Ubuntu Linux pre-loaded on Dell’s

This is where all the rave is at, today. Guess May really is a good month :-) I’ve been meaning to write about this for quite a while (linux being pre-loaded), and this seems to be a fairly good time.

It all started with Morgan Collett’s post about Linux preloaded – useful out of the box? Its been sitting in a tab awaiting comment, and I must say the history of Linux on Dell’s is somewhat funny – desktop installation on a server! Its interesting to see that Slackware gets shipped in South Africa on a laptop. Imagine the support nightmare? And then Jerome mentions that in the Philippines he got Linpus (first time I’ve heard about it). He also mentions that Acer bundles Red Flag or older Mandriva’s.

Linux makes bundling software hard. So many distributions to pick from, everyone liking something else, different release versions between distributions, spread package management formats, and the list of differences go on. Different kernel? Oops, that might react badly to your BIOS or hardware. Shipping a cheap winmodem? There goes your Linux options.

So its with pleasure that I see Dell offering Ubuntu on some of their machines. When it came to voting in IdeaStorm, I personally picked other, and wrote “Fedora or Ubuntu”. Only because my ties with Fedora go back so many years. But deep down inside, I felt it would have been a nightmare for support – fast changing releases every 6-9 months, new features, things changing rapidly, and you get the drift – it might not be useful out of the box. Ubuntu has focused on usability, they have a mix of some binary driver offerings, and their manifesto is to have a “just works” OS. Best of all – you can get support the moment you need it. Fedora is always touted as being unsupported.

This news is great for the Ubuntu community. Training, support, certification, a lot of good things can happen around this.

Why Ubuntu 7.04? Its not a Long Term Support (LTS) release. I guess this is why its on selected desktops and laptops – I see servers being the next market (alongside RHEL and SuSE) when the next release of Ubuntu comes out.

Speaking of community, Canonical is getting some flak for gagging bloggers on Planet Ubuntu. Guess as a company, they’re also dealing with change, and moving into more of the corporate world.

In other quick news, Jerome, a friend and semi-regular IRC buddy is even co-writing Ubuntu Server in Action.

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