July 26, 2010, 4:46 PM — People seem to love bad news. This last weekend, the 'bad' news was that Dell has stopped offering Ubuntu Linux pre-installed on laptops and netbooks. There was only one problem with the story: It's not true.
While Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, won't be making their official statement on the situation until tomorrow, July 28th, Gerry Carr Canonical's marketing manager, told me today that the stories that Dell will no longer be offering Ubuntu pre-installed on its hardware "is NOT true." In addition, a Dell representative said that "Dell has no plans to discontinue its Ubuntu offerings."
So, calm down already with the headlines like "Get This Damned Ubuntu Out Of Dell's Internets!" Or, it's Digg variant, "WTF? Dell Drops All Ubuntu-Loaded Machines From Online Store." Chill already.
First, if some of my hyperventilating Ubuntu fans had bothered to check the Dell Ubuntu Web site in the United States, they would have found, Oh My Gosh, that Dell's still offering the pair of computers it's been offering for some time. Wow. Amazing.
The first story to break this 'news' took a calmer view. In the UK publication, PC Pro, the reporter wrote, that his "search for Ubuntu on the Dell UK website returns only one laptop - the Dell Latitude 2100 from the company's business range." And, that "Dell insists that it's continuing to sell Ubuntu systems, but only over the phone."
My best guess, since the story was done over the weekend, is that for someone who shouldn't have been talking to the press was trying to explain a temporary change in Dell's Web site. After all, while Dell doesn't usually break down their operating system sales, last year, Dell's Jay Pinkert said, "A third of our Mini 9 mix is Linux." In other words, Dell makes money from its Ubuntu sales.
No, I think what we have here is yet another example of a mountain being made out of a molehill. If you want to be upset about something, get ticked off that other big-time computer vendors like HP and Lenovo make it almost impossible to buy any of their systems with Linux pre-installed on them. Dell doesn't do a great job of supporting Linux for consumers, but they do a lot better than any of the other major PC manufacturers.