Update: Dell’s Ubuntu Strategy

So far, so good. That statement sums up Dell’s current desktop Linux strategy, which focuses heavily on the Ubuntu operating system

from Canonical. Even so, Dell representatives are careful not to hype the machines. Here’s why.

“You’ve got to crawl before you can walk and run,” says John Hull, a Linux OS development manager at Dell. “We’re still at the crawling stage with consumer [Linux] systems.” As a result, speculation about Dell preparing an Ubuntu marketing campaign appears premature.

Hull is quick to note that Dell focuses on multiple desktop Linux distributions. While Dell introduced its first Ubuntu PCs this past summer, the company also offers Red Hat Linux on workstations and recently announced plans to offer Novell’s SuSE Linux on PCs in China.

But in the US, most of the recent desktop Linux buzz has focused around Ubuntu. Overall, the user reaction to Dell’s Ubuntu PCs and notebooks “has been good,” says Hull. “There obviously are some bugs and it is rough around the edges” when it comes to some drivers and selected application issues. In fact, Hull sounds like he largely agrees with Walt Mossberg’s recent analysis of Ubuntu for The Wall Street Journal, in which Mossberg credited Ubuntu for its recent advancements but concluded the operating system wasn’t ready for broad consumer adoption.

Looking ahead, Dell is testing Gutsy Gibbon — a major Ubuntu upgrade slated for delivery in October. “We have weekly calls with Canonical,” says Hull. “We’re actively involved in testing the Tribe release and we’re looking at hardware support and the overall customer experience.” Tribe is the term Canonical uses for alpha (pre-beta) software code.

For now, Dell’s interest in Ubuntu appears focused on PCs and notebooks. The company does not appear to have an interest in the Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded release, which Canonical and Intel are developing. “I’ve heard of it but haven’t looked at it,” says Hull.


4 thoughts on “Update: Dell’s Ubuntu Strategy

  1. Pingback: Mike’s Musings » Update: Dell’s Ubuntu Strategy

  2. Yes this would all be OK if Dell were actually supplying these systems to customers. Currently there are horrendous delays with people waiting more than 2 months to receive their machines. Numerous slipped dates and revisions without any explanation.

    Look at the Dell Blog for customer comments.

    I waited 6 weeks, and then the delivery date slipped back a nearly a month, so I said enough is enough and canceled the order. I am getting a Lenevo in a few days.

    Best wishes, Bill


  3. “Tribe is the term Canonical uses for alpha (pre-beta) software code”

    Actually, Tribe is the term for the Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) alpha releases; as per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_(Linux_distribution)#Releases the names for the alphas for the given versions were:

    Warty Warthog Sounder
    Hoary Hedgehog Array
    Breezy Badger Colony
    Dapper Drake Flight
    Edgy Eft Knot
    Feisty Fawn Herd
    Gutsy Gibbon Tribe
    Hardy Heron Siege

    (e.g. if someone mentioned “Flight 5”, that was the fifth Dapper alpha)

  4. Pingback: Ubuntu Backlash Begins « All About Ubuntu

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