Dell Ubuntu Linux has arrived

Dell Ubuntu Linux has arrived

Summary: Late yesterday Dell opened the floodgates of its grand consumer Linux experiment by offering three systems with Ubuntu Desktop Edition version 7.04 pre-installed. The cheapest systems are a $599 including a 17" flat panel display on the desktop, or 15" wide screen on the laptop. Here's a look at the detailed configurations of each one, plus info on the revamped options they provide for do-it-yourselfers that want to install their own OS.

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Late yesterday Dell opened the floodgates of its grand consumer Linux experiment by offering three systems with Ubuntu Desktop Edition version 7.04 pre-installed. They are available for purchase now: E520 NThe Dimension E520 N starts at $599 ($749 - $150 promotional discount), and includes an Intel Core 2 Duo processor (E4300), 1GB of 667MHz memory, a 17" E177FP analog flat panel, Intel integrated graphics 950, 48X CD-RW/DVD Combo drive, and a 250GB SATA drive (7200rpm).
E1505 NThe Inspiron E1505 N also starts at $599 ($799 - $200 promotional discount), and features an Intel Pentium dual-core processor (T2080), 512MB of 533MHz shared memory, a 15" wide screen XGA display, Intel integrated graphics 950, 24X CD Burner/DVD Combo drive, and a 80GB SATA drive (5400rpm).
XPS 410 NFinally, the XPS 410 N starts at $849 (no discount), and includes an Intel Core 2 Duo processor (E4300), 1GB of 667MHz memory, a 19" Ultrasharp SP1908FP Digital Flat Panel, 256MB nVidia Geforce 7300LE TurboCache, 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write, Dell AS501 10W Flat Panel Attached Spkrs, and a fast (3Gb/s) 250GB SATA drive (7200rpm).
All three systems can be customized of course, and Dell has a habit of changing prices on a daily (or hourly) basis, so your actual price can vary a lot. As of this writing, the preliminary ship date is listed as 6/4/2007 for the E520 N, 6/7/2007 for the E1505 N, and 6/20/2007 for the XPS 410 N. According to the web site, Dell provides hardware support only. Software support is available through Canonical and Linux Community. 30 days of "Starter support" costs $65, 1 year of "Basic support" costs $125, and 1 year of "Standard support" costs $275. The company also revamped its "no operating system" line of computers for do-it-yourselfers. Confusingly, they call this the "n Series" (note the lowercase n):
  • The Dimension n Series E520 starts at $679 ($829 - $150 promotional discount), including an Intel Core 2 Duo processor (E4300), 1GB of 667MHz memory, a 19" Ultrasharp SE198WFP Widescreen flat panel, 256MB nVidia Geforce 7300LE TurboCache, 48X CD-RW/DVD Combo drive, and a 160GB SATA drive (7200rpm).
  • The Dimension n Series E521 starts at $649 ($799 - $150 promotional discount), and sports an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+, 1GB of 667MHz memory, a 19" Ultrasharp SE198WFP Widescreen flat panel, 256MB nVidia Geforce 7300LE TurboCache, 16x DVD+/-RW Drive, and a 250GB SATA drive (7200rpm).
  • The Dimension n Series C521 also starts at $649 ($799 - $150 promotional discount), and comes with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+, 1GB of 667MHz memory, 19" SP1908FP Silver Flat Panel Monitor, 128MB ATI Radeon X1300, 16x DVD+/-RW Drive, and a 250GB SATA drive (7200rpm).
The little "n" series offers no advantage over the big "N" series aside from the option to use AMD processors. It's not clear why Dell is going to the trouble, other than the fact that they've always had a little "n" series for their business customers. Dell would be better off scrapping the little "n" computers and concentrating on the big "N" Ubuntu offerings. After all, it's easy enough for a knowledgeable user to wipe Ubuntu Linux from the system if they wanted some other version of Linux or perhaps Solaris or FreeBSD. Solaris, while it hasn't gotten all the press that GNU/Linux has gotten in the last few years, is just as cheap and is backed by a major company (Sun) with decades of operating system experience. If Dell was going to keep the "n" series why couldn't they name the Ubuntu series something different, like the "L" series? Does N stand for liNux? It doesn't make any sense. Anyway, there you have it, the long awaited Ubuntu liNux systems from Dell.

Topics: Dell, Hardware, Intel, Linux, Open Source, Processors

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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4 comments
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  • Mixed feelings...

    But overall I think it could be a good thing.....

    What they offer is nothing special (spec or deal wise) yet relatively fair. Considering it is a big step for a tier~1 OEM, and providing standard compliant hardware is not exactly their first nature.

    Even though they do not promote (or even sort of anti~promote) the offering. At least it is there and available, so a step forward.

    It may well even create greater awareness & interest of Linux for general casual users (consumers) and then greater awareness amongst Hardware/Software developers, ODM & OEM's & retailers.

    (both HP & Acer had/have Linux systems, just not available in retail channels in the US)

    If not, maybe greater awareness & interest of those who already specialize in selling Linux systems.

    There are hundreds (if not even thousands of smaller concerns)
    The ones that come to mind.
    http://system76.com/
    http://linuxcertified.com/
    http://store.madtux.org/
    and many others.
    (MadTux has a Vector Linux (Desktop box) for $140)

    Even if Dell is gaming something or other machination, I think it will be a step forward for Linux.

    I do wonder though, if Dell still pays MS for systems that do not have MS?
    LazLong
    • Other mixed feelings

      Is it better to buy Dell's Ubuntu offerings or System76's? I'm a fan of supporting System76 to support a Linux-only shop and hopefully show that Linux-only shops can turn a profit just fine. On the other hand, Dell is big news and I don't want there to be a bunch of people scorning them for their size and making them say "see? Linux isn't profitable!" and ditching the Ubuntu systems.
      macoafi
      • True...But

        That really is entirely up to Dell.

        What they offer seems attractive and will attract those who already use & prefer Linux, as well as those casual general users interested in something other than MS.

        I know it a very new thing for them & a big step.
        Yet to me they seem overly cautious/cagey in there info, presentation & promotion. (I would like to see more detailed specs & actual photos)

        I look forward to reviews by pundents, techs & Real users as the first ones begin to ship. (I hear those who have ordered will be getting theirs in the first weeks of June) (for that matter ED is there info on how many orders have been placed?)

        I may even buy a couple myself and even interested in doing local & Tele~support.

        Yet I have to wonder about their relations to MS in regards to this, and what incentive they offer positive or negative.

        But again I think over all it will be a good thing.
        LazLong
    • RE: Dell Ubuntu Linux has arrived

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