Monday, September 17

Dell’s Desktop Linux Strategy: Slow and Steady

By The VAR Guy 4 comments

So far, so good. That statement sums up Dell’s current desktop Linux strategy, which focuses heavily on the Ubuntu operating system from Canonical. Dell insiders tell The VAR Guy that reaction to the company’s Ubuntu PCs, introduced in June, has been good. Even so, Dell representatives are careful not to hype the machines. Here’s why.

“You’ve got to crawl before you can walk and run,” says John Hull, a Linux OS development manager at Dell. “We’re still at the crawling stage with consumer [Linux] systems.” As a result, speculation about Dell preparing an Ubuntu marketing campaign appears premature.

Hull is quick to note that Dell focuses on multiple desktop Linux distributions. While Dell introduced its first Ubuntu PCs this past summer, the company also offers Red Hat Linux on workstations and recently announced plans to offer Novell’s SuSE Linux on PCs in China.

But in the US, most of the recent desktop Linux buzz has focused around Ubuntu. Overall, the user reaction to Dell’s Ubuntu PCs and notebooks “has been good,” says Hull. “There obviously are some bugs and it is rough around the edges” when it comes to some drivers and selected application issues. In fact, Hull sounds like he largely agrees with Walt Mossberg’s recent analysis of Ubuntu for The Wall Street Journal, in which Mossberg credited Ubuntu for its recent advancements but concluded the operating system wasn’t ready for broad consumer adoption.

Looking ahead, Dell is testing Gutsy Gibbon — a major Ubuntu upgrade slated for delivery in October. “We have weekly calls with Canonical,” says Hull. “We’re actively involved in testing the Tribe release and we’re looking at hardware support and the overall customer experience.” Tribe is the term Canonical uses for alpha (pre-beta) software code.

For now, Dell’s interest in Ubuntu appears focused on PCs and notebooks. The company does not appear to have an interest in the Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded release, which Canonical and Intel are developing. “I’ve heard of it but haven’t looked at it,” says Hull.

Comments (4)

  1. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThat statement sums up Dell’s current desktop Linux strategy, which focuses heavily on the Ubuntu operating system from Canonical. Dell insiders tell The VAR Guy that reaction to the company’s Ubuntu PCs, introduced in June, … […]

    Mike’s Musings » Dell’s Desktop Linux Strategy: Slow and Steady, September 17th, 2007 at 10:41 am #
  2. […] interview with Dell’s Linux gurus last month, the company indicated that it would take a slow-and-steady approach to Ubuntu. Translation: Don’t expect Dell to throw marketing dollars at Ubuntu PCs just […]

    TechIQ » Archive » Dell Preps for Next Linux Desktop Release, October 8th, 2007 at 9:43 am #
  3. […] TechIQ interview with Dell’s Linux gurus last month, the company indicated that it would take a slow-and-steady approach to Ubuntu. Translation: Don’t expect Dell to throw marketing dollars at Ubuntu PCs just yet.I don’t […]

    Dell Joins Countdown to Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon « All About Ubuntu, October 8th, 2007 at 10:09 am #
  4. […] TechIQ interview with Dell’s Linux gurus last month, the company indicated that it would take a slow-and-steady approach to Ubuntu. Translation: Don’t expect Dell to throw marketing dollars at Ubuntu PCs just […]

    Dell Preps for Next Linux Desktop Release at Linux and Open Source Blog, October 9th, 2007 at 5:19 am #

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