Dell now offering Ubuntu Linux OS as option for Alienware X51 gaming PC

Dell now offering Ubuntu Linux OS as option for Alienware X51 gaming PC

Summary: Steam for Linux gets a big boost from a little desktop that starts at $599.

TOPICS: Ubuntu, Dell, Linux, PCs

The Ubuntu flavor of Linux has received a major endorsement from Dell with its announcement that it will offer the OS as an option for its Alienware X51 gaming rig.

(Image: Ubuntu)

The diminutive PC starts at just $599 for a system with an Intel Core i3-3220 processor, 6GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 645 graphics. (Of course, you can load on the upgraded components for additional cash.) Previously only available as a Windows system, the X51 now can be equipped with Ubuntu Linux 12.04.

For Alienware's gaming clientele, the big draw is Steam for Linux, which was introduced in February. The downloaded platform gives Linux gamers access to such titles as Counter-Strike: Source and Kerbal Space Program, and includes Big Picture Mode, which optimizes games if you hook the X51 to your HDTV, though the game list does pale in comparison to what's available for Windows.

Nonetheless, Steam for Linux is a major step forward for gaming on the open-source OS, and now Dell is providing consumers with a desktop with the hardware to play those games and with Ubuntu pre-installed (not that you couldn't download and install Ubuntu on any gaming PC already, but it saves the time and effort of doing it yourself). You will also have access to more games through the Ubuntu Software Centre.

While it's not a huge effort on Alienware's part to add the Ubuntu option to the X51, it's still a bit of a risk to support an OS that isn't nearly as popular as Windows (2 percent of Steam usage in its launch month). (Then again, this might be one of the least risky things going on at Dell at the moment.)

Will the company be rewarded for offering Ubuntu on this gaming desktop? Let us know your opinion in the Talkback section below.

[Via Engadget]

Topics: Ubuntu, Dell, Linux, PCs

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  • Interesting

    Let’s see if MS ends up investing a few billion dollars on them when they go private, if this product will disappear “for some reason”.

    Overall a step towards the right direction though.
    • This will stay or go for only one reason and it has nothing to do with MS.

      The first day this goes on sale and already the nutjobs are throwing out conspiracy theories to blame the possible failure of a Linux box on Microsoft.

      Dell is a business and they will sell Linux computers as long as they sell well enough to justify keeping them in stock. If they stop selling this computer with Linux then it has everything to do with there being not enough demand.

      The big question is if the Linux community will stand behind all their rhetoric and put their money where their mouth is. After all the whining and crying about OEMs not supporting Linux for any number of blame shifting reasons, here is a chance to show OEMs that offering Linux on computers is financially sound to their business.
      • Yeh right

        And Nokia has released plenty of Android phones since it got the cash injection from MS…or maybe not…as reality indicates. As far as I know there is only a single Adroid phone from Nokia, and I bet you they have regretted it going to bed with the wrong “partner”.
        • It wasn't Android

          It was the Nokia N9 with MeeGo (which Nokia dropped in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone OS). Do you have information which suggests that Microsoft forced Nokia to drop MeeGo? Even if this was a stipulation of Microsoft's partnership with Nokia, Nokia still had an option to not enter into a partnership with Microsoft. Blame Nokia for MeeGo, not Microsoft.

          Remember that Microsoft engineered the acquisition of Novell by Attachmate which included a big pot of money for Novell's patents. Today, SuSE is an Attachmate business unity HQ'd in Germany which is where they started when acquired by Novell approximately a decade ago. And as near as I can tell, SuSE is doing well today.

          Michael Dell has shown an openness to Linux with servers (including ARM servers), GNU/Linux desktops/workstations and, as a member of the Open Handset Alliance, Android. If Michael Dell remains in charge of Dell after it goes private, I can't imagine him allowing Microsoft to micromanage the company in the way that you suggest.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Yes but…

            They already had MeeGo in development, and that was going nowhere like every other Intel attempt in the mobile space. What I was referring to was…that they didn’t enter the Android space because the new partner “did not let them”. Why on earth they will inject billions to a company and then that company will use the money for Android R&D.

            But if you think I said this in a bad way about MS you are wrong. Any company investing a huge amounts of money on another would and should influence their product line somehow.

            Come on, Microsoft is forcing the OEM’s hand since day 0, so did Intel etc. Now why on earth they will get a piece of the action and not use it for their advantage? They will be stupid not to do so.

            The Novell thing was another political move and part of the reasons behind it was the expansion of the available platforms for .net. Microsoft like any other company are not there to do charity and save companies for no reason.

            Now if Michael can/wants to continue controlling the company and/or support Linux is not something I would bet on, but again I wouldn’t dismiss it either.
          • Microsoft invested heavily in Apple and saved it from bankruptcy.

            I can't think of a better example where Microsoft had a more clearly defined financial upper hand over another company than this, so please detail your theories in this example. Show how Microsoft forced Apple to do what you claim they do.

            Also, Microsoft was the fifth largest contributor to the Linux 3.0 kernel.

            Please tell us how Microsoft is forcing Linux developers hands?
          • You do

            like history, but you don’t really understand it….

            The main reason Microsoft saved Apple was because they wanted to have some competition (in a tiny scale back then) so can they avoid the regulators because of their monopoly (again, back then). And contributions to open software is a publicity stand.

            What they are gaining from their involvement is not always direct control. There are more ways to “profit” from something.

            Again, calm down dear, nobody said (at least I didn’t) they are doing all these because "they are evil". All big companies will play the game, they have to and this is how they got so big.
          • Who accused you of saying they were evil?

            I'm just pointing out facts to quite easily disprove your rhetoric.

            If Microsoft has the dominance over OEMs that your claim, please explain how they all make Android devices that is killing Microsoft. Or how AMD is being used... or chromebooks... or Linux.

            Sorry friend, but the realities of the market directly oppose everything you claim.

            You can't have it both ways.
          • So in your ideal world

            …or more appropriately your tile infested bubble, Microsoft never used their muscle to push OEMs in the past?

            Obviously if you mention OEMs and Android at the same sentence, you are too young to remember what was going on before 2003 so there is no point arguing with you.

            All the devices and “facts” you are mentioning are very recent history. Microsoft cannot do a lot nowadays because they do not control the market as they used to. Those days (you obviously didn’t experience) are long gone and now MS is trying to be relevant again, let alone control anything.
          • @Mil7

            Are you suggesting that anyone pointing to the facts of android devices being made currently can't possibly have experience with computers prior to 2003? That seems like a rather small minded assumption to make in order to self validate your speculations, don't you think?

            My first computer was a Vic 20. Not that anyone needs decades of first hand computer experience to point out facts or to easily show the failures of your claims.

            I mean really, you are pointing to ten years ago as if Microsoft still has an iron rule over OEMs to the point they can't make any choices? Again, the facts easily dismiss your wild claims. How many PC OEMs only make windows based products? If what you claim is true you should be able to list off almost every PC OEM right?

            All this nonsense, because you want to preemptively blame Microsoft if this Linux computer gets discontinued.
          • @Emacho

            What I am saying is that you cannot get “a slice of history” and try to prove a point. Microsoft and their monopolistic powers go back decades before all the “facts” you were mentioning, so you either do not want to go that long back or you do not know about them.

            But since you mentioned your background I can now say that you know about them, you just “forgot” to mention them.

            I can agree though that MS has lost their “absolute” powers long ago and now they are almost fighting from the same level, not at the desktop though, this is where they are still strong (if you take Windows 8 out from the equation).

            “Blame” is such a strong word, I would just say that I do pre-emptively suspect them that they won’t play fair ;)
          • So anything that happens in the desktop market

            Is a result of Microsofts past monopolistic policies?

            Ignoring your constant need to make assumptions about me to validate your theories, don't you think you are chasing shadows here? Preemptively blaming Microsoft if... if... one Linux computer gets discontinued by citing slices of history from decades ago?

            Sorry if I don't wear the same tinfoil hat as you. I think dell will sell whatever makes them the most money. Be it windows, Linux, android or whatever.
          • Dominance Only Influences Certain Product Lines

            There are two ways that Microsoft can get influence over OEMs.

            One way is to invest heavily in exchange for a certain degree of say in what the company will do next. That is pretty straightforward, and I don't see how it is difficult to understand. It's all about the terms of the agreement. That is how Microsoft heavily influenced Nokia's product line decisions.

            The other way is by exerting market pressure regarding a product line that they are dominant in. This involves things like negotiating better prices for Windows licenses if the company agrees to sell only Windows, promote Windows on their website, or sell very little of a competing system. This only works where Microsoft is dominant, on the desktop. You can't stop a company from selling Android tablets because you are the dominant PC operating system provider. It doesn't work that way (I should mention that there are ways to leverage dominance in one product line to another product line, but they are not direct, and their degree of influence varies greatly). Also, even on the desktop Microsoft's share has eroded a bit -- enough to reduce their influence on OEMs significantly, but not tremendously.
          • Wow...

            "The main reason Microsoft saved Apple was because they wanted to have some competition (in a tiny scale back then) so can they avoid the regulators because of their monopoly (again, back then)."

            The scary thing is, you actually might believe that.
            Hallowed are the Ori
          • That Plus

            Nearly ALL of the open source software is to integrate Linux into their hypervisor software.
          • Please, not again.

            Microsoft 'invested' in Apple by way of a court settlement to drop the Video for Windows infringement of Quicktime code. It had nothing to do with charity or a wish to 'help out' poor little Apple.
            The Danger is Microsoft
          • Sigh

            You cannot separate one element of the situation from another. Apple and Microsoft didn't want to fight any more, Apple wanted to keep Microsoft software available because it added to the value of Macs and Microsoft got to assist a competitive platform stay viable as Redmond was facing a trial for anti-trust violations. A meeting of the minds and a confluence of interests. You're right, hardly charity. I'd call it maturity.
          • May i ask

            What Microsoft software at that time. The only software avail at that time was internet Explorer and windows nt server for power PC. Both didn't catch on??
            Anthony E
          • That story is rubbish

            Yes, it makes you feel good to think that you beloved MS saved Apple, but the story is wrong. It would be worth your while to do just a modicum of research before you again sprout such nonsense.
          • I stated a fact that Microsoft gave Apple money when Apple was in trouble.

            You are the one putting emotional pull to the issue.

            I could not care less why MS gave Apple money. It was just an example to counter what Mil7 is trying to present as a fact.