Dell ships Linux PCs today

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Round Rock (TX) - Linux fans can rejoice because Dell is now shipping Ubuntu-installed desktops and notebooks.  Dell’s XPS 410n and Dimension 520n desktops along with Inspiron 1505n notebooks can now be purchased with Ubuntu 7.04 Linux.  Dell will provide the hardware support, but buyers will have to fend for themselves on software help.

According to the Direct2Dell blog , the company will also provide fee-based support through a third partner Canonical.  A 30-day and two one-year support plans will be offered.  For free technical support customers can go to the Dell Community pages here.

Dell says that configuring the new computers has been a bit of a chore and that it wasn’t as simple as running the default installation inside of Ubuntu.  Driver issues have frequently cropped up, but the company says it will “continue to work with vendors” to improve driver stability and availability.

Multimedia codecs such as those for audio and video decompression are another sticking point.  Many codecs that are included natively inside of Microsoft Windows and Apple OSX are generally not included in many Linux distributions because of copyright and royalty issues.  Linux users have often gotten around this problem by installing open-source media players such as VLC, but Dell hopes to hash out a simpler solution in the coming months.

Customers wishing to buy the new Ubuntu-powered computers can go to Dell’s Open page here .  The XPS 410n will sell for $850 while the 520n Dimension and 1505n Inspiron will both sell for $600.