Dell said consumers in the U.K., France and Germany can now order Inspiron 6400 notebooks or Inspiron 530N desktops with Ubuntu version 7.04 pre-installed. The most recent version of the operating system launched on April 19.
The Inspiron 6400n desktop computer will cost ₤329, and the Inspiron 530n notebook ₤399. The systems will also be bundled with OpenOffice as well as with applications for email, instant messaging and a browser. Support for these machines will be handled by Ubuntu's corporate sponsor, Canonical Ltd.The move is similar to one Dell made in May, when it announced that Ubuntu would be released on Dell e-series Essential Dimension desktops, XPS desktops, and an e-series Inspiron laptop. At the time, Dell customers lobbied for pre-installed Linux desktops on IdeaStorm. Introduced by Dell in February, IdeaStorm is a Web site where users can submit and vote for ideas to be implemented at Dell. Of the tens of thousands of requests made thus far, the most popular were for Ubuntu-, openSUSE- and Fedora-related queries.
On Tuesday, Lionel Menchaca, Dell's digital media manager, wrote on the Direct2Dell blog, "Since we began offering Ubuntu in the U.S. back in May, it's no secret that we've received many requests from customers all over the world to offer Linux there." Specifically, more than 130,000 requests for pre-installed Linux on Dell hardware were made.
Menchaca also said that the driver support found in Dell Ubuntu machines in the U.S. would now extend to Europe. "Similar to what we've done in the U.S., we will configure and install open source drivers for hardware when possible for these new products," he said.
For Raven Zachary, senior open source analyst with New York-based analyst firm the 451 Group, the move was hardly a surprise and is a natural progression given the current success of Dell's U.S. Ubuntu program.
"I think the demand for desktop Linux is much greater in Europe [than it is in the U.S.], and the Dell move is a reflection of that," he said.
Zachary also reiterated his belief that users could expect an Ubuntu-on-the-server offering from Dell in the near future.
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