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The good and bad news about Dell and Ubuntu

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A friend of mine recently got a surprise. She was setting up her brand spankin’ new Dell Inspiron m101z with its dual-core AMD Athlon processor and 4GBs RAM) with Windows 7 Home Premium. She wasn’t happy because it was already moving slower than her ancient XP Pentium M machine. When, out of the blue she got an Ubuntu Light (PDF Link) v1.0 Setup window. What the heck?

She was puzzled but since she’s technically savvy, she quickly figured it out. Besides, she was pretty sure that Dell technical support was wrong when he first told her that “Ubuntu Light is the software for setting up themes on the system.” Ah no, it’s not. Eventually, he got it right. Dell is now shipping Ubuntu Light as an instant-on operating system on some of its Dell laptops.

Ubuntu Light is a simplified version of Ubuntu that’s for original equipment manufacturers (OEM)s only and uses the Unity interface. It’s designed to boot up in as little as eight seconds on PCs with a solid state disk drive (SSD) or 15 seconds on a device with a hard disk drive HDD. It can also access the data on the Windows part of the drive, and can be enabled or disabled from the Windows 7 Control Panel

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