Practical Technology

for practical people.

Dell to choose Ubuntu


Officially, Dell Inc. hasn’t said a word yet about which Linux it will be preloading on its desktops and laptops. Several sources within Dell, however, have told that Dell’s desktop Linux pick is going to be Ubuntu.

While unable to confirm this through official Dell channels, we have heard the same story now from several internal Dell sources. They tell us that the Austin, Texas, computer giant will be preinstalling the newly released Ubuntu 7.04. These systems will be released in late May 2007.

According to our sources, Ubuntu will be released on a Dell e-series “Essential” Dimension desktop, an XPS desktop, and an e-series Inspiron laptop.

The e-series systems are budget-priced PCs that start at $408 without a monitor. The base systems come with 512MB of RAM and a 160GB SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) hard drive. It appears that Dell will only be offering Ubuntu on one of the two systems in this family. The E521 is powered by an AMD Sempron 3400+ chip and uses a NVIDIA GeForce 6150 LE Integrated Graphics GPU (graphics processor unit) for graphics. The alternative, the E520, uses an Intel 2.8GHz Celeron D processor.

There are four XPS models, which are meant for home users. Each includes a 19-inch flat-panel monitor. Presuming that Dell delivers Ubuntu on the least expensive of these systems, the XPS 410, the base system would cost $899. It comes with an Intel 1.8GHz, Core 2 Duo Processor E4300, 1GB of RAM, a 250GB SATA hard drive, and a 256MB nVidia Geforce 7300LE TurboCache for graphics.

Finally, for the laptop, there are three e-series Inspiron notebooks with prices ranging from $899 to $1,149. Unlike the other systems, we were unable to narrow down which is the most likely to be sold with Ubuntu.

All of this line can run with up to an Intel 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo Processor T7400. On RAM, the systems range from 512MB to 1GB. All can be upgraded to 2GB of RAM. Their primary difference is in their screen size. The E1405, which is designed for business travelers, has a 14.1-inch WXGA+ display. The E1705, dubbed by Dell as the Entertainment Powerhouse, has a 17-inch wide-screen display.

That Dell chose Ubuntu wasn’t much of a surprise, since Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell had already announced that he is running that distribution on his home laptop. Michael Dell is currently using Ubuntu 7.04 on an extremely well-equipped Dell Precision M90. His system uses an Intel Core 2 Duo T7600 Processor, which runs at 2.33GHz and comes with a 4MB cache. It also comes with 4GB of DDR2 (double-data-rate) 667MHz DRAM, a 17-inch WXGA+ wide-screen LCD, a 160GB 7,200-rpm SATA hard drive, a 8X DVD +/- RW optical drive, and a NVIDIA Quadro FX 3500 512M graphics card.

Sources also indicated that Dell has decided to go with Ubuntu because a large number of people who answered its Linux desktop survey indicated that they wanted Ubuntu. While Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, recently said he can’t comment on whether or not his company has been talking with Dell, sources close to the company indicate that Dell and Canonical have been having talks for several months now about Ubuntu running on Dell’s computers.

A version of this story first appeared in DesktopLinux.

Leave a Reply