Dell makes excuses for backing off Linux

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In response to overwhelming feedback on Dell’s IdeaStorm costumer suggestion forum regarding Linux, Dell announced that the popular open-source OS would soon be pre-loaded on business laptops and PC’s; however, it is a dark day for Linux fans.

Just days after announcing their plans to include Linux on business platforms, Dell has formally announced they have no immediate plans for pre-loading systems with any version of Linux. Why the cold feet, you ask?

Dell claims they do not want to pre-load one build of Linux that may not be popular with ALL Linux users; because Linux is an open-source operating system, many distributors have modified their own unique versions of Linux, and Dell is claiming no favorites.

However, Dell is preparing a peace offering for the Linux community. The corporation is moving to certify its business machines with Novell SuSE Linux, and might also move for multiple certifications across the platform’s market. The key term here is certification, not pre-load.

Needless to say, Dell can start inserting its corporate foot directly into its corporate mouth; the backlash from the Linux community is less than pleasant. Many of the community feel like Dell is doubly shunning Linux users by promising them pre-loads and then immediately reversing their decision.

One IdeaStorm commenter calling himself “Shrewduser” writes:

“Tell [Dell] that this lip service thing they seem to be doing sucks, tell them we want what we asked for…”

Other comments were of a much darker tone…many users feel like Dell is afraid to package Linux with their machines for fear of a Microsoft backlash.

On the topic of Microsoft and Linux, Dell’s spokesperson Jeremy Bolen portrayed the artful dodger, opting to highlight Novell SuSE Linux certifications, but we feel that might not be quite the soothing reassurance Linux users need.

Bolen also commented that Dell is searching for the edition of Linux that will appeal to the most users universally; it seems Bolen has missed the entire point of an open-source operating system, which is to cater to each individual’s desires and needs specifically. We’re sure the Linux users on IdeaStorm will explain this notion to him fully.

Dell may have truly done themselves more harm than good by promising Linux and then with-holding it; it will be interesting to see how they proceed with this delicate situation.

Update 1: Apparently someone posted this article on IdeaStorm, and the article has since been removed. Touchy touchy, Dell. Did we bring up a sore subject?

This article originally appeared in Tech.Blorge.com on February 28, 2007.

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