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May 03, 2007

Dell Offering Ubuntu? Too Little, Too Late?

InfoWorld reports that Dell will begin offering Ubuntu preinstalled on some of its computers in place of Windows.

But is this move too little, too late? All the PC OEMs are finding their sales slipping, and with consumers finding Microsoft's Vista unimpressive and lacking, many are turning to Apple for their next computer.

While Ubuntu remains a great operating system for people that only use their computers for web surfing, checking email, and writing an occasional letter, there are still a lot of types of applications missing on the platform.

Don't get me wrong. I set up my own parents with an Ubuntu system so I wouldn't have to spend any time removing spyware, rootkits, and other malware from their computer. (My father had a habit of re-infecting his XP machine after I finished cleaning it and before I can even pull out of his driveway.) But they never use the computer for anything besides Google Apps anyway. For them Ubuntu is perfect but, what about everyone else?

Currently, it's a chore to even install an application on Ubuntu, that is, if you can find one that does everything that you need it to do. Hopefully all this will change with time but will it be too late for the PC OEMs by the time it does? I have a bad feeling it will be for many.

I think we're seeing a paradigm shift. It's Microsoft and the OEM's game too lose but now they're down by 30 and it's the fourth quarter. Microsoft keeps missing the basket. Meanwhile even with Leopard delayed, Jobs is throwing 3 point shots.

I think the OEMs must figure out a way to license the Mac OS if they're going to pull through this. It's either that or getting more software companies to actively develop their titles for Ubuntu as well. I'd bet on the former as herding cats would be easier than getting most developers to think about linux seriously especially when there are some that still stupidly scoff at the Mac.


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