Dell To Offer Ubuntu Systems In 'Weeks'

The company was set to say Tuesday that it had chosen to integrate Ubuntu's distribution of Linux with consumer systems, heeding the calls of several thousand people who posted on a Dell Internet message board that seeks ideas and input.

In an email to CRN, a Dell spokesman said Monday night that several details were still up in the air.

"We are finalizing some final details and will provide an update in the coming weeks as to which products will be available," the spokesman said. "We will offer Ubuntu 7.04 on select Dell consumer products with a range of configuration options."

That range of options will be key to seeing whether Dell will be on the leading edge of bringing Linux PC desktops to market, or whether it will be following the lead of companies like Sun Microsystems and IBM, which already offer Linux-loaded desktop workstations with street prices of just under $5,000 and $4,000 respectively. Last week, Dell posted the description of a workstation notebook that it said company Chairman and CEO Michael Dell had added to his own personal collection.

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Michael Dell's workstation, a Precision M90, is loaded with Ubuntu's Feisty Fawn operating system and applications. There is no pricing attached to that model; however, a similar Precision M90 with lower-end components and loaded with Windows XP, is priced at $3,523.

When the Dell Linux offering is available, the spokesman said, it would be sold directly to consumers.