Good news for plurality advocates in general, and Linux fans in particular: during a press event, Dell has announced a shift in its Linux strategy, one that seems to contradict recent moves by competitors who are de-emphasizing Linux models: Windows and Linux models will be made available simultaniously.
Dell announced a new netbook, the Dell Mini 10v, which will come with either Windows XP or Linux. Nothing new under the sun here so far. What is new, however, is that both Linux and Windows XP will become available straight away; a change from Dell’s previous policy in which the Windows XP model became available first, only to be followed by the Linux model later on. Dell said this won’t be the last either; all future netbooks will be made available as a Linux and a Windows model simultaniously – without hardware differences.
The Dell Mini 10v is a scaled down version of the Mini 10. The Mini 10v is a “companion netbook”, according to Dell, while the Mini 10 (without the v) is a “media netbook”. The Mini 10 is 50 USD more expensive, but does come with a MacBook-like multitouch touchpad, magnesium casing (the 10v is made out of plastic), edge-to-edge glass display, and an HDMI port. The 10 also ships with the more powerful Atom Z processor which brings 720p playback capabilities.
The 10v ships with Ubuntu 8.04 or Windows XP (the Mini 10, released earlier this year, now also has an Ubuntu option). “We’ll continue to improve with the software used on the Linux side,” Dell told BetaNews. Sadly, when I go to the Dutch Dell website to configure the Mini 10v, only Windows XP Home is offered as an option. The American website does offer Ubuntu as an option on all Mini 10/10v models. There doesn’t appear to be a price difference between the Linux and Windows models: 299 USD for both the Windows and Linux model of the 10v.
It’s a step forward for Linux and Dell, so if you want to support the Linux cause, here’s your chance.