It’s time to give Dell a little credit, folks. By agreeing to offer Ubuntu on selected systems earlier this year, the company has opened itself up to a flood of ideas from passionate Linux users. In fact, the Dell IdeaStorm website remains flooded with thousands of Ubuntu-focused comments from the Linux community. And Dell itself continues to prepare for Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon, the next major upgrade from Canonical.
Ubuntu 7.10 should have strong appeal to Dell’s existing Ubuntu customer base (which includes me). During the UbuntuLive conference back in July, Canonical CTO Matt Zimmerman said Ubuntu 7.10 would feature several core enhancements for desktop and server users. On the desktop, 7.10 will support:
- a 3D interface out of the box
- multi-monitor configuration
- laptop power profiling
- more details still to come
On the server, 7.10 will offer:
- Turn-key web administration
- One-step server recipes
- Proactive security with AppArmor, an increasingly popular open source security option
- “desktop” type simplicity
If Ubuntu 7.1o fulfills its mission, the upgrade could help desktop Linux to gradually become a mainstream operating system. But don’t expect that to happen overnight. In an exclusive TechIQ interview with Dell’s Linux gurus last month, the company indicated that it would take a slow-and-steady approach to Ubuntu. Translation: Don’t expect Dell to throw marketing dollars at Ubuntu PCs just yet.I don’t expect that to happen for at least another year because Dell doesn’t want to over promise and under deliver to frustrated Windows users and small business owners who are seeking alternatives. In the meantime, the countdown to Ubuntu 7.10 continues. And the buzz surrounding Ubuntu 7.1 will only grow louder as the upgrade’s October 18 launch date approaches.