Dell details its Linux distro

Dell is spilling the details on its imminent Linux offering, the Ubuntu 7.04 ‘Feisty Fawn’ distro, ahead of its availability on Dell machines, rumoured to be later this week.

Dell details its Linux distro

Hardware and software configuration information has been listed on the company’s official blog by John Hull, Manager of Linux OS Technologies.

According to Hull, Dell will configure and install open source drivers for hardware, ‘when possible’ and will only use partial open-source or closed source (‘restricted’ in Ubuntu terms) drivers where there is no equivalent open-source driver. He says this includes Intel wireless cards and Conexant modems.

In terms of peripheral options, those offered with Ubuntu will be a subset of what is offered for Windows. ‘We’re offering the hardware options on each system that have the most mature and stable Linux driver support,’ writes Hull. ‘These hardware options have been thoroughly tested by the Linux team here at Dell.’

As you might expect, Dell also recommend Linux users buy to Dell printers that have PostScript engines in them.

What is not available? Dell says it is not including any support for proprietary audio or video codecs not already distributed with Ubuntu 7.04. These include MPEG 1/2/3/4, WMA, WMV, DVD and Quicktime. According to Hull, however, ‘We are evaluating options for providing this support in the future’.

More generally, he says Dell is working with hardware vendors not covered by this release, to help improve the ‘maturity and stability’ of their associated Linux drivers. ‘While this may not happen overnight, we do expect to have a broader range of hardware support with Linux over time,’ he promises.

For technical support there will be a wiki page on the website, giving more detail of supported systems, info on device drivers used for system peripherals, details of the Ubuntu factory-installation, and workarounds for problems found during Dell’s testing.

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