I take 2 days off and miss potentially the biggest Linux announcement ever: a major OEM is going to offer Linux pre-installed on consumer computers!
This is fantastic news as long as Dell doesn’t commit one of the following fatal mistakes:
- Make the Linux option cost more than Windows. While I’m sure offering another OS increases their costs, Ubuntu is so committed to being free that consumers will be very sensitive to the price point.
Less than optimal driver support. This is a guaranteed way to ensure OEM Linux dies. If Linux hardware support isn’t as good as Windows hardware support, consumers will flee.
I’m kind of nervous about this point because I’ve had pretty poor luck with the Window’s drivers Dell has provided in the past for certain hardware: some NICs disconnect randomly, SATA drivers causing BSOD on Windows XP, and Dell laser printer drivers somehow crashing Office 2003.
This has the potential to bring Linux onto the mainstream desktop. Of course, until Linux can actually hotswap monitors, its going to be annoying to use on laptops…
On a completely unrelated note, is it just me or are ASP.NET URLs just embarrassing to look at? For example, Dell’s announcement page would have a nice readable and descriptive URL if there wasn’t an ugly “global.aspx” right in the middle of it. File extensions are so 20th century. 😉