Linux on Dell's? (April 6, 2007)

I just noticed that on Dell's Idea Storm site, quite a lot of the proposals are about pre-installing Linux on their machines. I wonder if Dell will go for it?

I have long been interested in the idea of pre-installed Linux machines. Right now, if you want to use Linux, you face two learning curves: using Linux, and installing Linux. Installing is actually the larger of the two learning curves for many people. If you plan to simply use pre-configured stuff from Ubuntu, then time spend on installation details is mostly wasted. I use Debian, on which Ubuntu is based, and it has taken many tweaks to get my Thinkpad into a good state.

So should Dell do it? My thoughts about the good and bad for Dell:

I hope Dell goes for it, and they will not do badly if they do, but it is not obvious to me whether they will get a net win. Perhaps the main reason for Dell to bet here would be that the cost is low and the possible benefits substantial.
[1] It is a subject for another day, but I do not really think predatorial is a useful word here. The companies are simply competing. However, "predatory companies" is held as a useful concept by many people, much like Freudian analysis and astrology. For marketing purposes, you cannot ignore this.

Lex Spoon