Last week we talked about how some of the user-submitted ideas on Dell’s IdeaStorm site were becoming quite popular. The things that were becoming the most popular were all related to open-source software and the need for a Linux laptop/desktop offering. Then trailing a little bit behind those ideas was the “no extra software” submission where users would like to receive clean PC’s without the extra bloat typically included.

Dell Linux

I was reading a PC World article today that talked about Dell’s announcement that they will be providing desktops and laptops with Linux pre-installed. Then I thought to myself to check the “Ideas in Action” site that Dell provides to show what user submissions they are currently working on. Here was their entry on the new Linux options:

It’s exciting to see the IdeaStorm community’s interest in open source solutions like Linux and OpenOffice. Your feedback has been all about flexibility and we have seen a consistent request to provide platforms that allow people to install their operating system of choice. We are listening, and as a result, we are working with Novell to certify our corporate client products for Linux, including our OptiPlex desktops, Latitude notebooks and Dell Precision workstations. This is another step towards ensuring that our customers have a good experience with Linux on our systems.

As this community knows, there is no single customer preference for a distribution of Linux. In the last week, the IdeaStorm community suggested more than half a dozen distributions. We don’t want to pick one distribution and alienate users with a preference for another. We want users to have the opportunity to help define the market for Linux on desktop and notebook systems. In addition to working with Novell, we are also working with other distributors and evaluating the possibility of additional certifications across our product line. We are continuing to investigate your other Linux-related ideas, so please continue to check here for updates.

To read about the recent addition of Latitude notebooks to our n-series family, read Direct2Dell from one of Dell’s Linux solution architects, or visit and

So it doesn’t sound like they will have some of the more popular Linux distributions available right away, like Ubuntu, but hopefully they will be able to include those later on. They definitely need to take extra steps to make sure their notebooks run well with Linux before doing this kind of stuff though. My current Dell notebook has a “small” problem with Ubuntu where it is unable to turn the fans on to keep the computer cool. For that reason I’m unable to use Ubuntu on my laptop so I’ve been sticking with OpenSUSE which runs beautifully.

That wasn’t the only announcement that I noticed on the Dell Ideas site though. They also mentioned that they will try to make it easier for users to remove software that comes pre-installed:

Dell recognizes our customers’ desire to have unlimited control over the software on their PC. In fact, today XPS customers can opt-out of almost all preinstalled software. We will be expanding this effort in the coming months. In addition to focusing on the software installation process, Dell has also taken steps to make it easier for customers to remove software once they receive their PC. Today, customers can kick-off an un-install of almost any application by declining the EULA (End User Licensing Agreement) associated with software.

Additionally, the consolidated desktop folders provide a link to add/remove programs to facilitate easy software removal. We plan on increasing the degree of customer control moving forward, allowing customers to more quickly select software they want to remove and facilitate simple un-installation. Thanks for your feedback and suggestions in this area.

I’m not completely sure if they are going to comply with what users really want, but I’m surprised they even recognized this. The fact that a customer has to uninstall software that they didn’t want in the first place is something that angers many people, which is why they should always offer the option to opt-out of the included software. However, if they did that then the cost of computers could rise since companies pay to have their software pre-installed. I think a great compromise would be to offer the computer without any extra software for a small cost (maybe $25 or so). I’m not sure how much they actually make on each computer from pre-installing the software, but I would guess that $25 to $50 should cover it.

I give Dell a lot of credit for responding to the ideas that users submitted after just one week of launching the new site. I wasn’t expecting to see anything come from the ideas for at least a month, so this was definitely a surprise for me. Now I wonder if any other big ideas will come from the IdeaStorm site or has the initial buzz has worn off?

Dell IdeaStorm Homepage
View the Ideas in Action