Dell decides to sell notebooks without operating systems by customer request

On the Direct2Dell company blog, Matt Domsch, Linux Software Architect for Dell, announced that Dell has added its Latitude line of notebooks PCs to its n-Series lineup of products. n-Series are Dell products that ship with no operating system pre-installed. The Latitude notebooks will join Dell's Dimension and OptiPlex desktop computers, both of which are already being sold under the n-Series.

According to Domsch, the decision to sell Latitude notebooks PCs without any operating system pre-installed is a direct result of Dell IdeaStorm. IdeaStorm, which was launched by Dell little more than a week ago, is an interactive website that allows users to post ideas they would like to see Dell work on. The ideas are then voted on, and the most popular ones make it to the IdeaStorm front page. Apparently,  three of the top four spots on the website all deal with Linux. The third topic, which is the one Dell is trying to address by adding its Latitude notebooks to the n-Series lineup, is about shipping notebook PCs with Linux pre-installed on them. According to Domsch, the move brings Dell "a bit closer" to Linux laptops.

"As with other n-Series products, Dell hasn't tested any particular Linux distribution and doesn't offer software support for running Linux on these, so we encourage you to join our Linux mailing lists and to use the one of your chosen distribution for community-based support," said Domsch on his blog.

The notebooks will not come with Linux pre-installed. The exact models that Dell is currently offering as part of the n-Series are the Latitude D420, D520, D620 and D820. Dell has chosen not to distribute any specific version of Linux with its products primarily because there are so many versions available and Dell doesn't want to limit its consumers to one option.

On its Ideas in Action webpage, Dell states, "As this community knows, there is no single customer preference for a distribution of Linux. In the last week, the IdeaStorm community suggested more than half a dozen distributions. We don't want to pick one distribution and alienate users with a preference for another. We want users to have the opportunity to help define the market for Linux on desktop and notebook systems. In addition to working with Novell, we are also working with other distributors and evaluating the possibility of additional certifications across our product line. We are continuing to investigate your other Linux-related ideas, so please continue to check here for updates."

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