updated 01:00 pm EDT, Fri May 11, 2007
No Dell Linux Emulation
Dell's Linux systems won't be able to run Windows out of the box, according to Ubuntu Linux developer Canonical. Company head Mark Shuttleworth has said that his firm will deliberately avoid shipping Dell's version of Ubuntu with the WINE Windows emulator, saying that the ability to run many programs for the Microsoft OS in quick emulation would prevent users from actually using Ubuntu Linux on its own merits.
"While Linux is an alternative to Windows, it is not cheap Windows," Shuttleworth said. "Linux has its own strengths, and users should want it because of those strengths and not because it's a cheap copy of Windows."
The Canonical head explained, however, that he wasn't against emulation or virtualization, and was particularly impressed with tools such as the cross-platform VMware suite. Experienced buyers of Dell's Ubuntu systems will also have the option of downloading WINE separately.
The inclusion of WINE could also have created potential support conflicts for the Linux distribution creators, which will offer paid support for the Linux-based Dell PCs separate from that of the normal Windows models.
Dell hasn't yet committed to official prices or specific launch dates for the Linux computers.