Dell launches Ubuntu consumer systems; Will sales measure up?

Summary:Dell officially launched three consumer systems loaded with Ubuntu 7.04 installed and sales kick off today.

Dell officially launched three consumer systems loaded with Ubuntu 7.04 installed and sales kick off today. The big question will be whether we find out how sales go.

That latter question is a big one and I'm more interested in sales a few weeks and months from now. There's little doubt that Ubuntu fans will get these systems in the early going--interest in Dell's driver details has been strong. What remains to be seen is whether sales then drop off with a thud. Another thought: Will we ever see these systems at Best Buy?

Let's hope Dell details something about demand on its blog--it's not like these systems will be material enough to disclose on any financial results. For now, this Ubuntu move is more about Dell 2.0 and improving the company's image more than it is about financial returns. Time will tell two things:

  1. Whether Dell is serious about Linux;
  2. And whether Dell can make desktop Linux mainstream.

As for the details, Dell said it is offering the XPS 410n, Dimension E520n desktop and Inspiron E1505n notebook. Starting prices range from $599 to $899.

Support sounds a touch tricky. Hardware support comes from Dell. Software support will come from the Dell community forum and customers can buy OS support for a fee through Canonical. These options won't be a big deal for Linux users today, but newbies may wonder why they can't call Dell for both hardware and software support.

Other reading on the subject:

Five crucial things the Linux community doesn't understand about the average computer user.

Three more things that the Linux community doesn't get.

All Ubuntu image galleries.

Topics: Dell, Open Source


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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