Dell To Ship PCs With SLED 10 Linux In China

Dell currently ships PCs pre-loaded with Ubuntu Linux in the U.S., mostly aimed at consumers and enthusiasts. The move in the Chinese market also expands Novell's footprint for SLED 10 among Tier 1 vendors; earlier this year Lenovo said it would pre-load some models of ThinkPads with SLED 10.

According to an announcement from both companies, Dell will provide a year of hardware support for the systems, and Novell, Waltham, Mass., will provide sixty days of telephone-based software technical support to customers in China.

Though moving cautiously, Dell was the first major U.S., Tier 1 PC maker in recent years to begin pre-loading a distribution of Linux on-demand. Some PC makers offered systems pre-loaded with Linux several years ago but discontinued when they said the market provided only tepid interest. Lenovo has also signalled a slow-but-steady approach to pre-loading Linux onto PCs, while HP has said it expects to roll out a pilot program in the U.S. where some SKUs of PCs will be pre-loaded with a distribution of Linux.

Dell and Novell are also members of a controversial alliance with Microsoft aimed at providing interoperability and marketing support between Linux and Windows platforms. Dell, Round Rock, Texas, has said previously it would establish a customer marketing team for migrating Linux users who are not Dell Linux customers to SUSE Linux Enterprise server.

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