Q

Pre-loaded Linux = Increased adoption?

A user asks whether pre-loading Linux will mean an increase in adoption or will users stick with the familiar Windows operating system.

Do you think Dell's idea to pre-load Linux on PCs will increase adoption or will people stick with what's familiar (e.g. Windows)? How can they overcome the usual hurdles of driver incompatibility and hardware issues?

I think Dell pre-loading Linux will have a significant impact on Linux adoption, although not necessarily because

so many end users comfortable with Windows will decide to switch. Rather, Dell's involvement will motivate many hardware manufacturers to make reliable Linux drivers available, the lack of which has significantly retarded the adoption of Linux by many individuals and organizations interested in trying out Linux.

By reducing the barrier of drivers and thereby enabling these trials, Linux will start to achieve some momentum, which will in turn increase its adoption rate. So, I applaud Dell for moving forward on this initiative.

This was first published in April 2007

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