Dell and the Linux Desktop

There’s quite a bit of speculation going on at what distribution of Linux Dell will choose to put onto its desktops or if they’ll even attempt to put Linux on the desktop.

In my opinion, it would be smart for them to do this…mainly because there is so much marketing momentum behind this right now they’d be a fool not to take advantage of it…and they didn’t have to pay a dime for it either. Most companies would kill for their blog to receive as much attention as the Dell Linux Blog and Idea Storm has gotten in the past few months…and they’d kill for the huge amounts of media attention the Dell Linux Survey and Announcement of Certified Linux Computers are also getting.

I think Dell will ride this Linux wave in…but not how most people think they will. Most people think Dell will listen to tons of people filling out the surveys telling them Ubuntu. But examining this from a business perspective and Ubuntu becomes the lowest choice on the totem pole. I believe they’ll surprise everyone with a different move that would get them the most out of their business AND personal Computer lines. I think they will (if they choose any distribution at all) choose Fedora Core or RHEL Desktop and not Ubuntu.

Why would they do this? To be tied to Red Hat more of course. This allows them to do less to certify their hardware for Red Hat and you can bet that if Linux is on the desktop pre-installed that they’ll offer it on the server. I think this would be a good deal for both Red Hat and for Dell…even though it’s Fedora it opens the door a bit and since Fedora is a test ground for RHEL, choosing it is beneficial all around.

I believe (since we’re speculating here) that Dell will snuggle up to Red Hat as much as they possibly can and that it will benefit both of their businesses in a HUGE way.

The thing that makes me think this is Red Hat’s sudden (re)interest in the desktop has odd timing. Is it purely coincidental? Is it random chance? Is it just speculation? Who knows. One thing is for certain…when a company get’s big, nothing it does is pure chance.

And what of Novell? If we truly want to speculate, Novell is also a better choice than Ubuntu…because of the existing agreement with Microsoft, Suse also looks better for Dell because of their own ties to Microsoft. So, we’ve got two distros that have more going for them than Ubuntu does…which may or may not be a good thing. So who will Dell choose if they choose at all?

Anyone else care to speculate?

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Author: devnet

devnet has been a project manager for a Fortune 500 company, a Unix and Linux administrator, a Technical Writer, a System Analyst, and a Systems Engineer during his 20+ years working with Technology.

9 thoughts on “Dell and the Linux Desktop”

  1. I would think that a company such as Dell with such strong ties to Redmond would most likely go with a Novell distro. Wouldn’t this make sense? Talk about timing, now they may not have to worry about pissing in M$’s cornflakes.

  2. I’m not so sure…I mean, there seems to be a strained relationship with Dell and Microsoft…especially with their idea storm website and buzz they’re generating for Linux. I’d say that they’d have leeway to do what they want here because of their broad appeal to consumers and already in place channels. They have more pull than people give them credit for with Microsoft.

  3. I hope that they go for Ubuntu; the RPM format is too much of a headache and RedHat is a mess anyway. Plus, I can’t imagine that SuSE would make a ton of Linux fans happy right now…

  4. I suppose I wouldn’t mind what distribution they decided to carry as long as the consumer had a choice. Right now and for so long it seems to have been XP Pro or Home–take it or leave it. As long as they’ll offer some choice to the consumer I think it’ll be a step in the right direction.

  5. I have to agree with you, BUT Ubuntu has been starting to make ground with servers.
    ( )

    I’d suspect, in order to keep MS at bay, they’ll end up with Suse. Fine by me. I’m not impressed with Dell. Yeah, some of their stuff is great in the server market, but who’s stopping anyone from wiping out a distro/windows and installing their own distro. Once you have hardware that’s certified to run on linux, you’ll find it easy to get the necessary drivers to run on any distro IMHO. Unless they make it closed source, which would be utterly stupid on their part.

    Only time will tell. I’d love to say a distro like PCLinuxOS or Wolvix or VectorLinux will make it, but they don’t have a shot in heck.

    I’d love to see Ubuntu on Dell because it’ll prove that Dell doesn’t care what MS says. Until then, I’m going with a company like System76 ( ) who sells ubuntu pre-installed on all of their computers.

  6. Don’t rule anything out at this point. We are examining the almost 100,000 responses and formulating updates to our Linux strategy. We have teams looking at several things and there are few options that have been left off the table. That is all I can share, but stay tuned.

  7. All I know is…you guys better deliver…because there is so much momentum behind this it would be an incredible folly not to take advantage of it.

    Most companies dream of having this much PR behidn a movement. My E521n’s at home would all sing in Chorus.

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