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Dell Starts Selling Linux Computers Today

Starting today, you can buy Dell computers with Linux as the operating system. Dell is offering the open source OS on two desktop models and one laptop model.

Dell, having announced the move earlier this month, wasted no time in getting product ready for market. The three models are:

  • Inspiron E1505n notebook, starting at $599
  • Dimension E520, starting at $599
  • XPS 410n, starting at $849

The computers will use the Ubuntu 7.04 distribution of Linux on the machines. Dell offers Windows OSes on the vast majority of its computers, and also gives customers the option of a PC with no OS installed.

Dell says it started offering Linux because of demand from the hard-core computer enthusiast crowd. Given Linux's tiny market share, it's unlikely to make much of a dent in Dell's bottom line, but that may not be Dell's strategy.

"I don’t think they will get a big lift in volume from Linux desktops at this moment in time. But being back in this space may better position them for future opportunities as they emerge," IDC analyst Al Gillen told Redmond magazine earlier this month. Windows still has the lion's share of the desktop OS market, at about 92 percent, with the Mac OS second at about 4.1 percent, and Linux third at 3.8 percent.

Dell, suffering from slow growth, is trying a number of new strategies to boost sales. It announced today, in fact, that for the first time in its history, it is expanding its sales channel beyond cyberspace and has partnered with Wal-Mart to sell computers through 3,000 stores, starting June 10.

Dell has tried selling Linux in the past, but without success. It also joins mainstream PC makers like Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo Group in offering Linux to customers.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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