This may apply to you, or it may not apply to you. Have you ever bought a PC or laptop from a major retailer such as Dell? Have you ever wiped out the Windows install and dropped your favorite Linux flavor onto said box? Many have and Dell has started to recognize that.
With their new IdeaStorm web site, Dell has started to do something that now many companies do . . . listen to their customers. And the top choice with 85,000 votes requested is for a Dell box with Linux pre-installed. 55,000 others have asked to have OpenOffice come as a pre-installed software option. Other suggestion mainly encompass the removal of 'craplets', the small programs (spyware and adware) that Dell installs on each system they sell to help generate further revenue. No one really uses these craplets, spy-ware, and ad-ware, they suck up system resources, and are usually, quickly, un-installed by the end user.
And as fate would have it, a recent blog posting by on Friday, Linux Software Architect Matt Domsch announced that Dell will be expanding its n-Series (no operating system included) product line to include Latitude notebooks. Hooray! Now I'll have something to load that old version of Windows 98 onto. As for the extra software that comes pre-installed with Dell systems, Dell has pledged that they will make it easier for people to opt-out of these little extras, slimming down a system ever further.
Unfortunately, getting less may actually cost more. Dell Managing Editor Eric Bangeman recently spoke with Michael Dell at CES this year. One topic of conversation of getting a crapware-free PC. Perhaps Dell could just sell OEM copies of XP or Vista along with a system purchase. Let users install it themselves.
Dell has seen the promising light of "Web 2.0" in recent months. Expansion of their customer feedback tools, corporate blog, the new IdeaStorm site, and the workings of tying to keep customers informed as to how their ideas and suggestions are being implemented. It seems like a great idea for a company to adopt, but there are complications. Because the feed back that Dell receives is most likely categorized, it is reasonable to assume that only the most vocal of opinions will be heard, whether it is a good idea or not. This could have Dell believing that the most suggested idea the the most popular idea.
Time will tell. But as for a pre-installed Linux Dell box, that probably won't happen. There are dozes of Linux distros available, and installing some version of 'Obscure Linux' or 'No Users Linux' would only serve to complicate things. But there are greater options for Dell customers now, and that can only be considered a positive, for both sides.