They've partnered with (London-based) Canonical (founded by South African Mark Shuttleworth) to offer the Ubuntu distro.
If you were here last year, you might recall our resident Linux guru, Mr. Magoo, migrated to a Linux-only system (not a dual-boot, Windows/Linux configuration, like most people do), using Ubuntu.
At DistroWatch, Ubuntu is ranked #1, .. out of 100+ Linux distros. Version 7.04 is know as Fiesty Fawn.
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I've long suggested techies download a distro (any distro, they're free), and install it, so you can play with and familiarize yourself with Linux, which has mad COOL factor.
The good thing is you don't have to buy a Dell in order to play with Linux. You can download a copy right now (for free). They offer both a server & desktop version. The desktop edition download is ~700MB.
This is big news. Linux will never be the same. Dell has offered Linux before (Redhat), but mainly on its servers. This is the first time they've decided to target the average consumer so squarely. Details at BBC and EFYTimes. Here's a quote from the BBC article:
For a long time Linux had been considered too difficult for normal computer users. However, recent versions of Linux, like Ubuntu 7.04, have become much more user-friendly.
Michael Dell (founder) owns a laptop running Ubuntu at home. If you play with it a little every day, you'd be surprised how quickly you become familiar with it.
If you (like me) find technological safety in numbers, then Ubuntu v7.04 would a fairly safe bet to download & install, since many people will be using that distro.
Don wrote to say:
My wife and I been using (and slowly learning) Linux for ~ a year now. PCLinuxOS is our favorite by considerable margin. But not recommended for systems under 700 MHz. (And I suspect it's fairly slow at 700 MHz.) But I put SAM on a 450 MHz Celeron a couple of days ago and it ran well (FAR more user friendly than Debian Sarge it replaced).
Oh, one more thing (I almost forgot), Magoo has a great Intro to Linux, which should get you started. See here > Magoo's Intro to Linux.
Again, most people will want to configure a dual-boot, so you can use both Windows & Linux on the same PC. If you're using Vista, better read this first. Then go here.
In the theme of using open source software, here's a site named OSALT (Open Source as Alternative) that lists open source alternatives to popular consumer software, such as Photoshop, Dreamwever & Norton Ghost (all of which I use regularly).
We seem to have an African theme going recently, with Ubuntu, an African word meaning 'Humanity to others', and Joomla a few days ago, from a Swahili word meaning "all together," and Stephen's photos from Cape Town last month. Also, Julie gave me (the novel) Rules of the Wild, which takes place in Nairobi. And let's not forget Barack, whose father was from Africa .. as is Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Conical.
Interesting reading > Linux on the Dektop, by Dries Buytaert, who founded Drupal CMS.
For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query > dell computer ubuntu linux