The very first Eee PCs might have been Linux-powered, but Windows XP has made considerable headway in the netbook market since then. Nevertheless, the biggest PC vendor in the U.S. apparently has no trouble selling Linux netbooks. Laptop Magazine spoke to Dell and found out that Linux models represent a third of the firm's Inspiron Mini 9 sales.
Much like Linux-powered Asus and Acer netbooks, the Dell machines run a netbook-specific distribution with a special user interface and big, friendly application icons. In this case, the distribution is a tweaked version of Ubuntu Netbook Remix. As one might expect, Linux variants of the Inspiron Mini 9 cost less than the Windows ones—just $249 instead of $299 for the cheapest configurations.
Laptop Magazine quotes Dell's Jay Pinkert as saying the uptake of Ubuntu-based Inspiron Mini 9s is "well above the standard attach rate for other systems that offer Linux." Pinkert adds, "We have done a very good job explaining to folks what Linux is." Dell believes pricing plays a big part in the Linux systems' popularity, and interestingly, it says return rates for Windows and Linux netbooks are "comparable."
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