When asked if Vista is going to be a success, most people answer "yes" for various reasons: good interface, XP is getting old, it's going to be sold with new PCs anyway. Wait... really? Dell's new Dimension n-Series might be aiming to change that a little bit.

The website even talks about Linux saying, "Are you looking for a desktop on which you can run Linux® or other open-source operating systems? Look no further!" It then goes on describing the flexibility of these systems, and mentions that all n-Series PCs come with a copy of FreeDOS.

As with most Dells, these PCs are fairly attractively-priced. The E520 has a Pentium D processor running at 2.8 Ghz, contains a whole GB of SDRAM memory and a 250 GB SATA hard drive. Not bad, considering it only costs $749 after rebates.

Is it going to take a big swing at Vista though? Hmm... just how many non-geeks will buy a brand new PC from Dell anyway that contains no real operating system (other than FreeDOS)? I know that Dell isn't aiming at the average users, but trying to make it cheaper for the Linux folks. Well, although a lot of Linux geeks use Dells, a huge percentage either build their own PC or get one that's mroe highe-end than Dell.

Also, a lot of the people that use Linux on their PCs decide to dual-boot Windows and Linux, making this system an unideal choice for them. Given the discount you get when you buy a PC with Windows anyway, it's probably better to just pay for a full system and take Windows, even if you aren't planning to use it. You could just sell it to someone and make some money on it, too. ;)

Pessimism aside, I have to say that this is rather... shocking. Amidst the hype of the upcoming Windows Vista, Dell decides to pull this off. But I doubt it's going to have much of an impact on Vista sales, even if Dell has 18% of the PC market.

I don't know how long the N series has been around, but I was pointed to the N series in 2003 when I complained to a Dell rep that I did not want a PC with any OS on it as I have plenty of OS licenses. I don't think that they really advertise its existence though. Glad you brought it up as more folks should be aware of it.

I think Dell has a decent reason to deprecate Vista; it will make there high end PCs look like they've got Sinclair Spectrum chips inside. 512 MB to boot the computer up? My brain doesn't have that much memory (and it's a high end model I can tell you). But (joking aside), I would imagine Dell will offer customers the option of choosing Vista or Linux (or both) on these machines. That it is shocking that a major hardware vendor doesn't start pre - installing the latest MS operating system by default as soon as it is released just shows how strong Microsoft's hold on the market is.

Steven.