Dell ships PCs with latest version of Ubuntu Linux

Dell on Wednesday introduced consumer PCs with the latest version of Ubuntu Linux, adding as a key new feature built-in DVD playback.

The Inspiron 530 N desktop and 1420 N notebook are shipping with Ubuntu version 7.10, which was released in October. Dell took a couple of months to offer the update in order to do "extensive testing on our systems to make sure that customers have as few issues as possible," Daniel Judd, strategist for Dell's Linux product group, said in the Direct2Dell blog.

Code-named Gutsy Gibbon, Ubuntu 7.10 bests its predecessor with a better user interface that includes 3-D screen effects and graphics. Other new features include the ability to manage multiple monitors, plug-and-play with more printers, and integrated desktop search.

"We think Ubuntu 7.10 is a solid step forward for both Linux enthusiasts as well as the mainstream consumer market," Judd said.

Dell chose Ubuntu as the OS for its consumer Linux PCs in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

The company started shipping Ubuntu PCs in May. Dell also ships Precision workstations with Red Hat's Linux distribution and recently introduced Optiplex desktops with Novell's SUSE Linux in China.

A key enhancement for Dell's latest Ubuntu PCs is built-in DVD movie playback, which the company said was one of the major requests from customers interested in Linux. The computer is configured to play a movie as soon as a DVD is inserted in the drive.

The 530 N desktop comes standard with a 1.6-GHz Intel (NSDQ: INTC) Pentium dual-core E2140 processor and 1 Gbyte of DDR2 SDRAM. It also ships with a 250-Gbyte Serial ATA hard drive. Pricing starts at $499.

The 1420 N notebook comes standard with a 1.5-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250 processor and 1 Gbyte of DDR2 SDRAM. It also ships with an 80-Gbyte SATA hard drive. Pricing starts at $754.

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