Linux Update: Ubuntu 7.10 and Built-In DVD playback

Many people don't realize how young our consumer Linux client program is…we started in May this year. I've been along for the ride every step of the way – from the time we heard loud and clear that there was a need not being met by any other major PC manufacturer at the time. What started as a grass roots campaign in the Linux community was embraced by a small but dedicated team inside Dell. I can tell you that we worked fast to pull together a solution and went way outside of several processes to make Ubuntu on consumer systems a reality.  In fact, our lead lead engineer said in a message to employees, "…we really broke all the rules…so I'll apologize to Dell for that."

I wanted to give a quick recap on the continued progress we've made with Linux on our desktops and notebooks:

Ultimately our program is about listening and delivering customer choice. Today we offer Ubuntu in the US, UK, France and Germany. For customers in other countries interested in Ubuntu, we hear you and ask you to stay tuned. As with the regular cadence of OS improvements, Dell is working on bringing Ubuntu to more markets over time. In the meantime, tell your friends in the existing markets to buy a system now. The more we sell, the sooner we can expand the program.

While our program is in early stages, we remain committed to creating a compelling experience for the mainstream market. 

Today, we're adding Ubuntu 7.10 (a.k.a Gutsy Gibbon) to the Dell Consumer Linux line-up for customers in the United States.  It will also be available on the Inspiron 530 in England, France, and Germany later this week.

 Visit www.dell.com/ubuntu to order Inspiron 530 desktop or Inspiron 1420 notebook PCs with Ubuntu 7.10 pre-installed. We believe Ubuntu 7.10 is a solid step forward for both Linux enthusiasts as well as the mainstream consumer market.

One of the key requests from customers interested in Linux is the ability to watch their favorite DVD movies. (See idea Preinstalled  Linux must play commercial DVDs from IdeaStorm user jonmca… but we ended up taking some advice from jmxz to use LinDVD). We totally agree and that's why we now include built-in DVD movie playback with all Ubuntu 7.10 systems.The experience we wanted is simple — when you put a movie in, it plays. It is easy enough for a child and an example of the steps we are taking to make Ubuntu as enjoyable as possible.

With an impressive level of consistency, the Ubuntu OS is updated every 6 months. There's lots of new features in version 7.10. While there are too many to highlight here, some of my favorites include:

  • Cool 3-D visual effects that make your system fun to use
  • An easier desktop search engine to find documents or applications,
  • Ability to quickly switch between users and easily share a system with family members
  • Pre-installation of Flash for a better web experience (Dell added this by the way)
  • Improved recovery options with a full factory restore from hard drive and the ability to burn the system-specific recovery image to DVD media right from the user's desktop (Dell-developed as well)

Why did it take a several weeks for Dell to get Ubuntu 7.10 in our factory? The answer is simple. With any operating system, we take "gold" code and take the time to do extensive testing on our systems to make sure that customers have as few issues as possible.