarding enterprise and business customers, you need not jeopardize your current RH and SLED sales or agreements. Dell Linux would serve to cover the rest of your line up of products. The win-win is that an already successful and innovative Linux distribution (I’m thinking Mandriva here) would live on while Dell’s paid corps of Linux coders would make the Open Source world stronger than ever.

    Thanks for seeking or opinions.

  • Anonymous

    Almost anybody who has tried several distros in the last 6 moth or so would agree that Ubuntu is not the best – it is just a soap bubble blown up by its own self propagating story. True Ubuntu soap opera is attractive but thats all. Ubuntu forums is a  desert of unanswered posts. Mepis 6.5 and PSLinuxOS are worth looking into. Mepis website is a total mess though. My bet is that Linux will become usable on the desktop in two years and the challenge for Dell is to pick a distro to support that will be the most profitable for users, Dell and the distro.

  • Anonymous

    I’m just waiting for Dell to release a fullly hardware supported Linux laptop.

    By hardware support, I mean: working wireless, power management and video (including external screen) fully
    functioning right out of the box. 

    New products = new niche = plenty of new customers.

  • Anonymous

    I support Linux as too many pre-installed systems have too much demo/cripple/trialware installed which often cause problems.

    As a specific example, my wife has a Dell system.  We installed a software program which is just a simple photocopier.  That worked fine until later when we needed to edit a photo to shrink it’s size for web posting.  This was several months after we recieved the machine.  The included photo editor turned out to be a limited function limited time trial which already expired.  The downside is it hijacked the flatbed scanner.  Opening the photocopier and pressing copy launched the scanner interface which launched the photo editor which prevented the copier from getting the scan.  Uninstalling the offending program did not make anything better but caused Windows to launch a search for the missing photo editor.  The fix was to move the scanner to the Ubuntu machine and use the sane scanner interface.  Gimp is much better and comes included in Ubuntu than the demoware editor included with Dell home PC’s.  Out of the box, a fresh Ubuntu install is much more production worthy than the Dell XP pre-load.


  • Anonymous

    Windows Vista being nothing but a step backwards I am definitely interested in a Linux system, a laptop to be precise. Ubuntu or a strong Red Hat desktop with all the functionality of a laptop. That includes Dell printer drivers for Linux (yep…), anti virus, IP telephony, web cam support just like a Mac.


    Dell has the opportunity to beat the Mac with Linux. Really. This won’t happen with Windows… quite the opposite. Thanks for listening.  

  • Anonymous

    The most important thing in my opinion is that all the hardware is supported and fully working out of the box.

    Also that the customer knows that if they buy linux there will be linux hardware support.

    Also it must be as cheap if not cheaper than an equivalent windows machine as linux is open sourse

  • Anonymous

    What are Dell’s strengths? Good hardware, reasonably good warranty and support, and *low price*.  Linux’s strengths?  Flexibility, dependability, *low price*.  Keep distro flexible & hardware vanilla (no binaries etc) and keep the price down.  As you have certainly noticed, it’s an area of increasing competition–Dell could easily do the majority of this business by getting going right away.

  • Anonymous

    Survey does not seem to work. I get an empty page.

    I see that the Ubuntu fanboys are quite present in the comments. I find the American Ubuntu PR bubble always quite entertaining. Looking around in Europe I see Fedora Core (and CentOS/RHEL) being used more widely than anything else. Second place goes to OpenSUSE. Someone suggested that the two “leading” distro’s from should be taken (guess which one is their #1). If you read up on *how* Distrowatch determines their ranking it becomes clear why it would be a rather silly mistake for a serious business to base their decision on that ranking.

    Both Fedora and OpenSUSE are backed by leading corporations that Dell can easily (continue to) work with. So there are only two distro’s worth considering (with all due respect to the others) and those are Fedora & OpenSUSE. And there is only one desktop that you want to ship to new customers that may have little experience with Linux. And that is Gnome. Simple, efficient and clean. It makes sense for Dell to do the sensible business thing and use Fedora 7 and OpenSUSE 10.3. Anyone that loudly disagrees can probably install their flavor of the week on the box anyway and probably even assemble their own PCs from parts.

    Selling to the average *majority* is where the money is made. Mom & Pop that want to buy a new PC for the family. And with Fedora and OpenSUSE they will get something that will work for them out of the box. Something that has considerable brand recognition. Both Red Hat and Novell are well known names and it is safe for Dell to tie its name to both vendors. Does Dell want to spend its marketing dollars on selling the box or on trying to explain what, for example, Ubuntu is and why the customer should take the next step of considering a Dell PC with Ubuntu which requires another round of marketing dollars. Makes no sense. Dell, I appreciate your efforts and if you need any help shoot me an email. Be happy to pitch in and contribute.

  • Anonymous

    i think dell should concentrate on offering a few desktop and laptop computers which only have hardware which is supported in the standard linux kernel (and debatedly nvidia graphic cards, though i could understand why that would be a bad idea).


    if the hardware works in a vanilla kernel, then support for the software can be outsourced to canonical or whoever (I’d be in favour of ubuntu).

    it would also be really nice if dell could get rid of these “dell recommends microsoft whatsit” from the site, but i imagine there are legal reasons for this. 

  • Anonymous

    In my opinion the list of distributions is very limited for people like me who prefer KDE over Gnome, arguably the majority of Linux users. OpenSuse is not a preferred option for those of us who oppose Novell’s deal with Microsoft.

    I think at the very least you should include Mandriva, Mepis and Kubuntu as options.

  • Anonymous

    This could be simple for Dell.  For each Linux option you have on your web site have a agreement with the Linux distributor that when someone calls Dells help number the phone call is routed to Ubuntu or other Linux distributors and let them handle the help desk. Offer both free using forums and paid support that will be offered by each Linux Distro.  That way, you can have Ubuntu, Novell or Redhat as choices for the consumer.  That takes care of the consumer and corporate markets.  All Dell has to do is what it already does on its servers and have Dell engineers work with the software engineers from the Linux distributors to certify the hardware with the different distros.

  • Anonymous

    I would recommend Ubuntu simply because I think it is and is continuing to be the easiest to use and if anyone runs into a problems, the Ubuntu Forums are community-renowned for their ability to assist people who are having problems with Ubuntu/Kubuntu.


    I do like OpenSUSE and Fedora Core also, but believe that Ubuntu is a better alternative for your average ex-Windows user.

  • Anonymous

    ALL machines should be available:

    1) bare, at a discount compared to a Windows-based machine

    2) with appropriate hardware drivers for Linux and popular BSDs.  No-cost drivers and a bare-bones “howto” should be available on the Dell web site and on a CD included in the box.  If drivers are not available, a detailed specifications necessary to write a driver should be available without charge or NDA restrictions.  Distro vendors can incorporate these drivers or not as they see fit.

    Also:  Hardware that does not have drivers and for which cost-free, NDA-free specs are not available should be labeled as such, e.g. “3D graphics capability requires Microsoft Windows XP or newer.”  The amount of such hardware should be minimized and NO essential hardware or hardware common to most PCs should ever fall into this category.  This means all PCs should have Linux and BSD drivers or “open” specifications for USB, 2D video, sound, networking, drive subsystems, keyboard/mouse, etc.

  • Anonymous

    As far as I’m concerned, Dell can arbitrarily pick any of the popular Linux distributions, as long as at least some laptop and desktop models are available that work out of the box with only free software drivers (including the tricky bits, video and wireless). As long as this is made available, those who don’t like the distro you choose can easily replace it with another distro.

    Another thing you could do, independently of whether you even bother to support Linux at all, is to make sure that buyers have enough information before their purchase to determine whether Linux is likely to work for them. This includes info on chipsets used for wireless, Ethernet, video, etc.



  • Anonymous

    I would encourage the pre-installation of (k)Ubuntu as well, more than any other distro. The reason for this is because (k)Ubuntu is already 1) the single most popular Distro, and 2) fully hardware compatible with Dell systems [with a few tweaks here and there but nothing which can’t be done before the machine ships, i.e. DVD support, wireless cards, dial-up modem].

  • Anonymous

    Hardware support is the key. Use *your* purchasing power to influence your providers to provide specs  (or open drivers) to the community.  As far as video is concerned, it depends on the market – nVidia binary drivers are better than ATIs at this point, especially for gaming and HD, but the hardcore group wants stricly open drivers… Similar  issues  exist for WiFi, sound cards, etc.

    As stated before go with both a .deb and .rpm distro. Red Hat is ok but probably not Fedora. Suse will work for some, not others, but I suspect the most vocal anti-novell-MS will use a Debian-based distro anyway. Look at Linspire (or Freespire) on the .deb side for multimedia capability or one of the Ubuntu options. 

    Here’s an idea – support RedHat (and/or Suse) and Linspire but offer unsupported installation DVDs for Fedora, Freespire, and Edu/K/Ubuntu. Just make sure you provide driver support.



  • Anonymous

    I really hope you actually follow through with this. The things I would like to see are:

    1) Hardware support

        – webpages showing how to configure the video or modem or network  card or wireless

        – hardware should BE supported. It is very annoying to have a great laptop with the wireless with no drivers because the chip set maker is too short sighted to provide any support for their device. (Nvidia has a good starting compromise for their hw, they provide a binary and a compatibility layer that is open)  

    2) Phone support. When I call up my DSL provider for support I am very frustrated by the utter stone wall I get if I mention Linux. (The problem is consistently on their side) Please acknowledge Linux. You could provide differing levels of support. IE for the basic factory config you could have a reinstall like they do for windows (BUT have your default install put the home directory on a DIFFERENT FS  so it is not wiped by a reinstall) A simple thing like that would go A LONG WAY to making customers happy. (hehe you could do the same for windows too BTW) More intricate configuration you could charge for. 

    3) I prefer Fedora, but for whichever distro you choose, please preload all the codecs and Mplay, and xine and such so that all that cool web content works out of the box. I am comfortable with doing that myself, but many aren’t.

    4) Be honest about your offerings and intentions. I know some want software to be utterly free. Thats fine. But I realize that people need to eat. So if you need to keep part of the MS tax to pay for this effort on your side, be honest and say so.  Say how much you are keeping and let the market decide. I for one would appreciate the honesty.

    5) Support a dual boot option. ITS NOT THAT HARD TO DO.

    6) Listen to your internal people who know Linux. I bet they could give you a BUNCH of good ideas.

    7) Participate in the Linux community. Embrace it. Learn it and Love it. This would be a mindset change for Dell. Your company would be the better for it I think, even your Windows customers would benefit I think.

    A lot of the things I mention here would benefit the Windows user I think.

    Lastly THANKS!!!!

    Thank you for listening to your customers. I have bought Toshibas in the past, but would give SERIOUS consideration to a properly supported laptop from Dell.



  • Anonymous

    Here’s how I would place Dell’s priorities in supporting Linux (in order of decreasing importance):

    • provide the “no operating system” option on all hardware that doesn’t include the Microsoft tax. If Microsoft is afraid that people might use this “no OS” option to install pirate copies of their OS, then simply add a declaration during the online sale that that hardware will not be used with pirated OSes.
    • provide hardware compatibility testing for the big 3 Linux distributions: RedHat, SUSE, and Debian since if you support RedHat then Fedora will be automatically supported, and if you support SUSE then openSUSE will be supported and if you support Debian then Ubuntu will automatically be supported. Such compatibility tests are easier than you’d think since hardware support is determined mostly by the kernel version, so supporting the oldest kernel version of Debian, RedHat, and SUSE is enough to support them all. Just knowing the compatibility level is a big help.
    • once the results are known, the next priority should be to replace incompatible hardware with  hardware that’s compatible.
    • once that’s known, the next step should be to give RedHat, SUSE, and Ubuntu early access to your hardware (under NDA if necessary) so they can certify your hardware. This might be done in parallel with the previous step. This certification Logo would help sales of your hardware even if you don’t preinstall or ship an OS.
    • Make arrangements with RedHat, SUSE, and Ubuntu to ship a copy of their installation CDs with each “no OS” computer and provide information on support options from the vendor (yes, Ubuntu has support too).
    • Provide the option to preinstall one distribution (RedHat, SUSE, Ubuntu) and provide support information.
    • Provide the option to preinstall any of the three distributions.
    • Provide direct support for a distribution. The only distribution of the three (that I know of) that welcomes multiple support resellers is Ubuntu, but it might be possible to make arrangements with RedHat and/or SUSE too. WRT supporting Ubuntu, the long term support versions is likely the best one to pick since you’ll only have to worry about one release every few years (just like RedHat or SUSE).

  • Anonymous

    With all the problems using any microsoft os, having a choice of using linux or ms would be a great selling point for Dell.



  • Anonymous

    I’d like Ubuntu preinstalled since it seems to be the most popular distro nowadays.

    As for the drivers, I woul like if you did put some pressure on nvidia or ati to supply an open source drivers. With open source drivers your notebooks would work much better than with the best proprietary drivers. And possible problems or instability with the new or older releases of Linux kernel would be eliminated. Or consider including Intel chips instead, which have fully functional open source drivers.

  • Anonymous

    I vote for the Ubuntu distributions, providing only distributions linked to corporations wouldn’t be such a strong action.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous


    The most popular desktop Linux vendor choice appears to be Ubuntu (Oct 03, 2006). Ubuntu is also one of my favorites.

    Vendor count offering desktop Linux:


    24 (18.05%) Ubuntu
    20 (15.04%) Suse
    19 (14.29%) Fedora
    18 (13.53%) Linspire
    11 (8.27%) Redhat
    8 (6.02%) Debian
    8 (6.02%) Xandros
    6 (4.51%) Mandriva
    5 (3.76%) Gentoo
    4 (3.01%) Centos
    4 (3.01%) Slackware
    2 (1.50%) mephis
    1 (0.75%) ELX
    1 (0.75%) Frontier
    1 (0.75%) Icepack
    1 (0.75%) PclinuxOS


    13 (22.03%) Ubuntu
    10 (16.95%) Fedora
    10 (16.95%) Suse
    5 (8.47%) Debian
    5 (8.47%) Redhat
    4 (6.78%) Centos
    3 (5.08%) Linspire
    3 (5.08%) Mandriva
    2 (3.39%) Gentoo
    2 (3.39%) Slackware
    1 (1.69%) emperorlinux
    1 (1.69%) mandrake

  • Anonymous

    I just bought a Compaq notebook. Well, my next machine will be a Dell.  (A few months down the road). Please give this some time, and focus on compatibility of hardware with Linux – i.e., open source drivers – because it’s very easy to install most Linux distributions. Most serious users don’t care which distribution is shipped/supported so long as their hardware works.

     Something not addressed: will there be an option (for a fee) of having codecs on these pre-installed machines? That is probably a big issue to consider.

     I appreciate your efforts.


  • Anonymous

        I personally tried several distributions before deciding that SuSE’s offerings were the “best bang for the buck”.  Each had both strengths and weaknesses, but being new to the Linux World gave me different desired qualities, support and documentation being among the highest.  With a company like Novell currently backing it, there are few which can compete with SuSE on every conceivable level.  While I realize the question of favorite distro can get quite heated, we’re looking for one which can perhaps spread Linux to those who would otherwise not try it.  Ease of use, included software, maximum support – this is what each distro should be measured by.  Linux users have a tendency to forget that – while Microsoft gets bigger.  While I laugh about it now – trips to the command line to load software used to scare the …. out of me.  Your average Windows user has no idea what the command line is, what it’s for, or what to do when it’s open.  It’s like some secret black opening into the soul of the computer to them.  Keep telling newbies “it’s soooo simple, just open a shell prompt and type…”, and we’ll lose completely.

    Might I recommend a preloaded version of Open SuSE, complete with proper hardware support (especially for the wireless cards), better documentation, and some of the included software.  I can’t imagine a Windows user ever needing Apache loaded on a laptop, for example – but at the same time, they would like to be able to actually watch a DVD while on that long flight – and without having to download this file or configure that file.

    Having Dell move to accept Linux as a viable OS is exciting.  Maybe, just maybe we can pull more people from the “dark side”.  First though, we need to give them something they can use…without the scary shell prompt.

  • Anonymous

    As a lot of people have already said, please make sure every piece of hardware on the system you’ll preload with Linux works on FOSS drivers. Basically every distribution uses the same upstream projects, so if your hardware is completely supported by FOSS software, then nearly all distributions will eventually support it.

    If you want to offer official support, I’d encourage you to look at Red Hat. It’s the biggest distributor and also gives a lot of their code back to the community. It’s the biggest company to contribute to the kernel. Ubuntu/Canonical never give anything back and seem to always tell people to use closed source drivers. Not really what you’d expect from a sensible Linux vendor.

  • Anonymous

    A “Designed to work with Linux” sticker would be great!  If your hardware engineers would work with kernel hackers to ensure compatibility, just knowing the hardware works with the kernel would be sufficient for me.  Then just add the option for no pre-installed OS on your ordering forms and knock off the price Windows and any other pre-installed software.

  • Anonymous

    Basically, if Dell offers a functional (decent 2D video and
    wireless) machine with GNU/Linux pre-installed with no proprietary
    drivers (wireless/video) or non-free BIOS, they will have my business
    indefinitely. And as an influential purchaser for computers in schools,
    I would do my best to recommend Dell as well.

    I think using
    gNewSense as a base may be a good start. If you can offer a functional
    machine with gNewSense, then those that wish to forfeit their freedom
    can do so on their own by wiping gNS off and installing Ubuntu,
    FreeSpire, or Linspire as they are all a part of the same stack built
    originally from Debian.

    I think it would be a mistake for
    Dell to underestimate the growing market building around the demand for
    a 100% free system. I don’t see that market doing anything but getting
    stronger as time goes on. I think it would be wise to grab that base
    and build on it over the years. If Dell simply goes for the “Linux”
    crowd and aims for mediocrity by not working for a 100% free system, I
    think they lack vision. Again, I can’t stress this enough – The demand
    for thoroughly free systems will only continue to grow.

  • Anonymous

    Dell, start with your most popular systems. For the other systems tell us the kernel version that supports it.

  • Anonymous

    I think Dell is “concerned” about the wrong things.

     (1) We’re not asking for techinical support, so don’t worry about that.

     (2) We don’t care which distribution you use.

    What we care about is:

     (1) Hardware that works with the Linux kernel itself.  This means Dell could select hardware that already works with Linux or put pressure on hardware component vendors that don’t have Linux support to do so.  E.g. use Intel wireless chipsets instead of Broadcom

    (2) Don’t make us pay a Microsoft tax.  Even if you can not reduce the price, promise us that none of the money we pay for the computer will be forwarded to Microsoft.

    (3) Let us select Linux instead of Windows for OS selection in the ordering process.

     Rick Niles.


  • Anonymous

    The choise of Linux distro doesn’t matter all that much. The important thing is that the hardware in the laptop is supported by the standard Linux kernel and the need for closed source separately installed drivers are minimized. This will ensure low support costs over time.

    The hardware should also be specified at chip level.

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t matter what distro. Even people who prefer a different distro would appreciate it: the fact that it comes with linux (ANY linux) would prove that the hardware is Linux-friendly. It’s also a way for monopoly-boycotters not to pay the Microsoft tax – which distro it comes with doesn’t matter there either.

    So don’t pick the most popular or most requested distro. Like Dell reps have said, you can’t please everybody on that. Just pick the easiest to support, most user friendly distro that has drivers for the hardware you include. In my experience the distro with the most users who get along fine even without knowing much about linux would be Ubuntu.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to see Ubuntu or Kubuntu preinstalled on laptops and able to fully utilize all on-board hardware (video, sound, wireless NIC, modem, etc.).  Then I’d like to be able to easily install later *Ubuntu releases either through release updates or fresh installs and automatically have all hardware recognized and working with minimal configuration.   

    You may also want to offer Red Hat or SuSE, obviously at a higher cost than the free Ubuntu, for corporate customers who want a pre-installed OS with a longer history.  Again, one of the keys is to have all the hardware recognized and working.   

    As a way to do this, Dell should become a Linux community contributor.  Work humbly with the development community to release GPLed hardware drivers for your products.  Throw your weight around with your present and potential hardware suppliers to allow/develop GPL drivers or don’t do business with them.  I believe these moves would bring in a great deal of business from present hard-core Linux users, many of whom are in key purchasing decision positions.  Even if we are buying systems for Windows now for our corporate environment, we could make a brand preference knowing that a system can be converted to Linux in the future and not have to worry about hardware driver issues. 

  • Anonymous

    After reading almost all of the posts you can make your conclusion very easy.

    Make sure HARDWARE you use is supported by the linux kernel, the rest will be solved over short period of time. (Don’t forget to mention on the box “Linux compatible” or something like that.)

    After you’ve been assured your hardware run under linux, make a post to slashdot or digg with the link where I/we can order and that is…

    This is the only way ahead if you now step out after you put this poll, not delivering now will cost you money and credibility. Especially  if it turns out that some other big company like HP,Gateway etc.. do this before you.

    On the other hand delivering a solution soon can bring you money and brand recognition …. and probably the anger of MS 🙂

    Take the opportunity until embracing hardware linux support is still a NEWS and bring you alot of clients, or wait and you will be just one of the others.

    I think the linux community is big enough to make you millions of sales, but don’t wait otherwise it will give you just thousands or hundreds..






  • Anonymous

    Hi all,

    If dell claims to be so linux friendly one should start acting like one.

    your hardware partners to trough documentation to the open source
    community so better drivers can be written. It’s not like they need to
    give away the “hot sauce” of the product, just the proper documentation
    for someone to write a driver for it. If by any reason there’s no way
    this can happen at least release some binary blobs for operating
    systems like freebsd. 

    Anyway, as massive freebsd user I’d
    say testing your server class machines with freebsd before releasing it
    and get in touch with the people who develop the freebsd operating
    system so that your machines can work better with freebsd would be nice.



  • Anonymous

    I don’t care about software support.  I’m not very demanding.  I only want good power management on Dell’s laptops.  I can even live with sucky support for wireless and video.  Just fix power management, i.e. fix the DSDT so ACPI will work properly.

    Oh yeah, one more thing … fix power management.  Pre-installing Ubuntu would be nice but I can live with any flavor distro, as long as it supports power management.  Fix power management.

    Good luck on your journey, Dell.


    PS: Just in case I wasn’t clear, fix power management.

  • Anonymous

    Please evaluate more capable desktops than Ubuntu such as PCLinuxOS.


    Ubuntu is a “herd mentality” distro. It receives more credit than it is actually due because too many people think of it as “the” desktop distro simply because of what they have heard and don’t look much further.



  • Anonymous

    PLEASE, PLEASE let it come preinstalled with DEBIAN ETCH all preconfigured!

  • Anonymous

    As everyone else said, just make blank ones a option, or let the comsumer choose what OS, wether it be Windows or a distro of Linux. What really matters is the hardware.

  • Anonymous

    There are some basic tasks you need to tackle:

    1. Clean up your ACPI.

    2. Clean up your video BIOS.

    3. Either use linux compliant hardware components or publish the components specifications early enough for the community to provide open source drivers.

    4. Clearly state for EVERY modell and optional hardware component you offer the compatibility with Linux in a simple form. Something like: “Kernel 2.6.18 or newer required” or “Not supported with Linux”.

    5. Offer ALL modells in your web shop with the option to have “No OS preinstalled”.

    6. Either remove the “Dell recommends Windows” from your web shop or add “Dell recommends Linux” to it.

  • Anonymous

      Since it would be pre-installed, I see no reason why Gentoo is not the main choice.  Every package could be optimized for a particular model, and cloned…    Suse, and Ubuntu are very nice distros, but we need to face it that speed is at a disadvantage to a gentoo install using the proper flags.   Also, linux is linux to a degree..  As long as there’s a decent package manager (Please not Yast2), such as smart, apt, portage, etc, and the build tools are installed, I’m happy.  

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s been said more than 200 times here… HARDWARE.

    Make sure the hardware is well supported, then we can say:

    “If you want a linux laptop get a dell.”

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu seems the obvious choice that will appeal to the most laptop users. When I was at PyCon 2007 just about everyone was using Ubuntu laptops or Mac laptops.

  • Anonymous

    For me, I would love to visit dell and buy a D420 with Linux on it.  However, I would be just as happy if DELL would publish a list of all the (ok most common) models/components they sell and which ones work with linux (i.e kernel 2.6.20.x).  As an example: For a D420, you may have Video, Network, Model, DVD, Pointing Device,… with Yes or No next to them.   I might see this list and know that the modem doesn’t work with linux.  I might not need a modem so I buy it anyway.  Simple.  If I need a modem, I will fuss with it later on or look to a different model.  I think that a popular model will get a community driver written pretty fast for components that don’t work now.

    Doing it by distro would be cool but there are so many groups and even more versions.  The kernels are standard enough so a customer (like me) could see that a base D420 will boot properly (video, sound, …) using 2.6.20.x kernel.  Then for the options, I could look up which options have been tested and work with this kernel.

    I think people forget that linux is a kernel.  The distro just bundles the kernel (with a few mods) and some tools to make an installable package.  Testing with a SUSE or FEDORA/Redhat kernel should be good enough to certify the hardware.  The other distro will probably work just fine if these two work.

    This way, I can order a base model with a few options and no OS, build any linux distro on it _MY_WAY_, and be good to go.  How many linux users would wipe a pre-install anyway?  I would.  Linux is easy to install if
    you have kernel supported hardware.

    Dell could even do something like “recommended linux config” for various models.

    For any hardware DELL has not tested or never plans on testing, a user forum could help with the answer.  Power users could describe the kernel compile and whatever tricks that I am frankly to lazy to do.  DELL could also help developers write drivers by providing specs and testing resources.  This would probably ensure better and stronger support for DELL hardware in the kernel.

    For me.  When I went laptop hunting (in the linux world, I feel more like a hunter then a buyer) I looked at all vendors that made a good system (DELL, IBM…oh I guess that is it) and found information about install tests for various Thinkpad Models on IBM’s site.  Nothing for DELL.  Guess what I use for linux?  I would have gone with a DELL had I been able to get a comfort level that the hardware will work with only a little fuss with linux.   

    With a little testing and a few web page, DELL should be able to sell “Ready for Linux” laptops, desktops, and even servers.

  • Anonymous

    OpenSolaris should be among the choices offered by Dell, especially for server class systems.

  • Anonymous

    I have a Dell Dimension 8400 with a dual boot system. Win XP on one hd and Fedora Core 6 on the other. I replaced the ATI Radeon graphics driver with nVidia to take advantage of the 3D apps in Linux as there was not an upgrade in Linux for my ATI.

    In order to get more people using Linux it would be great having Linux preinstalled and configured and the hardware all compatible.

    I’m gonna be watching for the Dell computers with Linux on them. Can’t wait. 


  • Anonymous

    I honestly think dell should considering making their own distro

    They wouldnt have to pay money to other distros for their product.

    They can provide better support

    They can make sure its preinstalled with all working hardware easier.. 


    Thats not to say they cant base it on a distro that already exsits

     dellbuntu anyone?

  • Anonymous

    I think its great that you are interested in Linux, and in providing an OS option on your machines! I’ve been using SUSE Linux on my home system for several years, and now with Open Office available I have removed Windows since I no longer need MS Office. I use an older machine at home (an old Celeron 633) and Linux runs better on that hardware than Windows ever did!

    The biggest problem as I see it, is that lack of hardware support from hardware manufacturers. As an example, the Conexant “windows” modem in my home machine is USELESS in Linux. The system kernel can identify it, but there are no drivers for it unless I pay $20 for one that “might” work.

    At my work we use a mixture of older and newer hardware for desktops, though the network servers have been running Linux for years. The only problems with them are usually from hardware faults, like a bad disk drive, not with the OS. We have a few guys using laptops on the road, and it would be nice to have hardware support for those in Linux. (There are at least 5 Dell Latitude D505’s in the bunch that I know of. The other 6 are newer model Dell also.)

    Thanks again for being willing to listen to what your customers want!


  • Anonymous

    To me the distro is really irrelevant, but I did vote for Ubuntu although I’ve never used it. What I really hope is that DELL would choose components for their hardware that have open documentation (the GPU is the exception and nVidia is fine).

    What I don’t want is DELL to pair up with a commercial vendor and specifically make a DELL version of their linux distribution with binary blobs as drivers for their hardware. Having open hardware has the benefit that I can run whatever I want on the computer including the BSDs which I dualboot on all my boxes (I use them for software development and want to test on these platforms).

    I would also like make the point that most of my DELLs are actually rackmounted boxes. Just last week I ordered 10 rackmounted Sun AMD64 boxes, because their hardware was better supported on OpenBSD.

    It’s actually quite alarming that nowadays it’s difficult to find hardware that you can run Linux and BSDs on. For the BSDs you usually have to dig through mailing lists to make sure that all components have open documentation and are thus fully supported. What I hope for is to have pressure from an OEM to get hardware makers release open documentation for their hardware (intel NICs and wireless hardware in particular). This would really enable me to choose whatever I want for the software. This is particularily important for environments where standard pre-installed software won’t work (in my case clusters used for computing in academia).

  • Anonymous

    As many have said, the simple statement on the website of “Certified to work with Linux (kernel version, distro)” will give buyers a big reassurance before purchase. Adding a “No OS” option allows users to avoid the Microsoft tax when all they will do is repartition and install Linux. Adding a preinstalled Linux option would be a nice thing, but not the first step I would take. When it is taken, go with openSUSE and (K)ubuntu. You will cover the initial Linux user, and allow the rest of us to be sure we wouldn’t purchase a half working laptop.

  • Anonymous

    I would recommend ubuntu, as it seems it is much easier for a user to learn howto use a computer and even those who are used to windows to use.  Ubuntu is based upon debian, and uses the apt-get package manager which makes is easy to install new software. An example is installing non-free mp3 support and so on, just a few clicks in ubuntu, an excessive of reconfiguring in fedora or openSuse.

    I think one of the benefits of your company supporting linux is the ability to offer cheaper desktops and laptops, which will attract more business. This can lead to cheaper computers for everyone, as it would most likely start a trend. You would also be the retailer of choice for the open source users (and zealots 😉 ) worldwide.

     Anyway, good luck with supporting linux, I thank you for considering these ideas and hope you push forward in the linux market.


  • Anonymous

    What I’m looking for currently is a Linux laptop.  The distro
    installed is relatively unimportant to me; I run SLED 10, SUSE, and
    Fedora.  But if *any* Linux distro is supported, it is likely that
    just about any other distro can be made to work on it relatively
    easily.  I’m sending this e-mail from a Dell Optiplex GX280
    running SUSE.  I have another Dell computer in my other office
    running Fedora Core 6.  Both of those are work computers supplied
    by my employers. 

    When it was time for me to purchase a
    new personal desktop computer last December, I purchased it from a
    local computer retailer because they would sell it with SLED 10
    installed.  That computer is now running two versions of Fedora
    and, of course, SLED 10.

    I am in the market for a Linux
    laptop.  I like Dell’s hardware and if you were selling a Linux
    laptop, any distro would be fine.  As long as I knew that the
    hardware would be Linux compatible and that I wouldn’t have to pay for
    a copy of Microsoft Windows that I would just be formatting off the
    hard drive, then I would almost certainly order one from Dell.  If
    it weren’t preloaded with Fedora, then I would most likely be running
    it as a dual boot machine within a short period of time, but then
    that’s my choice and also my problem if I end up hosing the
    install.  And I wouldn’t need anybody’s permission to reinstall
    any free Linux distro if I did manage to hose my system, unlike a
    proprietary OS that comes to mind.  Even if it meant purchasing a
    subscription from RedHat or Novell that I might choose not to renew
    down the road, I’d be satisfied.

     It would also be fine with
    me if Dell chose to only support their hardware and left OS support for
    customers to either the distro vendor (if RH WS or SLED 10) or to
    normally available community resources for the “free” distros such as
    Ubuntu or Fedora or whatever.  

    It’s quite possible
    that you would end up finding your Linux customers generally far less
    demanding of support than your Windows customers.  We’re used to
    fixing our own problems and all many of us are looking for is hardware
    that we know is going to work with the OS we choose to run.

    Anyway, thanks for listening and good luck,



  • Anonymous

    the survey was about what i want dell to do.

    i actually don’t mind too much about the specifics, main thing for me is that dell pre-installs linux at all.

    i feel it’s up to dell to decide on the specifics of linux pre-installation – based on what they believe will sell best.


  • Anonymous

    Distro doesn’t matter except for newbies that may want to get their feet wet with linux.


    For the newbies, I would suggest (K)ubuntu preinstalled with

    a) simple method for installing dvd/multimedia support

    b) OppenOffice preinstalled

    Not having to pay for Windows – offer a cheap machine that has
    identical hardware with more software than a windows OS and I think
    more people will buy.  Myself included!!!

    d) For customer support, work out something with canonical as an option.

    Just make the hardware work!  (I would suggest atheros as they are
    doing well in the linux community already)  If it works well.

    last but perhaps not least – with the preinstalled distro, make the
    fonts and sizes look and feel Windows.  It is a small thing will
    make the transition easier for newbies.

    Some have questioned your
    motives and I hope that you are serious. I would start recommending
    DELL again to friends and family if a linux option were
    available.  I think you’ve taken the first steps in the right
    direction. Keep it up!

  • Anonymous

    I would highly recommend Ubuntu as first choice here since Pclinuxos did not make the pick list.

    The reasoning is simple. It is the best balance b/w all the linux
    distros. Moreover, should a user wish to install a different linux OS
    or distro on the same machine, they would be able to provided one of
    the other linux distros like Ubuntu can work there.

    I personally use and favor Zenwalk{Slackware-based},
    pclinuxos{rpm-based}, Sabayon {Gentoo-based} and then Ubuntu

    These distros and many others not mentioned are very capable, but
    Ubuntu edges them all in a few aspects. Ubuntu, like Debian has one of
    the largest repositories of softwares available at your finger tip with
    one of the easiest and unmatched package managers “synaptic.” More
    importantly, Ubuntu has the best community support bar none when it
    comes to speedy help to users via their forums and wiki guides.

    Even when plaqued with questions on some more complex tasks to very
    simple questions on other OSes or distros, I go to the Ubuntu forum as
    they give the speediest help ever.

    The closest distros to the simplicity, maybe even simpler than
    Ubuntu while being feature rich are Pclinuxos and Mepis.

    Ubuntu / Pclinuxos / Mepis works for all skill levels -beginner to experts to power users.

    A power user and tweaker would more than likely change their OS to something else.

    Another solution would be to give an option of dual-boot or
    triple-boot systems for users of the XPS systems such that they
    could boot to Ubuntu / Windows {gaming or rare proprietary apps.} and
    even BSD.

  • Anonymous

    If Dell starts supplying laptops with Linux, my next laptop will be Dell – as simple as that.

    Ubuntu is probably the best.




  • Anonymous

    I bought myself a Thinkpad because they are known to be the most linux compatible notebooks on the market. If  this would be the case  with DELL notebooks I would not hesitate to give DELL a try, especially when it would come with a preinstalled Ubuntu, my favorite distro. Yes, the whole world is waiting for this step to be done, it’s Linux time right now. Michael, do it please!

  • Anonymous

    PCLinuxOS works perfect for me.  I installed it on my new Dell
    laptop and everything works great – Audio, video, and wireless and I
    didn’t have to search the internet to find extra software to get it to
    work.  It just worked, and it didn’t take long for my wife to
    learn it and Love it.  Can’t wait for Dell to act on this idea.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a Xubuntu (Ubuntu with the Xfce desktop environment) user. I would recommend a modified version of either Ubuntu or Kubuntu (vanilla (K)Ubuntu requires a lot of configuring, IMO).

  • Anonymous

    Hello Matt,

     it’s great that DELL starts to take interest in GNU/Linux on the desktop. I hope that this will give GNU/Linux the final push it needs to get critical. Who knows. 😉

     As for me, I don’t care what distribution DELL will choose (if “they” descide to go forward with this). As long as there is an option to get GNU/Linux preinstalled on DELL data machines, people will have a choice and are not forced to pay the “Microsoft Tax”. And that’s a good thing.

    Having GNU/Linux preinstalled let’s me also hope for supported hardware. No winmodems anymore? That would be a dream come true. And imagine; Ubuntu (or Fedora, or SuSE) support from DELL? Amazing… 🙂


  • Anonymous

    I’d like to put forward Fedora. Simple as that.

  • Anonymous

    (K)ubuntu is the obvious choice both for the fast rate of development, heavy developer involvement, massive community support and widespread use.  While there has been no single head Linux distro for some time, (K)ubuntu has rapidly pulled into this spot due to the efforts of its community and Novell’s self-sabatoge of Suse.  The sheer user support is staggering; you can find a guide on how to do anything, and almost everything works from the beginning. 


  • Anonymous

    Many have commented that “users will install their own distribution”.

    am perfectly capable of installing my own distribution (at the moment,
    I mainly run Ubuntu 6.06, but have used Debian, Gentoo and RedHat
    [pre-Fedora]) over the years).

    However, I would LOVE to see the
    option of “Which Operating System …. XP, Vista, Ubuntu” available,
    and know that when my next machine arrives, it will be up and running
    within the length of time it takes me to enable a couple of packages.

    suspect that Dell would be far wiser to listen to the voting of all of
    us who participate in the poll, rather than just those of us who are
    touting our favourite distribution in the comments…

    … that having been said, Ubuntu rules!


  • Anonymous

    Hello Dell folks,

    I would like to echo the statement by
    several others here regarding truly open-specification hardware in your
    computers.  That is a big problem now, especially with video
    drivers and wireless connectivity.  “Binary blobs”, like what
    ATI/nVidia provide, are not good enough.

    Ralink and Realtek
    have published the programming API documentation for their wireless
    chips, without NDA, for all to read.  They’re actually pretty good
    wireless chipsets, too.  That’s why they’re supported by
    *everything*, even OpenBSD.  Please, ditch Broadcom.  Go with
    Ralink or Realtek.

    Intel has open-sourced their graphics
    drivers.  That means Intel graphics is supported–with Free
    drivers–for all F/OSS platforms.  For that reason, stick with
    Intel graphics by default.  Doesn’t stop you from offering
    ATI/nVidia graphics to the Windows users as an up-sell.

    Microsystems use the LSI Logic SCSI RAID card (vs. say, 3Ware or
    Adaptec) in their popular v20z and v40z servers for a good
    reason.  Not only are the LSI Logic RAID cards good performers,
    but LSI, too, publish their programming API specs without NDA
    requirements.  Thus, Sun is not beholden to *anybody* for drivers,
    and neither are their customers.  Everybody wins.

    Dell Inc., have massive buying power.  You *can* influence what
    hardware makers do through your own purchasing behaviour.  Simply
    choose only hardware/chipsets whose programming API specifications are
    available without NDA’s.  I’ve already listed some good choices.

  • Anonymous

    Dell should take a look at the actual server support needs for windows ones versus linus ones.  This should give a little light on the support needs.

    Take a look at the hardware RAID drivers that servers use: Dell makes the drivers, very distro agnostic, it is just a driver in linux kernel.

    Also, don’t try too hard to be distro specific, just make sure the hardware has the drivers, and be as bug free as they can be.   If the kernel boots and the drivers work, the rest can work.  Please open source drivers, so that freebsd comunity can also make them work.  Don’t go the closed source way, it is just not good.

    I understand that not all hardware can have drivers, some don’t depend on you, but provide options for those: wifi cards, printers, etc.

    But for the hardware that you do manufacture, like power managment, battery, charger, fancy buttons, etc, please provide them.

    Also, you could partner with other companies and provide solutions, like going to oracle and verifing that their tools work in the distro you offer, sort of offering red hat enterprise linux for oracle servers; so instead of servers target the desktop, the _applications_.

    Try IBM, SAP, etc _applications_   Servers are “easy” many companies already do it, but they don’t talk about the applications: Forms Reports, Lotus Notes, PowerBuilder, Delphi, etc.  Sort of: “Our Linux desktops run Forms/Reports”


    Great to know Dell is trying this out, and even better if they really commit to it and make it real. 



  • Anonymous

    I use Kubuntu and Gentoo on 3 computers at home and several more at work.
    I used to run Gentoo on an Inspiron 8200(2RM0F0J), which now runs Kubuntu because updating (emerge –sync && emerge -D world) Gentoo on that “iron” took too long in the end. Both OS did their job well on the Inspiron. The only thing that never worked was suspend/sleep/and the like with either OS. I would like to see that working in the future.
    I choiced “Ubunutu” as the preferred OS in the survey, but I would like to add Gentoo as well.
    Thank you for reading.

  • Anonymous

    All I want is a Notebook with Linux preinstalled (Ubuntu would be the
    best choice) and a GeForce. The day you offer me such product, I will
    buy it.

  • Anonymous

    Dell with linux, in all countries! Not only USA!

    I would also love to see an sticker : Ready for Linux “Kernel 2.6.10”

    for example, that would indicate that i can install linux on it without any hick-ups. Dell , you are now poineers of the new frontier! Good luck, i hope it succeeds! 

  • Anonymous

    Good job, surely you already know you’re getting a lot of buzz just
    pointing the idea and I, as many others, think this is maybe the right

    As almost everybody has stated previously, the main problem
    is hardware compatibility, specially on laptops, which are usually more
    ‘bleeding edge’. I think I’m a Linux power user and I’ve gone through
    some headaches getting some laptops (almost) fully working. In my
    experience the hardest devices are multimedia card readers, sound
    boards and wireless cards. Any distro should be great, they are all
    very similar, but I think Ubuntu (in my case, Kubuntu, I love KDE) is
    one of the most hardware friendly distros around.

    In my
    opinion, everything should be open source (though I like the idea of
    allowing the user decide whether install propietary drivers or not).
    Maybe a downloadable distro suited for every model would be a good
    idea, or setting up a software repository in order to upgrade it with
    the latest drivers.

    Regarding software, I think the basic pack
    should be OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Gaim, Mplayer, XMMS, some
    photo viewer/organizer, and a few more things.

    If this is not finally vaporware, my next Dell laptop will be a Dell. Go ahead, guys, and make the move!!

  • Anonymous

    I think distro choise not importan ; it can be any popular linux distro ( e.g SuSe . Kubuntu . Ubuntu , Pardus ). User can use any distro which they want . Point is driver support. When we buy laptop , we mustn’t try to install our hardware . This will make linux more sweety to new linux users.

  • Anonymous

    This is just too good to be true – preinstalled Linux on consumer PCs. Wonderfull!

  • Anonymous

    If Dell is really serious about offering desktops and notebooks with Linux it would be a major step forward, both for the (new) customers AND for Dell. Here’s what I think.

    I think it doesn’t really matter which distro you choose to install on the boxes. Just don’t choose SLED, which will generate a lot of negative feedback. Going with Kubuntu would be great.

    Push the hardware vendors to release open source drivers. This seems to be the most important point. If everything works with opensource drivers it does matter even less which distro you choose. Intel is doing quite nice at the moment (open graphiccard drivers etc.).

    As John Clark mentioned, this will win you the undying love and loyalty of linux-using potential customers.

    Another win-win point for Dell. There are already many forums around, full with friendly people who are willing to help. Combine that with a Dell-Linux-FAQ or even a Wiki and it will solve a lot of problems AND will generate a lot of good publicity for Dell. Add fee based phone support to it and everyone is happy.

    Dell has the knowledge it needs to push Linux on the desktop and it could be the FIRST to do it. I hope so much that this is going to happen, but Michael Dell has expressed various times that Dell won’t support Linux on the desktops as there are to many Linux distributions. This point is irrelevant if Dell uses hardware with open source drivers, _really_ open source , not the ones with binary blobs.


  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu will an expanded range of packages might be a very good choice. For example gnome and kde could both be installed (personally i am gnome user)

    The difference between distros is not so big that you need worry about it. Have a chat with the distros and see who will be willing to give you a next level support contract?

     Any one who has used linux enough to have a strong distro preference will probably be able to install it themselves.



  • Anonymous


    A linux user useually chooses an emu10k1 based sound card, due to the hardware mixing. choose soundcards with good hardware mixing.


    A linux gamer useually has great issues with ATI based cards, due to ATI’s lack of linux support, NVIDIA is useually the best way to go.


    3 Months of a transgaming account could help out for the gaming part.
    Or have some sort of updater for the wine project, that now supports loads of games.


    While there is tons of linux applications out there, its importent to not overwhelm the end-user with hundreds of alternatives.
    Try to only have 1-2 text editors, 1 office package (ie
    Also not too many music players, this can confuse the end-user. (note, ALWAYS allow alternatives to be installed)


  • Anonymous

    The linux distro should be a top/mainstream distro. I personally favour mandriva & kubuntu for the ease of use. ubuntu/kubuntu for LTS (long-term support). Or take one of those stable distros, put your logo on it and call it DELLOS 🙂

    Desktop environments should be an optional choice (XFCE/Gnome/KDE). best if all three were pre-installed.

    the major key to success is linux-compatible hardware – I am certain many linux users would spend an extra buck for a perfectly linux compatible system out of the box/shelf. So ATI-cards is a clear no-no, nvidia probably the only option. connectivity is the same. only specific wlan chips work 100% under linux. A full hotkey support for laptops/notebooks would be the kick.

     I m sure that 70-90 % of support issues could be handled by a public DELL-hosted forum with 2-3 full time moderators. For the final quarter of the support-hungry I am pretty sure a (moderate) fee-based support would be perfect.




  • Anonymous

    Like told before, the most important thing is that the hardware is well supported. If it works with for example Ubuntu, it is usually trivial to install any other distribution also.

    If you could buy a computer with Linux pre-installed, it is quite good guarantee that the hardware is supported by Linux and I would certainly select those computers over others.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to see any computer available with any OS at all so I can
    purchase a laptop or desktop and install my own OS this should be
    available with out having to pay Microsoft or any other OS producer any

  • Anonymous

    The mandatory Windows License always kept me from buying a Dell notebook. If this is removed, Dell would again be a real option when I plan to buy my next machine.

    BTW: Please do not limit any Linux option to the US. Other countries like Linux too. 😉 


  • Anonymous

    Don’t go near Novell/SUSE, they’re tainted by association with
    Microsoft. Red Hat will be the easiest purchasing decision to justify
    for business users, but Ubuntu or Kubuntu is more suitable for the home
    user, I think you need to offer both.

  • Anonymous

    The important thing is to have Linux drivers for *all* the hardware on each model computer. The source for those drivers needs to be released under the GNU General Public License and ideally included in the default Linux kernel repository (  Do that and every Linux distribution will flawlessly run on every Dell machine.

    The chances are that most of the hardware on each Dell machine is already supported and that only a small number of drivers are missing or need to be improved.

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu, enough said.


  • Anonymous

    What I’d be most interested in seeing with Dell Linux is full driver support on laptops.  I’d like to know that I can buy a Dell laptop and have Linux work well on it with readily available open source drivers.  The big issue here is power management, I’d like to be able to install a modern Linux distro and have power management work out of the box (i.e., be able to suspend/hibernate and receive comparable battery life to that advertised by having any battery saving features functioning properly).

    If Dell were to support a specific Linux distro, I’d like to see it be either Ubuntu or Fedora (with the Gnome desktop environment).  Whatever distro you chose, I’d recommend keeping the default desktop environment (and keeping everything as “normal” as possible, just add the typical Dell backgrounds and support info).

  • Anonymous

    I can subscribe the posting of Michael A. Peters.

    Since 2002 I am using a Thinkpad A31p with SuSE Linux installed. It still works very good, but I am considering to buy a new Laptop.

    If you offer high level notebooks with very good Linux support (complete covering of the laptop hardware) you might acquire a new customer :-).



  • Anonymous

    Two words:  Hardware Compatibility.

    all you have to do.  After that, I think you will find that the
    community will be very supportive for any other heavy lifting required
    in providing support and enhancements.

    Everyone has a favorite
    distro and choice is good. That’s not the hard part.  We can’t do
    hardware, you can.  We can do the software so you don’t have to.

    Finally, really be part of the community. Give a little, take a lot.  It really does work.

    Thank you for at least asking the question. 🙂  Good luck!

  • Anonymous

    Dell should also think of linux based products.

    Whats about an Home entry server with dsl, wlan, phone , storage, internet , mail and mediastreaming with a power consumption of less than 20W and a web interface for maintenance.

    I want place download orders to this device and switch my 300W PC off. 

  • Anonymous

    Why does Dell not just sell a PC with NO operating system. I mean they could ship it with some Live CD linux – DelLinux (containing any extra packages for drivers/apps etc specific to platform) and let  the linux people install whatever flavour of linux they want after.

    No one is EVER going to agree on a single flavour/version of linux


  • Anonymous

    Hardware support, drivers so that it all just works. 
    Preferrably driver support pushed back to the linux kernel and
    community.  I know this offends GNU purists, but I am willing
    to have a binary driver IF IT WILL BE MAINTAINED, (such as NVidia seems
    to be doing).   I have an HP laptop with
    an ESS modem which was supported with a binary driver for the
    2.2 kernel…  There has never been an update, so there is no
    support for that built in modem for kernal 2.4 or 2.6 which is what is
    on the laptop now.  Accelerated 3D video, ACPI, sound, notebook
    wi-fi, and notebook suspend all have to JUST WORK.  Modem is less
    important, but it is still extremely annoying to not have the hardware

     Do not relagate the linux offering to the low end systems, it
    will be as popular as previous sales attempts.  Most of the most
    entheusiastic Linux users run Linux on high-end equipment. 
    (and all of the old stuff still laying around).

    64-bit drivers are every bit as important as 32-bit if not more
    important.  A 32-bit windows driver cannot be wrapped with the
    ndiswrapper or used by a 64 bit kernel.

    A licensed codec package including a legit DVD player and MP3 player
    would be a NICE package option even if it was an extra cost option.

    SLES or RHEL on enterprise products, OpenSuSE, Freespire, or
    Ubuntu, if you choose a preinstalled option (which I believe that there
    should be a preinstalled Linux offering).

    I have 8 computers at home including 4 laptops.  Only
    one has Windows Me (an ancient laptop with no network
    connection),  and 1 64-bit laptop with 32-bit XP home which
    dual boots Linux to 64-bit OpenSuSE 10.2 (XP is almost NEVER
    booted).  EVERYTHING ELSE EXCLUSIVELY runs some flavor of
    UNIX,  Linux, Mac OSX and OpenBSD.


  • Anonymous

    Just offer pre-installed Debian (it works pretty well in most of your models), forget about expensive licenses, antivirus, anti <whatever>, and let your users make the choice.

    You can even forget about tech support, if you wanted. Nobody will blame you. 😉


  • Anonymous


    I think you missunderstood a thing here. Linux is about choice. It makes no sense for you to choose a distro and make it fit your system. Everybody use a diferent distro, and everybody use a different set of applications in the Linux field.

    You’d better focus in three things:

    a) Work strongly with the kernel people so you make sure every piece of hardware work nicely with any distro out there. It is not dificult. 97% of the job is already done.

    b) Adapt a boot-up open source project so when the customer boots up your Linux prepared computer for the first time it nicely asks for the customer to insert the choosen distro CD.

    c) Create and support an strong lightweight open source project ( Dell tweaks ) that make it able to anyone to tweak your computers with linux. That is: Easily select launching of applications from multimedia keys, make the display brightness keys or the sound level keys operative (it is not too much).
    Push this lightweight rpm and deb into all distros possible.

    Once that is made you simply make your customers able to buy your Linux prepared system with and without linux. And sell any distro you can from your website. That distro will be a simple DVD.

    You can charge whatever you wanna for the distro. That is net legal gains for you.

    If you thing it is convenient make an “Office Dell Selection Distro” and a “Home Dell Selection Distro”, but that shouldn’t be a must to.

    For example. I use Mandriva. I like them and I pay them. I wouldn’t buy a Dell with a Novell or RedHat distro preinstalled. I like Mandriva. But I would certainly buy an empty dell if I was sure It was going to work flawesly with my Distro. Any Distro.

  • Anonymous

    I use Ubuntu 6.06 LTS and it works fine.

    I think it is not important to choose between kde or gnome. I can instal both whith apt-get or synaptic easily.

    But, please, ATI no. Nvidia Yes. Ati drivers for linux are real trash.

    And, please, win-hardware no.


  • Anonymous

    So, I am curious as to how those WIndows, .NET servers are working out for you all in light of your recent Slashdotting?

  • Anonymous

    If you have to choose one distribution choose Fedora.

    Not because it’s a great end-user distribution (it is) but because Red Hat and Fedora people are the best at pushing fixes upstream (kernel, xorg, openoffice, whatever).

     A system that works with a clean Fedora will work on any Linux Distribution (once it updates).  Fedora is the closest we have to a vanilla Linux support check nowadays.

    If you catter to the short-term crown, they’ll come back harping at you a year later when their workarounds start failing and you’ve switched your focus to new models. Not a good move for Linux users, and not a good move for Dell.

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t really matter which distro you choose to support but you only need to choose one.

    What we want is for all the hardware that the computer comes with to work out of the box. If drivers don’t exist for that hardware we want Dell to either

    1) write the driver (like system 76 does) and release the source code


    2) Put pressure on the hardware manufacturer to release specs so the community can write the driver

  • Anonymous

    A simple Idea. Why don’t you simply put a filter option in your online shop so we can check the “only Linux working” hardware when we choose or computer?

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, I don’t care very much which particular Linux you install. I will probably re-install my prefered one anyway.

    I do however care strongly about precisely two things, in order of preference:

    1. If Dell delivered a laptop with ANY version of Linux on it, I would feel confident that the hardware in it can all be made to function under Linux (i.e. that drivers exist) which is nice to know.
    2. Even if Dell *didn’t* deliver a laptop with Linux on it, I would at the very least want to buy a Laptop with no software on it whatsoever, a purely naked one. I absolutely refuse to pay for Vista when I won’t be using it anyway. I am aware that a laptop without vista wouldn’t be much cheaper, since the bundled adware give Dell income, but that’s secondary. I’d rather buy a naked laptop than a vista-laptop, even if the two where identically priced. 
  • Anonymous

    Please use ubuntu. It’s the first linux distribution that made me leave the windows world…

  • Anonymous

    I would go for Ubuntu. Well, if I was Micheal Dell, I might consider buying Ubuntu, running it as a subsidiary, so not locking it to Dell hardware, then feeding Ubuntu development back in to the whole Linux community. The point would initially be about saving Dell money, rather than making money directly (in the short-term). At the moment it’s the most complete and well designed set-up I have seen for Linux desktop (actually I use Gentoo on desktop, and Debian on servers).

     Wizards for…

    1.  “finish off your own install” like there is with Windows (select Language, timezone, Gnome/KDE, main user account).
    2. “Join my corporate networking environment” (Windows / AD, LDAP)
    3. “Set up my wifi” (currently a pain, even on Ubuntu, esp. lack of WPA support, network hopping, native linux drivers vs. ndiwrappers (ugh)).
    4. Be able to use binary drivers, pre-install flash player, real player.

    Support options: help your self options, and then normal Dell support options (e.g. those that come with your warranty). I don’t think paying extra for linux support will get you good press coverage. It might take a while to make such support work well, so you’d need a serious commitment to making it work.

    Did the survey – not terribly well designed…


  • Anonymous

    I’m looking for years now for real professional support regarding linux and hardware in general. I work with linux since 1996 but always understood end users who don’t want to be geeks or nerds only for configuring standard hardware.

     In the past it was very difficult to develop or get support for brand new hardware like 3d-grapic cards, wlan chips, etc.

    As an IT professional my past decisions regarding buying or recommending new hardware were partly based on which companies support linux. My future decisions will definitely depend mostly on it.

  • Anonymous

    My suggestion is that Dell does not get into the business of
    supporting GNU/Linux for free (in the same way as it does Windows) yet
    — or at least not in one step. Instead, Dell should work with the
    major distros to make sure they support Dell, and with its hardware
    suppliers to make sure they provide robust, free-software drivers for
    their hardware.

    When I configure a laptop, have it show
    OS-compatibility. Give Ubuntu, Red Hat, SuSE, and any other OS vendor
    the option to mark some hardware compatible (from the complete lineup
    — don’t limit me to one or two models). When I configure my laptop,
    show me which options are certified by the OS vendor to work with the
    OS. Let me not pay the Windows tax. Support my hardware (maybe from a
    boot CD), but not my GNU/Linux distro. This would be a big, cheap,
    incremental step that would make you be much more free software


    FYI: I’ve bought 3 Dell laptops for
    myself in the past couple of years — an 8100, a Precision M50, an
    (original) XPS. I, like many GNU/Linux users, am also a thought leader:
    I’ve also decided which laptop to buy for maybe a dozen for friends,
    family, and coworkers. I usually help them pick GNU/Linux-compatible
    hardware as well, even if they run Windows (primarily to support free
    software friendly vendors, but also to make it possible for them to
    switch to GNU/Linux eventually, and to make it possible to repurpose
    the computers when they get upgraded).

  • Anonymous

    I have two questions:

    1) Will Dell certify it’s desktop and laptop hardware as running compatibly with Linux (or a  specific Linux distribution)?

    2) Will Dell favor and support open-source driver development for their hardware? 

    If Dell was allowed to think long-term, they’d muscle their suppliers into supplying GPL’d or BSD’d driver source-code for the motherboards, components and peripherals supplied.  Dell would then place all the source code into some kind of web-based infrastructure to track and update the drivers so that they would always be available.  Having some in-house driver-development and maintenance staff would be another smart move.

    Another helpful thing would be to support LinuxBios, but that’s too long a discussion. 

    However, I suspect the real world is more complicated than this.  For instance, how does Dell pull this off without angering Microsoft and jeopardizing those sweet license discounts and co-marketing funds?

     I hope you folks at Dell do come through on this but, candidly, I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Anonymous

    100% hardware compatibilty with free software are the minimum !


    I every day use Mandriva. If your distro of choice is not mandriva, i could easly change. But i need good hardware support.

     The most important is for notebook. For desktop, i buy part in small shop (i know what a buy exactly and i check linux compatibility). I can’t do that when i need a notebook.

  • Anonymous

    I think that you should think about a Mandriva Linux option.

     unlike any others, you could do an agreements with them to ensure every Dell models are supported 5 years. (Corporate Desktop).

    This is one of the only distribution with whom you could ask what you want. 


  • Anonymous

    Linux BIOS is an absolute requirement for our purposes!!!

    If you ever encountered a complete boot process in 3 seconds flat on a notebook or a desktop you will never want to go back.

    For all our servers we use Linux BIOS, because there is nothing more flexible, convenient and efficient in managing large server farms.

    All hardware or components of a system must be supported by drivers in the official linux kernel of or it will not be purchased!

    Yes, our rules are that simple!

    But it guarantees us complete freedom in choosing our distribution, even running our own, if we should ever decide to do it.

    Basically we don’t need linux or distribution support! What we really need is hardware support and GPL drivers. Nothing more nothing less!

  • Anonymous

    Your primary focus should be to provide a complete line of laptops that are guaranteed compatible with Linux.  Most of your desktop hardware already works under Linux; you may as well test them and tell customers which components work, and under what circumstances.)

    Your primary focus should be on making it easy for Linux distributions to work flawlessly on your hardware.  Encourage your vendors to release documentation (without a non-disclosure agreement!) for their hardware so that free software developers can write drivers.  Fund kernel development so that Dell hardware gets tested.  Provide linux compatiblity information in the technical specifications of your laptops.  Tell us if the driver is stable, unstable, free software, binary only, whether suspend-to-ram works, and whether all the power conservation features work.  Getting the hardware to work seamlessly is the place where Dell can easily add significant value for Linux users.  The best way to do that is to provide hardware documentation and/or develop open-source drivers for the Linux kernel and

    Honestly, a pre-installed copy of Linux is less important than a promise from Dell that the hardware works.  The pre-installed copy might be useful to distinguish hardware problems from configuration problems (The only reason Windows XP is still on my laptop is so I can talk to tech support if the hardware fails…) 

    Let the Linux distributions worry about hardware independent stuff, like localization, application support, etc.  If you don’t, you’ll find yourself in the (crowded) linux distribution market…  At that point, you need to pick a market segment: Budget home desktop users?  Software developers?  Engineering workstations? Corporate office workers?  Server deployment?

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for listening to the customers.

    Please leave the option to have a desktop or laptop with no factory installation of any kind open.

    Please provide a hardware specific description of the hardware actually installed ie: Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5703 Gigabit Ethernet – This will leave the advanced user to configure the new computer to contain well supported hardware instead of bying a blak box as is the option of today 

  • Anonymous

    Now that I am using Linux and almost done with Windows, I want hardware that is Linux compatible. I’m not hung up on the issue of binary or not, as long as there is a solid working driver that can be reconfigured to work with newer versions of Linux (see NVidia graphics).

    As for distributions, I would say that Debian stable be the “lowest common denominator” since it refreshes slower than the other distros (it is what I prefer as well). Redhat is, of course the other historic distro, so I would suggest support for the current RHEL commercial version.

    As for desktops, both KDE and Gnome should be usable. I prefer KDE, but it doesn’t matter.

    What matters is that the hardware can be “Linux supported”. 

  • Anonymous

    1) Ignore the silly comments and flames


    2) Go Dell Go!


    3) I actually would like to see a smaller distribution used, but I think

    that is not an option (sadly) because Dell is a huge company.

    But, in case it really has to pick one of the large distributions,

    I would like to suggest Ubuntu.

    Please however NOT anything where  Novell has its fingers in,

    its tainted completely after the MS deal. I’d rather see Red Hat

    getting to support than Novell there… 

  • Anonymous

    I’m a SuSE user but I think Ubuntu is the best suited distribution for pre-installation. It is technically excellent, caters to new users and developers alike.

     I think that whichever distribution is chosen, or even if the machines are sold “bare”, there would be value to making the package cheaper or better specified than the equivalent Microsoft Windows machine, otherwise even casual Linux enthusiasts will pick the Windows option just to recieve a “spare copy” of Windows for free before installing Linux.


  • Anonymous

    Like others, I’ll suspend assessment of earnestness and take this at face value by simply saying thank you for asking.

    One more echo for:

    1)    Hdwe compat with vanilla (Linus’) kernel–open/GPL only drivers–no binary blobs.
    2)    1 Alienware box, 1 “server” box, 1 sci/eng workstation–w/ 100% hdwe compat and with…
    3)    No OS option discounted 1.0 MS taxes, and with…
    4)    linux BIOS
    5)    Accessories linked/recommended also 100% supported…printers/scanners/cameras/RAID/tape-drives/UPS’s/whatevers.  We don’t need 15 of each to choose from–just a single decent product in each category of accessories.
    6)    For shops with current Software Assurance (by Dell) that buy linux boxes, route that slice of the resource pie to your Linux effort.  
    7)    Do hardware compat only–farm the s/w to the vendor or community.
    8)    Don’t ignore the kernel devs offer to write drivers–use your status to help your vendors think this through–on development & support reduction bases Alone.  No one need employ extra “linux” developers–just help the lawyers see why the business case trumps it.  Or tell, say, Nvidia/ATI/whomever salespeople that you are unable to source from them for these products because you need open hdwe specifications.
    9)    Lose the 2nd class citizenship (buried on website, “Dell recommends…”) for FOSS.

    I also specify boxes for work–my engineering app vendors only support RHEL (PTC, ESI-Group-NA).  But if the hdwe is supported, we don’t _care_ which (or even if any) distro is preloaded.  (Hey–if you guys can squeeze a better deal for bundled RHEL support, that should meet with little resistance in the market.)

    We know where to buy RHEL, SuSE, or *buntu support if our shop wants that.  The only touchy one is the “home” machine, which might be negotiated with (say) Canonical or representatives.

    I’ll be honest–my shop has Very nice terms with Dell–so nice that it’s effectively impossible to source other vendor’s offerings on a pricing basis alone.  However, with the on-again, off-again, lukewarm stance about linux, coupled with support issues, I have _had_ it with Dell and was shopping elsewhere.  

    If this turns out to be genuine interest in customer feedback with respect to linux, our engineering boxes may require more consideration.  In addition, I might suddenly feel the need for a 100% linux compatible Dell laptop for home use as well.  

    If, OTOH, this shakes out to be yet another false move in the chronology, well, not so much…  Ever again.  Despite the wonderful terms.

    We know what Dell can deliver–value.  New-ish parts chosen well, low-ish pricing, timely shipment, and pretty consistent build quality.  If you add the small piece of “linux compatible” to that for a tiny subsection of your product offerings, you win–corporate and home–for the foreseeable.  Pretty simple.

    And did we mention 100% linux compatible hardware with open specifications?  

    Network, modem, bios, raid, sound, video, special buttons, pointing, power management, sensors & throttling, drives…  

  • Anonymous

    I’m writing from Dell Latitude 110L laptop running Ubuntu. I bought it because it was already known to work with Linux (Some French student version were issued). See the consequences.

    It’s nearly fully supported by Linux except modem. You may start with such already proven non-expensive solutions, making them even more competitive.

     I use it for home, primarily web browsing (Firefox), instant messaging (GAIM), photo arranging. Office suite ( is also in use infrequently.

     Unfortunately I had to pay for WinXP bundled with the model. Never used it…

  • Anonymous


    I would suggest FreeBSD with KDE as well beside Fedora too.



    Arab Portal Network 

  • Anonymous

    “This could be a huge incentive for us customers because the Linux
    desktop would load in LESS THAN 3 SECONDS, from powerup to finish”

    Really? I thought it was 3 seconds until you’re into a usable shell. Coupled with Upstart though, and it could be done in maybe 20-30 seconds.

    Upstart is still an idea in development though. But what about, once it’s mature enough, selling it to computer users as a foolproof, easily-installable upgrade. This could be the kind of extra value Dell could provide even after selling heir hardware. Remember, often Linux & open source stuff gets better on the *same* hardware, so they could sell stuff like this as “Upgrade Packs”.





  • Anonymous

    Just installed the latest version of PCLinuxOS on an old xps T600 from the year 2000 and it made a new computer out of it.

    In my opinion, as a newbie, one of the easiest to install and work with for a newbie. 

  • Anonymous

    Filled out the damned thing, clicked ‘Submit’ and nothing happened.
    Requires Javascript. (Also has colour problems.)

  • Anonymous

    If you choose Ubuntu, please use only hardware with GPLed drivers. For 3D cards, this means Intel, unless nVidia and ATI get their act together, and they will you say so.

     If you choose openSUSE, please pressure Novell into leaving the patent deal with Microsoft.

    Yours sincerely,

    Sick And Tired of Vendor-Lock-in



  • Anonymous

    As a casual computer user I don’t really mind which distribution you’ll be offering. I’ve tried many of them (openSUSE, Kubuntu, Knoppix and others) during the first few weeks and each of them has its small problems and its advantages. However what I like best about Linux is choice. Concerning desktops: Working with my computer I’d like to feel at home and KDE is the desktop that provides this feeling exactly. I can get productive with it right from the start.
    I’ve tried Gnome but each time I tried it I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that I was using some sort of Mac OS 9 clone which provided only one possible solution for each problem (and quite often not the solution that I consider intuitive). As a Windows user who is still in the process of switching I find this very limiting as it costs me a “decent” amount of time to figure out how I’m supposed to get my work done.

    Marc Mann

  • Anonymous

    I’d be happy with any major distro. I’m currently using a mix of opensuse and fedora on several desktops and laptops. I want to be able to buy a laptop with Linux pre-installed or no OS installed.

  • Anonymous

    An integrated Wine environment is essential. I use this a lot at work.

    I find a surprising amount of software actually works on it. The way I use Linux at work, I get a powerful IDE like KDevelop for free (apart from donations) and I am also able to install the various Windows freeware apps I need such as SimpleOCR (which works quite well).

    Wine would benefit from the following features to integrate it to a desktop (which can be easily implemented by Dell as part of the “integration” of the distro),


    1. Roll-back to last working state in case an app doesn’t work.
    2. Applications should always show up in the Start menu (or they don’t exist!).
    3. Some way of managing the way these Windows installers cover the desktop with new icons, such as relegating them to a folder on the desktop.
    4. Machine should ship with Wine already set up and an easy way of re-creating a new .wine directory tree.
    5. Multiple .wine tree profiles so that apps can be isolated from each other or Win98/WinXP emulated trees can be kept separate for different apps.
    6. Some way of selecting window or simulated desktop mode on an app by app basis. Some apps _have_ to work on a simulated desktop because they do silly things to the taskbar area etc.

    Thanks & regards.


  • Anonymous

    I am only really interested in laptops as it is pretty easy to get desktop machines to run Linux. If Dell can supply desktops with guaranteed  Linux compatibility that would be great but is not a priority. At the moment I use a MacBook Pro but am not happy with the inflexibility of OS X.

    I would be first in the queue to buy a decent laptop that 100% works under Linux. No fights to get hibernate working, no external wifi cards because there are no drivers for the built in wifi, decent 3D  performance, on board camera (if any) just works, battery monitor works, any custom buttons have Linux support … there are probably another couple of issues I have suffered in the [past and cannot recall.

    If it comes with Red Hat or Suse or whatever pre-installed that would be fine and I would give it a go. I would probably install my distro of the moment (currently Ubuntu).

    I have never bought a Dell but would be more than happy to be one of their first Linux laptop customers.



  • Anonymous

    Given that this is more a desktop than a server play Ubuntu seems to make most sense out of the options stated on the survey. However, Dell getting involved in creating a mass retail Linux preinstall market will significantly change the Linux desktop landscape.

    Possibly the most open and collaborative (and therefore  the most respect worthy) way to do this, while being in control of your own set of improvements, would be through a fully open and 100% free as in freedom Dell Linux which would be based like Ubuntu on Debian, with Dell engineers also feeding any changes you make upstream to Debian. If it’s going to be worth Dell employing more than a few software support engineers to work on supporting Linux products installed on Dell hardware you might well want to customise an existing Linux distribution for the purpose while contributing everything to and so becoming a very welcome part of the community that develops the upstream distribution.

  • Anonymous

     Stop asking/polling *which* distro is *the best*. All you’ll
    get is a flame war and a big headache. This is Linux Mob territory.

    not important to put *a* specific distro as it is to have a machine
    that works out of the box with any current generic hardware.

      Leave the choice of a specific distro to the end users. IF Dell chooses for us, we’re back at square one.

    The best thing to do is take a good user friendly distribution, like
    Ubuntu and modify it into something like “DeLLinux”. Make a working OS
    product that has full support for the hardware it is installed on.

    and *normal* people don’t want to choose between a gazzilion distros
    and then some more GUI managers and so on. Let them get a taste of the
    “DeLLinux” Linux and then they can move on to whatever they want. If it
    is Ubuntu based you’ll get a shitload of very potential customers in a

       Emphasis the notion of CHOICE as VARIETY like so:

      a. supply the most stable version of both KDE and Gnome, and a third lightweight GUI. (not just one)

    b. make a redesigned login screen where you have KDE on the right and
    Gnome on the left (or the other way around, I don’t care) as equal
    choices. Let the users play them selfs and find out which one they like
    best. The third option (lightweight gui) should be small and on the
    center bottom with the explicit mentioning of the fact that this GUI
    uses minimal resources.

     c. include 2 of *, 3 tops. Like
    Firefox, Opera and the default browser of the gui (like konqueror for
    GUI) Make FF the standard browser. Don’t put in a gazzilion identical
    applications Pick up the best two and use those. Most users don’t need
    that many and if they want they can install lthemselfs.

    include a live cd with something like GeexBox tweaked to work on that
    hardware platform so you offer them a *media center* too. That’ll take
    the cherry off the top.

  • Anonymous

    Somebody said: What Distro of LINUX? Who cares. I agree, there are
    a lot of distros and  everyone has his/her own ideas which distro is best. It’s not a question of the distro, it’s a question of the supported hardware.

    Therefore the best you can do is: 

    Publish all the necessary information  that is needed to write good drivers for the hardware and LINUX rocks. Convince your suppliers to publish the specs and, better, convince them to write OPEN SOURCE drivers for their hardware or convince your suppliers to support the girls and guys who can write the drivers.

    If you did your homework, then pick up your favourite distro  and pre-install it.

    My favourite distro is kubuntu. How about a cooperation with canonical? There is really good community support for ubuntu and the people who want commercial support can also sign a contract.

  • Anonymous
    prefer Kubuntu. Since the surroundings Gnome, I do not like. I prefer
    the stability, functionality, versatility, that offers the surroundings
  • Anonymous

    For me (and I think for a lot of “Linux-people”)  the most important thing is hardware support. It doesn’t really matter which distribution is preinstalled (take whatever you  can support  best,  people can install their distro of choice if they don’t like it), what really matters is 100% hardware support with free drivers. We do not need more binary blobs, we need natively supported hardware! I chose my current laptop so that everything I need is supported with 100% Free Software and I will do so again.

    Thanks for considering a better Linux support, if this works out, my next laptop will be a Dell! 

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to support the above comments about hardware. I tend to buy computers based upon how well I know they work with Linux. 

    If I see as a machine is pre-installed, that is a very good start to a friendly Linux experience with any distro. Having said, that Ubuntu is a great option for those who want to buy a Linux PC without MS Windows. Would need added multimedia though for those countries where licenses are a problem. (A small cost in comparison to the Windows tax)

  • Anonymous

    The comments here are very good, so I won’t try and add much to them – just make sure you read them Dell! Please don’t give in to MS pressure to not support Linux.


    Further to that, the best thing you can do is guarantee hardware support. Having to install drivers and run all kinds of new and strange programs, and not having any idea what I’m doing has driven me away from Linux….for now!

  • Anonymous

    Personally I like Microsoft Windows XP Professional (not Vista, it is pretty but annoying) in terms of playing games, and some of my work-related software, for example, ChemDraw, GraphPad Prism, JMP, SciFinder Scholar Search Database, MestRe-C, and others. For some of them, you can find substitutes in Linux, but not all of them, especially ChemDraw is much nicer and smoother than its Linux counterparts. For games, Microsoft is still the prevailing platform for gamemakers to write software. There is no other competitors can avoid that. It is nice to play the same games like others do. My favorite one is still Age of Empires. Now I am trying Medieval Total War.

    I also like Linux because it is much more straight forward in installing software and figuring out problems. In Windows some of the programs simply do not want to run or install no matter what, whereas in Linux, as long as you have right library, you can install and run everything. I spent much time with UNIX/Linux system because I use it more for work – name it, modeling studies for chemical reactions. On the other hand, I also have a home theater system built with Fedora 4. Fedora works nicer and faster than Windows counterpart as a home theater system; in terms of robust media sharing, stable internet connections, faster file transfering, and smoother remote control, plus it is faster in terms of graphical interface (I am using Gnome with onboard ATI Radion 9000 graphic card).

    Frankly, I cannot dispose any one of them. So what I like is a high-end notebook computer that supports both so that I can dual boot and enjoy both at the same time.

  • Anonymous


    SimplyMEPIS (“it just works”) would have to be the #1 candidate for a pre-installed linux.  It just works.




  • Anonymous

    For home use – Ubuntu (or Kubuntu) is best choice. For enterprise customers it could be Suse or other RedHat derivative, policy of sudoing with user password (as in Ubuntu) don’t work good in school, nor office. I know it can be changed easily, but preinstalled Linux should just work out of box.

    Most important – hardware should be chosen such, that all drivers for it are in kernel tree, or (as in nvidia case) are actively supported by manufacturer.


  • Anonymous

    Talk with your engineers. Many of them probably are using linux, and probably with Dell laptops which can be cheap for them 😉 They will know about hardware problems with drivers for “strange” hardware like modems, wifi cards etc.

     Don’t think about localisation it is working ok as the linux is really multiligual e.g.

    $ gimp # will start polish gimp here, and just after

    $ LC_ALL=”en_US” gimp # will start english version of gimp without any reinstallation of anythig

    Most important is to:

    – have supported hardware inside

    – cooperation with kernel hackers to add new hardware drivers into kernel core

    – make it all standards (ACPI e.g) compliant


    the distribution … it is important for new linux users.  Ubuntu or SuSE will be imo good choice, other  users will use preffered distro (Gentoo for me). The support … you can add the option to your notebook that new user can BUY support e.g. a year support in Ubuntu, with the laptop. This way you don’t have to create linux user support same time the users can have it paid.


    If you will start to do it, maby in a year or two when all will be working “stable” even the Dell bleeding edge laptops can be the choice for everyone linux users, and here is your money 🙂


    BTW linux ready laptop is not the old one … it is most of the times also the best profi laptop for windows users


    Best wishes! 



  • Anonymous

    I think that there are two categories of users:

    1. Those like me who are happy to install the distro of our choice ourselves, but who do want to know about hardware compatibility before we buy
    2. Those friends and family I have installed Linux for, who do not have much about the distro.

    For group one, test three or four major distros on your hardware, and let us know if the hardware works, and if there are any missing features in Linux drivers (e.g. video drivers without 3D acceleration support).

    This group includes all business users except the smallest, and a good chunk of existing consumers users.

    For group 2, they will not be picky about the distro, because they do not know. They need a distro with a good software repository, defaulting to KDE (easier transition for Windows users) and with good community support.

    My pick for a pre-install would be Ubuntu/Kubuntu, but there are others, and it does not really matter which you pick.

    For group 2, a booklet, or documentation on the desktop that will point them to on-line tutorials, training providers, user groups in their area, community forums etc, would be perfect.

     For both groups Dell is big enough for distros to provide tailored support for your customers. It is not an essential (because community support is good), and if it was an optional extra it could be sold through you – a potential extra revenue stream for you.

  • Anonymous

    I never buy a laptop cause constructors force consumers to become a Microsoft’s slave (or Mac). So I had always perfer to buy a personal computer as a desktop. And in detacheded pieces.

     Sure if DELL could propose PC “alacarte” without the real price of a commercial OEM os I could  buy tomorrow a DELL desktop and/or a laptop.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a proponent of ubuntu since that seems very user friendly and I’ve had the  best luck with the .deb package system.

    I buy dell desktops, but I currently only purchase Apple laptops (I have 2 right now) because the headache of making sure all the laptop hardware is supported in linux is overwhelming.  If dell offered a linux laptop, suddenly I would reconsider my overpriced Apple purchases. 

     One thing that’s important to me is that mp3 files are playable out of the box—most users are unable to install an mp3 codec on their own, but if it ships, they can play their favorite songs instead of asking me to fix their “broken” computers 🙂

  • Anonymous

    All anyone wants is choice. To have the choice of Windows or Linux on a business/home desktop/laptop machine is essential. I also think a co-operation with Canonical is a step forward which immediately would give support for many distro’s in one move, therefor giving the user the choice of many OS’s. Users will also benefit from community based support as well as Dell’s own support methods. I have been using Dell computers for many years now and am currently using Kubuntu on my Dimension 4500 for the last few months and am very happy with it.

  • Anonymous

    I would think for most first-time Linux users, Dell should offer a distro aimed at them.   My install choice for first-time users is Xandros as it seems to provide them with a seemless experience coming from an older Windows OS. 



  • Anonymous


    Firstly, thanks for setting up this survey!

     Getting everyone to agree on a distribution will almost certainly fail, but getting hardware support into the kernel and helping with testing of other layers of the stack should be much easier to achieve.

     Initially I’d be happy to have a PC with no OS (or FreeDOS or something) to avoid the Microsoft Tax.  Further down the track when the testing and QA infrastructure is in place, supporting distros compliant to some baseline (LSB?) would be great.

    Also, using Linux BIOS would be fantastic.. it might be possible to get some really great integration between the BIOS and the OS happening with this project.



  • Anonymous

    The survey is missing an important critria for what the computer is used for. There are generally 3 primary categories I can think of. Business, home and academic. In each case, the user’s aren’t going to want the same set of options in their standard installation. A school will likely choose the free distribution, where the businessman is going to want an enterprise solution with the paid service (SLE or RedHat).

    The primary focus should be linux on laptops, because that is where there is no current market. Desktops can be custom built and any OS installed on them, and is often the scenario for the fussy-linux users.
    The comments on the topic of “I wan’t this particular distroany distro” or “I wan’t open source drivers”, are generally not suited to a preinstalled system. These users are tech savvy and can install/configure their choice of OS themselves if they want to use free drivers or certain desktop managers.
    There’s some naivity in thinking the option of any distibution is feasable. The support needed for each one would be impossible to manage. The preinstalled system needs to assume the PC user knows nothing about free software and linux in general, it just needs to work well. A single distribtion needs to be chosen so that the support can be available from dell. The ability to install other distros and have the drivers should be available, but without the same help service.

    Again, the software and support that is included in the standard installation needs to reflect that the user may not be linux savvy. All software is available in the end, experienced users can choose what and what not to have. Some things might be familiar to a Windows user (file formats etc), as many should be supported (or used as default) where legally possible, so that the inexperienced users are comfortable. I shouldn’t need to go into the hardware topic, since it’s been done to the death already.

    I would opt for SUSE as the choice of distro. There’s the support for SLE from novell, and the option for free openSUSE for the people who don’t want to pay so much. Novell clearly aims to have compatability with Windows, where other communities seem to shun the idea. Compatability is an obvious advantage for businesses who use Windows built solutions but wish to use linux. They also have the comfort of knowing they can’t be sued by Microsoft. SUSE is generally a simple distro to use, gives the user choice of desktop (No rediculous seperate distro *cough*). YaST is really simple and will be comfortable to people experienced with Windows etc. Related to that, I think KDE is probably more confortable to windows/mac users, and is more customisable, although the default DTM doesn’t matter too much because it can be changed.

    On a side note, why can’t I use this reply form in Opera? Browser support please.

  • Anonymous

    I’d go for Ubuntu as it has the best community support, Why don’t you guys make you own distribution based on Ubuntu? Dellbuntu.

    It dosn’t really matter though what distro you use just make sure your hardware is 100% Linux compatable and there should be no issues.

    PC’s speced for Linux gaming would be great, if only to get software makers to jump on board the Linux bandwagon, but I would say most buyers would only want low end PC’s for email, internet & office apps. 

  • Anonymous

    1. Use the license savings from excluding Windows to support (GPL)
    driver support for all Dell hardware. A Linux PC should cost the same
    or less as a Windows PC for now.

    2. Distro doesn’t matter much to the experienced user (they’ll
    switch), but you should pick the most user-friendly distro to
    preinstall for the masses. Preferably, use a distro base that can cater
    to both business and home users (SuSE / OpenSUSE or RHEL / Fedora) and
    you’ll save training costs with the overlap in the standard base.
    Emphasize community supported (OpenSUSE / Fedora) versions for personal
    purchases, while suggesting businesses use enterprise-friendly versions
    (SuSE / RHEL). Dell does not need to offer preinstalls for every

     3.  Once Dell has recovered the cost of developing a
    mature Linux ecosystem (specs from vendors, writing drivers,
    certifcation of product lines with a kernel used in whatever is
    preinstalled, etc) savings (profits) should be passed down the chain.

    is immediately MUCH more attractive by saving everyone time in finding
    / building more Linux compatible hardware. We all want a brand name
    vendor with Linux hardware support and competitive prices to

     For us: Knowing that all the hardware is compatible with Linux is the most valuable part of the deal.

    For Dell: Consider the strength of the advocacy of the FOSS movement acting on behalf of Dell as an army of salesmen.

  • Anonymous

    Why wouldn’t OpenOffice already be integrated?

    Don’t get
    caught up in an “All or nothing” cycle. Start by pushing open hardware
    specifcations instead of worrying about how Dell can offer “how do I
    get online?” support for x, y, z distros.  Using open hardware, or
    documenting linux-friendly hardware will see immediate returns.


  • Anonymous

    Although a UK user, I’ve completed the survey.  I look forward to seeing the option of pre-installed Linux on Dell boxes.  I hope I might have the opportunity to upgrade one of my own machines and I would certainly recommend them.

    I work as a consultant, and so I use whatever systems my clients require but if asked to advise I might well suggest the use of Linux together with the usual desktop or server software, especially for a client that requires low expenditure.  I dual-boot my own X300, so that I have an X-windows system to use when working on clients’ Solaris or other *ix systems.

    I’ve used SuSE Linux as my main preference for seven years, and contributed to the development by actually buying every “Professional” release since 6.4.  I have opinions (which I won’t mention) on recent events, but I will say that I have some serious business concerns over Novell’s direction at the moment, and so in the survey I opted for OpenSuSE.

    I personally hope that Novell does well marketing SuSE and is still in the market in a few years time.  However I have had a long association with Netware and I have been bitterly disappointed over the way Novell seemed to lose its marketing push with that excellent product.  I wish them well with SuSE.

    Peter Davey


  • Anonymous

    I run Ubuntu Linux 6.10 on my Dell XPS Laptop (m-140). I have a dual boot with XP but find that I go to XP less and less.

    The laptop runs much faster under Linux than Windows.

     Customizing the distribution for added Dell utilities would be a plus.

    I use the laptop for software development, database (with Oracle XE), amateur radio digital modes and web browsing and email.

    It’s a great combination.

  • Anonymous

    Just imagine how much money you would save not answering tech support calls from another malware/virus infected customer who insits that her dell pc is broken! When all she/he  wants to do is email and surf the web. Linux has NO viruses in the wild!

  • Anonymous

    This survey will be spammed unfortunately.


  • Anonymous

    Compatibility of the hardware and avoiding the Windows tax are the main issues.

    Concerning the compatibility of the hardware, you don’t need a full certification: just leave it to the community to determine whether the hardware is compatible with linux. Encourage this feedback. Learn from it.

    Concerning the Windows tax, this is really what drives me away from Dell. I don’t need Windows, so why should I pay for it?

    Then, if there is an option to by a computer with no OS and no OS-related support (with a discount corresponding to the price of Windows), that’s OK for me.

    Of course some users are going to prefer having Linux preinstalled, so leave this option, but don’t spend too much time choosing the distribution. Users either don’t care, or they can install one themselves.

  • Anonymous

    I want Linux just want a PC to come with  Linux compatible Hardware… please force your hardware vender’s to work with the Linux community

  • Anonymous

    I never buy a laptop cause constructors force consumers to become a
    Microsoft’s slave (or Mac). So I had always perfer to buy a personal
    computer as a desktop. And in detacheded pieces.

     Sure if DELL could propose PC “alacarte” without the real price of a commercial OEM os I could  buy tomorrow a DELL desktop and/or a laptop.

  • Anonymous

    I never buy a laptop cause constructors force consumers to become a
    Microsoft’s slave (or Mac). So I had always perfer to buy a personal
    computer as a desktop. And in detacheded pieces.

     Sure if DELL could propose PC “alacarte” without the real price of a commercial OEM os I could  buy tomorrow a DELL desktop and/or a laptop.

  • Anonymous

    Why not do with BSD Unix/Linux what Apple did? Why not create a “Dell” distro of Unix or Linux. Have the software engineers at Dell create drivers for each peripheral that will be installed over each six-month period. With a Dell branded distro of either Unix or Linux, Dell can control the tie-in to its hardware and control the stability and quality of drivers for devices. Sure, this means having a proprietary tie-in between hardware and the operating system, but like Sun, Apple and SGI, this can greatly reduce the amount of available hacks, viruses, and bugs in the OS. The Dell branded distro of Unix/Linux would still need to run standard minix/Linux binaries for Intel/AMD x64. Additionally, for tech-support training, if a Dell customer buys the “Dell” distro, our techs only need to be required to excel in their knowledge of that operating system, not in 1,000+ versions and distros of BSD Unix/Linux that are out there. Dell should still offer the choice as to whether a customer then wants Windows or just wants the hardware with no-OS option, but Dell will only “officially” support Windows and it’s Dell-branded distro of Unix/Linux. If Dell really wants to, it can create a bitlocker that prevent unauthorized copying of its OS for use on non-Dell machines (ie. Apple, HP, SGI, Sun, IBM, Lenovo, kitchen table-built, etc.) Dell would probably have to make sure that either XWindow, KDE, or Gnome work with the OS, and would be wise to use just one desktop interface after a decision is made. That would simplify both user familiarity and tech-support training, if the OS is a confusing array of complexity, average consumers will not buy into it, and it may be a large failure. If the OS is highly customizable, that is fine, but most important is that the OS “just works”, is stable, and fairly simple for the average Jane and Joe to use. Pricing, if Dell will need to do this, should be kept to free for machines pre-including the OS, for upgraders, should be between $75-$100.

  • Anonymous

    Hi guys!

    Plz support ubuntu!!!!

    Best regards from germany!!


  • Anonymous

    Dell Laptops, from low to medium price with ubuntu, would be great for costumers from countries with low income profile !!


  • Anonymous

    I am expecting the price of what ever machine Dell offers Linux on (hopefully both desktop and notebooks) will be low. I it would be a mistake for Dell to price a machine with Linux in the same price range as a machine with Windows. I think that $300 for a high-end machine running Linux would be to much.

    Keep the software open and keep the prices down.


  • Anonymous

    Just relase the information that the linux comunety nead to make there own drivers and you don’t nead to worry about suporting a thing.

    I have a asus, but I will buy diferent brand next time if asus don’t start suporting.
    Maybe it will be a dell, but that is up to you.

  • Anonymous

    I have a simpler plan. Load the boxes with FreeDOS and provide at least three easy-to-install Linux/BSD distributions in CD/DVD media.

    That way you make everyone happy.

  • Anonymous

    As many have posted, open hardware is the essential key to become a good linux vendor. Build your computers with parts from vendors that are willing to release specifications for driver developers for free(dom) – No NDA’s or fees.

    Realtek is exceptionally good at this (Audio, Network)
    Intel’s been good too (GMA 3000x, AHCI, etc)… I think dell can find more if they just ask for them free (non NDA) spec. and docs. from the vendors.

    I can only vote with my wallet, and avoid the bad brands, but maybe dell can pressure them to change, or review their obfuscation policy.

    -J F, from Sweden.

  • Anonymous

    This is a good development. Dell has a mature supply chain and it is important that you provide customers options. Biodiversity in the technology landscape is healthy and  a step in the right direction.

  • Anonymous

    For me, the “flavor” of Linux is unimportant.  It IS important that whatever system I purchase be 100% Linux compatible hardware wise (yes, even down to the modem).


  • Anonymous

    Linux support should mainly be focused on providing the world with full hardware specifications. Including hardware used back in the nineties and brand new stuff.

    Pre-installed is nice, but not necessary for Linux support.

  • Anonymous

    There are great comments in here that pretty much cover everything.

    I don’t propose to know your business so I can’t comment on where you see the market for Linux shaking out.  Is it the low-end market (out-doing Walmart) or should it be the enterprise desktop?

     For the former, give consumers the most computer for the lowest price with the easiest to use distro.  Worry about functionality, not distros. Let it play DVD’s, connect to iPods and give easy WiFi connectivity.  What about co-owing Transgaming with Novell so that gaming can be included?

    For the latter, make your hardware completely Linux compatible then, get this, let the purchaser UPLOAD the pre-configured distro of their choice for installation by Dell.

    I actually see the biggest potential market in the government/school board sector.  If Dell offers it, it will make the buying decision easy.  The big pitch being low maintenance and minimal exposure to viruses and Malware.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, atleast I who am a lazy reader of instructions, manuals and etc. started answering the guestionnaire in the wrong way.

    Often, dare I even say more commonly, in online guestionnaires  you select the “weight” of your answer (9 “best/highest”, 1 “low/worst”) –  just the opposite to the priority order you are using in your guestionnaire.

     If other people are plagued by the same stupidity as I am, you might be getting wrong results.

     Anyhow, waiting eagerly for the Linux-preinstalled laptops (even if they contain the wrong distro 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I stopped buying Dell a few years ago after a particularly bad experience with customer service following a botched repair job.  However if you were offering supported Linux laptops, I’d definitely come back as a customer; it’s just too challenging today to find linux-compatible laptops, and I use Linux as my primary workstation for all my development.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not so interested in Dell providing any particular Linux distribution pre-installed, as I am in being able to buy Linux-friendly computers (particularly laptops) with NO OS installed so that I can install the open-source OS of my choice.  What I’m looking for is to be able to buy a laptop with no OS, then install Linux or BSD and have no issues with the hardware.  It’s more important to get this with laptops than with desktops, because if I want a Linux desktop machine, I can build it myself.

  • Anonymous

    I think this is a fantastic move, and could be a historic step forward for the whole computer community.

    The traditional problems of Linux (difficult to install, flaky hardware support) is completely removed from the equation because Dell composes the choice of hardware, and can easily image a fully installed and functional OS that is tuned and configured.  The same distro could be used across the board from desktop to server through notebook and all shades in between.  The functionality of a basic Linux install far surpasses that of a
    WinXX basic install, and the average return of customer satisfaction
    levels could be completely unprecedented. If Dell does it well, this alone would be a significant bargaining chip to win business from bulk clients (whole company or government depts., etc), as it cuts a lot of IT post-purchase headaches and procedures (installations, ‘securifications’, etc).  The growing resistance to Vista just adds to this situation.  This all makes me wonder what Dell’s share price could do in the future!

    I too vote for Ubuntu as a good all-round choice of Linux distribution, if I have to choose only one.  I suggest including a local copy of the installation packages on the PC’s harddisk in a temporary repository so that install customisation can be “completed” with the package manager without needing internet access.

    But maybe, if Dell completely outsources the Linux distribution image creation as well as support, there could be room for a number of major players here (Ubuntu as well as Redhat and SUSE etc), and Dell could optionally resell the original support too (if available)..  The variety of uses of Linux and traditional brand loyalties and/or business alliances means that there would definitely be a demand for a number of the big distributions and not just one, and this would be the optimal scenario.  Dell would just need to open the channels of communication here, and provide the framework.  Any sufficiently strong distribution could then look after the rest.

    Enough from me..  Make it happen!

  • Anonymous

    After reading EVERY post and comment on this thread so far, I hope the common pattern slaps dell in the face as it has me.

    One sentence- ‘It’s the hardware stupid’.


    Pick a distro, any distro. You’ll never please everyone with anything, much less something as complex and religious as linux distros. The important thing is drivers and hardware support. Make the hardware compatible and you have 98% of the battle over.


    The kernel hackers have offered to do the work for you – gratis. How can you afford NOT to take them up on their offer?

    The only support offers you need are phone is support for people who can’t  figure out how to format a table in Open Office. Then, during the help call, if you show them how to use the community support options, you begin the detox of their M$ addiction. Your the hero… 

  • Anonymous

    I did not have time to read all the comments, but it seems to me that the most important is to make sure that the hardware has drivers widely available within the mainstream distributions. This solution has maximal flexibility, and Dell would not need to distribute and support specific drivers for a limited range of systems. Linux distributions have still quite a strong difference of popularity from country to country, so the most flexible solution is probably better for global company such as Dell.

  • Anonymous

    While I prefer SuSE Linux products, I think other comments regarding hardware support are key.  If the notebooks and desktops are shipped with hardware that is well supported by the Linux kernel, then the distribution becomes less of an issue overall.  Personally, give me OpenSuse or SuSE Linux Desktop and good, supported hardware, and I’m in heaven.

    Just FYI – I’ve had Linux on my laptop and desktop for about 4 years now.  The hardware issues on the laptops especially have been painful over the years (less so  now), and I think overall adoption of Linux would be higher if this were not the case.



  • Anonymous

    I agree that carefully selecting GNU/Llinux compatible hardware with open specifications is the main thing. That, by itself is useful if you are able and willing to install your os yourself. A lot of people are neither able nor willing to do that. They want a functioning system out of the box.

    If you intend to offer Linux to the home/non-professional user you must offer it in the same manner as you offer Windows: Preinstalled on the system, functioning out of the box and a “intuitive” user interface from the beginning.  For this, you probably want to co-operate with some third party, like Canonical. This way, all you need to think about is hardware compatibility.

  • Anonymous

    KDE – It is a really smart move make KDE the standard desktop.

    [Music Player]:  The best and most mature is (without any doubt) Amarok, a KDE application. It can compete with any other player for any operative system out there.

    [DVD/CD burning]: Again, no other linux application compares to K3B, a KDE application.

    [Instant Messaging]: And again, no linux app is better then Kopete. Seriously, what is the alternative? Gaim? Gaim, for instance, has no  webcam support for MSN (planned for version 3, version 2 is not even out yet!!).

    These are just 3 examples of kinds of applications, which are amongst the most used in any domestic computer, for which KDE is not only the best alternative, but the only high quality one!

  • Anonymous

    I would recommend Ubuntu for home users, and RedHat/SuSe for business customers…

    Ubuntu provides by default, all of the apps that most users will need, as well as providing easy mechanisms for updating or adding new applications.

    In terms of support, Dell need only support the hardware and re-sell support from the appropriate vendors, or even third party support providers. I’m sure a deal could be struck similar to how hardware is purchased, selecting an appropriate support provider, bulk buying support hours and reselling them at a small profit.

     What is most important however, is that the hardware is well supported by Linux. For the most part, Dell hardware is already well supported by Linux but there are occasionally some minor issues. If Dell require their hardware suppliers to make Linux drivers available for their hardware, and distributable with common Linux distributions, then it will benefit all users, including those who choose to install their own distribution instead of using a preinstalled one, while whoever provides support for the pre-installed distributions
     will no longer have to consider incompatible hardware when providing assistance.

    Speaking purely for myself. I will reinstall my own preferred linux distribution exactly how i like it on any new hardware i buy, but knowing that the hardware will be fully supported under linux is an important factor in my purchasing decisions.

  • Anonymous

    Having used LINUX on a laptop for the last three years I agree that hardware support is an absolute essential. I currently use OpenSuse as it  has provided the best support for all the laptop’s hardware, I have tried various other distros with varying degrees of success.

    In an ideal world, free open-source drivers would be great. However this is an ideal opportunity for Dell to use it’s influence with hardware vendors to ensure that some-type of Linux drivers are developed and released.

    Better a good, supported proprietary binary driver for new hardware than none at all (you know that it might just start a trend) – this is how the users of that ‘other’ O/S work pretty much successfully and if everything works well then it will be the way to draw those users to Linux.

    The distro is secondary, pick something that is active, stable and well supported (e.g. OpenSuse, Ubuntu) and not too leading edge (i.e. not Fedora).

    Support? Agreed no off-site! Dell hosting and ACTIVELY participating in it it’s own forums may well be the best way forward.  But that will hinge on the resources the company put into support; I bought a Dell Linux server (in a major European country) almost 5 years ago – but it was clear that the only, fragmentary, support that really existed was in the US and that was no better than what we could manage in house!

    If you support something new, support it fully, so that new users have a great (not just good) experience and your user base grows. Unless it is your intention to drive people away from a specific platform…

  • Anonymous

    Make a good decision rather than the best decision: choose Ubuntu as the Linux platform for your new Dell Linux line. But offer users the option of customizing Ubuntu as Ubuntu (Gnome desktop), Kubuntu (obviously with KDE), and Edubuntu (for the parents like me who would hand down a used laptop or desktop to a child). I have an older Gateway in my home that I have long planned to turn into an Edubuntu box for my daughter. As in the comments above, if Dell promised everything out of the box, it would be a reasonable alternative. Pick Ubuntu as the default, but allow the customer to choose a flavor.

     After a year’s experience selling machines in this way, evaluate and modify. That’s what business is all about, right? Innovation?



  • Anonymous

    Especially for notebooks it would be great if they came with free software drivers (graphics and wireless). Proprietary drivers often lead to problems with upgrades and suspending notebooks.

  • Anonymous

    As most of the posts seem to indicate, people are more interested in hardware support than the actual distribution. Most seasoned linux users will probably end up switching/tweaking/reinstalling whatever comes on the laptop if they don’t like it anyhow.

    Although the primary intent of the product offering would seem to be the existing linux community; it’s inevitable that the lower price point will attract (as it should)  new users who don’t have a previous linux/unix experience. The pre-installed distro should really be one that caters to them. It’s these users that will be calling the dell support lines for help. 

     So what do these people need? My guess is the simplest/most straight-forward package/upgrade management possible, a user interface closest to windows, and the most straight-forward control panel tools.

    They can always switch later once they become more experienced. 

  • Anonymous

    I’m with Jon Leblanc,  make and/or buy your own distro DELL LINUX!  I could sell a ton of those machines, word of mouth is free adverts.  I have discouraged many friends and foes alike from buying DELL because of the one track mind (INTEL & MICROSUX) now that is changing.  First with the inclusion of AMD cpu and now LINUX, I have now switched in favor of DELL  and started touting the inspiron 1501 and Dimension e51 now it looks like I’ll really get to touting DELL LINUX SYSTEMS.  All my friends, co-workers, and anyone who’s even heard of me (the penguin guy) I wear a tux t-shirt every day will ask me why I’ve switched to a DELL DUDE. GNU/LINUX!

  • Anonymous

    It would be nice to see Dell participate in development of a distro they choose for their platforms.

    As for desktop environments. People do prefer one, or the other, or the third. There is so many to pick from, and to include all of them would pobably bloat the whole installation, which would in turn cause much dissatisfaction for some. The best way would be to include optional stuff on a DVD. A single DVD can contain thousands of free software and probably serve sa a rescue system (Live DVD) for emergency maintenance and repair.

    Dell should also make sure the anti-virus software is installed by default for there are many who share their work and play with Windows users, who may still be infected, even though GNU/Linux itself is hard to infect. The installed system should also make integration with Windows Network out-of-the-box and hussle-free.

    What distro? As a long-time Linux user, I would probably remove any distro and install Arch Linux because I like it to be just the way I like it, and that means I want to know where everything is installed. For those users, it would probably be more important tu use the so-called ‘open hardware’, hardware with open-source drivers, so that there are no problems with proprietary drivers. This is, IMHO, especially important for notebooks.

    As for the distro itself, I think the distro of choice should be something geared towards new users. In that respect, Ubuntu, with its great community support would probably be the first choice.

  • Anonymous

    This website and all DELLS domains need an upgrade to LINUX & APACHE themselves. shows this site running a windblows2003 server with iis, no wonder it crashes all the time.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t care which distribution comes from Dell, as I’m likely to put my own on the machine. However, I won’t buy any hardware unless it’s supported exclusively with open source drivers. That means (for now) no ATI or nVidia graphics, Broadcom wireless, etc.

  • Anonymous

    following comments apply to my recent first-time ever loading of a
    popular Linux distribution on top of my 5 year old WinXP laptop. I
    don’t identify the specific distribution I loaded because the desire
    expressed in the comments would apply to any Linux OS I was
    working with. 

    my full time job I work a lot in a Solaris and Cygwin environment –
    however, I am not and have no desire to be an Administrator – either of
    Solaris Unix or Linux.

    The following are things I have thus far encountered in my transition from WindowsXP:

    screen display did not fill my laptop monitor. There is a large band of
    unused monitor space surrounding the screen display. This should be
    adjustable from a pull-down configuration or set-up menu. A friend said
    I need to do something with xorgconfig. How in the world was I supposed
    to know that?

    multi-media player is <deleted>. Out of the box it did not play
    avi or wmv format files – and did not offer to find the codec or
    plug-in for those formats. I downloaded/installed vlc and it worked
    find. However once installed, it did not show up in the Application
    pull-down menu and I have not figured out how to set default file type
    association to invoke vlc rather than the pre-installed media player.

    should not need to be a Linux or Open Source expert to select/install
    packages. If I want Python – all Python related libraries and
    documentation should be installed and available from the Application
    pull-down menu – just like how Python installs on a Windows system.

    should be easier to identify and install missing device drivers. I went
    through hell trying to determine if my pcmcia wireless adapter was
    supported. It appears my only alternative is some wrapper that allows
    the Windows driver to maybe/possibly work in a handicapped mode. I will
    probably buy a different wireless adapter rather than attempt
    navigating that minefield.

    waited at least 8 years before I was convinced it was time to move from
    Windows to Linux. I remain optimistic that Linux will be a truly viable
    alternative to Windows – however my experience as a user with an above
    average knowledge of Unix/Linux basics shows there is still a HUGE
    amount of user knowledge and required mucking around in the internals
    of the system in order to get a functional Linux system.


  • Anonymous

    I am a long time Dell shareholder. I have also purchased several Dell computers and I personally use Debian at home on a Dell machine.

    Debian is a good target for “certification” because it is the basis for the most commonly used distributions on the desktop. Distributions like Ubuntu are just rebranded Debian. Freespire, MEPIS, KNOPPIX, Xandros are all Debian derivatives. Debian and its derivatives are stable and easy for the end user to maintain as well.

    Also, many distributions have an uneven mix of non-free support. Debian is generally a pure blend so a desktop that is certified with Debian is guaranteed to cover all of the spinoff distributions as well.

    Although Debian is not a “popular” distribution (i.e. Ubuntu), many of the activist / evangelists take  for granted that Debian sits under the hood of the most popular desktop distributions.

     As a side note, I think a RPM based distribution is far too much trouble for the end user. Even though fine distributions like Mandriva have gained a steady desktop following, RPM is best left to system administrators that get paid to find and maintain package dependencies. Getting everything from a version controlled repository with all of the dependencies resolved for you is necessary. One command that quickly and reliably updates every application on your system? It is actually eye opening compared to what Windows users have to deal with every day.

  • Anonymous

    The distribution will definitely be an important issue for typical
    home users who may want or have been encouraged to look for
    alternatives to Microsoft operating systems, whether they face an
    upgrade from an older version or whether they may have security or
    other concerns.

     THIS is where I believe Linspire could be
    most valuable. In fact, though I have been in programming and systems
    administration functions for 37 years on mainframes, minis, UNIX
    (Solaris) and Windows, I think *I* would prefer an easy solution that
    also runs most of the Windows software (via Crossover Office 6.0, for

     I think I would consider Linspire to be an excellent choice for home and could recommend it to others!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Dell!

    I think the most important thing is not which distro to bundle, or even bundling any distro at all.
    Most important will be the selection of components, from which to build
    your machines, that are supported by open-source drivers.
    I know
    this will place quite a bit of constraint on which component suppliers
    you have to choose from, but this is especially important wrt.
    Next, you should put some serious effort into
    certifying that these components and drivers function with most
    mainstream distros.
    Once this is in place, it will alter the
    entire landscape of competition among the hardware component suppliers,
    and accellerate the adoption of open-source solutions.
    Next, you
    can offer to pre-install various distros, some with support (e.g. Red
    Hat with support from Red Hat) and some without (e.g. Ubuntu), but this
    should be optional.

    I wish you good luck, and really hope you succed (also financially) in adopting this new business model!

    Btw.: You needn’t necessarily do this for all your models or model
    lines, but at least for one each of desktop and notebook lines.

  • Anonymous

    A good solution would be:

    Dell with a linux installed (I prefer Ubuntu or Kubuntu, if the computer is slow then Xubuntu).

    in each modell in the web, information if it is compatible with other
    distributions (the community can help with feedback to Dell).

    Best regards. 

  • Anonymous

    It’s nice to see that Dell wants to get into the Linux market. There

    are just a few things for Dell to strive for, no matter  what distro is

    chosen. Connectivity is number 1, as many people still use dial-up

    modems. Multimeda support is  also important . Support is

    essential, especially for new users.


    Offering users a choice of either a desktop or notebook preloaded

    with a distro or  just a machine with Linux compatible hardware is

    also  a good idea.  Myself and many other Linux users prefer to

    use distros that are not mainstream like Kubuntu or SuSE.


  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu 6.06 LTS is what we are running on our servers and it’s very impressive. I would definately like to see this or Red Hat Enterprise Linux be loaded on a Dell notebook.   

  • Anonymous

    Keep these things simple.

     1- Consult with the Linux community for hardware compatibility. We have a wealth of information to communicate. We prefer open specs to write open-source drivers, but we’ll reluctantly work with binaries if need be. We HATE stuff like Winmodems (when the specs are not available). Get your suppliers to open up these specs.

    2- Get the distros on-board and they’ll do all the work. They would kill to get inside your boxes in CD/DVD format with their logos (I’m sure most of the biggest distros would get on-board). Some of the folks in the distros would make sure hardware support is there for all of them in no time.  You burn cd’s twice a year with the updated distributions within a package like dell-dimension-drivers.rpm (or .deb or whatever). You could operate repos for different distros, that would be really nice.

    3- The investment for Dell would be minimal in term or support, if you contract the work to the community. We’ll find the way to help you out with support channels..

    4- If you need to, create a new line wihich would pretty closely follow the hardware known to work in Linux (Optiplexes and Latitude are better in that regard).

    5- If you build it (the hardware), they will come (the software). But for that, you need to build the field of dreams (the computer). Can you?

  • Anonymous

    regarding which distribution and support options.

    many I’m sure would like community support with many distro options.

    Dell consider shipping machines with a hypervisor eg. Xen, to support
    the hardware and having several virtual oses for people to try before
    they ‘1-click install’ one of them.  The most popular on the
    hdisk, maybe some others on cd/dvd.  In fact xen has a very small
    overhead perhaps having the option of running 1 of maybe 5  and
    being able to run another concurrently would be a nice differentiator.

    distributions could make their offerings installable over your
    hypervisor(or as containers) via downloads from their sites.  With
    comunity support on this for all/most options you could soon have your
    hardware working with almost every linux distribution there is.  I
    heard you have already tried something similar on servers. 

    The idea needs some work but i think there’s something in it. 

    configured vm manager would be great for us trying out new distros and
    being involved with alpha and beta releases.   


    optional, windows in a vm ?  Should keep some  more people
    happy.  From what i read  agreeing to a windows vm might even
    reduce the cost.

    Many of us just want to get hardware we know works, this is a very difficult thing for us to do.

    Less WinTel,  More LinDell  🙂







  • Anonymous

    The distro’s not important to me. I use Gentoo and will reinstall
    What is important is full hardware support with open drivers. This
    includes laptop buttons, sleep/suspend and docking stations as well as
    the obvious things like graphics and WiFi.

  • Anonymous

    My number one priority is open-source drivers for all hardware.
    Vendor supported binary drivers are better than nothing, depending on
    the vendor. For graphics, I think nvidia is currently better than ati,
    but I would much prefer a fully open driver.

    If the hardware
    specs are open, I (like most here) can install any distribution(s) I
    like and rely on community support. For many others, a pre-installed OS
    and Dell support would be essential (and it gives me greater confidence
    about the hardware).

    If pressed, I would recommend Ubuntu since
    it is focusing on the desktop experience, but ideally you could offer
    several of the leading distributions (like, for instance, Sun does with
    its new workstations). The more open the hardware, the easier this will

    I will happily pay the same price as the Windows version if I know
    that I’m paying for Linux support not Microsoft licenses/support.
    (Perhaps I would even pay a little more, but not as happily and I’d
    probably never be sure I was paying only for Linux support.) Perhaps
    you could pay each supported distribution a portion of that support fee
    (based on the number of systems bought with that distribution) for
    backup support.

    Please survey the purchasers of new systems about
    their experience, including the operation/support for key hardware
    options (e.g. video, wireless). Perhaps include a survey card with each
    system (or a key for an online survey). Inform the vendors of the key
    hardware options what proportion of Linux purchasers are choosing their
    hardware and forward survey responses concerning that hardware to the
    vendor concerned.  Make this information easily available to new
    purchasers configuring their systems so that we can more easily choose
    options that will maximize our customer satisfaction.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Dell,

    As a Web/SQL developer (former Win32/NT developer
    since 95) & a Linux newbie, I recently purchased an Inspiron 6400
    & removed Vista & installed SUSE 10.2 Linux. SUSE had no prob’s
    finding/configuring all the hardware (i.e. bluetooth, wireless) and
    run’s a lot faster than Vista! The only thing I had to configure
    manually was the widescreen resolution (easy as editing a config file).
    Oh & btw, Vista had probs with the DVD-RW drivers but no probs with
    SUSE (go figure!). I don’t care for the Vista eye candy, with apps like
    FireFox, Apache, mySQL, PHP, OpenOffice, Skype (Linux ver), VNC (remote
    PC both Linux & Win32), Wine & Xen (for testing web apps in IE)
    I’ve had more productivity than any of my previous Dell laptops! I find
    the distro of SUSE fairly simple, anything I need, I just search the
    SUSE site, no probs.

    (from Melbourne, OZ)

  • Anonymous

    I suggested Fedora because this is what OrionMultisystems went with.

    If you decide to do a Dell specific distro, say to make use of the

    nvidia provided drivers which need to be recomplied each time the

    kernel is updated, the possibility of providing a yum pointer for

    updates for your systems seems likely.  It may be that other distributions

    would be just as satisfactory.   

  • Anonymous

    I would be ecstatic if I could just easily order a bare machine to install Ubuntu on. Hardware support would be nice. Calling and not getting told, “you installed something other than windows on it, thus your warranty is void” which is ridiculous, would be nice.  But, bottom line, I don’t want a copy of Vista. I don’t want a copy of XP. I want a bare machine that I can install whatever OS I choose on.

  • Anonymous

    Just want to add my vote for: the distro doesn’t matter it’s the hardware support.  No binary drivers, no winmodems same quality Dell hardware.


  • Anonymous

    Biggest issue is that the used hardware is 100% Linux ready. This is not a matter of the distro.

    Critical (notebook) issues: 

    WLAN, Modem, 3D-Graphics, Suspend to Disk/to RAM, use of a BIOS that can talk with Linux in a documented and specified way

    That some drivers are not open source is no problem for me, as long as the interface specifications are well documented.

  • Anonymous

    You should offer computers certified for Linux installations but without Linux installed.  That would be the most logical beginning.  You should begin certifying all of the hardware you sell for Linux.  For example, if you had a Palm product that ran flawlessly on a Linux computer I would buy it.  JPilot is a good program for interfacing with a Palm handheld.  Fixing that (it’s open source) to work with all the bells and whistles would be a wonderful thing.  I can configure almost anything to work fine with my Linux computer but I’m rather geeky and have no problem spending lots of time and effort making something work.  If you were the the big vendor that sold stuff that “works on Linux” then the guy that doesn’t want to spend any time and effort getting his mp3 player or palm device or smart phone or whatever to work through Linux,  would buy from you.  The ball would start rolling and you would be in the vanguard.  We should remind ourselves that we are only at the beginning of the computer revolution; when things begin to change they will change fast.  You don’t want that ball to roll over you so you better be running fast to stay ahead of it.  There is pent-up anger and frustration and plenty of people looking for a better way to do all this.  Sticking with the status-quo will probably prove to be a poor strategy in this kind of environment.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but I would not be opposed to a small “hardware fee” ($1-$20) that would go towards the funding of (open source) driver support of the hardware.  Ideally this would go to developers that are trying to add support in the kernel (if applicable).  This could be buried in the cost of the hardware, as it really is a hardware cost.

  • Anonymous

    Probably already mentioned, the focus should not be on a given
    distro, but driver support, GPL’d preferably, for all hardware. All
    distros can then be supported on Dell machines. In most cases,
    published info/specs required for driver development is all that is
    required – free from NDAs or any other limitations (royalties, etc).

    Please take a look here, they will be more than glad to help you:

    Free Linux Driver Development!;

    You might also consider easying these guys job:

    LinuxBIOS is a Free Software project aimed at replacing the proprietary BIOS (firmware) you can find in most of today’s computers.

    Do this and you’ll have me as a loyal customer.

  • Anonymous

    Nice to see that Dell is considering this.

    Several problems I already see though and that is the problem with Linux is there are way too many choices. It is very nice having choices but just go back and read through some of these posts. Can you imagine someone from Dell reading through these and thinking…..”Ok so half the people like KDE the other half like Gnome and throw in a couple that like one of the other half dozen D.E.’s which one do we pick to make everyone happy?” Also take the distro. You have some that like one or the other on the list for one or another reason but then someone else dislikes that distro for some other reason. Its turns into a big mess.

    Only suggestion I can give Dell is just go to and pick a distro. Maybe pick the highest ranked one there. Ubuntu at this moment is the highest ranked one there. Now most everyone knows that Ubuntu is Gnome based and you have some that don’t like that. Well then either offer a choice between Ubuntu and Kubuntu on an order base selection. Both based off the same distro with one for the Gnome lovers and the other for the KDE lovers. The other option is just using Ubuntu for the preinstall, but offering say a “How-to Run and Tweak Ubuntu” book based off the wiki on the web. Heck you could even charge a bit of a fee for the book. That way people can read through and learn how to install the KDE D.E. and other things they may want.

    Last thing that Linux and Dell need right now is a big arguement on what distro or D.E. to install.

  • Anonymous

    >> Why not do with BSD Unix/Linux what Apple did? Why not create a “Dell” distro of Unix or Linux. <<

     Not to say that it couldn’t be done again (I’m not in a position to say), but “been there, done that” to the “create a Dell distro of Unix or Linux” idea. Back in the 80’s & 90’s, we had a Dell SVR4 that, though it had a very loyal following, just didn’t sell. With all of the excellent Linux distros out there now ( both free and otherwise), and with as fast as the Linux landscape changes every quarter, making a business case for a Dell Linux distribution might be a tough sell.

     Still, it’s an interesting idea, and thanks for contributing it.

    – Mark 

  • Anonymous

    For me, like many others have said it’s about the hardware.  If you want to pre-load linux on a box fine, but I wouldn’t lose any sleep over which one to do it with.  Ubuntu is quite popular (and is what i use), but I also like fedora, and openSuse, infact i’m debating now on switching back to fedora.

    The laptop market is where you should focus on.  I’ve never had a problem installing Linux on a Dell desktop, but When I started the job i’m at now they bought me an inspiron, and much to my dismay i had considerable problems getting the hardware to work with it.  Getting native linux support for drivers is key. It would be great if it was all open hardware, but as long as it works in linux (by working, i mean it works without having to hack it, and install windows drivers on it using ndiswrapper etc.).  There is plenty of hardware available that is already supported available, perhaps you can focus on those.

     Offering a “Certified Linux” line of laptops and pc’s would be the ideal solution to me.  Just 3 or 4 laptops, and 3 or 4 desktops, that have 100% supported Harware for Linux.  Web based support would be the only thing needed (and really only for hardware isssues, the rest of the stuff would come from the community).

    Thanks for letting me express my opinion.  I hope that this venture works out.

  • Anonymous

    Fedora i think it`s a very good choice for desktop home users (if my mom can use it-everybody can). Thanks for asking peoples opinion! Dell is an example for all others comanies!

  • Anonymous

    one thing to consider:

    While many users switch distributions from time to time, hardly anyone switches their favorite window manager. Discussions about Gnome vs KDE can become much more heated then about Red Hat vs Ubuntu. Dell should make sure that they preinstall a distribution that supports both major window managers equally well. KDE is not a first class citizen neither on Red Hat nor on Ubuntu/Kubuntu. However, the latter supports it slightly better than the former. The only distribution that supports both equally well is openSuse.

    other than that the most important thing is:

    tested OSS drivers, tested OSS drivers, tested OSS drivers, tested OSS drivers,

    force your hardware partners do submit OSS drivers to the vanilla kernel. That might be the best Dell can do.

  • Anonymous

    Dell could cover the bases of Linux varieties by insuring support for the Ubuntu derived distros.  They cover the gamut from totally free (libre) to commercial (almost proprietary).  The range of distros also supports a variety of desktop & window managers.

    The Ubuntu list includes :   Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Fluxbuntu, Edubuntu, Ubuntu Christian Edition, Ubuntu Muslim Edition, Linux Mint, Pioneer Linux, Freespire, Linspire, gNewSense & Simply Mepis.

    I have found PCLinuxOS (based on Mandriva) to install easily and with good hardware support.

    I will reinforce those comments by others :   Supply all drivers as GPL code, persuade your suppliers to support Linux. 

  • Anonymous

    It seems Ubuntu is the most popular distribution right now, so I think that’s a fine choice for “pre-installed”.  But that doesn’t matter much to me; any distribution will do.  For me, the pre-installation of Linux is simply a promise that all of the hardware in the system is supported by the Linux kernel (I’ve bought and seen pre-installed Linux systems where that very much wasn’t the case).  I’m particular about the applications I use and how I have everything installed, so it’s not possible for you to get that right.  But I can get it right, so you don’t have to, and it makes me happy when I can just use yum or apt-get or whatever to install applications without spending a week figuring out how to get my wireless network adapter working.  If I format and reinstall a different distro, the pre-installed distro gives me a reference to work from if I do run into hardware issues.

    So really, for me, you could even add a “Linux Certified” sticker and leave the hard drive empty.  Since you have to pick a distro, use the two most popular and have a very easily found document that details the hardware so that people know what drivers to look for when they’re using other distros (it’s also irritating to have to dig because the only obvious information on the video card is that it’s ATI; for monitors I want complete horizontal and vertical refresh information that I can manually add to xorg.conf if necessary; etc.).

  • Anonymous

    Any of the products with supported chipset with open source drivers. Intel leads the pack and you can still get marketing support from them (which you’re going to lose from MS).

    The best bet is the least expesive models as the percentage saving will be the greatest. For the business line we re-image with our choosen OS anyway. Please provide a least cost community supported option so we can avoid the MS tax. is a given for the entire line, provide MS Office as an option.

    Really it is what Dell does already with their Server lines. Thin clients anyone?
  • Anonymous

    We are a Linux-only shop: servers, desktops and notebooks. We own a decent amount of Dell equipment and have been happy with its performance and reliability for the most part. But it generally only makes sense for us to buy older equipment where we can find Linux success stories online. It doesn’t make sense to buy older Dell gear new even if it is still offered as such, so we usually purchase refurbished. But still we end up having in most cases to each the cost of Windows licenses we’ll never use, can’t resell, etc.

    Recently, we’ve come to realize that we could build desktops with the same specs of the Dimension E521 (mid-range X2 config) for less money from new parts! This is a tribute, in my opinion, to the fact that with a lower system cost the Windows OS cost becomes a pretty hefty percentage of the total system cost.

    It would be a no-brainer to buy new Dell gear if:

    1. We could buy it without paying for the cost of Windows
    2. We could buy it with confidence that the components are Linux compatible

    Ideas like the N series was still-born. At the time, I configured an N and an E with the same specs. The N was configured with the DOS clone OS, the E with Windows XP Home. They were the same price. Boo!

  • Anonymous

    I think fedora based system will be best option for you to go with. But make KDE as a default desktop as is it more eyecandy than GNOME. And add some propriteray codecs to enjoy multimedia.




  • Anonymous

    If Dell is serious about providing Linux systems, then please, make them identical in features and price to the Windows systems.  There is no reason why a particular laptop should cost $1000 with Windows and $1500 with Linux.  Just look at what the guys at System 76 are doing:  these are real, price-competitive notebooks that are for the general user.

     Keep the feature and price real and you will succeed with Linux on Dell systems.

  • Anonymous

    The #1 important thing for linux customers is hardware compability. Make sure all hardware is supported by the stock driver.

    People who buy Dell machines to run Linux probably couldn’t care less about a pre-installed operating system. I, for sure, wouldn’t want to run anything pre-installed, but rather install from an .iso, to get things just the way I like it.

    Put your R&D money on drivers and distro support will follow automatically. Don’t waste time or money on building pre-installed linux images and/or custom driver packages.


  • Anonymous

    If Dell seriously intends on providing pre-installed Linux…

    * it ought to keep the pre-installed product simple. The absolute minimum necessary, but including a web browser (with basic plugins) and CD burning tool (to make the first backups). Everything else should be optional and *not* pre-installed, i.e. leave it installable from an included CD/DVD.

    * I’d be satisfied if hardware support (read: drivers) were provided by the Dell website. Whether those drivers were open- or closed source is irrelevant if they came with an installation script that supported the one distro that Dell pre-installed.

    Even if Dell should decide that Linux was not to be a pre-install option (say, because supporting ‘another’ OS for a Dell product turns out to be unfeasible or financially unrewarding), hardware support for any one particular Linux distro would be enormously beneficial to all. Dell’s choice will give that one distro an enormous shot in the arm, perhaps to the point that the others will get their act together and binary compatibility will no longer simply be wishful thinking.

  • Anonymous

    My $1000 are ready for your Linux powered laptop.  Which linux? I don’t care as long as the kernel is guaranteed to work on the hardware.

     Because I’m just tired of playing the guessing game when purchasing laptops.


  • Anonymous

    Sell a laptop that uses Linux-compatible hardware.


    That’s it! That’s all you have to do. The community will take care of the rest. You don’t need to pre-install anything or support anything. Just use chipsets that are compatible. I can’t believe how long it is taking for a laptop manufacturer to do this.

  • Anonymous

    Please send me the Dell ‘linux-friendly hardware catalogue’ so I can order my choice of printer, scanner etc. or a complete desktop package or notebook.

    I don’t think there’s gonna be much response if the plan is to offer a machine with 2nd rate cpu, video card etc. and preinstalled Ubuntu at a %15 percent lower price. 

  • Anonymous

    We deploy each kind of Linux in each configuration

    in less than 10 minutes with our product OMA.

    We do this for handheld systems, desktops, notebooks, servers  ….

    So don’t let me select Linux on Dell,

    let me select my  linux configuration online.

    Dell knows all the hardware of the Dell systems.

    So give us a kernel, wich knows all hardware of the Dell systems.

    Windows is too stupid for a ready to run configuration,

    but with Linux it is possible to support e.g. 10 kinds of linux very easy.


    Best Regards

    Andreas Roscher


  • Anonymous

    How about NOT preinstalling any Linux?  I (and many like me) don’t want Linux “support”.  Personally, I may equally likely install FreeBSD. I just want a system without Microsoft Windows — I don’t use it and object to being forced to pay for it.  And I want some assurance that the hardware in the driver has open specifications — if so, chances are good that it’s well supported under any Linux or BSD distribution.

    In India, several vendors do sell low-end laptops with FreeDOS loaded; I bought one and installed Ubuntu on it.  But it’s rather harder to get a high-end laptop without Windows pre-installed.

  • Anonymous


    Simply said : “what is the GNU/Linux distro you will see on your Dell computer ?” is like to said : “what is the best GNU/Linux distro ?”

    Because each user have his own idea, a better approach is probably to said : “what is the best GNU/Linux distro suited for Dell marketed products ?”

    To answer this question efficiently, some aspects should be taken account :

    – it is important to provide a fully functionnal OS : this implies to sell computers with 100% supported hardware under GNU/Linux. Additionnally, a certified version of GNU/Linux (typically a commercial distro) should be available for IT and professional sector.

    – it is important to provide hardware supported through free (libre) drivers and firmwares. Because of legal and technical issues (licenses/redistribution, integration/maintenance) the inclusion of binary-only drivers and firmwares should be avoided as possible.

    – it is important to provide “stable” more than “bleeding-edge” features. Users who wants pre-installed Linux (perhaps with limited knowledge in some cases) will certainly prefer a GNU/Linux distro with little bit outdated softwares who works well than a GNU/Linux distro with the latest softwares who works bad, or at least too buggy. For that, the release cycle of the distro is also an important criteria.

    – it is important to provide a GNU/Linux distro able to cover the most generic usage. A graphical environment like KDE and associated applications is probably a nice idea, because of rich features, good integration/finition and easy-to-use orientation.

    – it is important to provide both commercial and non-commercial support for GNU/Linux (home and business usage is covered).

    Of course, there is probably other interesting aspects, but I think this five are really representative about the needs for many GNU/Linux users running on Dell computers.

    Considering that, I see two pertinent choices for a GNU/Linux distro :

    – RedHat : commercial and functionnal distros with professionnal support. RedHat is one of the biggest company really involved in the development of GNU/Linux who contribute and work closer with Free and OpenSource community.

    – Debian : community and rock-solid distros with a growing reputation since 1993 specially in servers domain, but also suitable and easily adaptable for desktop or embedded needs. Debian represent an important community, and is very respectful about freedom concerns.

    By supporting this two major GNU/Linux distros, implicitly you will also support at the same time numbers of RedHat/Debian-based derivatives (CentOS, Fedora, Yellow Dog, Linspire, Mepis, Ubuntu…).


  • Anonymous

    Dell should partner with Canonical to offer official Ubuntu support.
    When a person buys a Dell with pre-installed Ubuntu, maybe Dell could
    sell them support from Canonical at a discounted rate. Maybe all new
    Ubuntu Dell’s come with 3-6 months email support, it could have a
    guaranteed response within 48-72 hours. Then for a small fee customers
    could buy guaranteed 24hr response time email support. For a little
    more, standard business hours phone support. And then the last option,
    24hr phone support.

  • Anonymous

    If you listen to those with a linux
    religious slant they are saying use this distro or that but for the
    enterprise the only offering with a stable support backing is SLED.
    (And don’t bore me with “Oh the community will support us because
    they love this distro…”, because the mighty dollar is how the
    game is played; even for the community). The only people who are
    complaining about SLED are those who do not see the advantage of
    opening the markets and moving away from (or mixing with) proprietary MS OSes, and this will only happen by
    working with them! From the Enterprise – Thanks Novell! Dell talk
    to them.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to say (Thank You) Dell first off!

    What Linux distro? I use Gentoo myself but I don’t expect others to use this advanced distro.. What is important for Linux users and also for Dell is not to get caught in this one supplier quandary again. Have choice not only for your customers but also for your self.. Then no ONE company will have absolute power over you or your customers.

    For me good hardware support is what is most important. I don’t know just how much power/influence you have with third party software houses but you may want to get in contact with Adobe & Intuit and see if there now interested in porting there warz to Linux.

    Tom Wickline

    Respectable computing – Linux/FOSS



  • Anonymous

    I agree with many of the comments:

    The issue is not which distribution to install – most current Linux users will change it anyways and most new users will be happy with any distribution as long as everything works out of the box.  It is therefore very important to make sure you select a distribution (or customize one) that supports DVD, mp3, wmv, wma, flash, java, 3D graphics, etc. the first time you boot, with no extra work or installations required.  This is very important if you wish to attract new users.

    Another important factor is making sure the hardware is compatible with Linux (preferably with open-source drivers) and that the no-OS option is available.  I agree that a “Linux certified” sticker or something along those lines would be a great idea.

    Thank you very much for your interest in the matter – i’m sure most current Linux users, including myself, appreciate it very much.

  • Anonymous

    Linux lags furthest behind other operating systems on Laptops, especially in the areas of power management and hardware support.

    If Dell can provide laptops where all the hardware actually works and it always wakes up correctly from suspend, that would be great.

  • Anonymous

    GNU/Linux should be for all PCs abroad, not just business machines.  The pre-installed OS (I would prefer Ubuntu) should be fully configured w/ all the needed codecs, most commonly used programs and anything else that needs to be configured. 

  • Anonymous

    I think the most important thing is for the hardware to be Linux compatible across the lines.

    On software though, I’d like to suggest Ubuntu be the installed and supported option. It would be really nice though if you had a few other pre-installed options without offering ongoing support for them.  I would like to see this because I’m a Gentoo user.  Yes, I know how to do my own install but having it done for me on a new machine would be a nice convenience.  Thanks! 

  • Anonymous

    Invite all major Linux Distro makers and Linus Torvalds to the Dell factory and make it real!

    An other mindstorm idea would be to invite all major linux people for making this thing work to the Dell factory, and make it work! Have an open discussion, and make the plan! You could even invite the major players too, think of Google, O’reilly , OSDL, and who knows who. Make it happen!

  • Anonymous

    I recently installed Ubuntu 6.06 LTS on my old Dell Inspiron 3800.  I had to manually configue some things and jump through the software hoops, but I like this new working environment much better than the original.

  • Anonymous

    First of all Dell must make a serious commitment to itself to indeed support the GNU/Linux community, otherwise it is merely a lip service that Dell and HP have been doing for long.

    (0) Hardware support requirement cannot be over emphasized. And it must be supported for very diverse hardware types, otherwise large number of people with diverse or highly specific needs will not choose the platform.

     (1) For laptops,  sleep, hybernate, audio, video, Wifi, Bluetooth,  and diverse USB devices need to work robustly.

    (2) I use Mandriva for its gigantic distribution that meets my extremely diverse needs plus ease of configurability. But this is besides the point as long as Dell supports the community support systems. Dell simply cannot handle the diverse problems of linux users who hate to think that support means telling them — check power, cable connections, click here and there without giving sustantive analysis and soultion.

    (3) Dell may choose to provide high level scripts that provide good GUI for general users to carry out basic tasks with special hardwares such as bluetooth, wireless, USB devices etc.

    (4) I have bought 5 desktop+laptops in last 3 years, 4 from Dell, and one from lenovo. I have paid for 5 copies of MS-windows without indeed using them at all; what a waste! I have not been able to figure out why given a robust system  with truly diverse and comprehensive application base that  people can use fearlessly (from viruses and MS licensing threats), Dell pronounses, “Dell recommnds … MS..”?  It places a big question mark on their intentions to support the GNU/Linux community. When the Dell support system learns that the user is running Linux, they feel very happy to close any further discussion even though the problem being reported is about the hardware. Such tendencies must stop before even proclaiming supporting GNU/Linux.

    (5) The community feed back always guides the businesses to take the right directions and grow, but at the end the individuals from the same community merely become a point in the large statistics, and get forced to take statistically strong line losing their personal choices in the end. GNU/Linux users are driven by choice that respects their individuality and maintains it as such. This must be understood well and taken into account by futuristic corporations. A progressive business may build a centralised system that at least directs, if not provide the solutions, to right places within community where such solutions are likely to be available or evolve.


  • Anonymous

    I suggested Fedora, not RedHat Enterprise, purely because I would not wish to pay for the O/S. But I think Dell should certify hardware for non-bleeding-edge Enterprise Linux (and/or provide drivers for audio, ethernet etc.), so that customers can install RedHat  Enterprise or a recompiled version such as Centos or Scientific Linux knowing that it will work. Faster-moving distros like Fedora and Ubuntu would, I presume, work with no trouble.

     (thanks for this initiative BTW!)



  • Anonymous

    I would have suggested Ubuntu as preferred Linux distribution, but if that is the case pre install Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper it works nicely which newer Ubuntus don’t do…

    So my opinion pre-install Debian-Etch or Ubuntu 6.06 and don’t touch newer Ubuntus since all they cause is headache.

    I’ve had no worries with Debian Etch (still in testing), but it will be released soon and in it all just works.

    Ubuntu is said to be most user friendly and easiest to use, but if you try Etch it’s just as easy as Ubuntu.

    It’s release is coming soon (when few relese critical bugs are fixed)…

    Debians philosophy is to release software when all release critical bugs are fixed. 

    Ubuntu is based on Debian, but uses newest software versions and has about half year release cycle of new version, because of that it is buggy.

  • Anonymous

    The simple fact that Dell is “hearing” the strong interests in Linux and Open Office is a powerful indicator of the reality of the need. Do “Listen”.

    Millions (> 29 million ) of people now use this fantastic operating system with its abundance of productive applications that give choice, security, productivity and fun back to the computer user.

    I have used Linux exclusively for 7 years and I started to use Linux more than 10 years ago.
    I use Debian 4.0 “Etch”(64 bit) and 3.1”Sarge” (i686 32 bit) on a AMD 64×2 based dual boot system.

    Our company has not used a Microsoft product for over seven years… it can be done with ease now.

    Offer both KDE and GNOME both are powerful and do different things very well.

    Faustian bargains with Microsoft is something Dell understands, you do not need to be a slave. Dell can write its own future without being a passenger without a life vest on a rusting hulk of a ship whose short sighted vista was nothing more than an iceberg in the sea of good computing.

    Dell has the potential to move forward into the future if it makes the right choices now.

    Take a good close look at the international situation with Open Source and ask yourself if a lack of smart choices for your customers is smart for Dell. The answer is simple, Join the future… Offer the choice of Linux on any and all of your products and your market edge will be assured.

    The winds of change stops for no one.


  • Anonymous

    Many people have said this, and I just want to join in:

    Few people will buy a GNU/Linux notebook for its 3D graphics capabilities, for playing back Windows media formats, or to be able to install proprietary software from a so-called “open-source” vendor.

    To me, it’s important to have hardware that is supported by 100% free drivers (e.g., Intel graphics card), and that the preloaded distro is also as free (“free speech”, not “free beer”) as it gets.

    If someone wants to buy and install a GNU/Linux distro with proprietary add-ons later on, that’s their choice. If the hardware works with a free distro, it works with a not-so-free distro as well–but not the other way round.

  • Anonymous

    OK. From all posting here and all over the internet it is 99% clear what the community needs.

    NOW WHAT ?

    People are continuing to post here, but no answer from Dell ?

    Can we expect some decision soon ? or at least some summary of the poll and the thoughts of the Dell management up to now ?

    SO ?!?



  • Anonymous

    Well, hardware devices support is important, specially with printers and internet connections (for example USB internet ADSL modems)


    Everything you ever wanted to do with a PC you can do it with SABAYON.

    Microsoft Windows Vista Killers name= Sabayon
  • Anonymous

    Most of the comments so far have been from people who already use Linux, stating what kind of Dell Linux machine they would be likely to purchase.  Now I am a Linux (and Dell) user also, but Dell SHOULD NOT CARE WHAT LINUX USERS WANT because existing Linux users are a miniscule minority of Dell’s potential market.  If I were running Dell’s business I would:-

    1. Do a proper study of the potential market.

    2. Talk to Redhat, Linspire, Canonical and Mandriva (even Novell, if you must).

    3. In the light of the outcomes of 1. and 2., decide what action(s) will best serve Dell’s long-term interests.

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu or Kubuntu Linux with Nvidia graphics card and community drivers for driver upgrades and a soundcard that supports OSS and Alsa with spdif in/output also the preinstalled desktop should have the 5.1+ soundchannels enabled by default, cause some users seems to have troubles enabling them even when the mixer is in systray area and only you need to do is show additional soundchannels and add some volume to them…

    As for gaming Tuxracer, Frozen-bubble etc. nice looking and working games could be preinstalled too.

    For cd+dvd burning application, Gnomebaker for Gnome and K3b for KDE desktops.

    And atleast there should be some starters guide on desktop (with root only remove permission and read for others) to show the distribution homepage and forum link as well as quick help to add additional reposities for multimedia software and recommented applications for usual needs.

  • Anonymous

    I’d personally go for either Debian, SLED or RHEL for servers, and PCLinuxOs, Mepis or Mint for desktop use.  Basicly pick what’s best for each job.  SLED and RHEL are perfect for corporate environments, being designed for such things.  Whereas PCLinuxOs, Mint and Mepis are easy windows replacement distributions that are perfect for the limited knowledge user.

     Picking your hardware for maximised compatibility with Linux, and working with your chosen distributions to enhance the reliable drivers for the hardware you offer is vital.  I’d suggest getting involved with your chosen distribution for at least 3 months before offering it, to ensure you can offer 100% out of the box functionality.

     Binary drivers aren’t a problem, nor binaries of any other kind.  Any Linux user who is knowledgeable enough about such things is also skilled enough to change that.  Working with hardware suppliers to ensure their products integration into your chosen version is also important.  For example, NVidia’s Linux compatibility is second to none, and ATi’s lags behind.  Having a Dell repository for updates and software fixes and a simple Dell branded update tool will also make things seem more integrated.


  • Anonymous

    Firstly, thank you for considering GNU/Linux as an alternative, finally! 

    only real problems I have encountered running GNU/Linux (Debian) on my
    Latitude D600 (work) and D610 (home) have related to drivers for audio
    and external USB disks.  So, while it’s been said before by
    respondents I’m sure it can’t hurt to say it again; the thing that
    really matters above all else is hardware support in the Linux kernel, and in the spirit of GNU/Linux it must be open source and free.

    must also add that I strongly object to paying the “Microsoft
    tax”.  Hopefully offering GNU/Linux preinstalled will be the key
    to eliminating this odious practice.


  • Anonymous

    Nobody wants to be forced to buy any type of O/S. It’s annoying and inconvenient to HAVE to have any O/S loaded on a box that I order. Our company has over 400 Dells on our floors, every one was shipped with your crapware packed on top of Winwhatever. Every single one had to be reimaged with a clean load and our own settings. Enormous waste of company resources.

    For your more savvy users, it would be nice to have a clean computer onto which we can load any O/S we want. If your peripherals and components come with drivers for “alternative” O/Ss, then you should always include them with your driver CD. And there should NEVER be a question about whether a customer receives a driver CD.

    While we’re on the subject, it would be nice if you’d bring your phone support and customer service back in-house and in-country. All things being equal, your quality of customer service USED to be why we bought Dell products. Now the only reason we buy Dell is because it’s too expensive to convert. That will be true for only so long, though. As our PCs age and it’s time to replace them, we might start looking at alternatives.

    Get it together, Dell. You’re teetering.

  • Anonymous

    All hardware I bought have to run with linux very nice.

    I will buy a notebook in 2 months. Important: Runs perfect with linux 😉

    I hope, Dell will make its linux way in future!

    Pre-Installed is not important. I want to setup my hardware with gentoo all the way. So I would delete the pre-installed version.

    But my favorite “easy to use” linux is Ubuntu..


    Dell! Go go 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Why not let the end user select the version of Linux they desire.  For example hash out the details of several distros and remaster them specifically for the hardware of that system.


    Then allow these remasters be downloadable iso’s for future upgrades or features. 

  • Anonymous

    Even though most of my business is on Debian and Ubuntu, to me it doesn’t completely matter which distribution you deliver laptops with. As a Linux user I’m very happy to install Linux myself.

     What _does_ matter, however, is some assurance that I’ll be able to use your laptops with Linux on it. Will the sound card behave? What about the wireless card? Will I be afflicted with a winmodem that’s unusable outside Windows?

    Meaning: drivers, drivers, drivers.

    If you were to put some work in ensuring that there are drivers to run your machines with Linux, I think many Linux users wouldn’t care so much whether you are delivering a distribution rather than another, or even no distribution at all.




  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu is the distro I prefer, I think hardware compatible is a very important issue, although many people say is not, is true that installing linux is getting easier with time, but some graphics cards, printers and most of all winmodems, sometimes give the user a headache. Not because is impossible to do, but because you have to do a research and sometimes an average user is just not interested. so, it would be nice a laptop with a modified distro that have all the issues with the hardware fixed, or just a laptop with a linux compatible hardware, so I can reinstall anytime I want without a problem. that will be a real hook for me.

  • Anonymous

    Good idea, Like it, like it like it very much, indeed!

    Until now, I have hat to spend good money to buy a Win, that I didn’t want, then spend good time to remove it and replace it with L.

    Looking forward to se the option on the Dell-site; Suse linux redraw $xxx.

  • Anonymous

    Please make sure that dell provides all the drivers for linux. and thats all. if the hardware works perfectly with linux the distro doesn’t matter that much…. we can install whatever we want later 🙂   

  • Anonymous
    I’ve been using Linux to surf the net simply coz’ its safer, there isnt any viruses on it so if a preinstalled Linux does come out, it’ll be right at the top of my shopping list.
  • Anonymous

    Well, what distro it doesn’t really matters. Throw a coin, but make it cumunity supported. Sounds better. 😉 I would prefere either .buntu or opensuse.

    What Hardware? Well if i need a Desktop I’ll build it myself. If you wan’t sell a Desktop with a specific ‘Addad Value’ then build a Workstation with 2x Intel Core2Duo and 2 Nvidia Cards in SLIP mode and Planty fo RAM. All in a pizza case. 😉 Do you remember the NEXT Workstation? And sell it with a 24″ wide or even 2 of them. MAke it fully functionall with Linux.

    Ok I think we need Laptops. Just make two of them. One very portable just for presentation with a very good battery. The second shall be state-of-the-art, to replace the desktop. Something like XPS M1710.

    Concerning software. Just make it easy for newbies!! Office, Gaming, Pictures etc. You know the drill. However folks who know linux won’t concider it as added value.

    Concernig  support, I think mailing lists would be the perfect choice.

    Good luck.


  • Anonymous

    Why buy a PC from Dell  for Linux? What’s important. 

    For a candidate Linux PC, the most important thing has to be drivers (especially with laptops) preferably open source rather than binary. If there are drivers then support will filter in to most of the possible distro’s If it isn’t there already.

    Where Dell can really make a difference software wise and valuewise is to sort out a liciencing deal so multimedia is working and legal for that particular PC.

    Because of Dell’s size and buying power as an OEM It should be possible to create a Dell Value Pack to allow legal use of MP3 and DVD codecs for Dell PC’s (in fact why limit yourself to Dell PC’s a reasonabled CD ready to install on to several distro’s could be a winner whoever makes the hardware).

    Support for Hardware issue’s will remain Dells responsibility, for software I would suggest Dell act as agent’s for the Distro vendors, the buyer can decide if they want to buy support or not for software from them.

    hopefully these are realistic idea’s 

  • Anonymous

    The Dell survey does not seem to be asking the correct questions. With that in mind, I wrote the following article to define the final customer experience. What questions would you like Dell to ask on their survey? (example: are you comfortable administrating a computer from a command line prompt or would you only purchase a Linux machine that can be administrated and run from graphical interfaces? Are you comfortable obtaining and installing Linux software on your own or would you prefer that Dell provide an intermediary where the majority of software is provided via a graphical menu and then downloaded from the Dell servers? etc.

    There are a large number of Microsoft Windows customers that want to transfer their computing to another operating system. The reasons for this are varied but can generally be described as ‘frequent dissatisfaction with Microsoft products’. These customers are actively looking for computing alternatives and are moving to these alternatives when a satisfactory solution has been found. Dell cannot gain these customers without an alternative and stands to actually lose current customers that decide to ‘take the plunge’ away from Microsoft. Apple computer’s increasing market share is being fueled by these customers; some of which are most likely previous Dell customers. Dell Enterprise customers are seeing increasingly attractive Linux and Solaris options available to meet their needs. It is essential that Dell provide an attractive and competitive Microsoft alternative.

    To qualify as an alternative, an operating system must meet two basic needs. First the system must be able to do what the customer has been using their Windows based computer to do. This will certainly include web browsing, office productivity, email, calendaring, picture sharing, video editing, digital music management and playback, gaming, etc… The second requirement is for the OS to be easy to administrate. Apple’s success to woo customers is linked to their replacements of basic computing task by equal or better solutions in a easy to administrate OS. Linux’s slow adoption by household customers is due to the lack of replacement application solutions and the difficulty in administrating a Linux system. To be successful at distributing a new OS, Dell must configure and extend the OS so that household customers can replace windows and then be continually satisfied by their ‘Dell OS’.

    To create a ‘Dell OS’, various types of customers must be observed moving their current Windows solutions to Dell’s alternative. They must be successful at the move, be favorable about the new solution and have continuous success into the future. Unfortunately, merely questioning customers what they want will likely provide incomplete or inaccurate information about they’re needs; based on past history with technology development. This process must continue until the software solutions are deemed acceptable by the prospective customers At the same time, all administration of the alternative OS must be handled graphically and intuitively. Apple has stated that they have achieved simplicity by not satisfying outside cases, but instead focuses on what the ‘majority’ of their customers need. Dell may need to follow a similar philosophy. ‘Dell OS’ must earn a reputation for being ‘less’ complicated than Windows.

    To aid the adoption of ‘Dell OS’, it will be advantageous to leverage either Linux’s or Solaris’ strengths against Window’s weaknesses. First, this will revolve around multi-user computing. Even though Windows (and OSX) support multiple users, they treat them as separate users of one machine – Linux and Solaris are already designed to function as a network computer. Something as simple as running a system address book through an embedded server provides a family with a shared address book. This server embedding can be spread across any software with which different user might have a reason to share the data files. A second strength is to be able to cause separate machines to run as one network. Many customers own more than one computer and have to administrate as such. However, if a family or small business can run a separate machine as a client, then any user can sit at either machine and have their login applications and file available. A laptop can be an extended client to a home or office server so that all updates and synchronizing occurs automatically. Any user can synchronize the the laptop to their account and then later resynchronize it. The result is a mobile computer that is an extension of the network, rather than an entirely separate machine dedicated to a single user. Finally, enterprise class administration must be automated and enforced. The system must make data backups and enforce security with logins and networking. Both Linux and Solaris already have these solutions working.

    As a final thought, an opportunity exists to create a new computing paradigm. There is a trend toward multi-user computing for home users and for customer’s systems to be live pay-for-use extensions of a primary system. Dell has the ability to lead the way in this direction ahead of both Microsoft and Apple. Both Solaris and Linux are open source and provide an excellent base for Dell to adopt an operating system for the future.

    Walter Bunton

    Industry Advisor

  • Anonymous

    I can’t tell if my survey was accepted or not.  Some sort of feedback message like “Thanks for completing this survey.” would have been nice.

  • Anonymous

    Why doesn’t dell allow the end user/buyer to select the OS that they want to have pre-installed/configured on whichever system they order, whether it is any flavor of Microsoft or a selected few of Linux…  Dell can specify support options (Standard: 1 year, none or purchase, upgrade, etc)based on the choice of the OS. What about dual-boot PCs for an extra cost?

  • Anonymous

    The one thing that continues to frustrate me with linux distros is the effort it takes to get multimedia to work. I use Suse on my PC at home and have been largely happy with it (recently upgraded to 10.1), but the media player that comes with it (Xine/Kaffiene) is crippled. It wont play anything; Windows Media formats (.avi, .wmv) forget it, Real Player formats can be viewed with the RealPlayer that comes with the distro but the stock Xine can’t handle it, even unencrypted DVDs wont play. Sure, you can go to the mplayer web site and find RPMs for Suse on the related sites, download and install them and the codecs and then it works, but why must users go through this? A lot of people are going to be stymied by this and just assume that it can’t be made to work. Whatever you ship should be able to play the popular multimedia formats on the machine out of the box. The other thing of course that others have brought up is peripheral hardware support. Selecting and getting peripheral hardware to work with linux continues to be a dicey proposition. There is always this lag between when new hardware comes out and the linux distros come around to supporting it. I am not talking anything exotic here, simply things like printers can still be a challenge to get to work. If you can use your muscle to get the peripheral vendors on the same page and deliver the same level of device driver support for their stuff for linux as they do for Windows, then you will have done the community a big favor and added true value.


  • Anonymous

    If Dell starts supplying laptops that are certified to run any type of Linux, my next laptop will be Dell. As for what version, I currently run SuSE on an old Viao and I’m pretty comfortable with it so if I had to chose something it would be SuSE.

  • Anonymous

    i think that the buseness oriantated models shoudl use SLED 10 (suse linux entaprise desktop )

     for the home oreantated models it seems taht ubunu/kbuntu is the most populiar though i prefer open suse…


    but as others have said the important thing is that the hardware is either natavly supported, or the required drivers come pre installed, 

    ie, Nvidia drivers for Nvidia cards,

    The wifi card should “just work”

  • Anonymous


    Dell could start in safe-mode. Begin with hardware certifications in one or some of the pure community distros  (Debian, Fedora) for all (or most) machines (for those who are not afraid of a self install at home or SMB).

    It is a matter of choosing right hadware suppliers specs for less effort.

    By certifying in pure community distros, it is almost sure for working on any other commercial distro too.

    Begin with pre-installations for enterprise customers, as these usually have more disciplined environments.

    HP has already such offers: > Support matrices

    IBM has already such offers:

    After tapping in the Linux field, Dell could tune its support services in preparation for broad home user support.

    Also, Dell is an absent in Brasil’s ” PC Conectado” that is selling thousands and thousands of Linux machines.


    Andre Felipe Machado

  • Anonymous

    The best thing Dell can do is offer
    systems that are fully supported by open source drivers. 

    This may mean
    that the systems come with a number of Intel components (video, NIC,
    etc.) since Intel has been really good about open sourcing their

    Purchasers would be free to substitute their own alternatives
    but would then be responsible for any “tainting”.  The systems would
    work “out of the box” with any Linux distro which would mean Dell’s
    support would be significantly easier.

  • Anonymous

    Obviously, Ubutnu is the best way to go for your customers. Free, stable, good hardware support. choosing Suse or RHEL would actually transfer the existing windows tax system to Linux producers, not remove it. The operating system proposed should be free of charge and hopefully, a good distro that is free exists, and will of course win the survey, as Ubutnu always does.

     anyway, once again, produce Linux2.6.xx compatible boxes is the way to go, then anybody can buy it and don’t have to worro about suspend not working, sound card not recognized and so on.I would say that shipping a linux distro is not even necessary, as long as you produce linux compatible bare boxes, but it would help Liunx expansion

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been using Linux only on my Desktop for more than 10 years and in Business environment for 5 years. I’m Linux expert providing Linux solution to my customers.

     For any hardware the main issue is not which distribution will be used but how good my harsware is supported by the latest kernel. As soon as everything can work without googling, once the system is installed, users will be happy with the distro they prefer.

    Thus the point is how great is the communication of hardware devices makers in terms of specification to help the community build drivers for their hardware. We can resume this as : Give your specs and APIs and let them do.



  • Anonymous

    The important thing for a system which supports a certain distribution of GNU/Linux is that the hardware will still almost certainly be able to support any other distro, or any other free operating system at all for that matter. To do this a computer needs to have, wherever possible, open hardware for which free and open source drivers are available. The ultimate test of this is a computer which can run the gNewSense distribution. If gNewSense can make use of all the hardware on one of your PC packages, then you truly have made a good choice of hardware and anyone really will be able to install whichever OS they want and use all of the hardware. And if they can’t, someone should be able to make the drivers they need much more easily.

  • Anonymous

    I grew up discovering Red Hat linux distro.

    So logically, I prefer Redhat / CentOS / Fedora distro.


  • Anonymous

    >> NOW WHAT ? <<

     Reminder: The survey doesn’t close until the 23rd.

    After that, knowing how things work, I suspect that it will take some time before you will see a decision from Dell in terms of a plan/strategy. This would be a pretty dramatic change for Dell. Developing a comprehensive, global strategy to support what is being asked for by way of the survey and these blog comments won’t happen overnight.

    – Mark

  • Anonymous

    There are several issues to the decision that Dell will have to take now. My ideas on this are the following:

    • For manageability reasons on this offer, it would be good to standardize as much as possible, meaning that only a limited number of distro’s can be offered.
    • In order to be successful,  the chosen distro(‘s) should be appealing to as well new linux users as experienced users. This means that at one side they need to contain good and easy graphical tools (e.g. control center) but also allow all CLI goodies, full configurability and respect to the linux philisophy (e.g. not working as root) for experienced linux users. In my opinion a distro like Ubuntu today still lacks the required graphical tools to appeal to new linux users, but there are a couple of established linux distro’s that do offer what is needed: Mandriva and SUSE.
    • For business users that require support, a commercial version including support (from the distro builder) should be available, while for most home users a community version without support might be OK. Maybe Dell could install by default a community version with the possibility to acquire support (upon which with a one click procedure the user can upgrade to the supported version that might include commercial software). This keeps everything very manageable for Dell, while living up to the needs of all potential users. Up to Dell and the distro builder to find a correct revenue sharing model.
    • Dell is a hardware vendor, not a software developer. That means that Dell should leave the software development work where it belongs: the distro builder. That means that if specific drivers need to be created, the distro builder should do this, not Dell.
    • To maximize the appeal in the linux models, Dell should make sure that it’s hardware is supported by linux by default. That means that drivers should work not only with the distro came with, but with as much as possible other distro’s as well. This can also attract users of other distro’s then the one that is pre-installed (knowing that you investment in HW will be compatible with your distro of choice is a strong factor in the decision what HW to acquire). That means that for all components Open Source drivers should be available, not just binary blobs, or at least that any distro builder can repackage the binary blobs, not only the one that delivers the pre-installed distro.
    • Offer this worldwide, not only in the US! There is a huge market outside the US as well. Seen the fact that most distro’s allow very easy to localization (even after installation), this should not be an issue.
    • Do not in any way block your customers to use your HW in a fashion that you did not intend it to. Some products get an extra user base (which means extra revenues) because through their openness, the Open Source community was able to create software that allows to use the HW for complete other purposes than the producer initially intended. Look for example to All the users of this project would never have acquired a MediaMVP if Hauppauge would have prevented such development. It is a win-win situation.
  • Anonymous

    I use PCLinuxOS but the flavour of Linux installed is not important. To me the most important things are:-

    1) The Linux machines must be cheaper than the Windows equivalents (No MS tax)

    2)The hardware must be Linux compatible.

    3)On notebooks/laptops, suspend/resume and battery meters must work under linux.

  • Anonymous

    Since Linux is Open Source, why doesn’t Dell simply make a custom Dell version and charge a reasonable amount for it.  This way Dell can customize  the operating system for each model series they make.  Whether  Dell chooses to do this in-house or out source it to a reputable Linux development company is up to them.  Remember, Open Source does not equal free price;  Redhat, and SuSe cost money as well.  If Dell’s customers do not like the Linux Dell has created they can always go out and buy or compile their own Linux.

  • Anonymous

    I voted for Ubuntu, but all I really need is good open-source driver support, and I can do everything else. 🙂 Basically computers could come empty with with cdrom with all needed linux drivers in it. User can choose a dist. they want and install drivers.


    Although some pre-installed options would be nice for less-skilled people.

  • Anonymous

    Using Redhat _and_ Centos on all servers here…
    BUT for a Desktop Linux please support Kubuntu/Ubuntu !

    IF Dell will deliver Ubuntu factory shipped on a broad scale I for one do see a serious increase in business for us and DELL.

    We see VERY little interest in VISTA… close to zero in Vista upgrades.

    MOF most customers here with Standard Office needs are asking for “alternatives” for the 1st time – the small outfits are quite pleased when given a OpenOffice Demo on KDE …

    Go for it!



  • Anonymous

    I’m using Linux since 6 years.

    I like totally free distribution like Ubuntu. 

    What we need is more support for hardware drivers and the possibility to have Linux preinstalled.

    When a parent or a friend need to buy a Laptop (or Desktop) buy a Dell computer would be a good advice if it supports linux… a lot of time not wasted reinstalling Windows every two weeks cause of worms, viruses etc…

    I hope dell will do this step soon! 

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree with the comments that focus on 100% hardware support with 100% free software drivers. I do prefer the Ubuntu flavor, but with the free and compatible drivers the community take care of the rest….

    If it’s not perfect, at least this survey is a step forward. 

  • Anonymous

    No binary drivers for hardware.  This is a MUST. It has to have only Linux certified hardware.  From Linux kernel directly. No hardware manufacturer that doesn’t support Linux kernel team with hardware specs.

    About graphical 3D acceleration cards: ATI video drivers have support from open source project Xorg to rather new cards for 3D acceleration.  nVidia doesn’t have any support for 3D-accelleration, so they should not be an option.

    Any hardware that is not supported by Debian/testing should not go into your computers. Neither should you use Microsoft APCI compiler, use Intels so that hibernate and sleep works with Linux.

    Distribution isn’t that important.  There is two Desktop environments that you would like to consider.  Gnome and KDE.  So Debian or Ubuntu/Kubuntu would be a good choise.  Might be one installation DVD that the user installs when new computer.  They do easy upgrade of software, even for non technical users like ordinary MS Windows users.  Please do have a separate partition for users data (separate /home partition). That would realy help.

    Support should probobly be preloaded link in webb reader to a Dell comunity and then a phone number. 

  • Anonymous

    Hey all!

    The distribution Dell chooses will have supported hardware. So don’t choos distribution on how easy it is to install.  How easy is it to manage, would be the main issue.  How easy is it to make security and software upgrades?  How easy is it to install new software (and remove)?

    My selection would be Debian/Etch or Ubuntu. The package system and infrastructure is realy good there. Easy to install with synaptic and realy good with package_manager that sits and check upgrades in background.

    And if Dell support those one of those two with open source drivers, it will be a trivially easy task installing ANY distribution you like on a Dell computer.

    And such computer will be firs on my list when looking for a new computer. 

  • Anonymous

    Dell should sell a option of either giving the laptops with no OS install for advanced linux users to customize their choice


    Sell a pimp it uped version of Dell linux .. this configuration could be aimed for ordinary users who will compare their choice with vista.

    should be pre-configured  with desktop 3d effects such as XGl == Aero

    advanced media center version: which includes recording TV playing DVD’s for example mythTV==windows media center ,PHoto editing and definely openoffice ===> windows office.

    this version should be engineered by dell linux team to find ideal configurations for home naive users with extensive support.. instead  of paying  to MR. Bell users will pay it to dell

  • Anonymous


     Nice idea to use Linux, i prefer SuSE Linux Desktop to be your choice, since this disrto is imazing, Easy of use, fully customized to match user needs, etc..


  • Anonymous

    Since you can’t please everyone, I would recommend installing some distribution that will satisfy the less technical audience.

    The technical among us are quite capable of installing whichever distro we want and wouldn’t need or expect explicit support from Dell.  The #1 priority is hardware support, contribute drivers so ALL distributions benefit and Dell computers can be bought without concern over what will or won’t work under Linux,


  • Anonymous

    Please work with kernel developpers and Linux distributions like Ubuntu. I want to read on laptops Tech specs something like «Canonical certified that this laptop works with Ubuntu 6.06».

  • Anonymous

    Well, I don’t like Dell’s Survey because:
    1. It is not clear how Dell will share results;
    2. There is no mention on Trusted Computing.

    I’ve opened a public survey here:

    You can also DIGG the story here:… deastorm_one



  • Anonymous

    The basic requirement is to have the hardware supported.


    I’ve inherited my fathers old Dimension 4550 – upgraded the hardware to where it’s acceptable and I’m running my business on it. I’ve ditched XP Pro because it’s just too vulnerable and there’s no way on this planet I want to trust Vista – so I’m running OpenSuSE 10.2 which is rock-solid, I’ve got good equivalents for almost everything that I needed on Windows – the remaining windows apps I have to use like Photoshop or InDesign and a small brace of others, they run fine under wine – or I run them inside a VM hosted by VMware Server and communicating with the linux file system via Samba.

     Ok – I’m not a programmer  – but I used to work in Infrastructure back in the dark ages – and it’s taken a little while to get there – but it works fine.

    Just give us some better hardware that can run the more ‘state-of-the-art’ desktops and make sure that there’s proper drivers for the hardware – and it’ll be almost perfect! The drivers themselves can be made opensource or they can be shipped as binaries – it doesn’t really matter to anyone except a purist – the rest of us want a nice solid system that work reliably
     – we’ve not got any interest in a political fight – as long as the base distribution is a true linux, there’s no problme whatsoever with a manufacturer shipping binary drivers for their specific hardware – it’s been done that way for years!

     If it happens, I might even buy another Dell or two!

  • Anonymous

    Having Linux preinstalled with all hardware working would be more than enough. Dont need support after that (other than basic reinstalling etc..).

     My problems with Dell hardware have been to get linux to work on it since driver/kernel modules didnt exist for several reasons.


    Both windows o linux could be installed.


  • Anonymous

    It would be great to be able to click “View Results” like in most surveys, without filling out the info.

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu (or Kubuntu) with all ‘restricted’ and libs that are not present in the default installation will be the best choice.

  • Anonymous

    The distro a person uses is a matter of personal choice, and that’s healthy.  I prefer to use Fedora Core for personal machines, and use RHEL on workstations and servers that I consider critical.  We use both distros throughout the enterprise.  I have used openSuSE, on and off. I cannot stand YaST or a few other things. The fact that Novell won’t support other distros with a NetWare Client poses them poorly within the community. Yet their efforts with Mono seem grand.

    What really matters, and where I feel you should place considerable thought and energy, is with your chipset and integrated hardware choices.  We’ve had some unnecessary struggles getting  RHEL to run on our Optiplex 745s. Intel graphics adapters are not simple to work with, and although improving, ATI isn’t great. Dell doesn’t *have* to make any distro choices.  Dell does *have* to build their products with linux-friendly chipsets and components. And provide links to repositories that maintain the drivers. Put the right stuff inside and the community will provide drivers and support of those drivers.  Dell’s current support site list’s no links or drivers for Linux.

    Two thirds of our desktops and laptops run linux. On each of those Linux machines we had to buy a Windows license because you won’t sell a machine without an OS, or provide a choice of OS. (we are aware that high-end workstations are available with RHEL — Which makes it an expensive option) No wonder MS believes that they’re doing so well, even people and companies that have no intentions of using Windows are “buying” windows with their Dell (and others).

     I am looking forward to ordering Dells, pre-installed (default package list) with Fedora Core. And please do not add proprietary branding or packages – that kind of stuff belongs on the case bezel.

  • Anonymous

    Dell may also send PCs without Linux installed.
    This way, we decide to buy the best hardware for the bucks and tell the world about how happy we are of this combo.

  • Anonymous

    I have to choices: 1) ubuntu 2) pclinuxos BUT not fedora is not as stable as they have claimed.  Ubuntu has done steady progress in the linux world since the first day it came out.  On the other hand, PCLINUXOS is rising to the top for being user friendly and for being a complete desktop enviroment.

  • Anonymous

    Good idea is on computer with Windows also instal Linux Ubuntu (dual boot) with default boot Windows and optional Ubuntu




  • Anonymous

    I have 3 Dell laptops, one Compaq laptop (never again) and many desktops.  I also support many others.  I have noticed some real changes at Dell reciently, and I like what I see.  What I want is easy.  Make it easy to buy what I want, and you have my business.  Some examples;

    Nvidia graphics under linux is better and easier than ATI.  Why do so many of your systems only come with ATI?  Why do I have to go several pages deep to find this? 

    Drivers for hardware…  Much of your hardware has none.  Consider the cost of hardware that adds no value at all to me?  Spec different modems, or leave them out. (Note that there are lists of supported Winmodems at

    OS choice should be easier as well.  It is several steps just to get XP as opposed to Vista.  I too will never buy or support Vista.  I simply can not agree to the EULA. Linux or no-os is an act of god.  Why?

    However, kudos on the major improvements in small business support!  What a difference a few months make! 

  • Anonymous

    This has been said a few times, yet I repeat it, as I think it is important to stress.

    It is nice that you are asking the customers which Linux distribution they want, but in the end it doesn’t matter much. In my opinion the more someone points out to you that you have to preinstall distribution XYZ the less important it really is for her/him, as anybody who cares so much about her/his preferred distribution is very well capable of installing it her-/himself.

    When it comes to matching Linux with your hardware the only really important issue is, that all hardware is actually supported by the kernel and drivers and in this respect all Linux distributions are ultimately equal.

    As long as you produce hardware where every component is supported by the Linux distribution you choose, it is fine.

    And choosing your hardware components you should make sure that for most of them the drivers are available not just as closed binary but in source form too. This would not only show your respect for the community, but also broaden the customer choice as the writers of other OS – e.g. FreeBSD and similar and even those people who think it is better to hack Mac OS X to run on a Dell instead of buying a beautiful Apple Macbook  – the chance to support your hardware easily.

  • Anonymous

    I am new to linux and am not technical. for me ubuntu works easily out of the box and i think is really good for people who just wants to open their new linux pc and start working.

    it will be good if it is pre-configured to get playing music and watching videos out of the box too but that too is not hard to install with ubuntu’s one click software manager – synaptic.

    i’m looking at website for my next ubuntu laptop but will hold on for a bit to see what happens to this survey. thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s just drill this into your heads a little more:


    OK, now that’ that’s out of the way, I’d recommend PCLinuxOS. But, like everyone else said, that doesn’t mean squat. What the important thing is:


    If it works in the Linux kernel it’ll work in every distro. Problem solved.

  • Anonymous

    This is my second post to this blog.  One disturbing thing that I’ve seen posted by many is that they insist that the Linux Dell PC be less expensive than a Windows eqipped PC.  I really doubt that Dell can afford to do all the work to necessary to certify their hardware, install a different OS and provide even a very limited amount of OS support for free.  Just because many Linux distros are “free as in beer” as well as “free as in speech” doesn’t mean that there is no cost to Dell to provide a Linux computer.

    I’d be perfectly happy to pay the same price for a Linux computer as for a Windows computer as long as I knew that the cost above that of the bare hardware was not going to Microsoft.  Currently, those few retailers selling Linux computers attach a pretty significant price tag to their machines, largely because in most cases they have to purchase their hardware from other manufacturers and don’t see the sales volumes that Dell would see.  I want Dell to succeed with this initiative and make money doing it.  If done correctly, I’m confident that they will.

    The other thing that I’m seeing is many open source purists demanding that no “binary blobs” or other non-totally free software be included.  While I personally avoid most of these since I don’t care about playing .mp3 files, using Windows or other proprietary codecs, or watching DVD’s on my computer (I have a TV for that), I doubt that Dell would have much luck getting new users, new converts from Windows, to believe that their  computer was operating correctly if they couldn’t do those things.  Dell should probably license those codecs so that they can provide this functionality, at least with a simple “point and click” install for those users who will invariably decide that they want or need this.  perhaps this could be done as a “firstboot” option when the user sets up root passwords, localization, and user accounts, and etc.  And even I use the nVidia 3D drivers to get the most use out of my expensive video card and to be able to play with the  new 3D desktops. 

    Licensing these codecs and making them available and assuring that all their hardware will function properly with Linux; installing Linux and providing some limited level of OS support for the new Linux users likely to purchase these computers will cost money.  Dell has every justification, and indeed need, to generate the funds necessary to do this and to do it well.  By doing so, they will make Linux computers available to purists and new users alike at a fair price and still be able to earn the money they need to justify this initiative to their management, employees and stockholders. 

    I would ask Dell to choose any one “free” and one “enterprise” distro as install options.  Partner with the OS supplier(s) for support and customization options.  Allow customers who want an enterprise version to choose from a single year or a multi-year subscription plan.  Purists or experienced Linux users with strong distro-preferences have the ability to install and customize their preferred distros with the confidence that the hardware is Linux compatible, and they will.  New users will have the option of doing everything they want to with their new Dell hardware, and Dell stands to open a significant new market for themselves.

    Thanks for listening.




  • Anonymous

    Like most Linux proficient Dell customers I have a favourite distribution that I ALWAYS use. In my case Debian Sid, with a custom kernel.

    No matter what Linux distro Dell will chose to preload ,I’ll reformat the drive and install my own stuff.

    MUCH MUCH IMPORTANT, than pre-loading Linux (apart from the clear political statement it is), would be to “lean heavily” on component, peripheral and software suppliers to alway provide UPDATED DRIVERs / SOFTWARE FOR ALL THEIR PRODUCTS.  Ofcourse Dell should also make the effort to make sure that all their own products are supplied with Linux drivers, From PDA’s to printers and scanners.   

  • Anonymous

    You must make sure that the hardware is supported by open source drivers. I don’t think that can be emphasized enough. A computer running Linux that needs proprietary drivers is no Linux at all. Frankly, most Linux users couldn’t care less what distro you choose–it’s not hard to swap distributions–so long as the hardware “just works”. Hardware will “just work” only with free / open source drivers! That is the main point of all this. No more ‘software modems’, no more generic sound cards that lack drivers, et cetera.

    Do you realize what a big boon to you this would be? Hardware with FOSS drivers works out of the box on all distributions because they have the power to redistribute it. Moreover, they have the power to change it, to update it, and to fix it. You literally have people willing to do work for you, for free! All you have to do is make sure the drivers for everything are FOSS.

  • Anonymous

    Precision workstations are missing… I’d give priorities:

    1. Precision M90 Laptop

    2. Precision M65 Laptop

    3. Desktop Precision 

  • DELL-Matt Domsch

    Anatoly, Dell has sold Precision workstations, the tower models, for several years, with Red Hat Linux and now Red Hat Enterprise Linux pre-installed.  Glad to hear we’re offering at least some of what you’re looking for already.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t want a choice of Linux distribution.  All I want is an option to NOT BUY WINDOWS.  Just give me a blank hard drive to do with as I please.

  • Anonymous

    Well, the list of distro isn’t in fact the most important. Hardware with GPL’ed drivers is the most important, everyone being able to change the distro to  suit its own choices.

    Anyway, I think Debian & Mandriva should be added to the list of avalaible distro: Debian for it’s politics, stability, reliability and community.

    Mandriva for it’s ease of use, very good hardware support, and internationalization (as you can see, I’m not so good in english…)

  • Anonymous

    There is only one choice: DEBIAN.

    It’s not my favourite one but Dell has no choice. The right Linux must:

    – have a long term release cycle

    – be free (no cost)

    – be .org

    – have the maximum number of bin appls

    Only Debian meets those requirements. (…or BSD)

  • Anonymous

    Use UBUNTU.


    It’s free, it has a commercial server variant for corporate.


    It is the MOST popular linux flavour.







  • Anonymous

    Unlike some of the responders, I know very little about the workings of a computer.  A computer is a tool for me.  I want it to do what it is supposed to do – let me e-mail, surf the web, write and manipulate data or documents, play games, listen to music, etc.  Any computer that does this well will work for me. 

    I assume that many computer users are like me.  Most people don’t know (or care) what a binary driver is, or what the latest stable linux kernel is.  Most people don’t care whether they have MS windows or another OS running.  They want something that does the job, and of course the consumer in each of us enjoys when it does its job in a flashy way.  People I have talked to like Vista because it has “cool” screen effects – something that linux can also do. 

    I loaded openSUSE on an older PIII 450 mHz Dell machine at a time when windows XP was giving me problems.  I did it more in spite than for need.  I could have easily re-loaded XP.  There were a couple of problems initially, but I stuck with it and have really come to appreciate the many offerings available in the linux world.  There are still moments of intense frustration where I want make an application run and find it incompatible with my hardware or my linux distribution.  Or, worse yet, when I try to find help on the internet, only to spend hours searching through a poorly organized help system that is too technical for me.  (I am getting smarter though.)  There are also gaps in some of the software choices, although they are getting better.  (My son needs Windows for some of his games and engineering software, but he can’t play them on his Apple either, and that didn’t stop him from buying it.)

    Overall, I still have a laptop that runs Windows XP and a desktop that now runs openSUSE.  I find myself using openSUSE more and more, and I really have come to love using OpenOffice.  I love the fun ways to configure my KDE desktop.  I finally got Amarok to play my MP3’s, MP4’s and everything else, and really like how it works.  I still haven’t dared to replace my laptop with linux though. 

     My point is that most people who buy Dell computers are like me.  (My mom and brother, who own Dell computers, wouldn’t know the first thing about how to download and make/install a program on linux.)  Most people want a computer that does what they need it to do.  Technical people will always be able to tinker and make things work.  Most of the others of us just get frustrated if something doesn’t do what it is supposed to do. 

    Linux in all of it’s varied distributions, is a great OS, and there are ever growing useful software choices.  The biggest problem is that simple folk, (myself included) don’t always have the know how to make it work on their hardware, or they can’t understand the lingo of the help manuals.  If someone like Dell were to begin supporting linux by making compatible machines and working with the existing linux community to make solving problems easier, I believe it would be a great boon to both sides.

    Frankly, many people are tired of the monopoly that exists in operating systems and the tactics used by that monopoly to maintain its power.  Some would buy just to give the world another choice.

    Dell is a smart company.  It has become what it is by serving a variety of people from geeks to frightened end-users.  Offering another choice is only likely to help Dell maintain its ability to help people meet their computing needs.  I realize that Dell has to make money in this deal to survive.  That is not evil, we all have to put food on the table.  But, what Dell needs to realize is that they are sitting on a huge untapped resource – the linux community, which is more than willing to assist in making linux work.  Somehow there is a way for all sides to benefit in this deal.

    When Dell offered Red Hat on some of it’s machines a few years ago, things didn’t work because the timing was wrong.  I believe the timing is now right to make linux become another option for people.  With the release of a new MS OS and the requirement to purchase and learn a new system, people are a little more likely to consider other choices.

    Linux has huge potential in the hands of a big corporation like Dell.  If Dell makes linux compatible machines and markets them, it is very likely that it will continue to evolve into a friendly, widely supported OS.  If Dell chooses not to do this is likely that linux will still continue to evolve into a friendly, widely supported OS, although it may be in with another corporations support or through the continued slow grassroots support of the linux community.  I believe that this is a big crossroads for Dell.


  • Anonymous

    also, ALL hardware should, not should HAS to be supported by Ubuntu (

  • Anonymous

    Offering Linux seems to be a natural thing in our ever changing world.  The new generation of computer users are savy.  They are not afraid of using a new OS and its software.  They use multiple interfaces every day.  Most don’t feel loyal to any company.  They buy what works for them.  Many of the young people that I know are familiar with Linux and even have tried a distribution or two.  It seems that the support needs for this future generation may change either in quality (more difficult problems) or in quantity (perhaps less overall call because they know how to get answers from friends and the internet.)  It seems wise to include Linux on the menu because people will be looking for it. Many are tired of the MS monopoly.

    It is more important that the hardware works with whatever distribution you use than it is to offer a specific distro.  If you make the specs available, the community can assist with making it work, which may allow you to offer multiple distributions.

  • Anonymous

    For a head start, debian based distro’s ( ubuntu) should be up. Most of the users are not hard core linux characters but normal daily users with low budget.

    Its best to provide a preloaded ubuntu with default killer tools like gnome-deskbar-applet, nm-applet, beagle, beryl and gaim. I think this would be a great head start for newbies to put them in aw.

  • Anonymous

    up to now I haven´t bought a notebook because nearly all notebooks were delivered with Windows. I haven´t needed it and I won´t need it. And – at last – I don´t want to buy Windows. If a company sells notebooks without forcing the customer to buy this OS, I will buy a notebook from them. If there will be a Linux distribution preinstalled, great. But it´s not necessary as long as the hardware will be supported by non proprietary drivers. The user can install any Linux he wants. I´d prefer Linuxmint (Ubuntu), Mandriva or PCLinuxOS. But that´s my personal decision. Important for me is that the price of a notebook without Windows is considerably lower than the price including this stuff and that not only low-end notebooks will be sold without Windows. No Windows-tax!!!!

    Thanks  for reading

    Dieter (from Germany)

  • Anonymous

    I believe that the Novell SUSE option would be our best marketable choice. You get the benefits of offering Linux as we can see is hotly desired by our consumers, along with a well respected name in the industry. I fell that having the Novell name behind the Linux Dell chooses to use will add to consumer confidence, especially with the non-technical customer. Lets face the truth, as soon as we offer a Linux compatible system, most of the people demanding one distro or another will buy it and immediately put their own favorite flavor on it. We need to be focused on the non-technical market and what will make them most likely to choose a Dell Linux system as compared to the competitors Vista machine.

    Many consumers have been exposed to Novell over the years either through their network OS at work, or from WordPerfect. This gives us an opportunity to use that familiarity to help promote consumer confidence in the Linux OS we are putting on our systems.  Also, as Novell is working closely with the OpenSUSE project, our new Dell Linux machines would be compatible with any precompiled OpenSUSE or Novell SUSE application.

    As I already use OpenSUSE on an old Dimension desktop machine at home,  I am ready and willing to support it in our call centers (and I’m sure I’m not the only one working here that is in the same boat).

  • Anonymous

    As of March 21, 2007 10:55 AM word count on THIS thread is like that:

    406 – ubuntu
    131 – suse
    91 – fedora
    48 – redhat

    Do not tell that you do not know what linux users want please.

  • Anonymous

    I am in the market for a laptop. I use Mandriva 99.9% of the time, windows only when I am forced to. I have installed Linux on several systems for friends and have had problems with Dell systems hardware in Linux. With a desktop, if the video adaptor or sound card etc. isn’t compatable, you can change it. Not so easy on a laptop. I would be very happy with a vendor that took the time to make sure their hardware is compatible, and tell us that up front so we don’t have to just buy something and hope for the best. Due to the total lack of systems with Linux pre installed, I can safely say that we all would be capable of, and probably prefer to install our own flavor of Linux and customize it to our liking. We just want confidence that the hardware will work! If we know you have coordinated efforts with the kernel developers, then it doesn’t matter much which Linux we use.

    Also might be a good idea to offer systems with Windows on first 1/3rd of drive. Leave rest open for Linux, common partition, etc. 

  • Anonymous

    Linux preloaded on
    DELL PCs. What an excellent idea!

    I would immediately
    buy a desktop and a laptop for home and switch my department
    purchases at work from HP to DELL, even Windows PCs, just to reward
    your company for listening to customer needs. I would also
    immediately start recommending Dell Linux PCs to all my friends and
    offer them any support and assistance they would need.

    Right now I have at
    home two older Dell PCs. On the first, Dimension (PIII 600MHz), I
    have been running Linspire for over two years now. On the newer
    Dimension 4400 (PIV 1.6 GHz) I have Ubuntu 6.10. The latter setup is
    a dream to run and use. I am not a techie, yet I could not believe
    how easy it was to install Ubuntu and all the needed programs myself.
    Both of these Dell machines are used extensively by my whole family
    and never needed any maintenance.

    I have tried other
    distributions too, namely latest Fedora and SUSE. My experiences with
    these were less than satisfactory.

    I would never recommend big name
    distributions to Dell. I think we have had enough issues with one
    specific “big name” already. Also watch out as the latest
    publicity surrounding big names like Novell and Red Hat do not seem
    all that positive. In addition, someone told me that SUSE, Red Hat and the likes have problems with “package
    dependency resolution” (do not know what it means). This hacker said that , once he had to spend several hours to resolve problems
    with one important program and its “RPM package dependencies”.
    He had enough. After having been a long time Red Hat user he finally
    gave in. He’s now switched to Debian.

    I have really enjoyed
    reading other comments. Lloyd, you are absolutely right by saying ”
    The new generation of computer users are savvy. They are not afraid
    of using a new OS and and its software”. I would like to add
    that the software openness that GNU/Linux brings with itself is
    awakening genuine interest in young generation
    again in computer
    software internals and computer science in general. I can say this as I am watching my 11 year old son building his own small Linux
    from scratch by doing something like “compiling components from
    source”, whatever that means. May The Source Be With Him, anyway.

    I am disappointed that
    Dell “recommends Windows” so extensively, the same Windows with which I used to have so many problems. No more at home but at work still do, even with the latest product. Yes, you can keep your Windows working for a while but the
    amount of effort, cost of add-ons and other basic software are

    Dell, thank you for
    this survey and please do not pass up this unique opportunity to
    innovate again. Be the first to the party, not the last one, “me
    too” kind of follower. Go to your roots and just be the kind of
    customer-oriented company you used to be in your origins. Do not
    yield to pressures of the mighty Microsoft. That company’s
    disappointing product quality and dubious business practices are
    already bearing the fruits of rejection it deserved.

    English is a foreign
    language to me so my apologies to all for possible spelling, grammatical or
    styling errors.

    Edited with OpenOffice. Submitted from Firefox.

    Best Regards,
    Wojtek Gorski

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Dell for this Linux Survey.

    Here is a point I think nobody has made here:

    I will NOT buy a new Dell computer AS LONG AS Dell continues to recommend “Windows ” on consumer advertisements and web pages. This implies that Dell computers are not suitable for other OS.

  • Anonymous

    This is great! As others have mentioned the real issue for me is just hardware compatibility. Having good solid drivers and a varity of hardware. You don’t have to support everything just good basic hardware at a reasonable price. I’m sick of security issues with Microsoft OS’s and the bloat that is required to deal with them. Apple systems are closed and expensive. On linux side a lot of the Open Source software is maturing pretty good. $800 bucks of my money is going to the first stock linux notebook I can find that fulfils my needs/requirements. You are selling Windows based notebooks below that already.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately I would recommend against RedHat, Fedora, and Ubuntu/Kubuntu, for the following reasons:


    Fedora is bleeding edge, and things often break…. DRI broke on my Intel i915 (not uncommon hardware) gfx card about a month ago when updates were released and has yet to be corrected, so no 3D.

    I’ve had a much better experience with Ubuntu than Kubuntu.  That being said I think KDE is the better desktop, but I don’t believe quality control in Ubuntu is nearly as high as it is in its older brother Debian.

    RedHat doesn’t release often enough.  Keep in mind that RH5 just shipped.  Would you want a user basing their opinion of linux on the desktop on RH4? I wouldn’t.  Also, you’d need to enable dag/rpmforge to make RedHat desktop-friendly for most people, and there’s no official support for those packages.

    OpenSUSE is a good distro, 10.2 with KDE really shines once you remove all traces of ZenWorks/ZMD.  Unfortunately I had a significantly poorer experience with versions prior to 10.1, so your mileage may vary.

    All that being said, OpenSUSE 10.2 picked up (out of the box) on: Fn keys, cpu scaling, proper resolution (w/o me having to set up 915resolution manually to achieve 1280×800), suspend to disk and ram, etc etc.  I can’t name a single thing on my laptop that didn’t work out of the box with OpenSUSE.  I haven’t tested pcmcia or the modem, however.  I believe I have a crummy winmodem-style gadget that probably wouldn’t work by default with any distro.

    Bottom line is if Dell is to offer Linux as a widespread option then Dell had better be ready to work with whichever Linux vendor it chooses to make sure that things do NOT break.  Many desktop users would find X hard-locking anytime anything 3D-related runs completely unacceptable, with no idea how to fix it.

    In fact Dell is inevitably going to be introducing GNU/Linux to people with zero experience in this department, and a problem like that mentioned above is likely to be reported in a fashion similar to “My computer freezes when my screensaver comes on.” 

    For the record this is all running on a 7-month old Inspiron B130.  Any if anyone feels obligated to send me a refund for XP Home…..

    Cheers 😉

  • Anonymous

    I want a cheap computer, that I can customize a lot, choose if I want Intel or AMD, Nvidia or ATI, 1 or 2 gb RAM, 300 or 400 gb disk space, etc.

     I don’t really care about support, you don’t have to provide me with any. I don’t need any, there is a huge community with thousand of forums, how-tos, guides, wikis, documentation, faq, chat channels, mailing-lists, newsgroups, etc.

    I don’t care about which Linux distro you ship, because I can buy whatever computer pre-loaded with Linux, then format it and install my distribution of choice and don’t have to pay Microsoft for the “Windows tax”.

     I would appreciate if Dell put some pressure on hardware manufacturers to release documentation and specification for their hardware and/or open source device drivers.

  • Anonymous
    1. Hardware compatibility with Linux kernel.
    2. Open-source drivers and BIOS for hardware (Community will do it for you, lowering your development costs.)
    3. Choice of distros for users. Customer orders with one pre-installed. Ship in the box with the computer the install CDs for (K)Ubuntu, Red Hat, Debian, and Gentoo. (Perhaps a DVD with a menu giving the user the choice and installing.)
    4. Consider forming an open source community project for Dell products. Your users will do the work for you!
    5. Sell Linux distro CDs/DVDs on your website, like you do other software. Folks with limited bandwidth or other special needs could buy.
    6. Try making a deal with Canonical to jointly market a Dell/Kubuntu distribution. You’d both make money.

  • Anonymous

    As said by many others, distro choice is currently unimportant. At the moment, those who would buy a linux Dell know enough to get their favourite installed.

    The real issue is hardware; it needs to be as open as possible. Support from a stock kernel is an absolute must. Ideally the components should fit the OpenBSD approach so that linux and *BSD devs are free to implement their own driver. This eliminates dependence on Dell and/or XYZ hardware provider for drivers, makes for a better working computer out-of-the-box and one that keeps working as it ages (better customer experience = more likely to repeat purchase).

    Clearly state how open the various components are (e.g. this nvidia/ati card requires closed source 3rd party drivers for 3D). This allows the customer to make an informed decision and know what to expect in terms of hardware compatibility.

    A real commitment to open-source would see Dell use its position in the industry to bully influence manufacturers to opening their hardware (specs, docs, etc). Then there’s no need to pick a distro to hardware support as it will just work.

  • Anonymous

    I would really like to see Dell offer better selection of hardware when it comes to putting together a laptop.

    It is no secret that NVidia hardware is more desireable in a linux environment and while ATI “driver support” would get away in print, it leaves much to be desired…

    Sadly, putting together a notebook with anywhere decent nvidia video requires you to bend and contort your expectations and requirements around forced upgrades, CPU restrictions and other oddball limitations that really don’t seem legitimate.

    In my case, I can put linux on the laptop myself, I just can’t find one that has the sweet-spot of hardware loadout.  I’m not even trying to get the highest end stuff.


  • Anonymous

    Choice of distribution – immaterial. Pick anything out of top 10 on distrowatch. My suggestion – avoid SuSe Linux Desktop and OpenSuSe. When GPL version 3 comes out at the end of April, Novell’s Linux presence or anything tainted by it is going to take a nosedive. You do not want to attach yourself to a deadweight.

    So, pick Ubuntu / Fedora / Debian / Mepis / DSL / Slackware, whatever. The Linux savvy among us would wipe it clean and tweak it to our liking anyways.

    Hardware compatibility – critical – All the advertised hardware must work with whatever you sell.

    Product choice – Please offer it across your entire product line.

    Pricing – critical – Make sure that your linux offerings are not a gimmick. Lenovo offers/offered a T60p laptop with Linux but it was way overpriced. The only difference between a linux preinstalled laptop (unless it carries something proprietary like Xandros) and a windows laptop is the Microsoft Tax. So, if your linux preinstalled laptops cost more than the same laptops (and I do want you to offer Linux as the choice on all your hardware) with windows, we will know that you tried to pull a fast one on us.

    Linux users, as you probably already know, are just like your other customers. So, the same caveats apply – don’t take us for a ride, and we might come back for more hardware when we need it.

  • Anonymous

    For Linux users what I think we have to gain is hardware support.
    I think you should open source the hardware support wherever possible.

    1. It will be easier for us because it will be included in the distributions so no messing around.

    2. It will be cheaper for you to support the end user because it will included in the distributions already.

    3. It will be cheaper for you to support the hardware because the comunity will help support it. 

    WRT the distribution choice sure advanced users can put on whatever they like so it’s not an issue for them.  So the distribution *you* preinstall should be suitable for new users.  If you want to decide which one it’s quite simple take a look at the linux hardware vendor market.  I think there’s one clear choice I won’t say which one! 


  • Anonymous

    I really applaud your efforts to giving your customers a choice that they never really had before. I have my own personal preferences for my favorite linux distros. (Fedora, Debian, Kubuntu). My main concern is hardware support. Also It will be nice not paying for a windows license that I will never use. kudos Dell!

  • Anonymous


    For the few times I have hosed my linux distro when updating.  This would have helped with that nasty X interface bug last year.  There has also been a few other package updates that I needed to do a re-install for.


  • Anonymous

    I think PC-BSD is the readiest operating system for bundling in your PCs. Simply because it is the only OS besides MS Windows that can run Photoshop, Dreamweaver and other major user software without a great deal of work (you just have to install a PBI) and it sports the best software and package management system for the end-user available. It is based on FreeBSD, which is probably more stable than Linux thanks to its developers commitment to code quality, and is backed by iXsystems.

    Hardware compatibility isn’t a problem, since you are providing the hardware yourselves in the bundle and you can handpick the best hardware for PC-BSD. In addition, PC-BSD is very user-friendly and comes with a perfect selection of software – it isn’t bloated but isn’t featureless. Of course you should provide more software in response to user’s needs (e.g., but most users don’t need more than software to accomplish the same task. And after all it’s as free software as Linux (in fact it’s even more free, since it’s BSD licensed), so you would fulfill the community’s demand for free alternatives and at the same time provide a great choice for your typical unaware customers (i.e. Windows users), and any experienced user unhappy with PC-BSD could easily switch to their favorite Linux distribution, since practically all the hardware supported by FreeBSD is supported by Linux as well.

    Thanks for the great attention you’ve been giving to your consumer’s demands with your IdeaStorm project!

  • Anonymous

    I think your best bet is to offer the 3 most common distros for install


    -Ubuntu/Kubuntu (the most user friendly)

    -Debian (the most stable)

    and be sure to offer there choice of KDE or GNOME(if they want something else they can always change it) 

    Also I think you should put a sticker on all linux-compatible boxes. This will hopefully get some people curious and lets them know that the option is there. There are some good pre-made stickers on the kde-look website (do a search for “ready”) that you can stick right along side of the windows xp sticker as well as open source sticker for software such as OpenOffice.

  • Anonymous

    Kubuntu is mu current OS at work.

    I would appreciate very much the option to by a Dell Notebook with Kubuntu/Ubuntu or any relevant Linux distribution ( Fedora
    Core, Debian, … ).

    Main gain here is having all the hardware supported under the Linux OS – Wireless Card, Grafics Card, etc.

    If Dell does not come with this option in a decent time probably when it is time to go for a new laptop it will be MacBook ( becase of the hardware support they offer and the underlying OS – BSD Unix ). 

    Same reasoning would go for Desktop systems.

    Those are my two thumbs up for this idea becoming a reality.


  • Anonymous

    Finally, Dell is opening the doors for Custimers to freely choose non –  proprietary OS for their hardware (hopefully at a cheaper cost). Hurray for Dell. God bless you.

  • Anonymous

    For most ordinary Windows users, ‘Linux’ means nothing to them. Most people don’t even know what Mac OS X is, let alone ubuntu/gentoo/debian etc…

    If Dell is to succeed, it has to be clear to the average consumer:

    1) That the Linux OS will work interoperably with Windows/Mac OS X

    2) That nothing more technical will be required than that already needed for Windows.

    3) That the GUI is not significantly different from Windows.

    4) That the main benefit of Linux from an average consumer perspectice (which is lower cost @ $0 ), is actually reflected in the price of the machine.

    Consider these four points. If any one of them is missing, what incentive is there for the average consumer to purchase a Linux based machine? None.

    And there is no point rattling on about stability, or open source communities, or fighting back against the Microsoft monopoly. Most people don’t care.

    I am not sure if these four points can be met by Dell.

    Moreover, those who voted on the survey are evidently those that take the issue to heart. Most people (including myself) honestly don’t care about Linux (sorry!).

    For the record, I use Mac OS X, and would not move to a Linux based machine until it became a simpler process (despite the lower cost). I need my machine to be productive and secure (and I believe most people would concur), and absolutely do not have the time to waste on finding drivers, researching the kernel. Nor, for that matter, do I want to!

    God Bless!

    gpuppy ‘at’ gmail ‘dot’ com

  • Anonymous

    The latest Kubuntu (7.04) also holds great promise.

    the way it install is genial and everyone can use it.

    if there was but one distro : ubuntu or kubuntu would

    be my preferred and id certainly but it preloaded.


  • Anonymous

    I recently booked a Dell 9400 Laptopwith WinXP on it. In case you are planning to provide this machine with Linux would it be possible to hold my order until then?

  • Anonymous

    I see a lot of comments on here regarding distros of choice, etc. However, let’s just get right down to the nitty gritty, shall we?

    Pick either openSuSE or Ubuntu. Maybe both.  As others have said, make absolutely sure that the hardware is supported in the kernel, natively. If it’s supported well in one distro, you can pretty much bet its in the other.

     Here’s the kicker. Ship the system with a few other distros on DVD’s. Let people CHOOSE to A.) Buy 1 year of simple support for openSuSE or Ubuntu, or B.) Choose not to buy ANY support.  Note that option A should include codecs, and/or links to where to get them. Otherwise you get a buttload of unnecessary support calls.

    End result for the bean counters? You get a lot of users who love you for offering the 2 most popular distros, supported. You get the kudos and support of the tech geeks who re-install a different distro every week just for the fun of it. Cost? minimal, with any luck. Outsource distro support to companies that specialize in it; ensure option A covers the cost.

    Biggest line item cost for Dell? The time/labor required to verify hardware compliance with the kernels. Hire a couple of Linux geeks for that 😉

    You are making the right choice. Now be smart and offer multiple choices centered around a least-cost (to both you and your customers) option.

  • Anonymous

    Will Dell’s existing peripherals be compatible with the Linux systems?
    How long will it take to release Linux drivers for Dell hardware?

  • Anonymous

    Another option that would be beneficial
     . A Windows XP or Vista
    deployment with a Linux virtual environment. The huge benefit here is the
    opportunity to allow users who are unfamiliar with Linux the ability to discover, learn, and play with the
    environment while still maintaining a
    stable system for all their other activities. This will help to increase your market substantially
    as well as opens the door for more people to familiarize themselves with
    I would restrict build to Fedora
    and/or openSUSE. If you implement this right, as the user becomes more
    experienced in the Linux environment, he/she can then experiment with the other
    flavors out there and once he/she finds a flavor to his/her liking, may look to
    purchase a pure Linux system meaning more dollars for you ;-)… I understand there are logistics to consider but you
    and I both know they are minimal  :-).

    just my 2 cents.

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu is the best option for me. Easy, beautiful and updated every six months.

  • Anonymous

    In a open-minded world as the FLOSS world is, the idea to have a standard distro is incoherent.

    I use CAELINUX and Quantian on my finite elements calculation unit but I never expect to see any of them on a standard offer by a large retailer.

    I understand a company like Dell needs to have a ready out of the box product and I think you can innove with a specific (debian-based ??)  original distribution.


    Because the FLOSS is so dynamic the standard distro’s will change too quickly to follow it and to offer a up-to-date product on a large scale.

    For you, just give a compatible hardware with a coherent and working application base. No matter if it’s a bit obsolete. The “lambda” user will enjoy it, the geek will see the compatibility of the hardware (in the store) and rebuild the system as he wants (at home/company).

    So, can Dell propose an original product with the quality of the FLOSS (stability, efficiency, pricing, …) and the functionalities Dell wants to give.

    The linux users can save the M$ tax and the FLOSS world can find a big hardware manufacturer to help newcomers to discover it. It seems to be a win-win challenge.

  • Anonymous

    Viva Linux, I hope to find my preferite Distro, Suse or PcLinux OS in your notebook or Desktop.

    See you soon.

  • Anonymous

    Good morning…

    I have a Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop, I feel really good and happy  with it .  Honestly I was installed Gentoo 2006.1 and believe me my laptop rocks. In another hand I think SuSE if you don’t have problems with Novell or Ubuntu if don’t have problem with the diamonds explotation and slave of black people ( I have problems with that ) but the distribution is other thing… Debian is other GREAT distribution purely manteined by the comunity. Another important thing is the window manager, GNOME is good, XFCE is good, forget it about KDE. A better idea yet would be create your own linux distribution manteined by a comunnity with your support, Dell would be a kind of mentor for the people who develop that distribution.. only ideas…

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t matter to me what distro will be preinstalled. Anyway, if the default distro / options (partitionning, …) and the like don’t suit me when receiving my machine don’t suit me, I’ll reinstall the OS right away. Same at work where I already have a set of ready-to-run kickstart / PXE installs for everydays business needs.

    So  to save time and budget I think Dell should give options to have a few distros preinstalled (ubuntu, fedora, ?) for home use, a few others for business use (ubuntu, red hat, suse), and even a “no os – leave my PC alone, but include a linux drivers CD” option for those who want to play with other distros and still get their hardware supported (yes, I have a few clients that want nothing but Linux From Scratch for some very particular needs…).

    Very good initiative indeed, thanks Dell ! 🙂


    (BTW : I need a new home computer to run my Fedora… when can I expect to be able to order my new “Microsoft-tax”-free Dell PC ? Could you set a “release date” and advertise it on your site’s home page ? Thanks !)


  • Anonymous

    well, not really.  my two cents:  hardware support is paramount.  it’s nice of you to offer linux pre-installed, and i think you should.  but the most important thing is working with kernel developers to make linux-friendly machines.  the info is already largely out there and easy to find.  you don’t need to provide software support at all, there is more than enough already.  most of the (many thousands and thousands already, and many more to come in my opinion) folks desiring linux primarly DO NOT WISH TO PAY FOR WINDOWS.  offering an OS-free unit (including laptops please :)) that is ready for linux to be installed is quite enough to prompt me to buy a top-of-the-line m1210 as soon as it’s available, but i(/we) absolutely don’t want to support Vista.

  • Anonymous

    The biggest drive for Linux must be widen to include all major Linux distros on both business and consumer Dell computers. Most Linux users do not need a Dell solutions provider with specific expertise in any one distro. We want choices, not specialization. That is the driving force of Linux in both commercial and consumer applications.

    Linux users, for the most part, are more than capable of troubleshooting their own Linux issues, provided Dell supports a wide range of distributions with hardware drivers. In that effort, I’d also encourage Dell to move away from their proprietary BTX path for Core 2 Duo PCs, and embrace whatever is relevant in the clone market. Linux is essentially an opposite of proprietary hardware and software.

    If Dell is truly dedicated in offering Linux as a choice to its customers, you have to drop the entire monopolistic, proprietary approach in all areas of designing, marketing, and selling computers and computing devices.

  • Anonymous

    grab the linux kernel, create your own linux distro “Dell Linux” for example !

    base the linux operating system off of opensuse…………

    this way the operating system was built by dell and that fixes any support trouble 🙂

    or simply deal with novell to handle os support issues, if support is paid it will not be any skin off there backs.

  • Anonymous

    I would be satisfied with two options, first offering notebooks with openSUSE as an option of OS or offering notebooks with the option of no OS.

    If you were to go with any distro other than SUSE please also offer the option for a K interface. 


  • Anonymous

    I’d really appreciate a Home Theater PC system running MythTV.

  • Anonymous

    I said it before and I will say it again.


    Open drivers. Currently that means:

    a)Intel graphics card

    b)A wireless card with open drivers ( AND firmware ) to go with it.


  • Anonymous

    As many have said, have the option for no pre-installed system if this ends up being the case then include a CD with OPEN Linux drivers in .deb, .rpm, .tar.gz and .tar.bz2 formats so that they can be used with any linux distribution the buyer chooses.

    If you do decide to have a pre-installed linux distro then I would highly recommend a distro with the KDE desktop environment. KDE has a more windows-like interface so it will be easier to get used to for windows users and is more feature rich than GNOME or XCFE.

    The distribution that I would like to see pre-installed on a Dell would be KUbuntu or PCLinuxOS.

    So far I have tried Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS on my Dell 8300 Desktop. Both worked perfectly without worry, although PCLinuxOS was easier for me to use and set-up as a new linux user, my USB Wireless adapter worked out of the box with PCLinuxOS (ZyDas 1211 kernel module) and it has more configuration options that are all GUI driven.

    I’m thinking of buying a new PC soon, to have the option of not having Windows XP/Vista pre-installed and to have the reassurance that my hardware would work out of the box with linux would be a real bonus for me. =D


  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu ubuntu ubuntu.

    The are not stuck with Linux is for nerds. I use their distro, and I am impressed, so are my children.

    Pushing Ubuntu will only support the innovation need and urgency to deliver inside Ubuntu circles.

  • Anonymous

    Linux is not a alternative for Windows. I think Dell should focus on a way of selling computers without operating system.

    Linux and Open-source software was a nice idea, but it can never work. Who would do good work for free? I wouldn’t. Microsoft wouldn’t

    I have a E1505 with XP and soon to be Vista, i tried Linux and i didn’t like it. None of the hardware worked, and overall it was’t user freindly. I gave up.

    Mr Dell, i think you shouldn’t waste time with Linux, just look at Vista Home Premium and Ubuntu 6.10??? Let me think which one is better…. Areo interface…12,000 drivers…Microsoft Office…More secure than ever… Microsoft Windows…

    Thank you.



    I tried Opensuse and Suse Enterprise 10, nothing worked.

  • Anonymous

    No OS installed. 🙂 GOOD IDEA

  • Anonymous

    What’s key for a computer to run Linux well is the hardware.  EVERYTHING must work correctly, and a couple of things come to mind:


    *New ATI video (x1300, x1400) drivers not giving full 3D support.  This means no eye candy from Beryl/Compiz.  Use NVIDIA cards or Intel integrated video instead.

    *The wireless needs to just work.  No NDISwrapper, no terminal, just always work with network-manager.  Don’t use any more Broadcom based wireless cards, stick to hardware that is fully supported by Linux drivers.  I believe Atheros chipsets are well supported in Linux, but that’s the only brand that comes to mind right now.


     Also, if the proper hardware is in the system, the end user should be able to install whatever distribution of Linux he/she would like.  Personally, I like Ubuntu and Opensuse, and have had too much trouble with Fedora.  Regardless of the distro, everyone has their taste and distros, so keep the focus on the hardware, and the software will work flawlessly (the magic of Linux).


    BTW I’m not upgrading to Vista, I’m done with Windows operating systems.


  • Anonymous

    Please use Intel 3D chipset.  Intel shows respect to our community by releasing free drivers. We want to be able to use 3D features without giving up on our freedom to nvidia or ati.

    And while we’re at it, why not setup Beryl or the likes by default?  🙂

    Btw, I really appreciate this initiative.  I’ve never bought a Dell product, but I’ll consider doing that in the future, specialy when I want to avoid the “microsoft tax”.

  • Anonymous

    hi and thank for the opportunity to buy a pc directly with linux. it isn’t important which distro do you choose, but i would like a sign of compatibility or not with the major distros. i see mandriva spring as one of the most aesy to use and good distro fo ever.



  • Anonymous

    I like openSuSE Linux because the KDE, but it requires preinstalled Smart + a large set of repositories in order to make it work properly.

    Ubuntu/Kubuntu is also great, but the desktop is not as polished as SuSE.

    So I guess the options would be between SuSE and Ubuntu/Kubuntu.

    Debian has one of the best package systems, but it is more for servers, same with Red Hat.

    About Linspire and Xandros, I think people will only choose Linux in order to save some bucks, so, probably not good options.


  • Anonymous

    Recommendations (a little late, I know).

    Ubuntu, like it or not, has the largest populus of new converts and thus has the largest buzz today.  I realize that Dell doesn’t want to buy into a fad and so you’re really wondering if Ubuntu is the right thing or something that, while less snazzy, is likely to be around for a long time (like Novell SuSE or RedHat RHEL).

    I would actually recommend that you focus on compatibility with a Debian core.  My reasoning is that there are a lot of distributions that base themselves on Debian (Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Edubuntu, Xandros, Linspire, etc.).  If you build in compatibility with Debian (which has proven to be able to survive for a very long time) then you will almost certainly gain compatibility with all of its derivatives.

    Personally, I don’t like Novell… primarily because of their deal with Microsoft.  I suspect that I am in the majority when I say that I, as a linux user, am really holding Novell suspect for the actions and will not support their efforts without seeing what is behing their virtual curtain.

    RedHat is great, RHEL is a solid, reliable system… the problem is that it isn’t free.  So you think, well, why not Fedora then.  Fedora doesn’t have support for their OS for long enough.  1 year of updates and then you have to find legacy sites to get updates.  Too much trouble and Dell could be seen as fueling vulnerable systems if they don’t make some effort to keep their customer’s systems up-to-date.

    So that brings me back to Debian and really back to Ubuntu.  Ubuntu is backed by Canonical (which I’m sure you already know).  Ubuntu has a release of under a year but holds support for older versions up to 3 years.  I especially like Ubuntu LTS.

    Perhaps, since you are the largest company interested in providing these options you should contact Canonical and see if they’ll add additional support durations to releases that you include on your computers. 

  • Anonymous

    I’d definitely love to see Dell offer Linux PCs and notebooks, but they have to be easily accessible to people.  No hiding Linux computers through 7458945 links…they have to be right on the front page right next to that big ol Vista logo.

     My distro of choice?  Debian of course.

  • Anonymous

    I want a combo media center/home office computer running Linux. I’m not happy with Microsoft’s licensing  conditions for Vista. I need the equiv of all the Office apps and visio. I want to be able to edit videos. I want it wireless, able to stream to another receiver in another room, more than 1 tuner, able to access hi def or regular programming. Cable or sat card. Better than 10/100 Ethernet. Lots of hard drive storage and memory. Popular media connections. I could go on…..

  • Anonymous
    I can't find the 745N Mini Tower system in my company Premier
    Site. Should I go with my order to Dell's competition?
  • Anonymous

    I’m ready to buy — what do you have for me today?

    My previous laptop, an OEM variant of (I believe) the Inspiron 3000 line [power notebooks III:16, to be exact] is suffering from memory lapses -BUT- it is running SuSE 10.1 right now, and in fact has been running some form of SuSE since about 8.x.  Initially, it was dual-booting w/windows 98, but one day I got a “green screen of death” — totally locked up right after the puke-green default background of windows-at-the-time came up, and that was it for windows on that machine — reformatted and loaded SuSE 9.something or so, and it has been upgraded since to 10.1 as I said.  (the cool part about 10.1 is that suspend now works [again], among other things)

    My point is that your systems already work with Linux, but the point MANY people have made is that any “new” hardware you include MUST have some form of supported driver available.  Unlike most of the folks chanting the linux line, I’m perfectly happy with a binary driver *if* I can be reasonably assured of the fact that there is support now and into the foreseeable future.  (which, if you think about it, is really a sneaky way of saying that you really will be better off with open hardware)

    I also prefer SuSE as that is what I’ve used for the last several releases.  Not entirely sure about the “microsoft deal”, but I’ll point out that FUD works both ways 😉  I’m also in a bit of a minority in that I tolerate windows — I may not like it, but I don’t react to it like Dracula and a cross…

    In writing this, though, I did come up with a thought that may make a lot of sense: instead of “windows” or “linux” as the “OS”, sell the computer(s) with VMWARE ESX or similar “hosting environment”.  Users would then be free to choose which actual OS they will install under that — even both at once!

    Like I said, I am searching for a new laptop replacement today — what have you got for me?

  • Anonymous


     I am using openSuSE 10.2 on my HP DV5292EA laptop and it supports all the hardwares out of box barring a few tweaks required for 6-in-1 card reader and HD Audio Device.

    But I have not succeeded in some of the DELL laptops installing Ubuntu/openSuSE linux with complete hardware working. I’ve had couple of problems which finally made me re-install windows xp for them (the people i advocated for linux usage).

    If not linux pre-installed laptop/desktops I expect at least GNU/Linux ready hardwares.



  • Anonymous

    Dear Dell,

    it seems that you’re listening, so i take the time to talk… let me say that i really think that you’re doing a great job indeed. I will not suggest you a distribution, because is a fact of taste, nothing more, but i want to suggest a modus operandi instead… hardware that works… that’s all… easy to use/set with every linux flavor, and take care of new peripherals: bluetooth, ir remote, graphics card (for 3d desktop), smart keys (activate/deactivate, cpu freq, etc…) and so on..

    Think also at mediacenter editions to battle against apple frontrow or windows mediacenter edition: take a look at elisa by fluendo 

  • Anonymous

    Having a Linux pre-installed  on  Dell notebook would be very helpful to students like me. I have been using  Linux  on my Dell Inspiron  for more than a couple of years. I haven’t had any problem so far that I couldn’t find solution online.

       I would like to see more hardware support for Dell for linux like wireless cards and graphic cards

  • Anonymous

    It’s been more than a month now, and I’m ready to buy.. When will it be available? Will the offer be extended outside the U.S? I’m in the Asia Pacific region.

  • Anonymous

    Desktop Linux is in a constant flux and has too much inconsistency, but I would rank [K]Ubuntu as the best desktop out there. Support the drivers and open up the options for consumers to choose their Linux flavor on the “Buy Dell” page with an easy-click feature. Novices and first-timers should be ok with default Ubuntu installs. Food for thought: How about for enterprise systems? Any Oracle/ IBM/ BEA support would be good here..I think Ubuntu is having a good reception in enterprise data centers, still plenty of competition from RHEL & Suse, etc, but Ubuntu on desktop Dell and more servers and certified support in the IT world should place Dell as a top pick for both worlds. One last mention would be to include some “Beginner Developer” tools, partner up with O’Reilly or APress, etc. and get some more Google consumer apps pre-installed.

  • Anonymous

    PLease: use Ubuntu 7.04 (

    have ALL drivers installed and working

    have ALL codecs installed 

    abd all essential apps installed (and please, install NO useless ones ) do what apple does.


    more info go to



    INSTALL UBUNTU LINUX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

  • Anonymous

    If you put ubuntu on your computers, Dell.  I will never buy another computer from you again.  ubuntu is an overrated distro, anything it does, the others do.  Your best bet is suse.

  • Anonymous

    use suse.

    I hope this comment actually makes it onto the page, because my last one, which had valid arguments why ubuntu should NOT be the distro Dell chooses never showed up, yet all the ubuntu comments from the fanboys do.

  • DELL-Matt Domsch

    We’re moderating nearly every comment through as fast as they come in.  Clearly off-topic posts, spams, and personally identifyable data posts aren’t let through, but comments about distro choice certainly are.


  • Anonymous

    I generally like Dell hardware.  My first was a P2-266 for college and it was a great machine.  Use a Precision 390 at work that is also pretty nice.  Thought about getting it myself but it is way overpriced once you go below the bare minimum configuration.  I have always liked the idea of getting a machine that is built to exactly what I want and is burn in tested before it arrives.  However, the last machine I bought was put together from parts due to Dell NOT giving me what I want. 

    I’m sorry I missed the survey, but this is what I would like: 

    1.  To buy a machine from dell and see a ‘XXX Linux’ or ‘Other/Non Windows’ option in the configurator and know that none of my money will be given to Microsoft

    2. Know that everything on the machine works with linux and will in the future because the specs are open.  If I select the ‘Linux’ option I want to be assured that I am not getting a winmodem or chipset that does not work with linux.

    3. I have a highly favorable opinion of Ubuntu for home users (My wife and I use it at home).  I also want a value but not crap 3d graphics card that can power a desktop and TV-out that has open specs. 


  • Anonymous

    My vote for CentOS; why:

    RedHat is the most stable, reliable, documented and supported linux flavor, but the reason why everybody wants Linux is because they (or we) don’t want to pay more and more. So with CentOS we will have RedHat free… Centos is the way forward!!!

  • Anonymous

    I hope your offer will be extended in europe too…

    I use gentoo but i don’t really care of pre-installed distros. I would like to have choice or linux or no os preinstalled.

    But overall I think complete hardware support is most important

  • Anonymous

    Please don’t base the decision of the Linux distro for Dell systems just based on popularity…..if popularity was a decision maker for PCs, then Windows would be recommended  (god forbid) ………..popular does not make it the best………………

    case in point PCLinuxOS  installed on my desktop and laptop much easier and picked up more hardware than Ubuntu or Kubuntu, and think a minute, Ubuntu has all kinds of commercial $$$’s behind it and PCLOS doesnt’ ……….. hmmm, kinda funny isn’t it?


  • Anonymous

    Please ignore anyone that says “No binary drivers”.  Why use free reverse-engineered drivers for your hardware when the manufacturer is providing correct, working drivers?  Just because you can’t see the source code (And not many people would bother to) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it.


    Best of luck, I think it’s an excellent idea.  Maybe offer a pre-installed dual-boot option for a fee? 

  • DELL-Matt Domsch

    While most of my engineering team dual-boots our laptops, we aren’t planning on offering dual-boot systems at this time.


  • Anonymous

    I want a super-cheap laptop for my kids.  Ubuntu with OpenOffice and FF fits the bill. 

  • Anonymous

    May I suggest SimplyMepis linux, the current version is based on Ubuntu but has a KDE desktop,realplayer,flash,Nvidia drivers things like youtube,Google Earth, and BBC news etc. work without problems.
    Networks with Windows with no effort too.
    Incidenally  my daughter was complaining that her computer a one year old Dell with XP would not work on a particular site, I tried it and it worked on my old  700mhz  machine running Mepis.

  • Anonymous

    I am with Peter on this one: I want a super-cheap laptop for my kids. Which Linux distro is not important fo me; I just want to save at least $100 by not paying Microsoft for useless OS.

  • Anonymous

    Its all about the laptops!!!

     all of us linux users are geeks, we BUILD OUR OWN computers.  the one problem comes when one of us wants a laptop. we cannot build a laptop, so we are forced to buy one.  every laptop out there comes with windows preinstalled, and preincluded in the cost 😮

     so here is our one and only option for a cheep linux laptop


     i will need to get a laptop soon, and i hope i can get it from dell with linux for cheaper and not be forced to buy micro$oft

  • Anonymous

    The most important is HARDWARE support to linux. After that, let the user choose his/her distro. One of the most beautiful things about linux is that you don’t have to say: “this is THE distro”… from slackware to kurumin, using gnome, fluxbox, kde, icewm, xfce… we have the choice!

    So the most important is giving the hardware specifications, and having open drivers for your hardware: that’s just heaven!



  • Anonymous

    I’ve been triple booting for some time on my Inspiron 6000 laptop. (XP Pro; Xandros 4; Ubuntu Feisty.) Ubuntu feisty recognized and installed all the hardware appropriately without tweaking or searching for drivers.Wireless worked from the get go. (Oddly enough I had to download drivers from Dell for XP.) I reflect most of the comments that if you support the hardware we can get the distro of choice on it but would be great to have everything preinstalled. If only there was a good music service for Linux I could ditch Windows completely.

  • Anonymous

    I feel, as a veteran linux user, it is great idea for dell to be doing this, but i think they should give the customer a list of distros that they want installed; dual booted with xp/vista.  That is a good idea for users who are farmiliar with windows but want to experiment with linux.  Personally, i like the MEPIS (X64) distro.  I think that should be the mainc hoice here.

  • Anonymous

       I have 2 dells at home and usually recommend Dells for the family members that ask my advice. I want Linux on Laptops and desktops and I dont want to pay for a License for Windows when I buy a Linux box from Dell.


  • Anonymous

    I applaud Dell for the decision.  I have purchased a Dell Desktop in the past will certainly do so again.  I currently use Ubuntu on a Dell Desktop at home and it works great.  I have tried many linux distros and on several computers (desktops and laptops) and found Ubuntu to be the best choice.  I would imagine a if you could select a couple of laptops and desktops (maybe four total), I higher-end and one more entry level, so that people can have some choice in price and computing power.  Of course without the Microsoft tax either should be more affordable with Ubuntu.  I will not buy a VIsta machine and my next computer purchase will be a Dell with Ubuntu!

    Bravo Dell for promoting free choice and letting the little people fight the Microsoft monopoly!

  • Anonymous

    hey finnaly we got a real OS, thanks

  • Anonymous

    First, congratulations in giving us an option to Windows as I’ve been trying to buy one of your machines for more than 10 years with no OS but I can live with Ubuntu as I’ve used an earlier version and it’s very likeable.  I’m not one to bash MS as I think they make a good OS and if it wasn’t for the way they force me to validate, activate and reactivate via some guy I, at times, cannot understand forcing me to call back and go through a 42 digit process is just more than I’m willing to deal with. I believe they have the right to protect their software but not on my time or at my expense.  I’ve been using Xandros Business Edition 3.0  as my main OS before upgrading it to Xandros Professional 4.0.  These are both commercial versions of Linux which are Debian based as is Ubuntu so using Ubuntu wouldn’t require much of an effort.  I’m looking forward to seeing what you are going to make available in both a laptop as well  as a desktop.  I believer there have been issues with VIA’s north and south bridge architecture involving their software and / or drivers and found Nvidia a better option.  I also discovered that the Auzentech pci sound cards work better with linux than Soundblaster but not sure how either compare with Ubuntu.  I’m just so glad you’ve made this move to an optional OS like Ubuntu.

  • Anonymous

    I would say go with ubuntu. They have an awesome forum community for software support. If you provide good hardware it would be perfect. As in good hardware I mean Nvidia cards (linux and ati dont mix because ati wont really support linux) good modems that work out of the box maybe a nice realtek wireless or something along the lines that ubuntu can setup out of the box. Stay away from broadcom as it is also a pain. Also if you offer the entire repo on dvd format (should be like 3 dvds make it optional) for the people with dialup you will have a better turnout.

  • Anonymous

    this is great news! I can’t wait. I bet this will get lots of people to buy Dell computers if they come pre-installed with a linux distro. Also this means that the hardware has to be Linux compatible with the right drivers and everything, so you can install whatever Linux distro you want. Awesome! GREAT JOB DELL! You are the B E S T

  • Anonymous



    Thanks DELL

  • Anonymous

    I would appreciate a laptop with Feisty Fawn.

    It seems to be a very good opportunity to offer a laptop at a cheap price and with technical components of good quality. 



  • Anonymous

    Thanks, I like the option if I want it.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Dell, because I now can by Dell with Ubuntu….well I’ll be buying a Dell.

  • Anonymous

    I am buying a dell laptop within the next year, this is exactly what i was looking for!!

  • Anonymous

    I want to establish 4 computer networks based on ubuntu 7.04 and Ubuntu Server 6.10. Those companies always buy Dell’s hardware. They don’t want Vista because hardware for Vista is so expensive, so proposal Ubuntu and they are agree.

    I’, Windows MCSE administrator, but sopose I will must learn linux. 

  • Anonymous

    Glad to see it.

    I had been planning on slowly mutating this hp box i’m working on into something that resembled current hardware, but if you’re pushing Ubuntu on your prebuilts… with warranties… and support. i’ll bite.

    oh. quick request? can you bundle cedega subscriptions? 🙂


  • Anonymous

    That’s great….!!!

     Even if I prefer Debian, I think Ubuntu is the perfect choice!!!

    good Job !!!


  • Anonymous

    I look forward to seeing how this actually turns out…you have a huge opportunity here, especially to even further drive down the price of your computers and sell even more.

    Ubuntu wasn’t a horrible choice. It isn’t that many of these distributions are more difficult to use than Windows (driver problems aside), only that they are different which sometimes make it difficult for people who have ‘grown up’ on it harder to grasp. You have the resources to change all of this, and even make money off of it… I wish you luck!

    If this really does work out, I look forward to buying a laptop this fall for school 🙂

  • DELL-Matt Domsch

    We’ve announced we’ll be factory installing Ubuntu, but at this time we’re not planning to factory install the official derivatives such as Kubuntu, Edubuntu, or Xubuntu.  As these share a common kernel with Ubuntu, the hardware certified with Ubuntu should work with these official derivatives.


  • Anonymous

    This has bean asked several times already but have not noticed any availability date of when systems with Kubuntu be available to buy at Dell.

  • Anonymous

    Linux , Kde, suppoort for a media center like the myth TV front end would be nice,open office… and Beryl. Simple straight forward.. Thanks Dell

  • Anonymous

    So cool that you´re now offering Linux machines.

    I, too, recommend Ubuntu for laptops and home computers.

    I would recommend the Kubuntu flavor (Ubuntu with KDE desktop) as default, however, for various reasons.  

    schools, you could offer the Edubuntu (Ubuntu with edutainment and
    educational software added by default.  Does use Gnome desktop).

    phenomenal idea would be to offer K12LTSP machines to schools (see the or site, a fedora based terminal server



  • Anonymous


    I´m gettin’ a Dell!

    A laptop with Ubuntu pre-installed, to be exact.

    This is SO COOL!

    My company runs on Ubuntu and Pilão (brazilian coffee).

     All of our desktops are custom built at home, but, now,

    we will be using Dell laptops (we´ve been researching laptop

    for a while).  We are ecstatic to have the option to purchase with
    our favorite OS, and w/o the M$ virus pre-installed. 

    Anthony Baldwin

    CEO, Baldwin Linguas

    Translations & Interpreting 


  • Anonymous

    I’m both a fan of Dell and Linux, so this is wonderful!  I would recommend Ubuntu 6.06 as the baseline as it will be supported for a few years without requiring an upgrade.  If someone wanted to upgrade it’s simple enough for the average user.  Just install the default Gnome desktop.  Those that want KDE, Fluxbox, or XFCE can add it from a repository very easily.  Just stick with the default Ubuntu. 

    I would recommend desktops for business, but if you can do laptops as well that would be great for the home user.  Laptops should have a video card, not integrated video.  For the most part that doesn’t do anyone any favors.  As long as hardware is all Linux compatible, there shouldn’t be any issues except WinModems.  Let’s go without those, please.

    Thanks Dell!

  • Anonymous

    I see a lot of people above mentioning macbooks.  Put me down as another shopper looking for a (cheaper) dell/ubuntu option.

  • Anonymous

    It will be great to have ubuntu preinstalled in budget models, and save some money, cause we will not have to pay for windows, wich a lot of people dont use at all.

  • Anonymous

    I have ubuntu on my Dell Demension 2350, but I have been unable to load it on my Dell Inspirion 1100 laptop.  The laptop has XP on it and I am not at all satisfied with the performance of XP.  I am very interested in your idea of being able to get a laptop with ubuntu loaded.

  • Anonymous

    Will this be on both laptops and desktops?

  • Anonymous

    Excellent, Dell, giving your customers the CHOICE to have Ubuntu LINUX on systems!  I am looking to purchase a laptop in the near future and am definitely looking towards acquiring a Linux Dell system.  Hopefully your Linux systems will be sold outside the U.S. as well and you will increase the availability of Linux in your product lines.  Linux on a Dell XPS, anyone?  Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    I just want a computer that works — out of the box — with as much of the hardware I already own as possible and all of the hardware it comes equipped with!


    The preinstalled distro doesn’t matter. It would be nice to save some money and have more choices as a consumer.


    Having more choices would likely persuade me to buy a Dell rather than an Apple. 


  • Anonymous

     It a very good idea to move on to Linux. I think we should be using Linux then Windows. Why Microsoft is so addicted to using heavy resource !!????!!!!! Can u even think about running Vista on less then 1Ghz !!!! On the other hand Linux is really improving day by day but it can still run on my old 333Mhz P2 !!!!! So my final verdict is, if we need to buy a whole new pc to get a new OS, Microsoft can stay out of my PC.

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu’s not a bad choice for a distribution to use.  I worry a bit about their plans with regards to not support non-GPL stuff (nvidia’s closed-source graphics drivers are, for example, better than the current open source ones, and are free as well).  Beyond that, some people mentioned business models.  I think Linux in the enterprise is a whole other issue, and one that requires a lot more than just putting the machines out there for sale to make happen.  It’s part of a larger sales strategy. 


    The real benefit with just making linux-based systems available will be in the end-user market, not corporate IT, where M$ lock-in exists en masse.  


  • Anonymous

    It’s great that Dell has decided to sell systems with Linux pre-installed. I myself own 3 systems which run Ubuntu(well, my older PC runs Xubuntu, but I use Ubuntu on my laptop and main PC). I currently own an Acer Aspire 3680, but I’ll almost definitely be getting my next one from Dell.


  • Anonymous

    Hi Mr. Dell and dear fellow readers of this log.

    now about 12 years that I exclusively use Linux, in various flavours; I
    began with Slackware…. nightmare installation, then CorelLinux came
    on the scene; what a big difference it was. But then, as we all know,
    M$ intervened, “helped” Corel to get out of the financial hole it was,
    changed the C.E.O.  and the first thing he did was scrap the Linux
    Unit. Which later continued as Xandros. Frankly speaking, I still use
    Xandros, and I have found it to be the easiest Linux use. I know, it is
    not free; at least the full and latest version. But it remarkably
    painless to use; many friend of mine asked … “What windows is this
    …?”  … 🙂

    The most remarkable feature of Xandros? The control Panel. Seeing is believing. 

    I am firmly convinced that the move towards LInux is a very good move,
    which represents the real beginning of some real competition, open
    market style, and competition is GOOD for us end users.

    sincerely hope that some other big players, like IBM/Lenoxo and HP,
    will follow your very wise initiative; TO LISTEN to their

     Stefano Mollo.

  • Anonymous

    Ubuntu is simple and easy to use. Gnome is simple and easily modified, even as a novice. Hardware support is a must. Work with the choice distribution’s community to properly decide appropriate requirements. This will be a great day for the open-source world.

  • Anonymous

    I’m looking forward to the Dell laptop with Ubuntu preinstalled.  Usually laptops are a little harder to get the drivers (modules) working.  Currently, I have everything working on my laptop with Ubuntu, down to the wifi.  I need another laptop though because my screen had a hardware failure and I always have to use a regular monitor with my current laptop.  I’ll gladly get Dell’s offering as soon as it comes out (this last laptop was a Gateway).

  • Anonymous

    It would be great to have an option of having Ubuntu as the OS pre-installed with an OEM.  It would save people like me who can use Linux and don’t need the over-rated, over-priced Windows quite some money.  I also think it would be good if they could do a dual boot (with grub) for some people who want to transit to Linux but need Windows for some apps.


  • Anonymous

    I need to replace my laptop, I do not like to be OBLIGATED to have vista in my next one.

  • Anonymous

    I am really happy to see a linux distro made available preinstalled!  I have spent the last few years building my own desktops to avoid MS.  Looks like there may be a new laptop in my future.

  • Anonymous

    Good job Dell, now you make it easer to buy Linux desktops. 

  • Anonymous

    It’s good that Dell is willing to actually listen to its customers, unlike some other companies (*cough*microsoft*cough*).

  • Anonymous

    This is Great! I have posted some related sites over here:

  • Anonymous

    I have wanted to upgrade my Inspiron 3500 for several years but did not want any microsoft windows system.  As soon as Dell comes out with a laptop with Ubuntu I will be getting a new computer.  Thank you Dell.

  • Anonymous

    IMHO, Mandriva is worth serious consideration for the following reasons (in no particular order):

    1. Ease of use. The Mandriva Linux Control Center makes it easy for people at all skill levels to do system configuration.
    2. Excellent hardware support.
    3. Internationalization is already there.
    4. Mandriva leverages and supports Dell’s DKMS initiative.
    5. All popular desktop environments (DE’s) are included and available by clicking the one you’d like to try at the login greeter.
    6. It has nice-looking graphics theme that is applied across all DE’s.
    7. Mandriva is innovative and often the first to offer new and interesting features.

    In any case, its really good news that Dell is actively supporting Linux. Hardware support for all distributions is likely to improve. The main reasons that I build my own systems is to get known Linux-compatible hardware and to avoid paying for an OS that I’ll never use.

    Heck, I may stop fiddling with home-builts and just buy from Dell. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Ban windows on DELL make it a LINUX only system with easier tho install software and the company s will move OPEN-source



  • Anonymous

    I will NOT buy anything with Vista!

     I will, however, buy a Dell if its hardware is Linux friendly.  Linux is, after all, the OS of choice of NASA, Dept of Homeland Security, NJ State Police, German Govt, etc – get the picture!!

  • Anonymous

    Dell has always “supported” Linux wrong.  We don’t need a pre-installed OS as any serious Linux user can install their own favorite Linux flavor.  We need a ‘No-OS’ option on every computer sold.  If dell wants to sell a lot more computers all they have to do is offer a no-OS option that saves the users money on every computer dell sells.  No more burying the Linux options.  Many of us will install Linux, others will re-use existing Windows licenses.  Just give your customers the choice of not donating to MS and you will see sells jump. There are a LOT of anti-MS people out there that would buy Dell’s if they knew MS would not get their money.

  • Anonymous

    Actually currently looking around for a notebook that’ll run properly with Linux. As most people commented already, the main reason for choosing a particular notebook is one with hardware that’s supported by Linux.

    This means hardware for which there are opensource drivers (preferably GPL-ed). Think that most Linux users want freedom of choice, the choice to choose their own hardware and to choose what software they run with it. Adding specific information like chipset info might also be a welcome addition.

    Basically, as long as the source for the drivers is available, choosing which distro to pre-install is actually not that important.
    Just go for the one that’s easiest to use by new users of desktop Linux, which is Ubuntu in my opinion, the rest will do what do want anyway.

    Also don’t worry too much about having to invest in software support, if the hardware manufacturer’s drivers are open source, it’ll be supported by the Linux community.

    If you were already shipping linux-ready notebooks, you’d definitely have me as a customer already!

    Hope you’ll be shipping notebooks with Linux compatible hardware soon!


  • Anonymous

    Almost Awesome! Now, as soon as I can scroll down the PROCESSORS
    list and choose  AMD for the laptop, I’ve got 1200 burning a hole
    to buy one.


    I will not buy Intel.

    I do not eat at McDonalds.

    I do not talk to AT&T

    I do not buy from Microsoft.

    Evil still = Evil.


    I’d rather buy a third-rate Chinese CPU or a GPU than an Intel anything, at any speed.

    I buy about 20 computers a year for business. None of them contain Intel or M$. They never will.

     Let me know when I can spend my money on an AMD Dell with Ubuntu.

  • Anonymous

    As a french Linux user, I can’t wait for a Linux Dell option.

    I really hope Dell will expand this offer to european countries very soon.

    There is a lot of users and companies which are waiting for true Linux based PCs in europe too ! 

  • Anonymous

    Had checked out the laptop with Ubuntu and the price was terrific with the changes made in the configuration. For a person who lives in another country like India, it is difficult to get a Dell laptop which is having Linux even after the announcement. It would be great if Dell offers desktops and laptops with Ubuntu Linux for people in other countries apart from the US. I would be helpful if we know when such computers are being offered to us also.

  • Anonymous

    I recently bought a budget Inspiron expecting to be able to use it with Ubuntu and although it installs fine, a key feature has been problematic. The Broadcom driver doesn’t work with Ubuntu and despite the excellent support from Ubuntu forums, no amount of patching, and replacing the thing can get the wireless to work.  Loads of others have faced similar problems.

    The combination of a cheap well-spec’d laptop with Ubuntu on it and working would be a fanstastic option for loads of customers.  Like me, a lot of customers are fed up with paying the MS tax for software that bloats and slows the machine, locking us into the update mechanism.  Many of us have things to do on the machines and the OS should be there to help us do it.

    After years of using MS OSs, including years of developing software for them, customers deserve something a lot better and if Dell, with its excellent hardware offering, supported Ubuntu comprehensively, it could clean up in the hardware arena.


  • Anonymous

    I am the current owner of not 1 but 3(THREE) Dell inspiron 1501 notebook computers.

    I’m also a long time linux user and as such could not care less about what distro they decide to install on thier systems. The very first thing I do with a machine when I buy it whether notebook or desktop is stick my livecd in it and format and install my OS. There are a great many linux users out there that are just like me in this.

    What I am most concerned about was not having support for the idiot broadcom WIFI card not working for me without several days of testing kernel prerelease versions or patching almost daily snapshots of the project that has been working on a linux native driver for these cards before I finally got them to work to a sub-par  standard, not to mention the hours spent recovering work after ndiswrapper kept hard locking the machines.

    I could even deal with all of that since at least linux devs are trying to do something about the support (light is at the end of the tunnel), What really sent me off the deep end is when DELL decided that I cant really do what I want with a machine I spent very hard earned money for such as refusing to  allow me to even install another off the shelf miniPCI card that would work just fine with any OS I could throw at it.

    Are there no laws against this type of hijacking of my rights?

    In any case Dell and frankly all PC manufacturers need to get their act together  and give me FULL and complete access to do as I like with my machine.


  • Anonymous

    I just purchased a labtop and a printer and the labtop is okay I think it was way overpriced after I got it but my biggest complaint is the printer doesnt even come with a UBC cord so if I dont buy one seperate I dont use it.A big rip off since the cord is almost as much as the printer. Also I had alot of issue with DHL who they use for their shipping so over all I wont be reccommending a dell to anyone!

  • Anonymous

    How do i find my webcam settings for my computer inspiron 1520?

  • Anonymous

    Nice … Dude..

  • Anonymous

    I am most concerned about was not having support for the idiot broadcom
    WIFI card not working for me without several days of testing kernel
    prerelease versions or patching almost daily snapshots of the project
    that has been working on a linux native driver for these cards before I
    finally got them to work to a sub-par  standard, not to mention the
    hours spent recovering work after ndiswrapper kept hard locking the

    mp3 indir
    johnny depp

  • Anonymous

    I understand that Dell Linux pc’s, somewhere in UK,  cost more than same hardware with Vista preinstalled. This requires a response from you. There is no reasonable explanation to this.