From Dell's Ideas in Action page on March 28, 2007:
Dell has heard you and we will expand our Linux support beyond our existing servers and Precision workstation line. Our first step in this effort is offering Linux pre-installed on select desktop and notebook systems. We will provide an update in the coming weeks that includes detailed information on which systems we will offer, our testing and certification efforts, and the Linux distribution(s) that will be available. The countdown begins today.
Very good news for us Linux users! Imagine being able to purchase a laptop with hardware that is ensured to be fully usable with GPL open source Linux drivers? And if the open-source drivers don't perform well enough for you, you are free to use the manufacturer's closed-source drivers (I.E., Nvidia graphics drivers). Actually, you can already do this with some companies like system76, but this is a serious step for a major computer seller to do this!
There's a comment on this blog entry on Dell's Blog that really matches my thoughts:
This is great news. The idea of hardware that is fully supported by Free Software is far more important than pre-installing any GNU/Linux distribution. This is what will ensure that the hardware supports GNU/Linux. And that is enough for most individuals who choose GNU/Linux.
Dell's earlier noise about Linux was what held me from requesting an Apple MacBook notebook computer from my company. Looks like that patience might pay off for me and for Dell!