...or actually what we know already.

Dell recently released, for the US market, some high end Linux desktops. This is their second attempt as they ditched the first in 2001. Note that Dell is still one of these major vendor that refuse to sell you a machine without the "recommended" operating system. The same vendor that in some jurisdicition refund people for that illegally bundled software. But these 3 models are highly selected. We are talking about workstations, the one where the work stops, not about servers.

But Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wonders about why Dell does not really push these workstation. Apparently it is not unrelated to Microsft OEM licensing condition for which Tangent, an OEM, is taking to court Microsoft for abuse their monopolistic position by leveraging high fees for the right to license. Microsoft defense about that is:

"No court has ever found that Microsoft charged too much for its products."

That is exactly the problem: immunity should stop.

But how would that impact in the open source world? It impacts it more than you think.

First of all to have wider adoption of open source operating system and software, they should be bundled (as an option) with hardware, and the current OEM contract just prevent the top tier vendors to do it. The settlement with Be Inc. is just a good evidence of what happened: nobody ever took the free license for one year to bundle BeOS with the PC along with the default OS.

Second, to have Linux become more popular, we need better support for hardware. The current hardware support of Linux is really good, but sometime too good: it supports obsolete hardware that even the manufacturer no longer support. But that is not what users want. They want to be able to go the consumer electronic store, but some device, and have it work on their PC. And that currently only work with the OS that the manufacturer supports (usually only the last versions). When you ask that manufacturer about Linux support he says that there is no interest. We all know that you need software to have users and users to have software (at least the one on which you venture being paid by selling it). Back to square one.