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What does the future hold for Ubuntu?

Ubuntu begins shipping on Dell PCs today -- with $50 knocked off the price tag when compared to the same model with Windows Vista -- it's a hallmark day that comes after years of waiting but, will it really make a difference? There has never been a desktop Linux version available from a major hardware manufacturer until now. (Hint: Linspire doesn't count. Michael Robertson did more to damage Desktop Linux than he ever did to further it) In the past, hardware companies have fiddled with server versions of the OS but, that's an entirely different animal; Servers are shipped to staff who know what to do with them, desktops are shipped to grandma's house at Christmas time.

The buzz so far is incredibly positive. PC World just placed a 100 Best Products crown on Ubuntu's head, Wired is asking, "Is Ubuntu Linux right for you, too?" and, the only pessimistic coverage I can dig up is this piece, which asks if Ubuntu's support operations are ready for the big leagues and real n00b endusers.

Operating System adoption is a Catch 22 game; Software makers don't want to release product for a platform that isn't leading or gaining mindshare but, it's hard to gain mindshare without a significant crop of commercial software available on your platform. Ubuntu, and Mark Shuttleworth, may be the first to truly capitalize on the huge trove of good-to-great open source desktop software out there as a springboard to the attention of commercial software vendors. Toshiba is already rumored to be mulling the idea of offering Ubuntu on its line of notebooks and, just a few more breakaways could catapult Canonical's Feisty Fawn into the annals of history, and the living rooms of many a consumer.

Tags: linux, linux on dell, LinuxOnDell, news, osupdates, ubuntu, vista