They’re here. After a month of speculation and buzz, Dell’s Linux-equipped desktop PCs were ready for the market on Thursday. Sporting the Ubuntu 7.04 “Feisty Fawn” operating system, three new systems are available to order starting at 4.p.m. from Dell’s Web site: the Inspiron E1505n, Dimension E520n, and XPS 410n.
Dell claims the absence of licensing costs for an operating system on the newest machines will keep them competitively priced, and they don’t seem to be bluffing. The Dimension E520n comes loaded with an Intel Core 2 Duo E4300, 1GB of RAM, 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7300LE TurboCache graphics card, 250GB hard drive, and 17-inch flat panel display starting at $599. A comparably equipped Windows machine with an inferior video card runs $649.
“The interest and enthusiasm from customers who challenged us to deliver a consumer Linux solution have been matched within Dell and Canonical, the sponsor of Ubuntu, by a team of dedicated professionals who made this happen in a phenomenally short period of time,” said Neil Hand, vice president of Dell’s Consumer Product Group, in a statement. “It’s fantastic to be able to offer what many Linux enthusiasts want — great Dell products with popular open-source software for work and play.”
Dell provides hardware support for the machines, and basic Ubuntu support is available through the operating system’s popular forums. Customers who want an extra safety net will have to pay Canonical, Ubuntu’s creator, or another company that specializes in Ubuntu, to provide support. Dell is also hosting its own forums specifically for users of their Ubuntu systems.
All of the hardware on the latest machines has been thoroughly tested with Ubuntu and uses open-source drivers wherever possible. Dell is working with other hardware vendors to provide additional options in the future.