Where are Dell's Ubuntu PCs?

Dell told us back in February that new machines were coming soon -- but has the company gone back on its word?

Back in February, I covered Gripe Line reader Cal's complaint that Dell seemed to have stopped carrying Ubuntu machines. At the time, I spoke to Anne Camden at Dell, who assured me that the company would be refreshing its Ubuntu line "in several weeks." Thus, I was surprised to hear from Gripe Line reader Ken recently, who has been watching the Dell/Ubuntu situation closely because he is in the market for a Ubuntu desktop.

"I just want you to know," Ken writes, "that Dell still isn't offering any new Ubuntu machines." Instead, the company is carrying only one laptop and a netbook.

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He complains, "I have been looking to upgrade my aging 530n and hoping that Dell would have a new viable desktop. I have been watching since last fall. Are you sure Anne Camden didn't say several months?"

Ken resigned himself to the situation, but he isn't happy about it: "It looks as if I am just going to have to get my new Ubuntu machine the old-fashioned way. It's too bad, though, because the older I get the more disposable income I have and the less I feel like building computer systems."

I contacted Camden again. She too was surprised to learn that the new Ubuntu systems had not appeared and promised to look into it. It took her a couple of weeks to dig into the situation -- but she did offer an answer. I'm afraid Ken may have already built himself the open source desktop he wants, but there is good news for Ken or anyone who has been procrastinating on building their own Ubuntu machine.

"Ironically, we just added the Ubuntu desktop this week," Camden tells me. "It seems we changed horses in midstream. The original plan was to transition to the current generation Inspiron desktop, but then the Linux team decided that there might be more applications and better appreciation for a more powerful option. So we just released the Studio XPS 7100 desktop with Ubuntu Desktop 10.4 installed.

"If you go to this link, you will find a Linux-based Mini 10 netbook, a 15-inch mainstream Inspiron laptop, and a performance Studio XPS 7100 desktop for consumers, with additional links to an ultrathin laptop targeted at small businesses (Vostro V13) and a Latitude netbook (Latitude 2100)."

Thanks, Ken, for keeping an eye on this situation.

Got gripes? Send them to christina_tynan-wood@infoworld.com.

This story, "Where are Dell's Ubuntu PCs?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Christina Tynan-Wood's Gripe Line blog at InfoWorld.com.

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