Dell started distributing computers in Europe with Linux pre-installed. Buyers of the Dell Optiplex 170L can now buy this machine with Linspire (Lindows) 4.5 for a price of only 469EUR ex. VAT.
The Optiplex 170L has a 2.4GHz Intel Celeron processor with 256MB RAM and a 40GB HDD. A display isn't included, the E152FP 15in' LCD monitor costs another 280EUR for instance.
Linspire's CEO, Michael Robertson was understandably enthusiastic. 'I believe that it's a notable event when the largest OEM in the world agrees to ship a new desktop Linux product,' he said.
This is the second time in a week that Dell, formerly a rock solid Wintel shop - at least in Europe - has stepped away from it s traditional partners. Last week rumours began to circulate that Dell was going to begin building servers based on the AMD Opteron processor. However, Dell began a more agnostic approach to operating systems some two years ago when it began shipping Optiplex 'n' series machines but in the US only. More recently it has been offering Red Hat Linux on its servers and workstations.
Dell will claim that is isn't the one selling desktop Linux, Questar is. The company still recommends Windows XP on its website. However, Dell will doubtless be looking at the sales progress of the Linspire loaded Optiplexs with some interest.