Dell details Linux installation plans
Linux-powered Dell desktops and notebooks aren't available quite yet, but Dell has released some additional information on the Direct2Dell blog regarding its Linux integration plans. Dell says default software from the Ubuntu 7.04 installation disc will be included in its machines and that it will select hardware with "the most mature and stable Linux driver support" that has "been thoroughly tested by the Linux team . . . at Dell." The company will use open-source drivers when possible and closed-source drivers when not, but adds this interesting note about driver support:
For hardware options not offered with this release, we are working with the vendors of those devices to improve the maturity and stability of their associated Linux drivers. While this may not happen overnight, we do expect to have a broader range of hardware support with Linux over time.
That might be good news for users of Linux-powered Dell systems, but a large PC vendor pushing for better Linux driver support could also benefit Linux users in general.
Dell says it will not include support for proprietary audio and video codecs (including MP3 and Windows Media Video) in its Linux installations. That's consistent with Ubuntu's policy, but it's not as big a deal as it sounds: Ubuntu's default media player gives users the option to fetch proprietary codecs from Ubuntu's closed-source software repository automatically when they encounter files based on those codecs.