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Dell To Offer Linux On Laptops, Desktops

Rejoice penguins, Linux will be an option on future Dell desktop and mobile computers.

After several weeks of soliciting feedback from customers through its IdeaStorm Web site, pre-loading Linux became the first customer-requested option adopted by the company.

At this point however, there are no specifics on the Linux preload, other than it will be available on laptop and desktop systems. David Lord, a spokesman for Dell, told internetnews.com the company would have details in the coming weeks.

Dell already offers Linux preloaded on its PowerEdge servers and Precision workstations.

After the initial crush of requests for a Linux option, Dell  posted a survey on March 13, asking Linux users for more specificity. More than 100,000 people took part in the survey, and more than 70 percent of survey respondents said they would use a Dell system with a Linux operating system for both home and office use.

Interestingly, the majority of survey respondents said that existing community-based support forums would meet their technical support needs. So while Dell is hammering out the details of which Linux distribution(s) to use and how to support it/them, it seems most users don't really need vendor help. (Dell indicated earlier this year that it intends to work closely with Novell to certify corporate client products for Linux).

Lord said one request from IdeaStorm, for systems with no software installed at all, is already available. Dell has what it calls N-series of Optiplex, Dimension and Latitude computers available with nothing loaded on the hard drive at all.

Beyond that, he declined to comment on whether Dell is considering some of the other suggestions, such as making more memory the default configuration and offering systems with just Windows and no extra software.

"[IdeaStorm's] feedback is taking us in a really good direction. This was the first and most highly responded to element, therefore we are responding to it. We're still tasked to watch IdeaStorm and see what's gaining traction," he said.