Dell Pushing Linux?

Dell recently announced the sale of low-cost Linux computers pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux:
Dell launches Linux PCs

On Thursday, Dell announced three low-cost Linux systems: a basic model, Inspiron E1505n, with few frills, for $539 (£271); a more powerful Dimension E520n, for $599 (£301); and a top-of-the-range XPS 410n for $849 (£427). The base system has no internet connection other than wireless, 512KB of memory, an 80GB drive and a 15.4-inch display.The other two systems both have 250GB drives, 1GB of memory and 10/100 Ethernet connections. The chief difference is that the cheaper system has a 17-inch display, and the larger has a 19-inch display.

Earlier Dell had announced that Michael Dell used several Linux boxes for his own personal use:
Michael’s Computers
Clearly Dell is beyond just testing the waters and is actively promoting the use of Linux. While it is tempting to assume this move is Dell’s way of taking a “jab” at Microsoft, analysts at Dell must see some indicators that there is significant and growing market demand for this kind of system.

For years, even the Linux proponents have acknowledged that the average computer user could not put up with Linux’s idiosyncrasies. But the buzz recently over Ubuntu’s easy-to-setup and easy-to-use interface questions that line of thinking. It is becoming incumbent on educational technology directors to renew their familiarity with the capabilities of this technology. Our previous perceptions about Linux may not apply anymore as the improvements to Linux quickly make those perceptions obsolete.

While most schools certainly are not ready to drop their current systems and jump completely to Linux, public education at a minimum should set up some test machines to see how these systems could work in a school-network environment. Their potential to eventually become the most cost-effective solution for schools cannot not be ignored, especially schools on budgets as tight as South Dakota’s districts. Linux is really not a niche product anymore.

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