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May 8 2007   4:04PM GMT

Dell and Ubuntu: how important is it?

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

Last week’s announcement that Dell will ship laptops and desktops with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed may hint that the days of desktop Linux are finally coming closer, but some Linux consultants said those days are still off in the distance.

“It’s hard to tell, but I think [Linux market share would be] be comparable with Max OS X; so maybe in the 10% market at first and then moving up as people see the benefit of it,” said Jeremy C. Reed, owner of Puget Sound Technology, a Linux and open-source consultancy in Washington.

Linux’s reputation could get a boost with Dell backing it, Reed said. On the other hand, this wouldn’t be the first time that it looked like Linux is on the cusp of breaking into the mainstream, and Reed predicted the future holds “more of the same” — slow and steady acceptance, but not a huge jump thanks to Dell.

Meanwhile, Red Hat has responded to the Dell-Ubuntu announcement saying the deal could boost open source applications as a whole — and that it would be releasing some desktop-related news at the Red Hat Summit, which starts tomorrow in San Diego.

Yuval Shavit, news writer

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