Dell renews Ubuntu Linux desktop lineup

Microsoft is doing its best to bury desktop Linux with lies — but at least one major vendor, Dell, isn't just continuing to deliver laptops and netbooks with Ubuntu Linux; it's actually upgrading the version of Ubuntu it's shipping and, later this week, it will start selling Ubuntu 9.04-powered Inspiron 537s desktops.

As Dell's Todd Finch, senior product marketing manager for Linux clients, promised at OpenSourceWorld several weeks ago, Dell is now shipping its existing netbook lines with the latest version of Ubuntu, 9.04. If you order a Dell Mini 9 (a personal favorite of mine that now sells for $199), the Dell Mini 10v, or the Inspiron 15n today, you'll get it with 9.04. In addition, Dell throws in DVD-playback and the media software to play MP3, WMA (Windows Media Audio), and WMV (Windows Media Video) files.

According to sources at Dell, they will also later this week start offering an Ubuntu Linux-powered desktop, the Inspiron 537s. Further down the road, Dell is considering offering Linux-based mobile devices, or smartbooks, which will be about the size of present day netbooks but use ARM processors. There is no delivery date for these computers.

You will, however, be able to order the Inspiron 537s by the weekend. While hard details aren't available yet, the 537s family is made up of strong, basic PCs in a variety of colors. They use Intel processors ranging from the 2.2GHz Celeron 450 to the 2.33GHz Core 2 Quad Q8200. All models in this family come with 16x DVDR/W drives and a choice of hard drives sizes, ranging from 320GB to 640GB.

The system also comes with two free PCI slots and one free PCIE slot. The 537s also has a hard upper limit of 4GBs of memory. Of course, that's more than enough RAM for Linux. For graphics, the system comes with an integrated Intel GMA x4500. The Ubuntu systems may have the ATI Radeon HD 4350 graphics with 512MBs as an option, but I'm not sure about that.

These systems will have a broad price range. While I don't have the price list, I expect to see prices start at about $250 for a barebones system and $700 for a fully-equipped box with all the extras.

Despite Microsoft's claims that there's no customer support for Linux, you can find Dell's support numbers, along with other support information for your Ubuntu-equipped Dells, on this Dell Ubuntu support page.

If you've been thinking about switching to a Linux netbook, laptop, or desktop, it's time to visit Dell. They have some nice hardware at prices anyone can afford and with the support you need to get going with desktop Linux.

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