Dell was the first of the major computer manufacturers to support pre-installed Linux, but it’s not just pre-installing Linux. The Austin, Tex. company is also adding functionality to Ubuntu Linux on its desktops and laptops.
Dell began adding extra features last December when it added DVD-playback to its systems shipping with Ubuntu 7.10. Ordinary Linux can only play DVDs if they’re not burdened with DRM (Digital Rights Management) malware. By including InterVideo’s closed-source LinDVD DVD playback software users are able to legally play DRM encrypted DVD movies.
With the recent release of Dell PCs with Ubuntu 8.04, Dell has added other goodies to the basic Ubuntu Linux distribution. As John Hull, Dell’s manager of Linux engineering, describes in Dell’s Direct2Dell blog, Dell is now including “Fluendo GStreamer codices for mp3, wma (Windows Media Audio), and wmv (Windows Media Video) playback” in its latest Ubuntu-powered desktops and laptops.