One giant leap for Linux

24 May 2007

Dell customers in the US will be able to order their PC for the first time pre-installed with the Linux-based operating system Ubuntu from today, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth told

Shuttleworth said that Dell had originally created a website dedicated to customer feedback and the number one thing that people kept asking for Dell to bring on board was the Ubuntu OS.

“Michael Dell himself was running Ubuntu and he’s very interested in what the next generation is actually doing with technology,” said Shuttleworth.

Dell also plans to announce details on purchasing customer support for Ubuntu, which will be provided by Canonical.

Shuttleworth said he hoped that this collaboration with Dell will bring Ubuntu, and all Linux-based desktop systems, into the same space as servers. Linux currently has close to 30pc of the server market worldwide.

“My biggest hope is that Dell do in fact sell sufficient numbers of computers to treat it as a serious business category because what we really need is for the people behind Dell, the people who make all the little components that go into a computer, to recognise Linux as a platform that they need to think about, like in the server space,” he said.

“Until now most of the work to make Linux work with a video card or a sound card or a camera was actually being done by volunteers for the desktop.

“On the server side it used to be that way but increasingly now the server side is all done by the companies themselves.”

When asked if he saw Ubuntu as a solid alternative to Windows, Shuttleworth said yes, but for certain kinds of users. “I think there are some things that are still easier to do with a Mac or with Windows,” he said.

Ubuntu is free of charge and the company posts the CD free to users if requested. Shuttleworth said that he liked the idea of both a major corporation and a college student having access to the same level of technology.

“What happens if we can make powerful, high-quality tools freely available to everybody?” he pondered.

He is banking on Dell distribution bringing this dream closer to reality.

“It’s a great step forward for Linux, not just for Ubuntu,” said the one time space tourist.

By Marie Boran

Pictured – Mark Shuttleworth in outer space. The Ubuntu founder was the first South African to take a space cruise