Dell is taking the netbook market by the horns, it would seem. First it refuses to accept that the Psion netbook trademark is a valid one, and now it bucks the market trend for not being able to sell Linux powered netbooks.
While the netbook market seems to be moving away from Linux and selling more Windows XP powered machines than anything else, dell is happy to be bucking the trend. Well kind of. Two thirds of the Mini 9 netbooks it has sold have shipped with Windows XP Home, but that has not stopped Dell from shouting from the rooftops that 33 percent of them have shipped with Ubuntu.
Perhaps more interestingly are the return rates that I have been reading about. While the company that makes the 'Wind' netbook, Microstar, reckons that four times as many Linux powered machines come back as returns than Windows XP ones, Dell has a different tale to tell claiming the return rate is much less. In fact it reckons it is the same as for the Windows XP machines, and that is very low.
"We have done a very good job explaining to folks what Linux is" a Dell spokesperson told Laptop Magazine. Which makes a change from 18 months back when we were reporting that Dell staff didn't seem to know that Ubuntu was even an option.
I have an Asus Eee running Linux and it's a very good machine. The whole idea with a net book is that you use it mostly to access the internet. If you are using internet-based apps with it, then the underlying OS doesn't matter. I'm not sure why people would have any problem running a browser no matter what OS they were running. It's not rocket science and requires little expertise. The Eee has done a very good job of presenting apps in a tabbed interface divided by task, so if you want to use a local app like Open Office it's very simple to find and use. Anyone who has used a Windows machine should have not problem finding their way around.