OEMs Are MIA When It Comes to Desktop Linux
If this is the year of the Linux desktop, as Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president for software at Sun Microsystems Inc., has claimed, then someone should probably alert the major desktop hardware OEMs.If this is the year of the Linux desktop, as Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president for software at Sun Microsystems Inc., has claimed, then someone should probably alert the major desktop hardware OEMs. Although Sun, in Santa Clara, Calif., recently announced plans to offer a Linux-based desktop product tied to a Sun back end, none of the major hardware OEMs currently offers an off-the-shelf desktop or notebook pre-installed with the open-source operating system. OEMs have long sold desktops pre-installed with Microsoft Corp.s Windows software, essentially ensuring the software makers dominance of the desktop market. In fact, Linux stalwarts accuse OEMs of bowing to pressure from Microsoft to ship only desktops with the Windows desktop operating system.
Companies such as IBM and Dell Computer Corp. said thats nonsense. A lack of interest in desktop Linux on the part of corporate buyers is the real issue, they said. In 2000, Dell offered two notebook models pre-installed with Linux. The Round Rock, Texas, company pulled the notebooks from its lineup last year after seeing little demand, executives said. Dell customers that prefer to run Linux on the desktop need to order Dell OptiPlex desktops and Latitude notebooks through the companys Custom Factory Install service.