Is Dell dropping support for Linux?

Starting with this article over at on July 24th, several other venues have been reporting that Dell has stopped selling Ubuntu based PC's through the Web Site.  Being from the US I can't see the UK site easily so I checked out the US Store.  Now I personally have issues with the usablity of the Dell Web Site for any purchase.  Just try to build one of the cheap pc's from their Newspaper adds without using the cheat codes on the add.  There is still a Ubuntu Page on the US Web Site which links to a Mini and Inspiron running Ubuntu 10.4.  There is a Dell Studio XPS 7100 model that also comes with Ubuntu 10.4 found here.  It's kind of weird cause I searched for Ubuntu and that was the first result and a recommended link.  When I go to the Studio XPS 7100 links other places on Dell's Web Site Windows is an option.  I have had similar issues when trying to buy a computer with XP and it would only let me choose Vista.  Had I called the phone line they would have put XP on the computer for me.  So the real issue may just be that Dell's website is hard or in some cases virutally impossible to use if you aren't looking for a Windows based Desktop.  Let's also not forget they never did sell Linux on every machine from the Web Site.  They are keeping the models up to date with 10.4 is reassuring and points to the fact that while they might not want to expand the offering they are still offering the machines.

When you look at Servers it's a whole different story.  They offer linux as an option for every server model I brought up tonight.  I personally purchased 6 servers back in the 2001-2002 timeframe with Red Hat sold with them.  Since then I have been having great success with linux on all of my Dell servers.  

What is impressive is that Dell fully supports Linux with Drivers.  The value of this shouldn't be under appericated.  Even if they won't pre-install it they will support it.

So my plea to Dell is simple.  Fix your website please so everyone can choose from all of the options available.  Hiding options isn't helping you sell computers.

Brian Wagner

Brian started working with *nix in while a student at Kent State University in the early 90's. In 1995, as an E-Mail Administrator for Caliber Technology (now part of Fedex) he was tasked with administering Sendmail on both Slackware Linux and Solaris Systems. His first home install of Linux was MkLinux DR1 in 1996 on his 60 Mhz PowerMac. Since then Brian has been working and consulting on Linux and it's uses in the Enterprise to support everything from E-Mail, Firewalls, Web and File serving to custom cluster solutions and grid solutions. Brian has had the opportunity to work in both Fortune 500 companies and small 2 person organizations. This has given him the unique insight into the differences every size business faces.