Dell Gets Into Linux

Computer manufacturer Dell will offer preinstalled Linux on desktops and laptop computers, according to two corporate spokesmen.

As we’ve blogged before, some federal agencies are reportedly thinking about skipping Windows Vista in favor of open source operating systems.

Dell spokesmen David Lord and Dean Kline didn’t offer many specifics, other than to say that Dell “will preinstall Linux on certain systems in the future.” Linux has multiple versions (called distros), making it tough for manufacturers to pick and support Linux.

“There are quite a lot of offerings out there, we can’t cover all of them, but we do want to make sure that we want to cover the largest part of the market,” Lord told Tech Insider. Linux users are predisposed to find their support within the open source community anyway, the Dell spokesmen said.

A Wednesday posting on Dell’s corporate blog offers some particulars on how the company plans to roll out Linux, a least on the computers Dell ships with no pre-installed operating system:

For device types where a choice exists between a component with a non-Free driver and one with Free driver availability, in our Linux offering we'll opt to bundle the component with the Free driver. Wireless network adapters is one such example; Printers are another. We recommend Linux users buy our printers which have PostScript engines in them, as opposed to those which don't and for which no Linux drivers are yet available. The Tech Specs tab for each printer on show if it has PostScript or not.