Michael Dell chooses Linux at home

Ubuntu and OpenOffice are the software of choice for the PC vendor's chief executive

After a lifelong allegiance to all things Microsoft, the chief executive of Dell is using Linux in his own home. His choice of distribution? Ubuntu.

It emerged on Thursday that the Dell chief is using a Precision M90, loaded with the just-released version of Ubuntu called Feisty Fawn. He is also running OpenOffice and Firefox, according to his biography on Dell's website.

The revelations about the fondness of the company's founder for Linux may surprise some Dell customers. A recent investigation by ZDNet UK revealed that UK customers are forced to purchase Windows software on all Dell systems sold in this country. Any customer wanting to run Linux on a Dell machine must buy Windows, remove it, and then install the open source distribution of their choice.

But it seems Michael Dell still favours Microsoft software for gaming and travelling, and even then he prefers Windows XP to Microsoft's latest operating system, Vista.

Dell has come under considerable pressure to offer Linux pre-installed on its PCs. It has so far failed to address those demands, even though many customers requested it via a Dell forum. The PC vendor later issued a questionnaire to customers to assess their Linux demand.