World to Dell: We want desktop Linux!

World to Dell: We want desktop Linux!

Summary: While Dell is yet to make an announcement for Australia, the PC maker's UK office has declared: "Dell Answers Customer Calls For Linux In Europe". Unless of course you live in Spain, Sweden, Italy, Norway, Ireland, Turkey, Belgium, Austria ...


opinion While Dell is yet to make an announcement for Australia, the PC maker's UK office has declared: "Dell Answers Customer Calls For Linux In Europe". Unless of course you live in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey ...

Luke Anderson, reviews editor, ZDNet Australia

There's been a lot of noise about desktop Linux in the past few weeks. First, retailers in Singapore began selling the Acer Aspire 5710Z with the Ubuntu distribution pre-installed, then Acer told ZDNet Australia's sister site ZDNet UK it wouldn't follow suit in the UK due to lack of demand. It U-turned a few days later, when a spokesperson said: "At this moment in time Acer UK does not have a PC available with Linux pre-installed, but we are looking at introducing one in the future".

A local spokesperson for Acer said it had no commitments to pre-install Linux at this stage. Toshiba and industry analysts also agreed there was a lack of demand for Linux on business desktops Down Under.

Then, on Thursday, Red Hat announced it would be delaying its Linux desktop distribution, Global Desktop, until September so it could investigate adding additional support for video formats.

On the tail of this news came Lenovo's declaration to pre-install SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 from Novell on select ThinkPads in Australia from this summer, making it the first major manufacturer to supply a Linux desktop to the Australian market.

Meanwhile Dell -- the first major manufacturer to offer Linux as a pre-installed option at purchase -- is mum on it's plans to offer Ubuntu Down Under, or in any other country besides the US, UK, France and Germany.

Yet, a simple browse through comments on the Dell Web site including its Direct2Dell blog show that customers in Australia, Europe and other regions are crying out for desktop Linux.

And on Dell's Ideastorm Web site, a staggering 41,210 users agreed with the thread, "Sell Linux PCs Worldwide -- not only the United States".

On another thread, 6,410 users agreed with the statement, "Make Dell Ubuntu PCs available to businesses and non-profits".

Meanwhile, the announcement on Direct2Dell sparked comments from all over Europe and the world, including customers from Spain, Turkey, Italy, Sweden, former Soviet republics, Ireland, Israel and even a North American country: Canada.

Hats off to Québécois, who had this to say:

Hi, I'm writing this from a "little" country just across US north border named Canada, don't know if you ever heard of it. Well, here we are seriously asking ourselves if there has not been some mistake somewhere, like forgetting some countries in your list. We are surprised and disappointed ...

Perhaps before Dell worries about supporting open-source alternatives to Windows, it should start with the basics -- open-source alternatives to Internet Explorer? On an Ideastorm thread, user qgonjon said he couldn't order an Inspiron 1420N with Ubuntu because the site was incompatible with his current set-up -- Firefox and Linux!

What seems clear is that, in Australia Ubuntu and Dell is not a question of "if" but "when". Of all manufacturers, it should be one of the first out of the gate given the ease at which customers can customise and build PCs to order on its Web site. With companies such as Lenovo and Acer snapping at its heels we hope Dell will make an announcement sooner rather than later.

Topics: Dell, Hardware, Linux, Open Source, Reviews, EU

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Guess what Dell said today?

    Check out what Dell's IT strategist said today:,1895,2168426,00.asp

    "To mess up a Linux box, you need to work at it; to mess up your Windows box, you just have to work on it."


    ...Microsoft has also owned the desktop for more than 15 years, Crawford said, "and so the only way for them to go is down. But Linux can only go up, and its growth potential is enormous...

    And this, from Microsoft's biggest booster from just a few short years ago.


    I think the IT industry has realised that ""What's good for Linux is good for everyone else (except Microsoft)..."

  • Dell Ubuntu Computers down under

    I would like to see dell ship linux computers here. There is a market here, and it can be tied in with the ever booming asian market. Come on dell, you know what to do!
  • Uh-huh

    Yet another silly article from a linux boosting web site. How stupid.. This is history repeating. Just about evey year since 98 has ben declared 'the year of Linux'. I'm still waiting fools!

    The mums and dads that buy PC's couldn't give acrap about linux.. It's only the few 'anything but Microsofts' that give a toss. And you know what - go for it. You clearly have much more time to burn than I do .
  • eWeek Article

    An article from August boosting Linux gets quoted.... big freakin' deal. Have you taken a look at Microsoft's profit result? Completely discredits what this dill at eweek is quoted as saying.
  • Finally! Dell+Ubuntu now in Canada

    As of several weeks ago...

    And the reviews on the site appear to be promising!
  • Stupidity is it's own punishment

    All we ever wanted was Freedom. Choose MS if you wish - you have free will. Just don't tell *me* that I can't choose what *I* want, or that anyone else shouldn't be offered the same option. Dell, Acer, Asus and Everex now sell linux computers - every time one gets sold, that's one less new spambot.

    Live with your cpu-sapping, memory-hogging, anti-virus, anti-spyware, update re-booting, disk fragmenting, drm'd, hardware-incompatible, closed-source, closed-minded, EULA'd, festering pile of bugs if you want to. I don't have to.

    "Im going for a walk
    Not the after dinner kind
    Im gonna use my hands
    And Im gonna use my mind

    And who the hell are you to tell me what to do? "
    (bad religion - a walk)

  • A Crying Shame!

    I was hoping to be able to say otherwise, but Dell offering Ubuntu in Canada is a real disappointment. For similarly configured systems, you wind up paying $40 less (after instant online rebates) for the Windows-configured version, AND not all hardware provided for the Windows-based version is compatible with the equivalent Ubuntu-based version, so you wind up getting a bit less hardware added on.

    If the OS is "free" shouldn't that make the cost of equivalent systems cheaper if you aren't paying for the OS?
  • Linux as a negotiating tool?

    When I have phoned Dell, HP and Lenovo, and made a lot of noise about not wanting to pay for a Windows license that I will not be using, I have been surprised at the discounts offered. One call centre operative even asked me how much I thought should be deducted from the price for the Windows license.

    I sure hope Windows buyers don't take advantage of the lack of Linux options just to get further discounts!
  • Lenovo linux offerings

    So, are the Lenovo linux thinkpads available or not?

    There is this page:
    but the links to purchase or customize take you to 'windows only' territory.
  • You are so wrong

    The "mums and dads" that are buying pc do give a crap about price. as you can see on you can click with ubuntu or xp and ubuntu is a good 75USD cheaper.

    you are right people dont give a damn about linux vs windows but if they can save money... which do you think they will go with? most people browse the net and listen to music and maybe a few other little things, none of which are windows specific. linux is far easier to use than windows especially if its been setup for you.

    also, now is the first time that major companies have started to sell computers with linux and this is why linux will take over.

    windows wins because its the standard, when a business can get good support from dell with all of its infrastructure supported under linux, and yet not have to pay the massive license fee's for any of there software. the business will switch to save money.

    people almost always are motivated by there wallet, and MS can ever compete with $0 that is the bottom line and its only a matter of time