Imagine, if you will, a one stop Internet site where you could buy Linux and the latest printers, scanners, digital cameras, MP3 players, Pocket PCs, etc. and everything worked together. You would not have to hunt for compatible hardware. The OEM drivers would simply exist in the Linux kernel. Oh, and this one stop shop would sell Intel commodity priced products at low, low prices.
With its Linux desktop offerings Dell has opened the door just slightly to capture some significant market share from an unsuspected source. If you visit the site today, you'll find a Dell PrecisionTM 370n for $709. That's an Intel Pentium 4 processor with SATA drives and a host of other features.
Who knows what went into the thinking of Dell decision makers in offering Linux on desktop? Perhaps customer demand did the trick, though many would doubt it. Many people consider Dell the hardware division of Microsoft, especially after the founder appeared at LinuxWorld as a keynote speaker in August 2000 and then discontinued offering Linux bundled with their products. Many in the open-source community considered Michael's appearance a "trick".